Chapter no 46

The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games, 2)

That night, a little after midnight, Max nudged me awake.

“What is it?” I blinked at her, and after a few seconds’ delay, my fight- or-flight instincts kicked in. “Is everything okay?”

“Everything’s fine,” Max told me. She smiled wickedly. “Very fine.” She nudged me again. “Jameson Hawthorne is in the hot tub.”

I narrowed my eyes at her, then rolled over in bed and pulled the covers over my head.

She pulled them back down. “Did you hear me? Jameson Hawthorne is in the hot tub. This is a DEFCON-faxing-one situation.”

“What is it with you and Jameson?” I asked. “What is it with you and Jameson?” Max retorted.

For reasons I couldn’t begin to explain, I didn’t toss her out of my bed. I answered her question. “He doesn’t want me,” I told Max. “Not really. He wants the mystery. He wants to keep me close until he can use me. I’m a part of the puzzle to him.”

“But…,” Max prompted, “would you like to be used by him?”

I thought about Jameson: the way his eyes gleamed when he knew something I didn’t, the crook of his smile, the way he’d covered my body with his when gunshots went off in the Black Wood—and later cupped my face with his hands when the sound of fireworks sent me plunging into dark memories. The annoying way he called me Heiress. Golfing on the rooftop. My body clinging to his on the back of a motorcycle. The exact tilt of his lips when he’d told me to play it safe—for now.

“You like him.” Max sounded way too satisfied with herself.

“I might like the way I feel when I’m with him.” I chose my wording very carefully. “But it’s not that simple.”

“Because of Grayson.”

I stared at the ceiling and flashed back to the ski lift. “We’re friends.”

“No,” Max corrected. “You and I are friends. Grayson is the physical manifestation of your avoidant attachment style. He won’t let himself want you. You don’t want to want to be wanted. Everybody stays at arm’s length. Nobody gets hurt, and nobody gets any.”

Max gave me her most aggrieved best friend look.

“Why do you care?” I asked her. “Since when are you this invested in my love life?”

“Lack of,” Max corrected, and then she shrugged. “My life has exploded. My parents won’t take my calls. They won’t let my brother talk to me, either. You’re all I have right now, Ave. I want you to be happy.”

“You tried calling your parents?” I didn’t want to push her too hard, but I did want to be there for her.

Max looked down. “That’s not the point. The point is, Jameson Hawthorne is in the hot tub.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “So what are you going to do about it?”

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