Chapter no 48

The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games, 2)

stared out the plane’s window, watching the mountain get smaller and farther away until the jet hit cruising height. I’d barely slept, but I didn’t feel tired.

“What did Eli mean, a professional?” I said out loud. “A professional what?” I turned my attention from the view out the jet’s window to Max, who was seated beside me. I’d caught her up to speed—on the security situation and the hot tub. “A private detective? A spy?”

“An assassin!” Max said giddily. She read a lot of books and watched a lot of TV shows. “Sorry.” She held up a hand and tried to appear a little less enthralled with this latest turn of events. “Assassins, bad. I’m sure the man in the woods wasn’t a deadly assassin from an ancient league of deadly assassins. Probably.”

Before inheriting, I would have told Max that she was reaching, but Who would want me dead? wasn’t a dismissive question anymore. It was a question with answers. Skye. I thought about confronting Ricky at the gala. Libby had fought with him, too. If she’d told him that I was getting emancipated, if he’d told Skye that their golden ticket was disappearing…

What exactly would they do? He’s one of my heirs. If something happens to me…

“No one is going to hurt you.” Grayson sat opposite me, with Jameson beside him. “Isn’t that right, Jamie?” Grayson’s tone sharpened. I got the feeling that he wasn’t just talking about the man in the woods.

“If I weren’t so confident in our brotherly affection for each other,” Jameson replied languidly, “I would find that comment a bit pointed.”

“Pointed?” Xander repeated in faux horror. “Gray? Never.”

“So,” I said, before this situation could devolve, “who’s up for a friendly game of poker?”



“I call.” I stared Thea down. She had a good poker face—but mine was better.

Thea laid down her hand: a full house. I laid down mine: the same. But aces were high, and I had them. I went to collect the pot, but Jameson stopped me.

“Not so fast, Heiress. I’m still in. And I have…” He shot me a wicked little smile that made me feel like I was right back in the hot tub. “Nothing.” He showed his cards.

“You always did talk a big game,” Thea said.

Beside her, Rebecca’s phone buzzed. Rebecca looked down at it. This time, when Thea reached for it, Rebecca was faster. “No.”

The phone buzzed again. And again. Thea caught a glimpse of the screen, and her expression shifted.

“It’s your mom.” Thea tried to catch Rebecca’s gaze. “Bex?” Rebecca turned the phone off.

“That wasn’t what I meant,” Thea said. “Maybe you should see what she wants.”

Rebecca seemed to fold in on herself a little. “I’ll be home soon enough.”

“Bex, your mom—”

“Don’t tell me what she needs.” Rebecca’s voice was soft, but her whole body seemed to vibrate with intensity. “You think I don’t know she’s not okay? Do you honestly think I need you to tell me that?”

“No, I—”

“She looks at me, and it’s like I’m not even there.” Rebecca stared holes in the table. “Maybe if I were more like Em, maybe if I were better at mattering—”

“You matter.” Thea’s voice had gone almost guttural.

“You know,” Max said awkwardly, “this seems kind of like a private conversation, so maybe—”

“I don’t matter enough.” Rebecca’s voice went brittle. “It’s been fun, running around, playing detective, pretending the real world away, but it can’t just be like this.”

“Like what?” Thea reached for Rebecca’s hand.

“Like this. The way you find reasons to touch me.” Rebecca pulled her hand back from Thea’s. “The way I let you. You were my world, and I would have done anything for you. But I begged you not to cover for Emily that night, and you—”

“Don’t do this.” If Thea were anyone else, she would have sounded like she was begging.

“If I were better at mattering…” Rebecca spoke louder. “If, for once in my life, I’d been enough for anyone—for the girl I loved—my sister might still be alive.”

Thea had no response. Silence descended again. Painful, awkward, excruciating silence.

Jameson was the one who put Thea out of her misery. “So, Heiress,” he said, throwing out a subject change like he was throwing a tarp over a fire. “How are we going to go about getting that ring?”

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