Chapter no 59

The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games, 1)

Oren met me in the hall the second I left Libby’s suite. If he’d been up all night, he didn’t look it.

“A police report has been filed,” he reported. “Discreetly. The detectives assigned to the case are coordinating with my team. We’re all in agreement that it would be to our advantage, at least for the moment, if the Hawthorne family does not realize there is an investigation. Jameson and Rebecca have been made to understand the importance of discretion. As much as you can, I’d like you to proceed as though nothing has happened.”

Pretend I hadn’t had a brush with death the night before. Pretend everything was fine. “Have you seen Libby?” I asked. Libby isn’t fine.

“She went down for breakfast about half an hour ago.” Oren’s tone gave away nothing.

I thought back to those texts, and my stomach tightened. “Did she seem okay?”

“No injuries. All limbs and appendages fully intact.”

That wasn’t what I’d been asking, but given the circumstances, maybe it should have been. “If she’s downstairs in full view of Hawthornes, is she safe?”

“Her security detail is aware of the situation. They do not currently believe she is at risk.”

Libby wasn’t the heiress. She wasn’t the target. I was.



I got dressed and went downstairs. I’d gone with a high-necked top to hide my stitches, and I’d covered the scratch on my cheek with makeup, as much as I could.

In the dining room, a selection of pastries had been set out on the

sideboard. Libby was curled up in a large accent chair in the corner of the room. Nash was sitting in the chair beside her, his legs sticking straight out, his cowboy boots crossed at the ankles. Keeping watch.

Between them and me were four members of the Hawthorne family. All with reason to want me dead, I thought as I walked past them. Zara and Constantine sat at one end of the dining room table. She was reading a newspaper. He was reading a tablet. Neither paid the least bit of attention to me. Nan and Xander were at the far end of the table.

I felt movement behind me and whirled.

“Somebody’s jumpy this morning,” Thea declared, hooking an arm through mine and leading me toward the sideboard. Oren followed, like a shadow. “You’ve been a busy girl,” Thea murmured, directly into my ear.

I knew that she had been watching me, that she’d probably been ordered to stick close and report back. How close was she last night? What does she know? Based on what Oren had said, Thea hadn’t shot me herself, but the timing of her move into Hawthorne House didn’t seem like a coincidence.

Zara had brought her niece here for a reason.

“Don’t play the innocent,” Thea advised, picking up a croissant and bringing it to her lips. “Rebecca called me.”

I fought the urge to glance back at Oren. He’d indicated that Rebecca would keep her mouth shut about the shooting. What else was he wrong about?

“You and Jameson,” Thea continued, like she was chiding a child. “In Emily’s old room, no less. A bit uncouth, don’t you think?”

She doesn’t know about the attack. The realization shot through me. Rebecca must have seen Jameson come out of the bathroom. She must have heard us. Must have realized that we…

“Are people being uncouth without me again?” Xander asked, popping up between Thea and me and breaking Thea’s hold. “How rude.”

I didn’t want to suspect him of anything, but at this rate, the stress of suspecting and not-suspecting was going to kill me before anyone else could do me in.

“Rebecca stayed the night in the cottage,” Thea told Xander, relishing the words. “She finally broke her yearlong silence and texted me all about it.” Thea acted like a person playing a trump card—but I wasn’t sure what, exactly, that card was.


“Bex texted me, too,” Xander told Thea. Then he glanced apologetically at me. “Word of Hawthorne hookups travels fast.”

Rebecca might have kept her mouth shut about the shooting, but she might as well have taken out a billboard about that kiss.

The kiss meant nothing. The kiss isn’t the problem here.

“You, there. Girl!” Nan jabbed her cane imperiously at me and then at the tray of pastries. “Don’t make an old woman get up.”

If anyone else had spoken to me like that, I would have ignored them, but Nan was both ancient and terrifying, so I went to pick up the tray. I remembered too late that I was injured. Pain flashed like a lightning bolt through my flesh, and I sucked a breath in through my teeth.

Nan stared, just for a moment, then prodded Xander with her cane. “Help her, you lout.”

Xander took the tray. I let my arm drop back to my side. Who saw me flinch? I tried not to stare at any of them. Who already knew I was injured?

“You’re hurt.” Xander angled his body between mine and Thea’s. “I’m fine,” I said.

“You most decidedly are not.”

I hadn’t realized Grayson had slipped into the banquet hall, but now he was standing directly beside me.

“A moment, Ms. Grambs?” His stare was intense. “In the hall.”

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