Chapter no 66

The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games, 1)

Eight. One. One.

I slept in Libby’s room again that night. She didn’t. I asked Oren to confirm with her security team that she was okay and on the premises.

She was—but he didn’t tell me where.

No Libby. No Max. I was alone—more alone than I’d been since I got here. No Jameson. I hadn’t seen him since he’d left that morning. No Grayson. He hadn’t lingered with me for long after we’d discovered the clue.

One. One. Eight. That was all I had to concentrate on. Three numbers, which confirmed for me that Toby’s tree in the Black Wood had just been a tree. If there was a fourth number, it was still out there. Based on the keychain, the clue in the Black Wood could appear in any format, not just a carving.

Late into the night and nearly asleep, I heard something like footsteps. Behind me? Below? The wind whistled outside my window. Gunshots lurked in my memory. I had no idea what was lurking in the walls.

I didn’t fall asleep until dawn. When I did, I dreamed about sleeping.

“I have a secret,” my mom says, cheerfully bouncing onto my bed, jarring me awake. “Care to make a guess, my newly fifteen-year-old daughter?”

“I’m not playing,” I grumble, pulling the covers back over my head. “I never guess right.”

“I’ll give you a hint,” my mom wheedles. “For your birthday.” She pulls the covers back and flops down beside me on my pillow. Her smile is contagious.

I finally break and smile back. “Fine. Give me a hint.” “I have a secret… about the day you were born.”

I woke with a headache to my lawyer throwing open the plantation

shutters. “Rise and shine,” Alisa said, with the force and surety of a person making an argument in court.

“Go away.” Channeling my younger self, I pulled the covers over my head.

“My apologies,” Alisa said, not sounding apologetic in the least. “But you really do have to get up now.”

“I don’t have to do anything,” I muttered. “I’m a billionaire.”

That worked about as well as I expected it to. “If you’ll recall,” Alisa replied pleasantly, “in an attempt to do damage control after your impromptu press conference earlier this week, I arranged for your debut in Texas society to take place this weekend. There is a charity benefit that you will be attending this evening.”

“I barely slept last night.” I tried for pity. “Someone tried to shoot me!” “We’ll get you some vitamin C and a pain pill.” Alisa was without

mercy. “I’m taking you dress shopping in half an hour. You have media training at one, hair and makeup at four.”

“Maybe we should reschedule,” I said. “Due to someone wanting to kill me.”

“Oren signed off on us leaving the estate.” Alisa gave me a look. “You have twenty-nine minutes.” She eyed my hair. “Make sure you’re looking your best. I’ll meet you at the car.”

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