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Chapter no 67

The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games, 1)

Oren escorted me to the SUV. Alisa and two of his men were waiting inside it—and they weren’t the only ones.

“I know you weren’t planning on going shopping without me,” Thea said, by way of greeting. “Where there are high-fashion boutiques, so there is Thea.”

I looked toward Oren, hoping he’d kick her out of the car. He didn’t. “Besides,” Thea told me in a haughty little whisper as she buckled her

seat belt, “we need to talk about Rebecca.”

 

 

The SUV had three rows of seats. Oren and a second bodyguard sat in the front. Alisa and the third sat in the back. Thea and I were in the middle.

“What did you do to Rebecca?” Thea waited until she was satisfied that the other occupants of the car weren’t listening too closely before she asked the question, low and under her breath.

“I didn’t do anything to Rebecca.”

“I will accept that you didn’t fall into the Jameson Hawthorne trap for the purpose of dredging up memories of Jameson and Emily.” Thea clearly thought she was being magnanimous. “But that’s where my generosity ends. Rebecca’s painfully beautiful, but the girl cries ugly. I know what she looks like when she’s spent all night crying. Whatever her deal is—this isn’t just about Jameson. What happened at the cottage?”

Rebecca knows about the shooting. She was forbidden from telling anyone. I tried to wrap my mind around the implications. Why was she crying?

“Speaking of Jameson,” Thea changed tactics. “He is oh so clearly miserable, and I can only assume that I owe that to you.”

He’s miserable? I felt something flicker in my chest—a what-if—but quelled it. “Why do you hate him so much?” I asked Thea.

“Why don’t you?”

“Why are you even here?” I narrowed my eyes. “Not in this car,” I amended, before she could mention high-fashion boutiques, “at Hawthorne House. What did Zara and your uncle ask you to come here to do?”

Why stick so close to me? What did they want?

“What makes you think they asked me to do anything?” It was obvious in Thea’s tone and in her manner that she was a person who’d been born with the upper hand and never lost it.

There’s a first time for everything, I thought, but before I could lay out my case, the car pulled up to the boutique, and the paparazzi circled us in a deafening, claustrophobic crunch.

I slumped back in my seat. “I have an entire mall in my closet.” I shot Alisa an aggrieved look. “If I just wore something I already have, we wouldn’t have to deal with this.”

“This,” Alisa echoed as Oren got out of the car and the roar of the reporters’ questions grew louder, “is the point.”

I was here to be seen, to control the narrative. “Smile pretty,” Thea murmured directly into my ear.

 

 

The boutique Alisa had chosen for this carefully choreographed outing was the kind of store that had only one copy of each dress. They’d closed the entire shop down for me.

“Green.” Thea pulled an evening gown from the rack. “Emerald, to match your eyes.”

“My eyes are hazel,” I said flatly. I turned from the dress she was holding up to the sales attendant. “Do you have anything less low-cut?”

“You prefer higher cuts?” The sales attendant’s tone was so carefully nonjudgmental that I was almost certain she was judging me.

“Something that covers my collarbone,” I said, and then I shot a look at Alisa. And my stitches.

“You heard Ms. Grambs,” Alisa said firmly. “And Thea is right—bring us something green.”

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