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Chapter no 88

The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games, 1)

place two sugar packets vertically on the table and bring their ends together, forming a triangle capable of standing on its own. “There,” I say. I do the same with the next pair of packets, then set a fifth across them horizontal, connecting the two triangles I built.

“Avery Kylie Grambs!” My mom appears at the end of the table, smiling. “What have I told you about building castles out of sugar?”

I beam back at her. “It’s only worth it if you can go five stories tall!”

In my dream, that was where the memory had ended, but this time, holding the sugar in my hand, my brain took me one step further. A man eating in the booth behind me glances back. He asks me how old I am.

“Six,” I say.

“I have some grandsons at home who are just about your age,” he says. “Tell me, Avery, can you spell your name? Your full name, like your mom said a minute ago?”

I can, and I do.

“I met him,” I said quietly. “Just once, years ago—just for a moment, in passing.” Tobias Hawthorne had heard my mom say my full name. He’d asked me to spell it.

“He loved anagrams more than scotch,” Nash said. “And he was a man who loved a good scotch.”

Had Tobias Hawthorne mentally rearranged the letters in my full name right in that moment? Had it amused him? I thought about Grayson, hiring someone to dig up dirt on me. On my mother. Had Tobias Hawthorne been curious about us? Had he done the same?

“He would have kept track of you,” Grayson said roughly. “A little girl with a funny little name.” He glanced at Jameson. “He must have known her date of birth.”

“And after Emily died…” Jameson was looking at me now—only at me.

“He thought of you.”

“And decided to leave me his entire fortune because of my name?” I said. “That’s insane.”

“You’re the one who said it, Heiress: He didn’t disinherit us for you. We weren’t getting the money anyway.”

“It was going to charity,” I argued. “And you’re telling me that on a whim, he wiped out the will he’d had for twenty years? That’s—”

“He needed something to get our attention,” Grayson said. “Something so unexpected, so bewildering, that it could only be seen—”

“—as a puzzle,” Jameson finished. “Something we couldn’t ignore. Something to wake us up again. Something to bring us here—all four of us.”

“Something to purge the poison.” Nash’s tone was hard to read.

They’d known the old man. I hadn’t. What they were saying—it made sense to them. In their eyes, this hadn’t been a whim. It had been a very risky gamble. had been a very risky gamble. Tobias Hawthorne had bet that my presence in the House would shake things up, that old secrets would be laid bare, that somehow, someway, one last puzzle would change everything.

That, if Emily’s death had torn them apart, I could bring them back together.

“I told you, kid,” Nash said beside me. “You’re not a player. You’re the glass ballerina—or the knife.”

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