Some time ago, I shared this with my newsletter, but then the whole house thing happened, and blah, blah, excuse, blah and I didn't get around to sharing it with my social media followers. I'm not bias, I like to treat all my followers--however you want want to follow me--equally. So without further ado, here is the unedited first scene of Buying Him. Enjoy!
‘I’m sorry, can you repeat that, please?’ Lady Victoria Snape asked trying to process what the old coot in front of her had just said. The solicitor, the supposed best in all of Avalone, peered over her late-father’s will at her and her equally flabbergasted sisters, as if his words had been perfectly understandable.
But they couldn’t have heard him correctly, their father would never—
The lawyer cleared his throat before he repeated, slowly, ‘The remaining two-thirds of your father’s estate will only be handed down to you and your sisters when—and if—you marry before the age of thirty-five.’
Yes, she had heard him right, and yes, her father had indeed screwed them over. What in God’s name? Why would he put in such a barbaric clause? They weren’t living in Victorian Britain! As had always been the case in Avalone—since they had split from British rule in the sixteenth century—women were treated as equals to men; they’d always had the right to work, vote, and receive an education. Women in Avalone were never at a disadvantage and certainly didn’t need a man at their side to be able to deal with financial matters! So why the hell had their father done this?
‘Should you do so,’ the solicitor continued. ‘You will then be granted access to your share of the money—’
‘Access? What does that mean access?’ Lady Henrietta enquired, her eyes narrowed. Victoria, glad her sister had picked up on that point, was quickly brought back to there and then, to the finer details of the disgusting clause their late-father had tied to their inheritance.
The lawyer sighed heavily, as if he were dealing with stupid little girls rather than fully grown, well educated—well perhaps not Victoria—women, and it was starting to get on Victoria’s nerves.
‘Ladies,’ Lady Philippa corrected the man in his address. ‘We are not Royal Highnesses. Never have been, never will be.’
‘Speak for yourself,’ Lady Alexandra sniffed impetuously. Victoria glared out the corner of her eye towards her youngest sister. Being rich wasn’t the be all and end all of their lives, and they were very, very, blessed in that department—or had been until their father died—but the youngest sibling wasn’t on the same page as her three elder sisters. Alexandra wasn’t merely happy with being a Lady, or being a billionaire’s daughter, she wanted a crown, she wanted what their mother hadn’t been able to provide them.
That also got up Victoria’s nose.
‘Ladies,’ Victoria said with a sigh, calling her sisters back to the matter at hand, as she rubbed her temples to try to stave off a headache. ‘Please, go on, Mr. Daven,’ she managed a grimace of a smile to the self important twerp whom she was sure fully supported her father’s conditions. Perhaps, the bastard had even encouraged them, maybe put the idea in her father’s head.
The lawyer nodded, removed his glasses and began to fiddle with them as he recollected his thoughts. ‘Once you marry, the balance of your inheritance—allowing for any interest gains—will be held in a trust under your name. You’ll have a yearly stipend from it to ensure that your new family is taken care of—’
‘I can look after myself,’ Philippa muttered, but quickly bit her tongue when Victoria turned the glare on her. Victoria had no idea how much influence the man had over the trust, but she was absolutely certain that he had some say in it.
‘Yes,’ Mr. Daven nodded. ‘Of course you can’—it was clear he didn’t really think she could—‘but the stipend will be there should you need it. After the birth of your first child, then you’ll—’
‘What!’ Henrietta shrieked, practically jumping from her chair at the final nail in the coffin. ‘We’re being made to breed? Like bloody horse stock? I won’t have it!’ she shouted, as she planted her hands on the solicitor’s large, wooden desk. ‘I am almost thirty years old. I have attended the highest universities both sides of the Atlantic, I have a fucking PhD in economics! I will not be turned into some man’s chattel to get a bit of money and property!’
‘Hear, hear!’ Philippa agreed, standing and joining her sister’s side. ‘And if you must know, I run an accountancy firm.’
‘If they don’t marry, do I get the lot?’ Alexandra asked peering around her older siblings, who made noises of disbelief at her question. Victoria merely rolled her eyes, knowing full well what Alexandra was capable of. However, she saw the man shift in his chair, his shoulders straightening, an almost cats-got-the-cream gleam in his eye as his dry, shrivelled lips twitched in the corner.
‘Girls.’ Victoria said the word her sisters knew meant business. Her voice was low, measured, as she eyed the unmoved lawyer; she had a sinking feeling that the baby clause wasn’t going to be the worst thing they’d hear that day.
‘Mr. Daven,’ Victoria said with false politeness. ‘Let me get this completely straight, so that none of us have the slightest misunderstanding. Father left a third of his fortune to charities’—the solicitor’s eye twitched at that—‘and left each of us an equal share of the remaining twenty billion, but we’re cut off from it, and all its assets—the houses, cars, etcetera—until we marry. And we have to marry before we turn thirty-five or we’ll never see a penny of it. Am I right so far?’
‘And should we marry before the deadline, we’ll have some access to our inheritance, but we’ll only receive control of our own fortunes once we bear a child?’ Again the man nodded. Victoria sighed as she rubbed her tired eyes. The unexpected death of her father, the organisation of the funeral, and now… this, was starting to take its toll on her. ‘So, as Alexi said, what happens to the money should we not marry, or produce a child—is there a time frame after the wedding?’
Mr. Daven took a deep breath before answering, clearly expecting the fall out that was about to take place. Victoria wanted to wrap her hands around his scrawny little neck for taking such glee from their predicament. ‘Should you marry, you’ll have five years to naturally produce a child—no adoptions, no fostering, no… medical treatments. Should any sister fail to meet any of the stipulations set in the will, their part of the inheritance will be given to the King for—’
All four sisters exploded in a tirade of shock and horror, each declaring their outrage and disbelief that their father would do such a thing. There was no way, Victoria’s mind screamed, that their father would give his money to his wife’s family. A family that had all but disowned her for marrying him in the first place!
‘Over my dead body!’ Victoria said, launching herself out of her chair. Mr. Daven was unmoved. In fact, it seemed to give him more pleasure, as if he wanted her to react in such a manner. ‘Those cretins will never get my father’s money! They treated mother and father like dirt and turned us all into outcasts, unworthy of their time or attention. Hell will freeze over before the royal family of Avalone get their grubby hands on a single penny of our father’s empire.’
‘Then you’ll have to get married.’ Mr. Daven said the statement so matter of factly that Victoria knew there was nothing else they could do. ‘And you, Lady Victoria, have less than eight months. May I ask, are you currently engaged?’
She narrowed her eyes and lifted her chin at the audacity of the man. ‘No, I am not.’ At least she didn’t have to tell him that over four years ago she had consigned herself to the ranks of spinsterhood. After the love of her life had dumped her, she was sure that love was not in her future.
But, by God, she would get married, even if she had to pay someone to take her!
‘Girls.’ She addressed her sisters, but she kept her eyes firmly on the man in front of her. ‘We’ve got a wedding to plan, and a groom to find!’
Hope you enjoyed it. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for more titbits, information, and reveals!