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West Larson comes from old money—the kind of wealth that comes with expectations steeped in archaic traditions. So, it’s not surprising when he learns the conditions of his trust fund: produce an heir before he turns twenty-five.
Enter Stacia Kellan. Her lowkey personality makes her the perfect baby mama…without the drama. And thanks to her wild-ass hair, colorful tattoos, and smart mouth, she’s exactly the kind of girl his parents would never approve of. Add in the fact that she’s a total smokeshow…knocking her up certainly wouldn’t be a hardship.
Stacia lives her life fast and loud. The idea of settling down isn’t on her radar. So, when her long-time friend asks her to have his baby, her immediate answer is a big, fat hell-to-the-no. Seriously, is he crazy?
West pulls out all the stops in wooing her and with every heated encounter, Stacia finds herself falling a little more for his charm and wit. Oh, and his forearms…yum.
Obligations. Lust. Friendship. Love.
The lines begin to blur as emotions enter the equation and besides, everyone knows you can’t deny your rebel soul.
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“This…there’s no way…” I pause my pacing to look over the page before me. I must’ve read it wrong, because Jesus-fucking-Christ, this is some bullshit, and I’m well-versed in bullshit. Anyone in my position—broker by day, virtual porn app developer by night—has to be. From the boardroom to the bedroom, it’s practically my second language.
…provided he produces an heir by the age of twenty-five. Failure to do so will result in forfeiture of the trust, henceforth relinquishing any right to the estate…
My eyes snag on that particular line again and again. Hell, the words may as well be circled, highlighted, and in bold, with little arrows pointing at them. My grandpa was a hateful old jackass who loved fucking with anyone and everyone. He was the puppet master and everyone in his life nothing more than marionettes. And now, here he is, tugging on my strings from six feet under. I wonder if my cousin Brock is in a similar boat—and by boat, I mean up shit creek without a fucking paddle.
“This is for real?” I arch a brow at Colton—my lawyer—waiting for him to tell me I’m being punked. He’s only a few years older than me, but he’s smart as a fucking whip and in a sea of sharks, he’s a moray eel: lean, unassuming, but fucking vicious when provoked.
“Unfortunately, yes. Ironclad, too.” Colton delivers the news, his voice even and bland, as if we’re two strangers discussing the weather and not longtime friends.
My hands tremble as I read over my grandfather’s will for the fourth time in as many minutes. My family has been known to do some fucked-up shit over the years, but this…yeah, it takes the cake. “How ironclad?”
“Battleship,” is his only reply. The fact that he’s being so frank tells me just how serious this is. Usually Colton goes all lawyer-y on me, refusing to make hard statements. But he’s talking to me as more than my lawyer right now—he’s speaking as one of my most trusted friends.
The walls of my corner office feel like they’re closing in on me as I resume my pacing, wearing a trail in the plush sheepskin rug that takes up most of the floor space in front of my desk. Unwilling to accept defeat, I stalk over to the bookcase on the far wall. My eyes flit over the spines, searching for the title I have in mind. “This can’t be legal.” Right? I mean, in my line of work, legalities are huge, and this just seems fucking fishy.
Colton crosses the room and stops me with a heavy hand on my shoulder. “Yes and no.”
I spin on him. “Explain.”
He rubs a hand over his five o’clock shadow. “Things that in the real world would be considered batshit crazy are easily upheld in wills and trusts—they’re interesting like that.”
“Interesting isn’t the word that comes to mind,” I mutter, tugging at my collar before heading over to the bar cart in the corner. I pour myself a healthy measure of scotch, swallowing it in one gulp, relishing the burn as it goes down.
“You realize you just downed that single-malt Glenlivet like a frat boy on a mission to get blackout drunk?”
I lift a brow. “Your point?”
Colton scoffs. “My point is that bottle costs more than said frat boy’s entire college education. Respect it.”
My eyes roll of their own accord. “You’re insufferable.” Even still, I pour myself two fingers, not wanting to rile him up—asshole’s passionate about his scotch, and one of us needs to remain level-headed.
“You fucking love me,” he challenges, collapsing onto the navy blue plush velvet couch situated in the center of the room. “Pour one for me and take a seat.”
I do as he says before recapping the bottle and joining him. We sit in silence, my mind racing like a Formula 1 car. A whole gamut of emotions rocks my system—shock, anger, frustration, despair, anger, incredulity, sadness, fear, anger…did I mention the fucking anger?
“You’re acting like you’ve been sentenced to death.”
A groan slips past my lips as my eyes close and my head drops to the back of the couch. A vision of a nagging wife with a crying baby on her hip flashes through my mind, the very picture of domesticated misery. “I may as well have been. I’m twenty-four. I’m in my fucking prime. I don’t want a wife or—”
Colton makes a dismissive noise, stopping me. “Who said anything about a wife?”
My head snaps up, and my eyes fly open. “What?”
He shrugs, a calculating glint in his blue eyes. “An heir is required, not a wife.”
I lean forward. “Wait, wait, wait. You mean to tell me they’re all but legally requiring me to have an illegitimate child?”
Colton arches a brow. “Didn’t think a contractually binding sex clause would ruffle your feathers so much.”
“Normally I’m not the one signing on the dotted line to fuck,” I grumble under my breath before polishing off my drink.