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Create an heir or I lose the family business.
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“You have to be fucking kidding me.” I didn’t even bother censoring what I said.
Leave it to my father to fuck me over even from the grave.
I leaned back in the leather chair and stared at my father’s attorney. Francis had been a bastard of a man to everyone he came in contact with, a God-awful father, and a possible sociopath if I really thought about it. But he’d been a brilliant businessman, could rub two pennies together and turn them into hundreds.
He showed me zero compassion and love while I’d been growing up, instead pawning me off on nannies and maids who raised me. He’d been a strict fucker, showed no remorse when I’d been a crying child because of his rants, but I guessed all of that shaped me into who I was today.
Since my father started Blacksmith, the brick-and-mortar consumer loan market company, a decade ago, I’d since taken over this avenue of the family business, so we now streamlined and incorporated it into an online venture. We can now help approve loans faster than banks. The success and hard work of Blacksmith now created a worth of 2.5 billion dollars.
He might not have been liked for his personality, or lack thereof, but people respected him, because he was a shark and legacy in what he did.
For many years, I felt sorry for him and myself. Because of him, I had a hard time connecting with people on an emotional and even personal level. It was hard for me to open up to anyone, to be real.
Another big “fuck you” from my father that would last me until the day I died.
“Theodore, please tell me this is a joke.” My father passed away just last week, a heart attack taking him in the middle of the night. I’d been surprised I felt a twinge of sadness. But then I remembered Francis Blacksmith hadn’t been a good man, especially to his only son.
The only form of affection I’d gotten had been from the nannies, even some of the estate staff who didn’t have sticks up their asses thanks to my old man. But even then, they’d shown me kindness in secrecy, afraid of my father’s wrath.
Because emotions signified weakness, and nobody got higher in life by not having a backbone. Or so he told me many times over.
My father didn’t have a child out of love. He had a child so he’d have an heir to pass his company down to… so his name would never die.
And the bastard was forcing my hand on my personal life now.
“Mr. Blacksmith, although I admit the stipulations in your father’s trust are quite… particular, unfortunately, they are ironclad in this instance.”
I scoffed at the words coming from Theodore Jackson. I’d know my father’s attorney for my entire life—thirty-seven long fucking years. Hell, I knew the only reason he was even still practicing was because my father made him. The old man would’ve been done and retired by now, probably would now, given the fact that there wasn’t a threat of my father’s rage hanging over his head.
“So what you’re telling me, Theodore, is that I’m shit out of luck?”
Theodore pushed his thin, wire-rimmed glasses up his nose and pursed his lips, taking on a serious expression. “In so many words, Mr. Blacksmith, yes.”
I looked past the attorney through his office windows, the city sprawling just on the other side of the glass. Lifting a hand, I ran my palm over the back of my head, no doubt mussing the short dark-blond strands.
In order for me to inherit anything, and I meant anything that was attached to the Blacksmith name, which I worked toward and built for decades, I had to produce an heir in a year’s time. I didn’t need a marriage of convince, didn’t even need anything more than a surrogate, according to my father’s last words.
I just needed a biological heir.
If I got that, the Blacksmith fortune, the companies, the properties and everything that entailed, stayed mine. And if I failed… well, I lost everything.
As easy as it sounded, given the fact that there were enough money-hungry women who ran in my circles, ones who would be more than willing to give me what I wanted and be attached to the Blacksmith name in some form, this entire thing disgusted me.
I may have never saw myself finding a woman to spend the rest of my life with or have a family together. But that didn’t mean I hadn’t thought about it, wished that had been in my cards. My father had been a cold, heartless bastard. He might have engrained some of that apathetic nature in me through learned behavior, but the truth was, I’d love to have children, a wife who I loved, and the whole “dream” of being a family man.