Marriage of Inconvenience (Knitting in the City Book 7)(3)

By: Penny Reid


I might have unresolved anger issues.

That said, on the bright side, dealing with weasel-like Caleb and his weasel face had forced me to become more assertive. The intensity of my desire to prove him wrong was 49 percent of the reason why I’d stayed the course over the last two years.

“Whether that . . . Caleb is pleased with the plan or not makes no difference,” I seethed through clenched teeth, acknowledging the uncomfortable spike in my blood pressure for what it was, an uncharacteristic display of emotion. “I am Rebekah and Zachariah’s child. He is not.”

“Yes. But Caleb is your closest living relative. Well, closest relative who is not institutionalized.”

I had to swallow my sorrow before I could respond. “How is that relevant?”

“He will make the case that you, like your parents, are unstable.”

“Again, please explain to me how he can make a case that I’m unstable.”

“Because he will, and he’ll win. He’ll use your voluntary dilution of responsibility—handing over voting control to the board—as proof of your instability.”

“No—”

“Try to look at this from a judge’s perspective. You are the sole heiress to the single largest privately held pharmaceutical fortune in the world, which employs over one hundred thousand people across four continents. You choose to be a secretary in Chicago and haven’t accepted a single cent from your family in over seven years. You can’t just be ‘stable.’ Your mental health must be above reproach, because there’s too much at stake.”

“Begging your pardon, but I’m not just a secretary.” I seriously, seriously despised it when people called secretaries and administrative professionals just a secretary. Being a secretary was a multitasking marathon, a daily gauntlet of making everyone happy all the time. “I am the executive assistant to the CEO. Not taking money from people doesn’t make me crazy, but I will point out that I do allow reimbursement for my travel expenses to and from Boston.”

“Family history is not in your favor. Your mother—the last heiress in your position—was diagnosed with schizophrenia shortly after your birth, close to the age you are now. She was in and out of treatment facilities until she was committed by your father when you were five. You were hospitalized as a teenager for a suicide attempt and diagnosed with bipolar disorder—”

“I didn’t try to kill myself and I definitely don’t have bipolar disorder. I’ve been seeing a therapist—”

“You refused treatment at fifteen and ran away from home. You lived on the streets for almost three years. You have a history of illicit drug use, engaging in promiscuous and risky behaviors—”

“That’s not—” My face burned brighter.

“Again, you’ve refused to move back to Boston. You’ve refused help from your family.”

I snorted at this—another burst of uncharacteristic emotion—because bitterness burned my throat. By “family,” he meant Caleb. Help from my “family” was no help at all.

“All of this has been well documented by your cousin, and I know he has a parade of witnesses to support this version of events.”

An agitated laugh tumbled from my lips and I clamped a hand over my mouth.

Okay.

I was really losing it.

I needed to calm down.

I told myself to calm down.

“I have witnesses, too. I have friends here, people who will speak to my character and stability.”

“But you won’t have access to the funds. You won’t have money to pay a legal team to fight this because—as I said—he will have control of the accounts as your guardian. We can try to stay ahead of Caleb, start shifting the money under your control now, but at this point it will be too late. The wheels are already in motion, the accounts will be frozen.”

“But you’re the trustee! You have control of the—”

“I won’t. It’s too late.”

“What do you mean it’s too late?”

Eugene hesitated, finally saying, “Trust me, it’s too late.”

I struggled with my composure. “Fine. It’s too late. I don’t like this option.”

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