Because of His Heart (For His Pleasure, Book 27)

BOOK: Because of His Heart (For His Pleasure, Book 27)
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Because of His Heart (For His Pleasure, Book 27)
Kelly Favor
Kelly Favor
Contents

C
opyright
© 2015 by Kelly Favor

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

1
GRACE

S
cott’s mouth hung
open as he stared at the rectangular piece of paper in his hands. “Two hundred thousand dollars,” her brother whispered, almost reverently.

Grace watched him from the bed, where she was sitting—had been sitting almost exclusively for a couple of days now, mostly crying and feeling sorry for herself.

Rare trips to the kitchen and bathroom were about the only things that broke up the monotony of her despair since Liam had gone.

“Scott,” she said, “I’m not cashing that check.”

“But Gracie, it’s yours.”

“No, it’s not. It’s theirs.” She made a face of disgust when she pictured Liam’s brother and sister—Exley and Vera. She refused to have anything to do with them—to take advantage of any offer they’d made her.

“The least we can do is
spend
their money,” Scott replied, crossing to the bed and sitting down beside her as she wiped her nose with the remnants of one of her many tissues.

“I don’t care about their money,” she told him.

“Then let me spend it. My business could certainly use a cash infusion right about now.”

She sighed, putting her head on Scott’s shoulder momentarily. “I know you deserve that money. You deserve more than that. But I just can’t do it.”

He patted her head. “Oh, darling. You’re just a pathetic mess.”

“Thanks.”

“I say it with love.” He glanced down at her. “How long are you going to sit in your bedroom and wallow?”

“I’m sad.”

“I know. It’s a sad situation. I was just asking.”

She blew a strand of hair from her face. “I don’t know how long,” she said. “I just miss him so much.”

“That asshole didn’t deserve you.”

“He’s not an asshole.”

Scott stood up and put his hands on his hips. “Grace, I get it. You’ve been through the ringer. You lost the love of your young life. But it’s time to start picking up the pieces. Liam made his decision and now you need to decide if you’re going to crumble up and blow away, or if you’re going to start fresh.”

“I know,” she muttered, playing with her tattered piece of tissue.

“You’re not going to feel any better sitting in this sunless room and watching bad TV and crying your little eyes out day and night. It’s time to pull yourself together.”

Grace fell backwards onto the bed, pouting. “Easy for you to say, now that you’re in love with this new boy.”

“That’s got nothing to do with anything,” Scott said sternly, but he was clearly happy about the new man in his life.

“So you don’t deny it. You’re in love?”

He rolled his eyes. “We haven’t said it yet.”

“But?” Grace said, leaning up onto her elbow.

Scott grinned. “But, I like him a lot. He’s amazing, Grace. Cute and funny and handsome and athletic and smart and funny—“

“You mentioned funny already.”

“He’s that hilarious, it’s worth mentioning twice,” Scott replied. And then his smile faded as he looked at his sister more closely. “I shouldn’t talk about my relationship. Not right now, when you’re so sad.”

“I can still be happy for you,” she told him.

And it was true, in a way. Sure, it was hard to see Scott flying so high on the emotions created by his new boyfriend, when Grace was lower than she’d ever been.

But nonetheless, she was happy for her brother.

“You’ll find someone again,” Scott said softly.

“I know,” she said, keeping her voice as light as possible. “Anyway, when can I meet him?”

Scott smiled. “Soon,” he said.

“Good.”

“But you’re going to have to leave the house to come meet him. I’m not bringing my hot new stud into this dingy bedroom. He might get scared off.”

Grace threw her old tissue at him and Scott shrieked and avoided it narrowly, stepping out of the path of the projectile.

A few minutes later, Scott told her he had to leave. She got off the bed and they embraced for a long time.

He rubbed her back and kissed her head, and Grace felt cared for.

It was interesting that somehow this whole scandal and the fallout from it had brought them much closer together. Scott was like her lifeline these recent days, and he’d been truly loving and giving to her.

“You’re really a great brother,” she whispered in his ear, as they hugged.

Scott finally let go of her. He looked her directly in the eyes. “I know I was joking around a lot about the check and the money stuff. But seriously,” he said. “You need to get your head together and try and move on, Gracie. And that means doing whatever
you
need to do to be happy again.”

Grace nodded. “I’m going to,” she told him, and suddenly realized she wasn’t just saying it to placate him.

She actually meant it.

“Call me if you need me,” Scott told her, as he opened the bedroom door to leave. And then his gaze returned briefly to the check, which was now lying on her bed. “And if you ever decide to spend the Houstons’ money, please call me even faster. I’ll be here day or night.”

“Oh, I’m sure you will,” Grace laughed.

He gave her one last consoling smile and then left.

She stood at the window and watched Scott leaving out the front door and walking out of view down the street.

Grace realized that she did need to get her mind off her sadness. But for some reason, she suddenly also needed to find news of Liam. She’d been avoiding going online the last couple of days, but now she did a search for Liam’s name to see what the media had been saying about him since their breakup.

Just typing his name into the search bar was difficult enough, but then seeing the results nearly broke her heart.

The headlines were staring her in the face now, as if they’d been designed purposefully to cause Grace the utmost pain and suffering.

The Prodigal Son Returns as Houston Clan Reunites

Liam Houston Attends First Board Meeting

Oldest Son Preps to Take Over Houston Empire

Love Is In the Air As Houston Family Dines Out in Classy NYC

A
long with the headlines
, were the images of Liam, smiling and happy, shown walking with his brother and sister, out at a restaurant. There were pictures of Liam looking sharp and debonair in a suit and tie, headed to one of the many business meetings he’d apparently been attending recently.

The fading cuts and bruises on his face were still visible from the last MMA fight Liam had participated in. But they were indeed fading, the memory soon to be like something from a distant past life—just as Grace herself would become.

Nothing more than a distant memory from a long forgotten dream.

Their time together in the scheme of things had been so tragically brief, and Grace’s heart burned in her chest and the tears stung her eyes once more.

Why couldn’t we have at least had more time together?

Our love was so short-lived and years from now he won’t even be able to remember my face, and he might even wonder why he allowed our relationship to cause so much trouble in his life.

That began to stir up a dormant feeling of anger inside her chest.

No, it wasn’t just anger.

It was rage. It was fury.

Grace put her phone down and went to her closet and began to change into some decent clothes.

The fury and pain mixed into a dangerous cocktail, causing her to feel almost drunk from the effects of it.

She was high, alert, and her eyes were clear.

Her hands tingled with adrenaline.

Once Grace was dressed, she walked to her bed and stopped to quickly snatch the check from off the mattress.

And then it was slid into her purse, and the purse was slung over her shoulder, and she was headed out the door.

W
hen Grace arrived
at the bank, she felt in command of herself for the first time in a very long while.

She held her head high.

It seemed as though people on the street occasionally recognized her face, or perhaps they just paused for a moment as if trying to place where they knew her from.

She’d only been in the white hot spotlight for a very short time—not long enough to truly enter the public consciousness.

Now, standing in line for the teller, she didn’t really care who knew her, who recognized her face, or what their opinion might be.

I’m going to do what I need to do for myself and my family
.

I’m going to cash that check and spend every last red cent, because why shouldn’t I be compensated for what Vera and Exley did to me? To my brother?

Two hundred thousand dollars means less than nothing to them, but it could help Scott and me and my mother.

Meanwhile, she was dimly aware of the line slowly moving forward.

Grace pulled the check halfway out of her purse and stared at the numbers there, wondering if she might someday regret this decision.

Am I just overly emotional right now? Am I acting impulsively?

She didn’t know, but she took a deep breath and determined to carry through with her plan.

Scott would be proud.

Scott will tell me I did the right thing for once in my life.

That thought made her smile a little, but then the smile faded as she pictured Liam’s face, and then remembered the way it had felt when he held her close and told her he loved her.

Grace’s heart broke all over again, shattered into a million shards, and she closed her eyes and tried not to fall to the floor in a heap.

Everything inside her felt desperately broken, empty and pointless.

How can I have lost him?

How can we have given up so easily on one another?

There was no answer, just the questions echoing endlessly inside her, like some stone dropped down an endless well, clicking along the sides, falling, and the echoes bouncing off one another for eternity.

She heard a door opening nearby and turned to see one of the bankers shaking hands with a young couple as the three of them stood in the doorway to the banker’s office.

“I’m sorry,” the banker said to the couple, adjusting his tie, sighing as if he felt bad for the news he’d just delivered.

The husband pressed his hand to the lower back of his wife and she turned her face to him. “We’ll be okay,” she smiled sadly.

The husband nodded. “Maybe in a year we’ll try again.”

“Sure,” the banker said, nodding. “With time and patience, you’ll build your credit and assets to a point where I am certain we can qualify you for a mortgage.”

“I just wanted our baby to have a real home, you know?” the husband said, his voice filled with emotion and disappointment.

And then the wife turned her body towards him and looked up at him with the purest expression of love. “Our baby has the most important thing,” she said. “Two loving parents. That’s what makes a real home.”

As the husband grinned and the weight seemed to lift off his shoulders, Grace felt tears streaming down her cheeks.

Suddenly, she knew exactly why she was there.

Grace pulled the check out of her purse and walked towards the couple in the doorway. “I know this might sound insane,” she told them, as they turned towards her with confused but somehow expectant expressions.

“Excuse me?” the banker asked.

“I want to sign a check over to this couple,” Grace said.

They all just stared at her.

And then Grace explained, as calmly as she was able, that she didn’t want this money but it was hers to do with as she pleased.

And she wanted the couple to have it as a down payment on a home.

Before long, the weight was lifted off her shoulders, and the money had gone exactly where it belonged.

G
race spent
the rest of the day idly wandering. She went to the bookstore and browsed, her chest heavy and yet also there was a feeling of relief amidst the crushing sadness.

She was alone. As alone as she’d ever been, and she missed Liam dearly.

But she wouldn’t be controlled by his family ever again. And that meant the world to her.

Later, she got a coffee and sat by the window, watching throngs of people passing outside and cars moving slowly along the packed street.

There was something comforting and yet a little alienating about how life just continued on, no matter the devastation of any individual person.

She felt very removed from it all, numb, in a cocoon of some sort. She sipped her coffee and smiled if someone spoke to her, but rarely did that happen.

Later, she grabbed some takeout and brought it back to her apartment and ate, trying her best to avoid her roommates as she occasionally moved in and out of her bedroom.

Finally, she fell into a deep and dreamless sleep as the television played, projecting its flashing colored lights and dim sounds across the walls of her room.

When she woke up the next morning, she felt slightly hung over. She hadn’t drank the night before, but perhaps it was from all the emotions she’d gone through.

Sitting up in bed, she sighed.

The day ahead of her didn’t hold vibrancy and promise the way it once had. Now, the day seemed like something to be gotten through, trudged through the way you might walk through slushy brown water after a snowstorm on a busy street.

Grace shook her head.

Snap out of it. You have to move on, just like Liam did.

You saw the pictures of him, reunited with his creepy little clan, the three of them walking around as if their perfect little lives had never been disturbed in the first place.

That made her just angry enough to wake up and get in the shower, determined to at least try to make the best of her new life.

It was only when she got out of the shower and noticed she had two missed calls from Easton Rather that a pang of anxiety raced through her.

Easton wouldn’t have called her unless something was wrong.

She went to the phone and called him back immediately.

“Is everything okay?” she said, when he answered.

BOOK: Because of His Heart (For His Pleasure, Book 27)
5.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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