Home > Fallen Heirs (Windsor Academy #3)

Fallen Heirs (Windsor Academy #3)
Author: Laura Lee


CHAPTER ONE

 


JAZZ

“Ladies, you look stunning,” Charles says as I join them in the foyer.

My sperm donor’s words may be kind, but his body language and the accusatory glare he’s flashing his wife are anything but. I wonder if he knows about Madeline’s affair with Kingston’s dad. It would certainly explain his sudden shift in attitude toward her.

Madeline looks nervous, but Peyton seems oblivious as she beams at the compliment.

Meanwhile, I’m fighting nausea as I mutter, “Thanks.”

After spending four nights at Kingston’s house, Charles sent his driver, Frank, to collect me. Despite my boyfriend’s vehement protests—I’m still getting used to calling him that—I got into the car. Knowing Peyton is scheming against me simultaneously freaks me out and pisses me off, but after watching Mr. Davenport’s not-so-subtle threat, warning her to stay away from me, I feel slightly appeased, as messed up as that sounds. Peyton may be a conniving bitch, but I do think she has enough self-preservation to hold off on fucking with me for the time being.

Kingston was right about my father’s expectations regarding Thanksgiving. When I returned to the mansion, I was promptly given a lecture about propriety and playing nice. He informed me that although I’m eighteen now, I’m still living under his roof, and he’s paying my tuition; therefore, I follow his rules.

When I asked him to be more specific, he said, “Quite frankly, I don’t care where you sleep at night, or if you’re fucking the entire polo team, as long as you’re doing it behind closed doors and they come from good stock. But certain obligations come with being a Callahan. There will be times when you will be required to attend a gathering as a member of this family. And when that happens, you will look like a Callahan lady and act like a Callahan lady. In layman’s terms, whatever you would normally do, do the opposite.”

As I was mentally flipping him off, I made a note to legally change my name back as soon as possible. You’d think my own father would make an effort to get to know me, but that clearly isn’t a priority for this man. Like I’d ever sleep with some douche who played polo. It was no surprise Madeline had a cocktail dress and a team of stylists waiting to get their hands on me to fulfill that whole look-like-a-Callahan part. What was unexpected, however, is how sexy the dress is.

Madeline chose a form-fitting sleeveless mermaid-cut gown with a plunging back. Strategically placed black lace appliques set over a nude liner make it look like I could expose the goods at any given point in time. The dress is gorgeous and, based on the designer, likely expensive. Still, I would assume it’s far too provocative for a holiday dinner. Given my father’s reaction when he first saw me, I’d wager he hadn’t seen it before now, and he’s less than pleased with Madeline for selecting it.

Considering both Peyton and Madeline’s dresses are much more conservative, I can’t help but question my stepmonster’s motives, given Kingston’s suspicions about some of the guests. I can’t lie, though, and say the thought of Kingston seeing me in this dress isn’t thrilling. It’s a double-edged sword, really; I’d love to have my boyfriend’s eyes on me, but not any of the sick bastards who may be in attendance tonight. The other major downfall is there’s no way I’ll be able to gorge on mashed potatoes in this thing, and I really fucking love mashed potatoes.

Charles looks at his diamond-encrusted watch. “We should get going. Frank is waiting out front.” His blue eyes turn toward me. “Jasmine, I trust your date will be here at any moment?”

I don’t miss Madeline or Peyton’s scowls when he refers to Kingston as my date.

“He texted me right before I came downstairs. He should be here in just a few.”

He nods. “Very well. We’ll see you there.”

Peyton flashes a wicked glare in my direction as she walks away. I’m trying really hard not to look at her differently, but that’s easier said than done after seeing the video of her with Mr. Davenport. The way he slapped her across the face, how he forcefully shoved his dick down her throat, the fact that it clearly wasn’t the first time either of those things had happened, I’m seeing her in a different light. Dare I say I actually feel sorry for her?

Don’t get me wrong; I still think she’s a massive cunt who should take the fall for her actions. But no woman should be beaten or violated, no matter the circumstances. I have to keep reminding myself that Peyton doesn’t live by the same code, and she doesn’t deserve my empathy. After all, she sent some guy to beat and violate me, not once, but twice, without any qualms.

I wonder if Madeline knows about the deal her daughter made with Satan to split her inheritance, or the fact that Preston is fucking both mother and daughter. For some reason, I can’t see Madeline being okay with the latter. Not because she has some sort of moral aversion to an almost sixty-year-old man screwing a girl who just turned eighteen. Considering the massive age gap between Madeline and Peyton’s birth father, it’s par for the gold digger’s course. But Madeline seems like a woman who does not like competition, and Peyton is the younger, hotter version of her mother.

I step outside as I hear Kingston’s sex-on-wheels car pulling up the driveway. The tint on its windows is so dark, I can’t see him, but I can feel his eyes on me as he brings the vehicle to a stop right in front of the wooden double doors. Kingston’s big body practically leaps out of the car once he kills the ignition.

Goddamn, he looks good in a tux.

Kingston scrubs a hand over his slightly stubbled jaw and mumbles a curse. His golden-flecked eyes eat me up, probably the same way mine are doing to him, as he closes the distance between us. Once I’m within reach, his fingers bite into my hips as he pulls me into him until our bodies are flush.

“I changed my mind; fuck the dinner. The only place you’re going in this dress is my bed.” His eyes travel down my body and back up again. “Christ, Jazz.”

“You’re not so bad yourself.” I smooth down the lapel of his jacket. “But the bed will have to wait until after our fathers’ fabulous Thanksgiving feast.”

He frowns, probably because he can sense my apprehension beneath the sarcasm. “It’ll be okay, Jazz. I’ll be right by your side, and if I have to leave for any reason, Bentley or Reed will take my place.”

“I know,” I assure him. “But it won’t change the fact that we’ll be in the same room as a bunch of revolting predators. Not to mention the fact that this will be the first time we’re seeing your dad after watching that video. I honestly don’t know if I can hide my disgust, which would reveal the fact that we’re on to him.”

Talking Kingston off the ledge after watching that video was no easy task. He was ready to go after his dad and ex-girlfriend, full-throttle, without any concern for consequences. Thankfully, my boyfriend is one of the most logical people I know, and I could leverage that. I reminded him that Peyton and Preston may not be the only threats, and Kingston can’t be with me—nor protect me—from prison. The feminist in me hates admitting that I need a man’s help, but facts are facts. I’m in way over my head here. Kingston has the information and resources we need to take down these bastards, which takes priority over my pride.

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