The Inheritance Clause by Flora Ferrari


Chapter One


“What the hell is this?” I snarl at my lawyer as I wave around the papers that he’s just placed on my desk. I’ve just read through them and it seems like some kind of sick joke.

My lawyer, Robert, sinks into his chair a little further, looking up at me nervously. He must have known I’d react like this, but I bet he didn’t expect to be on the receiving end of my wrath.

“It’s all detailed in the paperwork, Mr. Harris. Your father had some very specific rules set up following his death...including what’s in those papers.”

I slam the paperwork down on the desk. I can’t believe this.

I was always a good son to my father. I helped him build his businesses from the ground up. I’m the reason he was damn rich in the first place, earning him his fortune. It should be mine by default given that I made his fortune what it is today. And now I’m discovering that there are conditions to me receiving my inheritance?

“There must be some way around the clause,” I growl. “I was his only family. Where the hell is the money going if I don’t comply with the rules?”

“Your father insisted that the money be sent to various charities if you don’t abide by the clause and the company be sold as well. I’m sorry, Mr. Harris. This must be hard to hear. But there’s nothing I can do to change it. This is up to you now.”

“Get out,” I snarl. “I need time to think about this.”

“Absolutely, sir. When you’ve made your decision, give me a call. But make sure to be quick about it. This offer is a limited time deal. You have thirty days starting today.”

As Robert gets up to leave, I glare after him. I know that none of this is his fault, and yet it feels like he’s betrayed me as much as my dad has. The second the door to my office closes, I reexamine the paperwork in front of me.

The Last Will and Testament of Theodore Harris.

I am of legal age and in sound mind as I write this will. I do declare that my entire estate be left to my only son, Leo Harris, on the condition that he marries within thirty days of opening this document. If he should refuse or fail to complete my conditions, then my entire fortune will be distributed evenly between my chosen four charities and my company sold…

I shake my head. This can’t be real. How could he do this to me? Sure, he spent years trying to set me up, hoping to see me settled down, but he didn’t understand. When he was alive, he was convinced that I was some kind of player, filling my spare time with one-night stands and casual flings, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the truth is the complete opposite.

I never married because I’ve never met a woman that I want or can’t live without. I’ve always appealed to women, with my good looks, money, and work ethic. I’ve had women approach me themselves, hoping to snag a date with me.

But I’ve never taken an interest. I know that no woman can fulfill the requirements I want. I need someone beautiful, intelligent, willing to submit to me and become mine forever. But it’s not just those things. Plenty of women would fit the bill if that were the case. No, there’s more to it. They have to catch my eye and make me never want to look away. They have to make me throb every time I think of them. They have to ignite a fire in me, something no woman has ever managed before.

At least, that was the case for forty-one years…

Then everything changed five months ago.

A growl forms in my throat as I think of Amelia. Gorgeous, young, innocent Amelia. I grip the table hard, trying to hold myself back from sprinting to her right this second.

She’s the hot young thing I hired as my maid five months ago. And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her since she showed up on my doorstep. She makes my entire body tighten, makes every possessive bone in my body yearn for her. She makes me want to run to her and rip her clothes off her body, give in to my primal urges and fuck her hard and fast where she stands.

I growl deeply. She must have no idea how I feel about her.

I don’t know how I’ve survived this past year, wanting her more and more with each passing day, but knowing that she’ll never be mine. She’s everything I want, but she’s over half my age at eighteen now. Only eighteen at the time she started working for me she’s young enough to be my daughter. But that doesn’t stop the yearning. It doesn’t stop me from fantasizing about her every chance I get. How can I live like this when she’s so damn irresistible?

And now, there’s yet another obstacle in my way. I have to make a choice. Do I find a woman to marry and live out my days in unhappiness, sitting on more money than I’ll ever need? Or do I give it all up for a woman who can never be mine, a woman who would never want me the second I lose my fortune, a woman who can have anyone she wants, someone younger…

I want to throw something at the wall. This is ridiculous. Haven’t I worked hard to make my father happy? Why does he have to ask this of me, even from beyond the grave? I know that he wanted to see me happy with someone, but this isn't the way. There’s only one woman in the world who can ever make me happy, and she’s the one woman not falling at my feet.

I close my eyes and picture her in my mind.

God, she’s so damn gorgeous with wide hips and an ass that swings like a pendulum as she walks. She’s got plenty to hold on to, and the thought drives me crazy...the thought of plowing deep into her young pussy, watching her beautiful face looking up at me as I dominate her.

She’s everything a man could want in a woman. Sweet and demure, gentle and delicate as a flower. Her porcelain skin stains with a blush every time I address her. Her azure eyes and golden hair make her look like some kind of princess.

Every night, I lie awake, my cock hard and throbbing, wishing that she was beside me. In fact, I’m painfully hard all the time, but I don’t want to touch myself to the image of her. It won’t give me the release that I want, need...she’s the only person who can give me what I need.

But I know my father wouldn’t approve. She’s part of the house staff. He was always encouraging me to marry well. Someone rich, someone well connected, someone who can further add credit to our family name. While I like having money and a comfortable lifestyle, status has never mattered to me. I’ve always been more interested in working hard and reaping the rewards, not putting myself in the spotlight.

The only reason I’ll even consider marrying for my father’s fortune is that the money and company are rightfully mine. I worked hard for them. I ran his business for half my life after he decided to go into semi-retirement. It’s not like I sat on my ass, waiting for him to pass away so I could steal his money. I was close to him, too. That’s why I can’t understand why he’d do this to me, to his company. We have so many employees who would lose their jobs if I don’t go through with this. Does he purposely want me to be miserable?

I guess I should’ve known he’d do this. He was always scheming and plotting, looking for ways to fuck up the system. I feel a pang in my heart. Damn. I miss him already.

But one extra look at the contract and I’m back to being mad at him again. I read through the rest of the clause a second time.

After your marriage, you must remain married for life. Filing for divorce or annulment will jeopardize your fortune.

You may not have a friendship marriage. You must marry for love, or you will not receive the money. There will be others keeping an eye on your progress.

I growl under my breath. This really is insane. I’ve never heard of anything so absurd. How am I supposed to find someone that I want to marry within thirty days?

The one woman who I want is off-limits to me. The one woman who would make me happy is the one woman who my father would disapprove of.

I read the contract again. Looking for any other details to indicate who he actually wants me to choose. I’m certain that he had someone in mind. I bet he organized some kind of setup for me to choose a woman. I wouldn’t put it past him to organize some kind of party beyond the grave, filled with potential wives for me to pick from. The old man had a sick sense of humor.

I crumple the papers in my hand, putting all of my rage into the gesture. I can’t do it. I won’t marry anyone. I’ll just have to accept my fate and go down with the ship. I’ll find a way to kickstart a new life on my own. So what if I lose the house? I’ve never been that materialistic. Surely I can start over without a penny to my name? Surely it doesn’t matter that I’ll have to lose all my possessions, lose the company, fire all of the house staff…

The thought hits me so hard that it winds me. If I don’t marry, then I’ll have to let Amelia go. I’ll have to stop employing her and let her go. And if I do that, I’ll never see her again. She’d hate me anyway for ruining her life.

I clench my fists. My father has really backed me into a corner. Maybe he knew that I’d react this exact way. Maybe he could read my mind more easily than I thought. If he knew that I want Amelia, then I guess he’s trying to steer me toward someone else.

Could I do it? Marry someone and pretend to love them just to keep Amelia in my life? Even if she’s only with me because I employ her, I can’t stand the thought of her walking away. I need her. She’s been on my mind every single day for a year, and I know this lust I have for her isn’t going anywhere. And since I can’t cure myself of this feeling, I guess I’m just going to have to learn to live with it.

With or without her beside me.