ExcerptCopyright © Erin Nicholas
Cori didn’t know if Ava paused because she was surprised by Evan’s tone of voice or because the low, firm, I’m-in-charge-here quality had sent goosebumps skittering over her body the way it had Cori’s, but Ava stopped with her hand on the door knob.
“Yes, Mr. Stone?” Ava asked, finally turning back stiffly.
“It would be in your best interest to understand a couple of things before you contact your attorney.” Evan hadn’t shifted his posture a bit, but his expression was now one of fierce determination.
Ava crossed her arms. “And what are those?”
“The first is that I took my job with your father very seriously and, while I may not have agreed with everything he wanted to do, my job was to make this trust what he wanted it to be. You are free, of course, to have your attorney look it over, but I can promise you that this document is well constructed and not something that you’ll be able to have overturned.”
Ava swallowed hard but didn’t say anything.
“The next thing you need to know is that I am fully prepared to take the stand in a court of law and testify that he was of sound mind when he wrote it. As will a number of people in Bliss, including his physician, our Mayor, and a district judge. His mind was absolutely not impaired by his cancer or his treatment and while I understand that you all had a complicated relationship with him, I won’t allow you, or anyone else, to disparage him.”
Cori shifted in her chair. Damn. That was hot too. She didn’t often see people taking Ava down a peg, and typically she would have rushed to put herself between one of her sisters and anyone who dared challenge them. However, Evan was right. Ava was frustrated and Cori got that, but going after their father’s mental capacity because she didn’t like what he’d mandated in his trust was low.
“And finally,” Evan said when Ava took a breath that might have been fueling a heated response, “I think I should point out that the time frame in your father’s trust doesn’t begin until you and your sisters move into the residence in Bliss. Which means that if you take several weeks, or even months, questioning this document or the stipulations within, and then realize that you are, indeed, bound to it, you are only prolonging the time it will take for you to resolve the terms and claim your inheritance. So it seems to me,” he said, lifting a shoulder, “that your best move here is just to get your butt to Bliss and get this all over with.”
No one said anything for several ticks.
Then Ava raised her chin slightly and said, “Thank you for making all of that so clear, Mr. Stone. But if you’ll excuse me, I would like to consult with someone who is perhaps a bit more objective about the situation.”
Cori watched Evan. It looked like he tensed his jaw, but finally he gave Ava a nod. “Fine.”
“Fine,” Ava agreed. Then she again turned on her three-inch, seven-hundred-dollar heel, jerked the door open, and then shut it quietly behind her.
Wow, that right there was a really good example of how Cori and her sisters were different. Ava would shut a door firmly, but quietly, always the picture of poise and professionalism. Brynn would never stomp out a room in the first place. And Cori would absolutely have slammed that thing. Maybe after a good, loud, “Fuck you.”