Expecting His Secret Heir

By: Dani Wade

But Victor wasn’t done. “So get me the dirt I need to disinherit him, and we will all be in a much better position. Got it?”

How could she not? “I understand. I’ll do my best.”

“Good girl.”

One of these days, Sadie’s teeth were going to be worn to a nub, just from the irritation of listening to this guy. “He’s not giving me much to work with,” she said, consciously relaxing her jaw.

“Then get creative,” Victor said. Without another word, he disconnected the call.

Get creative.

Sadie sighed. Easy for him to say. Victor had always had someone to do the dirty work for him. Her role in his father’s household made her a convenient option. Her role in his father’s investigation of his older son five years ago told Victor she wasn’t just convenient, but experienced.

Now he wanted the investigation into Zach reopened so he could discredit the man who didn’t know he was Victor’s older brother.

Time for Sadie to earn her keep.

Plopping down onto the couch, she stared at her computer screen. Get creative. How? She couldn’t think of any way to get around Zach’s present uncooperative state. She needed to get close to him, learn everything she could about him. But he wanted her nowhere near him.

Glancing around to remind herself that she was alone, Sadie clicked on the computer folder she’d closed when Zachary had knocked. Instantly the screen filled with images of him. There were pictures from all different angles, taken while he wasn’t looking. Not for Victor’s benefit. Not because she had to. Because she wanted to.

Because the single photo she had of him from her last visit wasn’t nearly enough to last her a lifetime.

She hadn’t dared take home any more, certain that her employer, Victor and Zach’s father, would discover them and realize she was lying about how much she’d found out about Zach.

She studied the haunting image she’d gotten of Zach silhouetted against the smoking building from yesterday. The contrast of his strength with the ruins of the mill reminded her of his conscientious care for his family, his quiet way of watching those around him until he saw a need that he could fill. If only he could fulfill her needs, free her from this mess of a life so she could be with him once more.

No, she couldn’t think like that. This was her problem to solve, as always. If Zachary knew what she was involved in, he’d lead the mob running her out of town. The town didn’t know her, either. They’d protect their own.

At least, that was the perception she had from watching him at the mill. But did she really know? What could the town tell her about Zach that he wouldn’t tell her himself?

She studied the picture once more. She needed to find out, and she had an idea how she might make that happen.

I need more information.

And she wasn’t going to get it moping in her room. Grabbing a light jacket against the autumn chill, Sadie threw a quick glance at the computer to make sure it was off, then headed out the door.

She shouldn’t worry about her laptop. But Victor had taught her that people did all kinds of things that served their own ends—and invaded other’s privacy. She never wanted to be caught off guard again.

Not that she had many secrets, but Victor had managed to find a doozy.

She paused on the stairs. Zach had said he owned a security firm now. Would he have checked her out?

Even now, had he figured out who she was? How long after that would he find out who her employer was, and what he meant to Zach?

Once that happened, her mission would be over before it even began. The ticking time bomb had been set.

Luckily, the overly friendly proprietress of the bed-and-breakfast was at the front desk when Sadie reached the office. The woman’s husband was as reticent as she was open, so he wouldn’t have been nearly as helpful. For now, luck was with Sadie.

The woman even started the conversation in the direction Sadie wanted it to go.

“Wow! New to town and already getting visits from the local hero.”

Technically it was a statement, but Sadie could hear the question beneath the words. And Gladys wasn’t finished. “Of course, not everyone feels that way...”


“Why is that?” Sadie didn’t feel the need to beat around the bush. Subtlety wasn’t Gladys’s forte.

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