One Condition (The Lust List: Kaidan Stone #1)

BOOK: One Condition (The Lust List: Kaidan Stone #1)
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Copyright © 2014 by Nova Raines

 

Editing by Erynn Newman

Formatting by Polgarus Studio

 

All Rights Reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner without the written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

 

NoMi Press

 

Publisher’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is completely coincidental.

 

One Condition (
The Lust List
: Kaidan Stone)/ Nova Raines—1st ed.

The Lust List
Series
by Nova Raines and Mira Bailee

The Lust List
: Kaidan Stone by Nova Raines

Stolen Desire (The Lust List: Kaidan Stone #3)

Scandal Exposed (The Lust List: Kaidan Stone #4)

 

The Lust List
: Devon Stone by Mira Bailee

Third Degree (The Lust List: Devon Stone #3)

Four-Letter Words (The Lust List: Devon Stone #4)

Plead the Fifth (The Lust List: Devon Stone #5)

 

Sign up for The Lust List A-List
 to be the first to find out when new Lust List books are released. You can sign up at
RomanceByNomi.com

 
To Petri.

I couldn’t do any of this without you. Your love and support mean the world to me, and you inspire me… well, except for when you hum that Mario song.

 

You know that moment when you realize, for the first time, that your parents aren’t superheroes? That they’re not gods who can do no wrong, that they aren’t perfect representations of what it means to be a grown up?

Yeah, I don’t remember that moment. It wasn’t a surprise when I was six years old, and the cops took my dad in for cocaine possession. It wasn’t a surprise when I’d walk into my parent’s huge master bedroom on a Sunday morning and find my father with a woman, or a few women, who were decidedly
not
my mother. My mom was usually passed out on the couch those mornings. I wasn’t surprised when she went out partying one night, overdosed, then never came home.

I don’t remember the moment my parents fell off a pedestal, because they were never on one. I always
knew
they were broken. But you get to be like that, when you’re on the A-List. The world devours your dirt. You’re always performing for the cameras, ‘cause they never turn off. No real consequences, until you party yourself into an early grave. That’s the penalty for never growing up. You die young.

So I wasn’t surprised at all when I became an orphan before my twenty-third birthday. I’d made it a policy never to read tabloid trash, but the sharks were psychic the day my dad died. There’d been a picture of me, hiding my face from the paps after I got arrested for shoplifting last year. “Boutique Thief Hayley Wade Reels from Rock Star Dad’s Early Demise.” Ironic headline, considering I didn’t find out my dad died ‘til someone forwarded me the link to the
ScandalLust
article.

Now I’m sitting across the table from the smarmiest, most overpriced lawyer in Los Angeles, waiting to find out what I’ve inherited. I run my hand along the cool leather of the armchair and stare at the wood-paneled walls. Between my mother’s movie star earnings and my father’s twenty-five years of world tours and endless groupies, my older brother and I should be sitting on a huge pile of money.

“All right, Hayley. I’ve finished looking over everything,” my lawyer says.

I check his name plaque again.
James Nordstrom.
He leans back in his chair and folds his hands over his bulging middle. He’s got high cheekbones, tan skin, and wavy blond hair. He might be good-looking, for an old guy, if he worked out a little. But money can’t buy self-discipline. We’ve already established that. “I have good news and bad news.”

“Mr. Nordstrom,” I say. “I—”

“Call me Jim.” He leans forward, smiling at me, and I’m instantly skeeved out. It’s like insects have crawled out his eyeballs and are skittering across the table toward me. I pull my hands into my lap. I take it back. He could never be good-looking.

Smarmy Jim clears his throat. “Since you’ve decided to move into the penthouse, you can keep paying the rent on that. But after we pay your father’s other outstanding bills and sell the house, this is what you’ll be getting.”

He writes a number on his notepad and rips the strip off. He holds the small paper out to me and doesn’t release it right away, forcing my hand to touch his as I grab it. What the actual fuck? Does he think I’m stupid enough to screw my lawyer? I bet I look attractive now that he’s seen my portfolio.

Face flaming, I rip the paper from his grasp and stare down at it. My stomach flutters a little. Okay, it flutters a lot.
Eight figures.
I'm definitely never working again.

“Is this half? What’s Rowan getting? You know,” I say and lick my lips. “He doesn't want anything.”

“I can’t discuss Rowan’s inheritance with you,” Jim says. “I’m still waiting for him to return my calls.”

Rowan will never answer Jim's calls. He hated our father. I was shocked he even showed up to the funeral. Not that he'd talked to me, either. We’re not exactly close. Rowan is more like our dad was than he'll ever admit.

“So what's the bad news? And when do I get the money?” I ask. “I haven't received my allowance this month, and my bills—”

“About that. That's the bad part.”

“Excuse me?”

Jim pulls a piece of paper from the top folder on his desk. “Your father set up some requirements you have to meet before you can inherit the money.”

“What kind of requirements?” I sit up in my chair, gripping the armrests, and my knuckles go white. “I did everything he wanted. I finished college. I didn’t get arrested…” My voice sounds whiny, pathetic, but I can’t seem to shut up. “Well, I didn’t get arrested
again
, except for that one time… but never after that. It’s supposed to be my inheritance.”

“And all of that was on the list of requirements. There’s just one condition left to fulfill before you can inherit.” He pushes the paper across the table.

As I read it, my stomach twists into knots. “Are you fucking serious?” My voice squeaks. “He must have been high when he wrote this. There’s no way this ‘condition’ is legal.”

“I assure you, it is.”

“What about Rowan? Does he have any conditions?”

“I’m sorry, but I’m not at liberty to discuss your brother’s situation.”

I stare back down at the paper. It says my inheritance will be released to me when I reach the age of
forty
or when I reacquire a family heirloom. I must reclaim a diamond necklace stolen by one
Serena Lynn
. Serena Lynn’s only the hottest singer on the charts right now. She dated my dad five years ago, before she was famous, when she was nineteen and he was forty-four. “Seventh Inferno Lead Singer Razor Wade Robs Cradle… Again.”

I laugh. Loudly. “This is a joke, right?” I glance around the room for the hidden cameras. “I know exactly which diamond necklace this paper’s talking about, and it’s no family heirloom.”

“Your father said it was.”

“He proposed to Serena, and she dumped his ass a week later. She reset the diamond in that necklace.”

“You have to get it back. That’s the one condition. Then I can release the money to you and Rowan.”

“How am I supposed to get it back? Buy it off her? Do you know what that thing’s worth?” I tear my manicured nails through my blond hair, feeling like I could rip it out. “Even the newb paparazzi know she never takes that necklace off. Did my dad expect me to
steal
it off her neck?”

“If that’s what it takes.” Jim chuckles, then winks. “But, you know. I might be able to help you find some workarounds. Maybe we can figure this out over dinner.”

I splay my fingers wide and hold my hand up in the universal gesture of “Shut the hell up” and read the page again. Yeah, my dad was definitely doing acid when he wrote this.

I grab my leather bag off the floor and stand, clutching it tight in my grip. Jim’s eyes go to my bare legs, and I tug my skirt down.

“Do I still get my allowance?” I ask.

Smarmy Jim looks irritated. “No. Sorry. Bring me that diamond, and we can talk again.”

“You’re working for me,” I say, pointing a finger at him. “You’re working for me and Rowan. Don’t you forget that. I want you to research this and try to find a workaround. Dinner not included.”

“I’ll get back to you in one week,” he says through gritted teeth.

His nostrils flare, and I walk out of the room, leaving him to contemplate his bulging middle and probably whether or not my rejection warrants a midlife crises. I bet he’s married, too. I never checked his ring finger. Jerk. I storm down the hallway, my eyes burning as my heels sink into the lush Persian rug. I take deep breaths. It’s fine. The lawyer will figure it out. There’s no way this is legal. I’m almost to the foyer when a heavy wooden door to my right opens, and
he
steps out.

 

An incredibly good-looking guy walks out ahead of me but stops to say something to a lawyer and doesn’t notice me standing there. He’s tall and broad-shouldered, with well-styled, short, brown hair and seriously gorgeous eyes. His five o’clock shadow is at odds with his tailored suit, but somehow he pulls it off. He can’t be more than a few years older than me. A little flicker of fire lights up in my belly, but then Sexy Guy turns away, striding toward the front doors. Is he a client here?

Doesn’t matter. If I learned one thing in boarding school and college, men are shallow on every coast, and once they find out who I am, I can’t trust them. They all try to use me to get ahead. My ex-boyfriend, Mike, sold me out to
ScandalLust
the second I got caught stealing from that boutique.

I hold my head high and walk toward the dark-tinted double doors. I can see my reflection in them—how high my skirt’s riding up my thighs, how depressed I look. I smooth my expression and adjust my shirt without breaking stride.

Sexy halts in front of the doors, holds his hands to the glass, and peers out. I try to ignore him as I push the door next to him open. He drops his hands from the glass and meets my gaze. His dark brown eyes brighten, and his brows go sky high in surprise.

Oh great, I’ve been recognized.

I run a hand through my hair and push open the door. It’s a sunny day out, and I shield my eyes from the glare of the sun. Within seconds, the sound of shuttering cameras engulfs me. I’m surrounded. It’s like I just stepped on a pap anthill. The place is crawling with paparazzi. Flashes come at me from every direction.

BOOK: One Condition (The Lust List: Kaidan Stone #1)
11.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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