Betrayed:Forbidden Series

By: Melody Anne

“What is that supposed to mean — for now?” Tanner asked.

Richard took a calming breath. It wasn’t yet time to tell his children of his prostate cancer. The doctor said he’d done all he could do. Of course, they would keep trying, but his doctor was also a good friend, and he’d warned Richard to get his affairs in order with his grim prognosis. Three years.

“Nothing, Tanner. You just need to pay attention. I want you to prove yourselves, make something of your lives. You are more than these spoiled brats I see before me right now.”

“How are we supposed to do anything if we have no money? What do you want us to do to prove ourselves?” Tanner asked, throwing his hands into the air in exasperation.

“That’s the smartest question you’ve asked me so far,” Richard said with a smile before pausing to gaze at each one of his children. A glimmer of hope filled him at the fighting spirit he saw in each of them. “I have purchased five more failing businesses. You can fight amongst yourselves to choose which one you want to run. I have created a sufficient budget for you to do what needs to be done to bring the companies back into profitability. If you do this, and do it well, only then will I reinstate your inheritance. If you fail, you will be on your own.”

“Well, what if your idea of a successful business is different from what our idea would be?” Ashton asked.

“When you truly feel success for the first time in your life, you will know what it is. You’ve never earned that badge of honor before. You’ll learn now, one way or the other. I’m done explaining this. You may come see me when you’re ready.”

Setting down the folders of the five businesses he’d purchased, he noticed that none of the kids jumped up to see what the choices were. He knew they would, though. On the off chance they didn’t, it would break his heart, but he would stay true to his word and cut them off. They would either make it, or not. What their decision would be was now out of their hands.

Richard walked from the room, his children bolting after him, trying to chase him down. Though he hadn’t let them see the burden weighing on his shoulders, the conversation had hurt him in ways he couldn’t begin to describe. He knew he was taking a huge gamble, but what other option had there been?

If he didn’t kick his children out of their nest eggs, they’d never learn how to fly, never take pride in a true victory. He could end up losing them forever, but he already felt as if they were so incredibly self-absorbed that their only connection with their family was through blood. Richard had faith that his children would soon find their wings — they’d find their way back to him — and to each other. Only then would he be able to rest in peace.

Closing the door to his study in his children’s faces, he looked down at the framed picture of his parents sitting in its special place on his desk. His mother’s eyes were filled with joy as she cuddled him close to her heart. He was only six months old at the time, and it had taken his parents so long to have him that they’d doted on him his entire life.

Still, they’d taught him the core values that made him who he was today. He’d always worked hard, earned everything he’d ever striven for and appreciated the life he’d been raised to lead. He’d gotten lazy with his own children, but he knew it wouldn’t be too late. He just had to have faith and stick with the plan.

They would all take it one day at a time, and then a week at a time. If he tried to think past that, it became too overwhelming. He had always protected his children, which he was still doing, just in a more tough love sort of way. He was determined that they would appreciate this, and him, someday.

Richard smiled as he thought back to their priceless expressions of rage and shock. They wouldn’t be appreciating him anytime soon; that was for certain.

Unexpected Treasure is available at iBooks.

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