Lucy couldn’t imagine that was possible. She’d made a lot of wealthy friends while at Yale, but she’d always been the thrifty one in the group by necessity. Thankfully, her sorority sisters Violet, Emma and Harper had never treated her any differently.
Having her penniless circumstances change so suddenly seemed impossible. Nearly every dime she made from working for Alice went into savings for her to finish school. She wouldn’t even know what she’d do with money in her accounts that wasn’t earmarked for something else.
“Wanda is full of hot air,” Harper said. “She’ll complain but she won’t lay out a penny of her own money to contest the will. More than likely, they’ll all sit back and let Oliver handle it.”
Lucy frowned. “Your brother seemed really angry. Is he going to take it out on you?”
Harper snorted. “No. He knows better. Oliver will leave the battle to the courtroom. But don’t be surprised if he shows up at the apartment ready to give you the third degree. He’s a seasoned businessman, so he’ll be on the hunt for any loophole he can exploit.”
Lucy’s first thought was that she wouldn’t mind Harper’s brother visiting, but his handsome face wouldn’t make up for his ill intentions. He intended to overturn Alice’s wishes and was probably going to be successful. Lucy didn’t have the means to fight him. She could blow every penny she’d saved on attorneys and still wouldn’t have enough to beat a man with his means. It was a waste of money anyway. Things like this just didn’t happen to women like her. The rich got richer, after all.
That did beg the question she was afraid to ask while the others were still around. “Phillip, Alice and I never really discussed her finances. How much money are we talking about here?”
Phillip flipped through a few papers and swallowed hard. “Well, it looks like between the apartment, her investments, cash accounts and personal property, you’re set to inherit about five hundred million dollars, Lucy.”
Lucy frowned and leaned toward the attorney in confusion. “I—I’m sorry, I think I heard you wrong, Phillip. Could you repeat that?”
Harper took Lucy’s hand and squeezed it tight. “You heard him correctly, Lucy. Aunt Alice was worth half a billion dollars and she’s left most of it to you. I know it’s hard for you to believe, but congratulations. It couldn’t happen to a better person.”
Lucy’s breath caught in her throat, the words stolen from her lips. That wasn’t possible. It just wasn’t possible. It was like her numbers were just called in the lotto. The odds were stacked against a woman like her—someone who came from nothing and was expected to achieve even less. Half a billion? No wonder Alice’s family was upset.
The help had just become a multimillionaire.
* * *
So that was the infamous Lucy Campbell.
Oliver had heard plenty about her over the years from his sister and in emails from his aunt. For some reason, he’d expected her to be more attractive. Instead, her hair was a dark, mousy shade of dishwater blond, her nails were in need of a manicure and her eyes were too big for her face. He was pretty sure she was wearing a hand-me-down suit of Harper’s.
All in all, she seemed incredibly ordinary for someone with her reputation. Aunt Alice was notoriously difficult to impress and she’d written at length about her fondness for Lucy. He’d almost been intrigued enough to pay a visit and learn more about her. Maybe then he wouldn’t have been as disappointed.
She had freckles. Actual freckles. He’d never known anyone with freckles before. He’d only remained calm in the lawyer’s office by trying to count the sprinkle of them across her nose and cheeks. He wondered how many more there were. Were they only on her face, or did they continue across her shoulders and chest?
He’d lost count at thirty-two.
After that, he’d decided to focus on the conversation. He’d found himself responding to her in a way he hadn’t anticipated when he first laid eyes on her. The harder he looked, the more he saw. But then she turned her gaze back on him and he found the reciprocal scrutiny uncomfortable. Those large, doe eyes seemed so innocent and looked at him with a pleading expression he didn’t care for. It made him feel things that would muddy the situation.
Instead, Oliver decided he was paying far too much attention to her and she didn’t deserve it. She was a sneaky, greedy liar just like his stepmother and he had no doubt of it. Harper didn’t see it and maybe Alice didn’t either, but Oliver had his eyes wide open. Just like when his father had fallen for Candace with her pouty lips and fake breasts, Oliver could see through the pretty facade.