Staring at Adora’s finances though, he saw she was struggling, and she’d not been in college all that long either. The debt just kept rising, and even if she found a decent job, this would be hanging around her neck for a long time to come.
He needed a child, and she needed money.
Looking through some of the images, he saw she was a bright, intelligent woman. One of her graduation pictures had even made it onto the news. Her mother was there, and the two were hugging, a clear bond between them.
This was the kind of bond his brother tried to find and failed.
“There’s no way you want this life, or what they offer. They’re fucking liars, and they’re cold as ice!” Maximus had been on another high, spouting shit off that Tobias hadn’t been interested in listening to. He’d wanted to keep his head down, and just focus on making his parents proud. He hadn’t cared about anything else then. He wasn’t blinded by their smoke and mirrors anymore.
When Maximus died, the guilt had nearly brought him down, but once again his parents had been there, telling him that he was the strong one, that it was now on his shoulders to carry the family name. Something had felt off to him, so he’d started to look into his family, and he knew things about his parents that were indeed quite shocking. Before he died, his brother had warned him to watch his back, so he did.
Tobias wasn’t getting any younger. His parents had thrown prospective wife after wife at him, and he’d denied them at every single turn. He hated having this responsibility thrust on him.
Now his head was in the game. He wanted Adora in his bed, to fill her with his seed. Once she’d done her duty, she could do whatever the hell she wanted with her life. She’d be the perfect woman to be his child’s mother.
It would piss his parents off that he hadn’t picked their ideal woman. They’d never approve of his choice—her father unknown, her mother a mere cleaner.
His days of doing as he was told were starting to wear thin.
It was time to carve out his own life, and not one dominated by parents who didn’t give a shit.
Sitting underneath a tree, Adora stared down at her course book, filled with descriptions of modern architecture, and all the while, her mind wasn’t even on her studies. She rested her head against the hard bark, closing her eyes.
One of their neighbors had given birth to a new baby, and all Adora had heard for the past six nights was the baby screaming. The mother was doing everything she could, but the walls were so thin.
She’d never been able to sleep with noise around her.
A couple of times growing up, her mother hadn’t made rent in time, and they’d been tossed out onto the street. Shelters, buses, public toilets had been her bedroom for the night, and with it a whole set of nightmares she didn’t even want to think about. As a child, she’d been scared, but like most kids, she’d dealt with it, holding her mother as she cried. She’d never understood why her mother cried, but then one day she’d found the diary that contained her secrets and her greatest pain.
Adora’s father had been the love of Maria’s life. At least, Maria had thought so. He’d been kind, gentle, building her trust. The affair had lasted a few months, and when she’d fallen pregnant, she’d been so excited. Of course, that excitement had turned to fear as he’d broken every one of her dreams, calling her a slut, a whore, and telling her if she even tried to pin the baby on him, he’d kill her.
Her mother had left, raised Adora all alone, and never once made her feel anything but love. It was part of the reason she wanted to really succeed in school. She had a plan. Get her degree, intern at one of the top five firms for young architecture designers, and build her career up. One day she hoped to have enough money that her mother wouldn’t have to clean another house or office again.
There was one problem in her plan—the biggest firm was run by her real father. She wouldn’t even think his name. She couldn’t do it. The man meant nothing to her. He didn’t want anything to do with her, and she never wanted to see his disgusting face in person.
“You’re a hard woman to track down.”
She opened her eyes, and saw Tobias Bennett in front of her. Glancing around the campus grounds, she saw that he’d gotten several curious looks. He was well recognized, and she didn’t want this kind of attention. He took a seat, crossing his legs.
This was not the kind of thing she imagined from a wealthy businessman. He looked out of place in his impeccable designer suit as he sat on the grass in front of her.