Family Bonds- Hailey & Rex…Prologue


“Thanks for meeting with me, Dad,” Hailey Bond said. “I know you’re busy and getting ready to leave in a few weeks with Mom.”

Her father was semi-retired and had promised her mother for years they’d travel. She needed to catch him before he left. It was now or never.

When her father smirked at her she held her grin back. “Meeting? I wasn’t aware this had to be something official. Must be serious.”

This time she did grin. She’d given her father grief enough in her life. She knew it.

She was outspoken and told it the way it was.

The Bonds were big names, but it was mostly attributed to the men. 

Nope, she was making her mark on the world and everyone was going to know who she was. 

The Bond Retreat could only be handed down to a male. A stupid clause in the long-standing legal documents and wills over the years. If she’d expressed interest in it, she was positive her father would find a way to make it work, to give her a role in running it. He may be stuffy and boring, but he was fair.

She could have worked her magic if she wanted to. The law was her specialty. 

She’d rather have her hand in everyone’s pie than having her own though. That could be Hunter’s job to run The Retreat. She’d be the fixer of the family and get things done on one problem, then move on to the next.

What she needed to make that happen was her father’s approval.

It was killing her she needed it too, but such was life.

“It might not be to you, but it is to me,” she said.

“Tell me what is going on then,” he said, leaning back in his chair. They were in her small office on the island when she’d much rather meet at her Boston office. This little satellite one was profitable and made sense, but it wasn’t for her to be here often.

She came when needed, but it wasn’t her time to make a living here. Boston called her and she could balance them both. She’d been doing it for years and was going to continue.

After taking a deep breath that she never needed to do much of in life, she said, “I need to use my trust to purchase a law firm in Boston. It’s my dream. You know it. I can’t pass this up, but to secure it before he puts it up for sale officially, I need to be able to go in with the cash.”

Her father looked stunned. “What firm?”

He was staying calm, which surprised her. Charlie Bond was actually a calm guy but never when it came to her. She named the firm. “I hadn’t been aware they were selling.”

“I heard through the grapevine and called to ask.”

He laughed. “I could see you doing that to find out if it was true. So it is?”

“Obviously. I can’t let this pass.”

“Your firm is growing that you started from the ground up,” he told her.

“It is. But it’d take me until I was your age to build up to this caliber. Purchasing it makes more sense between their reputation and the one I’ve worked hard for. No one can stand in my way if I acquire this.”

“No one has ever stood in your way before. So you want to manage rather than work the law?” he asked. “Because that is exactly what will happen if you go this route.”

“No. Not now. They’ve got good staff; many will stay that choose to. They never wanted partners. I know I can appeal to them knowing that I feel the same way. This will be my legacy.”

She knew where to hit. Her father closed one eye at her, knowing it was a shot at the fact she didn’t have a penis being the reason she could not get The Retreat. “I don’t want to have you empty your trust,” he said simply.

“I can probably go in with half, which I don’t need your approval for,” she pointed out. “The rest would be a loan. I just figured I had a better shot with the all-cash offer.”

“That trust fund is there for your future. For your future family.” She snorted, but he continued. “Rainy days.”

“Please,” she said. “I don’t worry about a rainy day.” 

There were more millions in her trust fund than most in her family would ever see. She was from one of the wealthiest branches of the family. Her father was worth a billion she was sure. Hunter was worth much more than her. Again…no penis.

“I can’t approve it,” he said. She went to open her mouth and argue, but he held his hand up and she shut her trap when arguing was what she did best. “However, because you don’t have a penis as you’ve said so much in life, I will match your half. That will give you what you need.”

“I don’t want a loan,” she said. 

“Not a loan,” he said softly.

She was stunned. “What? No. I don’t need a partner. I can run this on my own.”

“And you don’t want anyone to tell you what to do. Your mother and I have known that our whole lives.”

“Exactly,” she said, crossing her arms. She saw her chances going up in smoke and wasn’t sure what to do. It might be worth it to give in, but she’d fight first.

“Your brother is going to get The Retreat,” he said. “Let me do this for you.”

“To absolve your guilt?” she asked.

He frowned. “No. Maybe. I know it’s archaic and I’ve hated it. I know what is said to you stays with you. My father settled with both of my sisters. They didn’t have any desire to work for The Retreat either and did their own thing.”

Her aunts, Melissa French and Melanie Stone, never had any interest in working with or for any family member. She wondered though if it was because they felt they couldn’t get it in their name anyway. Wasn’t her problem. Grace Stone was the only one that worked at The Retreat as the executive chef. As far as she knew, Grace never felt like she should have had a stake in The Retreat. She stayed out of it.

Besides, there was room in the family for those that wanted to work together. Her cousin Roark French was a defense attorney for the firm she wanted to buy. They were about the same age and got along well. She had plans for him already if she could wrap this up.

“So is this a family tradition then?” she asked.

“No. As far as I know, my father was the first generation to do it. I’m going to carry it on. Hunter can do his own thing if he ever finds anyone and settles down.”

Her older brother always knew The Retreat would go to him and had no issues with it. His bigger issue was their father rode his only son’s ass hard and Hunter never stood up for himself. Hailey…she had no problem.

She wasn’t sure how she felt about what her father was telling her though. “So, it’s going to be in my name only?” she asked. “Even with your half?”

He tilted his head. “How about a small percentage in mine and your mother’s name? Silent investors.”

“I don’t need an investor. I know what I’m doing,” she said, lifting her chin. 

He let out a sigh. “Two votes on the board. One for your mother and one for me.”

The fact he wasn’t negotiating that hard told her how much he really wanted to do this for her. Part of her was extremely touched, the other part knew she had to keep up their game. He’d expect that of her.

“Mom has no interest in this,” she said.

“You don’t know that. You’d have to ask her.”

He had a point. “She might enjoy it. Fine. Two seats on the board. You’re going to do this? I’m not dreaming?”

“No. Because every dream you’ve ever had has come true. Go get your firm and make the name you want for yourself,” her father said. “But anyone that knows you, knows you already have.”

She laughed and moved closer to her father. He stood up and she hugged him. He could be a hard man, but he showed this soft side at times and it reminded her how lucky she was in life.

“Thanks, Dad. You’re making the right decision.”

He laughed. “I know. If I said no, I’m pretty sure you would have filed suit against me to get the money released from your trust, delaying your mother’s trip. Trust me, nothing is going to stand in her way to go.”

Hailey grinned. “Remember that. I’m just like her.”

“Don’t I know it,” he said, shaking his head. “Go do what you need to do and let me know when you need the funds if it goes through.”

She smirked. “It already did. I just need the money to close.”

His shoulders dropped and he shook his head. “I should have figured. You’re going to give some guy fits in the future.”

She laughed this time. “I don’t need a man, Dad. Please.”

“You won’t always say that.”

Yes, she would, but she was in too good of a mood to argue.

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