To Love, Honour and...oh Pay

To Love, Honour and...oh Pay

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Summary

"Your stories never fail to bring me genuine joy!" There has been an entail in place on the thirty-thousand acre Winterbourne estate for centuries. it specifies that the ownership of the estate and its assets should be passed to the next heir on the day of their fortieth birthday. However, the heir must be married, else the inheritance is forfeit. Thirty-nine years old and single, the heir, Sir William Mortimer is understandably feeling the pressure. he consults local solicitor Elizabeth Silverton for legal advice but quickly realises that she might be able to assist him in a much more practical way….for the right price. www.fenellaashworth.com

Summary

"Your stories never fail to bring me genuine joy!"
There has been an entail in place on the thirty-thousand acre Winterbourne estate for centuries. it specifies that the ownership of the estate and its assets should be passed to the next heir on the day of their fortieth birthday. However, the heir must be married, else the inheritance is forfeit.
Thirty-nine years old and single, the heir, Sir William Mortimer is understandably feeling the pressure. he consults local solicitor Elizabeth Silverton for legal advice but quickly realises that she might be able to assist him in a much more practical way….for the right price.
www.fenellaashworth.com

Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 06, 2019

Reads: 368

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 06, 2019

A A A

A A A

‘Now, he’scute,’ murmured Fiona as a tight-assed twenty-something guy sauntered past them to join the crowd at the bar.

‘Far too young,’ admonished Lizzie, shaking her head in despair at her best friend.

‘Well, I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for farting,’ sighed Fiona, momentarily lost in a pleasurable daydream.

‘Yeah, but then you’re a desperate thirty-six year old,’ Lizzie chuckled, tucking the curtain of long black hair which had momentarily covered her face, back behind her ear.‘You wouldn’t kick anybody out of bed.’

‘Oi!’ complained Fiona.‘It’s my birthday!Be nice.Besides,’ she added slyly.‘You’re not so many weeks behind me.’ 

‘Don’t remind me,’ grimaced Lizzie.‘I can’t believe we’re the only two left standing and it’s …’She cast a quick glance at her understated but expensive watch.‘Not even midnight!How come the rest of our friends are such lightweights?’

‘They grew up,’ observed Fiona wryly, knocking back the last of her red wine.‘Needed to get home early, now they’ve got husbands and children of their own.Bit of a wake-up call, don’t you think?’

‘How so?’

‘Well, if you and I don’t want to be left on the shelf, don’t you think we ought to lower our standards?I, for one, am clearly not getting any younger.’

‘You can say that again,’ giggled Lizzie.‘However, I’m extremely fond of my high standards thank you!’

‘Excuse me, ladies,’ interrupted a man who had sauntered over to their table and squatted down.

‘Yes,’ replied Fiona expectantly.

‘My friend and I,’ he continued, nodding towards a nervous-looking, slightly balding man sitting at an adjacent table.‘Well, we noticed your glasses are empty and wondered if we could buy you a drink?’

‘Thanks,’ replied Lizzie immediately.‘But we were just off, weren’t we darling?’ she added to Fiona, sliding her fingers suggestively along her friend’s arm.

‘Ummm, apparently so,’ replied Fiona smiling sweetly. ‘Sorry,’ she added to the man as he made a quick retreat.Fiona turned slowly round to face her friend with a concentrated glare.

‘And what was so wrong with them that we suddenly had to exhibit lesbian tendencies which I wasn’t even aware we had?’ she demanded, as soon as he had returned to his table.‘Or is my luck in tonight?’ she joked.

‘Sorry, Fi,’ shrugged Lizzie.‘But they were both way too short for a start.You know I can’t consider a man under six foot.Plus, they looked dangerously like accountants.’

‘There’s no point asking you to review your ridiculously long list of eligibility criteria is there?’ sighed Fiona, shrugging on her jacket.

‘Probably not.’

‘I’m never going to meet anybody out on the pull with you,’ she joked, nudging Lizzie playfully.

‘Bars are awful places to meet people anyway,’ said Lizzie.‘You’d be better off starting a new hobby.Like aerobics, or jogging perhaps?’

‘I’m so unfit that the only men I’ll be likely to meet out jogging are paramedics,’ grinned Fiona.‘You know,’ she continued, unperturbed.‘I read about a bloke once who I think we could learn from.’

‘Oh yeah?’ Lizzie replied, smoothing down her tightly-fitting red dress as she stood up with her friend.

‘Mmmm.He said “Yes” to every offer presented to him, rather than declining it.Seized the moment, you know?It opened up opportunities he would never have even dreamt of.’

‘Are you sure you aren’t referring to the plot of a dubious film starring Jim Carey,’ giggled Lizzie as they made their way out of the venue arm in arm.

‘Yes…no…I don’t think so,’ Fiona stumbled.They both giggled.‘Oh, I don’t know!But I think we should try it!’

‘You what?’

‘It’s the first of September tomorrow,’ said Fiona, slurring slightly.‘I’m renaming it Yes-Tember.For the of the whole month, we say yes to everything.’

‘You’re pissed,’ accused an amused Lizzie.‘This is a shit idea.One of your worst.’

‘No, you’re wrong!This is a great idea!You’re just jealous you didn’t come up with it yourself,’ grinned Fiona.‘So, are you in?’

‘Oh, go on then,’ agreed Lizzie, briefly shaking her friend’s proffered hand.

‘Obviously, we wouldn’t be expected to say yes to an offer which was immoral, dangerous or financially ruinous,’ noted Fiona.

‘Or illegal…’ added Lizzie wryly.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Lizzie loved living in the English market town of Cranworth and was so pleased she’d recently made the move back from London. It wasn’t just that her aging parents and old school friends were now very nearby but the rural medieval town was bursting with character; both the architecture and the community.And working as a trusted solicitor, she certainly got first-hand experience of the breadth of characters the town had to offer. In the last week alone she’d been engaged in a dispute over a hedge, dealt with the legal ramifications of Ted Jones’s dairy herd escaping onto the busy A282 and helped to console a shaken Elsie Phillips when her husband of thirty years filed for a divorce.Elsie’s biggest shock of all came when her husband cited his desire to run off with a well-respected businessman who lived in a neighbouring village.Cranworth typically provided very slim pickings where scandal was concerned and Lizzie was ashamed to admit that some of the residents did exhibit a ‘small town, small mind’ mentality.As such, the local gossips seemed determined to make the most of this high juicy information.

Lizzie’s first appointment the following morning wasn’t until ten, which provided plenty of time for her to consume the requisite amount of caffeine to quell the hangover from hell and review the legal files that now lay sprawled across her desk.She’d received a panicked phone call first thing from Timothy, one of the senior partners of the law firm she worked for.A family emergency had called him away from the office unexpectedly, when he’d been due to meet with a very important client.

‘Seriously, Tim,’ Lizzie had soothed.‘I can handle this.’Although Lizzie had only been working for the firm for the last year, her previous experience stood her in good stead.Having recently returned from a stint in London, where she’d gained enviable experience working at one of the top law firms, she was more than capable of dealing with high-end clients and multi-million pound claims.

‘Thank you Elizabeth,’ Tim had sighed.‘I appreciate this.Let me give you a quick bit of background.’Tim had then spent a rushed couple of minutes relaying the key information to a rapidly scribbling Lizzie, a good deal of which she was already aware. Indeed, she did have a minor connection with this particular family, meaning she probably ought to tread a little carefully.When she’d cheerfully accepted the task, she hadn’t realised quite how prestigious the client would be; the Mortimer family were treated like local royalty.

Eager to prove her superior correct to trust her, she was soon knee-deep in documentation, doing her best not to panic. By ten o’clock,Lizzie had cleared her desk of all but one closed file and was attempting to exude an air of utter calm.She knew all too well that, a little like cramming for exams, there came a point when you had to acknowledge time had run out and you would just have to wing it.She lifted her eyes to the door at the sound of a brief knock, trying to ignore the dull, alcohol-induced throbbing still echoing around her head.Even at the time, she’d known Fiona’s suggestion that they partake in a round of Alabama Slammers the previous evening had been a bad idea.

‘Come in,’ she said, fixing a welcoming smile onto her face.

‘This way, please,’ murmured her secretary, as her client was led into the room.

‘Elizabeth Silverton,’ said Lizzie, holding out her hand in welcome to the man who had entered.

‘Sir William Mortimer,’ he stated gruffly as the secretary exited the room and promptly closed the door.They shook hands briefly and took their respective seats.

‘How may I help you, Sir William?’ enquired Lizzie, observing the man with interest as he began to remove his leather gloves and shrug off his coat.She already knew that he was thirty-nine years old and the heir to Cranworth Estate. From a brief glance at the man himself, she couldn’t immediately work him out.He looked about five foot ten, attractive yet average build and not a particularly flashy dresser given the wealth of the family.But there was something about him, she simply couldn’t put her finger on, like a sizzling energy that simmered quietly below the surface. He already intrigued her and that didn’t happen very often.

‘I normally deal with Timothy Clark,’ he stated.

‘Yes, I’m aware.He sends his apologies.He’s been unexpectedly detained for the next two weeks.So I am happy to assist you, or you can book up an appointment with Tim for later this month?’Lizzie watched a flash of displeasure pass across the man’s face, but she refused to beg for his business.

‘Timothy knows all the background.’

‘As do I,’ she responded immediately, patting the large paper file on the desk beside her.There was something inherently arousing about this man which was disrupting her normal professional persona.Of course, nothing could ever happen between them, not least because he didn’t hit two of her key criteria…putting aside his height, he had dark brown hair with almost jet black eyes.She went for blonds with baby-blues every time.But she couldn’t deny that he was certainly an interesting individual.

‘What are your credentials?’ he asked.

‘I beg your pardon?’ responded Lizzie, taken aback. Never in her years of being a practicing solicitor had she been directly required to justify her existence in this way.

‘You heard me,’ he replied, immediately making Lizzie’s hackles rise further; was he seriously going to raise a concern about her competence because she was a woman?Of course, she’d been no stranger to misogyny during her career but to experience it with this man would be particularly disappointing, given her knowledge of his family.

‘If you’d rather speak with one of my male colleagues…’ she began quietly, her green eyes narrowing.

‘Your gender has absolutely nothing to do with your ability,’ said William, obviously angry at her inference.‘But your experience speaks volumes.Credentials?’

After a brief pause, where the two of them eyeballed each other, an adrenaline-filled Lizzie dropped her gaze to her laptop, navigated to her biography page on the company website and spun the device around so the screen faced him.

‘As you’ll see,’ she said in a voice of forced calm. ‘I have a double first from Oxford University, followed by twelve years of experience in the legal environment. For the last five years, I worked at a very prestigious London law firm, where my clients included a well-known millionaire entrepreneur and several members of the Royal Family.I’m afraid I’m not permitted to divulge their names.’ Whilst she’d been speaking, he had used the mouse pad to scroll to the base of the page, speed reading whilst listening to her explanation.

‘Very well,’ he nodded, returning the laptop. ‘Perhaps you’d like to outline my current position, regarding the entail?’

‘Certainly,’ said Lizzie smoothly, willingly accepting her chance to prove him wrong for questioning her abilities.‘An entail has existed over the Cranworth Estate for several centuries and remains in place to this day.It specifies that, as the heir, ownership of the estate and its assets should be passed to you on the day of your fortieth birthday.At that point, the current custodian who is your uncle, Lord Edward Mortimer, will relinquish all rights although you will be obligated to allow him to live on the estate and be financially supported by it, until his death.The one fly in the ointment is that, in order to inherit, you need to be married, which you currently are not.If you remain unmarried, you will lose your right to inherit.I assume that is why you are now seeking legal advice?’ 

‘That’s correct,’ confirmed William, defrosting very slightly.

‘In short, you have three options open to you,’ she stated simply.

‘Three?’ he queried.

‘Yes.As I see it, three,’ she confirmed, clearly on a roll.‘Number one, you get married before your fortieth birthday.’A long silence followed which Lizzie refused to break.

‘That only gives me a matter of months to find a bride,’ he said eventually.

‘I should add at this point,’ explained Lizzie. ‘That although this document was originally written in the eighteenth century, automatically implying heterosexual marriage, for the purposes of the entail, same sex marriage would be equally binding.’She felt obliged to point it out.She wasn’t personally one for rumours, but William’s continuous lack of obvious interest in women had been a popular subject for the town gossips for many years. In short, if a man of his age, wealth and good looks wasn’t dating a string of beautiful women, their immediate inference was that he must be gay.

He observed her curiously for a moment before responding. ‘That’s good to know, thank you.’ Being the sole focus of his attention made her feel slightly uncomfortable.It was an unusual sensation that she didn’t normally experience.

‘The second option,’ she continued, slightly flustered, ‘is to surrender your birth right and allow your uncle to distribute the estate across the various charitable organisations listed,’ explained Lizzie, shuffling her paperwork to the list of names.

‘I can’t let that happen,’ he stated simply.‘I can do much more good running the estate as a single entity.’

‘I agree,’ said Lizzie simply, receiving an approving look which unexpectedly set her pulse racing.Trying not to allow those dark eyes to upset her equilibrium, she continued.‘The third option is to persuade your uncle to invoke clause fourteen point three, which would give you a further three years in which to find a wife and marry.’

‘So, in short, my only option is to find a wife in the next eleven months…’

‘One moment please, before we move on,’ interrupted Lizzie. The approving look immediately disappeared to be replaced by an acutely arched eyebrow.This was clearly a man not used to being challenged.‘Your uncle’s ability to temporarily veto the entail is your best shot, given your current situation.Can’t he be reasoned with?’

‘No.’

‘But…’

‘This conversation is confidential, Ms Silverton?’ he queried.

‘Of course.’

‘Strictly confidential?’

‘Legally privileged and strictly confidential,’ she confirmed, feeling her hackles starting to rise again as he seemingly questioned her integrity.

‘And what would happen if this conversation was leaked?’ he queried.

‘Well, nothing, if you leak it,’ explained Lizzie, knowing she would get a reaction.

‘Well, that’s hardly likely, is it?’ he blustered.

‘It’s about as likely as me leaking it,’ said Lizzie, pleased to get a rise from him and glad her point had been made.‘But if I wereto leak this conversation, there would be severe consequences, which would probably result in me losing my job as well as being investigated by the professional ethics committee and potentially being sued by yourself.’

‘That will have to do,’ he nodded.Lizzie bit her inside lip, seething at his response.

‘So,’ she continued, in a voice of forced calm. ‘Your uncle?’

‘We don’t share the same point of view,’ explained William after a short pause.‘He believes dividing the estate up between charities would be an acceptable option. I don’t agree.We employ over one hundred people and farm over thirty thousand acres.I would no longer be able to protect all those people’s livelihoods.’

‘For the sake of those people and this community as a whole, I hope you are able to find a wife, then,’ said Lizzie simply.

‘And on that matter, assuming I do find a wife by the deadline, how long would we need to remain married, for the entail to stick?’ Lizzie flicked through the paperwork to check a clause before turning to face him once more.

‘Two years.’

William nodded, seemingly deep in thought.

‘You’re considering a marriage of convenience?’ queried Lizzie.

‘What other sort of marriage could possibly be open to me?’ he asked, sounding somewhat demoralised.

‘Then I advise you tread exceptionally carefully,’ said Lizzie gently.‘Your wife would be entitled to a significant proportion of your assets upon divorce. You may find the estate being divided up in two years’ time, for even more frustrating reasons.’

‘Unless a contract had been agreed between us, prior to marriage?’ he asked.Silence buzzed in the air between them, as they continued to size each other up.

‘You’ll forgive me for pointing this out, but you’re straying into rather murky legal waters now,’ observed Lizzie.

‘But you couldwrite the contract for me?’ he confirmed quietly.

‘I could.And what’s more, I advise that I do.’

‘You mean that I should keep the circle tight?’ asked William with a questioning look.

‘Yes,’ nodded Lizzie, his glance causing a thrill of either excitement or apprehension, she wasn’t sure which, to travel up her spine and directly into the back of her neck.‘Certainly, the fewer people who know of your intended plans, the better.’ After another pause, during which they held eye contact far longer than necessary, William stood.

‘Well, thank you Ms Silverton.I know I can count on your discretion.You’ve certainly given me plenty to consider.’

‘You’re welcome,’ said Lizzie, rising alongside him. Holding out her hand, he held it firmly. The touch of his skin for the first time had a startling effect on Lizzie’s body as she felt heat flood to her pussy whilst her nipples tightened against her silk blouse.No doubt unintentionally, the perfect pressure from his hand spoke volumes to her on a sub-conscious level and she intuitively knew that he’d be a fantastic lover.

‘Good day,’ he said, withdrawing his hand with a curious glance.

‘Good day,’ breathed Lizzie, trying to ignore the hot flush currently travelling up her neck.Leaning heavily on the desk, she watched him leave.Part of her wanted to slap the man for being so indescribably infuriating.The other part just wanted to drag him back into her office, lock the door and fuck him senseless.

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The full version of this book has just been published on Amazon.  For more information, please visit my website www.fenellaashworth.com.  Cheers :-)

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© Copyright 2019 Fenella Ashworth. All rights reserved.

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