Meg The cab driver slowly pulls up to a beautiful, multimillion-dollar estate. The tree-lined driveway is about a mile long, but I savor every second that it takes to reach the large house. I’m dreading everything about this job. I’m walking into a situation for which I am not prepared. In truth, I blame Simon. This is all his fault. Yes, he’s been my boyfriend for the past five years. But he’s also been a real jerk. I’d say he’s borderline verbally abusive to me—and this latest event is not helping his case. I’m here because of him. I’m here under false pretense. I’m going to be posing as a maid. This situation is just laughable because I’m not the tidiest person in my own life. I don’t clean, and yet here I’ve been sent to the Belcourt Estate to work as a maid. George Belcourt died about a month ago. He had a heart attack. Simon wasn’t sad to see him go. And neither was George’s mistress, Joan, who is Simon’s mother. The two of them together are the most money-hungry people I’ve ever met. George must’ve known that his mistress, Joan, was only out for his cash because he deliberately left her out of his will. It doesn’t matter how many scores of diamonds and rubies he bought her, how many fur coats or trips to the south of France—all of it pales in comparison to the billion-dollar fortune he left to his four stepsons…not including Simon. These stepsons are to be my new targets. I’m here at the estate to spy on the brothers and to try to understand how Simon can fit himself and his mother back into the will. It’s a fool’s errand because any normal person can see that all the proper documentation is in place. George’s will was composed by the best, most top-of-the-line lawyers money can buy. That document’s gotta be ironclad. But alas, I find myself here. I don’t know how Simon plans to amend it, but I do know that if I don’t do this task for him, I’m in big trouble. If I don’t betray these brothers and get some dirt on them, Simon will do everything in his power to ruin my life. Like I said, he’s kind of a bad egg…an asshole really. And I want out.
I figure if I do this one chore for him and he inherits some money, he’ll be so blissfully unaware of me that I can just sneak away. He’ll be so into parties and money that hopefully ruining my life won’t matter so much to him, and I can just leave. I plan to escape to somewhere tropical when this is all over. Just me and a margarita on the beach. No Simon, no Joan, just peace. I’ve wanted out of the relationship for a while, and this escape to the country may not be such a bad thing for me personally...if it means setting in motion my plan to get away from Simon. This time apart may do us good. And most of all, it may provide me with a perfect opportunity to leave. Simon’s not a pauper by any means. He doesn’t have a billion-dollar fortune, but he does have enough money and connections in New York City to make sure that I never get ahead. I’ve threatened to break up with him before, and all it did was get me in hot water. He said he’d ruin me if I ever left him. And I believe he could do it. I don’t even want to think of what my life would look like if I broke up with him. Though it’s what my heart is aching to do. And so I feel a sick kind of fluster of nerves as the cab pulls up to the mansion. The prospect of having to be someone I’m not is just not my thing. I pride myself in being an honest person. And yet this horrible position Simon’s put me in will assure that I have to undermine the Belcourt brothers—these men I don’t even know but have definitely heard about. There’s a certain amount of infamy that comes with the Belcourt family name, and I’m about to walk straight into it. “Well, here you go, honey. Good luck. By the looks of this place, I don’t think you’re going to need it,” the cab driver says. “Thanks,” I say, tossing him some money—a lot of money, considering we just came from the city. I get out of the cab and look at my new future. This place is gorgeous. It looks like your classic English manor, with the brick façade and ivory climbing up around every window. The grounds exude a sense of legacy, with old oak trees rooting down into the earth and revealing how historical the mansion must be.