Loathe to Love You by Ali Hazelwood

            “What?” Sadie aborts the tissue mission to frown at me.

            “Well, she did own it. But only a little. Only . . . half.”

            “And who owns the other half?” Trust Hannah to zoom in on the crux of the problem.

            “Originally, Helena’s brother, who died and left it to his kids. Then the youngest son bought out the others, and now he’s the sole owner. Well, with me.” I clear my throat. “His name is Liam. Liam Harding. He’s a lawyer in his early thirties. And he currently lives in the house. Alone.”

            Sadie’s eyes widen. “Holy shit. Did Helena know?”

            “I have no clue. You’d assume, but the Hardings are such a weird family.” I shrug. “Old money. Lots of it. Think Vanderbilts. Kennedys. What even goes on in rich people’s brains?”

            “Probably monocles,” Hannah says.

            I nod. “Or topiary gardens.”


            “Polo tournaments.”

            “Cuff links.”

            “Hang on,” Sadie interrupts us. “What did Liam Vanderbilt Kennedy Harding say about this at the funeral?”

            “Excellent question, but: he wasn’t there.”

            “He didn’t show up to his aunt’s funeral?”

            “He doesn’t really keep in touch with his family. Lots of drama, I suspect.” I tap my chin. “Maybe they’re less Vanderbilts, more Kardashians?”

            “Are you saying that he doesn’t know that you own the other half of his house?”

            “Someone gave me his number and I told him I’d be coming around.” I pause before adding, “Via text. We haven’t talked yet.” Another pause. “And he didn’t really . . . reply.”

            “I don’t like this,” Sadie and Hannah say in unison. Any other time I’d laugh about their hive mind, but there’s something else I still haven’t told them. Something they’ll like even less.

            “Fun fact about Liam Harding . . . You know how Helena was, like, the Oprah of environmental science?” I chew on my lower lip. “And she always joked that her entire family was mostly liberal-leaning academics out to save the world from the clutches of big corporations?”


            “Her nephew is a corporate lawyer for FGP Corp.” Just saying the words makes me want to gargle with mouthwash. And floss. My dentist will be thrilled.

            “FGP Corp—the fossil fuels people?” A deep line appears in the middle of Sadie’s brow. “Big oil? Supermajors?”


            “Oh my God. Does he know you’re an environmental scientist?”

            “Well, I did give him my name. And my LinkedIn profile is just a Google search away. Do rich people use LinkedIn, you think?”

            “No one uses LinkedIn, Mara.” Sadie rubs her temple. “Jesus Christ, this is really bad.”

            “It’s not that bad.”

            “You can’t go meet with him alone.”

            “I’ll be fine.”

            “He’ll kill you. You’ll kill him. You’ll kill each other.”

            “I . . . maybe?” I close my eyes and lean back against the seat. I’ve been talking myself out of panicking for seventy-two hours—with mixed results. I can’t crack now. “Believe me, he’s the last person I want to co-own a house with. But Helena did leave half of it to me, and I kind of need it? I owe a billion in student loans, and D.C. is crazy expensive. Maybe I can stay there for a bit? Save on rent. It’s a fiscally responsible decision, no?”

            Sadie face-palms just as Hannah says combatively, “Mara, you were a grad student until ten minutes ago. You’re barely above the poverty line. Do not let him kick you out of that house.”