Sinful Heir (The Heirs #6) by Michelle Heard

Chapter 1




HANA



Hana 18; Tristan 23

“Hi, Daddy,” I say as I reach their table at the Christmas function.

Dad gets up and folds me into a warm hug. “Hey, snuggle-bug.”

When Dad lets me go, I embrace Mom before I take a seat at our table.

“How was the trip?” Mom asks.

Currently, I’m in my senior year, and I went on a skiing vacation with my friends.

“Good. I’m glad to be back, though. I missed you.”

After tonight's Christmas function for CRC Holdings and Indie Ink held at the country club, I plan on spending the week I still have left of my winter break at home doing nothing. I love my parents, and being with them always leaves me feeling recharged and ready to face the world again.

“We missed you, too,” Dad says as he leans over to press a kiss to my temple. Being a daddy’s girl, I soak in the affection.

“Are you coming home with us?” Mom asks, a hopeful expression on her face.

“Yes. My luggage is already at the house. I came with Fallon so I could ride back with you.”

A pleased smile forms on Mom’s face.

“That’s good,” Dad murmurs. His eyes sweep over me, then he says, “You look beautiful. Is that a new dress?”

I nod. “Yeah, Fallon made me wear it.” Fallon’s been my best friend since forever. Our families go way back, and her parents are my godparents. We’ll both be working together at CRC Holdings once we’re done with our degrees at Trinity Academy.

Someone catches Dad’s attention, and then he rises from his seat, saying, “The Hayes’ family just arrived. We should greet them.”

Standing up, I wait for my parents to take the lead, and then I follow behind them.

Even though I haven’t interacted much with the Hayes’ family, some of my best friends come from the families that own Indie Ink. They have close business ties with CRC Holdings, so I’ll be dealing a lot with them in the future.

“Carter,” Dad says as we reach them, “how are you?”

“Good,” Mr. Hayes replies. “And yourself?”

I wait for Mom to greet Mr. and Mrs. Hayes, and then I step forward, saying, “It’s good to see you again.”

“Wow,” Mrs. Hayes says, her gaze drifting over me. “You’ve grown into quite the vision, Hana.”

Mom is Korean, and I inherited her dark hair and creamy complexion, where my eyes are warm-brown like Dad’s. I’m short like Mom, though, barely reaching five feet three inches.

“Thank you, Mrs. Hayes. You look beautiful, as well.”

With my duties done, I excuse myself with a smile so I can join my friends. I’m halfway across the floor when a man suddenly steps back, and as he turns, his elbow connects with my neck, and I’m sent sprawling over the tiles.

Grabbing hold of my throat, I gasp for air from the sharp blow. I can feel the nearby guests staring at me, and it sends a wave of embarrassment through me, making my face flush.

“Oh, dear,” the man exclaims.

Hands grip hold of my shoulders, and I’m pushed up into a sitting position. Then I hear a low rumbling near my ear, “Are you okay?”

I nod, and as I begin to pick myself up off the tiles, the grip on my shoulders tightens, and I’m lifted to my feet.

“Thank you,” I murmur as I turn to the person who was kind enough to help me.

My eyes collide with an ice-blue gaze. It takes me a moment to realize Tristan Hayes is standing in front of me.

Damn, he’s changed a lot since I last saw him. How long has it been? Two years? Three?

He tilts his head, and I can swear there’s a flash of… warning? Apprehension ripples down my spine as if I’m standing face to face with a wolf.

“Hana,” he murmurs, his voice rough and deadly, the timbre causing ripples to spread through my body.

Not able to keep his gaze, I lower my eyes to his tie. “Tristan.” I begin to turn away. “Thank you for helping me.”

My intention of making a quick exit goes up in smoke when I’m stopped by the man who bumped into me. “Miss Cutler. So sorry for the little accident.”

He’s old enough to be my grandfather, so when his meaty hand settles on my shoulder, I instantly feel uncomfortable. “Like you said, it was an accident. If you’ll excuse me.”

His hand slides down to my bicep, and then his fingers wrap around my arm, making disgust churn in my stomach.