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Our twins are so adorable! They’re so easy going and they never cry. I swear, if I don’t check on them I’d never know if they were hungry or if they needed a diaper change. They already have their own little language. One time Zachary and I caught them cooing and it sounded like Isabel was asking a question and Ivy was responding. It was the most adorable thing I’d ever heard. Zachary and I couldn’t get enough of them.

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Just because we had our hands full with caring for our newborns didn’t mean we spent no time together. When the babies were sleeping that’s when we would steal a moment to make out and cuddle as we talked about our day. I didn’t want motherhood to get in the way of being a good wife so I had to make sure that Zachary knew he was still a priority.

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Now that I was no longer pregnant Zachary and I decided to try out the hot tub for the first time. He was holding out on trying it so we could both experience it together. It was very nice feeling the hot bubbles gently massage my skin.

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“This is nice, isn’t it?” I asked.

“Yes, it is. It was a good idea to create this outdoor deck with the pool and hot tub.”

“I still have some more renovations to make. I want to redo the living room and our bedroom. I still haven’t figured out what to do with that extra room behind the studio…”

“Okay, enough shop talk.” He moved closer to me, caressing my cheek as he stared into my eyes. “The twins are sleeping, your sister’s gone out, so that means we’re all alone. Have any ideas of how we can spend our time?”

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 “But we just got into the tub and you already want to get out and go upstairs?”

“I didn’t say we had to get out.” He winked and then I knew exactly what he meant.

“Zach… we can’t do that here. We’re outside!”

“So? It’ll be adventurous, let’s try it.”

“I don’t know…”

“Come on…” He climbed on top of me and sat on my lap forcing me to giggle at his attempts to seduce me. “Since when have you ever been shy?”

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“Well since you put it that way, I guess I don’t mind trying…” Before I could finish, he threw his body backwards into the tub pulling me down with him so we were both underwater and what happened next was just…well…there were a lot more bubbles and heat in that hot tub than ever before!

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When it was over and we came up from under the water Zachary pointed out that the top part of my swimsuit was pulled down and I didn’t even notice. It was quite funny and as we both laughed about it, I heard the sound of someone else gasping in shock.

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It was Ayden. He came by to see Leni and when no one answered the front door he came around the back. I knew I should be embarrassed or upset because another man saw me naked just as Zachary was, but honestly, I didn’t care…that’s how good the hot tub woohoo was!

“Er… I’m sorry. I didn’t know… sorry…” Ayden stammered before quickly making an exit.

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Served him right for coming over unannounced, though I did wonder where Leni went off to if she wasn’t with him. She never left the house unless he was by her side. Oh well, I hope he enjoyed the eyeful he got because there was no way he’d ever be so lucky again.

“So uh… that was a little embarrassing.” Zachary finally spoke.

“Yes… maybe we should lock the gate from now on so no one could just walk in on our property.”

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Just then we heard the one of the babies crying and realised they had woken up from their nap. Our quiet alone time was over but we didn’t mind the interruption at all. Isabel and Ivy were good babies who only ever cried whenever they needed something and for that I was grateful.

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Dad came over that evening to meet the babies. Now that Mother was gone, there was no one to stop me from inviting my father over to spend some time with me. Leni was inconsequential as I don’t care what she thinks or how she feels about him. It’s not like she could do anything anyway as I was now in charge of everything since Mother’s death. I could now fully embrace my duty as heiress!

Dad was happy for me but I could see the sadness on his face. He loved Mother right down to the end. He never remarried or even dated other women as she was the only one for him. I think a part of him had hoped they could reconcile, that one day she would stop hating him and they could finally be together. Now there was no chance of that.

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“This one is Ivy. Isn’t she cute, well, Isabel is just as cute. They’re not identical but they closely resemble.”

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“She’s beautiful. They both are. They remind me so much of you and your sister when you two were babies. I see so much of Danielle in them too.”

“Yeah I guess.”

“Your mother was a good woman. I wish things could have been different for us. Maybe if I was more careful…”

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“You need to stop wishing for something that’s not going to happen. She’s dead Dad and even if she wasn’t there was no way she’d want to be with you. She wanted to take us down. You and I would have been behind bars right now if luck hadn’t favoured us.”

“I know all that but I can’t help how I feel and I hope this serves as a lesson to you. You need to be really careful when it comes to Zachary. I don’t want you to lose him the way I lost her.”

The thought of losing Zachary if he were to find out about the things I had done frightened me. I loved him more than I ever thought was possible and I didn’t want to end up losing the love of my life just like Dad did. Ivy giggled and then soon I realised that losing Zachary was not an option. “That won’t happen, Dad. I’ll be very careful. Besides, Zachary won’t abandon his children. He’ll want our family to stay together no matter what because he’s so family-oriented. There’s no way I’ll ever lose him, but, you are right about me being more careful in the future.”

“I hope you’re right about him. Anyway, there’s something I need to talk about with the both of you.”

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We went outside to meet Zachary who was watering the plants in the garden. I was curious about why he needed to talk to the both of us and what the reason was.

“Stating the obvious here, I’m getting old.” He began. “My time will be up soon and when I go someone will need to take over as the leader of my gang. Now my people are good at lifting and following orders but they’re not leaders and I don’t trust any of them to be able to take my place which leaves me with just the two of you. You’re both smart, capable, and I know you’ll run this operation like a true business and keep those minions in order. So when I’m gone, I want my daughter and son-in-law to take my place.”

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“Of course, we’ll take over for you Dad…” I began but then Zachary interrupted me.

“We should talk about this first Gemma. I mean, it’s not just us we have to think of anymore, we have to think about what’s best for the girls. What if something happens and we get caught, what will happen to them? I made sure that we were covered on the laundering side. If Stephan or his people got caught there was nothing linking your store to them but if we’re directly involved in the acquisition as the boss then that puts us in a risky situation. There’s a lot to consider here.”

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“But Zach…”

“He is right Gemma. This might not be the right fit for you.” He looked at Zachary and then at me before he continued. “You both need to decide what’s best for your family. After all, this is an important step and there are risks involved but I’m sure you’ll ultimately decide what’s right. I’ll be waiting for your answer.”

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I knew by the look on Dad’s face what he was trying to tell me. Zachary’s reluctance and reservations were his answer and now Dad was waiting for mine. “OK Dad, we’ll let you know.” I said but I already had my mind made up.

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It’s kind of strange to visit Mother’s grave. Leni and Zachary came here almost every day since she died but I never did. I never wanted to. I didn’t see the need to visit people’s graves to mourn after they died because it’s not like doing so could make them come back but for some reason I absent-mindedly made my way to the side of the house where past generations of Sloanes were buried.

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She was so smug that night we last spoke. So sure of herself that she caught me and that it would only be a matter of time before she could put me behind bars.

Her own daughter! The mother of her only grandchildren! I was pregnant, due to give birth any day and she was willing to arrest me instead of supporting me the way a mother should. She didn’t have to agree with my choices but she could have at least tried to be understanding.

Instead of loving me unconditionally she constantly criticised and lectured me about my supposed darkness that she thought I inherited from Dad. I’m not a bad person and there is no darkness in me. If she took the time to get to know me she’d understand that. But no, she had her mind made up since I was a kid that I was trouble and she never saw me differently. Sure, I killed Jeff, but it was practically self-defense since he was such a threat and honestly, I did the world a favour by getting rid of that creep.

If she only knew what I was about to do now. I’m sure she knows anyway and she’s probably rolling in her grave right now. Her very worst nightmare was about to come true. I accepted Dad’s offer to be his heir. Not only would I be the heiress to the Sloane legacy but I’d also be the heiress to a promising empire that will only grow in power, wealth and influence under my reign.

Poor Mother, I’m really sorry that I didn’t become the darling daughter you hoped I would be, but now I have a duty to my own daughters to become a powerful force that they can look up to.

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