To Madam Vanderbilt, benefits always came first. The men would inherit the family business, and the women would marry someone with power and status to help the family.
That was why she would protect Willow—because she had ‘usage’.
Stephen held his fist. “Mom, isn’t Maisie your granddaughter too?”
“Maisie?” Madam Vanderbilt’s temper rose. “She’s exactly like her mother, always the outsider of the family. Why should I rely on her?
“Didn’t you marry Marina because of how capable she was? Your place in Bassburgh was sealed because of her, but did she respect me? She was immoral for thinking about another man when she was already married to you. The apple definitely doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Stephen’s sudden outburst stunned everyone. Even Madam Vanderbilt looked at him like he was out of his mind. Her son had never yelled at her.
“You have no right to talk about Marina like that.” Stephen stomped upstairs right after he said that.
Leila, who still had her hand t
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