Worth Billions (Worth It Series, #1)By: Lexy Timms
Worth It Series, Volume 1
My hometown smelled like shit. Literal, ethereal shit. Cow shit. Horse shit. Chicken shit. All sorts of shit. Such a fitting omen for my return to the awful place. Why the hell Anton had put me in charge of his estate was beyond me. I was sure the man had family other than me. But I sort of owed it to him to settle his estate. He took me in during the roughest time in my childhood and never once asked me for anything.
Well, he almost never asked.
He called himself my godfather, but the only fatherly thing he ever did was cuss me for wanting to play football before rolling over and accepting it. He said I’d never make anything of myself playing football professionally. That being big didn’t mean I could make it in the big leagues. He advised me to take a safer route. To made an honest, decent living.
Hopefully, he was eating his words and proud as hell of me now.
I plugged my nose as I tore down the main streets of my hometown. Stillsville, Illinois. The name was fitting. Stillsville. The damn place was stuck in the past. They’d rather have their buildings and their heritage rot away than come into the twenty-first century. Or even the twentieth for that matter. I tore down the highway and made my way through the small streets, blasting by people I didn’t want to see. I’d moved away and never looked back for a reason, but now Anton had dragged me all the way back.
With his fucking death.
I’d been up since dawn, riding in my private jet. Landing at O’Hare I’d picked up the rental my assistant booked. There was nowhere to land an airplane near Stillsville. The damn place didn’t even have an airport big enough for me. That summed it up really. The little town hadn’t been big enough for my efforts. For my dreams. For the hard work I put into my life.
I’d been so glad to see it in my rearview mirror when I left all those years ago.
It was just as well my jet couldn’t land here, I didn’t want this town to know how well I was doing anyway. I didn’t care about their respect or their nods of acknowledgement. I didn’t care about their congratulations or their asinine questions about what I was doing to earn my billions. If they found out how much money I had, their hands would be out in a heartbeat. The mayor would be hitting me up for donations, trying to schmooze me over fried foods and bullshit alcoholic drinks I could make better in my sleep. They’d all want something from me, and they would all feel entitled to it because ‘they had a hand in raising me’ or some bullshit.
No the fuck they didn’t.
Stillsville looked just like I remembered. Old. Neglected. Dilapidated. Some of the shops I remembered were already closed down, likely due to their inability to keep up with progress. These people had no idea what kind of world we lived in outside their city limits. They were stuck in the past, and would die there.
Just like Anton had.
Industrial America was on the way out. It already had been when I was a boy, and nothing had replaced it. People in my hometown voted for worthless politicians running on a platform of bringing the industry back, then sat back and watched as their life savings was sucked dry by higher taxes and underhanded government tactics. They sat on their asses waiting for absolutely nothing, yet continued to vote on hope. They went all in, hoping for the past to come back. Instead of other options, like learning a new trade.
Or getting out of the damn place altogether.
This town’s all about family. Heritage. Don’t you turn your back on that, hear me boy?
Football? The hell’s gotten into you? Work with your hands, son. That’s the only way to earn a living.
I could hear the familiar voice of my father in my head as I passed through downtown Stillsville. It was slowly being choked off by weeds and stagnation. Even the concrete of the sidewalk was giving up and surrendering to the unyielding vegetation. It made me sick to look at it. To see all the people that surrounded me as a boy just dying in this poverty, helped along by their own stubborn refusal to change.
Choking on the weeds that pierced through their empty shops.
It didn’t take me long to get to Anton’s house. It sat at the edge of town on a massive piece of land. Though it was one of the largest properties in the area, it was small in comparison to my home in California. People in my hometown thought a two story five-thousand square foot house was too much.