Wealthy and high-profile, the Chase dynasty has everything an African-American family could ever want—except what money can’t buy…
Ever since Carter Chase’s ex-fiancé, Avery, married another man, he’s resolved to win her back. And when an accident sends her to his side, Carter seems to have sealed the deal. But fate has a different plan…
Meanwhile, Carter’s brother, Michael, is entangled in a scandal that’s alienated him from his powerful father. Hoping to redeem himself, Michael proposes a new business idea. But his partner in the venture—and in his bed—is not the ally he imagines…
Not to be left out, youngest daughter, Haley, becomes embroiled with a law student-turned-murder suspect. Of course, the young man has an alibi—one he paid good money for. Soon, Haley and the entire Chase family are drawn into a publicity nightmare that can only end with a shocking revelation…
“Winters’ juicy novel about a wealthy but utterly dysfunctional family is a real page-turner.” --Booklist
“Fast-paced and full of drama.” --The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
Thirty-one-year-old Carter Chase was standing impatiently
in the foyer of his family’s famous and
often photographed home, the fifteen-thousandsquare-
foot Chase Mansion in View Park, a suburb
of Los Angeles. He was impatient for a couple of
reasons. First, his parents, Steven and Janet, were
late. Church let out at eleven and it was twelve-
thirty. They had promised to be home by noon at
the latest. Second, he was always impatient to see
his baby girl, Connor, especially considering he
only had another eight hours with her before her
mother would come pick her up from his house.
Connor Chase, the newest addition to America’s
wealthiest and most famous black family, was born
six months ago and Carter’s life was changed forever.
Only a few months earlier, he’d been knocked
in the face with the reality that her mother, Avery
Jackson, the woman Carter loved and had wanted
to marry, was married to another man, and pregnant.
He was only temporarily jealous of the other
man, college professor Anthony Harper, because
he had little right to be. Carter understood that he
drove Avery away trying to control her and keep
secrets from her. He was wrong and deserved to
have his heart broken, which she did when she left
L.A. to live in secrecy with relatives outside Miami.
But he’d never stopped believing he would get her
back. And as much as it hurt that she had been
with another man, he wouldn’t pass judgment on
her. He’d been sleeping with any woman he could
get his hands on in the six months after Avery left
California, just to stop thinking about her for a few
But the pregnancy was another thing. He was
certain that Connor was his from the moment he
saw Avery’s belly, but Anthony had convinced
Avery to lie and say the baby was his. He’d conspired
with a local doctor who owed him a big
favor to create medical records to support the lie.
The idea that Avery, the woman he loved with all
his heart, was having another man’s baby had
Being a Chase, a member of America’s black royal
family, Carter had always gotten everything he
wanted. He’d had a charmed life, always able to win
any contest and influence or buy his way out of
whatever he needed to. He was an heir to an empire,
Ivy League educated and in charge of his
own successful law firm; not to mention having
that whole tall, dark, and handsome thing in his
favor. He was six feet tall with chocolate brown skin
and hazel eyes. His smile and style added to making
him one of the most eligible bachelors on the
market, with his pick of the best women. Which
was why everyone was surprised when he hung it all
up for a middle-class girl next door, Avery Jackson.
But they just didn’t know. He hadn’t expected
to fall in love with her at all, but Avery quickly became
everything in the world to him. She was perfect
in every way that mattered. She grounded him,
made him feel like a king regardless of his last
name or his wealth. Carter felt a connection to
Avery that he hadn’t believed could exist between
a man and a woman. But he’d made mistakes to
get her away from her first fiancé, Alex, and even
more mistakes to keep her. Unlike the other women
he’d dated, Avery didn’t care about the money, the
glossy high-life or the power. She didn’t care about
all the things that came with being a Chase, so for
the first time in his life a woman didn’t put up with
his crap, and she had left it all behind.
Like with any other obstacle, as soon as Avery
returned Carter was determined to win her back,
regardless of her marital and parental status. And
he’d almost done it. He’d gotten her to the point
where she admitted she wanted him—loved him—
but there was one problem. Avery actually believed
in fidelity and the sanctity of marriage. She wouldn’t
cheat on Anthony and she wouldn’t leave him even
after the truth of Connor’s paternity came out.
But he was a Chase, so there was always a plan B.
It would take a lot of patience, but he would get
Avery back. And although he had been angry with
her when she finally told him that Connor was his,
moments after giving birth, it only made him more
determined to get her back. Now it was about more
than the woman he loved; he had a family.
So while it hurt to see Avery with her husband,
Carter knew it was only a matter of time before
he’d have her back. Meanwhile, he took every moment
he could to spend with his daughter, whom
he loved to no end.
That was, he took every moment that he could
get Connor away from her doting grandmother,
“They’re coming.” Maya, the caretaker of Chase
Mansion, stood at the archway between the foyer
and the great room.
She looked tired, although Carter never really
saw her do anything but cook. She always hired
contractors to do heavy work, but he knew his
mother loved Maya, who had been taking care of
the Chase clan for almost fifteen years.
“I can hear the car, Maya. Thanks.”
“Are you sure I can’t get you somethin’?” Although
she’d been in the country for more than
twenty years, Maya’s Caribbean accent was still
very strong. “You know how she likes to stall when
she has the baby.”
“Not this time,” Carter said. “I have to get going.
I’m meeting Julia for lunch.”
Carter noted that Maya rolled her eyes like she
did whenever the name of Julia Hall, Carter’s current
girlfriend, was mentioned. Maya had loved
Avery because Avery was kind and warm to her,
while Julia maintained a clear class distinction in
the very few times she even acknowledged Maya
Carter smiled at the sound of his baby’s voice.
Before the front door even opened, he could hear
her laughter and cooing.
Janet Chase, a woman of the best breeding,
class, and social mastery, had always placed her
family first. She was the image maker of the Chase
name, and tough as nails when it came to her family.
She was also a sucker for a grandchild, and her
only granddaughter simply brought her to her
knees. She hated giving her up, but as soon as she
walked into the house, she could see from the look
on her oldest son’s face, that she wasn’t going to
get away with her stall tactics today.
“Don’t start,” Janet said as she handed the baby
bag to Maya. “We tried to leave, but they wouldn’t
let us. Ask your father.”
“Who is they?” Carter asked, delighting at the
squeal Connor gave as soon as she saw him and
reached out for her daddy. She was so stinkin’ cute.
“Everyone at church.” Janet reluctantly handed
Connor over. “I tell you, she looks more and more
like Leigh every day. She looks ridiculously cute in
her new dress.”
Janet spent an obscene amount of money on
dresses for Connor. There were two other Chase
grandchildren, twins by second son, Michael, but
Connor was a girl and that took Janet’s indulgence
to a whole other level.
“You’re not letting people, strangers, hold her,
Mom.” Carter gave Connor a big, fat kiss on her
“Of course not.” Janet smoothed out her cobalt
blue, Diane Von Furstenberg cashmere wrap dress.
She was a very beautiful woman, who still turned
heads in her fifties because she looked at least ten
years younger than she was, and she had an air of
unattainability about her that men loved.
She turned to Maya. “Can you please serve lunch
in the Florida room in about an hour?”
Maya nodded, handing the baby bag to Carter
“Hello, son.” Steven Chase closed the front
door behind him, greeting his son briefly before
reaching down for his vibrating smartphone.
Carter would have replied if he thought his father
was paying any attention, but he knew he wasn’t.
Steven Chase was head of a billion-dollar empire,
Chase Beauty, and that empire came first. There
was no ignoring him once he walked into a room.
From even his youngest days, Steven had a presence
that sucked up all the attention in the room.
This included his own children, his sons especially.
Carter and his father had been at odds as long
as Carter could remember, with brief periods of
peace. Right now was a period of peace where they
got along, but that still didn’t guarantee he’d get
any attention from his father.
“You’re making me late for lunch with Julia,”
Carter said to his mother.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were having lunch
with her?” Janet asked. “I can keep Connor while
“No thanks,” Carter said. “You’ll see Connor again
soon. We have to . . .”
“You know,” Janet interrupted, “this wouldn’t
be an inconvenience if you actually came to
Carter gave his mother an annoyed glance. “You
know that’s not going to happen, Mom.”
“You should open your eyes, son.” Janet leaned
forward to kiss Connor on her tiny, brown nose.
“That God you’ve decided not to believe in gave
you this blessing.”
“Science and genetics gave me this blessing,”
Carter replied. In choosing to govern his beliefs by
logic and rationality, he had made the decision while
at Harvard as an undergrad to believe in evolution
over creationism, and his mother had given him a
hard time about it ever since. Avery gave him hell
“Carter.” Steven hung up his cell, getting his
son’s attention. His salt-and-pepper temples added
a distinguished look to his dark, masculine figure.
“Come in the office. I need to talk business with
“I can’t,” Carter said.
Chase Beauty was the largest client of Chase Law,
the small firm that Carter had decided to start instead
of joining his father’s company. This, in addition
to his sense of entitlement and assumption of
power and control over everything, made Steven
expect Carter to jump at the snap of his finger.
“I have to meet Julia for...”
“Now,” Steven said definitively. He was already
walking down the hallway toward his office.
Janet joyously reached her arms out. “I’ll hold
her while . . .”
“Nice try,” Carter said as he headed down the
hallway with his baby in his arms.
“Close the door,” Steven ordered without looking
up from his desk.
“Dad, this has to be quick.”
Steven looked up, ready to remind his stubborn
son that a one-hundred-thousand-dollar-a-month
retainer meant he could take as much time as he
wanted, but thought better of it. They were getting
along, as much as Steven and Carter could ever get
along. These periods of relative peace between
them never lasted long, so Steven let it go. “Did
you read that Luxury Life report I sent you?”
“I read all the reports weeks...”
“No, this is a new one I had my marketing department
put together. I sent it to your office
Carter shook his head. “I haven’t gotten around
“Dammit, Carter!” Steven leaned back in the detailed
leather chair of his finely furnished home office,
one of seventeen rooms in the house. “That’s
the only thing I asked you to do for me this week.”
Carter pretended to bite Connor’s tiny fingers as
she put them over his mouth. She laughed as is if it
was the funniest thing ever. “You know I have that
big antitrust case right now, and two new clients.”
Steven sighed. “As your father, I’m glad your
firm is growing. As your client, I don’t give a
damn. Read the report by Monday.”
That was a lie, Carter thought. He wasn’t glad as
a father either. Although he had interned in the
Chase Beauty legal department during Harvard
Law, Carter’s decision to go out on his own instead
of join the company, as expected, had always been
a sore point between him and his father. A sore
point was putting it lightly.
“I’ll get to it tonight, after I drop Connor at
Avery’s . . .”
“Carter, I know you’re happy you have a baby
and all that, but you can’t let it interfere with your