Read the First Chapter of Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s YA Heist Heiress Takes All

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Read the First Chapter of Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s YA Heist Heiress Takes All

Though the writing duo of Emily Wibberley and Austing Siegemund-Broka have been dipping their toe into the adult romance genre of late (FYI, Swifties, The Breakup Tour is for you!), the pair cut their teeth writing breezy, entertaining YA romps, often with an unexpected dash of sweetness on top. The pair’s latest, Heiress Takes All, is perhaps their most entertaining yet, featuring an over-the-top central premise and a cast of charming characters. 

Described as The Inheritance Games meets Ocean’s 11, the story follows Olivia, a Rhode Island teenager who went from riches to rags when her parents divorced. Left broke and swimming in debt after her mom is in a car accident, the former heiress decides it’s time to get even with her philandering father who put them in this position in the first place. And thus, a plan is born: steal the codes to his offshore accounts in the middle of her father’s wedding with the help of her friends and redistribute the cash. What could possibly go wrong?

Here’s how the publisher describes the story.

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Owens isn’t thrilled that her dad’s getting remarried…again. She’s especially not thrilled that he cheated on her mom, kicked them out of their Rhode Island home, and cut Olivia out of her rightful inheritance. 

But this former heiress has a plan for revenge. While hundreds of guests gather on the grounds of the gorgeous estate where she grew up, everyone will be thinking romance–not robbery. She’ll play the part of dutiful daughter, but in reality she’ll be redistributing millions from her father’s online accounts. She only needs the handwritten pass code he keeps in the estate’s safe. 

With the help of an eclectic crew of high school students and one former teacher, Olivia has plotted her mid-nuptial heist down to the second. But she didn’t plan for an obnoxiously nosy wedding guest, an interfering ex-boyfriend intent on winning her back, greedy European cousins with their own agenda, or a vengeful second wife. When everything seems like it’s going wrong, Olivia has to keep her eyes on what really matters: getting rich. And when she’s done, “something borrowed” will be the understatement of the year.

Heiress Takes All hits shelves on June 4, but we’ve got an exclusive look at the book’s first chapter for you right now. 

ONE

I really shouldn’t have worn heels to my very first heist. They cost me only seconds on the stairs, possibly less. Seconds might be critical, though, in moments like this one. I reach the bottom steps, then the dark wood of the basement corridors, where I pause to pull off my pumps.

Ugh. More lost moments.

The instant they’re in my hand, straps hung on my rubbed-raw fingers, I run.

Footsteps pound behind me. Not the ominous rhythm of two feet or even the hectic syncopation of four. This is a crowd.

The long passageways I’ve dashed into mock me with their formality, their elegance. White baseboards giving way to pink paint; deep, dark hardwood floors where the balls of my bare feet thump with every step; crown molding, which…I only know what crown molding is because Dad would not stop pointing out to guests that the crown molding dates back to the 1800s.

I don’t fixate on their charms, though. Instead, I concentrate on how I know every inch of this house.

Like it knows me. The Olivia who learned to walk here. The wide-eyed girl who couldn’t help imagining she’d inherited her very own modern fairy tale, complete with the closest thing to a castle Rhode Island possessed. The Olivia who invited over prep school classmates to experience its epic grounds because when she felt like she couldn’t be interesting or important or loved, one thing she could be was rich.

The Olivia of now, who visits every week, quietly shocked by how quickly she could feel like a guest.

The Olivia of today, determined to steal from this house the way the past few years have stolen from her. 

I hit the first corner in the hall, clenching my fist around what I’ve stolen, a reminder of why the footsteps won’t stop. With every step, I fight to ignore the warm, wet sensation running down from my shoulder to my elbow. Sweat sticks the fabric of my dress to my back.

My ruined dress. It’s probably the only pang of remorse I have for how the day went. The pink baby-doll dress my mom purchased, determined for me to fit into my dad’s world, despite how his new bride’s handbags cost what Mom makes every month. If I get out of here, I know how Mom’s face will fall when she glimpses the present ragged state of what I’m wearing.

I understood that today would exact its costs, though. Every one of us did. If I’m caught, I won’t be the only one going down for this.

Pushing my pace, I hit the next corner. Left, past the restroom with the white orchid. I wonder if even one single human being has used the white-orchid restroom this millennium. Then the next turn, right—

Wham. I slam my hand on the handle of the unassuming, unpretentious door. Behind it, concrete service stairs descend even lower. The walls of the hallway here have changed without warning from genteel Georgian to unceremonious, unyielding gray cement. The deepest inner workings of this home, where guests never come, hold the house’s circuit boards, its mechanics, its nerve center. Mr. McCoy would point out how metaphorical the sharp change is, for capitalism or, I don’t know, national history. Every country club hides mazes of concrete.

I race down the hall, passing the first door, then the first corner, then the second door. I played hide-and-seek down here once with my mom before the divorce.

The third door on the left is wide-open.

I rush inside, then slam it shut, chest heaving, my perfect home- made balayage now congealed clumps of brown and blond hanging haywire over my shoulders. In the center of the small, dark room, I pull my phone from my damp clutch. My heart constricts when the screen lights up.

The group chat is frantic.

Knight

King, please respond!!!! THE hell is going on

Queen

King seriously. Update now

Rook

Someone please get a picture of the cake.

Knight

??? The cake RN ???

Assface

Yo the cake was poppin my guy.

I gotchu.

Rook

Can someone other than Assface get eyes on the cake?

Pawn

King, please confirm your status. Thanks.

Knight

You text so weird man

Pawn

I text like an adult, Knight.

With shaking hands, I key in my reply.

King

Everything is under control. Stick to the plan.

The truth is, the message is for me, too. Everything is under control, I repeat in my head. You’re fine. No, you’re incredible. You’re ingenious. Okay, now you’re getting hyperbolic. Rein it in, girl. You’re good. You’re fine.

Everything is going to be fine.

Everything is under control.

Past the closed door, the sound of footsteps is now nearly inaudible. The wet trickle is reaching my forearm.

Everything is under control.

Slowing my breathing, I press on my phone’s flashlight to investigate my surroundings for escape routes. While I might know every inch of this unwelcoming home, I don’t necessarily know every conceivable hidden exit from its subterranean floor. Because—funny thing—none of the near lifetime of memories I’ve willingly or unwillingly made here included felonies.

Not wanting to draw my pursuers, I keep the overhead light off, which leaves everything outside the glow of my flashlight unclear in the dark. But there—near the ceiling, one small rectangular window reveals the deep blue evening outside. I just need something to climb on to reach it.

Swinging my light to the wall of high metal shelves, I search for pool equipment or boxes of gardening supplies or who knows what—

The door crashes open behind me.

In one of the most heart-stopping moments of my life, it occurs to me—the fact that the footsteps were dampened didn’t mean they weren’t coming closer. I whirl, the iridescent jewel of my phone’s flashlight sweeping the room.

When my eyes reach the doorway, framing my pursuer in the light of the concrete hallway, I say nothing. I do nothing, except real- ize, for the first time today—

I do not have everything under control. 

Heiress Takes All will be released on June 4 and you can pre-order it right now. 


Lacy Baugher Milas is the Books Editor at Paste Magazine, but loves nerding out about all sorts of pop culture. You can find her on Twitter @LacyMB

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