PROLOGUE

New York City, New York

3rd, March, 1988

The room was closed and stuffy, Clarissa Hope wanted nothing better than to leave this place. The room reminded her to much of her grandmother. Eloise Martin was the only person who had ever truly loved her. Now she had died and left Clarissa with her insufferable stepmother to deal with.

A sharply intook breath broke Clarissa out of her reverie.

"Excuse me can you repeat that phrase please?" Clarissa winced inwardly at her step-mother's cold voice. The solicitor cleared his voice and reread the phrase.

"I repeat , I Eloise Martin wills that my grandaughter Clarissa Hope recieves from my estate two million dollars upon marraige before her 28th birthday. If a marraige has not taken place by June 14th 1988 all of two million dollars will be passed on to my step-daughter Georgina Hope to be used as she so desires." Clarissa eyes snapped together and she stared icily at her step-mother and spoke thruogh her teeth.

"My step-mother will not be receiving any of my grand-mother's hard-earned money." Clarissa stated icily "Is there anything else Mr. Cramer?" Clarissa turned her cold stare on the solicitor.The short, rotund man gulped and stuttered.

"Yes, there is one more thing Ms. Hope, upon your death all the money will go to charity."

"Is that all?"

The small man nodded, his double chin slapping against his neck.

"Thank-you sir. I'll be taking my leave now."

Clarissa walked out of the room head held high, back rigid, refusing to give in to the panic that threatened to overwhelm her.