YR mashup Victoria ashland victor Billy

John Paschal/JPI; Howard Wise/JPI (3)

Will a vicious lie tear apart the new life she’s trying to build?

If we’re being honest, we’ve wanted The Young and the Restless‘ Victoria to find a new man to love for quite a while. For far too long, she was stuck in a vicious, self-destructive cycle with Billy. Now that he’s moved on with Lily (although we can’t help thinking the level of investment he still has in Victoria’s life could be a problem… ), it seems that Victoria, too, is starting a new life. And while we love both Ashland and what he brings out in the heroine, we can’t help but notice those dark storm clouds gathering on the horizon.

More: Melissa Ordway (Abby) looks back at her life

Part of the problem might simply be the gossip which we’ve heard about Ashland since before he and his manipulative Mrs. were introduced. They don’t call him the Locke Ness Monster for nothing. While we’ve so far seen few signs of the man described as being ruthless in both his business and personal life, we have a theory that’s downright chilling… and would prove disastrous on every level for Victoria.

Last week, Tara decided to up the ante in her custody fight with Ashland by releasing a misleading video she hoped would make her ex look like a bad father and husband. It was a dirty trick but one we suspect she learned from Ashland. After all, it’s likely that his media empire was built on more than a few anonymously leaked stories designed to forward a narrative that might be misleading at best and a full-blown lie at worst.

More: Tara is in for a world of hurt!

Which brings us to that other recently leaked bit of info regarding Ashland’s medical records and the fact that he’s supposedly only got a few months to live. There’s been much speculation as to who could have released that information and why, and after doing a bit of math, we’ve come to the conclusion that one (Ashland’s reputation) plus one (Victoria’s vulnerability) might just equal two undeniable facts: Ashland released his own medical condition in order to take both Victor’s company and daughter away from him.

Could Ashland be playing a horribly cruel game with Victoria, creating a faux illness in order to get the beauty to lower her defenses? Might the mogul have some secret reason for wanting to destroy Victor and, should those The Mustache loves be hurt in the process, so much the better? And with this being a soap opera, could Ashland find himself suffering a fate worse than (fake) death by falling for the woman he hopes to use, only to have her discover his ruse and prove herself to be Victor’s daughter by doing everything in her power to destroy her would-be beau?

What do you think, Young & Restless fans… could Ashland be playing both a horrible trick and, unwittingly, with fire? Or do you believe he truly is dying and that his love for Victoria is genuine? Hit the comments with your theories, then visit the gallery below in which we take a closer look at Victoria’s love life to see where Ashland ranks among the men she’s left in her wake.