You Are My Reason Page 1

Author: Willow Winters

Series: You Are Mine #1

Genres: Romance





“You should be thanking me for cleaning up your mess,” my father says snidely from where he’s seated in his high-back desk chair. His fingers grip the leather arms and his thumbs rub gently back and forth across the brass studs.

Though the blinds are closed, the tall windows behind my father fill the large office with fading light from the evening sunset.

Looking over my shoulder, I narrow my gaze at him, still holding a random law textbook I’ve taken from the floor-to-ceiling shelves that line the walls of his office. The room smells like old books. With the dark wood, tan leather and deep red Beaumont rug, the decor reeks of old money and that’s exactly what this room represents.

That and bullshit.

Lies and corruption are what have kept this room in its current state for generations. I’ve pretended for so long that it wasn’t true. But now that I’ve learned what my father’s done to get this “esteemed” position … I can’t turn a blind eye to it anymore. His actions are undeniable and unforgivable.

I huff a small laugh, not letting him see how affected I am. “For the last time,” I say as I shut the book and smirk at him, “it wasn’t my mess.”

I’m not admitting to a damn thing. Not even to my own father. In this city, one slipup could send you tumbling into an early grave like my mother. I’m not responsible for the mess my father’s referring to and I refuse to take the blame.

I don’t trust him. I don’t trust anyone any longer.

My father’s face reddens before he picks up a cup of hot coffee. He holds the black mug with both hands, blowing across the top and refusing to back down.

“You would have gone through hell—”

“No, I wouldn’t have,” I say, cutting him off, although my voice doesn’t reflect any emotion whatsoever. This is a turning point in our relationship. Instead of his disappointment creeping under my skin, it’s the other way around. I look him in the eye as I add, “I would have been just fine.”

A moment passes where the only sound is the ticking of the large clock on the right side of the room. “It wasn’t my mess you cleaned up, and we both know it.” He’s the first to look away but instead of showing remorse, his expression only reflects his anger.

“Did you need anything else?” I ask. I just want to get the hell out of here and back to the construction site. This office reminds me of my grandfather, a man I loved and trusted. But he was a man who turned out to be just like all the other powerful men in this city. Ruled by corruption, driven by greed, imperfect. Devastated is the word a former therapist would use to describe my reaction when I found out the truth about my family.

“I’m tired of you getting into trouble,” my father says and I scoff. This is the first time in my life I’ve truly been in control of myself. No more fucking around, starting trouble. These recent events have been sobering. When I was a hormone-filled teenager dealing with grief and anger, it was easy to act out and pick fights. Caused first by the death of my grandfather and then later, my mother.

At thirty-three and on my own, I’m not like that anymore. I finally have my life together … all but the ties to my father. It’s a tangled mess of lies and offshore bank accounts. Much like the dealings of the elite who rule this city.

The thought makes my gaze fall to the floor before I look back up to the shelves and mindlessly scan the spines of the antique texts.

Being aware of what my father did makes all those old memories of losing my mother surface. My stomach churns and my blood heats, the adrenaline coursing in my veins pushing me to confront the man I no longer know.

I bring a clenched fist to my mouth as I clear my throat and take a few steps toward him. He’s the one who called this meeting, demanded it really. But he hasn’t even risen from his chair. Lazy prick.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I answer him easily. “I haven’t got a single problem on my mind.” I give him a polite smile and keep a charming look on my face. It only makes him angrier and I love every second of his pissed-off expression. He thought I’d feel as if I owed him.

I don’t owe him a damn thing.

I may be just like him in looks. Tall, dark and handsome, or so I’ve been told. I’ve perfected a brilliant smile with an air of ease that’s made to fool and seduce the world at large. It makes sense that he’s a lawyer. It’s the family business but if it wasn’t, it’d still be the profession most apt for my father.

“You need to quit this charade and do what you’re told, Mason.” He stands from his seat quickly, his chair rolling backward until it hits the wall. It disturbs the blinds and streams of dim light flicker into the room.

“I don’t need to do anything but breathe and pay taxes.”

He could order me around like that all he wanted back when I was a child or before I knew the truth, but now I have no respect for the man in front of me. I’m disgusted by him and caught on the edge of what’s right and wrong. I should turn him in to the authorities and let him rot. I grit my teeth as I stare back at him. It’s what’s right, but I can’t bring myself to send my own father to prison.

A low hum of admonishment deep in his throat makes the smirk on my face widen into a smile.

“I have my own company, my own life—” I start but my father cuts me off. Nothing new there.

“You were born a Thatcher, and you’ll die a Thatcher.” The words leave a chill across my skin. That’s the crux of the problem. I was born into this life and I can’t run from it. Plus my company is in debt to him. It was a rookie mistake I made back before I knew what I was doing. When I didn’t see him for the man he really is.

“Why do you even care what I do?” I finally ask him. His precious reputation is just fine now that I’m an adult and I’ve moved on from the fuckup I used to be. “I’m not the one coming to you—”

“She did,” he answers simply with a spark in his eyes and the corners of his lips upturned as if that’s all the ammunition he needs. In some respects, he’s right. All the people in this city know where I come from and what it means to be a Thatcher. They know I have money and power behind me. That’s all anyone here cares about anyway. New York is all about the bottom dollar.

Nonchalantly shrugging my shoulders, I stride closer to the desk, bracing myself by gripping the back of the chair opposite him. “You decided how to deal with her without vetting what she said.” I meet his glare easily, willing him to tell me again how he saved me. “She didn’t have anything on me. She couldn’t have done anything.” My voice rises toward the end of my statement and I hate that I’ve shown him this weak side of me. Even if only for a moment.

Control. I thrive with control.

A heavy breath leaves him as he stares back with pure hate but he doesn’t say a word. I knew he wouldn’t. He’s wrong. Dead wrong and ruined if I open my mouth to anyone. He took the initiative so I’d owe him, but in reality we both know that he owes me now.

“It’s your fuckup, not mine.” I practically spit out the words and shove the chair forward as I turn to leave him. My body’s tense and the anger continues to rise. I try not to let it show. I hate that I can’t control myself around this prick. Everyone else I can handle, but my own father, not so much.