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Dirty Rich Obsession: All Mine (Dirty Rich #8)
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CONTINUING CARRIE AND REID’S STORY (begin their story in Dirty Rich Obsession)
In this lifetime there is one person who will own you, who will know you, who will understand you like no one else could possibly understand you. That person for me is Carrie. I didn’t want to love her. I didn’t want to need her. But now that she’s my world, no one is going to take her from me. Yet the minute I propose, that’s exactly what the universe tries to do. It tries to take her from me.
My father and the many enemies my life as my father’s son has created wants to take her from me.
They’ll be sorry they tired.
And everyone, including Carrie, is going to know.
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Still in the airport, riding the wave of our newly minted engagement, Reid and I walk hand in hand as we travel to the customs line talking about everything from our new cat and dog, to Paris, and finally my father, because I need to talk about him. I need to clear the air with Reid. I need to share the experience of seeing my father with Reid. The line stalls and I can’t hold it back. “I know we talked about this on messenger on the plane, and I know he’s a bad subject, but the meeting with my father was the strangest thing.”
“Strange how?” he asks, concern furrowing his brow.
“I don’t know if strange is even the word I’d use. More like unbelievable. My father was standing there in that Montana country kitchen with his beautiful younger woman threatening him on my behalf. She was willing to tell me what he wouldn’t. She did tell me.”
“About that,” he says, pulling me in front of him, my back to the person in line in front of us. “What exactly did she tell you, Carrie?”
“That my father did some dirty deals and yours did, too. That ultimately my father was afraid he was about to be exposed and he used you to escape his role in West Enterprises before that happened. It shakes me to the core to hear those things. I didn’t think he was dirty. At all. I had no indication that he was anything but honorable and honest.”
“We all want to believe that our parents live up to the standards they want us to live up to. I knew my father was a bastard,” he says. “But I didn’t know he was capable of the things he did. And I damn sure didn’t think he’d connect my name to those things.”
“I won’t ask what things.”
His jaw sets hard but his eyes hold mine, his stare unwavering. “I’ll tell you. Just not here. Not now. You deserve to know before you marry me.”
I know whatever this is, whatever his father did and put his name on, was bad. Really bad. And yet he’s willing to tell me. My father didn’t admit his sins to me, but he told Stella. His new woman ranked higher than his daughter. That hurts, but I focus on Reid, on the man I love. I push to my toes and kiss him, silently telling him how much his trust means to me. “Whatever it is, it changes nothing between us,“ I assure him and move on before he has time to doubt me. “I just can’t believe, knowing what I know of my father now, of the depth of the war between our families, that you agreed to hand over your stock if you broke the agreement.”
“The war was always between your father and my father. I did what I did, because that war was poison. It needed to end, and I had no reason to ever break that deal I made with your father. I had no reason to break my vow of silence over your father’s exit from the company. Not until I met you.” He pulls me to him, his forehead resting on mine. “Every time you talked about wanting no secrets between us, it gutted me.”
My hand settles on his chest. “You thought I’d confront him if you told me.”
“I thought you’d believe you could convince him to forgive the deal.”
I lean back to look at him. “I would have, and after the conversation I had with him in Montana, I would have been wrong. I’m glad you held back. You saved us.” I wave my hand. “Enough about my father.” And since the line still isn’t moving, I ask, “Are we still going to Paris for Christmas?”
“Unless you’d rather go somewhere else,” Reid says, stroking my hair. “It’s beautiful around Christmas time,” he adds. “Paris goes all out for the holidays and I’d loved to share that with you.”
“What about Gabe and Cat? Don’t you spend Christmas with them?”
“Since Reese and Cat got married, we’ve been going to their place.”
“It varied. I made a habit of getting out of town.”
“Yeah, baby. Alone. The holidays are about family and commitment and you know how I felt about those things. I didn’t want anyone seeing anything I did as an invitation to get closer to me.”
Because of his girlfriend’s murder. Because of how much he blamed himself. Because he didn’t want anyone to love him enough to take a bullet for him again. “We had a good Thanksgiving at your sister’s place,” I remind him.
“I’m not running away from family. Not anymore. Not now that I have you. I just want us to have a special first Christmas together. And—”
The line moves forward, and a guard hurries us toward the exit posts, forcing Reid to hold back whatever else he was about to say, but it’s not a subject I’m allowing us to close. I love his sister and I think they need to mend their relationship after years of him pushing her away. They’re getting there, too. They’ve made progress in their relationship, and one thing I know for certain is that he has regrets where she’s concerned. My future husband is damaged in ways I never imagined possible, and I know Cat can’t either. She doesn’t know why he’s acted like an ass and it’s not my place to tell her about the shooting but I believe there are ways that I can help her see that there is more to her brother than meets the eye. He’s not the asshole he made me, or her, believe.