Home > The Lies We Tell (The Four #1)(5)

The Lies We Tell (The Four #1)(5)
Author: Becca Steele

I nodded—this wasn’t new information to me, but I needed to get every bit of information I could from her. We were practically strangers, after being estranged for so long, but from the information I did have on her, I knew that she was a hard woman who didn’t appreciate idle conversation. “How many people are on the board, and what do you do?”

She looked pleased at my question. “It’s nice to have someone take an interest. Those boys have no desire to learn more about the company they will one day inherit shares in. Not to mention, they’ll become board members once they turn twenty-one and graduate from university.” She tutted disapprovingly. “Alstone Holdings owns most of the land in this town. In addition, they construct properties all over the country. There are three families that own the company—by marriage I am now part of those three. The Cavendish family, the Drummond family, and the Lowry family.”

I listened intently, filing away every piece of information she gave me. What had happened to my dad on the night of his death? There had to be a connection here, and every single instinct within me screamed that my mother was the key to solving this puzzle.

At the moment, though, I had questions and no answers.

I leaned forwards, opening my mouth to ask another question, when her phone buzzed.

“Oh. We’re being summoned, I’m afraid. No time for drinks now. Dinner is served.”

Walking back down the long corridor, we entered a large, dimly lit wood-panelled room, with a long, mahogany dining table in the centre.

“Darling. There you are.” A tall, imposing man stood and walked across to where I’d stopped, hovering in the doorway. I barely noticed him, though. Sitting at the table, turned around to face me with a small smile on his lips, was Weston. And opposite Weston, hostility pouring off him just as it had done the first time I’d seen him, was Caiden.

With an effort, I dragged my focus away from Caiden and looked up at the man who was now standing in front of me, radiating disinterest.

“Arlo. And you must be Winter.” He shook my hand briefly, then, dismissing me, kissed my mother’s cheek and headed back to his chair.

My mother directed me to a seat opposite her.

Next to Caiden.

Fucking great.

Sliding into my seat, I was all too aware of the way he held himself, his posture tense, his eyes glittering dangerously. Every sense I possessed was on high alert, but despite his reaction, despite the fact that he clearly despised me, I couldn’t stop the shiver that went through my entire body at his proximity.

“Have you met my sons yet?” Arlo’s loud boom made me jump, and I heard Weston snigger.

Assholes. The words came out before I could censor them. “Yeah, we met. I wasn’t impressed.”

Arlo’s eyebrows shot up.

“Winter Huntington!” My mother’s scandalised hiss cut through the sudden silence.


My mouth was so dry. I needed a drink.

“Not impressed?” Caiden’s voice, deceptively calm, came from next to me. “Is that why you decided to hook up with the campus manwhore?”

Everyone’s head turned to face his, mine included. He kept his gaze on his father, not even bothering to spare me a glance.

“Miss Huntington here attended a gathering at our house two nights ago. She left with James Granville.” He sneered the words.

I gritted my teeth. Was it illegal to stab your stepbrother with a fork?

“Oh, Winter.” My mother shook her head disapprovingly. “Even I know of that boy’s reputation. Like father, like son,” she said, almost to herself.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, dear,” Arlo murmured, glancing over at her.

The metallic tang of blood filled my mouth as I bit my lip, hard, to stop myself responding. Remember why you’re here. The only thing that mattered was finding answers for my dad.

“I hope you used a condom. You’ll be wanting to make an appointment at the STD clinic, otherwise.” Caiden’s focus turned to me, curling his perfect lips at me, his disdain obvious.

“Caiden. That’s enough,” Arlo admonished.

“Yes, Dad.” He dismissed me with his gaze, turning his attention to his phone.

Silence fell, then Arlo clapped his hands loudly, making me jump again.

This time Weston laughed aloud. “Jumpy, aren’t you?”

I raised my eyes to his and saw humour there. Okay, my first impressions had been correct. Weston, at least, didn’t hate me. Not as much as his brother, anyway.

Next to me, I felt Caiden glare in Weston’s direction, and Weston’s gaze dropped to his plate. Allan and a woman appeared, gliding into the room almost silently, filling wine glasses and putting dishes in front of us. I waited until the others started eating, then followed suit, hardly able to concentrate on the food thanks to the presence of the man next to me.

Arlo’s phone suddenly chimed, cutting through the uncomfortable silence. He glanced at the screen, then stood, his chair scraping back, and headed out of the room without a backwards glance. No one had any reaction to this, so I was guessing this was normal behaviour.

As soon as he’d gone, my mother turned to Caiden, her nose wrinkled in distaste. “When you come for dinner, I expect you to dress appropriately. Your standard of dress is unacceptable.”

“Excuse me?” Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Caiden recoil, his hostility redirected from me to my mother.

“It’s unacceptable,” she repeated. “Even your brother was capable of dressing accordingly.” She waved an elegant hand towards Weston, who wisely kept his mouth shut. I glanced between the two of them. Weston had on a smart pale blue polo shirt, his hair neatly styled, while Caiden wore a faded grey T-shirt, his raven hair a dishevelled mess. My stomach flipped as I looked at him, and I groaned internally. When was my body going to get the memo that he was a complete asshole?

“Sorry, Christine. You don’t get a say in what I wear or what I do.” He stared at her, brows raised challengingly.

She slammed her hand down on the table. My mouth flew open at the sudden display of temper, but Caiden didn’t even flinch.

“I am your stepmother. And while you’re under my roof, you obey my rules. Is that clear?”

He laughed mockingly. “Nice try, Christine. Never gonna happen.”

Arlo returned to the room just as my mother was leaning across the table, preparing to launch another tirade at Caiden. She glanced up at Arlo, and a calculating expression appeared on her face.

“Arlo, darling.” She touched his arm, purring her words. “Don’t you agree that Caiden should dress more appropriately for family meals?”

Arlo glanced over at Caiden. He shrugged. “Whatever you say, my love. You’re the lady of the house and mother to my sons. If you believe he should, then I’ll back you.” Lifting her hand, he pressed a kiss to her knuckle, and she smiled triumphantly at Caiden.

Weston’s head shot up at Arlo’s words, and identical expressions of dismay crossed both his and Caiden’s faces.

“She’s not my mother,” Caiden ground out, so quietly that I wasn’t sure if anyone but me heard him, gripping his knife so tightly his knuckles turned white. Across the table, Weston scrubbed a hand over his face, before sighing and turning to his phone, his lips curved downwards, misery clear in his eyes.

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