Home > Twisted Love (Modern Romance #3)

Twisted Love (Modern Romance #3)
Author: Piper Lawson


1

 

 

Truth is overrated. I’ve learned that the hard way.

We think if we know someone long enough, we’ll know who they are. We can predict how they’ll act and react.

But the reality is, every person presents who they want to be. Who they think others want them to be.

“I want to fuck you in those heels,” I murmur, watching the couple laughing at the other end of the bar.

My colleague Kendall sneaks a look at them from around a fall of shiny red hair. “That’s what he’s saying?”

“It's a first date, so that’s what he’s thinking. He’s saying, ‘That’s my favorite brunch place too.’”

She laughs into her mocktail, her bright eyes dancing.

We always do happy hour after work on Fridays. It’s a chance to let go of the week, and for me, it’s a chance to thank the women who’ve come to be not only team members but friends.

My other colleague, Rena, returns from the bathroom, her stiletto heels clicking a sharp rhythm on the floor.

Her ice-blond ponytail bounces as she shifts onto the bar stool. “Daisy, when was the last time you went on a date?”

Like Kendall, she’s a few years younger than me and dating someone she met through work.

Unlike Kendall, she says everything she thinks.

I arch a brow. “Not every woman needs someone in her life.”

“Need? No,” Rena says. “Want, on the other hand…”

“Come on,” Kendall adds. “You’re thirty, and a professional badass. You have a relationship marketing company.”

“Which means I spend enough time courting clients at meet-and-greets. I’m not wasting my personal time on a guy who doesn’t want what I want.”

I shift in my seat, crossing my legs in a practiced move that ensures my black wool dress doesn’t flash something more exotic than my thigh before continuing.

“Half the men in this city will tell you on a first date they’re not threatened by a successful woman, but what they actually want is a woman who’s articulate, educated, always wants to fuck but won’t bother them with her needs or feelings. And is available to hang on his arm on short notice. God forbid she work too damn much.”

“You do work too damn much.” Rena’s red lips curve.

I shoot her a look as I down the last of my cocktail.

I’m good at helping brands figure out how to connect with their customers. It’s my superpower.

If I set aside my own desires in pursuit of making a real difference in other peoples’ lives… I don’t see anything wrong with it.

For the last decade, it’s been my dream to build something bigger than myself. To help our clients understand their customers better so we can all get more of what we need, so more people can have real relationships and genuinely understand each other.

Yes, humans need food and shelter and clothing and sex. But we go on endless dates to find the right person. Volunteer because we want to help people we’ve never met and feel good inside.

We want to understand and be understood. To love and be loved.

It shouldn’t be so hard, but it is.

“But it’s not your fault you work too much,” Rena goes on. “You’re growing a business in a man’s world. This week, that client pulled out of a two-year contract because a product line we didn’t even work on went south. Men shouldn’t pull out unless you ask them to.” Her wink ensures the innuendo doesn’t go unnoticed.

My company, Closer, does well, but doing business in Manhattan is expensive. I pay my team above-market rates—because they deserve it and because it means they can bring all of their creativity and talent to work, knowing their families will be supported.

“I have a Plan B. Richard Vane,” I say, thinking of the middle-aged real estate magnate. “He’s worth billions. He just bought a series of couples-focused resorts.”

Kendall’s lips twist in doubt. “I heard he never takes meetings.”

“He’s coming in Monday.” I think back over the summary points I prepared in advance.

“I bet she was running a lemonade empire at age four," Rena says to Kendall.

“No. My first business foray was a pageant in high school. My twin sister, Vi, entered. I did hair for her and all the other girls. Made two hundred bucks and earned the eternal gratitude of everyone entering.”

“You didn’t compete?”

“Getting people to look at her was Vi’s thing, not mine.”

She lived for it, and she was good at it. I learned to focus on other things I was good at.

“I didn’t realize you guys were twins. Identical?”

I pull up a photo on my phone and their eyes widen as they take in the picture I’ve stared at a thousand times—the two of us wearing matching camp T-shirts, shorts, and smiles in eighth grade.

“Wow. You must’ve been close.” Kendall shifts closer, engrossed.

“Until college.” My chest squeezes, the familiar swirls of regret and betrayal blending into a cocktail more complex than the one I was drinking. I finger the rose gold bangle on my wrist that I’ve worn for a decade.

The bartender sets the bill in front of us and I swipe it before either of them can think about it.

“Hi, Daisy.” A smooth voice has me turning my head to see a familiar man in a pressed suit. He's medium height and attractive, a few years older than me, with a confident smile and trim build.

“Marc. Nice to see you. We met at a charity event a couple of months ago," I explain to my friends.

"And she promised to go out with me, but I never got her number." His eyes sparkle. “A few of my friends are going for drinks. If you ladies are done here…”

Rena and Kendall look between us, anticipation on their faces. They’re both going home to their guys, but I can see their wheels turning.

“I have plans tonight,” I answer, and three faces fall.

But Marc doesn’t let that stop him. “If you finish early, stop by.”

I give him my number this time and send him off with a promise to call.

Rena nudges me as he leaves. “Are your plans hotter than that? Because you’ve had a long week and you deserve to recuperate.”

I shoulder my bag and head for the door as my phone buzzes with a text.

“Oh, I get it,” Rena declares after noticing who it’s from. “You don’t need a man because you have the hottest venture capitalist in New York sending you dick pics.”

I send her an arch look without checking the message, though every part of me itches to look. “Benji and I are friends.”

“And if anyone else called him Benji, he’d shoot them a charming grin and flash those beautiful brown eyes and then buy their grandfather’s company and sell it off for parts.”

“That’s only business.” I start back toward the subway, and they fall into step next to me.

“It’s not business. It’s a god complex. Besides, the guy could have any woman in New York and he knows it."

“Ben doesn’t date.”

“He conquers?”

I shake my head, swallowing the laugh. “His schedule is worse than mine. Plus, he’s very particular about his life.”

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