Home > So It Goes (Twist of Fate #2)(8)

So It Goes (Twist of Fate #2)(8)
Author: Jennifer Probst

“Davinia, I gotta go. Pick your night and I’ll come over to watch the boys.”

Her sister began yelling again, so Malia just clicked off.

Her good mood crashed and got swallowed up like a tsunami had hit. She couldn’t put herself through another torturous family event. Somehow, she had to find a date for this wedding. A date that would look legitimate enough to keep her family preoccupied and buy her time. If she could dazzle them just once, they might be satisfied enough so she could spin some stories about a deepening relationship and then they could break up later. When it was appropriate.

She just needed to find a guy. Any guy willing to put up with a million questions from her big, nosy family without the guarantee of sex.

She was so screwed.

 

 

Chapter Four

Palmer walked out to the private terrace, wiping his face with a towel, and looked out over the city.

The view was magnificent at night, with thousands of lights exploding from the skyline and setting off Central Park like a natural centered jewel. But he preferred it now, in the early morning, when the sun was struggling to rise and a new day offered endless opportunities. It gave him hope. Lord knew, he needed some.

A painful smile twisted his lips at the thought. It had already been two weeks, and he couldn’t seem to stop thinking of Malia. In his entire life, there’d never been a woman he couldn’t either impress, seduce, or gain forgiveness from. His sister Christine always called him spoiled, because with four sisters, he’d been learning how to charm women since toddlerhood. But it was one of the few assets he had growing up around a throng of females who liked to boss him around. He considered it more as survival of the fittest. Malia just happened to be the first one his skills hadn’t worked on.

He stretched his sore muscles from the intense workout he’d just finished. Punishing his body with weights and CrossFit hadn’t worked. He was still obsessing over Malia, even though he’d promised to stop if she rejected him. Sure, Palmer hadn’t thought the possibility existed, but she’d been clear.

She simply didn’t like him.

The thought stung. If only he hadn’t leaned into his role of asshole CEO and allowed her to see who he really was. But there was nothing more he could do. Blackmailing her to spend time with him in the name of work would only cement his bad reputation and make things worse. Best to push onward until another woman caught his eye. One who reciprocated his attention.

Palmer turned and retreated inside, ready to start the day. He showered and dressed, listening to the drone of news in the background. His penthouse was in a prime location, furnished with modern, sleek furniture; all the amenities required, such as a gym and pool; and twenty-four-hour concierge service. But lately, he preferred to stay in his main home outside the city, where he was technically more alone but felt less isolated. Towering over New York City was an amazing feeling, but he hadn’t shared the view with someone special in too long. He wondered what Malia would think of it.

Shaking his head at the pathetic thought, he headed out, chatting casually with his driver, who adeptly managed the jammed streets to get him to his favorite coffee shop on time. The Zibetto Espresso Bar had the best espresso to get him fueled, plenty of counter space, and the buzzing energy of customers who knew exactly what they wanted. He was meeting his eldest sister, who’d insisted on a face-to-face encounter.

Never a good sign.

He ordered a café latte and cornetto, then spotted Veronica at one of the tables. Dressed in navy-blue yoga pants, a T-shirt that said DRINKS WELL WITH OTHERS, and sneakers, she looked a bit worn around the edges. Her honey-brown hair was caught up in a loose ponytail, and her face was makeup-free, emphasizing large brown eyes. Her grip on her coffee was like a shipwreck survivor clutching a life raft.

Palmer greeted her with a kiss and dropped in the seat across. “Hey, how are you?”

“Crappy.”

“You look great.”

She snorted. “I haven’t slept decently because of these damn hot flashes, but I decided to get up early for a yoga class since Christine’s been bugging me to do more self-care. I fell asleep during corpse pose, and the teacher had to wake me up because I was snoring and drooling on myself. Needless to say, I didn’t make any new friends there. Plus, I think I’m fat.”

Palmer shook his head. Veronica was the most like him—ruthlessly organized, an overachiever, and hopelessly direct. It was the other three who called only to lead him on one conversation puzzle after another, filled with tidbits of gossip, speculation, and inane chatter. Veronica always told the truth and didn’t like surface niceties like the rest of the world. “You already lost ten pounds and don’t need to lose any more—you’re perfect. And yoga is for underachievers. You’d do better with kickboxing. Here, have some of this. You’re probably cranky from no breakfast.” He broke off the end piece of the pastry and slid it over.

She hesitated, then took it. “Maybe. I notice you didn’t mention the menopause.”

He winced. He didn’t love talking about female body mechanics with his sisters, but Veronica was especially fierce about men being educated. She felt they had a responsibility to be comfortable around such discussions, and as her only brother, he’d been her first student. “Maybe you should go on hormones after all. I read this article I can forward that said there’s very low risk.”

“No, I’m not putting anything fake into my body. I’ve got a meeting with a holistic practitioner next week, which may help. But I appreciate your willingness to discuss.” Her lower lip twitched in a smile. “Wanted to give you a heads-up on a few things, and you haven’t been returning my calls.”

Palmer rolled his eyes. “Once.”

“Twice. Doesn’t matter, I needed a coffee break before my day begins.”

He squared his shoulders and took a sip of the steaming brew. “Okay, what’s going on?”

She already looked more relaxed after a few nibbles of the cornetto. “Christine has been bugging me to volunteer with her over at the Children’s Hunger Initiative. I can’t make it with my schedule, Jane is out of town, and Mom said one of us needs to step up since she’s doing her part to help in the world. Georgia volunteered you, so you’re up next.”

He gritted his teeth. “I’m running a company here. I have no time to volunteer. Why don’t I cut them a check?”

“We all have lives, dude. Chris wants a warm body and not cold cash. Deal with it.”

Palmer held back a groan. Once Christine recognized a need in the world, the entire family was helpless under her passion to fix it right now. And that usually involved volunteering, every single one of them. His mother allowed the bossiness, citing that Chris was helping save their souls, but Palmer knew Mom had just given up because nobody won an argument with her. Chris preached flow and kindness, but she was more ruthless than all of them when she had a purpose. “Shit. What do I have to do?”

Veronica shrugged. “You need to meet her in Verily tomorrow night. It’s a charity that helps feed underprivileged kids. I think she said they need help prepping for a meal outreach.”

His day tomorrow was packed with meetings and two weddings to check on. He knew he was screwed but tried anyway. “What if I said no?”

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