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The Lying Season
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A new second chance stand alone office romance from USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde…
Walking away from Sam Rutherford was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
It’s been five years since that day, and I’ve given up on looking for love. My focus is on my career. And it’s paid off—I’m successfully managing the reelection for the mayor of New York City.
Then Sam walks into my office as the new legal counsel. Which means I have to see him every single day from now until November. We vow to remain professional, but it’s a small office. The sly glances and his blistering charm are unavoidable.
It all feels so familiar. Too comfortable. After what happened the first time…I should know better.
If I’m not careful, he’ll break my heart all over again.
And I don’t know if I can survive Sam a second time.
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“Larkin, darling, I don’t understand why you’re mad,” my mother said. She turned crisply in her sharp Chanel suit that hugged her figure perfectly.
“You don’t understand anything apparently,” I snapped back.
I nudged a pile of boxes as high as my head that had manifested in my living room out of thin air. It was six thirty in the morning. I hadn’t had my coffee. And I was ready to combust.
“I am just trying to keep you up-to-date on the latest fashions. If you’re a part of this family, then you must look the part of a St. Vincent, dear.”
“Get them out of here, Mother. I don’t need seventeen pairs of high heels,” I growled, estimating the boxes in front of me, “or thirty evening gowns or twenty new handbags. Mother, I work on the mayor’s campaign. This isn’t my life anymore.”
“Nonsense,” she said. “Who doesn’t want more clothes? I did find you a dozen new power suits to replace that number you’re wearing right now.” She pointed up and down at me. “It’ll do you wonders.”
I ground my teeth and debated whether or not this was worth the fight. My mother, Hope St. Vincent, cared about next to nothing in this world other than appearances. She still probably wondered how she had gotten so unlucky to have a daughter who didn’t want to take over the family business and live the same life she presently lived on the Upper East Side—filthy rich, married, and miserable. I swore, my parents hadn’t shared a bed in twenty years. The St. Vincents took fucked up to a whole new level.
“I honestly cannot handle you right now,” I said. “Please have this all cleared out. I have to get to work.”
“All this work causes you so much stress.” My mother strutted over to me on her six-inch Louboutins and pressed her fingers to my forehead. “There’s this new plastic surgeon everyone is talking about. I could get you a Botox appointment. It’s preventative!”
I counted slowly to ten, reminding myself this was my mother and that somewhere deep, deep down she meant well.
“I’m leaving.” I reached for my bag. “Also, I’m having the locks changed. I don’t even know how you got in here.”
“Oh, Larkin, you’re overreacting, as always.”
Any minute now, she would be inviting me to early morning martinis. It was never too early to drink.
“As you know, Mayor Kensington’s reelection campaign is gearing up,” I reminded her as patiently as I could. “I have even less time than normal to do anything. Today, I have a huge meeting about the mayoral fundraising banquet next week. So, I have to go.”
“Oh, of course,” my mother said. “Leslie told me about that. We purchased a table, obviously.” She opened a box and pulled out a lavender St. Vincent’s handbag. My mother’s signature bag—the Larkin. I cringed. God, it had been a nightmare, growing up with my name on a bag. She shoved the bag into my hand. “Too bad that Nina isn’t going anymore.”
“It is too bad,” I agreed.
Then I tossed the Larkin bag back into the box. I was not looking forward to my parents being at the banquet. It made my job so much harder.
My mother continued to fish through the new clothes and pick things out. Sometimes, I dreamed that I was adopted. It was just a fantasy though. My mother and I had the same signature chestnut-red hair. Though she kept it long and straight as a board while mine curled every which way if I let it. And under her layers of makeup, she had the same heart-shaped face, the same pouty lips, and the same bright green eyes as me. I had once thought that we had the same smile, but my mother didn’t really smile anymore.
It pained me to think that I’d once been so vapid. The Upper East Side took everyone as its victim. I’d been trying so hard to stay out of that life. Except for my closest friends—my crew, the four people in my life who were more like family than my own parents—I stayed out of the madness. But somehow, it always sucked me back in. Just like my mother tried to do right this very minute.
“Okay. You figure out what to do with all these clothes,” I said on a sigh. I knew it was stupid to give in to her. For every inch, she took a mile. But I had to leave. I had too much work to do to deal with this right now. “I’m going to go to work.”
“Oh, take the limo!”
I shook my head. “I’ll grab a cab.”
“Don’t be absurd. Your father’s Mercedes is only two blocks over. He can pick me up, and you’ll be free with the limo.”
“That’s okay. I’ll take a cab. It’ll be fine,” I said, grabbing my own purse and striding toward the door.