Mistaken for Love (The Love Vixen #7) - Delancey Stewart

Chapter One


“Ginny, can you grab this for me please?” Uncle Flynn spun around, each hand holding a steaming cup of coffee as he angled his head at the carriers folded in a stack.

Customers waited in a line in front of the register as he and Aunt Amelia flew from place to place in the tight space behind it.

I unfolded a carrier and set it on the narrow counter behind the meal prep station, taking the cups he held and carefully setting them into the cardboard squares. I fit lids on the cups as Uncle Flynn pushed in two more and gave me a weak smile.

“You’re doing good, kid,” he told me. “I’ll give you a break here in a sec, but I’ve got an order for you to run up to Madison first. Those bagels ready to go, Amelia?”

“You and your sweet talk,” Aunt Amelia slid over, carrying two paper bags full of bagels and pressed a kiss to my uncle’s cheek before returning to the register and greeting the next customer. Something about the action—seeing them so in love, the way my parents had been—made my heart squeeze painfully in my chest and I swallowed hard.

I picked up the coffee and bagels, and my uncle stapled the ticket to one bag. “This address right here. Twenty-first floor, okay?”

My lucky number. “I’ve got it,” I told him.

“Take your time coming back, Ginny. We’ve got this, okay?”

“I’ll be right back,” I told him, heading out from behind the counter to make the delivery. I didn’t mind working in my aunt and uncle’s bodega—not really. It wasn’t like I had a lot of other options.

I made my way the three blocks up to 26th and Madison, the chaotic whirr of the city all around me still setting my teeth on edge. My parents had brought me into the city plenty of times as a kid, and I’d come in a few times with my friends in high school and college, but living here—where the motion and sound were practically never-ending—it didn’t feel like home.

It was all still new, though. And I wasn’t one of those girls who’d dreamt of a life in a big city. I’d been happy in Greenwich, surrounded by green and beach, knowing everything the city offered was a quick train ride away, but that I didn’t have to be immersed in it all the time.

But that life was over.

And whatever dreams I’d had, whatever I’d thought I might become, that was over too. For now, at least.

I pushed through the revolving doors into the lobby of the soaring black glass building, suddenly self-conscious about my worn black jeans and slumpy white polo. It had actually been my dad’s shirt, and it was huge on me, but if I concentrated really hard, sometimes I still thought I could smell his cologne.

“Can I help you?” A huge, long counter filled the lobby, separating the public area from the elevators.

“Delivery for the twenty-first floor,” I said. “For Bryce Willows?”

The man gave me a friendly smile and waved me by, and I stepped into an empty car, punching the button and swallowing hard as my stomach lurched while the car shot up.

The gleaming, mirrored elevator made me a little wistful. I hadn’t thought I’d work in a building like this, but I had dreamt of a nice office someday, an executive job. I’d never really pictured myself flipping burgers and making deliveries for a New York City bodega well into my twenties. Of course, I’d never imagined any of what my life had become.

No sane person imagined things like that.

The doors slid open to reveal a steel and glass office lobby furnished with long white leather settees and little round end tables. It felt like stepping into the pages of a home magazine. The sign over the receptionist’s head read, “Maximal” in red capital letters, but gave no other indication of what kind of business this place was.

“Delivery for Bryce Willows,” I said, preparing to leave the bag and coffee with the receptionist.

“Take them straight back to the conference room,” she said, waving at a door as she picked up the ringing phone.

I sighed and pressed through the door with my shoulder, finding myself at the apex of three adjoining hallways. She’d said straight back, so I followed the hall in front of me, passing several harried people who barely glanced at me as they raced from place to place. There was a conference room at the back, but it was completely empty,