Home > By a Thread

By a Thread
Author: Lucy Score







A junior editor chirped in my ear about canary yellow sundresses and Cuban photoshoots while the January wind worked its icy fingers through my layers. I navigated the curb buried under foot-tall piles of what used to be snow. Now it was gray slush frozen into dirty, depressing clumps.

I identified with those frozen clumps.

There was a guy, homeless by the looks of his ripped-up sneakers and worn coat, huddled into the corner of an abandoned storefront. He had a dog wrapped in one of those cheap fleece blankets department stores practically gave away at Christmas.

Goddammit. I hated when they had dogs.

I’d never had one myself, but I had fond memories of my high school girlfriend’s black lab, Fonzie. My only fond memory from that particular relationship.

I tilted my head in the guy’s direction, and my driver, Nelson, gave me a nod. He knew the drill. It wasn’t out of the kindness of my heart. I had neither kindness nor a heart.

I considered it atonement for being an asshole.

Nelson ducked behind the rear of the SUV and opened the hatch. He did the shopping and “distribution” while I funded the ongoing operation.

When I came back, the guy would have a new coat, a pocket full of gift cards, and directions to the nearest shelters and hotels that allowed animals. And that furry little mutt, looking up at his human with blind adoration, would be in some warm, ridiculous dog sweater.

I headed toward the damn pizza place that my mother had insisted upon. Coming all the way to the Village from Midtown on a bone-chilling Tuesday evening was not my idea of fun.

But making me do things I didn’t want to do was my mother’s idea of fun.

If there was anyone in the world for whom I’d willingly do shit I didn’t want to do, it was Dalessandra Russo. She’d had a rough year. I could give her greasy pizza and my uninterrupted attention before having Nelson haul my ass home to the Upper West Side, where I most likely would glare at a computer screen for another three hours before calling it a night.


Saving a family name and rescuing a family business didn’t exactly leave a lot of time for extracurricular activities. I wondered if I should get a dog.

My coat flapped in the frigid wind as I stalked toward the restaurant’s dingy orange sign, and the art director chimed in with her thoughts on designer pieces for the May cover.

Winter in Manhattan was depressing. I was not a sweaters-and-hot-chocolate kind of guy. I skied because that’s what you did when you were born into a wealthy family. But instead of ski slopes, I preferred to spend two weeks in the Caribbean every January.

At least I had in my old life.

I yanked open the steamy glass door of George’s Village Pizza. A little bell tinkled above me, announcing my arrival. The heat hit me first. Then the scents of garlic and fresh-baked bread, and maybe I didn’t hate that Mom had dragged my ass down here.

“What are your thoughts, Mr. Russo?” the junior editor asked.

I hated being called Mr. Russo. I also hated the fact that I couldn’t yell at anyone about it. That was the worst part. Not being able to let out the temper that had been building for over a year.

My attention was caught by curves and curls.

The woman straightened away from the table closest to the door, stuffing the cash tip into her flour-sprinkled apron. Her eyes locked onto mine, and I felt something… interesting. Like the ghost of recognition. Like she was the one I was here to meet.

But we were strangers.

“That sounds fine,” I hedged into the phone.

“I can put together a board for you,” the junior editor offered helpfully.

“I’d appreciate that,” I said, relieved that she’d offered and I hadn’t had to ask this time.

They were all finally getting used to the idea that I needed to see things together before I could tell if they worked or not. I hoped that they were also getting used to the idea that I wasn’t my fucking father.

Curves and curls was a server, according to the GVP polo she wore over a long sleeve thermal. Her jeans were generics. Sneakers were at least two years out of functionality, but she’d done something artistic with Sharpies to the white space on them. She was inches shorter and miles curvier than most of the women I’d spent time with recently.

In the last year, I’d become immune to leggy, waif-like models in their early twenties. Which, to be honest, was about damn time considering that I was forty-four. There was something arresting about the woman eyeing me and now pointing to the No Cell Phones sign posted on the corkboard just inside the door.

Interesting face. Softer, rounder than those diamond-edge cheekbones that graced the pages of the magazine. Full lips, wide brown eyes that looked warm. Like honey. Her hair, more brown and chestnut there, was jaw-length and styled in lazy, loose waves that made me think of putting my hands in it while she breathed my name under me.

I couldn’t stop staring at her.

“I’ll have it for you first thing in the morning,” the junior editor promised.

I couldn’t remember the editor’s name—because I was an ass—but I did remember her earnest, eager-to-please face. She was the kind of employee who would stay at the office until midnight without complaining if asked.

“By noon tomorrow is fine,” I told her, enjoying the glare Sex Hair was sending me as I continued to ignore the sign.

Sex Hair cleared her throat theatrically and, reaching around me, tapped the flyer fiercely. A trio of cheap, colorful beaded bracelets wrapped around her wrist. I smelled the bright, happy tang of lemons as she leaned in.

“Take it outside, buddy,” she said in a throaty, no-nonsense voice.


Clearly, she wasn’t intimidated by an asshole in Hugo Boss with a haircut that cost more than her entire outfit. I basked in her disdain. It was miles more comfortable for me than the terrified glances and “Right away, Mr. Russo”s I got in the hallways at work.

I covered the mouthpiece of the phone—I hated those earbud things and staunchly refused to use them. “It’s cold. I’ll be a minute,” I told her briskly, leaving no room for debate.

“I didn’t create the weather or the phone policy. Out. Side.” She said it like I was a truculent three-year-old and hooked her thumb toward the door.

“No.” I didn’t sound like a whiny toddler. I sounded like an annoyed, inconvenienced patron who had the right to expect respect.

I uncovered the phone and continued my conversation.

I was a spiteful son of a bitch.

“Get off the damn phone, or I’ll make you wish you had,” she warned.

People were starting to look at us. Neither one of us seemed to care.

“Don’t you have tables to wait on?” I asked. “Or do you specialize in shrieking at customers?”

Her eyes were nearly gold under the fluorescent lighting, and I swear she almost smiled.

“Oh, you asked for it, buddy.” She leaned in again, too close for New Yorkers who prized our personal space. The top of her head came to my shoulder.

“Sir, are you here for STD panel results or hemorrhoids?” she shouted in the vicinity of my cell’s microphone.

You shithead.

“I’ll call you back,” I said into the phone and disconnected the call.

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Den of Vipers
» House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2)
» The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #
» Sweet Temptation
» The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» Wreck & Ruin
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Twisted Hate (Twisted #3)
» The Play (Briar U Book 3)