Twisted Perfection
Author:Abbi Glines





I sucked at golf.


When the ball once again went flying out into the trees I spun around and looked at Tripp who was covering his mouth to smother his laughter. At least he found my extreme lack of luck with a golf swing humorous.


When he had woken me up at seven this morning to make the tee time he’d reserved I hadn’t been very happy. But after the way he’d helped me get through my episode the night before I felt like I owed it to him. So I had dragged myself out of bed and gotten dressed. Now, seventeen holes, and twelve lost balls later, I was thinking I should have stayed in bed. Yes, I’d wanted to learn to golf but not this early and now that I knew I was terrible at it I didn’t want to try again.


“I give up,” I said, handing him the club I’d used.


“You were getting better. You just jacked this one up,” Tripp said with a chuckle.


“Save it. We both know I’m horrible at this. Can I just watch you play out the rest?”


Tripp slid the club back into the bag. “We can call it a game. You tried hard. Maybe we need to spend a little time on the driving range and work on your swing before we attempt this again.”


He was talking like we’d be golfing together in the future. I didn’t want to ever golf again if I could keep from it. I didn’t want to sound rude so I just kept my mouth shut. I got back on the golf cart and Tripp drove us back to the clubhouse.


Without thinking about it I started looking for Woods’ truck. I could tell myself that it was because I wanted to make sure he wasn’t here and I wouldn’t have to see him. But I’d be lying. I was a glutton for punishment.


“Dammit,” Tripp muttered before pulling the golf cart into the first empty spot reserved for the carts.


I glanced over at him to see what was wrong when my gaze locked on Woods. He was headed toward us.


“He looks like a man on a mission,” Tripp said in a low voice then stepped out of the cart. Woods nodded at Tripp but his eyes immediately were back on me. I watched as he walked past Tripp.


He stopped in front of me. “We need to talk,” he said.


“Y’all did enough of that last night, man.” Tripp’s tone sounded like a gentle warning.


Woods ignored him. “I’m not engaged anymore. Angelina just left and it’s over. I ended it.” He reached out and slipped his hand into mine. “Please come talk to me.”


He’d broken off his engagement? I felt like I was still sleeping. Why would he do that? He wanted what a marriage to Angelina would give him. Why was he ending that?


“I don’t understand,” I replied. My voice was barely above a whisper.


A sexy grin tilted the corners of Woods’ mouth. “That’s why we need to talk.”


I glanced over at Tripp who just shrugged. I had lunch plans with him today. I couldn’t cancel on him. I needed him to say something instead of just shrugging at me.


“We… Tripp and I were supposed to have lunch together,” I said, still looking at Tripp.


Tripp looked from me to Woods then he shook his head with a small smile. “I’m not getting in the middle of this. Go with him. If he just broke it off with Angelina then there’s more to what he’s got to say than I thought there was,” he said and then his complete attention went to Woods. “No one’s puppet. It’s about damn time,” he said then walked off.


Woods was grinning when I looked back at him. “Have lunch with me?”


I glanced past him toward the club’s restaurant. I didn’t want to go in there with the boss and have lunch. I couldn’t let one of my coworkers wait on me. But I also wanted to talk to Woods. He wasn’t engaged. My heart started beating harder in my chest. Woods was free.


“I wouldn’t be comfortable eating in there. Could we talk first then go find something to eat somewhere else?”


“Whatever you want.” He pulled me to him and then nodded his head toward his truck. “Let’s go for a ride.”


Once we were in the truck, Woods didn’t start the engine. He looked over at me. His dark brown eyes were serious but the sadness wasn’t there. “I’m sorry for how I acted last night. I shouldn’t have talked to you that way. I was panicking and I lost it.”


I shifted in my seat and rested my shoulder against the leather so that I was facing him. “Why were you panicking?”


Woods cocked one eyebrow as if he didn’t think this question needed an answer. As if it was understood. “Because Tripp was talking about taking you away.”




“I want you to understand something. This needs to be very clear. I never loved Angelina. I never wanted to be engaged to her. I was doing it because she was the key to getting what I thought I’d always wanted. But you changed that. I realized I wanted other things. I didn’t want to be controlled. And I wanted a chance with you. Even if you don’t plan on staying long. Even if you aren’t one for commitments, I want this time with you.”


The idea of losing his freedom hadn’t been enough reason for him to refuse to do his father’s bidding? It had taken me to make him stand up to his father? Why me? I didn’t understand. “What if you get to know me and you realize I’m not worth it? Will you still be glad you let go of everything?”


Woods’ grin returned and he nodded. “Yeah. Like Tripp said out there. I’m no one’s puppet. It was time I put my foot down.”


He was right. Living under someone else’s control wasn’t living at all. I knew that all too well. But I didn’t want to be the only reason he gave up what was rightfully his. The pressure to be worth it was too much.


“I agree. Not being able to make your own choices in life isn’t fair. I guess I just want to be sure I’m not the reason you did this. Because honestly, you’re gonna find out real soon that I’m more of a mess than you already got a glimpse of the other night.”


Woods’ eyebrows lowered over his eyes as he frowned at me. He didn’t like me saying that but he didn’t know the truth about me. I wasn’t going to tell him either.


“I don’t like to hear you talk about yourself like that,” he said in a husky voice.


I turned my body back around in my seat. “We can discuss that another time. I’m starving.” I wanted to ask him more questions like ‘what happens with your job now?’ or ‘Will your dad fire you?’ or ‘Do you have plans to do something else?’ but I was refusing to talk anymore about me and my future so I couldn’t expect him to open up about his.


We could go eat and just see what happened next. He might realize what he’d done before the days was through and go running back to Angelina begging her to forgive him. There was no need for deep conversations right now. I just wanted to enjoy spending time with him and not feeling guilty about wanting a taken man.








Della had eaten her sandwich in silence. She’d been rather focused on her food since it arrived at the table. I’d had a hard time eating because watching her was more entertaining. She patted her mouth with a napkin and her eyes lifted to meet mine. A blush tinted her cheeks and her eyes twinkled.


“I was starving. Golf exhausted me and I’m not sure why because I was terrible at it,” she explained as she lowered the napkin to her lap.


“Was today your first time playing golf?” I asked, trying to push back my immediate jealous reaction to the fact Tripp had taken her golfing today.


“Yes. I had wanted to learn to play and Tripp wanted me to go with him today so I went. But I think I lost so many of his golf balls he regrets it.”


This time I laughed. I knew Tripp didn’t regret a single minute of it. I just hoped he had enough memories to hold him for the rest of his damn life because that was his only chance to get her alone like that. “You just need a good instructor,” I replied.


Della pinched her lips in a thoughtful frown. Then she shook her head. “No, I’m hopeless. I wouldn’t plan on wasting your time.”


The chance to get to wrap my arms around her and teach her to swing a club then stand back and watch her ass while she did it was not a waste of time. I kept that thought to myself though.


“We’ll see,” was all I said.


The waitress brought us our ticket and I slipped enough cash to cover the meal and a decent tip before standing up and holding my hand out to Della. I was tired of being in public with her. I wanted to get her alone. There was a lot I wanted to say but first I needed to hold her. It had been too long.


“Where are we going now?” she asked as she stood up beside me.


“My place. I want you to see it. Especially the view. Is that okay?”


Della nodded and I tried to be good. It was hard though. The image of her naked against my sheets wouldn’t go away. I wanted her there.


“I’d love to see your place.”


We walked back outside to my truck. Della climbed up in the passenger seat and I didn’t even pretend like I wasn’t checking out her ass in the little white shorts she was wearing. There wasn’t a panty line and the idea of her not having on anything underneath made me break out into a sweat. I needed to think about something else. Anything else or I was going to be hard as a rock and incredibly uncomfortable.


“How long is Tripp in town?” There that should do it. Remind myself she was sharing a condo with another man. One who no doubt wanted her too.


“He didn’t say exactly. I think he was just ready to move on from Dallas and came back here before his next adventure.” The way she talked about Tripp’s life like it made complete sense reminded me that she led a life much like his. One I didn’t understand. But then if my dad fired me I would be just as lost as he was. Leaving town with Della didn’t sound like such a bad idea.


My phone rang in my pocket and I knew without answering it was my father. It had taken Angelina longer than I expected to get the word to him that the engagement was over. His grand plan was ruined.


I reached into my pocket and turned the phone off. I would deal with him later. Right now I wanted to focus on Della. Facing my father was going to put a major damper on my mood. I didn’t want that today.


“Do you work tonight?” I asked. Because if she did I was going to call in and change the schedule.


“This is my day off,” she replied, grinning. “Don’t you do the scheduling?”


I did but this past week had been hell. I couldn’t remember what day I’d given her off. “Just checking,” I replied before pulling into the split brick drive that led up to my house. It had been my parents’ first home. My grandfather had let them live here until my father had earned enough to buy them the house my mother really wanted. When my grandfather passed away he’d left the house to me. Even something that small had pissed my father off. He’d wanted complete control over me. What I’d really needed my grandfather to leave me had been a part of the club. He hadn’t.


“Woods! It’s beautiful,” Della said in awe as I pulled underneath the raised house. It wasn’t really. Not compared to my parents’ or most of the newer homes along Rosemary. But it had character.


“Thank you.”


Della opened the truck door and hopped out before I could help her.


“It’s like one of those seaside houses you see in the movies. The big hurricane shutters and the wrap around porch. This is just perfect.”


Hearing her gush about my house made me want to haul her upstairs to my room even more. I loved this place. It was the only thing that was mine.


“I can’t wait to see the inside. I could just live on your porch. The view must be perfect.”


She could live on my porch if she wanted. I’d even let her come inside and sleep in my bed. I didn’t say that though. Too much, too soon. Right now we had a few shared moments and some hot sex. I had to build on that. I wanted to build on that.


“Come on up. I’ll show you just how perfect the view is.”


Della followed me up the stairs and I unlocked the door then stood back and let her walk inside first. I hadn’t given much thought to my decorating before but knowing Della was here and checking everything out I hated the fact that I’d not changed much since my grandparents left me the house.


My grandmother had decorated it and they’d lived here the last few years of my grandmother’s life. When she’d been diagnosed with terminal cancer they had sold their sprawling mansion in Seaside and moved back here. After she’d passed away my grandfather had moved into my parents’ house and lived there for three months before he died of a heart attack.


I liked the warmth of the place. I hadn’t spent much time thinking of changing things. It wasn’t like I entertained here. I worked too much for that lifestyle.


Della ran her hand along the worn pale leather couch and spun around slowly looking at the details my grandmother had taken great care to leave behind. She had loved to paint. Seeing the canvases she’d painted out on that porch while she enjoyed the last years she had on earth always gave me a sense of peace.


“The paintings are beautiful. So bright and cheerful,” Della said as she stood in front of one that was my grandfather’s favorite. When I’d tried to give it to him he’d refused to take it. He’d said she wanted it here in this place.


“That’s a hole at the golf course,” she said. I was impressed that she’d recognized it.


“My grandfather’s favorite. His only hole in one was at that hole. It’s the fifteenth.”


Della smiled. “And you have it here on your wall.”


“My grandmother painted it. She painted all of these.”


Della’s eyes went wide and she started looking around at the other paintings on the wall. “She was very talented.”


I had to agree. She was. Yet she’d given up her dreams for my grandfather’s. I’d always heard my mother’s bitter comments about her not being the doormat that my grandmother was. But I never saw my grandmother as a doormat. She was quiet and reserved but she’d controlled so much more than anyone understood. She had owned my grandfather’s heart. As cold and unfeeling as many assumed it was, she had owned it. And she’d cherished it.


“It’s not what I expected… not from a single guy,” she said in almost a whisper. “I love it.”


“Come see the view,” I said, opening the doors leading out onto the porch. Della walked out and went straight to the railing. The ocean breeze caught her hair and it danced around her shoulders. I liked seeing her out here. I stepped back inside and went to grab a bottle of wine and two glasses.




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