Good To Be Bad (Good Love #3) by Lili Valente



Her Prologue





Gigi



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Some things in life need to be just so.

Like the pockets in the adorable A-line dress I’m wearing to a party this weekend.

The imperious expression on Gram’s Maine Coon rescue cat, as she lounges on an armchair, looking like the royalty she is.

The detail in the fabulous enamel apple pie charm necklace I snagged from a retro shop in Williamsburg.

Then, there are the new menus for my shop.

My shop.

Aunt Barb and Uncle Pete retired last month and, much to my surprise, let me buy them out for five grand and a promise to keep my cousin Ruby on as my graphic designer for as long as she’s interested and able. As if I would hire anyone else. Ruby isn’t just my cousin, she’s my best friend. And this shop…

Well, Sweetie Pies is my darling. It’s already a successful business, but I intend to make it an even more delightful and delicious place to spend an afternoon. Soon, this won’t just be a place to grab a slice, it will be a destination for every visitor to Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

I’ve spent months perfecting my renovation plans, including epic glass cases to showcase the hell out of the daily pie selection. I want those golden beauties to look so damned yummy customers will lean in and lick the glass.

But a good pie should be that seductive. It should be a crumbly, buttery, sugary fantasia that charms the tongue and enchants the senses, so when you slip the last bite between your lips, you’re already planning your next trip to Sweetie Pies to experience the magic all over again.

But magic doesn’t come for free.

It requires dedication, hard work, and an obsession with getting every detail just right. I have those things in spades, in all the important things in my life.

But Dating?

Dating didn’t get the magical memo.

Dating doesn’t understand it ought to be delightful, or at least not an exercise in torture.

Which is not cool, Dating. I’ve put in the time, my friend. I’ve rolled up my blouse sleeves and written clever dating profiles, planned festive get-to-know-you meet-ups, and amiably agreed to every blind date and awkward dinner party arranged by friends and family.

And yet dating remains recalcitrant.

It’s a cat with a bad attitude, pretending it can’t hear me begging it to play nice as it knocks over that cup of Ethiopian coffee onto my fluffy white rug with a swish of its tail.

Why can’t dating be more like a Pinterest board? Beautifully curated and chock full of charming men with big, squishy hearts and massive cocks?

Instead, it’s a Ouija board conjuring potential mates from the demon realm.

Like the guy who narrated our date in a whispery voice like a nature documentary—watch the modern man in his natural habitat as he attempts to split the check without the aid of his cell phone calculator. Or the man who said he too, loved historical romances, then brought along a friend to serve as our chaperone so my reputation wouldn’t be sullied by dining alone with a member of the opposite sex.

I gave him points for creativity—cosplay can be cute—but deducted them all when the “chaperone” helped himself to my crème brûlée while I was in the ladies’ room.

As a thirty-year-old single woman in New York, I’ll abide some shenanigans in the name of finding true love, but I draw the line at dessert thievery.

Still, those encounters left me with funny stories to tell, and were downright marvelous compared to my long-term relationships.

Boyfriends live to break my heart. Three times has not proved the charm for this girl. I’ve had three steady guys, and all three suffered from chronic cases of My Peen Leaps into Other Women’s Vaginas.

But I don’t need true love—or a man—to be happy.

Positive Thinking is my middle name. Chin up and with my favorite berry red lipstick on, I'm living my best life all by myself.

Running my new business.

Playing sudoku with Gram.

And working on my Sweetie Pies renovation plans.

Admittedly, I wouldn’t mind a little affection. A snuggle here or there. A sweet nothing whispered in my ear.

Fine, I wouldn’t mind an orgasm—or ten—either. Preferably delivered by someone like Henry Cavill, Ryan Reynolds, or that guy from Bridgerton.

But will it happen?

Magic Eight Ball says…not likely. Not in this city and not with a job that requires me to be in bed by nine, far before most single men are out on the prowl. And honestly, I don’t have time for another disappointing boyfriend. It’s a busy life, becoming the sweet queen of Brooklyn.