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Someone Like You by Lauren Layne

Updated: Jan 25

Someone Like You

by Lauren Layne

Published by Loveswept

Book #3 of the Oxford Series

Lincoln Mathis doesn’t hide his reputation as Manhattan’s ultimate playboy.

In fact, he cultivates it. But behind every flirtatious smile, each provocative quip, there’s a secret that Lincoln’s hiding from even his closest friends—a tragedy from his past that holds his heart quietly captive. Lincoln knows what he wants: someone like Daisy Sinclair, the sassy, off-limits bridesmaid he can’t take his eyes off at his best friend’s wedding. He also knows that she’s everything he can never have. After a devastating divorce, Daisy doesn’t need anyone to warn her off the charming best man at her sister’s wedding. One look at the breathtakingly hot Lincoln Mathis and she knows that he’s exactly the type of man she should avoid. But when Daisy stumbles upon Lincoln’s secret, she realizes there’s more to the charming playboy than meets the eye. And suddenly Daisy and Lincoln find their lives helplessly entwined in a journey that will either heal their damaged souls . . . or destroy them forever.



Trauma from Domestic Violence, and Guild/Loss of Partner


You gotta read the book before you read my review! Spoilers ahead! The GIF above makes sense, I promise!

Someone Like You by Lauren Layne is the third book in the Oxford series, and centers around fan favorite, Lincoln Mathis, Oxfords Sex and Dating editor, and Daisy Sinclair, identical twin of Emma, his friend, and boss's wife. Throughout the series, it's been heavily hinted that Lincoln has some secrets, but I don't think anyone could have imagined anything so brutal. And while we don't get a whole lot of back story on Daisy before this book, we do know that she has changed quite a bit since her marriage, and eventual divorce. No doubt about it, Someone Like You is the darkest of all the Stiletto/Oxford Books.

In terms of originality, this story has got it ... especially compared to the rest of the series. Despite the heartbreaking circumstance of Lincoln's almost-marriage, and Daisy's escape from an abusive husband, the story is wonderful, and it flowed beautifully. It helps that it's separated into parts, to help account for the small time, and location jumps.

I have always really liked Lincoln's character. Incredibly charming, always kind, funny, and doesn't give a crap what anyone thinks. But in the past two Oxford books, it's been heavily hinted that Lincoln has his secrets. All it takes is meeting Daisy Sinclair, Emma's maid of honor and twin sister, for him to recognize he isn't the only one who has his guard up. The fact they recognize it in one another, allows him to be himself, and within 48 of meeting her, shows her his biggest secret, and source of his pain. His fiance, Katie, who is brain dead after crashing her car texting Lincoln a couple of days before their wedding. That is when we find out, Lincoln's legendary playboy status is just a mirage. He really is a heartbroken man, devoted to the woman who was supposed to be his wife. Loyal to a fault. We go from believing he loves women (and sure, he is a good guy ... he likes everyone), to learning how fiercely he loves. It makes it kind of hard not to fall for the guy.

Daisy is an interesting character. She has always been described in the past as beautiful (which she is), charming, bubbly ... a sunny personality. A southern belle. We quickly learn she isn't just all of those things ... she is also a bit broken. Lincoln see's this in her, and recognizes a kindred spirit. When in Daisy's point of view, it's clear her marriage was awful, but we don't learn the true extent of it until Lincoln does ... when he see's her ex go to hit her. And while the physical abuse only happened a few times before she divorced him, the mental and emotional abuse was near constant. It's no surprise she has a hard time trusting men. The only thing I dislike about her, is her name. I know. It's silly. But I have twin daughters ... for the life of me I don't get why their parents named one Emma and the other Daisy.

It's obvious these two are perfect for each other from the moment they meet. They just click. They see themselves in one another, and it makes them instantly comfortable with one another ... which they both needed. Their witty banter, and the fact they were able to let each other in behind their walls, it was natural they would eventually fall for one another. They needed each other to heal from their past pain. Lincoln protecting Daisy when her ex came by and went to hit her, and how gentle and kind he always was with her, helped her trust a man again. And Daisy's understanding and patience with Lincoln mourning the death of his fiance ... well, lets just say its the first time in the Stiletto/Oxford books that I ugly cried. Even when he panics and breaks her heart, she understands, tells his to be happy, and leaves. When he went to Kate's grave to say goodbye I totally lost it.

One of the best things about this book was the epilogue. It was written in a way where it could have concluded the series, and in a small way, it does. as the next two books centers on a different group within Oxford, but we still see the originals every so often. Lincoln and Daisy are happily married, and Daisy had just given birth to boy/girl twins. They are over the moon happy. When Daisy has a moment and wonders if he is ever sad he isn't doing this with Katie, his answer is simple, in that he couldn't imagine marriage and having babies with anyone but Daisy. They are both so happy, I ugly cried with happiness. We also learn a bit about the other couples. Jake and Grace have a son now, Riley and Sam have had their second daughter, Cole and Penelope are happily married, and by the way they were mooning over the twins, I wouldn't be surprised if babies were in their future, and Jackson and Molly are expecting their first child in a couple of months. While in romances you know there is always a happily ever after, I love hearing little updates. Its one of the reasons I love series novels so much.

In the end, Someone Like You is everything that was promised. I know fans of t he series were not so patiently waiting for Lincoln's story, and Lauren Layne delivered ... as she usually does. This story is equal parts heartbreaking, and heartwarming, and is my favorite of the Oxford series. Probably my favorite of the Stiletto/Oxford series combined! I love it! You just have to read it .... the whole series! Do it!



Emma: "Lincoln, you know that I love you like a brother, but if you make a move on my sister, I will end you."

Lincoln: "I hope Cassidy knows how lucky he is. You're so delicate and gentle."

Lincoln: “I’m like the stamen.” Emma: “The what?” Lincoln: “The stamen. The pollen-producing part of a flower, Sinclair. Don’t you watch the Discovery Channel? Animal Planet? I just saw a fascinating documentary on bees. See, when the bees land on a flower, their little feet pick up pollen from the stamen-“ Cassidy: “Mathis. Are you talking to my fiancée about semen?” Lincoln: “Stamen. Not semen. Honestly, is sex all you people think about?” Riley: “Yes. And you know, actually, the stamen israther sexual. I saw that bee documentary too, because these are the sort of things you do when you’re nursing a never-satisfied baby, by the way, and the stamen is the flower’s make reproductive organ. Sexy, right?” Emma: “Guys, it’s my wedding weekend. Can we not talk about flower boners?” Lincoln: “Fair enough, bride. What do you want to talk about? Cassidy’s boner?” Cassidy choked into his champagne. Emma: “There will be no boner discussion.”

Daisy: “You must be Lincoln Mathis, The Manwhore of Whom I Should Beware?” Lincoln: “Which would make you Daisy Sinclair, Delicate Flower to Whom I’m Not to Speak.”

Lincoln: “Which, by the way, my speech is awesome, so sorry in advance for making you look bad.” Daisy: “I’m not worried. Rumor has it you got your best man gig in a game of paper football.” Lincoln: “Hey, at least I had to work for it. All you did was share a womb.” Daisy: “Bet I can get more people crying than you tomorrow.” Lincoln: “Their tears are all yours to be manipulated. I’ll be playing the laugh angle.” Daisy: “Hiding your private pain behind jokes. Nice.” Lincoln: “Directing conversation to someone else’s private pain to avoid your own. Nice.” Daisy: “I think we’re going to get along just fine, Mr. Mathis.”

Daisy lifted her glass along with the rest of the room, even as her eyes narrowed on Lincoln. They’d had a dead. She had tears, he had laughs. And then he’d gone for both. That son of a bitch. Hell, even Cassidy looked like he was swallowing a lump in his throat as he went to man-hug his friend. Lincoln caught Daisy’s eye over Cassidy’s shoulder and winked. She let out a little laugh as she sipped her champagne. The bastard. – Daisy

Daisy: “Is it always like that with you?” Lincoln: “It’s like I tried to tell your sister. I’m like the stamen.” Daisy: “A flower penis?” Lincoln: *laughs* “Someone knows their flower parts.”

Daisy: “Does it get old?” Lincoln: “Does what?” Daisy: “Being gorgeous. And irresistible.” Lincoln: “I don’t think anyone’s ever managed to make those two adjectives sound so undesirable.” Daisy: “My immunity to your charms bothers you?” Lincoln: “It does not. It’s rather refreshing, actually.”

Daisy: “I hung it up!” Lincoln lifts a teasing eyebrow. Daisy: “Or you hung it up.” Lincoln: “If it makes you feel better, I turned my back while you stripteased your way out of it.” Daisy: *horrified laugh* “I did not” Lincoln: “I can’t say for sure, what with my back turned and all, but there was quite a bit of humming of what seemed to be Britney Spears.” Daisy groans into her coffee. Daisy: “If this mug were bigger, I’d try to drown myself.”

Daisy: “He really comes every month?” Brenda: “Like clockwork.” Daisy: “You don’t seem happy about it.” Brenda: “I think it’s lovely, but it’s not about me. It’s about Katie. And my daughter would never ever have wanted this for the man that she loves.”

Lincoln: “I figure wine’s my best chance of your sister not deballing me when she finds out you slept in my bed last night.” Daisy: “Don’t worry. I already told her that yes, we left together, but I didn’t violate you.” Lincoln: “You say that because you didn’t see the Britney striptease.” Daisy: “Thought you said you kept your back turned for that.” Lincoln: “Ahh-“ Daisy punches Lincoln in the arm Daisy: “Mathis.” Lincoln: “I may have caught a glimpse before my Gentleman kicked in. In my defense, you whipped that dress over your head fast.”

Lincoln: “Hey baby girl.” The baby girl’s diapered butt rested on his forearm and his big palm around her tiny dark head, but the screaming didn’t stop. Julie: “What do you know. The only single female on the planet that’s not instantly in love with Lincoln Mathis.”

Julie: “All right. There has got to be a statute of limitation on that little mishap.” Mitchell: “Mathis? What say you?” Lincoln: “I say someone above the age of twelve putting a frozen pizza in the oven with the plastic still on definitely deserves a lifetime of reminders on said mishap. And my God, does this baby never stop crying?” Sam: “No, never.”

Lincoln: “She looks more like Riley every time I see her. Acts like her too, with all that noise.” Sam: “Please don’t say that. You forget that I knew Riley all through high school. I don’t think I can handle if my daughter has even a tiny sliver of her mother’s spirit.” Julie: “Spirit. Is that what we’re calling it?” Riley: “What would you call it?” Julie: “Um … vigor?” Riley: “Vaguely sexual. I like it.”

Emma: “Lincoln Mathis. Would you mind telling me what part of stay away from my sister I was unclear on? You realize that I’m about five steps away from a vast array of sharp knives, right? Lincoln: “Ahhh-“ Cassidy: “She did warn you, man.”

Cassidy: “Daisy. Glad you’re here. Can I get you something to drink?” Daisy: “Sure. White Wine?” Lincoln: “No whiskey? Jack Daniel’s, perhaps?” Lincoln starts humming Britney Spear’s ‘Oops! … I Did It Again while Daisy gives him a ha ha look.

Lincoln hops up onto the counter and pats the spot beside him: Lincoln: “Come, Wallflower. Let us look down upon our people.”

Text message exchange: Lincoln: Wallflower. Took your advice about keeping The Ladies away. You’re right, nobody like a guy with a rash, no matter how I swore it wasn’t itchy. Daisy: Tell them that there’s nothing to worry about – that the medicated cream you use shouldn’t cause any irritation unless they’re part of the 2% of the population that’s allergic. Lincoln: tried that the first time. Unfortunately for me, she was a dermatologist. Took it as a turn on. Daisy: Is it hard then? Being so handsome you literally can’t keep them away? Lincoln: So hard, Wallflower. Last night I cried about it.

Daisy: “I haven’t been having dirty fantasies about Lincoln.”

Whitney: “Lincoln. Oh gawd, a great name to go with all that yummy. Sex dreams then. Don’t lie to me, Sinclair, a woman doesn’t spend time with him and not have the most primal part of her wonder about what it would be like.”

Daisy said nothing as she pulled chicken out of her meat drawer.

Whitney: “I knew it. Awake Daisy might have the lust locked down, but sleeping Daisy wants some.”

Daisy: “Sometimes I don’t know why we’re friends.”

Penelope places a plate in front of Lincoln with a chocolate donut with rainbow sprinkles.

Lincoln: “I love you. Leave Cole and marry me.”

Cole: “Don’t even think about it, Tiny.”

Lincoln: “Give up now, Sharpe. I’m irresistible. Right, Pen?”

Jake: “Mathis, your attack squirrel is humping my calf.”

Lincoln: “Toss her an egg roll.”

Jake: “A whole egg roll? That’s as big as she is.”

Lincoln: “So bite it in half, give her the rest. Eh, bite off two-thirds. Give her the last bit.”

Jake: “How about I cut it like a thirty-something man instead of gnawing on it like a hungover frat boy?”

Cole comes over, picks up the egg roll, takes a bite and offers the rest to Kiwi.

Cole: “There you go, baby. Who’s your favorite uncle now?”

Lincoln: “She is hot. But I’m not interested.”

Jake: “Since when?”

Lincoln: “Since now. Seriously, are we here to eat Chinese and play poker, or should I turn on Adele and pour us some rose?”

Jake: “You say that like it’s not a regular thing for you.”

Cole begins singing ‘Rolling in the Deep’ with Mitchell joining in harmony

Lincoln: *laughs* “Jesus. I need another beer.”

Lincoln: “You wanted to see me?”

Cassidy: “Yeah. Come in. Close the door.”

Lincoln: “Should I be nervous? You only ever close the door when you bone Emma in here or fire someone.”

Cassidy: “Would you just … shut the door. And shut up, nobody’s getting boned or fired.”

Cassidy: “What’s with the ball?”

Lincoln: “We were playing Horse in Cole’s office.”

Cassidy: “I thought I got rid of the balls after one of you morons lobbed one across the entire floor, knocking over Jo’s coffee, which then spilled on our very expensive phone system and shorted out her keyboard.”

Lincoln: “Replacement. And speaking of Jo, her stomach’s like a basketball. And not a miniature like this one either. Full-size basketball. You see her lately?”

Cassidy: “No. I’m editor in chief of this magazine, spend eight-plus hours a day trying to stay on top of you hooligans, but no, Mathis, I had no idea my receptionist was six months pregnant.”

Mathis: “Six. That all? I was thinking like … ten.”

Cassidy: “Do us all a favor and don’t tell her that. Give me the ball.”

Lincoln: *tossing ball from hand to hand* “Why?”

Cassidy: “Because you’re driving me fucking nuts.”

Lincoln: “First of all, if I were in a dating place right now, I wouldn’t crash and burn. Second of all, you know by now that I was never a playboy, only playing the part. And third … dude, Cassidy … are you sending me to a farm?”

Cassidy: “Yes, Lincoln. I’m sending you to a farm. Thought you and Kiki-“

Lincoln: “Kiwi.”

Cassidy: “ – Kiwi could sleep in a barn with the pigs. Jesus. I was thinking something more intermediate. Something more medium town, with a touch of Southern to keep things interesting.”

Lincoln: “North Carolina. You want to send me to Charlotte.”

Cassidy: “Strictly optional. If there’s another city you’d prefer, I’m open to it so long as it gets you away from the Northeast and bad memories. But I’ll throw it out there that Daisy’s big old mansion has a fully furnished guesthouse, fancy kitchen, private-“

Lincoln tilts his head back and laughs

Lincoln: “You’re either trying to set me up, or you’re trying to assign me a babysitter. I’m not sure which is worse.”

Cassidy: “It’s neither. Look, I’d never think to play matchmaker so soon after your loss. Neither would Emma. Even if I did, it wouldn’t be Daisy.”

Lincoln: “Why not Daisy?”

Cassidy: “Because she’s just as damaged as you are.”

Daisy: “You know you’re welcome to stay here. There re right bedrooms. You and Kiwi could each have your own.”

Lincoln: “No can do. Ki’s a cuddler.”

Daisy: “Ah. Big spoon?”

Lincoln: “Obviously.”

Lincoln: “You North Carolina girls can’t be that different from New York City girls.”

Daisy: “Can’t we?”

Lincoln: “You’re a southern girl, and I had you in my bed in one night.”

Daisy: “Doesn’t count. You may have had me in your underwear, but you never got me out of mine.”

Lincoln: “Thirty minutes. That’s how long it took us to get the conversation to underwear. We’re weird together, Wallflower.”

Lincoln: “I owe you an apology.”

Daisy: “For?”

Lincoln: “For pulling back. After you left, but before Katie died, I know I just sort of … quit responding to your texts.”

Daisy: “Ah. I understood.”

Lincoln: “yeah. Yeah, see, I figured you understood. That’s the thing about you, Daisy, you seem to understand everything.

Daisy: “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

Lincoln: “Not a bad thing, no. But it’s the reason I had to pull back.”

Daisy: “Because I understood things?”

Lincoln: “No, because you understand me. And it’s been a long time since anyone has.”

Whitney: “We did good, Daiz.”

Daisy: “Oh did we?”

Whitney: “Hey, I cut a lime. Lincoln, baby, did you see me cut that lime?”

Lincoln: “I sure did. None of this would have been possible without you.”

Daisy: “You okay?”

Lincoln: “Sometimes I wish I liked you less, Wallflower.”

Lincoln: “So at what point do I get to learn where I’m headed?”

Daisy: “Soon. Take a right up here.”

Lincoln: “That’s into a parking lot.”

Daisy: “It is? You sure you’re not CIA? Those are some keen observational skills.”

Lincoln: “You sure you didn’t have sarcasm piped straight through the umbilical cord? Because your twin has the same smart mouth.”

Daisy: “Were you actually any help?”

Lincoln: “I said the words engine, belt, and torque steer, so most definitely. You think I should have charged them?

Daisy: “I’m not going to lie, it kind of works for you.”

Lincoln: “What does? Car talk, huh? You like that, Wallflower? Your engines revved?”

Daisy: *laughs* “Save it. But admit I was right. Those women ate up the whole everyman mechanic routine. Don’t worry. I won’t rub it in.”

Lincoln: “Don’t worry. I won’t rub it in either.”

Daisy: “Rub what in?”

Lincoln: “That your plan backfired. The whole dirty towel in the belt thing really did it for ya, huh?”

Lincoln: “No Jack Daniel’s. Does this mean no striptease later?”

Daisy: “The night is young, Mathis. The night is young.”

Lincoln: “It doesn’t feel right. Talking about one woman while out to dinner with another.”

Daisy: “If this were a date, I might agree, but that’s not what this is.”

Lincoln: “Hard to remember when you look like that.”

Lincoln: “You’re the best person I know.”

Daisy rolls her eyes.

Lincoln: “I mean it. Sometimes I think … I don’t know. I think you’re the reason I’m still standing.”

Daisy: “We barely know each other?”

Lincoln: “Liar.”

A sex dream. Not the first he’d had, certainly, but easily the most detailed. And the hottest. Damn it. About Daisy. Even as Lincoln’s brain tried to rationalize that it didn’t mean anything, his hand moved down his body, palming his still-hard cock. He resisted for only a split second before he stroked himself, letting his imagination pick up where the dream left off. Because there was no longer any denying it. He wanted Daisy Sinclair. And if this was the only way he could have her, late at night, with only his dreams and his need … So be it. – Lincoln

Penelope: “Lincoln, you’re very good-looking and everything, even in that ugly T-shirt, but can you please put my godbaby on the screen?”

Lincoln: “Ki loves to Skype, don’t you, baby?”

Penelope: “Cole! Come look at our godbaby!”

Cole: “That’s not a baby. It’s a rat with a bow. Lincoln, why is that rat wearing a bow?”

Cole: “Tell me again how a six-foot-two guy ended up with a five-pound dog?”

Lincoln: “Kiwi was Katie’s dog. I’m just a legal guardian.”

Cole: “Bullshit. You, my friend, are that dog’s beloved daddy.”

Penelope: “And I’m godmother, aren’t I? Hi baby.”

Penelope: “I love the way the Southern girls talk. All soft and feathery. Super-hot. Do you love it, Lincoln?”

Lincoln: “Pen. Do we have to have guy talk?”

Penelope: “Yes.”

The man shouted something, and stepped towards Daisy, and then Lincoln saw it. Saw her fear. Daisy flinched, raising both arms in front of her face as though to protect herself. As though to protect herself. Motherfucker. That was the missing piece of Daisy’s story. She hadn’t just had a bad divorce. The guy hadn’t just cheated on her. He’d hit her. Lincoln knew it with every fiber in his being. It explained the sometimes haunted look in Daisy’s eyes and the way she seemed always ready to run if someone – especially a man – touched her too long. It probably also explained why the bastard had left Daisy with a huge house, two Mercedes’s, and a hefty alimony check. Hush money. He was trying to keep her quiet about the real reason they weren’t together anymore. Because he’d hit her. This Gary bastard had hit Lincoln’s beautiful, funny, kind Daisy. The thought filled Lincoln with a fury he’d never felt before, white and hot and pure. – Lincoln

Lincoln: “You fucking son of a bitch.”

Gary: “What the fuck? You broke my fucking nose.”

Lincoln: “You deserve a hell of a lot more than that broken.”

Lincoln’s hand fisted again, but Daisy leapt forward, grabbing his arm, cupping his fisti n her palms. He snarled, lifted his hand as though to shake her off, but then he looked down. HE swore softly, closing his eyes and breathing in through his nose, as though forcibly trying to calm himself. For her. He was trying not to scare her.

Daisy: “Please. He’s not worth it.”

Lincoln: “No, but you are.”

Gary: “This is him, isn’t it? This is the douchebag Brian saw you with at the bar the other night, wearing a slutty dress, conducting yourself like a damned whore for everyone to see-“

Lincoln: Sorry, Wallflower. Has to be done.”

His fist collided with Gary’s face once more, but this time he grabbed her ex-husbands shirt, hauling him forward when he would have reeled backward.

Daisy: “I’m not entirely broken right now. Just a little bit.”

Lincoln: “You’re not broken. Someone that weak could never break someone so strong.”

Daisy: “I got help right away, and that was huge. Just a little cracked sometimes, that’s all. Trying to figure out how to fill those cracks has been harder than I thought.”

Lincoln: “We’re all a little cracked, honey.”

Daisy: “You ever wonder?”

Lincoln: “Wonder what?”

Daisy: “What will fill your cracks? How to get better.”

Lincoln: “All the damn time.”

Did he know? Did Lincoln know that the more he put her back together again, the more power he had to break her heart? – Daisy

Daisy: “What did your research tell you? Do we Southern girls put out after the first date?”

Lincoln: “Depends.”

Daisy: “On?”

Lincoln: “They guy. The girl.”

Daisy: “Well, this girl is undecided. But should it go well, I wouldn’t want to be caught in my uglies, now would I?”

Lincoln: “You say that as though I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about your underwear.”

Daisy: “I didn’t mean-“

Lincoln finger traces along her spine.

Lincoln: “I have. I’ve been thinking about things I shouldn’t.”

Daisy tried to turn, but he spreads this fingers wide on her back, keeping her facing away from him. He slides her hair over one shoulder, leaving her neck bare.

Lincoln: “I’m not good for you, Daisy. No good for any woman, not now. But if I were-“

Daisy: “Lincoln-“

Lincoln: “But if I were … If I were, I’d press my lips here”

His fingers brush the back of her neck.

Lincoln: “I’d kiss you here, and then move around to the side of your neck. Find out of you like being kissed there. I’m torn on what I’d do next. Torn between sliding my hand down here *his finger brushed against the clasp of her bra*, unfastening this, because pretty as the bra is, naked is always better. Or maybe- Maybe instead, I’d push the dress forward, baring your shoulder. And I’d turn you toward me. See if the bra’s as pretty in front as it is in back. Seeing if your body’s as pretty as your face, but I’m damn well sure it is. But if I did that …”

His fingers trail along her side until his hands span her waist.

Lincoln: “If I did that, then I’d have to kiss you. And I can’t kiss you Daisy.”

Daisy: “Why not?”

Lincoln: “Because I won’t stop there. I’d push you to the bed, and take you until you had nothing left to give.”

Daisy: And if I said I wanted that?”

Lincoln: “Don’t.”

Daisy: “Why?”

She tries to turn, but his hands held her firm, fingers digging against her hip bones.

Lincoln: “Because I have nothing to give back, Daisy. Oh, I’d give you pleasure. We’d give each other that. But I’d take absolutely everything – I’d fucking consume you. You’d want something in return, and I’d have nothing. I’m hollow inside, and you deserve so much more.”

Daisy: “You wanted it all once.”

Lincoln: “Yeah. I did. I wanted it so damn bad, and then it was ripped away. And not all at once, no clean head shot. It was like being maimed, having one piece of your heart torn out bit by bit, stretched out over fucking years. If I did it, Wallflower, if I felt that way again, it would be about someone like you. But I can’t. I’m not risking it all. Not even for you.”

Lincoln: “He’s a control freak, Em. I don’t know how you do it.”

Emma: “Easy. I ignore the commands in all places except the bedroom, and there I give as good as I get.”

Nick: “I didn’t pee on your desk, Mathis, but you should know I’m about to pee on this one.”

Daisy: “Wait, what?”

Lincoln: “Wait, you live here?”

Taylor: “She does. And I promptly made her my new best friend, mostly for the purpose of telling her how to ward off the affections of Bastard Ballantine here.”

Nick: “Not sure how you’d have any experience with that. Seeing as you’ve never been the object of them.”

Daisy: “Perhaps you and Nick could take your cat and dog routine elsewhere, hmm?”

Nick: “Which is Taylor? The pussy or the bitch?”

Taylor: “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

Daisy: “I wish someone would have warned me that this job came with babysitting duties.”

Nick: “What about dinner later? Are we on for that?”

Taylor: “Yes, Nicholas. Of course, Daisy will go to dinner with you.”

Lincoln: “Hold up. I thought you just said you were warning her off Ballantine’s affections.”

Taylor: “Sure. But that’s before I saw all of this. *waggles finger towards Daisy and Lincoln* And this’ll be way more fun.”

Nick: “You are such a bitch.”

Lincoln: “You’re dating Nick Ballantine.”

Daisy: “I’m … not sure.”

Lincoln: “You’re having dinner with him tonight.”

Daisy: “Okay fine, I’m dating Nick Ballantine. Isn’t that what you wanted, Lincoln? For me to move on with my life? Find someone worthy. Be happy, Daisy, isn’t that what you told me?

Lincoln: “Yeah, but you were supposed to do all that in North Carolina!”

Daisy: “What difference does it make! Here, there, same thing.”

Lincoln: “No, it’s not the same thing. When you were there, I’d have to think about it, but not see it. But this … this …”

Daisy: “What do you want?”

Lincoln glares at her.

Lincoln: “I want coffee. Right now I want coffee and fresh air, and I’m going to damned Starbucks.”

Daisy: “All right-“

Lincoln storms out, almost running over Grace.

Grace: “Hey! You’re back! It’s good to see you, we’ll have to grab lunch and catch up.”

Lincoln stepped back to hold the door open for Grace and then growled a response Daisy couldn’t hear before going to the elevators and stabbing the button with an angry jab.

Grace: “What was that about? I’ve never seen him like that.”

Daisy: “No idea.”

Grace: “Really? Because you seem almost gleeful about his bad mood.”

Daisy: “I think … I think he might have been jealous. He heard Nick Ballantine ask me out, and he got all … weird.”

Grace: “Jealousy. It would explain why I didn’t recognize it. I don’t know I’ve ever seen him jealous before. I mean, the guy didn’t even notice my chocolate chip muffin. The Lincoln I know …”

Lincoln comes marching back in the office. He stops beside Grace and bends down to kiss her cheek.

Lincoln: “Good to see you too, Mrs. Malone. Lunch sounds great.”

Looks at Daisy and smile disappears.

Lincoln: “We’re not done here, Wallflower.”

Daisy: “Meaning what?”

He doesn’t answer. He pluck’s Grace’s muffin out of her hand, and walks out of the office, taking a bite.

Grace: “Well, well. I have a feeling things are about to get interesting.”

Daisy: “I think you’re a man who’s had his life turned upside down and is finally ready to get it back together. I think that odd night we had in Charlotte could complicate that effort.”

Lincoln: “Don’t turn me into a project, Daisy. And odd wasn’t the word I’d use to describe that night.”

Daisy: “Well, what work would you use?”

Lincoln: “Hot. It was damned hot, and you know it.”

Lincoln: “Why New York?”

Daisy: “What?”

Lincoln: “Why New York? All the places in the country, in the world, and you chose to get your fresh start here.”

Daisy: “I’m hardly the first person to have done so. It’s New York. It’s what people do.”

Lincoln: “That’s not an answer. Why. New. York?”

Daisy: “I don’t know. Emma, I guess.”

Lincoln: “I think you’re lying.”

Daisy: “All right, I’ll play. Why do you think I came to New York?”

Lincoln: “I think you came for this.”

And then, for the first time in nearly three years, Lincoln dipped his head and kissed a woman like he meant it.

Lincoln: “I don’t think you fully understand, Wallflower. I haven’t been with a woman since before Katie’s accident. I won’t be gentle. I don’t think I’m capable of it.”

Daisy: “I don’t want gentle.”

Lincoln: “You deserve it. After what you’ve been through with your ex … I see the way you shy away from men, the way you hold yourself apart-“

Daisy: “I’ve been cautious, yes. And it takes me a bit longer to feel safe around men, true. Perhaps that will always be the case. But I’m not afraid of you, Lincoln. I never have been.”

Lincoln: “Daisy-"

Daisy: “I want you. I want your hands on me, I want you gentle, rough, desperate, because I’m feeling all those things. I’ve been feeling them.”

Daisy: “I’d just like to point out what excellent self-control I had keeping my hands off this as long as I did.”

Lincoln: Same goes. You’re more perfect than I imagined.”

Daisy: “You imagined this?”

Lincoln: “You have no idea.”

Lincoln: “Daisy. Daisy, I’ve gone as slow as I can, but I don’t think I can be gentle.”

Daisy: “I don’t want gentle. I just want you.”

Lincoln: “I need to get to work.”

Nick: “No prob. Just know that I’ll be waiting.”

Lincoln: “For what?”

Nick: “For you to fuck it up with Daisy.”

Lincoln: “You wore this dress on purpose.”

Daisy laughs nervously.

Lincoln: “Tell me something, darling. If I were to ease this down, would I find the same sexy bra you were wearing for the other guy – what was his name?”

Daisy: “I don’t remember.”

Lincoln: “Good girl.”

Lincoln pulls the zipper down.

Lincoln: “Just as I expected. Someone was thinking naughty thoughts about getting laid in the office this morning.”

Lincoln: “Did you want me to kiss you that night, Daisy?”

Daisy: “Yes. That night. And plenty of nights before it. And since.”

Lincoln: “Here’s your hard, Wallflower.”

Lincoln ripped her underwear down her side, and thrust into her, fast and ruthless, and Daisy put her hand over her mouth to stifle the cry. He fucked her. He fucked her like his life depends on it, fingers digging into soft hips, eyes locked on the sway of her tits as his body slammed into hers again and again with frantic need. He was on the brink of a massive orgasm in record time, and his thumb moved down her body, pressing her clit to take her with him He quickened the pace, their mutual need almost unbearable. Daisy’s arms flung over her head at her release, something clattering to the floor as Lincoln met her there in the ecstasy, thrusting inside her once more as he came with a harsh groan. It was so good. Always so damn good. As though he could never get enough of this. Of her. – Lincoln

Daisy: “Cassidy wanted everyone in the conference room. Nine o’clock.”

Lincoln: “You could have called to tell me that.”

Daisy: “Of definitely. I’ll be sure to do that next time.”

Lincoln: “Don’t you dare. Every message in person, from here on out. Sexy dresses mandatory.”

Daisy: “Whoa, hold up. We’re not …”

Riley: “Boning? You totally are. Rumor has it you had office sex.”

Daisy: “We did not.”

Penelope: “You totally did. Trust it from someone who’s had office sex in the Oxford office, you had that look.”

Daisy: “There is no look.”

Emma: “There sort of is.”

Daisy: “How do you know! I didn’t even see you that day!”

Julie: “Yeah, I don’t think Emma was talking about you.”

Daisy: “You? And Cassidy-“

Emma: “-Are not the topic of conversation here, twin dearest.”

Daisy: “You all know, right, that the Lincoln you thought you knew was just a mirage. He was never the womanizing playboy he presented to the world. He’s a good guy.”

Riley: “He’s the best guy. But sweetheart, that is one damaged dude. The baggage … I can’t even imagine how much the airlines would charge for that.”

Grace: “Riley.”

Riley: “Oh, come on. Like you’re not all thinking it. The guy was engaged, and days before his wedding, the girl gets in a car accident, and the result is heart-splintering. He spends two years taking care of the woman he loves who can’t feed herself much less recognize him or herself, and then she dies.”

Penelope: “But he’s dealing with it. Isn’t he?”

Daisy: “He is. I’m not going to say that he’s not going to be dealing with Katie’s ghost for a long while, but there’s been progress. Costa Rica was good for him, and now …”

Penelope: “And now he’s with you.”

Daisy: “He’s not with me. We’re not dating. We’re just … I don’t even know.”

Molly: “And that’s fine. It’s fine to not define it, or apply a label to it. We’ve all been there. And none of our relationships came without skeletons in the closet. I mean, for God’s sake, Jackson was married to my sister.”

Riley: “Sam’s my brother’s best friend and made him some bullshit promise never to touch me so we wasted a decade playing cat and mouse.”

Julie: “That’s nothing. I pursued Mitchell for the sake of a story, and he only said yes because of a bet.”

Grace: “Jake’s a commitment-phobe.”

Emma: “My husband only asked me out way back when because my father told him to, and even then he thought he was going out with my more fun twin.”

Daisy throws a carrot at Emma. Everyone looks at Penelope, who was nibbling on a pretzel.

Riley: “Sweetie. Anything you want to tell us about Cole?”

Penelope: “Sometimes he’s too agreeable. It gets annoying.”

They all threw carrots at her.

Daisy: “Where are you going?”

Lincoln: “You cook breakfast for me when I stay over. I thought I’d go pick up something when you stay over.”

Daisy: “Yeah, because that’s an even trade.”

Lincoln: “Hold that sass until you taste this croissant with egg and Gruyere sandwich from around the street. I’ll blow your mind.”

Daisy: “I thought you just did that.”

Lincoln: “Cheeky this morning. I like that.”

Lincoln: “I need you to leave, Daisy.”

Daisy: “All right. Are we talking for a couple days so you can have some space, or are we talking Leave and don’t come back?”

He wanted to look way, but he held her gaze, begging her to understand what he couldn’t make himself say out loud. She understood. Daisy’s face crumpled for half a second, and his heart broke. But she recovered quickly, lifting her chin even as he watched her beautiful brown eyes water with tears.

Daisy: “Okay then. Okay.”

She walked stiffly toward the front door. Every fiber of his being wanted to cry out for her to stay, but he held it together. Better to let her go now, like this, before either of them got into this thing any deeper. At the last minute, she turned back and walked toward him. His heart pounded with fear and hope. Her heart was in her eyes, and he refused to acknowledge what he saw there. Daisy lifted to her toes and brushed her lips softly against his.

Daisy: “Be happy. Please.”

It was a good-bye kiss. But long after she’d walked out the door and closed it quietly behind her, he wondered if it had been more than that. He knew Daisy Sinclair almost as well as he knew himself. He was pretty damn sure that what she’d really just told him was that she loved him. And there wasn’t a damn thing he could so about it.

Lincoln at Katie’s gravesite:

“I want to talk to you about something. It’s a little weird, maybe a little inappropriate, but you used to be my best friend, and I need my best friend now, Katie. I think I fell in love, Katie. Not while you were still here. I was loyal to you every single minute, loving you, I would have been every moment you were still breathing. Just because we were a few days away from actually saying the words till death do us part didn’t mean I didn’t honor them. But, see, the thing is, death did us part. And that hurt like hell, and I died inside right along with you, but then I came back. Someone brought me back. I know you only met her briefly, but … well, you’d like her. She’s funny and kind, but she’s also just good. She’s been hurt too, but she didn’t let it change her. Not for long anyway, and that makes her brave. More brave, I think, than I’ve been. Which is I guess the real reason I’m here, Katie. I want to be brave. I want to be brave enough to deserve her and get her back. I’m here to say good-bye to you, Katie. I thought I did that in Costa Rica, but that was really just accepting that you were gone. But now it’s time for me to accept that I’m not gone. I’m still here, and I’ve realized I’d rather risk being hurt again than live alone. I have to be without you, Katie, but I don’t have to be without Daisy. And I just … I guess I wanted you to hear it from me. I’m not going to be around for a little while. I may not visit.”

Lincoln blinked back the moisture gathering in his eyes. Touched a hand to his heart.

“But you’ll always be here, ‘kay? Always.”

Cassidy: “Can someone please tell me why I have, like, ten people in my conference room on a Friday afternoon, only a handful of whom actually work for me?”

Lincoln: “Shut it. Julie, where’s Mitchell?”

Julie: “Um, work?”

Lincoln: “Get him in here.”

Julie: “Really?”

Mollie: “Don’t fight it. I didn’t answer my cell at work, and he called the receptionist at my lab. Four times.”

Lincoln: “Damn straight. Only Sam gets a free pass because he works out in the bowels of Brooklyn and I can’t wait that long.”

Riley: “Actually, he’s in Manhattan today doing a tasting.”

Lincoln fixed her with a glare.

Riley:And, I was just about to call him.”

Lincoln no-so-gently smacked the back of Cole’s head as he paced.

Lincoln: “Focus, man. You’re supposed to be helping me get my woman, not making out with yours.”

Penelope: “It was one little kiss.”

Lincoln points at her.

Lincoln: “Pope, you know you’re my favorite, but I need your head in the game.”

Penelope: “You got it. What’s the play?”

Julie: “Mitchell’s on the way. Eat this sandwich, you’re acting hangry, sweetie.”

Lincoln glares at Julie. Riley shrugs and starts eating the sandwich.

Riley: “Is now a good time to tell you that Sam can’t make it?”

Emma: “Jesus, Ri, are you pregnant again? You’re eating a lot, even for you.”

Riley: “Sadly, no. Lady time is roaring loud and clear.”

Jackson drops his sandwich down in disgust.

Jackson: “No. Just no. There are rules for these sorts of things, Riley. No talking about your lady time while people are eating.”

Jake: “Or, how about not talking about it ever?”

Cole: “Here here.”

Cole: “Are we here for the reason I think we are?”

Lincoln: “What do you think?”

Cole: “You fucked it up with Daisy. Want us to unfuck it?”

Lincoln: “What else do you guys have?”

Mitchell: “Wait, really? This is why I busted my ass to get up here during rush hour on a Friday? To help you get Daisy back?”

In response, Cassidy poured him a liberal glass of bourbon, which Mitchell accepted with a shake of his head.

Mitchell: “Okay, fine. What’s the story?”

Lincoln: “All right, so, it’s bad but not desperate. I didn’t have her crying on the floor. *looks at Mitchell* Nor did I fly to Texas. *looks at Jackson* Nor did I ditch her on her wedding day. *looks at Cassidy, who calmly gives him the middle finger* But I did screw up. I pushed her away, I hurt her. I need to undo it.”

Lincoln: “What would Daisy want?”

Emma says nothing.

Lincoln: “Please. Help me.”

Emma smiles.

Emma: “Depends, Mathis. How foolish are you willing to get for this woman?”

Lincoln: “For her? All the way.”

Emma: “I’ve got just the thing.”

Daisy: “Are you Say Anything-ing me right now?”

Lincoln: “How about we start with something simple. I was an idiot, and I’m sorry.”

Daisy: “You weren’t an idiot. You were – you are – a man who’s lost someone and is trying to figure it out.”

Lincoln: “I was still an idiot. And I’m still sorry.”

Daisy: “I know. But Lincoln, I’m not angry at you. I was never angry at you. I understand that you’ll need time, and when you’re ready you’ll find someone wonderful-“

Lincoln: “I don’t want someone wonderful, I want you.”

She lifted her eyebrows, and he closed his eyes, laughing sheepishly as he realized what he’d said.

Lincoln: “Damn it. That’s not what I meant.”

Daisy: “Not so smooth today, I see. Not like with the other girls.”

Lincoln: “No. No, because the other girls don’t matter like you do, Daisy.”

Daisy: “Lincoln-“

Lincoln: “You may have noticed I have a weird habit of calling everyone love. But never you. I never called you that. You were always Daisy or Wallflower. I think … I think I didn’t call you love in the dismissive way I did everyone else because I knew if I ever said it to you, it would come true. That you would be my love, and I would love you, Daisy. I didn’t want that. I couldn’t risk it. So I never said it. But damn it Daisy, it ended up not mattering. I fell in love with you anyway. Somewhere between New York and Charlotte and back to New York again, I fell so hard for my Wallflower.”

Daisy: “I thought we agreed not to call me that.”

Lincoln: “How about I call you something else? Love.”

Daisy: “Bet you say that to all the girls.”

Lincoln: “Not anymore. Only you, Daisy. You are my love.”

Lincoln: “I’ll go. But Daisy, if I can ask a favor, as a friend…”

Daisy: “Anything.”

Lincoln: “Tell me you love me.”

Daisy: “Lincoln-“

Lincoln: “I know you love me. Or at least you did before I screwed it up. Let me have the words just once, Daisy. Lie to me if you have to, but give me something to replay when I’m old and all alone and loving you so much it hurts-“

Daisy let out a strangled sob as she launched herself at him, arms going around him as she buried her face in his neck.

Daisy: “I love you. I love you so much.”

Lincoln froze in shock, a second before his arms came around her and he shuddered.

Lincoln: “It’s better than I thought it would be. I don’t know if I can let you go. I thought I could, and I meant to, but-“

Daisy pulled back slightly and dragged his mouth to hers, pouring her heart and soul into the kiss. His hands lifted to her head, deepening the kiss before breaking away and tilting her face up to his.

Lincoln: “Give me one more chance. Just one more chance, love. My love.”

Daisy: “Let’s do it.”

Lincoln: “Do what?”

Daisy: “All of it. Put our heart on the line, trust the other that it’ll be worth it.”

Lincoln: “It’s already been worth it. But I’m greedy. I still want.”

Daisy: “What do you want?”

Lincoln: “You, Daisy. I want someone like you.”

Daisy: “I’m impressed everyone’s not crowded in here.”

Lincoln: “I paid Cassidy to keep them at bay. I love this weird Stiletto/Oxford family of ours to death, but I’m not entirely convinced they won’t steal our children.”

Daisy: “I love you.”

Lincoln: “I love you back.”

Daisy: “I can’t believe we have babies. I’ve wanted a family so much for so long, and now you’re here, everything’s so perfect, and I don’t know what to do with myself.”

Lincoln: “You do the only thing you can do, love. You get used to it. Because we’re not done yet. We’re going to have a couple more of these little critters, we’re going to raise the hell out of them, and they’re going to raise the hell out of their children, and someday we’ll be old and gray sitting on the porch listening to Britney-“

Daisy: *laughing* “Um, no.”

Lincoln: “Fine, someday we’ll we old and gray, sitting on the porch in boring, old-person silence, and I’ll be just fine with that, because I’ll have everything I ever wanted. I’ll have you, Daisy Mathis.”

He glanced back at Daisy, saw her smile had slipped just a little. He reached out, took her chin in his hand.

Lincoln: “Tell me.”

Daisy: “Do you ever wonder – do you ever miss –“

He shook his head, knowing what she was talking about. Whom she was talking about.

Lincoln: “I have everything I need right here.”

And even as his daughter opened her tiny mouth and let loose with a barrage of not-too-tiny screams, Lincoln knew it was true. At long last, his heart had found its happiness.


Check out the rest of the Stiletto & Oxford Series below!

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