Authors: Kathy Lyons
Tags: #Fiction, #Contemporary, #General, #Romance, #romance series, #twin, #Falling for the Wrong Twin, #entangled publishing, #brazen
Falling For The Wrong Twin
a Secret Wishes novel
Also by Kathy Lyons
Dream Nights with the CEO
One Night in the Spa
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Kathy Lyons. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Entangled Publishing, LLC
2614 South Timberline Road
Fort Collins, CO 80525
Visit our website at www.entangledpublishing.com.
Brazen is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC. For more information on our titles, visit
Edited by Stacy Abrams and Liz Pelletier
Cover design by Heather Howland
Ebook ISBN 978-1-62266-418-4
Manufactured in the United States of America
First Edition November 2013
Table of Contents
That was all the warning Anna Lopez had before her car gave up the ghost. It wasn’t even a pop or a crunch. More of a splintering of something important, and then the engine died. The thing didn’t even have the life in it to give up a dramatic boom. It just quit. Too bad she was on the freeway going 75 mph at the time.
She shifted lanes as quickly as she could. A twenty-something on his phone gave her the finger. A truck blared on his horn, and then she coasted easy as you please onto the shoulder. Stopped. Safe. She blew out a breath and then flipped on her hazards which--come to think of it--should have gone on when she was still in traffic. But what the hell, she’d been too busy fearing for her life at the time to remember.
But now as her little car was rocked by every passing motorist, she was able to sit there, her heart beating a thousand times a minute, while she tried to un-grip her fingers from the wheel. It took her a few moments, but when she finally accomplished it, she sat back and expressed herself in a single succinct word.
Then she repeated it in Klingon because really, sometimes the English language just didn’t cover it.
Tap tap tap.
“Are you okay?”
Anna jolted, her gaze going out the window to a man with warm green eyes, short curls being blown about in the wind, and a solidly square jaw. She squeaked in surprise, then cursed herself for not being more aware of her environment. When was the last time anyone had snuck up on her?
“I’m just here to help. I saw you go off the road.” He raised his hands and took a step back, smiling all the while. He was broadcasting “not-a-murdering-rapist” in every reassuring way, but Anna knew better than to trust appearances.
Or so she told herself even as she felt her breath ease and her heart slow from terrified down to barely panicked. Truthfully, it was his pink polo shirt that reassured her. Sure, he had muscle beneath that soft fabric, clearly defined whenever a truck roared past and the air flattened everything tight to his body. But something about a man in strong pink just seemed too cute to be violent.
She smiled back then leaned forward to pop the hood of her car. He didn’t go straight to the engine, but stayed a step back, his feet planted in the ankle length weeds. Then before she opened her car door, she grabbed her cell phone and dialed 911 without pressing
. It never hurt to be careful.
“Hi,” she said as she opened the car door. “You wouldn’t happen to be a mechanic would you?”
“Engineer,” he said. “Which means I’ll be able to identify engine parts with absolute authority. I might even be able to tell you if it’s a simple fix.”
“Not the hands-on type?”
He shrugged. “The engines I usually deal with are a lot bigger.” He held out his hand. “Mike Smithson. I work at Caterpillar in Peoria.”
“Ah. Big tractors, then.”
“Big assembly line robotics.”
“Right. Not as helpful as I’d like.”
He shrugged, his expression easing from not-a-serial-killer to big man with a nice smile. She rather liked that on him. “Mind if I take a look?”
She nodded and went to look at her engine block. Her back prickled in awareness, knowing that now would be the perfect time to knock her over the head and drag her off into the weeds, but she had a hard time working herself up into a frenzy. She was too busy thinking about his forearms and hands as he leaned against her car to peer at the engine. Nice strong arms with a pleasing amount of hair. Big hands, blunt nails. Ridiculous to be attracted to a man from the elbow down, but hell…he was well put together. She eased her finger off the
button of her phone.
“You know,” he said casually, “I think I was twelve the last time I saw the inside of a Chevette.”
She shot him a glance. “You making fun of my car?”
“Just remembering my youth with fond nostalgia.” He flashed her an innocent look full of eye twinkle.
“Yeah,” she sighed. “It may be old but it has sentimental value.”
“Uh-huh,” he said. She knew what he meant. Who would be attached to a clunker? But she could tell by the curve of his lips that he was teasing her.
“You’ve got a lot of attitude for a man in a pink shirt,” she said without heat.
“Hey! My niece picked out this shirt.”
She smiled. He hadn’t said
, and there was no ring on his finger. She knew she shouldn’t be thinking sexually right now. Her mind should be on getting her car to run. Plus, they were two strangers on a highway. But Cupid worked in mysterious ways. Perhaps he was headed for Chicago, too. Perhaps he wanted to help her celebrate her birthday. A girl didn’t turn twenty-seven every day.
“I’m not criticizing,” she said, using her own too-innocent look. “Not every guy could bring off such a bold color.”
He snorted. “Pink is not bold.”
“I beg to differ. Pink on a man is very bold. Did she get you a sparkly barrette too?”
His eyes widened a moment in shock, and then his skin flushed in an echo of his shirt. It took her a moment to process that before she burst out laughing.
“She did! A sparkly pink barrette for uncle.”
He shrugged. “It’s on my dash. She’ll be devastated if I’m not wearing it when she sees me.”
No, she wouldn’t. The kid probably didn’t even remember giving it to him. But the girl would remember the moment when big bad uncle walked in wearing it.
“She’s a lucky kid,” Anna said in all honesty. Then together they looked into the engine of her car. And looked. And looked.
Five minutes later, they’d exhausted the easy suspects. No, a belt hadn’t loosened or broken. No, nothing was overheating. Yes, all the fluids were where they were supposed to be.
“Try it again,” he suggested. “Maybe it just overheated.” He didn’t sound like he believed it. Neither did she, but without any other ideas, she gave it a shot.
Nothing. Just that ominous dead click.
She tried it again just to be sure.
She dropped her head back with a sigh.
“Praying?” he asked, his voice clear through the open car door. “May be your best bet.”
“Some might say that was all that kept it running this long.” Actually, it was more like thousands of dollars poured into expensive repairs. She sighed and looked at her phone. She cancelled out the 911 and did a search on tow truck companies.
Meanwhile, he frowned down at the car. “I could crawl underneath it,” he said. “The problem’s most likely there.”
“What, and mess up your pretty pink shirt? What would your niece say?”
“That I need a bubble bath.”
She glanced up at him and burst out laughing. It was stupid, really. Their banter wasn’t that funny, but she was on vacation. After months and months of high tension stress, she was finally letting herself relax. She was pushing her way toward thirty, and a handsome man was flirting with her. Why not laugh? Why not just let her disaster of a car lead her to her next adventure?
But instead of voicing those thoughts, she allowed her words to carry her elsewhere. “I’m wondering why I didn’t get AAA.”
“Good question. But lucky for you, I have friends in Cherry Moon.” He pulled out his phone and started to dial.
“Cherry what?” The only cherry she knew was Cherry Garcia ice cream.
“Cherry Moon, MO. That’s the exit right there.” He pointed ahead about three-quarter miles. “My family has been vacationing there since I was a kid.”
She blinked. “I’ve never heard of it. What is there to do in Cherry Moon?”
“Absolutely nothing.” He spoke in a tone used for trips to the dentist. “Nothing but tea parties, Monopoly, and family movies on an old tv.”
She laughed because that’s what one did when talking about family reunions in a tone meant for the doomed. But inside, she felt a pang of longing. She’d never had a family large enough to play Monopoly, and there hadn’t been a tea-set or even dishes to play with, not to mention a tv when she was a child.
Of course, she reminded herself, now she had all of those things: a Monopoly board, a very nice tv, and even a beautiful tea-set made for adults and real tea. But the only people who used any of those things were her clients. She was a party-planner, and at some point she had needed those items. Which meant it wasn’t the same thing at all.
While those melancholy thoughts filtered through her mind, her rescuer talked to someone with a tow truck. Hopefully, the man knew how to work miracles on old cars on the cheap. She sighed. A girl could dream, right?
Meanwhile, she was getting cold. It was an unseasonably warm October, but given the threatening storm, the temperature was dropping fast. Her beefcake rescuer didn’t seem to be affected, and thank God for that. If she had to be stranded at the side of the road, at least she had something pretty in pink to look at.
She grabbed her jacket, dislodging some of her favorite reading material. Her
magazine dropped to the floor, and she leaned over to grab it only to freeze a moment later.
There was her rescuer stretched out on a two-page spread in full color. She quickly scanned the article. Rick Smithson, soccer star, with his mega-watt smile and a model draped across his lap.
She straightened up, carrying the page with her to compare the photos to the man by her engine. Identical. Had to be.
Not identical men. Unless the photos had been massively re-touched, her engineer was a little more rugged about the jaw, a little broader in the shoulder, and a lot less shit-eating-grin. Which meant this was the soccer star’s identical twin.
He snapped his phone shut and smiled at her. “Joey’s on his way. He’ll tow you to the best mechanic in Cherry Moon, which really isn’t saying much…” His voice trailed away as his gaze riveted on the magazine. “That’s not me,” he said, his voice growing cold.
“I know,” she said as she stepped out of the car. “I should have recognized you right away, but I hadn’t gotten this far in the magazine. Have you seen--”
He held up his hand. “I don’t want to know.”