Author: Kimberly Dean
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Desire is a double-edged dance.
Lexie Underhill works her tail off in hopes of winning her adoptive father’s approval. It’s never enough. The stinging proof? He’s brought in a reorganization expert. As if the prospect of losing her job in the family business isn’t enough, Cameron Rowe’s sexy, intimidating presence makes her palms sweat.
When Lexie’s face appears on a scandalous freeway billboard, her protestations of innocence go unheard. With orders to save the family name—or else—she marches into the bar the billboard was advertising and comes face-to-face with an identical twin sister. Roxie is wild and free, everything Lexie isn’t. Before the night is out, she welcomes the chance to explore her own sensuality.
As she dances wantonly on the bar, suddenly Cam is there, kissing her as if he has the right. The sizzle between them breaks out in four-alarm desire, but Lexie has recalibrated her life plan. And the equation doesn’t factor in Cam—until she’s sure where his loyalties lie. With her…or her father’s company.
Their gazes connected, and time stopped. Slowed down Matrix-style and froze.
Lexie forgot to breathe.
So did the woman in front of her.
She knew, because it was like staring into a mirror. The woman facing her was her exact replica, a true doppelganger. The toes of Lexie’s right foot slowly dropped back to the floor. She needed all the balance she could get, because her world was going topsy-turvy again.
She started to shake her head to clear her vision, but she couldn’t look away. She and the woman in front of her were identical in every way. Height. Body type. Even hairstyle. The face gawking at her could have been her own.
It took a moment. Longer than that, actually, before the concept sank in.
Oh, dear God. No, it couldn’t be.
Oxygen hit her lungs hard, burning them as she inhaled sharply. She’d always known she was adopted. She’d been reminded of the fact practically every day of her life.
She’d been a brown-eyed brunette in a family of blue-eyed blondes. She was known as “the adopted one”, yet she’d never considered she might have a sister out there. She rejected the thought almost instantly, thinking of Blaire. A full-blooded sister, she amended. Flesh and blood.
But it was more than that. This woman could be a twin.
Floundering, Lexie reached out and caught the bar for support.
Almost simultaneously, the mail in the woman’s hand slipped from her fingers to the floor. It splattered everywhere, sliding noisily, but nobody in the room paid attention to it.
“Who the hell are you?”
The tone was as aggressive and angry as the woman’s unblinking glare. It made Lexie flinch in surprise, and she clung to the bar a bit more tightly. “Lexie…” She stopped to clear her throat. “My name is Lexie Underhill.”
The hard look on the other woman’s face melted, leaving her expression almost blank. Or stunned. Her chest rose and fell. “Lexie?” she repeated.
“I’m Roxie,” the woman said.
Lexie’s breath caught. Not Charlie at all.
Lexie and Roxie. Oh, sweet heaven. It just couldn’t be.
They evaluated each other from head to toe, taking in details fast…then slowing down to make sure. Lexie had thrown on her favorite navy blue suit during her mad dash this morning, hoping it would bring her luck in the meeting. She’d never expected it would bring her luck like this. She watched this woman, a stranger who might have more in common with her than anybody else in the entire world. Roxie had on low-slung jeans with a metal-studded belt. It hugged her tightly, and so did the close-fitting black tank she wore. The body on that billboard hadn’t been airbrushed one stroke.
Lexie couldn’t stop staring. Her replica was wearing high-heeled boots, while she was wearing high-heeled pumps. Roxie wore funky sterling-silver jewelry, while she wore a simple gold chain. Her reflection’s lips glistened with red lipstick, while her own were painted with a softer pink. Style-wise, they were night and day.
Underneath it all, though, they were interchangeable.
“I was adopted.” The words tumbled out of Lexie’s mouth. Without tact, with no tentative feeling-out period. In three small words, she asked the biggest question of her life. Yet they were all she could get out, and she wanted to know so badly.
“I wasn’t,” Roxie replied.
Lexie’s shoulders deflated. A rock of disappointment settled in her gut, and tears pricked at her eyes. Only seconds had passed. She’d just met this woman, yet a lifetime of hope had been lifted. She’d thought maybe…
“Oh, no! No, no,” Roxie said, her brown eyes widening. Reaching out almost compulsively, she caught Lexie by the forearm. Her nails bit, but the grip was trembling. “I didn’t mean it that way. I meant I never got out of the foster care system.”
Suddenly, Lexie felt as if she was keeping them both on their feet. If her hold on the bar faltered, they were both going down. Yet she was finding it hard to breathe. That rock in her stomach had jumped up into her chest.
Her mind blanked. She didn’t know what to say or what to do.
So they went back to staring at each other.
Finally, she shook her head, too nervous to accept anything on face value—even her face. There were things she needed to know. Facts had to be checked. “When’s your birthday?”
“April twelfth.” Roxie barely waited for her to nod in agreement before she fired back.
“How old are you?”
They both let out shuddering breaths, yet it wasn’t enough. “Where were you born?” Lexie asked, drilling deeper.
“Here in the Cobalt Valley, I think. Have you been in Cobalt City the whole time?”
So close. They’d been so close their whole lives and hadn’t known it. “East Side.”
Roxie’s lips pressed tight. “No surprise there.” Her gaze slid over the designer suit and high heels before she gestured at her surroundings with a nod. “Mostly west for me.”
The ache in Lexie’s chest rose to her throat, making it hard to talk.
Her doppelganger took the lead. “How tall are you out of those heels?”
“Five foot five. That birthmark on your shoulder on the billboard?”