Audrey put her back to the wall and slid down to the floor, pulling her knees close and wrapping the jacket around her body.
Cade was here tonight.
Cade was here, and she’d gone outside and kissed another man. What was wrong with her?
She’d been dreaming of spending a quiet weekend alone with Cade for years. Fantasized about the two of them spending time together, rekindling the old, comfortable friendship they’d had, and—in her eyes—maybe turning it into something more.
She hadn’t factored in a sick junkie sister who would eat up Cade’s free time. She certainly hadn’t factored in Cade’s buddy who would drive her insane in the space of mere seconds.
She could handle Daphne, though. Cade adored Daphne also, and her sister was such a mess that she wasn’t really competition for Cade. Not on a romantic level, anyhow.
But she’d never factored in Reese. Reese, who’d been making out with a gorgeous, naked blonde when they’d arrived. Reese, who crawled under her skin and infuriated her with every word and smug smile on his handsome brute face. Reese, who’d blackmailed her into kissing him. She should have told him no. She should have told him to go ahead and tell Cade. What was the worst that would happen?
But instead, she’d gone outside to kiss Reese, even though she couldn’t stand him and his arrogant ways. And she’d negotiated with him about where and how long the kiss should be. And even though she’d despised him for holding her to the bet, she’d had a wild, sick little butterfly of excitement in her stomach.
It had been so incredibly naughty. It was something that the good twin would never do . . . unless forced. And somehow because the control had been out of her hands, she’d wanted to do it. Not only that, but she’d wanted to prove to Reese that he wasn’t the only one who could take someone by surprise. So she’d taken the plunge and kissed him.
She knew she was a good kisser. She’d had plenty of boyfriends despite her torch for Cade, but she’d only slept with a few of them. She didn’t give it up easily, preferring the long weeks—and sometimes months—of endless petting and kissing to the actual consummation. And she’d had lots of experience with kissing, and she knew what would make a man sit up and notice. And she’d used every dirty trick in the book to rock his world and wipe that smug smile off his too-handsome face. She’d wanted to shake him up a little.
She hadn’t counted on enjoying the kiss that much herself. But she had. Oh, she had. That butterfly of excitement returned, low in her belly, and she pressed her thighs together tightly. His lips had been soft and full, and he’d tasted so good. And he knew how to kiss, too. When his tongue had begun to stroke back against her own, she’d forgotten all about teaching him a lesson and had simply enjoyed the kiss for the kiss’s sake.
It was because it was forbidden, she told herself. Nothing more. She wasn’t supposed to be out on a dock in the middle of the night, kissing a cocky stranger. She should have been in the house, at her twin’s side, showing Cade how good and devoted of a sister she was.
Showing him that she was the good, sweet twin and was so right for a man as kind and devoted and handsome as himself.
And instead she’d been tonguing Reese Durham.
And she’d liked it.
Mortified, Audrey buried her head in her hands. Unfortunately, that only made the scent of Reese waft more closely around her, thanks to the jacket.
He’d liked the kiss, too. She could tell that her aggressiveness had startled him in the beginning, and then he’d appreciated it. It had stroked her ego, to have this big, confident man taken down a peg by her kiss. But then she’d gotten lost in it. And then he’d offered to continue the kiss.
And she’d told him no. Put on the stiff poker face of the Audrey Who Meant Business.
But she’d really, really wanted to say yes. Oh, she’d wanted to say yes. For a brief moment in time, she’d wanted to be the bad twin, the wild twin, the twin who would sink down to the floor of the dock and make love to a man she barely knew just because he excited the part of her that she tried so hard to wrestle into control.
But Audrey was determined to be the good twin at all costs. Cade was a good, kind man with a virtuous heart. He wouldn’t fall for someone who had a wild and impetuous side. He needed someone trustworthy and honorable, like himself.
And since all she’d ever wanted for herself was Cade’s love, she’d pulled away.
So why was she regretting it, all alone up here in the dark?
It didn’t make sense. And she kind of hated herself for it, even as she rubbed her own lips in memory.
Audrey woke up the next morning, curled on her side of the king bed. She’d slept on top of the covers and left the window open. The room was frigid and smelled of pine trees and ice, and the jacket she was cuddled in no longer smelled of the man she’d kissed last night. Just as well.
She’d slept on top of the covers, fully dressed, and vaguely remembered dozing off while waiting for her twin to return. The other side of the bed hadn’t been touched, though, and Audrey rubbed her face, then changed into a new set of clothes for the day—a plain gray long-sleeved shirt and her favorite jeans. She splashed a bit of water on her face, then used her wet hands to smooth her wild hair into her typical no-nonsense bun. Then, she headed downstairs.
The lodge was silent, and Audrey crept down the hall, wondering where everyone was. Was she the first one awake? She supposed she should make breakfast if that was the case. Surely she couldn’t mess up toast.
She crept into the living room area and paused. On the sofa directly across from the now-dark fireplace, Daphne was sprawled out, facedown. Her twin looked like hell; her skin was pasty, her features were haggard, and her hair was sweaty and plastered against her pale skin. Her face rested on a cushion in Cade’s lap as he slept upright, his head tilted backward, his blond hair mussed. His mouth was open, a hint of a snore echoing from him. A plastic bucket rested between his feet, clearly for Daphne’s use.
They both looked exhausted. Audrey felt a twinge of dismay at the sight. She should have been the one helping her twin through the night. Instead, she’d been wrapped up in her own turbulent thoughts. Cade, being the gentleman that he was, had taken over the task. She watched him sleep for a moment, admiring his clean, handsome features. There was a dark shadow of facial hair along his jaw, chin, and upper lip, and it was the first time she’d ever seen him look even slightly rumpled. It was a bit odd to see. Even his dress shirt was wrinkled, the sleeves rolled up at his elbows. He seemed oddly vulnerable, and she smiled to herself at the sight.
She was glad he was here, though. Not only was he helping with Daphne, but this would give her time to spend with him, too. She’d been dreaming of the day they would finally reunite, and though she hadn’t planned it quite like this, she couldn’t be sorry for it. Today, she resolved, she was going to spend at her sister’s side.
And if Cade was there, too, even better.
She’d let them sleep for now, though, and she’d make breakfast. Audrey passed through the living room on silent, careful feet, and then headed through the swinging door into the kitchen.
The sight that greeted her there made her stop in her tracks.
His massive back was turned to her, muscles rippling and shoulders moving as Reese reached for something in one of the cabinets. The sleep pants he wore were hideously checkered, but they were also incredibly tight across his firm ass and low enough that they showed the indent of his lower back . . . and the fact that he wasn’t wearing underwear. His feet were bare.
He turned and glanced at her as she stood in the doorway, petrified, and he gave her another one of those lazy, smug smiles. “Good morning,” he whispered. His gaze seemed to pause at her mouth, then took in her tightly bound-up hair, and the smile grew amused. “Armoring up for battle?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she whispered back. “I came in here to make breakfast. I didn’t realize anyone else was in here. What are you doing in here?”
“You,” he told her with a point of the potato peeler in his hand, “are not getting anywhere near this food. Not after last night’s debacle.”
She padded to his side, crossing her arms over her chest, and studied the counter space in front of him. There was a bowl of beaten eggs, another bowl full of pancake batter, and he had a stack of washed potatoes in front of him. “What’s all this? Don’t tell me you’ve decided to cook?”
“Someone’s got to do it,” he said with a lopsided grin. “And those two in the living room look like they had a rough night.”
“They do,” she admitted. “I feel bad that it’s not me out there.”
“I don’t,” he told her. “You were busy keeping me occupied.”
She smacked his arm and picked up one of the potatoes. “You want me to peel these?”
“I don’t know.” He leaned against the counter and gazed down at her. “Think you’ll mess it up?”
She glared at him. “I have some skill, you know.”
“Oh, I know that,” he drawled, and it made a blush creep up her cheeks. She bit her lip when that crazy flutter began in her belly again. “But I was talking about potatoes.”
She rolled her eyes and took the peeler from him, then grabbed a few potatoes and headed over to the garbage can. “I’ll peel while you cook.”
“Suit yourself,” he told her, handing her the rest of the potatoes. He pulled out a skillet and set it on the stove top, then began to flip a few of the dials with the casual expertise of someone who had cooked plenty of meals. He whistled quietly under his breath and headed to the refrigerator, then bent over, his pants nearly splitting at the movement.
Audrey froze at the sight of his ass in the air, the pants pulled impossibly tight against his skin. She could practically run a ruler down the cleft of his ass. And it was a rather fine ass. She gaped at it a moment more, then forced herself to focus on the potatoes when he straightened and turned around with a package of bacon in his hand. She gave one of the potatoes a few awkward scrapes.
“Were you checking out my ass, Audrey?”
She sighed heavily. “You were sticking it in the air, Reese. It’s hard not to.”
“Did you like what you saw?”
“No,” she said in her best prissy voice. “You have cellulite.”
He laughed softly at that. “You’re such a liar. Your face is all red.”
She glared at him and scraped the potato a little harder.
He pulled out a knife from a nearby block and gestured at her. “Try and leave a little of the potato there for the actual pan.”
She glanced down at the potato in her hand and noticed she was gouging half of it away with her angry scrapes. Damn it. She finished peeling it and tossed it on the counter with an irritated look at him, then grabbed the next one. “So you’re leaving today?”
“Nah.” He laid a couple of strips of bacon in the pan. “I needed a vacation, and that hasn’t changed even though Camilla left.”