Authors: Tanya Michaels
The right man for the job
Real estate agent Danica Yates did everything right. She found the right man, waited the right amount of time to get engaged and planned the perfect wedding. Then everything went very, very wrong. Now Dani is left with one unworn bridal gown, one canceled honeymoon and one jerk of an ex-fiancÃ©. The bright side? She can finally make her move on the gorgeous man known only as Hot Architect...
Except that Sean Grayson is actually Hot Architect's Even Hotter Twin Brother. But before Sean can admit his real identity, the chemistry between them takes over, fierce and demanding. He can't refuse her, or turn away from the blinding want that consumes them both. He knows he has to admit the truth...and convince Dani that the wrong brother is definitely the right man!
“I'm too busy imagining kissing you to think straight...”
Except Dani's imagination hadn't exactly stopped with kissing.
Right now, she couldn't bring herself to care about playing pool. She wanted Gray's mouth on her, his hands on her. Since she couldn't seem to find her voice, she met his eyes, confident that the longing she felt was clear in her expression.
Even though it had only been hours since they'd encountered each other at the office, it felt as if she'd been waiting forever for him to kiss her. His mouth settled over hers, and she parted her lips in invitation. She buried her fingers in his hair, surprised at how silky it was. Their kiss was salty and spicy, and her body pulsed with sensation.
Gray kissed the same way he shot pool, with bold assurance and innate skill. His possessiveness nearly made her moan, and he pulled back, teasing, nipping at her lower lip. She was glad she was balanced between him and the pool table. Despite her mocking his earlier boast that he made her weak in the knees, the longer he kissed her, the less steady she felt.
Lifting his head, he reached for the eight ball on the table and swiped it into a pocket. “Oops.” His breathing was rapid, his voice strained. “Guess I lose. Ready to get out of here?”
Wordlessly, she nodded. If she were any more ready, they'd be arrested for public indecency.
Like the characters in this book, I live in the Atlanta area.
One of my favorite things to do here is attend plays at the always entertaining
Shakespeare Tavern. Since I'm a fan of Shakespeare's mistaken-identity comedies,
it's fitting that my first book for Mills & Boon Blaze is a The Wrong Bed
On the day of her would-be wedding, Danica Yates decides that
instead of brooding over her ex-fiancÃ©'s recent elopement, she'll celebrate her
newfound freedom. By seducing the hot architect who works in her office
Her plan works greatâexcept that she unknowingly propositions
the architect's twin brother.
Aside from being physically identical, Sean Grayson is
nothing like his studious, workaholic twin. Sean is impulsive with a track
record of being just a bit wild. When a sexy brunette asks him to help her
forget that it was supposed to be her wedding day, Sean can't resist saying
But before the night is over, Sean starts to realize Dani may
be his perfect match. How can he convince her they should have a real
relationshipâespecially once she learns he hasn't been completely honest about
New York Times
Good with His Hands
New York Times
bestselling author and five-time RITAÂ® Award nominee, has been writing love
stories since middle school algebra class (which probably explains her math
grades). Her books, praised for their poignancy and humor, have received
awards from readers and reviewers alike. Tanya is an active member of
Romance Writers of America and a frequent public speaker. She lives outside
Atlanta with her very supportive husband, two highly imaginative kids and a
bichon frise who thinks she's the center of the universe.
Thanks to Mills & Boon editors Kathleen Scheibling and Johanna Raisanen for welcoming me to Blaze and to writer Lila Bell for the timely reminder of how exhilarating it can be to try something new.
, Danica Yates couldn't live without her cell phone. Clients and potential clients called at all hours to ask questions, make counteroffers and set up meeting times. But, so help her, if one more person texted another pitying variation of “How are you holding up?” Dani was going to run over the damn phone with her car.
For her smartphone's sake, she hurried through the parking lot, away from looming vehicular phonicide and toward the relative safety of her office building. More well-meaning texts and calls were inevitable. She'd already fielded a few in the weeks since her broken engagement, but just as the people in her life were beginning to drop the subject, Tate had made his big social-media announcement last night, spurring more unwanted sympathy.
Grimly hoping that Tate Malcom's hairline would recede and his man parts wither, she dropped her phone into the pocket of her lightweight trench coat. Spring in Atlanta was fickle. This particular Wednesday morning, it was only ten degrees above freezing, but by afternoon, she'd probably be coatless and running the air-conditioning in her car.
As she passed a row of blooming Bradford pear trees, the heels of her boots clicked decisively against the pavement. She loved the black leather boots and their defiant three-inch heels. After Tate's self-deprecating jokes about her “towering” over himâshe was five-ten to his five-nineâshe'd mostly worn flats during their relationship.
Well, screw that.
She hadn't straightened her hair since their breakup, either, abandoning the sleeker look for dark brown corkscrew curls that fell halfway down her back, adding extra volume and height. Reaching for the front door, she took a moment to reassure herself that the woman reflected in the glass didn't look jilted and pathetic.
You are determined and successful and you will be far too busy today to spare that worm Tate another thought.
First, she was going to stop by the coffee place on the first floor for a much-needed chai latte. Then, with her mind sharpened by caffeine, she would resume negotiations on the Hanlon house and score her client as many concessions as possible. She would schedule more house showings for next week. She would
think about how she should have been in Maui next week. On her honeymoon. As Mrs. Danica Malcom.
When Tate had called her last month to worm out of the wedding that had been scheduled for this Saturday, she'd canceled the week of vacation allotted for her honeymoon. But she'd left this weekend free. In retrospect, perhaps that had been a mistake. What was she planning to do on Saturday? Mope? Stare at the useless bridal gown in the back of her closet? Definitely not. Sulking wasn't her style.
So what if she was single? Dani kicked ass at her job. Focusing on that could help get her through the next few weeks, as well as boost her bank account. Some of the homes for sale in affluent Fulton county neighborhoods would bring very generous commissions.
As she entered the posh office building, the scent of coffee wafted down the corridor to meet her. She was still early enough that there wasn't yet a line stretching into the hall. The small coffee shop was wildly popular with those who worked in the twelve-story building. There was also a food court on the atrium level, but only one of the vendors opened for breakfast and the hot beverage options were limited.
She was just passing the elevator banks when her phone chirped, signaling a text. Had the owners of the two-story colonial in Dunwoody made a decision on her clients' offer? Without breaking stride, she pulled out the phone. The text was from Katie Whitman, Dani's passive-aggressive cousin who'd been furious that Dani hadn't asked her to be a bridesmaid.
I just heard!!! Like it wasn't bad enough he dumped u 3 wks before the wedding, now he's eloped? U poor thing. Ur better off w/out him. Total d-bag.
Dani growled involuntarily at the “poor thing.” The d-bag assessment was accurate enough, butâ
A muffled curse in a deep male voice cut through her preoccupation, followed by a pointed “excuse me.”
Jerking her head up, Dani realized she'd nearly collided with a man exiting the coffee shop. And not just any man. She'd almost caused Hot Architect to dump his drink down the front of his expensive suit jacket. The dark-haired, broad-shouldered manâwho was taller than her in spite of her heeled bootsâworked for the design firm that took up the other half of the fifth floor, down the hall from the real-estate brokerage.
“I am so sorry.” Shuffling back a step, she jammed the offending phone into her pocket. “Iâ”
“No harm done.” His lips curved in an expression too fleeting to be deemed a true smile.
“But I feelâ”
Like a dumbass klutz.
At one time, her father had been an Army Ranger instructor; Dani had been raised to be athletic and have quick reflexes. She'd helped get the Lady Vipers, her high-school basketball team, to the state championship. She was not clumsy. “I feel guilty,” she concluded, trying to recall his name.
She'd overheard people calling him Mr. Grayson, but she wasn't sure about his first name. Ben? Bryan? The receptionist in Dani's office just called him Hot Architect. Since Dani had been engaged, she'd gone out of her way not to notice him or learn more about him.
Well, you're single now.
Very, very single. She was also close enough to appreciate his ice-blue eyes and the sexy contrast between his light gaze and thick hair even darker than hers, the last shade between brown and black. “Can I buy you a pastry to make up for it?” she offered impulsively.
He held up a small brown bag, indicating that he'd already fulfilled his pastry quota for the morning. “Maybe some other time.” He spared another not-quite smile, then continued on his way, giving her a wide berth as he rounded the corner toward the elevators. Apparently, he wasn't drawn to women so busy snarling at their cell phones that they almost mowed down pedestrians.
Then again, Dani was a goal-oriented person who welcomed challenges. Staring down the now-empty hall, she squared her shoulders. Coaxing a real smile from Mr. Grayson, one that actually reached those arresting eyes, had just made her to-do list.
* * *
, Dani had stopped second-guessing her decision not to work this weekend.
Self, I'm sorry I ever doubted you.
It would be for the good of all humanity if she avoided clients for a couple of days.
Normally, connecting buyers with a new house gave her warm fuzzy feelings. Growing up on assorted military bases, Dani used to wish for more stability, a true home. She liked to imagine her clients getting involved in their new communities, maybe raising families. But now, on the eve of her canceled wedding, she was finding it difficult not to gnash her teeth as she showed a redbrick three-bedroom to the Parkers, a pair of adorable newlyweds. They were currently debating whether to hang their wedding portrait in the foyer or over the mantel.
“The picture will look great anywhere,” said the besotted husband. “How could it not when the bride in it is so beautiful?”
Dani managed not to roll her eyes. Sure, his petite auburn-haired wife was beautiful. But was that any guarantee he'd stay faithful?
When Tate had told Dani the international software company he worked for needed him in their Helsinki home office for four months, they'd made plans to visit each other and talk often. She'd gone to Finland once, after he'd had a few weeks to get settled, and he'd come to Atlanta for her birthday. The four-month assignment turned into six, though, and the time difference made phone conversations inconvenient. Still, Dani had seen plenty of military families overcome separation. She'd believed she and Tate could make the relationship work.
She certainly hadn't expected him to cheat on her. Dani had initiated sex more than he did. When he'd first gone overseas, she'd emailed him a provocative picture of herself. He'd asked her not to do it again. He'd claimed it reminded him of what he couldn't have, but she'd thought she detected a note of censure in his tone.
Well, he was out of her life now. Maybe she'd have a photographer take a picture of her scantily clad and hang that over
Returning to the task at hand, she led Mr. and Mrs. Cute Couple to the recently remodeled kitchen, elaborating on the house's particulars. Two-car garage, plumbing on a septic system, great school district.
“Oh, we won't have to worry about school for years,” the woman said dismissively. “We're in no hurry to have kids.”
Her husband pulled her into his arms. “Agreed. I want you all to myself for a while.” Bending down, he whispered something in her ear that caused a happy blush to steal across her face. Then he kissed her.
Helloooâstanding right here
. But antagonizing clients was unwise for someone who worked on commission, so Dani kept her thoughts to herself. Giving the Parkers a moment of privacy, she meandered to the bay window and studied the pine trees and dogwoods dotting the generously sized yard.
Behind her, Mrs. Parker giggled. “We're going to check out that master bedroom one more time, just for a second. I want another look at...the closet space.”
“Feel free,” Dani said with a tight smile. The previous inhabitants had already moved out, so at least she didn't have to worry about the frisky newlyweds hitting someone else's mattress. She figured they just wanted to steal a heated kiss or two.
Meanwhile, she tried not to feel bitter or envious; her neglected libido had been making itself known lately. She wasn't usually one for casual sex, but how was it fair that
âwho'd been faithful to a faultâwas going without while the cheating scumbag who'd replaced her with someone who “makes a man feel needed” was getting busy with his new bride?
Excuse the hell out of me for being able to open a pickle jar without assistance.
When Tate originally called off the wedding, it had been difficult not to hope he met with some freak accidentâlike an anvil falling on his head. But she'd told herself to be adult about the situation. Wasn't it better that he ended things before the wedding instead of deciding afterward that they'd made a mistake? So instead of wishing him dead, she'd merely hoped that the next house he bought had termites and mold in the walls.
What she hadn't yet known was that getting dumped was only half the story. Earlier this week, he'd asked her to dinner. Since she had a box of his belongings to give back to him, she'd agreed. The diamond solitaire engagement ring was not among the returns. She'd hocked that to help cover nonrefundable wedding expenses she and her dad had incurred.
When Tate had broken up with her from the safe distance of Europe, he'd mentioned that “someone else” had helped him realize he didn't fully love his fiancÃ©e. But Dani hadn't expected that faceless someone to return to Georgia with him. As she'd learned during their strained dinner together, Tate and Ella had eloped last Saturdayâexactly one week before he'd been scheduled to marry Dani.
“You deserved to hear it from me, in person, before we begin announcing it to family and friends.” He'd adopted an expression of such condescending concern that she'd been tempted to punch him in the face. “I know this must be very hard on you.”
“Not so much.” She'd risen from her chair, abandoning a perfectly yummy shrimp carbonara. “Ella is welcome to you.”
Truthfully, after six months of living on separate continents, Dani didn't miss him as much as she would have expected. She was almost as ticked off about the months of one-sided celibacy as she was about his defection. She'd always found serenity through physical outlets. Right now, frustrated and wanting to reclaim some feminine pride, she could really use a long night of sweaty, athleticâ
“Danica? I think we're done inside the house.” The lanky man and his auburn-haired bride had returned. “If you'll walk us through the yard and the garage, that should do it. Annette and I need some time alone to talk over everything we've seen today.”
“Of course. Right this way.” She opened the back door, leading them out onto a narrow deck. “The deck was added on, but the owners hired a professional to build it.”
She often warned clients to be careful of homes full of DIY projects; not all of them held up well over time. Sometimes, amateur wiring jobs went up in flames. Substandard roofing collapsed. Kind of like her love life.
* * *
vibrated in the dashboard cup holder. Dani groaned. Another pitying relative or acquaintance? But then she glimpsed the picture of her best friend, Meg Rafferty, on the screen. Under different circumstances, both women would have been en route to the famous Swan House right now for a rehearsal dinner. Afterward, there was supposed to have been a bachelorette party hosted in the lingerie store Meg co-owned.
Using the phone's earpiece, Dani answered. “Hello.”
“It's officially after five o'clock,” Meg said. “A socially accepted time for booze. Want to meet somewhere for drinks?”
It was a Friday night. If they went out, would they be surrounded by couples on dates? Showing that last house to the Parkers had been all the exposure to couples Dani could stand. A girls' night in was a possibility, but Meg had recently moved in with her current boyfriend.
Which leaves my place.
When her last lease ran out and she hadn't been able to negotiate anything shorter than six months, she'd moved into a tiny, unimpressive apartment. She wasn't supposed to have been there this long. The plan had been for her and Tate to house hunt when he returned from Europe. Meg knew how much Dani disliked the “temporary” apartment. Every time she came over, she vacillated between sympathy and outrage on her friend's behalf.