Speaking of his mirror image.

“Dude, put this on.” Drew approached, peeling off his blazer and throwing it into Luke’s lap. He held on to the headrest for balance.

“Why?” Luke raised his eyebrow. What was his brother up to now? He was still pissed at Drew for sticking him in coach while he sat his imperial butt up in first class.

“Look, I need you to switch places with me. You can have my seat up there for the rest of the flight. Plenty of legroom and all the complimentary drinks you want.”

Luke cocked his head and peered down the aisle toward the front of the cabin. “You want me to trade seats with you? Why?”

“Because I feel bad for sticking my older bro in coach.”

“Yeah, right.” Luke was only a few minutes older. A fact Drew seemed to always enjoy pointing out, especially when he wanted something. “Which flight attendant did you piss off already?”

“No one. Come on. Go up there and sit in 3C. The woman next to me is driving me freakin’ crazy. She’s afraid of flying.”

“So wait. You want me to sit with the lunatic? Why do I need to pretend I’m you?”

“The flight attendants won’t let us switch. I already asked.”

“I don’t blame them. They’re just messing with you. Go sit down.”

“I don’t think so.” Drew thrust his ticket into Luke’s hand. “Here, take this and leave yours.”

Luke reached for the emergency instructions card in his front seat pocket and pretended to read it. “I don’t know. If you want me to spend this whole flight trapped next to a crazy woman … ” he glanced at his brother and smirked, “well, I need something in return.”

“Really, dude? You’re going to do this to me now?” Drew’s agitation came through loud and clear.

“And you didn’t think that maybe you should have bought me the same first class ticket as yours?”

“Hey, I told you they were sold out. Besides, you’re always talking about not spending money.” He motioned for Luke to get up. “I’m giving it to you. Take it. All the extra legroom you need.”

“Give me your hotel suite and we’ve got a deal.”

“No way. I have big plans for tomorrow night.”

“You do?” Luke folded the pamphlet and tucked it in the seat pocket. “Too bad you’ll be too exhausted since it looks like you won’t be getting any sleep. How many hours left? Ten? Eleven?”

Drew threw his hands up in the air. “Fine. The suite is yours. Lauren’s going to be pissed.” He motioned for Luke to get up. “Here, go up there now before someone sees us.”

“Okay, okay. I’m going. Sheesh.” Luke unbuckled his seatbelt and put on the blazer. The flight attendants would probably admonish both of them soon since the captain hadn’t turned off the fasten seatbelt sign. “What’s her name?”


“The woman you’re sitting next to, Casanova.”

“Crazy lady? I don’t know.” He shrugged. “Who cares?”

“You were always the sensitive one.” Luke gave his brother a sideways glance.

Drew sat down and buckled his seatbelt. “Thanks, bro, for taking one for the team.” He leaned his head back and shut his eyes.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Luke started to leave but Drew grabbed his arm.

“Oh, don’t ask her about her cats. Whatever you do, do not ask her about her freakin’ fur babies.”

Luke shook his head and made his way to first class. Since they were kids, Drew and he had played many swap-identity tricks on their parents, teachers, and girlfriends. Being identical had its advantages, particularly for his brother. In high school, they switched senior prom dates after Drew decided his odds of scoring with Luke’s date were greater than his own. Drew lost his virginity that night to Luke’s chagrin.

“Sir, please sit down.” A long-legged flight attendant ordered.

Luke flashed an apologetic smile and counted the rows to 3C. Perhaps, this unexpected seat swapping wouldn’t be so bad after all. The flight attendant was certainly pretty.

His hands gripped the back of the seats to steady his balance. He couldn’t blame the poor cat lady for being scared with all the rocking.

He crouched down, fully expecting to see a frightened middle-aged spinster dressed in black with grey cat hair all over her.

Wait a second? He glanced up to check that he had the right row. It was the right one, but sitting in 3A was a stunning woman who he guessed could be in her early thirties. The first thing he noticed was her long, wavy brown hair. He’d always had a thing for women with long, dark hair.

This was the vocal terrorist Drew couldn’t stand to sit with a minute longer? She wasn’t wearing black but a white dress and from what he could tell, her bronze legs might rival those of the flight attendant. Her hands were crunching a tomato juice can while she stared at the fasten seat belt sign. Two empty vodka bottles lay sideways on her folding tray table.

“Hi,” he said shyly, sitting down and buckling his seatbelt.

She whipped her head toward him, and her emerald green eyes immediately locked with his. “What took you so long?”

“The tail section broke off,” he joked. Judging by her reaction, he knew it was a bad one. “Kidding.” He touched her arm.

“I knew that.” She glanced at her watch and took a deep breath. “Ten hours and fifty-three minutes to go.”

“We’re practically ready to prepare for arrival.” He chuckled. “So, I’m Drew by the way.” The woman shot him a confused look. His brother must have already introduced himself. Figures Drew had told her his name but couldn’t remember hers. “I mean you know that already. How do you spell your name again? It’s so unusual.”


Kate. Okay, not uncommon. He was going to murder his brother. Confessing that he was Drew’s twin was probably the right thing to do but she looked so terrified. He wouldn’t know how to explain that his idiot brother had begged him to trade seats. No, he’d continue the charade. It’s not like they were going to become friends or start dating. Harmless conversation with a stranger he’d most likely never see again was all this was.

He motioned for the flight attendant. “Would you care for another drink, Kate?” He reached for the crushed tomato juice can still in her hand. “Here, let me take that for you.” He noticed that her dress had a large red stain. “Accident?”

“Yep. An expensive one,” she said dryly. It was clear she didn’t want to talk about it.

“How about joining me in a glass of champagne?”

She shrugged. He took that as a yes.

A few minutes later, the flight attendant brought over two flutes. Luke handed one glass to Kate and raised his. “To bumpy flights with safe landings.” He chimed his glass rim to hers.

She took a sip and frowned.

“You don’t like it? I can get you something else. What would you like? Some coffee, perhaps?”

“No, it’s not that, I … um,” she stammered. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“You obviously drew the short stick by having to sit next to me.” She picked up one of the empty vodka bottles and turned it upside down. “I thought the first drink, or second, would loosen me up. Oh, well. Maybe this will do the trick.” She tilted the flute all the way back and finished it. “I hate flying.”

“So let’s get your mind off of it.” Luke moved his armrest up and then reached over. His arm brushed against the top of her dress as he shut the tiny window screen. What he wouldn’t give to run his hand underneath it.

Stop it, Luke. The poor woman’s having a nervous breakdown.

“How long will you be in Hawaii?” he asked.

“Three weeks. I’m going there for work.”

“Wow. I’d like your job.” He was happy to hear that this was a business trip and that she wasn’t meeting a lover, at least he hoped not. “Do you live in New York, Kate?”

“No, Los Angeles.”

Damn. She would live on the west coast. “Were you in New York for business?”

“No. I was visiting my mother to kick some — ” Her sentence broke off as the plane hit another air pocket. The airbus dropped down and bounced back up. Luke felt Kate’s seatbelt hit him followed by her weight crashing against his leg. She flung her arms around his khakis and hung on for dear life.

“First time flying,” he mouthed to the older couple sitting across from them. “Here,” he instructed, placing his arm on her back. He unleashed her hands from his leg, guiding her into his arms. “Hold on to me.” The scent of her perfume mixed with tomato juice and champagne infiltrated his nostrils. It was surprisingly arousing.

He stroked her hair. “It’s going to be fine. You know, pilots like to stay in the air.”

“Drew, I don’t want to die.” She clung to him, burying her head deeper into his chest.

He cringed at the mention of his brother. Should he confess to her that his name was Luke? Now didn’t seem like the best time. It would be easier to just continue pretending to be Drew.

He took a deep breath. “Nothing bad is going to happen. I promise you that. If I was worried, I wouldn’t — ” He paused for a few seconds. How was he going to calm her down and get her back into her seat?

She looked up at him. “Wouldn’t what?” Her fearful green eyes pleaded with him to make the rocking stop. His heart fell to his stomach and it wasn’t because of the turbulence. He didn’t know why, but he had an overwhelming need to protect her.

“Well, I wouldn’t do this.” He cupped her chin and brought her mouth to his. Her soft lips reacted to his. He deepened the kiss and their tongues moved in sync as the plane continued to sway. When he finally broke the kiss to check on her and catch his breath, he could see she was much more relaxed. “Better?”

She snuggled into his chest and wrapped her arms again around him. “Your heart’s beating fast.”

“Hmmm.” She was right. His heart was racing.

“Drew, I think I had too much to drink. Can you wake me when we land?”

Reclining his seat, he held her as she fell asleep. Who was this beautiful mystery woman in his arms? He smiled. Maybe pretending to be his twin brother would work out in his favor for once.

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