Sonia is ready to take a chance…
It’s ten years since she reclaimed her life and it’s time to celebrate. When boy-next-door Nate Buchanan arrives looking hot and dangerous at Jacquie and Pierce’s wedding, Sonia hears opportunity knocking. Bringing Nate home might turn out to be the smartest impulse she’s ever had—Mr. Right-Now might even be a contender for Mr. Right. But then Sonia’s secrets start to reveal themselves—with the help of her troublemaking twin sister—and her past puts everything at risk.
Nate won’t miss his chance…
Ex-Marine and former weightlifting coach Nate knows better than to expect happily-ever-after. He’s good with enjoying the moment. Nate has a new dream job, a new car and a new chance to make his life what he wants it to be. No more looking back at what he’s lost. One last visit to Flatiron Five Fitness and it’s goodbye, Manhattan—until Sonia propositions him. Nate knows he can’t give Sonia what she wants, but he can’t resist the chance of one night to remember. Sonia’s secrets make Nate want to defend her—even though he knows that more than one-and-done can only lead to heartbreak. Can Sonia convince him take a chance on the future again?
Five Stars!Rendezvous with a Romance
This one was so much fun. Sonia and Nate worked so well together and her back story made for so much entertainment and drama. Their love story was sweet, passionate, and perfect. I loved the emotional tension and struggles they had to face in order to find happiness and set during Covid made it feel like the story evolves with the times. I liked that he was a vet dealing with his own scars and that she had a dark past that they both had to work through. It was great. Loved it and the step-father got what he deserved!
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An excerpt from Just the Wrong Twin:
In that very moment, a guy stepped through the door from the street. He was wearing a navy suit and tie, mirrored sunglasses, and was tall and trim. Jimmy checked his invitation and went through the drill with him as Sonia tried to figure out who he was.
He looked familiar, but not quite.
“Looking good!” Ty called in greeting as if he knew the new arrival.
“Love the new look,” Cassie said with approval, again sounding as if they were acquainted.
Sonia looked again.
The guy spun and bowed to a patter of applause. “Couldn’t have done it without your advice, Ty.” He laughed and took off his sunglasses, waving a greeting with his other hand. His steel prosthesis glinted in the light. Nate Buchanan was the only person Sonia knew with a prosthesis and he called that one the Hook.
But Nate did not look like this. He didn’t swagger with that kind of confidence. He was moving more like Kyle than the boy-next-door she’d worked with for two years—the guy she’d called ‘sweet’ the last time they’d talked—and Sonia felt everything within her stand at attention. What had happened to Nate? It was all good, whatever it was. He wasn’t just wearing a great suit: he looked dangerous and about a million times more sexy than she remembered.
Did Nate have an evil twin, too?
“Nate!” Pierce said with pleasure and crossed the lobby to meet him. “I’m glad you could make it.” They started to shake hands, but then caught themselves and bumped elbows instead. “We’re expecting you to start Monday, if that’s still okay,” Pierce said. “Mack has arranged everything with her typical efficiency.”
Mack waved at Pierce’s comment. She then took a couple of shots of Nate, and wolf-whistled at him.
Expecting Nate where?
“Absolutely. I’m heading out from here.” Nate said easily and Sonia’s heart skipped a beat. “I thought I needed to quarantine for two weeks.”
“I think it’s wise, but we can start your training at the hotel. Lots of remote learning opportunities right now, and we’ll have a secure connection.”
“It’ll give you something to do,” Mack said. “Instead of catching up on the soaps.”
“Awesome. Thanks again for the opportunity, Pierce.”
“You’ll be a perfect fit. You already know Jimmy, Simon and Mack.” Pierce gestured to his companions who stepped forward to talk to Nate. Simon had left his post at the door so all the guests must have arrived.
They chatted together as Sonia checked Nate out. This new incarnation of the guy she thought she knew had a bit of edge, and more than a little glamor. The prosthesis just added to his look, like he was a superhero. Nate’s hair was still short, though it was a little longer and wavier than before. He was still clean-shaven, but he resembled that shot of him climbing the rock wall in the billboard for the club the year before.
The photographer—Shannyn—had caught him laughing. He looked like he owned the world in that image.
She remembered her first glimpse of him, when Kyle had challenged him to a race up the wall. Nate had beat Kyle, which had shocked that partner, but he’d gone up that wall like a supersonic spider.
Sonia had always thought of Nate as the hometown hero who’d served his country and lost a hand, the guy who didn’t swear, who took care of his mom, who could be relied upon to do the right thing. He was nice. He would water your plants and feed your cat while you were away, and never check out your lingerie drawer, even if he had the keys to your place.
But now Nate looked like the kind of guy who broke hearts, forgot names and never called back—after one hot and unforgettable night that was totally worth the price of admission. He would definitely go through a lingerie drawer, line up his favorites and ask for a private show. He’d get it, too, just because of the way he asked. He might leave women pining for him in every city he visited, haunt their dreams, make everything feel fresh and new. This Nate had to know how to dance, how to kiss, and how to make love all night long.
Sonia was ready to sign up for all of that.
She was still admiring the view when Nate turned toward her. She didn’t avert her gaze, even though she’d been caught looking—too bad he couldn’t see her smile behind the mask. He had the same twinkle in his eyes she remembered but there was a new challenge in it today. Her heart thumped when he surveyed her.
If he was daring her, she’d take him up on that.
He walked toward her and she didn’t move an inch.
“Hey Sonia,” he murmured, his words a low thrum that made everything hum along with her tattoo. His gaze swept over her like a touch. “How are you?”
Fine. Sonia was just fine.
And she was going to be even better soon.
* * *
Nate thought he’d used up all his good luck when he found a parking spot right outside the door of Flatiron Five Fitness, but clearly not.
Sonia had come to the wedding.
Not only was she as gorgeous as ever—and dressed to make the most of it, which was new—but she was watching him intently. Was she just admiring his suit? Nate couldn’t tell and reminded himself not to expect too much. She’d called him ‘sweet’, after all, pretty much dismissing him from being of any interest at all.
That had been right up there with his all-time great moments.
He talked to Pierce and the others from Silver Fox Security, feeling as if someone’s gaze was boring a hole in his back. It couldn’t be Sonia.
But when he glanced her way, she was looking right at him. Like she was waiting for him. Their gazes locked and Nate’s heart made a jump for his throat. He knew he wasn’t the kind of guy she wanted, but damn. Whatever Sonia wanted from him, Nate was ready to deliver—and then some, to hell with the consequences.
Her long blond hair was loose today, and it swung past her shoulders in a curtain of shining gold. She usually had it up in a ponytail which revealed her neck, but this was good, too. Nate had to admit that anything she did with her hair would work for him. She’d tucked her hair behind her left ear, which only drew his gaze to the earlobe he’d always wanted to lean across the conference table and kiss. Her pink and cream floral dress swirled around her knees, sheer and feminine, and her shoes were obviously new. They had stiletto heels, which just made her legs look long and sleek.
But what was really making his blood hum was her fixed attention. Her eyes were sparkling a little, so deep a blue that he could dive right in and be happy to drown, and Nate guessed from what he could see of her expression that she was smiling. Was she wearing lipstick? He couldn’t decide whether that would be sexier or not. Usually, Sonia’s lips were the perfect shade of soft pink with a little gloss. One thing was for sure: he wanted to see her smile again.
She always wore pink and black yoga gear at work, but this feminine look worked for him in a big way. She was as toned as ever—no slacking from Sonia during lockdown—and had a slight tan. She wore a straw hat with a big flower on the side and carried a small purse on her shoulder.
Elegant. Always elegant.
Even in a club filled with beautiful women, Sonia had grabbed Nate’s attention from day one. He’d fight dragons for her smile, absolutely—and for a kiss, he’d take on the whole world.
In fact, the sight of Sonia was one thing he’d miss from F5F—once he went to Boston, he’d never see her again. That was probably better in the long run. He knew he had no real chance with her. If his pending departure didn’t merit a good long look, Nate didn’t know what did.
“Hey Sonia,” he said, expecting that she just wanted to be acknowledged. “How are you?”
She smiled and took a step closer. “Great.” Her gaze roved over him. “You look different today.”
“All dressed up and someplace to go.” He held up his hands. “New suit, too.”
“Clothes might make the man, but it’s more than that,” she said, giving him another slow survey. Nate swore he could feel her gaze sliding over him. He wished it was her fingertips. “You look really…”
He held up his hand to silence her. “Say sweet and this conversation is over,” he warned.
Her eyes crinkled a bit more and he ached to see her smile. “Hot,” she said firmly.
Nate was surprised. Hot was infinitely better than sweet and much more promising. “Hot?” he echoed, hearing his own skepticism.
“Very hot.” Sonia nodded, surveying him again. Her eyes were almost glowing. Nate didn’t know what dream he was in, but he didn’t want to wake up anytime soon.
“Wow-hot,” she added. “Spontaneous-combustion-hot.”
“That’s good news,” he said and took a step closer, to hell with social distancing. He could smell her perfume, a light floral scent that suited her perfectly. “Tyler made some suggestions, so I did have help.”
Sonia looked up at him, her eyes shining in a way that got Nate right where he lived. “I totally approve. You look ready for a photo shoot. Did you get famous when I wasn’t looking?”
“No, but I got a new job.”
“Where?” Her gaze flicked to Pierce, though, so she’d heard something.
“I’m going to work for Pierce at Silver Fox Security. I’m moving to Boston this weekend.”
Sonia frowned a little, as if this was disappointing. “But you’ll be coming back to Flatiron Five Fitness when the club reopens.” There was a question in her tone.
“Not if all goes to plan.” He was surprised that she seemed upset by this. Then she straightened a little, meeting his gaze as if she’d made a decision. What could it be? Nate wanted to know. He held out his hands. “I figured a guy needs one good suit. Weddings, funerals, all that jazz.”
“And you totally nailed it.” To his surprise, she reached out and stroked the lapel of his jacket. “It’s a good one.” She looked up, holding his gaze, and rested her hand on his chest, right over his heart. It couldn’t be an accident.
Nate wondered what her hand would feel like against his bare skin. “You look great, too,” he said since they were trading compliments. “Nice dress.”
“I like the skirt,” she confessed and spun, making it flare around her knees. There it was again, the usual conflict he felt in Sonia’s presence. He loved the glimpse of her knees and her playful smile, but missed having her hand on his chest. She had a gift for turning him inside out—and she had no clue of her effect on him. If she knew, he doubted she cared. Maybe all guys responded this way to her presence. “I think it would be great for dancing.”
“It would be. The shoes are sexy, too,” he said. “They suit you.”
“Do you think?” Sonia pointed a toe and looked down, inviting him to look again. Was she flirting with him? With any other woman, he would have been sure, but the Sonia he knew was earnest. She didn’t flirt.
Then she flicked a glance at him, eyes dancing, and he realized she was flirting.
Nate’s mouth went dry.
Had lockdown made Sonia desperate for male companionship? Nate tore his gaze away from her shoes and did a quick inventory. Most of the guys present were married or in a serious relationship. It was possible that Troll was available, but Nate wasn’t sure.
There weren’t many choices, if Sonia was looking for company.
Desperation might explain a lot. It could even make ‘sweet’ look good.
“I’ve never bought such high heels before,” she said, not seeming to notice that he’d glanced away. “But I like them.” She glanced up suddenly, her eyes sparkling when she caught him looking. “They feel daring.”
“Daring?” Nate pretended to be shocked. “Are you Sonia or Katia?” He referred to her twin sister, who was almost her complete opposite in terms of character.
Sonia’s eyes twinkled as she leaned closer to whisper. “Can’t you tell?”
Electricity was crackling in the air between them, an energy that had always hummed quietly in the past but seemed to have been multiplied a thousand times—or cut loose—now. There was a challenge in her tone and Nate knew Sonia wanted him to be able to tell the difference between her and her twin sister.
They had to both be thinking about his disastrous trip to her apartment after the Valentine’s Day party. He’d taken Katia home, thinking she was Sonia and drunk, and she’d nearly jumped his bones. Then she’d realized his prosthesis wasn’t part of his costume and thrown him out. He hadn’t known until later that Sonia even had a twin.
And then he’d been ‘sweet’ for being sufficiently concerned for her to escort her home. He’d thought that someone had slipped her something.
Now that he knew there were two sisters, Nate could tell them apart, even though the obvious clue wasn’t visible. Only Sonia had a tattoo, but her dress had short fluttery sleeves, so he couldn’t see whether there was one on her upper arm.
All the same, he also knew this was Sonia, without a doubt. “I was sure you were Sonia, but the Sonia I know would never wear those shoes.”
“They are new,” she ceded in that playful tone.
“And the Sonia I knew never flirted with me either.”
She ran her fingertips up his arm, and the twinkle in her eye was definitely wicked. She dropped her voice. “Maybe I’m changing things up, too.”
“Or maybe I’m with the wrong twin again.”
“Oh no,” Sonia murmured with conviction. “This time, you’ve got it exactly right, Nate Buchanan, and I’m going to make sure you don’t regret it.”
An excerpt from Just the Wrong Twin
Copyright © 2021 Deborah A. Cooke
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