Twin Seduction

By: Cara Summers


WARE House.

Jordan gave the Long Island mansion a cursory inspection as she slammed the taxi door behind her. The overcast sky shrouded the place in even more gloom than usual. With its turrets and weathered gray stones, the three-story structure her great-great-grandfather had built looked as mysterious as ever. She’d always thought it could have served as the setting for the Gothic novels she’d enjoyed reading as a young girl. The kind of house that held lots of secrets.At least that much hadn’t changed. Because in the last week, everything else in her life had.

When pain squeezed her heart, Jordan rubbed her fist against her chest. You’ve gotten this far. You can get through the rest.

Seven days ago, two policemen had come to her apartment door with bad news. Her mother, renowned jewelry designer Eva Ware, had been killed by a hit-and-run driver as she’d crossed the street to her apartment building.

Her mother was dead.

A week had gone by and she was still struggling to accept that. Eva should be with her right now. They’d always come to Ware House together. But her mother wasn’t here. She would never be here again.

Closing her eyes, Jordan ordered herself to take a deep breath. She couldn’t fall apart. She had too much to do. It would be her responsibility to make sure that her mother’s legacy lived on.

A quick glance at her watch confirmed she was a good half hour early for the reading of her mother’s will. She could take a moment to gather her thoughts, her strength. Turning, she began to pace on the flagstones in front of the huge entrance door.

You can get through this.

And she could. Hadn’t she made it through identifying the body at the morgue and making arrangements for the funeral? Her Uncle Carleton and Aunt Dorothy had insisted on helping her with that.

Jordan had been both grateful and surprised when they’d contacted her because her mother and her uncle hadn’t been on the best of terms for as long as Jordan could remember.

From what her mother had said, the little feud stemmed back to her grandfather’s will. Carleton and Eva had each inherited half of Ware Bank, half of Ware House and half of his stocks, bonds and cash. Carleton had wanted his sister to invest her share in Ware Bank, the family business, but Eva had insisted on putting her cash into her fledgling jewelry design business.

To Jordan’s way of thinking, it had turned out to be a wise decision since Eva Ware Designs was one of the most exclusive jewelry stores in New York City. Eva had tried to placate her brother’s feelings by moving out of Ware House and letting him have the place to himself. Her Uncle Carleton, Aunt Dorothy and cousin Adam had lived there ever since, but the strain on family relations had never quite faded. Every time she and her mother visited, the chill in the air was so noticeable that her mother had rented a room at a small inn in nearby Linchworth when ever they intended to stay overnight.

In spite of all that, her aunt and uncle had been helpful in planning the funeral. Dorothy Ware had a great deal of expertise when it came to organizing social events, and Eva Ware’s funeral had turned out to be just that. Thousands had come to pay their respects to the award-winning jewelry designer.

But the one person Jordan had wanted there hadn’t been able to come—Jase Campbell, her apartment mate and closest friend.

She and Jase had first met during her freshman year at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Jase had been a senior and they’d met by accident when they’d both shown up to rent an off-campus apartment. Instead of flipping a coin to see who’d get it, they’d moved in together and become fast friends. A year ago when Jase had left the navy to start up his own security business in Manhattan, they’d become apartment mates again. But for the last three and a half weeks, he’d been in some remote area of South America negotiating a hostage situation. She hadn’t even been able to talk with him via cell phone.

He didn’t even know that Eva was dead.

And he certainly didn’t know about the other big change in her life. She’d acquired a sister.

Edward Fitzwalter III, her mother’s longtime attorney, had called with that shocking news on the day after her mother’s funeral. Even now, Jordan was tempted to pinch herself to see if the last week had been a nightmare that she could just wake up from.

She had a sister she’d never met. Madison Farrell. And she was coming here today for the reading of their mother’s will.

Each time Jordan thought about it, her heart took a little leap and nerves knotted in her stomach. She’d only had two days to try to absorb it, and although she prided herself on her efficiency and adaptability, she wasn’t sure she had.

How did one process the fact that one had a sister—an identical twin—who’d been raised all these years on a ranch in New Mexico by a father Jordan had never known? A father she would never know because he’d died a year ago.

The whole situation was straight out of a Disney movie. At first, she hadn’t believed Fitzwalter. She’d nagged him until he’d shown her the birth certificates. She and Madison had been born in Santa Fe. She was older than her twin by almost four minutes.

Fitzwalter had also shown her a wedding license. Eva Ware had married Michael Farrell approximately eleven months before she and Madison had been born.

Immediately after seeing the paperwork, she’d looked Madison Farrell up on Google and begun a file on the sister she’d never met. Within an hour, she’d amassed quite a bit of information. Her sister went by the name of Maddie. In addition to being a rancher, her twin was an up-and-coming jewelry designer in Santa Fe. And except for a difference in hair styles, she and Maddie could have been mirror images of each other.

What would her sister be like? Would they have anything in common? From the looks of her Web site, Maddie had inherited their mother’s genius for designing jewelry. Had Jordan inherited her father’s talent for business?

Jordan sighed. Instead of answering her questions, her research had only brought more. Why had their parents separated them? Why had they been kept apart all these years? Why had her mother told her that her father died shortly after she was born? Would her sister have any answers?

Pushing back a fresh wave of frustration, Jordan whirled to glance back at the house. It still seemed impossible that her mother wasn’t here right now. Today Jordan had faithfully followed their old routine, taking the train from Manhattan, then hailing a taxi. She’d even stopped in Linchworth and checked in to the suite she and Eva always stayed in.

Why? Oh, she’d told herself it was so she had someplace to take Maddie after the reading of the will so that they could talk privately. In spite of her aunt and uncle’s help with the funeral, she didn’t think that the family dynamics had changed. But she wondered if she’d followed her mother’s routine because she was having trouble letting go and accepting her death.

And what would Maddie Farrell make of the family dynamics? To say the Ware family wasn’t close-knit was an understatement. Jordan rarely saw her uncle or aunt, and the only reason she saw her cousin Adam was because he worked as a designer at Eva Ware Designs.

The sound of a sports car roaring up the driveway drew her attention. Speak of the devil, she thought as her cousin Adam braked in front of the house.

Sending him a little wave, she marched up the steps. There was still time to get inside—depending on how quick Lane was to answer the door.

It had opened just a crack when a car door slammed behind her. “Jordan, wait up. I want a word with you.”

Adam Ware sounded annoyed. Jordan couldn’t remember a time in the two years since she’d gone to work for Eva Ware Designs that he hadn’t.

By the time Lane had fully opened the door, Adam was at her side. “What in the hell are you trying to pull?”

Jordan tamped down on her annoyance and sent her cousin another smile. “I’m here for the reading of my mother’s will.” Then she shifted her smile to the butler. “Good afternoon, Lane.”

The butler, who’d always reminded Jordan a bit of Michael Caine, bowed slightly and stepped aside. “Ms. Jordan, Mr. Adam, the family has gathered with Mr. Fitzwalter in the library.”

“Has my sister arrived?” Jordan asked.

“Not yet.”

“Your sister,” Adam snorted. “That’s the very person I want to have a word with you about.” He urged her through an open doorway to the left.

With an inward sigh, Jordan gathered what patience she could. Ever since she’d joined Eva Ware Designs, Adam had opposed every single marketing strategy she’d proposed. During the three years he’d worked alone with her mother while she’d pursued her graduate degree, her cousin had come to expect that he would one day take over and run Eva Ware Designs. And for some reason, her presence in the company had made him paranoid.

She’d tried to approach him on a rational level and pointed out that their talents lay in different areas—that while he brought his design expertise to the company, she brought a business background. But nothing she said or did seemed to assuage his fear.

Eva had mostly viewed the friction between them as a sort of sibling rivalry and gone back to work. But each time her mother had approved one of Jordan’s marketing ideas, Adam had seemed to feel more and more threatened.

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