Twin Temptation

By: Cara Summers

Prologue


IT WAS a mansion right out of the books she’d read as a child—Jane Eyre, Rebecca, Wuthering Heights.

Those were Maddie’s first fanciful thoughts when she stepped out of the limousine and got a good look at the massive stone structure. Gray and solitary, Ware House soared up three stories and boasted three turrets and a roof edged in carved stone. A man could have tucked away a crazy wife in any of those turrets, she thought a bit giddily. And the fact that the sky was lead colored and cast the front of the house in shadows only added to the illusion.

But this wasn’t some English gentleman’s mysterious country home. It was the Long Island residence of the Ware family. And she was about to meet them for the first time.

A tall man who reminded her a bit of Michael Caine answered the door. He had to be a butler. His posture was ramrod-straight and his face totally expressionless. But Maddie thought she saw a flicker of surprise in his eyes before he stepped aside and said, “Come in, Ms. Farrell. Let me take your bag.” Just as if she were a regular visitor.

Still hesitating on the threshold, Maddie firmly reined in her imagination. It had rocketed into overdrive from the moment she’d received the phone call from that attorney, Edward Fitzwalter III. Gripping the strap of her purse more tightly, she stepped into the dark-paneled foyer. Since she wasn’t at all sure of her welcome, she’d asked the limo driver to wait for her. She had an escape plan in place.

“This way.” The man turned and started down a wide hallway. “The family has already gathered in the library.”

Family.

The knot of anxiety in Maddie’s stomach tightened. She was about to meet a family she hadn’t known existed until two days ago. Up until that time, she’d believed that she was the only daughter of Mike Farrell, a successful cattleman whose ranch was located about an hour north of Santa Fe. Mike had been an only child, the last of a line of ranchers, and Maddie was supposed to carry on his legacy. All her life she’d believed her mother had died when she was a baby. That was the story her father had told her…and since he’d passed away a year ago, there was no way she could ask him why he’d lied.

And according to the gruff-voiced attorney who’d called her two days ago, her father had indeed lied to her. And it had been a whopper. All these years, she’d had a mother she’d never met—a mother who’d been raised in this house and who just happened to be renowned Madison Avenue jewelry designer Eva Ware.

Oh, Maddie was very well-acquainted with the professional persona of Eva Ware. She’d studied the woman’s designs ever since she was in junior high and had first dreamed of creating her own line of Southwestern-style jewelry. Her father had known of her admiration for Eva Ware Designs, but he’d never once mentioned that the woman she’d so admired was her mother.

She was still struggling with the idea when the lawyer had told her that five days ago Eva Ware had been struck down by a hit-and-run driver.

No.

The news, shocking and unexpected, had set her head spinning. Sitting down hard on a nearby chair, she’d tried to gather her scattered thoughts as the voice on the other end of the phone droned on. Maddie had caught bits and pieces—her mother’s request…fly to New York…reading of the will…claim her inheritance.

Inheritance? She’d still been grappling with that word when the attorney had sprung another one on her. A real kicker. Sister. In addition to having a mother she’d never been aware of, she also had an uncle, a cousin and a sister—an identical twin, Jordan Ware.

For a few moments, the attorney’s voice had become nothing more than a buzz in her ear. She had a sister? A twin sister she’d been separated from since birth?

No. That was straight out of the plot a Disney movie—two of them, in fact. The Parent Trap had been one of her favorite films when she’d been a child. A memory flooded her mind of watching the older Hayley Mills/Maureen O’Hara version of the film with her father when she’d been nine or ten. And he’d never breathed a word.

No. She couldn’t accept that. Her father couldn’t have lied to her all these years. Gripping the phone as if it were a lifeline, Maddie had stood up and interrupted the man on the other end of the line. “You’re lying. If this is some kind of hoax, or some kind of scam you’re running, it won’t work.”

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