Up Close and Dangerously Sexy

By: Karen Anders

1




HER SISTER forced her to commit a felony.

Allison Carpenter—Allie—bent down to pick her twin sister’s lock, blocking the door with her body. It was a good thing she’d dated a locksmith, a relationship her sister had thought was rather a waste of Allie’s time. But, lookee here—it came in quite handy. Besides, he was a fun guy.

“If we go to jail…” Jason warned. Jason Kyoto was Allie’s assistant and today her partner in crime. He was Japanese and had one of those simply gorgeous faces, full lips, high cheekbones, smooth olive skin. His deep black hair streaked with red was long and full around his face and cut in a choppy style. With his simply dreamy almond-shaped eyes and a tight, well-muscled, broad-shouldered body it was no surprise women were unable to look away from him.

“Designing the perfect room is worth a little jail time. Although, if we get arrested, remind me to talk to the warden about those hideous orange jumpsuits. Orange just isn’t a good color on me.” She turned and flashed him an easy smile. “You know you’re having fun. Who got me the lock picks?”

Jason rolled his eyes. “You’re right. You suck me in every time, and I do have fun.”

When Allie had mentioned to him that she needed to pick her sister’s lock, Jason hadn’t missed a beat. He’d shown up with the exact tools she’d needed. Allie didn’t ask questions. Where a gay guy with an impeccable fashion sense had gotten lock picks was beyond Allie.

She’d solidified her plan the last time she’d visited her twin sister and faced the barren rooms. They’d had to sit on the floor, picnic-style, her sister lamenting about not having time to furnish her apartment, let alone decorate it.

Allie knew her sister was in sales, but it did seem strange to her that after all this time, her sister hadn’t made time to buy at least a couch.

Allie operated her own design business, Allison Carpenter Designs, and had decided then that she would decorate the apartment for her sister on their birthday, but it had to remain a secret. Her sister had said she would be gone two full weeks and Allie expected her back today. Allie knew for sure because she’d talked to Callie last week.

She paused in her lock-picking when “the feeling” came over her. For a week now, she’d been getting this sense that all wasn’t well with Callie. She’d tried to call her sister several times, but without any luck. Allie would have worried more, if it weren’t for the fact that “the feeling” could mean anything from a bad-hair day to a break-up.

Actually, she should have had her sister’s apartment done days ago. She was thankful for the huge job she’d started in LA for up-and-coming “It Girl,” Lily Walden, daughter of U.S. Senator Marion Walden. An It Girl required a lot of attention, much more time than Allie had budgeted. Now Allie was going to have to work like mad to get everything done. But it would be worth it when Callie walked through the door and Allie yelled, “Surprise!”

Allie meant to talk her sister into giving her a key. It wasn’t that Allie hadn’t made the attempt in the past, but her sister’s reluctance to hand out her key was strange, perhaps a throwback to the days when they had to share everything. Or maybe her sister was just being proprietary.

“Hurry up, Allie. I feel completely exposed here,” Jason muttered at her right shoulder.

“Hi, Callie. Are you having a problem with your lock?” asked a pretty woman with dark chestnut hair.

“No, just dropped my keys,” Allie said with a full smile. It had been fun in the past to pose as her sister. It was still fun.

“Hi, I’m Mandy,” the brunette said to Jason.

Jason looked at her blankly until Allie nudged him.

“Oh, hi, doll. It’s a pleasure. I’m sure.”

He took Allie’s cue to pull the girl aside while Allie did some more breaking and entering. She smiled when the lock clicked open and she entered the apartment.

Jason extricated himself from the young woman and followed Allie, closing the door behind him. “You have nerve, lady. I’ll give you that,” Jason said, taking a look around.

“That’s me—nervy. Although, when I was teaching sky-diving, my mother called me flighty. Of course that was my third job in six months.”

Jason laughed. “Flighty, Allie? That’s lame.”

“No comment from the peanut gallery, thanks. Let’s get a move on.” Allie smiled as he walked from the living room into the kitchen.

“You know that leaping before you look can be dangerous. Remember what happened when you tried to mix plaids with floral for Mrs. Jamison.”

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