FBI Agent Alex Voretti is done pretending to be someone he’s not—especially when it means posing as his love ‘em and leave ‘em identical twin, Matt, so he can let Matt’s girl-of-the-week down easy. And especially when that girl is Alex’s partner, Nikki. But when the plan to let her down easy turns into one sizzling night after another, it’s not long before Alex realizes that coming clean to Nikki is the only move he has left.
Nikki Church thought twin switches only happened on TV—until she finds herself staring into the eyes of fellow adrenaline junkie Matt Voretti…only to discover he’s actually her mild-mannered coworker, Alex. Horrified, she takes off, hoping she’ll never see either Voretti twin again. But when her undercover job turns dangerous, there’s only one person she can ask for help—if she can convince her heart to trust Alex one last time.
FREE FALLING IN LOVE Excerpt:
Alex Voretti was never late. Not when he got food poisoning the morning of his SAT test. Not when his plane got rerouted to Kentucky on the way to new agent training at Quantico. But as he sped down the darkened freeway, he couldn’t escape the pit in his stomach. The one that said, no matter how early he made it to Castalano’s, he still wouldn’t be in time to prevent disaster.
He glanced at the clock as he exited the freeway. Twelve minutes until he was due to meet his partner Nikki, and it wouldn’t take more than five minutes to reach Castalano’s. There was no reason to panic. But all the logic in the world couldn’t slow the frantic beat of his heart. He shoved the accelerator down, barreling around a corner.
He hadn’t even seen the pothole. But he definitely heard the thud-thud-thud of his tire, and he felt his SUV list to the right.
Damn. He did not have time for a flat.
He pulled over. Ten minutes until he was supposed to meet Nikki.
His heart bounded faster, a countdown timer ticking away the last few seconds before detonating a bomb. He wanted to close his eyes and breathe until everything cleared from his mind except the calming energy of the universe, but he didn’t have time to meditate. Instead, he pulled the jack out of his trunk with one hand while dialing his twin brother Matt with his other. No answer.
He should’ve left his twin dig himself out of this latest predicament. The problem was, this wasn’t only about Matt. If Alex didn’t step in, Nikki would be the one to suffer. And Alex refused to let that happen.
He dialed Nikki as he jacked the car up. No answer on her end either.
Her cell was probably out of juice even though he’d reminded her just this morning to charge it.
There were no streetlights on this stretch of road, and with his cell phone as his only source of light, everything took twice as long as it should’ve. Finally, fifteen minutes later, he had the spare on. His shirt had a grease stain down the left side and his hair gel had given up ten minutes ago, but he had no time to stop at home to change.
He unbuttoned the shirt and threw it in the back seat. The plain white T-shirt he wore underneath wasn’t exactly the normal dress code for Castalano’s, but hell—Matt was probably in a T-shirt and jeans.
He cranked the motor and slammed on the accelerator, but breaking the speed limit didn’t give him the ability to turn back time. He screeched to a halt at the red curb in front of Catalano’s, threw his keys to the valet, and rushed inside.
The place was packed, but he saw Nikki right away. It was always like that. Even at the corner of the bar, her back to the room, she might as well have had a spotlight trained on her.
When he looked at her, he saw possibilities. Adventure. The future.
You see a hot woman you want to fuck. But you aren’t going to, because she’s your coworker. Get over it.
Nikki hunched over, like she was hiding, and Alex saw exactly who she was avoiding. His twin brother was at the other end of the bar, grinning his let-me-rock-your-world grin at some random woman.
Anger burned through Alex’s veins. He’d told Matt to stay away from Nikki. But Matt hadn’t listened. Matt never listened. And now Alex had to clean up the mess. Again.
He couldn’t wait to get out of here. His transfer to the FBI’s San Francisco field office couldn’t come through soon enough.
He pushed through the well-dressed crowd, rougher than usual, because he had to get to Nikki. “Hey.”
“You’re here.” Her simple, joyful smile made the world stop.
“Of course I’m here.” He’d invited her, even though Matt’s plan had gone against his better judgment. But it had been either invite Nikki to Castalano’s, where she’d see Matt flirting with another woman, or let her go on thinking she and Matt were a couple until she figured out that the reason his brother wasn’t taking her calls was that he’d moved on.
At least, this way, she’d have closure and a shoulder to cry on. Not that Nikki was the kind of woman who cried on shoulders. In the eight months they’d worked together, he’d never even seen her get misty eyed. Still, that was work and this was personal.
“Sit down,” Nikki said. “Have a drink with me.”
Like someone up above was monitoring the conversation, desperate to make Nikki feel better, the guy next to her vacated his stool. Alex sat.
“What can I get you?” the bartender asked.
He wanted his usual scotch and water, but he had to help Matt get the brewery up and running before he left the city limits, and that meant educating himself about beer. He ordered a local IPA.
“I have a serious, life-altering question for you.” Nikki leaned in close. “If you were going to backpack through the wilderness, would you do it in Bolivia or Nepal?”
“Uh…” She didn’t seem upset. Maybe Matt’s breakup strategy hadn’t been the worst idea in the entire universe. “I don’t know.”
“Close your eyes.”
Her husky voice overrode his better sense, and before he had a chance to catalog all the reasons why it was a bad idea, his eyes were shut. The crowded bar disappeared. There was only Nikki. Her fresh, clean scent. That voice that was wired straight to his dick.
“Picture yourself out there in the wilderness. Do you see condors and alpacas or sherpas and glaciers?”
He swallowed, trying like hell to picture an alpaca, because that was a lot safer than what he was currently thinking about.
“Where are you?”
Wherever you are.
He forced his eyes open. “Glaciers.” He needed something cold, that was for sure.
“See? That wasn’t so hard.” Somehow, Nikki’s hand had landed on his wrist. Her touch was so light he might not have noticed if it hadn’t been for the heat of her skin. The subtle stroke of her thumb against his pulse point.
He pulled his hand free under the guise of grabbing his beer. Then he took a big sip.
Disgusting. But at least that rancid beer taste took his mind off his dick.
Nikki regarded him from under lowered lashes. “Maybe you should come with me.”
Was she flirting with him?
No. He’d been fixated on her for so long, he was taking one innocent touch and exaggerating it into a full-blown pass. “I’ve never been backpacking.”
“Think about it. You and me scaling glaciers and soaking in hot springs. Then cuddling up together at night.”
Shit. She was definitely flirting. She must have been more upset by Matt’s stunt than he’d thought.
Nikki laughed. “You look like a deer staring down the headlights of a Hummer.”
“Hold that thought.” She motioned to the bartender. A second later there was a shot of vodka in front of both of them.
“Liquid courage.” She held up her glass. “Cheers.”
She downed the liquor in one practiced motion, and when she set the glass down, she was even closer to him. She smelled like sunshine and adventure, and before he realized what he was doing, the other glass was in his hand. “Cheers.”
The vodka didn’t burn the way it usually did. He was already hot from Nikki’s touch.
It had been too long since he’d gotten laid—over three months since he’d said goodbye to his ex-girlfriend Gabby. He needed to get back out there. Find an appropriate outlet for this buildup of lust he hadn’t even been aware of.
“Look,” Nikki said. “I know this isn’t the relationship we agreed on. But things change. Feelings change.”
“I…” He had to shut her down. Though he wasn’t officially her supervisor, he was supposed to be looking out for her—making sure she didn’t get herself into any more trouble. And he couldn’t start a relationship when he was planning to move five hundred miles away as soon as his transfer went through. “It’s not that I don’t… As much as I might want…”
“I’m not asking for a commitment. I just want to explore.” Her hand found the center of his chest. It burned through his T-shirt to the bare skin underneath, taking his brain completely off-line. “See where this goes.”
She kissed the way she did everything else—with her entire body and all her focus. Her arms wrapped around his neck and her body tangled with his and her scent enveloped him, stealing what was left of his good sense.
Need slammed into him. He pulled her closer. Kissed her deeper.
Her soft moan went straight to his dick. It wasn’t enough. It wouldn’t be enough until she was under him. Until he was buried so deep inside her, she forgot about every man who had come before him, even his twin.
His twin. The one who’d broken up with Nikki by parading in front of her with another woman. The entire reason Alex was here right now.
It was too hard to pull away from Nikki all at once, so Alex did it in stages. First, he disengaged his lips from hers. Then he forced his hands away from her soft skin.
Without the distracting contact with her body, rational though filtered back into his brain. Jesus, Alex. Could you be any more of an asshole? You don’t come on to a woman who’s just been dumped.
Nikki smiled at him, soft and warm. She looked almost shy, which made him feel a thousand times worse. She was vulnerable as hell right now, and he’d taken advantage.
“Nikki, I—” His voice broke.
The world stopped. Everything except Nikki’s voice, which was playing on repeat inside his head. Matt. Matt. Matt.
“I’m not looking for a ring. I’m only talking about moving beyond our friends-with-benefits thing.”
Jesus Christ. She thought he was his brother.
Available December 11, 2017
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