Read 9 1/2 Days Online

Authors: Mia Zachary

Tags: #Category

9 1/2 Days (5 page)

“I’
M GAY
.”
Danny half-swallowed, half-choked on his mouthful of beer. He set down the pale ale David kept in the fridge for him and even managed to get the icy bottle on the coaster this time. He stared at his brother, momentarily at a loss for words.

David stared right back from a face that was a duplicate of the one he saw in the mirror each morning. He’d sometimes wondered about his twin’s love of gourmet cooking and artsy foreign films. But now, hearing David state his sexual preference out loud, he wasn’t sure how he felt.

Surprise over his brother’s homosexuality warred with anxiety that it could be genetic. Being identical twins meant they had more things in common than most siblings. But, thinking of the many women he’d dated in the past year, Danny felt pretty sure sexual preference wasn’t one of them.

His brother stood waiting for his reaction, defensiveness in his posture and apprehension in his dark brown gaze. Not knowing how to handle the seriousness of the discussion, Danny resorted to humor. “You can’t do it like that.”

“It’s not just like that. I’ve always felt that maybe I was different—”

“No, I mean, you can’t just blurt it out. How about giving a brother some warning, a little lead up. You know, ‘Hi, Dan. How’s it going? Great weather we’re having, huh? By the way, I’m gay. Don’t tell Mom and Dad’.”

David smiled wryly and the strain eased from his features. They shared a look of understanding as he took a seat in the armchair opposite the sofa. “I’m guessing Dad will disinherit me and see that the club revokes my membership.”

“And what
will
Mother say to her friends in church and at the Valley Golf Association?”

David still looked uneasy. “What about you? Is this okay with you?”

He propped one fist under his chin and narrowed his eyes, pretending to consider it. “Well, other than the purple spots and horns, you seem the same to me.”

“I mean it, Dan. This isn’t easy for me.” David hunched his broad shoulders and looked away.

No, it probably wasn’t. And it would be harder still to tell their parents. He was proud to know David trusted him and quickly offered reassurance. “Believe me, this doesn’t change anything. You’re still my brother and I love you.”

“I wanted to tell you before now, but I wasn’t sure how you’d react.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence.” He picked up his beer. “What I’m wondering is how Jordan is going to react. Do you think she’ll be upset?”

David dropped his eyes and shifted in his seat. “I, um, broke it off with Jordan over a month ago.”

“Are you crazy? Why would—never mind, never mind.” He waved his hand as if he could erase the question.

“She’s a terrific woman and I love her as a friend.” David delivered his words with an attorney’s caution.

“A friend?” Danny’s brows furrowed in surprise. “You’ve been dating for what, eight or nine months?”

David brushed at the fabric on the chair arm. “We never connected beyond friendship, if you know what I mean.”

“Do we have to talk about sex?” Danny winced, not really wanting to picture his twin in the bed he hoped to occupy.

“Don’t worry. We were safe the only time we were together. The point is, I couldn’t keep faking my relationship with Jordan.” The phone rang and David got up to answer it. “Hello? Hi, I thought it might be you calling…. My brother’s here right now…I’ll talk to you sometime tomorrow, okay?”

Danny took another swallow of beer, still trying to come to terms with the situation. As soon as David sat down again, he asked the question that was bugging him the most. “If you knew you were gay, why did you start dating her in the first place?”

“I didn’t know. Not for certain. Not until too late… Also, I needed to be seen in a relationship, Dan. Chase, Behr & Lily is an extremely conservative law firm. I thought having Jordan on my arm advanced my chances of a partnership.”

“So, you were using her.” Danny sat back against the couch.

David had the good grace to look ashamed. “Not on purpose, but yes, I was. I ended it once I understood the relationship would never work. And once I found out that Chase’s son is being offered the only open partnership slot, I realized I’m tired of living a lie.”

“Sorry about the partnership, David. That really stinks.”

“Yeah. I’ve spent so much time and effort trying to impress the senior partners. All for nothing.” He sighed heavily. “I wanted that promotion. But not as much as I want to be accepted for who I really am. That’s why I asked you to come over.”

Danny pressed the issue. “You were honest with Jordan, though, right?”

“I’m sure she knows. She has to.” David stood up and headed for the wet bar.

“You don’t sound very sure.” He followed, leaning against the bookcase as he watched his brother.

David looked up from the wine he was pouring. “I know I didn’t handle this very well.”

Danny scowled. “You just broke up with her and didn’t bother to explain why? Jordan deserves better from you. She’s gorgeous, intelligent and successful. She’s sexy and—”

“And you noticed all of this after meeting her only once.” David looked at him oddly.

Danny opened his mouth, then shut it again. There was no adequate way to explain his attraction.

David smiled. “Don’t bother answering, little brother. Your face says it all.”

J
ORDAN WAS AVAILABLE
.
That thought prevailed in Danny’s mind when he left David’s condominium. His keys jingled in his pocket as he jogged down the stairs, whistling out of tune. He didn’t have to feel guilty anymore about what had happened in the elevator. Jordan was single and apparently had been for several weeks.

Now he just had to figure out how to contact her before David made good on his threat to matchmake for them.

As he pushed through the front door and bounded down the steps, he heard a rustling from the shrubs behind him. Then it sounded as if someone stumbled, followed by the click of heels on the concrete walkway. He started to turn around when he felt something poke him in the back.

Then a woman’s quiet voice spoke near his ear. “Hold it, mister. I’ve got a banana. And I’m not afraid to use it.”

Danny immediately recognized Jordan’s cool, clear voice. It made him think of spring water bubbling over polished rocks. His body responded and began to resemble the alleged banana. Playing along, he lowered his voice to match hers. “Okay, lady. You’ve got my attention. What now?”

Her breath hitched once, then she blurted out her next command. “Stay quiet and walk toward the burgundy Honda parked at the curb.”

Was Jordan looking for another illicit thrill? For the chance to be with her completely, he wasn’t going to protest, so he started toward her car. Then reality hit him in the gut. He’d come out of David’s condo wearing a T-shirt and sweatpants, so of course she assumed…

“No! Don’t turn around.”

Danny suppressed a sigh of disappointment. “I think you’re making a mistake. My brother—”

“I know all about your brother. This isn’t—”

“You do?” He jerked his head in her direction, but her hand shot out to nudge it forward again.

“Let’s not talk about him right now.” Jordan cleared her throat then continued haltingly. “Since this past weekend, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about us, how we left things unfinished.”

The extraordinary experience in the elevator flashed across his mind. His pulse quickened with desire and growing hope. Maybe that was Jordan on the phone earlier. Maybe David had told her he was here tonight. “I’m glad you want to pick up where—”

“Don’t say anything else, okay? Otherwise I won’t be able to go through with this.”

Danny angled his body to one side, trying to see her face. “What exactly is
this?

“Um, I’m kidnapping you.” She sounded a little unsure of herself, but she poked him in the back with the banana once more for emphasis.

“Okay…” He started walked again. “Are we acting out one of your fantasies or something?”

Jordan laughed softly. “Fantasy number fifteen, to be exact.”

He smiled, wondering if that was the end of the list or just the beginning. He’d find out soon enough. When he reached the side of the car, she clicked the keyless entry to unlock it. Before he could open the door, though, she thrust something over his shoulder.

“Would you mind putting on this blindfold?”

Danny looked down at the scarf she held in front of his face. “It’s pink. It’s pink with little white dots on it. What kind of kidnapper are you?”

“You’re not supposed to talk. This is hard enough.”

Not yet, but he was getting there. Danny obliged and tied the scarf around his eyes, then slid into the passenger seat. Reaching for the lever beneath him, he pushed back to give himself more legroom.

He felt Jordan lean over him to secure his seat belt. The scent of her hair drifted around him and his groin throbbed in reaction to the brush of her shoulder against his chest. Despite his temporary blindness, he was relaxed and curious to find out what she had planned.

“So what happens next?”

For a moment she didn’t answer. Then, after a deep breath, she said, “Now I take you to my place and bring the rest of the fantasy to life.”

Less than fifteen minutes later, Jordan remained in the driver’s seat, drumming her fingers lightly on the steering wheel. The trip back to her house had been relatively easy since David had stayed quiet the whole time. But now that they’d arrived, anxiety stabbed at her resolve, plagued her with doubts. She didn’t want a repeat of the last time they were together…

David cleared his throat. “Do you do this kind of thing a lot?”

“Actually, I never do anything like this.” Her voice was small and tight as she looked over at him. “But lately I’ve wanted to…experiment a little.”

One dark brow lifted above the blindfold. “I’m always up for some experimentation. So, are we going to sit here the rest of the night?”

“No.” She laughed nervously, got out of the Honda and went around to open the passenger door.

Jordan took his arm to guide him out of the car. He misjudged the height of the curb and tripped, bumping into her. He didn’t move away. They remained side by side, silent, lost in their mutual awareness. The contact sent sparks and heat rushing along her nerves until an invisible web of desire tightened in her belly. That was a good thing. If she was turned on, there was nothing to fear. Tonight would be a success.

“Can I take this thing off now?” He sounded hoarse as he pointed to the pink-and-white blindfold.

“Not yet.” She led him up the walkway. “You can take it off once we start the fantasy.”

He frowned briefly, obviously confused. “The kidnapping isn’t the fantasy?”

Jordan swallowed the sudden lump in her throat. “No, it was just… I wasn’t sure…”

David stopped and turned in her direction. Though he couldn’t see the hot color lighting up her face, his voice was quiet. “You didn’t think I’d go along unless you forced me?”

She dropped her chin as her confidence evaporated. This was so stupid! Why did she think she could go through with this? Some seductress she was turning out to be. David must have sensed her anguish because he slowly exhaled.

“You didn’t have to do this.”

Omigod. She was standing in front of her house being rejected by a man in a pink polka-dotted blindfold. He would be polite and considerate because that was his way. But he was still going to dump her again. She twisted her fingers together, fighting harder not to cry.

“All you had to do was ask.”

“Huh?” She jerked her head up.

David’s voice held more than a touch of gentle humor. “So what’s the real fantasy, Jordan?”

He still wanted to play. The sudden warmth of relief and gratitude swept over her and she smiled, too, though he couldn’t see it. She considered telling him the real reason behind her seduction plan, then realized she wanted this night of fantasy as much as she wanted his help.

“No names.”

“Excuse me?”

Her pulse accelerated and her words came out in a rush. “No names, okay? No inhibitions and no regrets tonight. We’re just two strangers who met and felt an immediate attraction.”

His response was complete silence and for an instant her insecurities returned. Then David grinned, his wide smile sexy despite the pink scarf on his face. “When I saw you across the smoke-filled room, I thought you were the most beautiful woman in the place.”

For a second, her heart turned over. He thought—

No. Jordan shook herself back into the reality of the moment. He was just getting into the fantasy. She took a deep breath and let her imagination take over. “When I walked into that hot, crowded bar tonight, I was looking for someone, but I didn’t expect to find
you.
I saw you sitting by yourself and wondered why a guy like you was alone.”

She was afraid her speech sounded forced, but David got right into character. “Yeah, I had the same thought about you. I couldn’t believe such a hot, sexy woman was coming on to me.”

That web of desire tightened and Jordan suddenly wanted him so badly her legs started to tremble. The way David was responding, maybe they should have tried this fantasy stuff before. “There was something about you, something that intrigued me. That’s why I approached you. Then you looked at me and smiled and I couldn’t resist giving in to a wicked impulse.”

“I’d planned to buy you a drink, but your very seductive offer distracted me. Wicked impulses are the hardest to refuse.”

He stood beside her on the front step. She could feel the heat of his body and even in the dimness of twilight his arousal was obvious. There was a lot to be said for the thin fabric of sweatpants. He leaned into her, pressing the length of his body to hers as he spoke softly.

“I think we’ll be good together.”

Jordan drew a quivering breath as she pushed open the front door. “Why don’t we go inside and find out?”

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