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Authors: Alane Hudson

Tags: #love triangle, #millionnaire, #double, #twin, #wedding, #doppelganger, #second chance, #convenience, #marriage, #wealthy

Body Double

BOOK: Body Double
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Body Double

 
 

by Alane Hudson

 
 
 

 
 
 

Body Double

Copyright 2013 by Alane Hudson

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

 
 

This ebook has been magically enchanted by an evil wizard previously thought to be fictitious. Should this book, which is licensed for your personal enjoyment only, fall into the hands of one who did not purchase it, the enchantment will cause noxious flatulence and warts to appear in places no one wants mentioned in public. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you like this book soooooooooooooooooooo much that you want to share it with your friends, family, neighbors, grocer, or proctologist, please thank the author by purchasing a gift certificate for each desired recipient at your favorite ebook store so they can get their own copy the legal and proper way. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it from a legitimate source, you might want to start checking for unmentionable warts and people fainting behind you. Thank you for respecting the author’s hard work.

This book is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents depicted herein are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Cover design by Alane Hudson. Photographs are copyrighted by their respective copyright holders and are used per license agreement.

 

Song lyrics by fictional recording artists Carol Carpenter and Heather Hargreaves written by Alane Hudson.

 
 

Body Double

 

"For a million bucks, would you marry a complete stranger?"

 

Andrea Lindholm has been at the altar before—alone. Two years ago, her fiancé failed to show up on the day of their wedding, forever changing her outlook on marriage. Now she’s being offered enough money to solve her financial woes in exchange for acting as proxy for another woman—Andrea's double—in her marriage to handsome and rich Blake Thomas. All Andrea has to do is play the part of the bride in the wedding and then share a two-week honeymoon in Hawaii with Blake.

 

Old fears of being jilted resurface as the wedding day approaches. But after she meets the dashing groom, her ability to distance herself from the job becomes more challenging every day. Will Andrea be able to cash out of this arrangement with her heart intact when Blake’s new wife claims her place at his side?

 

Chapter 1

 
 

 
 

Andrea Lindholm checked her watch again as she scanned the parking lot for a vacant spot near the door. Two-fifty. Good. Ten minutes early. It was her first interview since losing her job two weeks ago, and she hoped to hell she wasn’t about to screw it up.

She pulled her eight-year-old Focus into a space, threw it into park, and picked up the leather portfolio from the seat beside her. They already had her résumé, but Andrea had brought two extras, letters of recommendation, a photocopy of her diploma, and her Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement. She was ready. With a deep breath, she stepped out of the car and headed for the building’s entrance.

Above the door hung a wooden sign with a lighthouse painted on it. Its yellow beam shone toward the golden letters that spelled out
The Lighthouse
against a painted night sky. The door caught and scraped against the concrete when she pulled it open, and she tugged it closed behind her. Not a great first impression, but things could be worse—she could blow the interview.

The cramped lobby had a stained and threadbare orange carpet and an ugly and dented metal desk upon which hunched an old computer monitor of the hulking, fifty-pound variety in a dull beige. An empty office chair sat behind the desk with a green sweater draped over its back. Opposite the desk, to Andrea’s left, was a bench and two mismatched chairs, and a side table on which old magazines were splayed like oversized playing cards. Just as she was about to take a seat, someone—or something—heaved a sigh.
What in the world

The door behind the desk opened, and a fresh-faced brunette stepped into the lobby. “Oh! Dr. Gentry, I’m sorry. I thought...” A quizzical look appeared on her face, and her thumb pointed back over her shoulder. Her gaze dropped to Andrea’s pale blue blouse and navy skirt. “Oh, my.”

Warmth flooded Andrea’s face. All right, so she shopped at thrift stores. Lots of people did. She hadn’t been criticized for her clothing since she was thirteen. Rather than make an issue out of it, she put on a smile, stepped forward, and offered her hand. “I’m Andrea Lindholm, here for a three o’clock interview.”

The woman cupped it warmly in both hands, smiling mischievously, and then shook her head slowly. “I cannot wait to see the look on her face.”

Andrea looked down at herself. Her outfit wasn’t fancy, but it was clean and professional, especially compared to the receptionist’s blue jeans and green
Hug A Tree
t-shirt. Though Andrea’s blouse wasn’t exactly conservative, the ’70s wouldn’t be calling, wanting their outfit back, either. “Have I chosen poorly?”

“Oh! No, no. You look fine. I’m Tracy, by the way. It’s just... well, you’ll see.” She smiled again and rubbed her hands together like an eager child. “I’ll let Dr. Gentry know you’re here.” Tracy picked up the phone on the desk and punched a couple of buttons. “Your three o’clock is here,” Tracy sang in a teasing lilt. “Okay.” She placed the phone’s receiver in the cradle and sat behind the desk. “She’ll be right out.”

“Thank you.” Andrea checked her watch again out of nervousness. Two fifty-five. “How long have you worked here?” she asked Tracy.

“Three years. It’s not the Ritz, but it’s a great place to work. Fulfilling, you know?”

Andrea nodded. She’d first heard of The Lighthouse when her former boss suggested she submit a résumé when they were shutting down The Delmar Center. As it turned out, The Lighthouse wasn’t that different from Delmar, but rather than providing a safe haven for runaways, it provided shelter and legal representation for victims of sex trafficking. For a social worker looking for a way to make the world a better place, it sounded ideal. “The shelter residents aren’t here though, are they?” she asked.

“No, they’re in another facility. We’ve had their former, ah,
employers
come looking for them.” Tracy made air quotes when she said
employers
. “It wouldn’t be safe to keep them here. That lighthouse sign above the door might as well be a beacon. ‘Come get your girls back. They’re right here.’ Um, no.” Tracy wrinkled her nose and shook her head. “Not gonna happen. This is just where we run the business.”

“That makes sense,” Andrea said. “It must be scary when those jerks come here looking for them.”

“It can be, but they don’t stand up to our security guard.” Tracy crooked her finger to beckon Andrea closer and then pointed to the floor beside her. “That’s Hank.”

At the mention of his name, Hank raised his massive, blocky head and licked Tracy’s outstretched finger. From the floppy, triangular ears and the black and brown fur, Andrea guessed Hank was a Rottweiler, and a big one at that.

“I thought I heard someone sigh,” Andrea said. “He didn’t even bark when I came in.”

“Doesn’t need to. He can handle just about any situation we might encounter. Unless, of course, the perps walked in with a basket of kittens. Then we’d be in big trouble. Hank’s a sucker for kitties.”

The door behind Tracy opened, and a woman walked in, blond like Andrea, with the same height and build... and face.

Andrea’s jaw dropped. It was like looking in the mirror at an equally shocked reflection.

Tracy cackled, slapping her knee. “I love it. Damn, I should’ve gotten that on video. Dr. Gentry, meet Andrea Lindholm. Ms. Lindholm, this is Dr. Sarah Gentry.”

 
 

 
 

“Well, butter my ass and call me a biscuit,” Dr. Gentry said. “Oops. Sorry! You caught me by surprise. I sure am pleased to meet you.” Though she looked enough like Andrea that they could be sisters, her voice was deeper and she spoke with a Southern drawl.

Andrea chuckled, hoping to disarm her potential new employer. “I’m pleased to meet you as well, Dr. Gentry. I’ve heard wonderful things about The Lighthouse.”

“Please call me Sarah. Are you on a tight schedule?”

“No,” Andrea said, following Sarah down a carpeted hallway. “I’ve got no plans until evening.” She didn’t have any plans at all, but she wanted an out in case this interview turned into a time-sucking monster.

“Good,” Sarah said over her shoulder, “because I have a feeling this is going to be a long interview. Where are you from?”

“San Diego,” Andrea said. She’d heard about people who had doubles, people who others said looked just like them. Never had she ever considered that she might meet hers someday. “Went to Cal State for my undergrad degree, and then Stanford for my Master’s. I’ve been in the Bay Area for around three years now. Your accent sounds like Georgia.”

“You’re good. Atlanta born and raised. Moved out west for grad school and never looked back.” One of the fluorescent lights in the ceiling buzzed and flickered as they walked under it.

“Your family must miss you.”

“My mama died when I was a kid, and my father’s as ornery as a coon with a toothache. I couldn’t stand to be around him, so I moved as far away as I could get. To punish me, he bought a house here, and so he spends half his time pestering me.”

“I see.” Andrea cringed inwardly. People always seemed to tell her more personal details than she cared to hear, which was one reason she went into social work as a career. What did one say to someone whose only parent was a thorn?

“Are your folks still around?” Sarah asked.

Andrea nodded. “They left San Diego a few years ago though. Too expensive. They moved to Phoenix, and now they complain about the heat.”

“Oh, I could not live in Phoenix. Atlanta’s hot, but not that hot. Summertime is for playing outside, not being trapped in an air conditioned house.”

BOOK: Body Double
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ads

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