I arrive at the party later than I wanted to, because mom had me running around doing all the errands Jax was supposed to do weeks ago. I should have just told her I met a girl and I needed to leave to be here before she arrived, but I didn’t feel like playing twenty questions with her tonight.
The street around Cole’s house is packed so I have to park on the next block over. There’s no way Audrey could miss this place, and I can feel my blooding pumping faster in anticipation of seeing her again. Now I just need to locate her, but it shouldn’t be hard to find a stunning, long-legged brunette with the biggest brown eyes I’ve ever seen.
When I walk in the door, I immediately spot my idiot brother standing toe-to-toe with Mike Bailey and see that they’ve drawn a crowd around them. I already know what this is about. Jaxon slept with Mike’s girlfriend yesterday at the lake and he must have found out; girls talk too damn much. And did I mention Jax has been an as**ole lately? I’m sure he can handle himself with Mike, but I decide to stay in close proximity in case I need to break it up. There aren’t many guys here big enough to pull my brother away from a fight.
Jaxon appears pissed at having to discuss his actions, but it serves him right. I’d try to go a few rounds with the dude too if he slept with my girl. Right as the situation starts to get heated, I watch as my stunning, long-legged brunette jumps up into Jaxon’s arms. Across the room from them, I freeze, my feet rooted to the floor. When Audrey grabs his face and starts kissing him, my fists open and clench shut with each movement of their lips together. What. The. Fuck?
They break the kiss after an eternity, and all I can see is the back of her head and Jaxon’s surprised, cheesy grin. “Hey baby,” he says, while gripping her ass. This cannot be happening.
I take a few determined steps forward and then notice the bruises on her arms and immediately retreat back. Shit, I must have hurt her today. How the hell did that happen? I know I was caught up in the moment, but I never realized I was hurting her.
She’s probably f**king pissed so she’s trying to get back at me. Girls do shit like that. I’m trapped in this strange bubble of wanting to go and rip her from my brother’s arms and wanting to leave, because I’m undoubtedly the last person she wants to see right now. My mind is made up for me when I see Jax lean in and take her mouth again. I’ve never hated him before, but right now it’s really damn close. I almost knock over three different people in my hasty departure out the door.
I gasp awake as a heavy weight lies across my chest. My eyes spring open and I realize the heavy weight is actually an arm, and attached to that arm is a gorgeous, dark-haired, and tanned Jace.
Last night did not go as I had intended it to go. When I arrived at the house that could only be described as a mansion, I waited outside the front door for a solid fifteen minutes. I was hoping I’d run into Jace, so I wouldn’t have to walk in alone. Even with all the awkward stares I received and remarks wondering who I was, I still waited.
When I realized he must have already been inside, I decided to approach the ominous, twenty-foot wooden double doors. As I tried to slip inside unnoticed, I instantly focused on the marble entryway tiles and the ornate, metal balustrade alongside the massive staircase. The place was pretentious, and I assumed that the guy who lived here was a privileged douchebag. Usually they’re the only kind of people that live in places like that.
The house was packed to the brim and loud. Plastic cups littered the expensive flooring and people were already stumbling about everywhere. It was just another reason why drinking has never appealed to me. Why would you want to lose control of your capability to function?
I saw that there was a crowd gathering around two guys and the spectators seemed to be spurring them on. With a closer look, I realized I knew the taller of the two. Jace didn’t look the same as he did earlier that afternoon though. He wore a scowl that I never imagined could cross a face like his. Earlier, he seemed so light and playful, as if he didn’t have a care in the world.
I began to push my way through the crowd, despite the ugly looks girls were giving me. When I approached the center, I noticed Jace’s fists were tightening, his jaw was tense, and he was more than likely about to get into a fight with the person in front of him. I didn’t have time to stop and listen to what they were arguing about, although I did notice his adversary looked to be the angrier one. Before either of them could take a swing, I took matters into my own hands.
I squeezed in between the two boys and jumped into Jace’s arms. While it was certainly bolder than I would typically ever have been, I didn’t want to ruin my first night with him by having to nurse his fat lip or black eye. I got enough of those at home for the both of us.
Proudly, I got the reaction I intended as he took three steps backward and looked into my eyes. Before he could think about setting me down and returning to his altercation, I grabbed his face and tried to continue what we had earlier up against the side of his truck. There was something different about the kiss though. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t have the same effect on me as it had before.
When I pulled back, I saw him grinning from ear-to-ear and looking pretty pleased with himself. I smiled sheepishly at him, and I knew that my face was turning red from embarrassment. He definitely wasn’t expecting a move like that from me, a girl who was crying about spilled groceries only a couple of hours ago.
As he grabbed onto my behind, he grinned and said, “Hey baby.” There’s that cockiness I got a glimpse of at the coffee shop earlier that day. Although his voice seemed deeper, I liked the smooth, light drawl I had heard earlier outside of the bookstore.
Before I could let myself down, he leaned in and took my mouth hungrily against his and began to walk through the crowd. As we made our way past, I heard groans of disappointment, probably from the loss of a good fight. Mission accomplished, though, I was just glad to have found Jace in the chaos.
As we weaved in and out of the crowd, I was still gripping his strong shoulders and my legs were wrapped around his waist. I caught a few dirty looks along the way and it began to make me feel self-conscious. I’ve never been the type to cause a scene or be the center of attention, and this was the last place I wanted to start. This crowd could rip me apart.
Jace carried me effortlessly down a flight of stairs to what appeared to be a basement, although it was just as loud and lively down there as it was upstairs. He finally sat me down, and I felt the familiar smooth surface of billiard balls knocking against my thighs. Pool is one game I know well. When you spend at least three days a week picking your drunken father up from a bar, you learn how to have some fun in the process.
A tall, lanky blond rounded the side of the table and slammed his cue stick down bitterly. “You’re an asshole, Riley. I was so damn close to sinking that eight ball. Next time, set your flavor-of-the-week down on a chair.” The angry stranger stalked away to a fridge full of beer.
“Last name,” he replied roughly with a cocky grin and I nodded.
“Flavor-of-the-week?” I couldn’t help but ask.
I’m not naïve, but I also hadn’t pegged Jace for the type of guy to just kiss every girl he comes across. Before he could answer, another blond-headed stranger walked up, interrupting us.
“J, what the hell? You seriously need to knock it off,” he growled.
The guy was almost the same height as Jace, and was extremely handsome with messy blond hair. I took a second to drink him in because he had an amazing body, not to mention lips that movie stars would pay thousands for.
“Chill out, Cole. You know how Mike overreacts,” he laughed, not taking the situation as seriously as his friend seemed to be.
So this was Mr. Richie Rich. Well, maybe he had paid thousands for those lips then, although I doubted it. He was probably unfairly blessed with them.
Cole stepped forward, ready to retaliate, when he spotted me and seemed to swallow his retort. “Are you dating anybody right now?” he questioned. When I shook my head, he continued, “That’s good to hear. And we’ll talk later, J.”
When he stomped away, Jace leaned in and took my mouth again with his lips. I wrapped my hands around his neck, trying to ignore the fact that we were in a room full of strangers and something appeared to be off with him. The rest of the night continued this way, with random make-out sessions between shots and me defeating him in pool.
That’s how I ended up on a huge sectional couch in what looks to be a media room between the softest sheets imaginable. Seriously, if I thought there was any way I could stuff these in my purse and walk out unnoticed, I would. As I’m embarrassingly coveting the fabric, Jace rolls over and smiles at me with tired, blue eyes.
I follow his every movement, watching his delicious muscles move beneath the skin as he stretches out his arms. My eyes immediately zero in on the black ink and intricate patterns wrapped around one of his shoulders and sweeping down to his bicep. I’ve always found tattoos fascinating, and I can’t wait until I can get one of my own. I can tell the ink is new because there are some areas still healing, so he must have gotten it last week for his birthday.
“I don’t remember much from last night, but I’m pretty sure we never swapped names,” he says through a gravelly voice, and I’m instantly confused. “I’m Jaxon.”
I spring forward, clutching the top sheet to my bare breasts. “What? Jaxon? I thought you said your name was Jace?”
“Oh shit. I didn’t tell you that was my name last night, did I? The last time I pretended to be him, he kicked my ass.”
“No… not last night…” I say, still not understanding.
“Nah, you got the wrong twin, sweetheart.” He shakes his head. “Well on second thought, I guess you got the right twin. Jace is the dull one.” When he winks at me, I feel like I’m about to be sick.
Twins? Jace is an identical twin? This has to be a monumental misunderstanding. First of all, there should never be two guys who look like this set free to roam the female population. Second of all, that should be the first thing that comes out of their mouths! ‘Hi, I’m Jace and I have an identical twin brother, so don’t accidently kiss him.’ Anything to help us poor confused girls out.
I start to scan through memories of last night, trying to reassure myself that he’s wrong. Jace is just messing with me; he has to be. I didn’t hear anyone call him Jaxon last night, but then again, I didn’t hear anyone call him Jace either. Well this is fantastic. Just add one more point to the never-ending total on the scoreboard that is the mess of my life. I sit up and begin searching for my clothes. While pulling on my shirt and shorts, I look over to see Jaxon eyeing me with curiosity.
“You’re just gonna leave, Audrey?” he asks, still looking perplexed.
“Most girls either want my number, breakfast, or to date me after a night together,” he says arrogantly.
I know I’m being unnecessarily harsh, but right now my stomach is on the floor and I want to leave before I get any queasier. Last night, I thought I was with the charming, authoritative guy who made my toes tingle and the hair on the back of my neck stick up. I thought I was kissing the same guy who took charge in the parking lot and who rescued me from spilled groceries.
How could I have not taken the strange feelings I had throughout the night more seriously? I remember thinking that his voice sounded off, and then there were the kisses that felt different. Idiot, idiot, idiot, Audrey!
Jaxon sits up with a smile on his face, looking like he has an idea. “Audrey, let’s hang out today. I want to talk to you about some things.” I try to ignore him and continue for the door. “My mom makes the best French toast…” he trails off enticingly.
I can see the victory on his face when I misstep. Because seriously? French toast just sounds delicious, and I’ve never had a homemade breakfast before. But I can’t go back to his house where Jace obviously lives. Oh no, what if he saw me kissing Jaxon last night and that’s why I never saw him? Maybe I should go over to his house so I can find Jace and explain.
“Just breakfast, then I’m going home.” I give him a stern look.
“Yes ma’am,” he teases. Then he pulls out his phone and begins tapping the screen. “Let me text Jace, so he can come pick us up. I didn’t drive.” Oh, this won’t be awkward at all… When his phone beeps, signaling an incoming message, Jaxon laughs. “Damn, he’s in a bad mood. His chick…” He pauses and then looks at me. “Sorry, that’s rude. The girl he was interested in must not have shown up last night.” I try to hide my grimace at the mention of ‘the girl he was interested in.’
He motions for the door and we walk down the grand staircase. I cringe at the mess scattered throughout the house. There are tables dispersed in the living room, some with red plastic cups lined up in triangle formations and little plastic balls floating in the alcohol. Beer cans have been tossed in the corners and on luxurious couches. There’s even a pair of dirty socks hanging from a silver chandelier and a broken vase on the fireplace mantel. I don’t know Cole’s parents, but I can only assume they will be livid if they see this.
“Wait right here, I’ll grab Cole,” Jaxon says, as he walks down the hallway.
I make my way into the kitchen to find the trash bags. I decide to begin in here and start by tossing all of the cans, bottles, and paper plates into the bag. I have almost filled the second bag when they both walk into the kitchen. I can’t help but notice that the boys on this side of town are achingly handsome; it must be good breeding. I can understand why girls were giving me dirty looks last night for kissing Jaxon. They wanted their turn with him.