Betting on the Wrong Brother(2)

By: Cathryn Fox

She stripped off her T-shirt and yoga pants, and wearing only her bra and big comfy underwear, dropped to her knees. She unzipped her suitcase and took out the silk blouse and pencil skirt she’d packed for her meeting. The elevator hiccupped, jumping floors again, and she stilled. Breath held, she gripped the edges of her suitcase, and waited to see what would happen next. Truthfully, after willing the damn box to move for the last fifteen minutes, the last thing she needed was for the doors to open and expose her half naked body to the entire hotel. They say bad things come in threes—although she had no idea who they were. Nevertheless, hadn’t she gotten her three out of the way already? Or rather four, if she was counting her roommate’s recent engagement and how once she and her fiancé had found a place it would leave Andi alone and unable to afford the rent. With all that going on, surely nothing bad could happen now.

The lights brightened and she winced as she caught her reflection in the mirror. Good Lord, she was the one who looked like she was straight out of a horror movie. One look at her and the demons would be the ones running for cover. Blinking against the brightness, she jumped to her feet, and worked to smooth the frizz she once called hair. Oh, how this humid Nevada weather loved her fine locks. One of the many reasons she left her small hometown in Texas for New York at twenty-one.

Clothes in hand, she fixed the straps on her bra then put her skirt between her knees to hold it. She shook the wrinkles out of her blouse and tossed it around her shoulder. The warm silk wisped over her bare arms as she hurried in to it.

A noise sounded, a ping of sorts, and her gaze darted toward the doors. A sliver of light appeared between the metal panels. No. No. No. One leg in the skirt, she backed into the corner as the doors gave a jerk and then parted like the red sea. Holy hell. This was so not a good time for her luck to change.

With the doors fully open it suddenly felt like every light at the Yankee stadium was aimed her way as she took in the huge, handsome figure blocking the entrance to the elevator. She froze in place, held her breath, didn’t so much as blink an eye as the one man, the only man, she’d ever loved stepped onto the elevator. Head down, he turned his back to her, his attention riveted on his phone.

What the hell was Nolan Wheeler doing in Vegas?

The jerk.

The fast beating of her heart forced blood into her cheeks, and they burned from the rush. So much for nothing else bad happening. Christ on a cracker. This wasn’t just bad. Bad had nothing on this. This was…mortifying. The worst possible thing that could have happened to her. Bad things come in three, my ass! Whoever they were, she was going to hunt them down personally and tear them a new one.

He pressed a button on the panel and shifted his stance. The light from his phone lit the hard lines of his square jaw—his beautiful, romance novel-inspiring square jaw. Le sigh… She hadn’t seen him in years, but that didn’t stop her heart from making that familiar pitter-patter sound it always did when she was near him.

He angled his head, giving her a better view of his face, then laughed at something he’d read. Nolan. She remembered that laugh, remembered the familiar sting of it when he snickered in her face all those years ago. She fisted her fingers, hating herself for wanting to touch that sexy stubble shadowing his cheeks, to turn him around and make him finally see her as a woman worthy of his attention.

Wait. He hadn’t noticed her. He hadn’t noticed her! Hmph. Typical Nolan behavior. Then again, even if he had, he likely wouldn’t have recognized her anyway. Not since she’d lost a hundred pounds, ditched the glasses, and grew out of the braces. She was no longer that overweight teen, known as the fat, nerdy bookworm who had little to no friends. Yeah, on the outside she looked like a totally different person. Inside, however, she was still that self-conscious girl who was destined to be alone forever. If given a chance, that’s the girl he’d recognize in a blink of an eye—and likely laugh at again.

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