~~ ** ~~ ** ~~ ** ~~
“Club Destiny.” Luke didn’t bother trying to hide the gruff irritation in his voice when he clicked the answer button on his cell phone and all but slammed it against his ear. The damn thing had been ringing nonstop for the last two hours, so he’d stopped bothering to look at the screen before he answered.
“Hey, bro. What’s going on?” Logan, Luke’s nothing-if-not-persistent twin brother, greeted back, seemingly immune to Luke’s umbrage.
Flying under the radar for the last two months had taken some creative manipulation, but Luke had pulled it off, making a full-fledged effort to work on some of his own personal issues. Nonetheless, said personal issues were not resolved, but he found himself right back in the thick of things once again. He shouldn’t be surprised that his brother was calling, and he wasn’t really, he just wasn’t in the mood to talk to him considering the ass chewing he was expecting.
“Not a damn thing. What about you?” He barked back, walking through the main floor of his club on the way to his office.
He’d spent the better part of the morning with Club Destiny’s head bar manager, going through their weekly order, and trying his damnedest to get back into the groove. Between that and answering the phone, he hadn’t had a minute to himself. Which in his current state was probably not a bad thing.
“Glad you could make it back.” Logan said, and Luke heard his brother’s sarcasm, as well as his frustration, but at the moment, he didn’t give a damn.
“What do you want?” Luke made it to his second floor office and slammed the door behind him.
Thankfully there were only a handful of people at the club that early in the day since they weren’t open to the general public yet. Only members were allowed in during the morning hours, and they all knew to give him a wide berth on a good day. Unfortunately for them, today wasn’t a good day.
Even with the few familiar faces he’d seen that morning, Luke’s only desire was to be left alone. Although he’d managed to abandon his responsibilities, as well as any of his personal relationships for the last eight weeks, Luke still wasn’t in the mood to be around anyone, and he wasn’t keen on the idea of talking to his brother either.
“What the hell’s wrong with you?” His brother never did have a problem calling him to the carpet so to speak, and apparently, Logan wasn’t in much of a better mood than he was.
Which was surprising with all that had apparently happened to Logan during the time that Luke had been away. The man was a husband now, for Christ sake. That alone should make his brother much more pleasant than he currently was.
With a silent groan, Luke flopped down into the high back executive chair that he managed to occupy for at least a few hours every day. Glancing around the immaculate office, gleaming with hardwood and soft, iridescent lighting, he tried to remember what made him find comfort in the place.
Oh wait. He didn’t.
The oversized mahogany desk, the full size, distressed leather sofa, and the intricate, way overpriced designer rug had been someone’s idea of soothing. Instead, the result was just fucking ugly. And the confined feeling that overcame him when he walked in didn’t help either. Without windows, the not so small space seemed more like a broom closet than an office.
Even after spending thousands of dollars on some highly recommended interior designer, Luke hadn’t felt comfortable in the space. Which explained why he spent most of his time down in the club or caught up on the mountains of endless paperwork from home.
Despite his discomfort with enclosed spaces, the club as a whole offered him a sense of peace that was absent from his personal life, thanks to his own demons that managed to haunt him day and night like a bad case of the flu. Rational decisions weren’t generally on Luke’s short list of things to do, so purchasing the club ranked right up there with one of the best he could come up with in quite some time.
Though he often wondered if the club actually intensified those demons.
Remembering that he still held the phone to his ear, and his brother wasn’t going to wait patiently for long, Luke answered. “Just trying to get some shit done around here.” And not succeeding worth a damn.
Luke almost felt guilty for directing his annoyance at his brother, knowing the other man had spent the last two months trying to juggle his own responsibilities, including a full time job and apparently a new wife, along with covering for Luke’s absence at the club. Yes, the wife part had been a surprise because when Luke had left town, Logan and Samantha were only dating. When he came back… Bam! – new sister-in-law.
For some unexplained reason, just the thought of Samantha had Luke’s body going instantly hard. Most likely that was due to the fact that he’d known Sam intimately, on more than one occasion, thanks to the few times Logan had invited him to be the third. The remembered feel of Sam against him, or her hot, sweet mouth on him, had Luke almost longing for another encounter with her. Almost being the key word.
Since his personal demons had begun making a daily visit, Luke had sworn off those little sexcapades.
Granted, Luke liked Sam. And as far as Logan went, she was a perfect match for him.
The fact that they had gotten married shouldn’t surprise him as much as it did. Or perhaps the fact that his identical twin brother hadn’t bothered to mention that little tidbit of information prior to Luke taking some time off was what kept throwing him off. Either way, he tried not to think about it too much. Especially knowing that what they had shared before could never be again, especially after that last night…
Luke brushed off the thought. He didn’t have time to dwell on what couldn’t be.
“I’m glad you’re back, Luke, but we need to talk.” Though Logan’s tone was slightly less frustrated than before, Luke easily picked up on the insistence his twin had thrown in for good measure. Luke hated when his brother did that shit. He’d much rather face the anger than to have to face the fact that he had let his brother down.
“Then talk.” Luke stated, leaning back in his chair, thinking twice about propping his size 15 boots up on the polished wood top.
He could almost predict what Logan wanted to talk about after all their twin bond was strong, and for most of their lives, they could finish each other’s sentences, sometimes even knew what the other was going to say before they said anything at all. And now wasn’t much different.
“I’ll drop by around lunchtime. Don’t disappear on me.” Logan stated flatly before the line disconnected.
“Sonuvabitch.” Luke mumbled to no one in particular. He might deserve to have Logan show up on his doorstep and read him the riot act, but it didn’t mean he was going to be happy about it.
Luke hit the switch to turn on his computer screen so he could scan through his recent emails. While he had been away, he’d managed to stay on top of things as best he could. He couldn’t abandon his responsibilities altogether, though he’d been so fucked up in the head that he had wanted to. Even now he had a hard time keeping his focus. So many things had happened in the last couple of months, Luke wasn’t sure he knew which way was up anymore.
As much as he wanted to blame everything on what had happened that last night with Logan and Samantha, Luke knew he couldn’t do that. Sam might’ve come into Logan’s life, and in turn Luke’s, but the woman hadn’t done anything specific that would have thrown Luke’s life off course the way it had been. No, he only had himself to blame for that, but his own denial wouldn’t allow him to admit that either.
“Fuck.” Luke ground out as he pushed out of his chair, nearly sending the damn thing over backward. He had too much shit to do to sit around pondering the reasons why he felt so off kilter lately.
He should just leave again, take another extended vacation and get away by himself. Not that it would do him any good. After all, he’d spent the better part of two months doing exactly that and look where it had gotten him.
Not a damn place.
Resigning himself to staying at the club and attempting to take care of business, Luke grabbed an invoice off of his desk and headed back downstairs to talk to Kane Steele, his bar manager. According to their earlier conversation, it appeared that there were some issues with the deliveries while Luke had been away.
Either that or someone was fucking with him and stealing his inventory. Luke didn’t even want to contemplate that happening; Heaven help the asshole who would be brave enough to steal from him in the first place.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Sierra Sellers wasn’t all that enthusiastic with the idea of being set up, regardless of how hot and mysterious – her mother’s words, not hers – the man might be. Apparently her mother was under the impression that Sierra needed a date, and rather than asking her if she were capable of finding one on her own, Veronica Sellers had chosen to make her own arrangements. Those arrangements had led to Sierra piling into the backseat of Logan McCoy’s supercharged Cadillac CTS while he and his wife talked quietly in the front seats.
After a very brief, very one sided conversation with her mother, Sierra had resigned herself to this outing. Very reluctantly she might add. Veronica’s argument consisted of the words “new to Dallas”, followed by “essential to network”, with the cherry on top of the conversational sundae being “get your business established”.
So, no, Sierra hadn’t come up with a strong enough excuse not to go along with her mother’s logic, though she still didn’t understand how a date was going to help her in that regard.
When Veronica had mentioned that XTX – the company her mother worked for – was holding their annual vendors conference in just two days, Sierra hadn’t thought anything of it. Why would she? XTX didn’t have anything to do with the interior design company that Sierra had yet to even name.
Only when Veronica mentioned that the conference was in Las Vegas had Sierra’s ears even perked up. And here she was, on the next leg of this journey that she only hoped would turn out the way her mother intended.
And yes, she was incredibly nervous, despite her reluctance and despite the fact that she felt as though she were being led to an execution. Even armed with a few details about the man she was going to meet, Sierra wasn’t feeling all warm and fuzzy about the outcome. The positive side of this endeavor was that she at least knew what the man looked like. Or at least she thought she did.
According to both her mother and Samantha, she was off to meet Logan’s identical twin brother. That had immediately piqued her interest because hell, she had to admit, Logan McCoy was smoking hot. Not that she would share that little tidbit of information with anyone, especially the man’s wife who she had become close to over the course of the last few weeks.
But realistically, how similar could the two of them actually be? They were grown men for goodness sake, and surely their personalities would set them worlds apart in appearance. So when Sam and Veronica had reiterated the fact that they were identical, Sierra had mentally rolled her eyes and resigned herself to finding out on her own.
Maybe her mother’s physical descriptions were accurate. Although Sierra liked Logan enough, she still wasn’t all that enthusiastic about the idea of being set up with a man – gorgeous or not. The one positive that she could manage to conjure up from this entire screwed up ordeal was that she and Sam had actually become good friends. Since the woman was the epitome of what Sierra had worked her entire life to become, she knew she would ultimately win in this deal.
At twenty nine years old, Sierra still had some growing to do when it came to establishing herself in business, but after meeting Sam, she knew she’d found a role model who could undoubtedly teach her some things along the way. And when said role model had ganged up on her with the help of Veronica and another woman they worked with at XTX, insisting that Sierra actually meet Luke McCoy, she had found herself outvoted.
Both Veronica and the other woman, Deanna, had spoken very highly of Luke, but something had set her sensors off when Sam had talked about him. If Sierra wasn’t mistaken there was something much more intimate about the way Sam spoke of her brother-in-law. Just in case she was imagining things, Sierra hadn’t bothered to ask. Not that it was any of her business anyway.
Now, two days later, she was on her way to meet the man, though she got the impression that he had no idea he was being set up.
“You said we were going to a club?” Sierra asked, interrupting the loving couple holding hands in the front seat. “Isn’t it a little early in the day?”
“It’s a club, but it isn’t what you’re thinking.” Sam offered. “Well, at least not entirely.”
Sierra noticed the subtle way Logan squeezed his wife’s hand.
What other kind of clubs were there? Besides the ones that offered drinks to people who congregated to laugh, drink and have a good time?
Her mind struggled with the possibility before shrugging off the comment. Glancing at her watch, Sierra added, “I didn’t realize clubs were open this early.”
Eleven thirty on a Tuesday and Sierra was on her way to meet a mystery man who, despite the fact that they didn’t know each other at all, would likely accompany her to a four day business conference to be held in Las Vegas.
The Entertainment Capital of the World.
And one of Sierra’s favorite vacation destinations.
She could certainly get down with going to Las Vegas, no matter who she was going with. She was quite fond of the city, having gone numerous times for girl’s only getaways. Never once had she come back disappointed. Going for business, now that would be a first, but no more so than going with a man. Any man.
What would they do if they didn’t get along? How was she supposed to suffer through four long days in the party capital of the world with someone she had nothing in common with?
Granted, she was jumping ahead of herself. She hadn’t even met him yet. The one upside to it all, if he looked anything like Logan McCoy, at least she was in for a visual treat.
Logan maneuvered the car into an underground parking garage, and Sierra felt the butterflies take flight in her stomach.
Glancing down, she noticed that she was wringing her hands in her lap, a sheer sign of the tension coursing through her veins. She chalked it up to the fact that she suspected Luke had no idea she was coming or anything else that was in store for him, in the coming days. She’d gathered that from the conversation she’d overhead – ok, more like eavesdropped on – earlier between Logan and Sam. When Logan mentioned that Luke didn’t seem to be in the best of moods, she’d momentarily questioned her sanity.
Not that she really cared what kind of mood he was in, as long as he could manage to be polite and courteous for four days, only a few hours at a time while they were in Vegas.
Moments later, Sierra was climbing out of the back seat, coming to join Samantha standing at the side of the car.
“Brace yourself.” Sam smiled brightly, looking almost playful.
“Is there something I should know before we go in?” Sierra asked, for the second time questioning what she was walking into.
“Not specifically. Let’s just say that Logan’s brother is the darker twin.”
“Darker?” Confusion set in, and Sierra tried to comprehend what Sam was saying.
“You know, mysterious. Ominous.” Sam laughed as she took Logan’s hand.
Great. Just what Sierra needed. Her mind immediately conjured up a version of Logan McCoy; only this one had a permanent scowl, making him look sinister. She smiled to herself.
With a deep breath, she stood up straighter, adjusted her short skirt, and steeled herself for whatever was to come.
How bad could it be?