Chapter Two

Three weeks later

Emma lifted her niece high into the air and swung her round as the cute three year old giggled uncontrollably. It was a beautiful late spring Sunday afternoon, unseasonably warm, and her step-brother, Mark, had invited the whole family around for the first barbeque of the season.

"Auntie Em!" Jessica squealed, jumping up and down then running down the garden, begging Emma to follow her. "Come and get me!"

Emma ran, laughing at the little blonde bombshell in front of her, grabbing hold of her niece as she swept past and rolling them both to the grass, tickling Jess until she could barely breathe. "I've got you now!" she chuckled, faking weakness so that Jess could turn the tables, the little girl squealing excitedly as she jumped on Emma's belly.

"No you haven't!" she yelled, grabbing hold of Emma's sides. "I've got you!"

Emma began to laugh alongside her niece and soon they were both clasping their sides and giggling helplessly.


Emma lifted her head at the sound of her mum's voice. "OKAY! COMING!" She turned regretfully to Jess. "Sorry, sweetheart, got to go help Nanny with lunch."

"Cooking? Urgh," Jess grumbled, wrinkling her cute little button nose. "I hate cooking!"

Emma leapt to her feet. "Good thing you've got me and Nanny then."

She grabbed her niece's hand and smiled at the little bundle of cuteness as they began skipping up the garden together. Jess pulled away as they neared the food and began to run in the opposite direction towards her swing set.

"Ah, there you are young lady. I thought you'd deliberately gotten yourself lost."

Emma chuckled again, rolling her eyes at her mum. "As if I'd pass up the opportunity to chop vegetables with you, mother dearest." She took the knife that was handed to her and grabbed the nearest tomato, hacking into it with violent intensity.

The real reason why she'd been hanging out with her niece had less to do with the cutie pie, and more to do with trying to take her mind from the events of three weekends ago. Jen had disappeared out of the country on some new filming assignment almost directly after her last meeting with Alex, so Emma hadn't had the chance to ask her how it had gone. Jen hadn't replied to any of the voicemails Emma had left, and her replies to texts had been full of everything but Alex Carlisle. Obviously Jen was more than happy to forget all about him... whereas Emma could think of little else.

It wasn't as if she would ever see him again but... somehow she hated the idea that he probably hated her... even if he did think she was Jen. Emma wasn't the kind of person to hurt anyone's feelings... certainly not deliberately anyway. She cursed herself all kinds of stupid all over again for ever thinking of doing Jen's dirty work.

"You're very quiet, sweetheart," Annette Scott said gingerly. "And what did that tomato ever do to you?"

Emma blinked and looked down at where her hand was still rapidly dissecting the red vegetable. "Oh... sorry," she muttered, scooping the pulpy mess into her hand and dumping it in the salad bowl. "Got a bit carried away."

"Anything I can help you with? If you need someone to talk to?" Annette paused then sighed. "Are you worried about Jen and the stalker?"

"No… no, not at all." Instantly she felt like a bad sister. Jen's stalker had been trying to contact her on a regular basis these past few weeks and still no one knew who the bloody man was. He'd never threatened her but still it was verging on creepy. And here she was getting all worked up over some guy she would never see again. "Sorry, Mum. I mean I am worried but... she has security and..."

"No need to apologise to me, Emmy," Annette said with a smile, handing her another couple of tomatoes. "Jen's more than capable of taking care of herself. I'm more worried about you. You're never this quiet."

"Just a few things on my mind. And no, I'd rather not talk about them," she added hurriedly before her mother began interrogating her. There was no way in the world she wanted to tell her mother about Jennifer's revenge plan... and her part in it. Annette would be so disappointed in her.

A shiver ran down her spine and Emma looked up from the tomato, her mouth dropping open instantly. She blinked rapidly, certain she must be seeing things. But when she opened her eyes again he was still there... the one person she hoped she would never have to see again in her life. What on earth was happening to her? Was she imagining things? But as she saw him laugh at something her father said she knew this was real.

"Oh no," she whispered to herself. "No, no, no! What is he doing here?"

Annette raised her eyebrows as she looked up herself. "Alexander Carlisle? He's a business associate of Max's. His firm, Carlisle Security, provide the security for Scott Finance."

Emma knew she was staring but she couldn't help it. Even from this distance the man looked stupidly gorgeous. She'd thought he'd looked beautiful in his suit... but it was nothing compared to seeing him in the casual jeans and white button down shirt he was wearing right now. And instead of the carefully styled hair, it was now ruffled and sexy as hell and… oh God, it reminded her of what he'd looked like after she'd run her hands through it that night outside the club.

"Emmy? What's the matter?"

Emma felt the blood draining from her face as she was suddenly faced with the horrific reality that in a moment or two she was going to come face to face with the man she'd whipped up into a frenzy three weeks ago then dropped like a hot stone.

"I-I'm fine," she managed to squeak through a throat that was suddenly tight, very aware of her mother's curious gaze. She cleared her throat. "Uh... why is he here? Dad never usually invites anyone to do with business."

"Apparently poor Alex has been having a rough time of it lately. Max thought he needed to relax a bit."

"Relax a bit," she parroted back to Annette, nodding slowly. "Right."

"Are you sure you're okay, sweetheart?"

Emma dragged her eyes away from Alex and turned to smile weakly at her mum. "Honestly, Mum, I'm fine." She smoothed her hands nervously over her thighs and breathed in and out deeply a few times, trying to control the sudden pitter-pattering of her heart.

Maybe she could pretend, she thought desperately. Three weeks ago she'd had to pretend she already knew him... so how about now she pretended she didn't? She glanced down at her clothes and grimaced. The jean shorts that finished mid-thigh had grass stains all over them from rolling around with Jess. And her plain white string vest top was from some cheap high street chain store her sister would never be seen dead in. Her hair was up in a messy high ponytail and she barely had any makeup on at all, just a little lip gloss. In fact she looked so ordinary she almost laughed at the idea that Alex would recognise her as the sister who had tried to seduce him at the club. He would smile, be polite, but underneath it all he would long to see Jennifer again... not plain old Emma. So all she had to do was be herself.

But why oh why did her stomach have to take a dive at the thought?

"Sweetheart, I'd like you to meet Alex Carlisle."

Emma tensed as she heard her father's voice behind her and the sound of his footsteps approaching. She swallowed hard, wiping her hands on the cloth in front of her before turning slowly, planting what she hoped looked like a genuine smile on her face. But it faltered as she realised just how close Alex already was. He was staring at her hard, his dark eyes full of questions there was no way she was going to answer. She stuck out her hand and stared back, an answering challenge in her eyes.

"Alex, this is my daughter Emma."

The ready smile fell from his face and she felt some sense of satisfaction because, up until that moment, he'd obviously thought she was Jennifer.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr Carlisle," she said in as friendly a manner as she could, still holding out her hand towards him. All she had to do was keep this lie going for the rest of the afternoon.

"Alex, please," he murmured huskily, and she watched as if in slow motion as he extended his own hand and slipped his fingers around hers. The jolt was like nothing she'd ever experienced before and she visibly jerked, nearly snatching her hand back from his. But he held on fast, his thumb rubbing lightly across the back of her hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you too... Emma."

His eyes were scanning her face and her heart stilled in her chest, her breath sticking in her lungs. He knew... oh God, he knew! She didn't know how but he knew.

No he doesn't, another little voice piped up. There is no way he knows. You look like a totally different person today.

"I believe you know my sister Jennifer."

Where the hell had that come from? Emma almost wanted to cry at the unfairness of it all. Why couldn't she just learn to keep her mouth shut? Was it so hard not to mention Jennifer at all? And yet she desperately wanted him to know that they were two separate people.

"You do?" her father queried eagerly. "You never told me that, Alex."

Alex stared at her for a second longer before he dropped her hand and stepped back. "We move in the same social circles, Max. We were bound to bump into each other at some point." His words sounded so bitter that Emma felt her heart squeeze for him. Was it Jen's fault Alex was having a hard time at the moment? Was he pining for the woman who had broken his heart? And if it was Jen's fault... then really it was hers.

"Probably slept with him then dumped him... that's Jen's style, right?"

Emma turned to stare in horror at her stepbrother as he bounded up beside Alex and held out his hand. "Mark Scott. Good to meet you."

Alex shook his hand and grinned. "You know her well then?"

"Hell yeah, she's my sister," he laughed, turning towards Emma as she stood in mortified silence. "You'd do better with Emmy here. She's a hell of a lot nicer."

"Mark!" Emma hissed, her whole body flaming in embarrassment. "Shut up!" She didn't want to look at Alex but apparently she needed to see what he was thinking. Her eyes shifted and her heart stilled again as she registered the heat in his gaze.

"I think you might be right," Alex said smoothly, his eyes flashing intensely. "Jennifer and Emma look like two peas in a pod."

"Yeah, except they're nothing alike," Mark laughed, wrapping his arms around her. "Jen's all superficially beautiful whereas our Emmy... she's beautiful inside and out."

"Is that right... Emmy?"

Emma knew this was her cue to talk but found she couldn't even manage a squeak. So she shrugged, pushed away from Mark and turned back to the salad, picking up the knife and hacking at a cucumber with such ferocity she was in danger of doing herself serious damage.

Alex watched Emma turn away in confusion, his hands now shoved in his trouser pockets to try and prevent himself from reaching for her. His fingers were still tingling from the merest touch of her skin and he found himself suddenly longing to test out his newly discovered theory again.

Was this woman the reason for his three weeks of sleepless nights? The reason why he couldn't keep his head in the game?

He'd been kept awake thinking about how Jennifer had made him feel in the club, his body aching from being in a constant state of semi-arousal. Then alternately he'd remember the way he'd felt looking at her the next day. And the seesawing emotions were making him sick.

But now there was Emma. Who knew that Jennifer Scott had a twin sister... an identical twin sister at that? No one that he knew of. She'd never been mentioned in any of the tabloid articles relating to the actress. Alex's eyes were still locked on Emma's back, his heart beginning to pound, his mouth running dry. She couldn't look less like her glamorous sister right now... and that made her all the more desirable. But was it Emma who had wrapped her sensuous little body around his, her mouth that had driven him crazy? Was it the woman stood in front of him now, rather than her sister, who had made him feel something he'd never felt before?

It was time to find out.

He closed the gap between them and Alex felt his pulse leap. And then he saw her hand holding the knife, chopping wildly... very close to her fingers... and his desire was suddenly replaced by a fury he could barely contain. Stepping quickly forwards he laid his hand over hers and pressed down, ignoring the spark of desire that spread instantly up his arm and around his body, curling his fingers around hers, his chest almost pressed against her back.

"Stop," he said gruffly, holding the knife still. "You'll injure yourself like that."

Emma's whole body stiffened the instant she felt Alex approach her, the heat from his body searing through her... and then his hand landed on hers and she began to tremble. His voice as he spoke was filled with anger and she knew in that moment that he knew who she was... and he was furious.

She stopped chopping and allowed him to slip the knife from between her fingers as she rested against the table and took a few deep breaths. The knife was laid on the table but Alex didn't move from his place behind her.

"So tell me, Emma," he whispered huskily, his lips almost brushing against the soft shell of her ear, his warm breath sending shivers down her spine. "Have you ever been to Soho?"

Emma licked her lips nervously, swallowing hard to try and dislodge the nervous lump already forming in her throat. "I-I don't think so, no," she lied, closing her eyes in the hope of blocking out everything around her... especially Alex Carlisle.

"Don't lie to me," he growled thickly, his deep voice turning her bones to a molten mess. "One touch of your hand to mine and I knew."

"Knew what?"

She heard him suck in a breath of air, probably to calm himself. "I knew who you were, Emma. And don't you dare try and play games with me... trust me, I'm not in the mood for it."

Emma closed her eyes for a moment and tried to slow down her racing heart. She hated lying... really hated it. But she had a loyalty to her sister. "I'm sorry, Mr Carlisle, but I don't know what you're talking about."

He stiffened behind her, his whole body radiating anger and she swallowed hard as a sick feeling began to swirl in her stomach.

"Like hell you don't," he rasped, his fingers trailing up and down the bare skin of her arms, her body sparking to life beneath his touch. "Don't pretend you don't feel this, Emma. You can pretend that night in Soho didn't happen but don't try and pretend you don't feel this connection." His hands suddenly tightened and he spun her around to face him, his chest rising and falling rapidly, his dark gaze burning into her. "This isn't over... not by a long shot."

Then he released her, spinning around and striding away from her, and Emma released a breath she hadn't even been aware of holding. A hand fell on her arm but she couldn't tear her eyes from Alex's broad shoulders, the tense muscles in his back clearly visible beneath the white shirt.

"Sweetheart, are you okay? You're shaking." Her mum sounded concerned but to Emma her voice just background noise, nothing in clear focus but Alex. "Do you and Alex know each other?"

She shook her head and turned as Alex disappeared from view. "No… nothing like that, Mum. It's just... oh I don't know... it's nothing."

"Well it certainly looked like something from where I was standing," Annette chuckled quietly. "He's a good looking young man. You could do a lot worse than Alex Carlisle."

Emma had nothing to say in reply so she smiled sweetly and wrapped her arms around her mum. "Come on, let's finish this salad. These vegetables aren't going to chop themselves."

Annette didn't say another word for which Emma was grateful. She was having a hard enough time trying not to follow Alex and throw herself at him without her mum adding to her confusion. She knew one thing for certain though... this was going to be one hell of a testing afternoon.

Alex felt as though he was seriously losing his mind. All afternoon he'd had to watch as Emma studiously ignored him, while his body felt as though it was on fire. She looked so fucking gorgeous he was having a hard time keeping his hands to himself, even in front of her whole family. Every time she brushed past him he caught a waft of her perfume and he was currently fighting against a pretty much ever present hard-on. She was turning him inside out... and he didn't like it. He liked control, and sweet, sexy little Emma Scott was testing that control to the limit. He'd come here today expecting - wanting - a showdown with Jennifer... and instead he'd found something else... something he wasn't entirely sure he was comfortable with.

"Hey, mate, you okay?" Mark slapped him on the back and sat down on the wall beside him. "The Scott's are an overwhelming bunch en mass. Don't feel bad for sitting it out."

Mark Scott appeared to be one of the good guys and all Alex felt was guilt because he was currently thinking some very inappropriate thoughts about Mark's younger sister. Max had invited him here because he'd noticed Alex struggling the past few weeks. What Max hadn't known was that the cause of Alex's restlessness was currently sitting on the other side of the garden, cuddling her young niece. He'd never been a jealous person before and being jealous of a three year old just didn't sit right with him... but if looks could kill...

"She's beautiful, right?"

Alex's head snapped round to stare at the man sat next to him, his mouth opening and closing silently as he struggled to think of a reply.

"Hey, I'm a copper, I'm paid to notice stuff like this. And you two have been giving each other the eye-sex thing all afternoon. And while it's fun to watch, it's getting you both nowhere. So why don't you just ask her out? And if you've been burned by Jen then... well Emma's a much better bet."

His anger ignited and he stood up abruptly. "Emma is not a substitute for Jennifer," he snapped irritably, shoving his hands into his hair in exasperation. "She's... so much more." He couldn't exactly tell Mark that he hadn't known Emma and Jennifer were two separate people until today.

"Exactly!" Mark laughed. "You and Emma would make a great couple."

Alex blanched. "Whoa! Couple? Hold your horses right there. There's nothing going on between me and Emma."

"Riiight... if you say so." Mark's eyebrows hit his hairline as he waggled them. "But my spidey-sense is telling me differently." He grinned at Alex then gave him a friendly punch on the arm. "You seem like a good guy, that's all I'm trying to say. And Emma could do with someone to worship the ground she walks on."

Alex watched enviously as Mark strolled away, throwing a cheeky grin back at him. Despite what he did for a job, the other man was so effortlessly relaxed, and Alex found himself jealous all over again. And he wished, maybe for the first time ever, that he was a guy worthy enough for a woman as sweet and gentle as Emma. She was everything a man could ever want... and she was everything he couldn't let himself have. And yet he meant what he'd said to her earlier. It wasn't over. It wouldn't be over until he'd satisfied his hunger for her... and that meant taking her to bed.

Heat travelled up his spine, permeating him in a warmth he'd only ever felt once before... the night he'd met Emma Scott. He turned to where she still sat, talking with her sister-in-law, the toddler now running around with her father, and his heart leapt, a strange sensation of contentment spreading through his veins. And then she looked up, her beautiful eyes connecting with his, and he felt all the breath leave his body in a whoosh.

"He's watching you again."

Emma turned her head, heat suffusing her cheeks as her eyes met with his. She tried to look away but it was impossible because he held her captive with his dark, intense stare.

"Wow! I know I shouldn't be looking really but... Emma, he's gorgeous."

"And he's slept with Jennifer," she told her sister-in-law sadly, her gaze still locked with Alex's. "He might be gorgeous but he's a bit of a man-whore."

"He's looking at you as if he wants to eat you for breakfast," Sarah laughed, fanning her face with her hand. "I say go for it."

Emma broke her stare with Alex and turned to Sarah in horror. "Didn't you hear what I said? He's slept with Jen! You know, as in had sex with her! My sister. Isn't that a know... icky?"

Sarah wrinkled her nose. "No accounting for taste, Em."

"That's not what I meant and you know it!" Emma exclaimed in exasperation. "I mean, if I slept with him all I'd be thinking about was whether or not he was comparing me to Jen. Urgh," she grunted in disgust. "That doesn't bear thinking about."

"But what if he wasn't thinking anything of the kind? What if you were the only one he wanted? What if he'd slept with Jen thinking she was you?"

Emma couldn't help but laugh at how close Sarah was to the truth. "You have no idea..." She looked down at her clothes, "... how ridiculous that sounds," she finished with a grimace. "Look at me, Sarah. No chance of anyone ever mistaking me for Jen. Most people don't even think we look alike." And yet she had fooled him that night three weeks ago, she thought to herself.

"No, because you're too nice, Em, that's why. Beauty shines through from inside. Jennifer will never truly be beautiful until she can truly be nice."

"Oh my goodness, that sounds like some cheesy quote from a rom-com," Emma chuckled, rolling her eyes at her friend before standing up. "Come on, let's start to tidy up, then I seriously need to get home and catch up on some school work before tomorrow."

Sarah readily agreed but Emma could feel her sister-in-law's eyes on her the whole time they worked. Not only that but she could feel Alex watching her too; hear his laugh as he chatted with Max; sense him in the air when he came too close to her... and by the time she began to say her goodbyes she felt as though she was in serious danger of going completely crazy.

"Goodbye, sweetheart," her mum said as she hugged her tightly by the front door. "It was so lovely to see you today."

"You too, Mum," Emma replied absentmindedly, watching warily over Annette's shoulder as Alex and Max approached them. She turned to Sarah. "Thanks for inviting me."

"Don't be silly, Em, you know you're always welcome, invite or no invite."

"Ah, Emma, good you haven't left yet. Alex was wondering if he could have a quick word." Max winked at her. "Something to do with Jennifer?"

Emma looked between Max and Alex and heaved a sigh. Alex probably wanted to know when her sister was due back from wherever she was right now.

"Sorry, I've got no idea when she's due back," she preempted hastily. "And anyway, I'm not exactly in the mood for playing matchmaker for my sister." She glared up at Alex. "If you want to talk to her you'll have to call her yourself." She gave her father a quick hug, another one for her mum and turned away. "Bye everyone, see you soon."

She didn't realise how fast she was walking until she reached the pavement by her car and ground to a halt as a hand grabbed hold of her arm.

"Wait... Emma... this is crazy! I don't give a shit where Jennifer is."

She spun around, her heart hammering in her chest, his words sending a burst of happiness through her before she remembered she couldn't feel this way about him.

"Then what did you want to talk to me about?" she asked warily, her stomach churning uneasily. "I told you I don't have anything to say to you."

"Tell me the truth, Emma... please." His eyes looked haunted and she closed her own tightly, feeling the rapid rise and fall of his chest where he stood entirely too close to her. "Tell me it was you that night in Soho."

She stood in silence for a moment or two, absorbing his words, until finally she could stand the quiet no longer and she opened her eyes miserably. "What difference does it make? If it was Jen then she got her revenge on you... and if it was me..." She shrugged, unable to finish the sentence.

"Revenge? What do you mean revenge?"

Emma knew she was on the fast track to destruction here and in about ten seconds she was going to reveal the secret she'd striven so hard to protect. "Nothing... I didn't mean anything. I'm just tired that's all." She tried to pull away but he held her fast.

"What was Jennifer trying to get revenge for?"

She clenched her jaw and felt angry tears springing to her eyes. "Because you walked out on her in the middle of the night after you two had... you know. She doesn't take kindly to being the one left behind."

"And what did that have to do with you?"

His voice was ominously calm but she could hear the fury behind the words and she knew she had to tell him the truth. She owed that much to him.

"Jen wanted revenge on you... so she asked me to seduce you and then walk out on you, pretending to be her of course. But... I couldn't do it. So," she shrugged nonchalantly, "that's the end of the story. Nothing more to it."

His jaw was working frantically, his eyes burning angrily into hers. "That's it? You think I can leave it like that? Christ, Emma, I've been driving myself crazy thinking I was imagining what happened between us that night." His eyes were wild as he pulled her against him. "God, you're so beautiful."

But she wasn't going to allow herself to fall for his charm, no matter how much she wanted to. He looked so gorgeous, staring at her as though she was the only girl in the world for him. But he was a practiced man-whore, she told herself firmly as she pushed against him and stepped away the moment he released her... and he knew how to get what he wanted.

"No, I'm saying no, Alex." She glared at him as he shot her a look that would've melted most women. Well it melted her... she just wasn't about to let him know that.


"I take it you don't hear that very often?" she snapped at him as it suddenly clicked. "That's what this is all about, isn't it? I'm the challenge. Jennifer was an easy score... but I've said no and it's only made you want it more." She grabbed hold of the handle to her car and wrenched it open. "Well I won't be second best, Alex. I'm sure there are plenty of willing women just waiting to take what you're offering. But I'm afraid it's not me." She slid in behind the wheel and slammed the door behind her, just about getting the key in the ignition when suddenly the door was pulled open again.

"You think you know it all, don't you, Emma?" he growled, leaning over her until she was pressed against the back of the seat, his hands resting either side of her head. "Well let me tell you something. I think you're lying. I think you want me just as much as I want you. And this isn't over... I swear to God, this, whatever it is, isn't damn well over!"

Then he was gone, slamming the door hard behind him. With shaking fingers she started the car and drove away, her heart pounding rapidly in her chest.

Alex watched her drive away and turned towards his own car, anger and frustration racing through his veins. "Goddamn it!" he yelled to no one, thumping his fist against the bonnet, relishing the pain that instantly travelled up his arm.

He was in the car, firing it up within moments and pulling away from the curb in the opposite direction to Emma, the tyres squealing hard as he floored it. He was so incredibly angry... but with himself for yelling at her, not with her... and right now he needed to head to the gym and get her out of his system.

*I have removed the remaining 17 chapters of this story as I have now published it on Amazon. If you would like to read more, please pop over to Amazon and have a look. It would be much appreciated. Thank you for reading.*