Stunning gallery owner Laura Parkerson's life is turned upside down by the appearance of Jed Brodie. Not just because he's broodingly handsome...but because Jed is her late fiance's twin.
Looking at him, Laura feels butterflies. He's nothing like his twin brother--but how can she be sure she's not just bewitched by the mirror image of a man she once promised herself to?
Laura's falling in love with the forbidden brother....
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July 10, 2007
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Excerpt from The Forbidden Brother by Barbara McMahon
LAURA carefully replaced the receiver of the phone. She wanted to slam it down after first yelling at Maria Brodie to stop calling her every day in her attempts to micromanage everything. But discretion being the better part of business life, she had kept her voice calm, sharing none of her frustration with the woman on the other end of the line. Proud of her self-control, she waited until the connection had been cut before giving a discreet "Eeeek!"
The woman drove her crazy!
Not for the first time since Hugo Atkins had died, Laura wished he was still running the gallery and the one she could escalate problems to. But the buck stopped with her these days. Inheriting the small art gallery in Miragansett turned out to be a mixed blessing. Normally she loved her calling, even when dealing with difficult artists like Maria Brodie. Actually if Laura and Maria's conversation had centered around Maria's work, it would have been easier to deal with.
Instead they were involved in an ongoing battle to determine how many of Maria's son's paintings would be displayed in a public retrospective Laura had agreed to host at the gallery next month. They were in the final stages of planning, only two weeks left before the night of the opening. Laura wished Maria would let her do what she did well and go back to her painting.
She leaned back in her chair, rubbing her temples. She was getting a headache as she often did after dealing with the temperamental artist. Some of it was pure guilt. Keeping a lifechanging secret wasn't easy. At one point, Laura had expected Maria to become her mother-in-law. Now she wondered if they could have been so related and not end up killing each other one day. It was hard enough dealing with her since Jordan died. Her own emotions were in turmoil. The hurt and grief was gradually easing. Dealing with Maria kept everything to the forefront. She hoped time would heal the relationship. Once the show was over, there'd be little necessity of daily checkups by Maria. Come on July!
"Laura, I need you out here right away!" her assistant called from the gallery.
Heather was usually a calm and collected young woman. What caused that note of panic in her voice?
Was there an emergency? Laura rose and dashed across her small, cluttered office. Off-limits to all but closest friends or business associates, the office reflected none of the serenity and beauty of the displays in the gallery. Stacks of papers cluttered the desk. A utilitarian file cabinet sat against one wall. The furnishings were functional and serviceable, nothing fancy. Hugo had left all that to the showrooms of the gallery.
She opened the door and stepped into another world. Paintings graced the walls, discreetly illuminated by full spectrum, high tech lights. Thick carpeting muffled most sounds. Scattered artfully on free-standing pedestals were sculptures of renown. She offered metal, stone and glass objets d'art, as well as the paintings for which the gallery was known. Hugo had built the business in the historic Cape Cod town to cater to locals and tourists alike. Laura was carrying on in his footsteps.
Heather stood across the room talking to a tall man whose back was toward Laura. He wore a business suit, unusual during the casual summer months. The expression on her assistant's face was indescribable. When she spotted Laura, relief became evident. The man turned.
Laura stopped--stunned. Her heart caught in her throat. It was impossible. Before her stood Jordan Brodie! A thrill of gladness swept through her for a split second.
Then the truth hit her. This couldn't be Jordan--she'd attended his funeral three months ago.
"Laura Parkerson?" the man asked. The voice wasn't Jordan's. It sounded different, more clipped, not as lazy and teasing. The expression on his face was mingled: wariness and cynicism. Yet he looked exactly like Jordan.