Every day until October 15th, I'll be posting a teaser from The Wrong Billionaire's Bed. Here's today's portion!
Audrey nibbled on a pretzel stick, flipping the pages of the latest romance novel she’d picked up at the supermarket. She checked the clock, then sighed and dug back into the pretzel bag. It was late and she was in her pajamas. Daphne’s plane was supposed to have landed hours ago, and she had promised—promised—to come straight to Audrey’s apartment from the airport. Audrey had volunteered to meet her twin, but Daphne had demurred, laughing it off and claiming she knew her way around New York just fine.
Except that the later it got into the night, the more positive Audrey was that her twin had made a few pit stops along the way. And it made her furious.
Some time after one a.m., she heard a knock at her door, and then a giggle. Stifling her irritation, she headed to the door and checked the peephole. Sure enough, there was Daphne, along with a stranger. Audrey unchained the door, flipped the lock, and flung the door open to glare balefully at Daphne and her companion.
Daphne leaned heavily on a tall, skinny man wearing black clothes and enormous plugs in his ears. He had several brow rings, neck tattoos, and a bright green faux-hawk. Daphne was, as usual, a disaster. Her jeans and T-shirt were stained, her hair was in a messy braid that hung over one shoulder, and the small suitcase at her side had shed clothes all down the hall. They both listed to the side and couldn’t stop giggling despite Audrey’s clear displeasure.
They were drunk. Sloppy drunk.
“You were supposed to be here hours ago, Daphne,” Audrey told her. “Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick.”
Daphne shrugged, pushing her way into Audrey’s apartment. “The flight sucked and made me all tense, so Stan and I went out for a nightcap.”
Audrey eyed Stan as Daphne staggered past her. When her date tried to follow, Audrey put a hand on his chest, stopping him. She gave him a polite smile. “Thanks for bringing her home.”
He grinned, showing a gold tooth. “Don’t I get to come in, too?”
“No, you don’t.”
He looked as if he’d argue, but then began to head back to the elevator, too wasted to even realize he’d just abandoned his famous hookup. Audrey quickly shut the door and re-bolted it, then turned to glare at Daphne.
Her sister was passed out, face down, on Audrey’s couch.
“I don’t believe you, Daph,” Audrey said. “Drinking? Weren’t you coming out here to clean up?”
“Tomorrow,” Daphne mumbled from the couch cushions, not bothering to get up. “I’m starting tomorrow. Quit yelling.”
“I’m not yelling!” Audrey bellowed, then winced when the neighbor pounded on the wall in response. Frustrated, Audrey grabbed Daphne’s suitcase and hauled it to the bedroom. Fine then. Daphne wanted to be like that? Audrey wouldn’t give her a choice in the matter. She’d simply have to take control—again—and save Daphne from herself.
Tossing the suitcase on her bed, she returned to the living room to grab Daphne’s purse. On the couch, her sister snored, oblivious to Audrey’s movements. Audrey snagged the purse, returned to the bed, and dumped the contents out.
The usual clutter fell onto the bedspread—half a protein bar, three lipsticks, a few pens, hair clips, and credit cards. Several prescription bottles fell out as well, and Audrey bit her lip, frowning as she read the names. Two of them weren’t even Daphne’s prescriptions.
She flushed those, along with the small baggy of white powder she found. Daphne would be pissed when she woke up, but Audrey didn’t care. Next, she searched the luggage and found several more pill bottles under different names, more drugs, and a thick packet tucked into the liner of her suitcase. It all went into the garbage, and with every item tossed, Audrey grew more and more determined.
Daphne wanted Audrey’s help in getting clean? She was willing to help, all right, but she was pretty sure Daphne wasn’t going to appreciate it. And that was too damn bad for her twin, because Audrey was in this for the long haul.
She returned to the living room and watched Daphne, snoring, on her couch. Makeup was smeared across Daphne’s delicate features, and her mouth hung open, slack, as she slept.
Audrey would get her twin back. No ifs, ands, or buts. Daphne would be furious and threaten her, but it didn’t matter.
Audrey had to do this once and for all, because it felt as if she’d already lost Daphne.