In Jae’s newest novel, Something in the Wine, straight accountant Annie is tricked into going on a blind date by her brother Jake. When Annie finds out Jake’s supposedly male friend Drew is really a lesbian, she and Drew start plotting their revenge. They want to make Jake believe that they’ve fallen in love with each other and that Jake is to blame for Annie’s turning gay.
The following excerpt shows one of their attempts to convince Jake that they’re a couple.
* * *
“I’m sorry for ambushing you like that,” Annie said without preamble, her gaze still fixed on Cab.
Drew looked up from the hypnotic circles Annie’s fingers combed through Cab’s fur. “Ambushing?”
“Yeah. I mean … just because you’re a lesbian doesn’t mean you want to be kissed by just any woman, right?”
“Right,” Drew said halfheartedly. But she wanted to be kissed by Annie, and that was part of the problem. What the hell is going on with you? She had been around attractive straight women before, some of them more classically beautiful than Annie, but she had always put them firmly in the “unavailable” category. She was not a fifteen-year-old boy, ruled by hormones, so why did her heartbeat pick up every time she remembered kissing Annie?
“I know I should have talked to you about it first, but there was no time, and Lynn …”
“Hey, calm down,” Drew said when Annie’s face took on an unhealthy color. “I know you had to improvise, and I’m fine with it. It’s not like it was horrible for me or anything. Was it really that bad for you?” She tried to sound casual and not make a big deal out of it, but she held her breath while she waited for the answer.
Annie rubbed her lips with her knuckles while she thought about her answer, making Drew swallow. “Oh, no, it wasn’t horrible. No. It was—”
Loud pounding on the front door interrupted her.
Cab raced to the door and barked.
Not now. Drew threw an annoyed glance at the door, but the hammering continued. “Cab! Come here!” When the dog came running, she told him “stay” before she strode to the door. She wanted to get rid of the unwelcome visitor and return to the conversation as quickly as possible.
But instead of a customer or a neighbor from one of the surrounding vineyards, Jake towered over her. “I don’t know what kind of fucking game you think you’re playing with my sister, but it’s going to stop. Right now!”
“No!” He grabbed her shoulders and shook her. “She’s not just some chick you can have some fun with for a few nights. Goddammit, she’s my sister! If you hurt her, I swear I’ll—”
“Let go of her right now!” Annie’s icy voice made both of them freeze.
Hands still on Drew’s shoulders, now more holding on than shaking, Jake stared at his sister as she marched toward them. “Annie? What are you doing here?” His eyes widened even more when he took in the too-short sweats. “What’s going on? Tell me Rob was just drunk. You weren’t kissing Drew. If anything, she kissed you, right?”
“No, she … I …” Annie inhaled deeply, pulled Drew away from Jake, and wrapped one arm around her waist.
Drew sucked in a breath as Annie’s hand came to rest against her hip.
“No,” Annie repeated, her voice louder and steadier this time. She lifted her chin and stared at her brother. “I was the one who kissed her.”
Jake’s gaze flicked back and forth between them. “No,” he whispered. He shook his head as if that would help him get rid of the images in his head. “I don’t believe—”
Annie’s arms trembled as she pulled Drew even closer. Her gaze was fixed on Drew’s lips, making them tingle, and then Annie dipped her head.
Heat shot through Drew. Her heart hammered against her ribs. She’s gonna kiss me again. Drew held still, barely breathing as Annie’s face came closer.
Hot breath brushed over Drew’s lips, making her shiver.
At the last moment, Annie turned her head and kissed Drew on the cheek. Then the warmth of her arm around Drew’s hip retreated.
No, don’t go!
The dense haze of anticipation lifted. Drew blinked up at Annie. Her gaze darted back and forth between Annie’s lips and her eyes.
When she looked up, Jake was staring at them through narrowed eyes. Slowly, the frown disappeared from his face and the skin around his eyes crinkled with laugh lines. He clutched the door frame as he shook with laughter. “Oh, that was good.” He waved his index finger at them and nodded repeatedly. “You almost had me. Very funny. You almost convinced me,” he gave Drew a slap to the shoulder, “but, Annie, you can’t act to save your life. Never could. How much did you pay Rob to help you out with your little hoax?”
“What? No, it’s not a hoax,” Annie said. “Drew and I … we really …”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re a horny new couple who can hardly wait to tear each other’s clothes off.” Jake laughed at his sister’s blush. “Nice try. I hate to tell you this at your age, sis, but that awkward peck you just gave her, that’s how you kiss your grandmother, not your lover. You couldn’t French-kiss a woman if your life depended on it.”
Annie’s face turned red, but this time, Drew could tell that it wasn’t a blush of embarrassment. “Oh, yeah? How about this?” Annie turned toward Drew and grabbed her by the shoulders.
As Drew was wrenched against Annie’s body, she caught a glimpse of Jake. He turned and waved as if to say, “Don’t bother. I’ve already seen you kiss her and I don’t believe it for a moment.”
Then Drew’s vision grew hazy and she forgot about Jake as Annie laid a breathtaking kiss on her.
Drew moaned when Annie’s tongue slid against her own. Her whole body tingled. She tried to hold back and keep some control, but Annie’s passionate attack threatened to overwhelm her senses.
When Annie let go of her, Drew leaned against the nearest wall and stared at Annie, who looked just as shell-shocked as Drew felt. Drew’s gaze zeroed in on Annie’s open, wet lips. She could still taste Annie and feel her breasts press against her chest. Oh, Jesus. She gasped for breath. What a kiss. If that doesn’t convince Jake, I don’t know what will.
But when she glanced at the doorway, Jake was gone.
“Damn.” Drew glanced at Annie, who touched her lips with trembling fingers, her face a bright pink. Great. That’s it. Now she would never see Annie again.
Annie stared back and forth between the closed door and Drew, her eyes wide and unfocused. “Did he see …?”
Drew sighed. “I don’t think so. I think he walked out right after the ‘kiss your grandmother’ comment.” She ran her fingers through her hair. “I take it our Thanksgiving plans are off?”
“What?” Annie lifted her head and looked at her as if she needed a few seconds to understand what Drew had said. “I don’t know. Do you want out?”
“No, but …” Hadn’t Annie realized what had just happened? “Jake smelled a rat. He didn’t believe our little act.”
“Yet,” Annie said. “He doesn’t believe us yet, but maybe he would have if he had seen the kiss. I don’t want to give up. For once in my life, I’ll be the one who gets the last laugh, not Jake.” Her green eyes sparked with determination. “We just need to try harder to convince him.”
Try harder. Heat rushed through Drew’s veins when her overactive imagination showed her glimpses of practice sessions in which she taught Annie to be more convincing. Well, in the kissing department, she’s already pretty convincing. She rubbed her overheated face and let a breath escape.
“You okay?” Annie brushed her hand along Drew’s forearm.
Drew’s arm started to tingle. “I’m fine.”
“Are you still in?”
Despite her attraction to Annie—or maybe because of it, Drew wasn’t so sure anymore—she wanted to help Annie make Jake sweat. “I’m in.”
* * *