I’ve mentioned many times that I’m an only child. And that I hated being one. Still do. I think the reason I write about big families with multiple siblings is because that’s what I wanted when I was younger….still do! I love writing about sisters, especially. Older and younger sisters. I haven’t written twin sisters yet, but I intend to. I just need to do some research first.
Sisters. In my WILL COOK FOR LOVE series, there are 7 Laine sisters. Kandy is the oldest, Eleanor the youngest. Their parent’s volatile divorce left each of them scarred in different ways, and, like with anyone, some of the sisters are closer to one another than others. It’s that way for Kandy and Gemma, who is 3 years younger than Kandy. In the first book COOKING WITH KANDY, Gemma is her older sisters’ principal photographer. She does all of Kandy’s publicity shots and has photographed all her best-selling award-winning cookbooks. Gemma is a true visionary in her own right, and in book 2 A SHOT AT LOVE, we see her evolution since Kandy’s show ended.
“What’s going on with you and the hunk?” Gemma asked as she helped Kandy carry the leftover cake back into the kitchen.
“What are you talking about?”
“The two of you have been walking around each other on eggshells all day. I noticed it the second I got here. What happened?”
“Why do you think anything’s happened?”
“Stop answering me with questions, Kandace Sophia, and tell me what’s going on. I know you like I know the lighting stops on my camera. Have the two of you slept together?”
“No.” The explosion echoed in the kitchen. “For goodness’ sake, Gem, what do you take me for?”
She shot her sister a cool, smug smirk. “A fool if you haven’t. I’d fall into bed with him in a heartbeat if he asked me.” When her sister’s mouth fell open, Gemma added, “Don’t be mad at me for the truth.”
She took Kandy’s hand in hers and rubbed it. The sisterly show of affection made Kandy sigh. “I’m not mad at you.”
“Then tell me. What’s going on with you two?”
Kandy sat on a breakfast barstool and rested her hands on the counter. “I don’t know.” A second later she added, “No, that’s not true. I think I know, but I’m not sure.”
When she sighed again, Gemma took a seat next to her. “Tell me.”
Kandy looked into her sister’s eyes, identical in every way to her own and saw concern wash through them.
With a great deal of reluctance, she related the scene in the kitchen the night before. Supreme embarrassment prevented her from telling Gemma what had transpired in the garage earlier.
“I’ve never acted like that before,” she said, dropping her head into her hands. “So needy, so totally off the wall sexually. It was scary.”
“It sounds exciting as all get out.”
Kandy shook her head and gave her sister a small smile. “Beyond exciting. I can’t describe how good it felt to be kissed like that. I can’t believe it was me.” She threw her head down into her hands again.
“It’s about damn time,” Gemma said, yanking her sister up by her hair, her gaze slicing into her. “All you do is work. You never have any fun, Kan.”
“Cooking is fun for me.”
“Yeah, well, we all know you’re not normal.”
“No, it’s the truth. I can’t imagine a better diversion for you than having a hot, torrid, sexfest with this guy. It’s absolutely perfect. Go for it.”
“Gemma, I can’t have an affair with him.”
“Well, for one thing, he doesn’t want me.”
Gemma’s eyes widened, making her brow groove in disbelief. “I don’t believe it for a second. I saw the way he looked at you in your office the other day. There was enough longing in his eyes to comfort a small, underdeveloped nation.”
“Then why is he the one who keeps pulling the plug every time we get in a clutch?”
Gemma shrugged. “Some weird sense of duty, maybe?”
“Right.” She shot a finger at her. “He keeps telling me I’m a client. That’s all I am to him, Gem. A job.”
Kandy’s heart ached when she said the words out loud. Admitting them to herself was one thing. Telling them to her sister, giving a real voice to them, was quite another. And it hurt.
It hurt like hell.
“Did he kiss you back?” Gemma asked.
Oh, baby, did he ever! “Yes.”
“Peck-on-the-cheek kiss, or I’ll-die-if-I don’t-wrap-myself-around-your-tonsils kiss?”
Kandy snorted. “The latter.”
“There you go.” She sat back, a smug smile wiggling across her mouth. “What more proof do you need? The guy wants you, Kan. I say go for it with all you’ve got. Enjoy the heck out of him.”
“And then what?”
“What do you mean?”
“What happens next? When this whole thing is over and he leaves? What am I supposed to do then, Gemma? Just go on as if it never happened?”
Gemma shrugged and rose. She opened the refrigerator and took out a pitcher of ice tea. “I don’t know. Why think about it now?”
“Because I think I may be falling in love with him.”
Gemma stopped pouring midstream and leveled a frown at her sister. “You can’t be serious.”
“I am. I’ve never felt like this about a guy before. It’s more than just the physical attraction. I like being with him, having him around. When we went out to dinner last night, for the first time in a really long time I was relaxed and comfortable. I can talk about anything with him. He listens. He hears and understands. I get a safe and warm feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I think about him. I can see the two of us together, sitting in the kitchen, drinking coffee, discussing the kids. I’ve never let myself think about children and carpools and starring in my own happily-ever-after before. Never. It’s never been an option for me.”
Gemma cocked her head. “Because of Daddy and what he did?”
Kandy nodded. “I don’t want to love someone as much as Mom did and then have it all turn to crap. I’ve done everything I could to protect myself from ever being that vulnerable.”
Gemma’s sigh was forceful. “And you all say I’m the one who’s screwed up the most in this family.”
“Gem, no one says that. Truthfully.”
“But you all think it. I know you do.”
The sisters stared at each other for a moment.
“Look.” Kandy finally broke the silence. “I don’t know what do to about this, how to handle it. Whenever we’re in the same room, all I want to do is have him hold me. When he’s not around, I’m thinking about him.” She told Gemma how he’d left her for an hour after the rat incident. “All my mind could focus on was how long it was taking him to get back.”
Gemma sat next to her sister and took her hand. “You sound like you’re in love with him already, no maybes about it.”
“Can’t you ever do anything halfhearted?” Gemma said, a lopsided grin tripping over her face.
“Why’d you go and fall in love with the guy?”
“It’s not like I could help it. Don’t you remember what Grandpa used to tell us?”
Brow furrowing, she answered, “The thing about lightning?”
“Yeah. One day you’re walking along without a care in the world, and then bang, like lightning, you get struck through the heart for good.”
Gemma’s grin grew. “Grandma used to get all teary-eyed when he’d say that.”
“Because it’s what happened to him the day he met her.”
“And you feel this way about Josh?”
Her head moved up and down, slowly, a few times. “Believe me, if I could have prevented it, I would have. I don’t need this right now in my life, you know I don’t.”
On a sigh she said, “Yeah. I do.” Gemma took a sip of her tea. “So, what are you going to do? Pursue it and get your heart potentially stomped on, or let it go and wonder what could have been?”
“Oh, don’t be so melodramatic,” Kandy said. “This isn’t some Jane Austen novel. I have more choices than just those two.”
“Like what? Aside from using him for sex or marrying the guy, I don’t see a lot of options looming on the horizon.”
Kandy shook her head and hugged her sister. “You’re an idiot. I love you dearly, but you’re an idiot.”
I just lovelovelove sister interaction!! Tomorrow I’ll be giving you a little glimpse of book 2, A SHOT AT LOVE, and how Kandy helps Gemma out when our fearless and opinionated photographer’s life is turned upside down.
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