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From Temptation to Twins(2)

By:Barbara Dunlop

“Do you remember Caleb Watford?” Jules asked.

“Not really.” Melissa set the bags down on the deck and held out her hand. “I remember the Parkers hate the Watfords.”

Jules knew she shouldn’t smile at her sister’s blunt statement. But the revelation couldn’t come as any surprise to Caleb. The feud between their grandfathers and fathers was well-known. It was the likely reason Caleb was being so obnoxious. He didn’t want the Parkers back in Whiskey Bay. Well, that was too bad.

Caleb accepted Melissa’s hand. “Either you two are the best actors in the world...”

Melissa gave Jules a confused glance.

“Don’t look at me,” Jules said. “I haven’t the slightest idea what he’s talking about. But he’s ticked off about something.”

“You see that?” Caleb pointed again.

Melissa shaded her eyes. “Looks like a bulldozer.”

“It’s my bulldozer.”

“Congratulations...?” Melissa offered hesitantly, her confusion obvious.

“Do you two have any idea what I do?” he asked.

“No,” Jules answered.

She knew the Watfords were rich. They owned one of three mansions set along the cliffs of Whiskey Bay. Besides the mansion, the only other house on the bay was the Parkers’. It was just a regular little old house. Her grandfather had lived there for nearly seventy years before he’d passed away.

“Do you drive a bulldozer?” Melissa asked.

“Seriously?” Jules asked her sister, finding it impossible to imagine Caleb as a heavy equipment operator. “The Watfords are mega wealthy.”

“He could still drive a bulldozer,” Melissa said. “Maybe he likes driving a bulldozer.”

“Rich guys don’t drive bulldozers.”

Jules pictured Caleb behind a big desk in an opulent office. No, that wasn’t quite right. Presiding over a construction site, maybe? He could be an architect.

“Have you ever seen Construction Vacation?” Melissa asked.

“The TV show?”

“Yeah. All kinds of guys, rich, poor, whatever. They come on the show and play with heavy equipment. They like it. It’s a thing.”

“Well, maybe on a lark—”

“Stop!” Caleb all but shouted.

Melissa drew back, clearly shocked.

“He’s been like this ever since he showed up,” Jules said.

“Like a bear with a hangnail,” Melissa muttered.

“I don’t think that’s a metaphor,” Jules said. “Bears have claws.”

Caleb was glancing back and forth between them. His skin tone seemed to have gone a little darker. Jules decided it might be good to let him speak.

“I own and manage the Neo chain of seafood restaurants. That—” he stabbed his finger in the direction of the bulldozer “—will be the newest location.”

Both women looked along the shore, and Jules realized why Caleb was so annoyed.

“Oh,” Melissa said, pausing for a short beat. “Except you can’t build it now because of the noncompete clause in our business license.”

“It was supposed to expire on Wednesday,” he said.

“I saw that when we renewed.”

“Now I get it,” Jules said to him. “I can see why you’d be disappointed.”

* * *

“Disappointed?” Caleb caught the beer Matt Emerson tossed him from the wet bar at opposite side of the marina’s sundeck. “I’m a million dollars into the project, and she thinks I’m disappointed?”

“You’re not?” TJ Bauer asked evenly as he popped the top of his own beer.

The three men were on the deck that sat atop the Whiskey Bay Marina office building. A quarter moon rose in the starlit sky, while the lights of the pier reflected off the foamy water eddying between the white yachts.

Caleb shot TJ a glower.

“Do you think this is about your dad?” Matt asked.

“Or your grandfather,” TJ added, bracing his butt against the rail. “This could be your chickens coming home to roost.”

“They’re not my chickens,” Caleb said.

“Does she know that?” Matt asked.

Caleb couldn’t believe Jules was capable of executing such a nefarious revenge plan.

“Are you suggesting she figured out that I was planning to build a Neo location at Whiskey Bay, waited until the last possible moment, the fortieth anniversary of their grandfather’s business license, to extend the noncompete clause and shut down my project so I’d lose a fortune, in retaliation for the actions of my father and grandfather?”

“It would earn her a significant score on the evil-genius meter,” TJ said.