“Nobody minds.” He continued nuzzling her neck.
Samantha had done her best to be polite, but she did not want this stranger touching her. As she opened her mouth to say something stern to him, she felt his hand slip down her back to just above her buttocks—and the hand was moving lower. She panicked. “Stop it!” she yelled, beginning to fight him. “Stop it this instant. Let me go!”
Even knowing that Mike’s family was staring at her in open-mouth astonishment, she didn’t care. Let them think of her what they would.
“Get away from me. Don’t touch me!”
Releasing her, the man stepped back, looking at her in astonishment. Everyone was looking at her as though she’d lost her mind.
Just when Samantha was wishing the ground would open up and swallow her, Mike, walking with a couple of his cousins, a football in his hands, stepped into view, and she ran to him.
Putting his arm about her protectively, he held her, but from the way he was laughing, she had no doubt that he’d known all along that another man planned to touch her. “Sam, honey, meet my twin brother, Kane.”
Mike was grinning at her, as was Kane, and they seemed to expect her to smile at the two of them and forgive them their little deception. She had no doubt that this game of pretending with each other’s girlfriends had been played many times before.
But Samantha didn’t feel very forgiving. When she turned to Mike, her eyes were blazing in anger. “Do me a favor and drop yourself off the nearest cliff.”
As she turned on her heel and walked away from him, away from the entire group, Mike’s family burst into laughter.
Samantha was nearly out of sight before Mike caught up with her.
“Sam, honey—” he began.
“Don’t speak to me.” When he reached out for her, she said, “And don’t you even think of touching me.” She started walking again, Mike beside her.
“What are you so angry about?”
“I’ve been trying to make a good impression on your family and you…you make a fool of me by putting your brother up to pawing me in front of them. It was humiliating. Didn’t you think about how I’d feel?”
“No,” he said, smiling. “People can’t tell us apart. I thought you’d think Kane was me.”
Pausing, she stared at him; sometime between yesterday and today his brain had fallen out of his head.
“Sam, Kane and I are identical twins. We’re exactly alike, even down to moles and birthmarks.”
Samantha gave him a look that said, Tell me another one. “Mike, tell me,” she said with great patience, “was the person who delivered you and your brother one of your relatives?”
“As a matter of fact she was, but what’s that got to do with anything?”
Giving him a look of great patience, she explained. “Because, just like you, she’s a liar. She lied to you and your whole family. Your brother doesn’t look like you at all. If you’re twins, you’re fraternal twins, or maybe one of you is a nine-month baby and the other is an eight-month one. If that’s the case, then you’re just brothers, nothing else.”
Mike gasped at her in disbelief. “Sam, Kane and I have won contests for being the most identical twins.”
“Then the losers must have been different colors. Now would you mind—”
She didn’t say any more because Mike grabbed her in his arms and began to kiss her, and when she tried to push him away, he wouldn’t let her. “Sammy, sweetheart, I really didn’t mean to humiliate you, honest. Kane and I have been playing jokes on people since we were kids. It’s a kind of initiation into the family.”
“And I failed,” she said gloomily.
He laughed. “Failed? You passed with glowing colors. Come on, let’s go back to my family. You’ll see how well you’ve passed.”
She allowed him to keep his arm around her shoulders, allowed him to lead her back to the others, but as they reached the picnic tables, she saw Kane talking to his mother. “Your brother touches me again and he’ll be sorry.”
Mike kissed her cheek. “No, I won’t let him touch you.” There was pride in his voice, such pride that Samantha refrained from asking him why he had never bothered to tell her that he had a twin brother.
One thing Mike hadn’t lied about was that his family would be pleased with her for knowing which brother was Mike. The fact that, as far as she could tell, none of them could tell Mike and Kane apart made her understand why his family had not greeted Mike when he’d first arrived—they’d thought he was Kane. It occurred to her to tell them all that they needed a good eye doctor if they thought Mike looked like his brother, because Kane didn’t look anything like Mike. In fact, Kane was rather ordinary looking. He was handsome, yes, but he didn’t have the beautiful mouth that Mike did, his hair wasn’t as curly, he didn’t move as Mike did, and Kane was just a wee bit fat, not muscular like Mike was.
For the rest of the day, until sundown, Samantha had to put up with one little test after another, with every family member except Mike’s parents and Jilly referring to Mike and his brother by each other’s names. Twice Kane put his hand on Samantha’s shoulder, once when she had her back to him. Heavens, but the man didn’t even feel like Mike.