Chapter 1: Fire and Ice

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"Stop looking at me like that, Billie," my twin sister says as I glare at her reflection in the mirror. "Deep inside, I know you're loving every minute of this," she adds as I shake my head. Why I ever agreed to Blythe's crazy idea to dress like her I can only blame on the jet lag from my red-eye flight from Sacramento to New York two days ago.

But she could also be right: I have been enjoying myself even if I can't wait to go back to my old life in Nevada City where I shaved my legs only when I felt like it and walked around town without a trace of makeup. Still, what's not to like about girly-girl manicures and pedicures with my twin sister in the Big Apple? And then there was that 24-carat facial by aestheticians who trimmed my eyebrows and attached my eyelash extensions followed by the waxing specialists who would have waxed off every inch of hair from my body if I'd allowed them to. Even my entire wardrobe has been replaced with Blythe's collection of designer clothes.

And so, for the last two days since Blythe banished my luggage, we look like the identical twins that we are as we walk along Madison Avenue with our long dark hair, green eyes, and matching smiles. Today Blythe is taking me shopping like it's going out of style, handing out her Gold card like she's never heard of a credit limit.

"Bring your shoulders back." Standing behind me, Blythe pulls my shoulders back when I don't do as she says fast enough. It makes my breasts jut out and as I instinctively hunch my shoulders forward, she pulls them back again. "Don't hide those puppies, Billie, especially when they're real."

"How can you afford all these?" I ask when she lets go of my shoulders. "This dress alone must be worth–"

She shushes me with a finger against my lips. "Don't you dare embarrass me by complaining about how much anything is!"

I glare at her. "Six months ago, you were asking me for a loan just to pay your rent!"

"That was six months ago." She changes back into the Gucci dress she picked this morning before leaving the high-rise penthouse she and her boyfriend, polo player Ethan Kheiron, call home. "I know it's Ethan's money but this time we're shopping for you, so don't complain. The last thing I want him to see is you looking the way you did when you stepped off that plane."

"What's so wrong with the way I came in? My wardrobe is entirely acceptable at home."

"Yes! At home!" she exclaims, laughing. "This is New York, Billie Bee, not Nevada City. And honestly, it's time for a change and get out of that small town."

"To you, it may be about change, Blythe, but to me, it's the same old shop Mom and Dad left us... Thyme and Lavender Souvenirs. Remember that place? We grew up on the second floor." I try to keep my annoyance in check, determined not to get carried away and then regret it. "Oh, and before I forget, Kathryn says hi. She sent you an invitation to her big party in three weeks, and she's yet to get your RSVP. She's going to turn a hundred years old, you know."

Blythe frowns. "I have to check with Ethan's schedule, but I'll do my best to be there."

Kathryn Logan has lived next door to us for as long as I can remember. She first knew our maternal grandparents, watched our mother grow up and fall in love with our dad and saw them marry and have Blythe and me. When our parents were both killed in a car accident three years ago, Kathryn handled all the funeral arrangements.

"Why don't you just sell the property? I know the building is historic, but it's in such need of major repairs, Bee," she says. "You've already gotten three offers for it and you've turned each one of them down. Instead, ever since you took over after Mom and Dad died, you've barely broken even."

"Like you aren't partly responsible for that, borrowing money every chance you get." I force myself not to get angry. Although our parents left us some money along with the souvenir shop with its apartment upstairs where Blythe and I grew up, I had to buy her out when she threatened to sell her share. She couldn't even wait a year after they were killed in a car accident. After agreeing to hand over my entire savings to her, she eventually signed the quitclaim deed.

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