The 2013 romance novel Mistaken Identity
by Alyssa J. Montgomery tells the story of a woman whose quest to protect her identical twin sister ends up leaving her stranded on a beautiful private island with a Greek billionaire set on revenge. Of course, romance novels being what they are, both are extremely attractive to one another, and their ostensible motives are at cross purposes for the mutual desire they feel.
The virginal, twenty-something Leah Hamlin is a high school history teacher whose ordinary existence is a way to hide in plain sight. The reason for this incognito lifestyle is Leah’s twin sister, Susie, a world-famous pop star, whose rocket-like zoom to the top of the charts has come with lots of baggage. Susie has become an amoral and conniving drug addict who has made her way through dozens of men, while Leah remains a goodie-two-shoes martyr whose innocence and sheltered adulthood means that her love for her identical twin has never been shaken.
Susie tells Leah little about her crazy life. Recently, though, Susie seems to have turned over a new leaf, complete with fiancé Spiros Kristidis – who is, as she tells Leah, her soul mate. As Susie talks up Spiros, she complains about his brother, Alex, a billionaire who is set on wrecking their wedding plans because he believes some terrible tabloid stories about Susie. Telling Leah that the tabloids are lying, Susie asks Leah to pose as Susie in public so that Susie can marry Spiros privately without Alex interfering.
Leah agrees to play the decoy, cuts her hair into Susie’s style, and wears her clothes around town. However, the plan goes awry when Leah is almost kidnapped by the henchmen of a drug dealer. Just in time, the detective that Alex had hired to follow Susie around (and who mistakenly assumes that Leah is Susie), intervenes, deflecting the attack. The detective then whisks the disguised Leah off to Alex’s private Greek island.
There, while Leah is pretending to be Susie, Alex is surprised at how different this Susie is from the one he has met. She isn’t obnoxiously selfish but is, instead, warm and kind. He suddenly finds her attractive, though he resolves never to get involved with her because of her history with his brother.
Slowly, Leah comes to know the truth about Susie and her past connection to Alex. It turns out that Alex has completely valid reasons for not wanting Susie to marry Spiros, and they have nothing to do with tabloid rumors. Rather, a few years ago, Susie bribed the maids at the hotel where Alex was staying to let her into his penthouse suite. There, she tried to seduce him by getting naked. A shocked Alex threw her out of his suite, and Susie has been obsessed with him ever since. As revenge for Alex not sleeping with her, Susie has manipulated the easily led Spiros and seduced him. When Spiros left her for his long-suffering girlfriend Elena, Susie told him that she was pregnant with his baby to force him to dump Elena and get engaged to Susie instead.
What’s more, the drug dealer henchmen who attacked Leah weren’t random street thugs. They were working for Susie’s drug supplier, an Italian drug cartel who wants to collect on the debt Susie owes them.
Alex and Leah continue to get closer to each other on the island. At one point, Alex kisses Leah, still thinking that she is Susie, in order to prove to her that she isn’t really in love with Spiros. Eventually, Alex and Leah can no longer resist their mutual desire, and they have sex. Realizing that he is having sex with a virgin rather than the promiscuous and sexually free woman that he knows Susie to be, Alex is confused. Leah confesses that she is Susie’s sister; enraged, Alex rejects her love and throws her out for lying to him all this time. He feels deeply betrayed, enough to brood about his tormented past: the adulterous mother who raised him, and the alcoholic, grasping ex-wife who faked a pregnancy to trap him into marriage.
Two days later, Alex realizes that he is deeply in love with Leah. However, it seems like his about-face comes too late – the tabloids report that Leah has been hit by a truck and is in the ICU with life-threatening injuries. Luckily, this is yet another case of mistaken identity – the accident victim isn’t Leah, but Susie.
In the epilogue, the novel jumps forward in time, summing up what happened to the characters after the events of the novel. Alex and Leah are married and pregnant; Susie, recovered from the accident and from her drug addiction, is now a spokesperson for an anti-drug campaign; and Spiros finally married the sweet and victimized Elena.