Authors: A.C. Arthur
She can’t resist him forever…
Sean Donovan is a man on a mission—to discover who is behind the popular relationship column that has transformed his family-owned magazine into Miami’s hippest glossy. But Tate Dennison isn’t the sassy columnist the hardworking bachelor expected. Nor is he prepared for the flash fire of passion the stunning single mother arouses.…
The hunky magazine executive wants to mix business with pleasure, but Tate has one hard and fast rule: never fall for the boss! The once-burned advice columnist has no intention of becoming the devastatingly attractive playboy’s latest conquest. But what woman can resist Sean’s charms? Once she’s sampled his kisses, can Tate protect her heart—even when a sabotage plot threatens the Donovan empire and their possible future together?
“So you’re afraid of getting involved with the boss?” he said.
“I’m not afraid of anything,” she snapped.
He moved closer, and she backed right into the hallway wall until there was nowhere else for her to go. Her arms shifted to a defensive stance folded over her chest. She took that stance often enough that he was beginning to read the warning signs. But it wasn’t going to stop him, not this time. He pressed even closer. “Are you sure you’re not afraid of me? Of what I make you feel?” he whispered, lowering his face closer to hers.
“You don’t make me feel anything,” she said, but her breath was soft and airy.
“I don’t make you feel like you want to be made love to? Like you want my hands on your body, my lips on yours?”
She shook her head, her lips clamping tight as she swallowed.
“Prove it,” he said, touching his lips lightly to hers. “Prove you’re not afraid.”
His lips slid along hers once more.
“How?” she breathed against him.
“Kiss me. Just this once, Tate, kiss me.”
Books by A.C. Arthur
Harlequin Kimani Romance
Love Me Like No Other
Guarding His Body
Second Chance, Baby
Full House Seduction
Sing Your Pleasure
Touch of Fate
Surrender to a Donovan
ARTIST C. ARTHUR
was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, where she
currently resides with her husband and three children. An active imagination and
a love for reading encouraged her to begin writing in high school, and she
hasn’t stopped since.
Determined to bring a new edge to romance, she continues to
develop intriguing plots, racy characters and fresh dialogue—thus keeping
readers on their toes! Visit her website at
You’ve already met Dion of the Miami Donovans, and now you’ll get to see his younger brother fall in love.
Sean is the younger brother, the more serious and business-minded Donovan, with a heart of gold that he’s been waiting to share with the right woman. Enter Tate Dennison, a single mother with a troubled past. I love writing stories with children because I feel they add another dimension to what’s emotionally at stake when two people fall in love. Little Briana weaves an impenetrable knot around Sean’s heart from the start, making it hard for Tate to resist him.
I hope you’ll enjoy this segment of the Donovans.
This book is dedicated to all the readers who have taken the Donovan family into your hearts. I am so grateful to you for allowing me to share these stories.
e never dreamed, at least not this
vividly. But he felt everything as if she were rubbing her hands over his skin
right at this very moment. He tasted the sweetness of her lips on his and caught
himself puckering with the thought.
With a groan and a sigh, Sean tossed in bed, flopping over on
his back, one arm on his bare chest, the other on the pillow above his head.
Okay, it was a dream. He’d awakened and now it was over. It was still night, so
he closed his eyes once more and prayed that, whoever she was, the temptress did
not invade the remainder of his rest....
She eased her way toward him, on her hands and knees. His body
was on full alert. She did not speak, didn’t really have to. Sean knew what she
wanted, because he wanted the same thing. He reached for her, held her hips as
she pushed one leg over to straddle him. Her breasts were full and heavy as he
palmed them, her sighs music to his ears as she arched to his touch. When she
came down over him, her center sucking his arousal deep, deep inside, he let out
a low moan.
She moved on top of him, creating a rhythm that brushed along
his body like fine silk. His hips joined in as if this were their routine. She
rode him hard, with an uninhibited desire that pushed him closer to the brink.
And when she let her head fall back, her mouth open as a scream of pleasure
echoed through the room, Sean felt his own release brewing. With rapid pumps, he
emptied himself into her.
As she collapsed onto his chest and he wrapped his arms around
her, he felt like he’d lost something else to her as well.
The next time his eyes opened it was morning, his body was
covered in sweat, and his heart was beating frantically in his chest.
In the shower he berated himself for having a schoolboy’s sex
dream. Dressing for work, he vowed to make more time in his busy life for women.
Either that or he’d end up in the nuthouse like his great uncle Javier, who died
with one of the mental hospital’s nurses on top of him.
umbers didn’t lie.
Sean Donovan had learned that lesson early in life—somewhere around third grade, when he thought he could change the grade on his report card from a 75 to a 95. His father, Bruce Donovan, had been skeptical about the one grade on the report card that had been made in blue ink versus the remaining ones in black ink. The conference with his teacher had sealed Sean’s fate, as Mr. Crutcheon had meticulously added up every one of Sean’s test grades in his class. Then he divided and came up with the average grade. It was a 75.
“Numbers don’t lie, son,” his father had said to him with his solemn, you’re-in-big-trouble voice.
Those three words had stuck with him all his life, and Sean had never tried anything as deceitful as that again. Luckily for him, his mother, Janean, had selected his punishment instead of his father. Janean’s mind leaned more toward the manual labor type of punishment, while Bruce was standing stern on the corporal punishment ladder. It was his older brother, Dion, who was usually on the receiving end of their dad’s punishment. Sean had never envied his big brother that.
As a Donovan, Sean was a descendent of men who began their fortune in oil refineries and then branched out into such areas as the military, casino ownership, real estate, mass media, and the one that had given the family name worldwide attention—philanthropy. His father was one of six brothers whose families stretched across the United States, and their father came from a family of four brothers and two sisters. To put it mildly, the Donovans were deep. They were well-known and respected. Which Sean sometimes thought of as a blessing and a curse.
While he loved his job as managing editor at
magazine, a division of DNT, the Donovan Multimedia Network, there were days when he wished he would have done something else with his life. He’d gone to Columbia, his father’s alma mater, and had majored in English with a minor in finance—even though he really had a deep love of history. That love probably wouldn’t have lasted into a career, but sometimes, actually—days like today—he wondered what if.
Sean’s office at
was huge, located on the corner of the third floor of the Excalibur Business Center, which was owned by DNT. The walls were a rich mahogany color with chocolate-tone carpet lining the floors. The furniture was heavy and gave the room an old law firm feel. It could be considered somber and professional. The somber part would not be an exaggeration.
Sean held a piece of paper in one hand, while his finger skimmed down a column of numbers on another sheet that lay on the desk. Numbers do not lie, he said to himself once more.
was picking up major distribution numbers, which was a good thing. But so was
’s rival magazine.
Onyx was owned by Sabine Ravenell, and it provided entertainment news about African American celebrities. Just last year they’d begun an up-and-coming segment that boosted their sales. Now, they were neck and neck with
Actually, he thought, dropping the paper onto his desk and dragging his hands down his face,
still had a lead on
But not big enough to suit Sean’s standards.
“Bad news, huh?” Dion Donovan said, coming into Sean’s office and closing the door behind him.
Sean had been so deep in concentration that he hadn’t even heard the door open. Then again, his older brother rarely knocked on his door anyway, and Gayle, Sean’s assistant, had long since stopped announcing him. He never gave her time to do so before barging into the office.
“Let’s just say it’s not good,” Sean replied, sitting back in his chair. He pinched the bridge of his nose. “What are you doing here so late?” A glance at the clock on his desk told him it was past seven.
“Come on, man. You know I don’t punch a clock around here.” Dion had taken a seat, propping one ankle up on his knee and sitting back in the chair.
He looked a lot like their father, with his tall stature and serious dark eyes. But that’s where the similarities ended. Dion was the epitome of good looks. He was every girl’s fantasy, with his broad, sculpted body and chiseled face. In fact, Dion was considered the gorgeous brother, while Sean had succumbed to the comments that he should be a cover model with his so-called quiet and sophisticated good looks. He didn’t much care for those comments. And to be frank, the attention made him uncomfortable. Dion, on the other hand, was more than content with all the fanfare his looks garnered.
“You don’t punch a clock, but you’ve got a beautiful woman at home waiting for you. That should be enough to have you running for the elevator at closing time.”
Three months ago, Dion had announced that he was in love with Lyra Anderson, the woman who had grown up with them. One month after that, Dion and Lyra were married in an intimate ceremony at the Big House—Sean and Dion’s parents’ house in Key Biscayne, Florida.
To Sean, Lyra was his little sister, and she had been since the day his mother had brought her home saying she was spending the night. Lyra’s mother, who had just recently died in a car accident, had been on drugs and couldn’t properly care for Lyra. So Janean Donovan had done the honors. But for Dion, Lyra had not been a little sister—she’d been more like the other half to his whole. Sean could see that in his brother’s eyes each time he mentioned Lyra.
“She’s working late, too. I’m picking her up in half an hour and then we’re going out to dinner. You want to join us?”
Sean traced a finger along his chin. He needed to shave, he thought as he felt the usually lightly trimmed hair there. “Last time I checked, being a third wheel was no fun.”
“You’re not a third wheel. You’re family. Plus, we can talk about what’s bothering you.”
He shook his head. “Nothing but the usual. Trying to keep a step ahead of
“Yeah? Is Ravenell still riding you about selling?”
He nodded. “She is.”
“But she doesn’t call me or Dad,” Dion said, leaning back to let his finger run against his chin as well.
To an outsider, the two similar men rubbing their goatees in the same way might have been strange. To them, it was the norm. Sean and Dion were very close, as were the other members of the Donovan family that resided in Miami with them. It was no wonder they had similar mannerisms when they spent so much time together.
Sean shrugged. “I don’t know what’s in her head.”
“What?” Sean asked quizzically. “Private joke?”
“Man, how can you know so much about numbers and sales and distribution and know absolutely nothing about females?”
“I know that she’s working my nerves by constantly asking to buy
I’ve told her a million times we’re not interested in selling.”
“She keeps asking you because she’s got a thing for you,” Dion said, his eyebrows hitching up and down as if he were waiting for Sean to catch on.
When Dion’s mind wasn’t on
it was most likely on sleeping with women. Or at least, that had been the case before Lyra returned from L.A.
And now that Sean knew what his brother was thinking, he had to frown. “Then I’d hate to break the bad news to her,” he said. “Ravenell is not my type.”
Dion laughed so hard Sean thought he would fall out of the chair. Sabine Ravenell was likely in her early forties, but that was a modest guess on his part. In her younger years she’d been an actress and had a couple of adult movies that garnered her some fame. This put her name on the charts and built her fan base, which consisted mainly of college boys looking for the next best thing to a
magazine to keep them company at night. Now, she still had the vivacious and bawdy attitude of a woman of her background. Did she have a thing for Sean? Probably. Did he give a damn? Of course not!
“Right,” Dion said, still trying to regain his composure.
“But her sales are looking good,” he said contemplatively.
“How’d you get your hands on her sales figures?”
It was Sean’s turn to smile now. “I have my connections.”
Dion nodded. “Yeah, I guess the same way she seems to know what’s going on in our camp. Listen, the real reason I stopped by was to ask if you’ve had a chance to speak to Parker.”
Parker Donovan was their cousin, son of Reginald and Carolyn. Uncle Reginald had always had his hands more into DNT, so it made sense that his sons would follow in his footsteps. Parker did a lot of scouting for new programs, while Savian focused on upcoming business ventures and spotlighting entrepreneurs. Regan, the youngest of Uncle Reginald’s children, and the only girl, worked at
heading up the fashion and entertainment portions of the magazine. She, along with Camille, who was married to Adam Donovan of the Las Vegas branch of the family, were currently developing a reality TV show that would center around the life of a fashion designer. Meanwhile, under Savian’s watchful eye, the men were charged with developing a show that would transform
magazine’s print success to television.
“I had a message from him when I came back from lunch, but I haven’t had a chance to call him back.”
“You actually took a lunch?” Dion asked with another raise of his brows.
Sean was getting tired of his brother’s assumptions and innuendos. “What does Parker want? Since you’re in here at this time of night asking about him, it must be important.”
“He wants to talk to you about adding the relationship column to the magazine show. Says the online version is getting lots of traffic.”
That was true. Sean had seen that for the past three months there had been a rise in the mail coming in for the “Ask Jenny” column. Then eight weeks ago, after their monthly meeting, he’d decided to expand the column from its quarter page to a full page to see what would happen. The change had gone over well.
“There’s a good following there. Do you read the column?” Sean was curious, since his brother usually kept his finger on every inch of the magazine. As editor-in-chief of
it was his job to know everything that went into the magazine as well as the feedback they received.
“I’ve read it. Jenny sounds like she’s been through a lot—knows the ropes,” Dion said with a slight chuckle. “It’s just what women in the twenty-five to thirty-five demographic are looking for. Honest and brash.”
Sean was nodding as he listened to his brother, thinking about the last “Ask Jenny” column he’d read recently. “Real,” he said. “That’s the tone I picked up when I read it. She sounds like a real woman, with real issues of her own.”
“Right. So let’s think about how that might play out on television. Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz have shows—why shouldn’t we look into putting our own relationship guru out there?”
“It definitely has merit,” Sean agreed.
“Good,” Dion said, standing. “So I’ll tell Parker you’re going to talk to her, and we’ll met up later this week to see if it’s something to really look into.”
“Wait a minute. I’m going to talk to who?”
“Jenny, or whatever her name is that writes the column. Is it really Jenny?” Dion asked with a quizzical look on his face. “That’s probably not smart to have her real name out there.”
Sean was standing now, pulling his suit jacket from the back of his chair and slipping his arms inside. “No, her name’s not Jenny. And why aren’t you or Parker talking to her? Better yet, why not just call her into a meeting with all of us?”
Dion was at the door when he turned to give Sean an appeasing look. “She’s not going to bite you, Sean. You know, if you weren’t my brother, I might start to question this aversion you have to women.”
Sean tossed a teasing jab at his brother, his fist landing on Dion’s biceps. “You know better,” he said. “I can talk to women just fine. I do it on a daily basis.”
“Yeah, but those women aren’t analyzing the good, bad and ugly truths about men. Good luck with that one,” he said, then walked through the door.
“Man, I’m a Donovan,” Sean said, following his brother out to the elevators. “I don’t need luck.”