Touch of Fate. A.C. Arthur

Touch of Fate - A.C. Arthur

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      All she could see now was his face, his piercing eyes and tempting mouth.

      He was close enough that the scent of his cologne mixed pleasantly with the water-and-sand aroma. His body was just broad enough, just muscled enough to make her feel sheltered, protected.

      “I’ve been thinking of something else that might elicit a pretty good feeling.”

      Better than what she was feeling now that he had her enfolded in his arms? She could only imagine.

      But even her imagination wasn’t that good.

      His head descended slowly, just enough to have her catching her breath. His lips touched hers in a whisper, like the barest summer breeze. Impatient and hungry for more, she came up on her tiptoes, wrapping her arms around his neck, opening her mouth to his. Their lips touched again, soft, slow. It was hard to follow his lead, but his firm grip on her said that’s the way he wanted it. She let him kiss her slowly again, just his lips. That small act stole her breath.

       Touch of Fate

      A.C. Arthur

      MILLS & BOON

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      Dear Reader,

      Once again I find myself in another place as I tell the story of Maxwell Donovan and Deena Lakefield. Visiting Hilton Head Island was like taking a long vacation, sitting on the shore watching the waves in a picturesque town. The scenery could not have been more romantic and what better place to start a love story as emotionally satisfying as this one.

      As you may remember, Max has been around since the beginning of The Donovans—Love Me Like No Other (Linc & Jade’s story). He’s the supportive and loyal cousin who gives advice sparingly but is always there through thick and thin. Now it’s time Max faced the biggest secret of his life, and who better to do that with than the vivacious and spirited Deena Lakefield.

      It is my hope that this story touches your heart the same way it did mine. When a different kind of hero finds his true love, I can’t help but be elated. And at the end of the day as I sit on the beach watching the sun set I can lift a glass and toast to the newest love match in the Donovan family and wonder who will be next.

      Happy reading!


      If you don’t know where you are going,

       You should know where you came from.

      —Gullah Proverb

       Chapter 1

       June—Hilton Head, South Carolina


      Never have children.

      Weeping. So much weeping, it echoed in his mind like a broken record. He tried to focus on sleep, resting his mind and his body that had been through so much, but it was useless. Hospitals were meant for the sick, to give them time to rest and recover. But how was one supposed to do that when there were constant interruptions, like nurses coming to poke a needle in your arm or stick a thermometer in your mouth? And doctors who came bearing one bad diagnosis after another; and family members who rallied around like the support system they were meant to be, talking and soothing, praying and smiling through tears.

      He hadn’t rested, not since the first punch had been thrown and he’d ended up on the floor in a corner, bleeding, choking, dying. But he hadn’t died, he’d lived and was now dealing with the repercussions that some would consider his fate.

      A fate that had destroyed the part of his future that had meant the most to him.

      With sweat pouring from his face, his heart thumping wildly in his chest, Maxwell Donovan shot straight up in his bed. Sheets twisted around his slim waist, tangling between his legs, enough to cover his nudity and restrain the wild kicking that often accompanied his nightmares.

      He was wide awake now. The dream allowed for nothing else. His first inclination was to work so he’d retrieved his laptop from its case on the small desk in the corner of the room. Dragging his hands down his face he took deep breaths while waiting for the computer to boot up.

      They were back. The dreams. No, the nightmares.

      For months, almost a year, they’d disappeared. He’d been sleeping just fine, living even better.

      Donovan Investments, Inc., the real estate investment business he’d gone into with his partner and cousin, Adam Donovan, seven years ago was thriving. In the past year they’d made over ten purchases and resales, almost tripling their profit from the year before. Sure, the country was in a recession and new home mortgages were on the downslide—even with President Obama’s new home buyers tax credit—the fact still remained that people generally paid for what they wanted and begged for what they needed. Meaning, people who wanted larger homes or better-looking business offices were still in the buying market. Now, five to ten years from now would they be able to afford the decisions they’d made in the past year? Max didn’t have the answer to that, nor did he spend too many nights trying to figure it out. He wasn’t in the lending business.

      Through their company he and Adam searched for viable properties, most often through estates and word of mouth. They refurbished the properties then sold them for a larger profit. What set them apart from the proverbial house flippers seen on television reality shows was that they didn’t work in residential real estate. Office buildings, retail spaces and, now, resorts were where they concentrated their efforts.

      And those efforts were paying off, he and Adam, along with their seventy-five-person staff, were making a more than comfortable living at their jobs. Business was good, so for Max that meant life was good.

      Then everything in the Donovan family began to go haywire.

      His generation of Donovan men, who were self-proclaimed “not the marrying type” for various reasons, were now getting hitched and starting families. His three cousins, Lincoln, Trent and Adam, had all taken the plunge. Linc and his wife, Jade, now had twin girls, while Trent and his wife of six months, Tia, had already welcomed a little boy into their family. Adam and his wife, Camille, were embarking on two exciting events—Camille’s fashion design company had expanded globally and they were now in Rome where her first international show was about to take place. And, as if that weren’t enough, Camille was seven months pregnant with their first child. Hence the reason Max was here in Hilton Head, South Carolina, looking over the faltering Sandy Pines Resort.

      Pulling up his email he saw the one from his mother and had to smile.

      Alma Donovan was another big part of the reason he was here and not Adam. It was her connection to this particular land in Hilton Head that first alerted Max and Adam to the prospect. The land northeast of US 278, or William Hilton Parkway, nestled along Broad Creek, between

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