Desire A Donovan
by AC Arthur
Book 7 in the Donovans Series
The sexy, fast-living heir to a multi-million-dollar news-and-entertainment dynasty, Dion Donovan is the man every woman wants. Despite his playboy rep, Dion’s heart belongs to Lyra Anderson. He’s never forgotten the kiss they shared…right before she left Miami for a new life in L.A. Now she’s back, a successful photographer—and more desirable than ever. And this time, Dion’s not letting her get away.
Lyra will always be grateful to the family who took her in and raised her like one of their own. But it’s her childhood friend Dion who’s haunted her for the past ten years. Working together at the Donovan magazine empire makes Lyra crave Dion’s embrace even more. She knows the pitfalls of falling for the seductive bad boy. She also knows that loving this special Donovan may be worth every risk.
Desire A Donovan
Book 7 in the Donovans Series
Desire A Donovan
Ten Years Ago
“Give me one reason why I should stay, Dion?” She looked into the serious gaze, the intense look that only furrowed his brow slightly.
Lyra knew that look well, had stared into these eyes more times then she could count. But today was different. She was different and their circumstances were inextricably different. What had transpired between them a month ago after the prom had changed everything. It had been a normal night, indigo sky, no stars, a warm summer night’s breeze and she with her best friend in the entire world talking after one of the worst nights of her life.
But just like the shifting tide along the stretch of sand behind the Donovan Big House, that would no doubt come that morning, Lyra and Dion’s lives would forever be changed from that moment on. And that moment had led to this one. If Lyra were inclined to clichés she would say this was the moment of truth. Since she prided herself on being a realist she called it doomsday instead.
Dion Donovan did not love her. At least not in the way she desperately wanted him to. And that, for Lyra, was a huge problem.
“You should do what’s best for you, Lyra. I’ve always told you that.”
She sighed, gave a little chuckle because his words weren’t unexpected. “Is that your way of telling me to go?”
The clinch of his jaw was the only telltale sign that this wasn’t as easy for him as Lyra thought.
“I’m telling you that it’s time you start thinking of yourself, taking care of you and what’s important to you. Photography is important, it’s all you’ve been doing and talking about since I’ve known you,” he said.
There was a breeze this morning as they stood on the balcony of the house, where Lyra had enjoyed growing up these past ten years. It was a sprawling estate in south Miami that boasted all the luxury and finesse of this branch of the Donovans who were making their mark in the entertainment industry as opposed to the West Coast Donovans who were in oil and casinos.
“I can study photography anywhere,” was her response and she grimaced inwardly at how hopeful that sounded.
“I want you to have the best, you know that. The best schools,” he cleared his throat, “the best life.”
Lifting her head she met his gaze once more. She would look him in the eye, she was determined. And he would send her away. Her heart would break but she would survive, because she didn’t know how to do anything else.
“Then tell me to go.”
His arm extended and her heart hammered in her chest. With gentle fingers Dion touched the line of her jaw, hesitating slightly as he approached her lips. Of course they parted because she wanted his kiss again, had wanted it with a desperate hunger since that night. But he wouldn’t give it to her. She knew this as well as she knew in an hour she’d be on a plane to Los Angeles. Alone.
“Go,” he said finally. “Go and be happy.”
Lyra had no idea whether it was fury or the deep rushing waves of hurt that hit her, caused her to give him a curt nod and turn away from him to rush back into the house or not. All she knew was that she was going to take his advice. She was going to leave Miami and make a life for herself, on her own, and be happy. Without the man she loved.
Family dinners at the Big House were usually very entertaining. Tonight, however, Dion Donovan knew this one would be just a step above. He knew the news his mother, Janean, in all the formality and seriousness she possessed, would make this announcement. He hadn’t liked hearing it when he’d found out earlier in the week and he disliked it even more now.
Stepping through the white windowless door Dion inhaled and immediately felt at home. This fact made perfect sense considering he’d grown up in this lavish Key Biscayne, Miami, estate with his parents and younger brother.
Dinner at his parents’ house was a ritual, a normally painless evening with his younger brother and sister in attendance to keep Janean and Bruce Donovan from focusing on the fact that he was still happily single. Tonight would be different, it wasn’t just a normal family dinner. It was the monthly dinner where all the Miami Donovans were invited, this included his Uncle Reginald and Aunt Carolyn and their three children. It always took place on a Sunday afternoon, after everyone had returned from church. There was plenty of food and laughter and just plain family fun. Another Sunday afternoon Dion might have looked forward to the gathering. Today, he simply hoped the familiar nostalgic feeling would mask what was truly weighing on his mind.
“Hey, man. Expected to see you earlier.” Sean, Dion’s younger brother by three years stepped into the foyer, probably having come from the kitchen where their mother had no doubt put him out for sneaking into her pots.
Reaching out to accept Sean’s outstretched hand Dion shook it and said, “I had a few things to go over for tomorrow’s meeting. I’ll be tied up in the morning so I wanted to make sure I had time to go over everything I want to discuss.”
Sean nodded. “We’re meeting at one in your office, correct?”
Dion was the editor in chief of Infinity Magazine, a steadily growing African American publication focusing on up and coming African American businesses, entertainers and the overall movers and shakers in their community. Bruce Donovan, along with his brother Reginald owned the DNT Network, a cable television network, which in addition to giving birth to Infinity Magazine, also held credit for Donovan Management Network, which employed over one hundred literary, sports and talent agents.
As cousins to the Donovans of Las Vegas, Reginald and Bruce also had their hand in philanthropy efforts as well as being major contributors to historically black colleges across the nation. Their branch of the Donovan clan settled in Miami and focused their talents in the many facets of the entertainment industry and so far it was proving a very profitable and satisfying move on all their behalf.
Sean worked at Infinity as one of the managing editors who reported directly to Dion. And even though they grew up with the normal brotherly spats and competitiveness, Sean and Dion’s working relationship could be as smooth or as intense as their family one. Still, they’d been raised to keep their eye on the prize, Infinity was in their blood and no matter what their disagreements they always managed to pull it together to make the best decisions for the magazine and their family’s reputation as a whole.
“I’ve been working on that new distribution deal so we should discuss that,” Sean said as both men moved towards the living room.
This was one of the largest rooms on the first level of the house and while it’s furniture was classy, beige Italian leather recliners and deep cushioned couches atop a lush chocolate brown carpet, glossy light oak coffee and end tables and a massive bar alongside its far wall, it still had a comfortable feel. It was the centerpiece of the Big House as they’d dubbed it when they were younger. The fact that the house was situated directly on the water with their own private dock and beautiful view made them think they were some kind of royalty—black royalty, as Janean would often say.
Dion nodded. “Good. That’s exactly what I want to talk about, forward moving for the magazine and all of us.”
He was fixing himself a drink as he talked. Sean had walked around the long coffee table and to take a seat in a recliner. “You okay?” he asked.
With a frown Dion responded. “What kind of question is that? Of course I’m okay.”
Sean watched him in that calm, careful way he had. “Then why are you fixing yourself a glass of rum? You hate rum.”
Dion looked down at his glass and was about to sigh but simply put the glass down instead. “Preoccupied, I guess.”
With a knowing nod Sean kept staring, a look that Dion knew meant he didn’t believe a word he’d just said. It was that way with him and Sean, their three year age difference didn’t really matter, sometimes they seemed as close as twins. He could complete one of Sean’s sentences and predict his moods just as quickly as he knew Sean could return the favor. The two Donovan boys were known for their good looks and wealthy stature, they were also two of the smartest men to graduate from Columbia, their father’s alma mater. Janean loved and spoiled her boys as much as Bruce would let her but she’d always wanted a daughter and the day she found Lyra Anderson, she found just what she’d been looking for. Sean and Dion weren’t thrilled to have a sister but over the years had grown to keep a protective eye on her at all times. They treated her just like a blood sister and she, in turn, treated them and their parents as if she were family as well.
Still, the fact remained, Lyra wasn’t their sister at all. And that, Dion realized years ago, was a big problem.
“I’m cool,” he said trying to assure Sean. When Bruce walked in Dion welcomed the distraction. “Hey, Dad,” he spoke looking away from Sean to his father.
“Dion. Sean,” Bruce spoke in his booming voice going straight for the couch. “Your mother has had me working all day, like some kind of hired help.” He reached up, rubbing a hand down the back of his neck and sighed like he’d been dying to sit down all day.
Bruce Donovan was a tall, broad man, who’d only just begun to see the flourish of gray hair peppering his otherwise short dark brown curls. The gray gave him a distinguished look that only added to the air of intelligence and capable leadership that Bruce was known for. He more often than not wore dress pants and a dress shirt—with or without a tie, depending on his schedule for the day—but he had a laid back attitude that often fooled his colleagues into believing he was a pushover, which he definitely was not.
“You know how she is when it’s dinner night,” Sean said chuckling.
Bruce shook his head. “I don’t know why. It’s just the family. Everybody knows what the house looks like on good and bad days. You’d think she was entertaining the prince and princess or some other foolishness.”
“Why doesn’t she hire a maid?” Dion asked a question he knew had been asked and answered before. Still, it bothered him to know that his mother, at the tender age of sixty-one was working herself so hard.
“Now you know that’s not going to happen,” Sean replied.
“And don’t you let her hear you asking about it either,” Bruce chimed in with a warning glare that wasn’t harsh at all. “She’ll bust your butt for even speaking that word in this house.”
Dion laughed along with his father and his brother, loving the comfortable feel of being with them, talking to them. It had always been this way with his family, they could laugh and cry together and talk about anything that came to their minds. Bruce and Janean had long ago taught them about openness and honesty in this Donovan household. The memory made Dion’s stomach twist with remorse. He hadn’t been honest with himself years ago and as such he’d ruined what might have been one of the best friendships he’d ever had.
And now she was coming home and Dion didn’t know how he was going to handle that.
Lyra was going home.
She’d stepped off the plane at Miami International just a few hours ago, taking a commercial flight regardless of the fact that the Donovans had offered their private jet. When she’d left ten years ago it had been on that private jet, taking her across the country to begin her new life. Now she was back, and everything was different. She had no idea if that was going to be a good or bad thing.
Knocking on the door felt strange, but Lyra lifted the heavy brass knocker and let it clang against the door. All the while she took deep steadying breaths, calling on everything she’d learned in yoga class about centering her peace and cleansing her mind. When the door swung open all that center and cleansing fled as she was quickly scooped up into strong arms and spun around so that her feet didn’t even touch the floor.
“Little Lyra! You’re back!” Parker Donovan said in his smooth as silk voice that was lined with the barest hint of humor. Parker was Reginald and Carolyn Donovan’s oldest son, Dion and Sean’s first cousin, and one of the many big brother figures Lyra was privileged to while growing up.
“Hi, Parker. You can put me down now I’m not Little Lyra anymore,” she said unable to help her own chuckle of laughter as he let her petite five feet five, one hundred and twenty pound frame touch the floor again.
“You still look little to me,” he said continuing to smile at her and giving her a soft punch against the shoulder. “Just a bit tanned, but still little and pretty as ever.”
Lyra smiled up at him, remembering his cool gray/green eyes and dark skin tone. Several of the Donovan men had these eyes which only added to their innate attraction. From a distance she could hear the laughter and talking of the other Donovan family members. Family dinners for this branch of the Donovans was a must attend with the only excuses accepted being death or as close to death as one could possibly be.
“Gangs all here, huh?” she said knowing she was stalling.
“You know how these dinners go,” he said with a shrug.
And she did know, Lyra thought looking around. The décor had changed a bit, much more modern and sleek than it had been when she’d left but still warm and welcoming as was Janean Donovan’s way. She glanced around the foyer, across the shining champagne and gold marbled floor, up the winding staircase with its thick banister and wide steps. Her room used to be all the way down the hall to the left. She had a huge canopy bed, a window with a small balcony, plush carpet, lovely draperies, a desk, a closet full of clothes, everything a girl could ever want. Even if it wasn’t her real mother giving it to her.
“And the prodigal daughter returns.”
Lyra heard his voice and felt warm spirals twisting around her spine, sliding downward like a warm waterfall. She needed another moment, another couple of minutes or an hour to gather herself before seeing him. Unfortunately, it didn’t look like she was going to get it.
“She’s all grown up now, man. Doesn’t she look good?” Parker asked and Lyra wanted to kick him as she had so many times in their past. He always did have a knack for saying what others wanted kept quiet. His playfulness a big part of his adoring personality but right now a pain in her behind as she turned slowly and decided it was time for the inevitable.
“Hey, Dion,” she said with all the casual calm she could muster.
He walked to her, the tall muscled body she remembered as if she’d just seen yesterday. He didn’t smile, his look was much more intense. Dion Donovan stood at least six feet, six inches tall, honey complexion, short cropped ink black hair and a swagger that said he looked good even if you didn’t want to admit it. He wore jeans and a t-shirt that hugged every curve of his eight pack and wrapped around his thick biceps like chocolate over caramel candy.
“Hey, Lyra. It’s good to see you,” he said as he came closer.
He was going to hug her, Lyra knew. Not as boisterously as Parker had, but he would wrap his arms around her, because that’s how the Donovans were with family. And she was family, she reminded herself. She’d grown up in this house, had been taken in because her own mother couldn’t seem to get her act together. Janean and Bruce Donovan had raised her as one of their own, giving her every advantage and expecting just as much from her as they did their own children. She owed them everything.
She especially owed them the respect of not pining after their eldest son as if he were the only man on this earth that could make her body hum with arousal. Even though, the fact still remained, he was.
“It’s good to see you too,” she managed as soon as his hands brushed her shoulders and he pulled her up close. He smelled wonderful, some expensive and insanely arousing cologne that she knew would stay imprinted in her mind for days to come.
“I missed you,” he whispered in her ear and Lyra remained silent.
She wouldn’t say the same, couldn’t tell him how much she’d missed him. It was pointless and she’d made a promise not to move backward. Her new life was her future, returning to feelings of the past was a futile and hurtful practice that she refused to indulge in.
But she’d missed the hell out of him too.