Heart of a Donovan
by AC Arthur
Book 10 in the Donovans Series
A Family Affair.
Regan Donovan loves her family first and her job second. She’s never been the “happily ever after” type and prides herself on keeping a cool head at all times—until Gavin Lucas shows up at the Donovan Family Reunion, uninvited, unwelcome, and undeniably irresistible.
Risking It All.
She absolutely despises him and has made no secret of that fact. But Gavin Lucas knows better, he’s seen the passion in her eyes and the spark of attraction between them keeps him awake at night. Regan Donovan is the woman for him, the one he’s yearned for all his life. She’s also the reason he’s traveled to the Donovan private island when he should have been promoting his restaurant, because Gavin will stop at nothing to win the heart of this Donovan.
A weather disaster is predicted, an escaped convict is on the loose, and a wedding will be interrupted—will love once again prevail for the Donovans?
Heart of a Donovan
Book 10 in the Donovans Series
Heart of a Donovan
Six Months Ago
Regan knew this dance very well.
He kissed her like a dying man, or rather, a starving man, and she was the sustenance that would save his life. His fingers moved through her hair, blunt tipped fingers scraping along her scalp sending rivulets of pleasure down to the base of her spine. She wrapped her arms around his neck, tilting her head slightly as his lips moved from hers to trace a heated line along her jaw and down the column of her neck.
“I can’t stop wanting you,” he whispered, his breath warm over her skin.
“I know,” she panted. “It’s like a drug. I want to quit but I can’t.”
He chuckled, his hands moving over her naked body.
“This is a good drug, baby. The best,” was his reply as he lifted her into his arms.
She wrapped her legs around his waist. He thrust deep inside her, filling her until the next words died in her throat. He’d been standing against the closed door of the hotel room he’d secured for them. She hadn’t gotten any further than that point when she arrived about ten minutes ago.
It started with a text.
It could be said that the Four Seasons was their spot. Of course it was also the location of the last charity function her family had hosted, but tonight it belonged to them. As it had on so many other occasions.
A few minutes before the text had come through, she’d been sitting at her desk battling one hell of a headache. Between her shoulder blades, it felt as if a lead weight had been sitting there for days. She’d wanted nothing else but to go home and sink into a hot bath when work was over. But when she’d finished work at Infinity, instead of driving straight to her apartment, she’d gone in the opposite direction towards South Beach. She’d gone to the Four Seasons.
The moment she’d entered the room, his hands were on her. No other greeting was necessary. Now here they were, him thrusting deeply, and her stroking with a matching rhythm. Her nails grazed his bare back as he bit lightly along her collarbone.
“More,” he whispered. “I want more.”
She pressed closer to him, rotating her hips as his hands gripped her bottom.
“I need more, Regan,” he groaned, taking steps until they were near the couch.
He pulled out of her slowly, then lowered her until her feet touched the floor.
“I need more,” she echoed in reply.
“Then let me give it to you,” he told her, leaning forward to take her mouth in another hungry kiss.
With quick hands he turned her around after the kiss, pushing her so that she bent over the couch, her palms flattening on the firm pillows. He used his knee to push her legs apart, his hands to rub down her back, past the slit of her rear to the dampened folds of her center.
“I’ll give you everything you want,” he told her. “Everything and so much more.”
“Yes,” she moaned when everything became his throbbing length pushing into her core once more. “Yes.”
The word slipped again and again from her mouth while something deep inside her screamed, “No! No!”
Ben kissed Victoria like his life depended on her participation. His hands cupped her face as he pulled her closer to him, tilting his head to take the kiss even deeper. Victoria grabbed him at the waist, her fingers clutching the material of the polo shirt he wore. Her hair blew in the slight breeze, just like the ankle length sundress she wore.
They were standing on one of the cliffs that hung precariously over the crystalline blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Just down the incline, about ten or fifteen feet away from the couple that looked as if they were going to rip each other’s clothes off at any moment, stood Regan. Looking, studying, acting like a damned perverted stalker watching her cousin with the new love of his life get busy in the fading afternoon sun.
Nasty and pathetic, she corrected as she did an abrupt about face and stomped the rest of the way down the incline, heading towards the main house.
The whole family was here…well, at least a good portion of the Donovans had traveled to Sansonique for their annual family reunion. Sansonique was the private isle—part of a small strand of land masses nestled between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica called the Heart Islands—owned by the Donovan Corporation and each of the six Donovan brothers equally. Located in the Western Caribbean, Sansonique encompassed a little more than twelve acres of land which was divided by lush tropical hillside down its center and bordered by white sandy beaches. To the west was the Donovan complex, a small villa with the main house at its center. On the eastern side of the island was another series of buildings that had been abandoned before their purchase. Recently, however, as the Donovans were known for their keen business sense, they’d reconstructed these buildings to create a ten suite resort. After a family vote that took place via email, the resort had been named Camelot.
Each year, the Donovans met on the island for their annual family reunion. So far, in addition to Regan and her family, Ben and Max were here with their parents and their significant others and Max’s absolutely adorable little girl, Sophia. Uncle Henry and Aunt Beverly were here with Trent, Linc and Adam and their families. Uncle Bernard, his wife and daughter Brynne were arriving on Wednesday. Bailey and Brandon, Uncle Albert’s twins, had arrived with their father early yesterday morning.
She figured they’d all showed up since this week the family would also share in the wedding of the twin’s older brother Brock Remington, who Uncle Albert and his wife adopted after Brock’s father was brutally murdered and his mother was confined to a mental institution. Brock was marrying Noelle Vincent, sister of Linc’s wife Jade. The two had been living together in St. Michaels, Maryland for a couple of years now and had finally decided to tie the knot.
People did that…got married, she meant. More often than not in fact, but Regan didn’t see what all the hoopla was about. Marriage was for the clinically insane, she thought with a huff as she continued to walk back to the house. Why would any woman want to voluntarily give up her freedom, sacrifice everything she’d always worked for, fought for, to become some man’s arm candy? With a shake of her head she tried to rid of herself of the thought.
Once upon a time Regan had thought differently. In fact, there had been years of her life when she’d done nothing but dream of her wedding day, her gown, her bridesmaids, the cakes…and, of course, the groom. Now at twenty-seven, and after having some experience with men under her belt, she was beginning to give up on that particular fairy tale. Her life was certainly different from what she’d planned, but she wasn’t complaining. She had everything she wanted: a dream job that granted access to the brightest and best in the fashion industry and a loving family. Nothing else mattered—especially not those things that were out of her control.
All thoughts of control fled her mind as she heard the male voice. The material of her dress danced around her legs as the breeze picked up and her heart rate instantly increased. She swallowed, licked her lips and squared her shoulders convincing herself that what she thought she heard was wrong. Who she thought this was could not possibly be here on this island. Not now, not when she’d planned a week of rest and relaxation, a time to share with her family, to let down her guard and just exist. He was not here destroying all that, he couldn’t be.
And yet the moment she turned around and looked up into those deep dark brown eyes, she wanted to curse. Instead her fists clenched at her sides and she resolutely smiled at him.
Stunning. That was the word Gavin decided most accurately described Regan Donovan. There was everything traditionally pretty about her—the golden honey complexion, eyes an intense amber shade, hair always perfectly styled. Today it was pulled back from her face to cascade down her back in tiny braids that blended her natural dark brown hair color with a striking blonde. Growing up with four sisters had given him the acute ability to really scrutinize a woman and to also appreciate every perfect nuance she possessed.
However, Regan Donovan was far from perfect. That might actually be the most intriguing fact about her, at least in Gavin’s mind. For as good as she looked to the eye, it was her personality that could be more than off-putting. In business she was confident and assertive, a definite authority on the African-American influence in the fashion arena. On a personal level, she was independent, exacting, candid and, lately, just a pinch shy of rude when he’d been lucky enough to be in her presence. When they were younger, he admitted to doing a lot of baiting when he was around Regan. He just couldn’t help himself. She was like that beautiful shining star atop a Christmas tree, the one he often looked up to as a young boy, longing to touch it, to experience its magic first hand. But his mother had told him to wait, that one day he would be tall enough to not only reach the top of the tree to touch the star, but to put the star atop himself. That day had finally come the year he turned thirteen. Thanks to a growth spurt that summer he’d grown to stand at just about five feet tall. Of course, many years and a few more growth spurts had passed so that now he was six feet, four inches tall with long arms and legs that could have supported an NBA career.
Yet, no matter his height, here he was, still reaching for that seemingly unobtainable star.
“Lyra told me you were out here,” he said, deeply inhaling her deliciously feminine scent as another breeze sifted past them.
“What’s that they say about snitches?” she quipped, drawing her arms up to fold slowly over her chest.
He chuckled at what he knew to expect from her.
“What are you doing here?” was her follow up question.
“I’m on vacation,” was his response.
“This is a private island that nobody but this family knows about. You are not family,” she told him in a cool, curt manner.
Gavin recognized this for what it truly was, Regan’s only defense mechanism. She didn’t hate all men; he knew that from the many dates she went on when they were back home in Miami. He also knew how seeing her on those dates or hearing about them later made him feel. She would love for him to believe that she hated him, but Gavin knew better. They both knew better.
“I’d like to consider myself a family friend,” he told her. “At least that’s how Parker describes our relationship.”
She raised one elegantly arched eyebrow. His groin tightened.
“Parker’s a jerk the majority of the time, so I wouldn’t place a lot of stock in what he says.”
“Okay. Well, even if I ignore the comments about being a family friend, I couldn’t actually ignore the business aspect of this trip.”
Her lips tilted at the ends, a sure sign she was becoming annoyed. Only that action just made the blood pound more fiercely in Gavin’s ears as lust threatened to end this otherwise cordial conversation. There was never a time that he was near Regan that he didn’t want to grab her to him and kiss her into compliance. Flashes of how that kiss would ultimately play out sifted through his mind. Those thoughts signified his real reason for making this trip—he was tired of waiting for Regan Donovan.
“I thought you said you were on vacation.”
Gavin shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant about this confrontation. “It’s a mixture. A week on a beautiful Caribbean island has all the markings of seven days of rest and relaxation. But Parker asked me to take a look at your new resort.”
“You own restaurants and Parker’s work is primarily with the television station, so your story doesn’t add up. Besides, Parker couldn’t even make this trip, so again your reasons don’t make sense?” She’d raised her voice and had quickly closed the space between them so that now when she poked her finger it landed center mass in Gavin’s chest.
On the one hand he was grateful for the contact. On the other, he was grateful it was just her finger and not a bullet, with which she had threatened him before.
He looked down at her, eyes alight with the anger she’d allowed to take charge, lips almost trembling with the urge to unleash a little more verbal fire at him.
“You’re a business woman, Regan. I’m a businessman, just like the majority of your family. There might be a chance that we’ll be joining forces in the near future. I’m simply here to check out the possibilities.”
He touched her lightly, taking her wrist and moving her hand away from his chest. She was about to say something when he used his other hand to cup the side of her face, tilting her upward as he bent forward.
“Don’t talk, Regan. Just kiss me.”
For the barest second, Gavin actually considered the possibility of her kneeing him in the groin, then leaving him howling in pain lying at the foot of the hill. But the moment his lips brushed against hers and he heard the familiar sigh that meant she’d momentarily given in, he felt safe. And the second their tongues collided, he felt as if he were on fire.