The only man Tamsin Donal could ever love is ambitious, determined Connor O'Neal. Nonetheless, she leaves him and their business when he proposes marriage for all the wrong reasons. Years later she meets Connor at a business conference and discovers that he wants her back in his bed and his life. A skilled negotiator, Connor is very persuasive. Maybe he has finally learned the difference between business and love. However, Tamsin has a secret that could destroy any chance they have at enduring love. Negotiating a true and lasting love won't be easy for Connor and Tamsin. Each will have to sacrifice before they can close the Deal of a Lifetime.
Mom suffered neglect and crushed dreams waiting for a man who was too busy making the next deal to love his family. Knowing how painful that was I can't risk loving Con, not for myself, and not for my daughter.
"Donal residence." Sarah Carter Johnson chimed the formal greeting and drew Tam from her thoughts.
"Hi Aunt Sarah."
"Tam, it's so good to hear you. How was your drive to Montana? We expected you to call last night. Are you okay?" Tam soaked up her aunt's concerned outpourings.
"Yes, I'm fine. The drive was long but uneventful."
"Good." Having lost the rest of her family, Sarah worried in torrents whenever Tam was on the road.
For her aunt's sake, Tam tried to relax her voice and pretend nothing stressful had occurred. "I've only got a few minutes."
"Then I'll put Susannah on. She's waiting right here."
Instantly Tam felt bright and light-hearted. "Hello, oh best of fairy girls, did you have a good time at school today?"
"Chuckie let out our hamster, Bobo, and Miss Bebbins sent him to the office."
"Bobo or Chuckie?" Tam asked, knowing the answer.
Her daughter's laugh came over the phone. "That's silly, Mommy. Chuckie went to the office. Bobo is lost."
Tam's heart squeezed. She knew she had to work to support her family, but she hated being away from Susa.
"I'm sure the hamster will turn up."
"Nancy said her daddy would give our class another one. He owns a pet store."
"That's very nice of Nancy's daddy."
"Mommy, is my daddy lost?"
What could she say? Your daddy doesn't know you exist because I never told him. I didn't think he'd want us. Unless Tam confessed to Con soon, he might as well be lost. "I guess you could say he's lost."
"Are you gonna find me another daddy?"
"Do you want a daddy?"
"Well, sorta, Nancy has lots of fun with her daddy. But I really want a baby brother. Aunt Sarah says I can't have one unless I have a daddy."
Tam smiled. "Aunt Sarah's right. No baby brothers unless you have a daddy."
"Then will you find me one?"
"This is important to you, isn't it?"
"I'll see what I can do."
"Thank you, Mommy. I love you."
"I love you, too." Tam made three loud smacking kisses into the phone then placed the handset back in the cradle.
"If that was your boyfriend, I hope you told him it's over."
Tam jolted from the bed and turned. Con leaned negligently in the open doorway. She placed a hand over her racing heart. Had she forgotten to shut the door? How much had he heard? "I didn't hear you come in."
"No, you didn't. You were too busy throwing kisses at your telephone lover." He stalked her. Danger glittered in his eyes.
She backed away. Thank heaven! He didn't know who'd been on the other end of the line. Whatever else he might imagine didn't matter. "Think what you like. My kisses are no concern of yours."
He crowded her toward the wall. "I disagree. Your kisses are very much my concern."
"Your disagreement is irrelevant." She waved a hand, hitting the wall as she backed into it.
"Let me demonstrate."
His voice rasped her nerves and, his face consumed her vision. His body's heat swamped her. The spicy citrus tang of his aftershave and a deeper, more elemental scent teased her. Afraid to look in his eyes, she stared at his mouth. The urge to taste him nearly overwhelmed her, and she bit her lower lip in self-defense A shallow breath narrowed the too small space between them. Any closer and her breasts would caress his chest. She felt dizzy, shivery and hot at the same time.
She felt his breathy whisper in her toes. Afraid not to look at him, she met his heated gaze.
"No." Yes. Unable to resist she shifted her head the tiniest bit. Her lips brushed across his.