Exonerated for a crime he didn't commit, Dawson Reynolds has worked hard to make a new life. Now a fabulously successful real-estate mogul, he will never forgive the powerful Warner clan for turning their backs on him when he needed them most...and he's determined to demand what's his.
But when he returns to Heather Hill, his plans immediately spin out of control, starting with his fierce and undeniable attraction to a Warner niece, gorgeous Yale Law graduate Arianna Smith. Still reeling from their passionate interlude, he is stunned by a family crisis that forces him to reevaluate everything he is and everything he thought he wanted....
Arianna falls for the charismatic real-estate tycoon the moment she meets him, but she has fears about starting a relationship with a man as tormented as Dawson, even after their erotic idyll in the Hamptons. Can she help him heal the bitter pain of the past with the promise of a passionate future together?
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May 31, 2011
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Excerpt from Redemption's Touch by Ann Christopher
Ten years since I've been here, Dawson Reynolds thought, and I've done all the changing. Heather Hill was exactly as he remembered.
Every red brick of the grand old estate seemed familiar, every oak, rose bush and blade of grass on the manicured grounds the same as if he'd seen them yesterday. Heather Hill was almost like an old friend, or a childhood home, except that he wasn't foolish enough to think that he had either friends or a home. No. He had nothing other than his ambition and his agenda, both of which required him to finally return.
So he did.
Tonight was another of Arnetta Warner's glittering fundraisers for Alzheimer's research, the perfect cover for his little reconnaissance mission, and he'd finagled an invitation. Which hadn't been hard once the Warner matriarch heard that he had deep pockets courtesy of his real estate fortune.
Too bad the old girl didn't know that Dawson Reynolds wasn't his birth name. She'd've been a smidge less gracious with the warm welcome if she knew who he really was. But she'd find out soon enough.
Not tonight, though.
Tonight was about getting the lay of the land without being spotted, and he'd learned everything he needed to know.
Was the estate still as over-the-top-opulent as it'd ever been, camera-ready in case some network decided to shoot a new series melodrama like, say, Dynasty--The Next Generation?
Did the diamonds, champagne, cars and designer clothes still abound here, like trash talk during a pickup game of hoops?
Was Arnetta Warner, the grande dame herself, still shadowed by Franklin Bishop, her sidekick of forty years?
Oh, yeah. That was a big fat check.
Neither of them had spied Dawson; he'd seen to that. In a crowd of several hundred people spread throughout living rooms, music rooms, dining rooms and atriums, spilling out onto terraces and into tents and gazebos, it was easy to cling to the candlelit shadows and blend in.
To watch. To wait. To learn.
He'd discovered that Mrs. Warner, though still beautiful, was entirely white-haired now, her shoulders curved with her eighty-plus years. Franklin Bishop's dark eyes were still sharp, but they looked weary. They'd both slowed down in the last ten years and moved through the crowd with the careful steps of someone afraid of a slip-and-fall.
The bottom line was that they were old.
He'd known it, yeah, but seeing it was a shock.
Get over it, man, he told himself.
Having accomplished everything he came for, it was time to split before someone he knew scoped him out. The real fun started tomorrow.
He'd've liked to hang out here and enjoy the spectacular view. He'd roamed to the far end of one of the many terraces and walkways, the one nearest the greenhouse, and it would've been nice to linger for a minute, listening to the faint notes of jazz coming from the house. The summer night was balmy, the moon high and bright, and his plans were coming together so well he wanted to enjoy life.
More than that, he wanted to meet the woman he'd glimpsed across the dance floor tonight, the beautiful distraction in the electric-blue dress, the one who'd smiled at him and made need contract in his gut. The one who--
No. He wouldn't go there. The last thing he needed was a distraction.
Knocking back the last of his red wine, he set the goblet on the stone ledge, reached inside his jacket for his cell phone and thumbed in the number he'd been given earlier. The valet could bring the car around to meet him in front--
The unexpected click of high heels on the stones behind him was his only warning. That, and the negligible but mind-numbing swish of silk against gleaming skin. And then...