Endless Summer Nights: Risky Business / Beats of My Heart / Heartbreak in Rio (Harlequin Kimani Arabesque Series)

Endless Summer Nights: Risky Business / Beats of My Heart / Heartbreak in Rio (Harlequin Kimani Arabesque Series)

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by Donna Hill, Grace Octavia, Delaney Diamond

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Take a trip into the heart of passion as seductive samba rhythms pulse in the warm evening breezes. Escape and savor these three scintillating stories set against the beautiful backdrop of Brazil…. 

Risky Business by Donna Hill 

Two weeks in Rio—surely enough time for marketing VP Sydni Lawson to forge a


Take a trip into the heart of passion as seductive samba rhythms pulse in the warm evening breezes. Escape and savor these three scintillating stories set against the beautiful backdrop of Brazil…. 

Risky Business by Donna Hill 

Two weeks in Rio—surely enough time for marketing VP Sydni Lawson to forge a lucrative merger. But instead of sweet-talking real estate mogul Gabriel St. James…she's being swept away by their sizzling and unexpected attraction. 

Beats of My Heart by Grace Octavia 

Sunshine Embry has been pushing her own dreams aside as the assistant to a spoiled R&B diva. Then an invitation to record in Rio brings her back in contact with music sensation Marlo Simmons, who is also her boss's sexy brother! Is this their chance to make sweet, sweet music together? 

Heartbreak in Rio by Delaney Diamond 

Sidney Altman and Rodrigo Serrano once shared a scorching affair, before he returned to Brazil to take over his family's fashion empire. Now she's in Rio on business—and Rodrigo intends to win her back and prove that his biggest regret was ever letting her go….

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Hill's believable, emotionally satisfying tale is a standout.
-RT Book Reviews on HEAT WAVE

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Harlequin Kimani Arabesque Series
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Read an Excerpt

"I can't wait to go on this trip. Even though it's business, I plan to get my share of pleasure out of the deal," Sydni said, as she reviewed the multiple pages outlining the details of the presentation.

"I know what you mean. You've earned it. When was the last time you were away and actually got some playtime in?" her assistant and best friend, Lynn Covington, asked. "And what better place than Brazil in February."

Sydni relaxed against her high-back leather chair and crossed her long legs. At thirty-four, Sydni Lawson was one of the highest paid and most sought after brand marketers in the country. Her day consisted of shaping the images of mega pop stars and superstar athletes, to household products and worldwide corporations. She was the one who was called when brand redefining was needed. She resuscitated fallen careers by recreating her clients and molded the up-and-coming into works of art like a master sculptor. Sydni Lawson was executive vice president of Epic International, the multimillion-dollar corporation that specialized in global branding and was owned by her father, Paul Lawson. She took the executive title to appease her father, but she never allowed herself to be dragged into the machinations of corporate volleyball—until now.

Sydni twirled a Cross pen thoughtfully between her slender fingers. "I think the last time I had a semi-vacation was more than a year ago when Blake and I traveled to London on business. We got to squeeze in a day and a half as tourists." She laughed without humor. The breakup still stung even after all this time. She pushed out a breath and memories of the past along with it. She turned to Lynn. "I'm going to want those meetings with Mr. St. James to take place as soon as possible when we hit Rio."

Lynn nodded. "I'm coordinating with his assistant this week to make that happen. It seems nearly every waking hour of his day is occupied. I didn't think it was possible for anyone to be busier than you," she said with affection.

"Hmm. Well, hopefully, if he's that busy we can work this deal quickly and then have some fun. We couldn't have picked a better time, either."

"Once I found out that he had a home in Rio, you know I worked my magic to pull this together during Carnival." They both giggled at that bit of smoke and mirrors. "Of course, the fact that it was the only time in St. James's schedule where he was in one place long enough for us to meet definitely worked into the plan."

The two women had been friends for years, dating back to their years at Spellman and then as part of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Sydni had reached out to her friend when she'd stepped into the VP role, offering her very talented soror the coveted position of being her right hand. Lynn was not only incredibly smart, but she understood Sydni in a way that many of her other friends never had. They'd built a bond over the years that was now unbreakable.

Sydni studied the newspaper image of Gabriel St. James with a caption below that touted the confirmed bachelor was seen at the Cannes Film Festival with supermodel Naomi Dupont.

Since she'd been assigned the project by her father, Sydni had done her homework investigating their potential new client. Everything she'd read about him screamed "playboy, eternal bachelor, mogul, rogue." Yet there was something missing in the articles and headlines, something that had not been captured about Gabriel St. James. She wasn't sure what it was, but she knew that once she discovered it, that would be the key to his new image.

Lynn flipped a folder closed. "I still don't understand why St. James is going through this process. He's an international figure already."

Sydni nodded her head slowly. "I thought the very same thing. Apparently, since he wants to take his privately owned company public, he wants to recast his image before launching his first public project—his chain of resorts.

"This should be one of our easiest assignments. He already has name recognition, albeit not always a great one."

Sydni held up a news article in front of her. The headline read REAL ESTATE MOGUL GABRIEL ST. JAMES AT CENTER OF DIVORCE SCANDAL. She turned the paper around to show Lynn. "It's this kind of stuff that makes him vulnerable. It was a movie director's wife that he was allegedly involved with this time."

"You'll work your mojo as you always do, and all will be well." She pushed back from her seat and stood. "You have a one o'clock with your father in his office." She checked her watch. "Ten minutes."

Sydni frowned slightly. "Yes, he's been overly involved putting this whole thing together with St. James and his people. Very uncharacteristic of him."

Lynn murmured her agreement. "Want me to order lunch or are you going out?"

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to need some air after this meeting. I'll grab something when I go out."

She grinned. "I think I'll do some vacation shopping," she teased in a very bad Portuguese accent. "Have fun at your meeting. See you when you get back."

"You are so wrong for that," Sydni called out.

Lynn gave her a quick finger wave and darted out the door.

Paul Lawson ended his call with his nephew Bran-ford. He was always amazed at how far Branford had come from the pain-in-the-ass kid he'd been to one of the most powerful senators in the House. With Paul being the youngest of the four Lawson brothers, he and Branford were more like brothers and good friends than uncle and nephew. They shared confidences, successes and failures, had taken vacations together and even had similar tastes in women—which had caused an interesting share of friendly competition. He was looking forward to seeing him in the coming weeks. It was Branford who'd encouraged him to pursue the deal with Gabriel St. James, and after much consideration, he agreed that his nephew was right. And he would send his very capable daughter to make the deal happen.

As if on cue, Sydni gave a light knock on the partially opened door and poked her head in.

No matter how many times Paul looked at his daughter, it never ceased to amaze him how much she resembled her mother, Marie; from the slope of her amber eyes that gave her an almost exotic look, to the sculpted cheekbones, heart-shaped face and killer dimples. He only hoped that his beautiful and brilliant daughter would be able to find the happiness in her life that he and her mother had found together.

"Come in, come in."

Sydni walked in, came around the desk and gave her father a big kiss on the cheek. As much as he protested that it was totally inappropriate in the workplace, he relished her bursts of affection that he had to admit she only demonstrated when they were out of eyesight of the staff.

"How are you today?" she asked, taking a seat next to his desk.

He rocked back in his chair just a bit and linked his fingers across his stomach. "So far, no complaints. The new contract with MTV is in the works and I heard from Jamal Hendricks's agent from the NFL. He's ready to come on board."

Sydni grinned. "All in a day's work." She crossed her legs.

"Your turn."

"We've taken care of everything for the Brazil trip. I don't think there's much of anything that I don't know about Mr. St. James. I'm confident that we can map out a strategy that he will be comfortable with and move forward. I'll have him signed on the dotted line by the time I get back."

Paul nodded thoughtfully, then he leaned forward, locking eyes with his daughter. "There's more."

"Oh. What kind of more?" she asked, a bit taken aback.

"Why don't we discuss it over lunch." It wasn't a question. "I've had Hannah order in."

Sydni knew instantly that this trip was going to be a lot more labor-intensive than she'd planned for.

When Sydni left her father's office more than an hour later, she didn't know if she was furious or disappointed by her father's very calculated moving of the chess pieces with her as the pawn. She didn't like being set up—or worse, setting up a potential client. It wasn't that what her father was asking her to pull off was illegal or unethical, but simply put, it didn't feel right.

She returned to her corner office, shut the door, sat down behind her desk and began reviewing the prospectus that her father had given her.

As usual, her father and his team had done their homework. The deal was sweet, and if she could convince Gabriel St. James of its merits it would become one of the biggest corporate mergers ever, not to mention the enormous power that it would wield. What bothered her, however, was that it was in no way that cut-and-dried. If so, her father would not have been so cloak-and-dagger about it, springing it on her at the eleventh hour.

She had a lot to absorb over the next few days. She put down the thick sheaf of papers and picked up the Forbes magazine with a silhouetted profile of Gabriel St. James on the cover: "The Man, The Mystique." It would be up to her to peel back the layers, discover his vulnerabilities and then plant the seeds.

Sydni exhaled heavily. She was confident in her abilities. What she wasn't certain of was Gabriel St. James's reaction to them.

* * *

Gabriel glanced over his shoulder and above the rim of his dark sunglasses at the sound of the sliding glass door opening behind him. His brother, Max, stepped out onto the back deck with two bottles of imported beer.

"Here, looks like you could use one," Max said, handing his younger brother a beer.

Gabriel took the proffered bottle that was so cold, beads of condensation dripped down the sides. He reached for the bottle opener on the circular glass table that sat between the two striped lounge chairs and popped the top. He took several long swallows, nearly finishing the bottle before taking it from his mouth. "Thanks," he muttered.

Max stretched out in the chair next to his brother. "You can still back out if you don't want to go through with taking the company public," he said, reading his brother's thoughts. "It's your piece of the business. Do what you want." His dark eyes flashed with humor.

Maximillian was forty, five years Gabriel's senior, but more than being his older brother, Max had been father figure, mentor and best friend. He'd had to be in the absence of any real parenting. Javier Santiago was a philanderer, a ladies' man. Their mother, Angela St. James, had left Javier long ago, as well as her two young sons, who were raised by a series of nannies and revolving-door girlfriends.

Unfortunately, the love of beautiful women did not fall far from the tree. According to the tabloids, the brothers were notorious playboys and brilliant businessmen. They managed their love lives the way they managed their businesses. They saw something they wanted, weighed the risks and went after it for as long as their conquest amused them. With striking South American looks that they'd inherited from their mother—dark wavy hair, honey-dipped complexions, haunting onyx eyes silhouetted by long black lashes—combined with their six-foot-three-inch frames, they cut impossible figures to turn away from when they entered a room.

"Ha, you make it sound so easy. Forget the months—years—of planning." He snapped his fingers. "Just like that, eh?"

Max shrugged his brows. "Where there is one plan there is always another. If something gives you trouble and doesn't make your life easier or better…get rid of it."

Gabriel shook his head in mild amusement. His brother was notorious for his flings, as well as his dismissal of anything undesirable in his life, from business to pleasure.

"I've made a commitment. I intend to grit my teeth and go through with it. If it takes a shining-up of my 'tarnished' image to secure the success of the resorts—" he lifted his hand in dismissal "—it's a small price to pay."

"Don't say I didn't warn you," Max intoned from his reclined position.

"Duly noted."

"How much do you know about this Sydney Law-son, anyway?"

"I had one of my assistants look him up, only to discover that he is a she—a quite beautiful she, from the picture that I've seen."

Max grinned. "Then it might not be as awful as it could be."

"Hmm. She's apparently very talented, well traveled and well respected by her clients. She's related to that senator from Louisiana. His niece, I believe."

"Ahh, a Southern…how do you say…belle." Max chuckled.

Gabriel leaned back in the reclining lounge chair and closed his eyes against the waning Rio sun. An image of Sydni Lawson slowly bloomed behind his lids, coming vividly alive in his mind. Something inside shifted, his eyes flew open and he inexplicably expected to find her standing in front of him, touching him. He quickly pushed up from the chair and went into the cool recesses of the house for another beer.

He opened the fridge and was met with a welcoming blast of cold air that helped to clear his head. He reached for a beer and another for his brother. That momentary flash was surreal. He could have sworn that he felt her. But of course that was nonsense.

He pushed the door closed and headed back outside only to be met halfway by Max.

Meet the Author

Essence bestselling author Donna Hill began her career in 1987 with short stories and her first novel was published in 1990. She now has more than seventy published titles to her credit, and three of her novels have been adapted for television. Donna has been featured in Essence, the New York Daily News, USA TODAY, Black Enterprise and other publications.
Donna lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family.

Grace Octavia is a native of Long Island and a graduate of New York University. She also completed her PhD in English at Georgia State University. A proud sister of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, she is also a member of the Sigma Tau Delta National English Honor Society. The former editor of Rolling Out Urbanstyle Weekly, she lives in Atlanta, GA. She enjoys international travel, hiking, cooking, and being with her girlfriends. She currently teaches writing at Spelman College.

Delaney Diamond is the bestselling author of sweet and sensual romance novels. When she's not busy reading or writing, she's in the kitchen trying out new recipes, dining at one of her favorite restaurants, or traveling to an interesting locale. She speaks fluent conversational French and can get by in Spanish. You can enjoy free reads and the first chapter of all her novels on her website. Join her distribution list to get notices about new releases.

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Endless Summer Nights: Risky Business\Beats of My Heart\Heartbreak in Rio 4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 4 reviews.
D-B1 More than 1 year ago
I received the wonderfully written, awesome, romantic, three love stories in one book free through Goodreads First Reads, Endless Summer Nights by Donna Hill, Grace Octavia, and Delaney Diamond. In Endless Summer Nights: Risky Business by Donna Hill, Syndi Lawson is coming to Rio for two weeks to forge a marketing deal with Gabriel St. James. Gabriel is known for his lucrative family business and his countless women. When Gabriel and Syndi meet, instant attraction sizzles between them both. In Beats of My Heart by Grace Octavia, Sunshine Embry meets the demands of her star client, Kimya, which is a 24/7 job and ends up putting her dream of writing songs on the back burner. When she threatens to quit, Kimya lets her stay at her place in the Hamptons for a weekend. While Sunshine is writing songs, she meets Kimya's sexy, handsome brother, Marlo, and sparks fly between them both. In Heartbreak in Rio by Delaney Diamond, Sidney Altman goes to Rio for an important business venture and hopes not to see her lost love of a year ago, Rodrigo Serrano. The company Sunshine is doing business with is merging with Rodrigo's company. When Rodrigo sees Sunshine, he intends to win her back. All three stories are superbly, romantically written, and highly recommended. Read Endless Summer Nights by Donna Hill, Grace Octavia, and Delaney Diamond.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago