I Promise

( 5 )

Overview

Beautiful and brilliant, Christian McKinley could set the world on fire. Instead, this Southern girl only dreams of returning to her family's ranch in Texas. But Malcolm Williams, son of one of Atlanta's most prominent African-American families, has other plans for her. Only hours after their college graduation, he publicly proposes to Christian at the social event of the year.

Gorgeous, well-connected and obscenely rich, Malcolm is accustomed to women swooning over him—everyone...

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I Promise

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Overview

Beautiful and brilliant, Christian McKinley could set the world on fire. Instead, this Southern girl only dreams of returning to her family's ranch in Texas. But Malcolm Williams, son of one of Atlanta's most prominent African-American families, has other plans for her. Only hours after their college graduation, he publicly proposes to Christian at the social event of the year.

Gorgeous, well-connected and obscenely rich, Malcolm is accustomed to women swooning over him—everyone but Christian, that is. But how can she tactfully turn down a proposal that practically every woman in Atlanta would kill for? By inadvertently falling in love with his twin brother, Jordan. When Malcolm catches Christian in a kiss with his own brother, he's outraged. Yet even with a family feud threatening to explode, neither Christian nor Jordan can deny the sweetness in the kiss they shared—or their desire for more….

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373831159
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 12/1/2008
  • Series: Williams Bros. Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 4.80 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

National bestselling author Adrianne Byrd has been featured in many publications, including Today’s Black Woman, Upscale, and Heart and Soul. She has also won local awards for screenwriting. For the future, she looks forward to continuing to create characters that make people smile, laugh, and fall in love. She currently calls Georgia home.

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Read an Excerpt

"I would like to make a toast." Jordan Williams held up his glass. "To our first sale. This is only the beginning."

"Hear! Hear!" his four associates cheered. They clinked their glasses while a series of high fives ensued.

Pride filled Jordan as he looked down at his first signed contract, and not to mention his first check. It was a new beginning for him and his five-person operation. Look out world, J.W. Enterprises was ready to make its mark on the world of technology. His team had a full two months before they had to buckle down and start their programming, though with his excitement, he wished they could start tomorrow.

"Boss, didn't you have an appointment at your parents tonight?" Charlotte Harris asked, looking down at her watch.

"Damn, I forgot." He checked the time. Eight-thirty. He should have been at his parents more than an hour ago. He set his glass down with a thump and reached for his jacket. "Could you be a doll and lock up for me?" he asked, kissing the older woman's cheek to sugarcoat the request. "Thanks, you're the best," he added before she could respond, then dashed toward the door as if someone had lit a fire under him.

"I guess this means you can finally quit the family business," a smiling Quentin called out from the crowd.

Jordan forced a smile he didn't feel and slipped out of the office. He raced down the hallway and out into the balmy evening. Despite the time, sunlight peeked from behind the clouds, but the orange hue suggested that it wouldn't last much longer.

He pressed the button on his key ring and disarmed the car alarm. His sleek black Mercedes rode like a dream as he pulled out onto Peachtree Street and headed toward the highway. If he were lucky he would make it to his parents' within thirty minutes.

I guess this means you can finally quit the family business. Quentin's words echoed in Jordan's head, but his heart seemed to plummet to the pit of his stomach. His father wasn't going to take the news well. Opulence meant the world to Noah and he had made it clear he wanted Jordan to take over the company. Jordan had his own dreams, but he knew his father wouldn't see it that way.

Jordan exhaled. The weight of the world settled on his shoulders. For the last two years, he had operated J.W. Enterprises without breathing a word of his activities to his family. Of course, they all knew of his love of computers, but they considered it a hobby.

Glancing into his side mirrors, he changed lanes. He saw the reflection in the rearview mirror and caught the uncanny resemblance of his father's image. His announcement wasn't going to be easy.

He exited off Highway I-85 and headed into Buckhead.

"Dad, there's something I've been meaning to talk to you about," he practiced. No. He shouldn't dance around the subject. He needed to be more direct. He looked into the mirror again and started over. "Dad, I've started my own business." That wasn't going to work either. Jordan shook his head and prayed for strength.

Minutes later, he turned off the main road and onto his parents' private estate. The sun diminished and a black curtain cloaked the sky as a million stars glimmered against its rich backdrop.

A myriad of lights lit the English manor-style house that sat in the middle of twelve acres. As he drove down the long driveway, Jordan gave himself a quick pep talk, but he prepared for the worst.

"You're late," Rosa Chavez Williams scolded her son as he entered the house.

"I know, Mama." Jordan closed the heavy mahogany door behind him. Music and laughter drifted throughout the house and pulled his attention away from his mother. He looked past her to see men and women dressed in formal attire. "Is Malcolm home yet?" He headed up the stairs.

"Of course he's here. Everyone's here. Dinner was served almost two hours ago," she chastised, following him.

He entered his old bedroom and smiled at the tuxedo draped across the bed.

"I knew you'd be late." Rosa patted his shoulder, then encouraged him to hurry.

Jordan turned and kissed his mother. "I'll be down in twenty minutes. By the way, what's the big occasion?"

"Your brother has some secret announcement he wants to make to the family. I hope it's not what I think it is," she said with a tinge of fear laced in her voice.

"What's that?" He stripped out of his shirt.

"That he wants to marry that dreadful McKinley girl." Rosa's hands covered her heart as if the possibility would kill her.

"What girl?" Jordan's gaze focused on her.

"Never you mind. If you came and visited more often, you'd know what's going on with your own family. Now hurry up." She turned and closed the door behind her.

Jordan rushed into the adjoining bathroom. After years of family protocol, and despite how much he hated these elaborate parties, he was used to dressing in record time.

Tonight's party gave him a reprieve from his announcement to the family. He was grateful.

Twenty minutes later, he'd dressed and descended the stairs to join the family. He winced at seeing his father, Noah, leaning against the bottom post.

"Hiding?" Jordan asked.

"I hate formal functions," Noah mumbled. "I think your mother invited half of Georgia here tonight."

"We have that many people?"

Noah nodded.

"What's the occasion?"

"Your brother wants to make some kind of announcement. I know it had better be good for the tab your mother ran up."

Jordan held a hand across his stomach as he laughed at his father's penny-pinching ways. "Since I've missed dinner, maybe we can get someone to fix us a couple of sandwiches."

Noah's eyes twinkled. "Good idea."

Slapping his father's back, Jordan continued in good humor, "Mom isn't going to like our skipping out on the party."

Noah wrinkled his nose. "She's got to find us first."

The kitchen was a madhouse as servants dashed in and out with various hors d'oeuvres for the party.

Headlong into the refrigerator, Jordan searched for something to make a decent sandwich.

Noah grumbled as he watched the servants. "This is insane."

This was the perfect time, Jordan encouraged himself. Yet, he still didn' t know how to tell his father the news that would undoubtedly break his heart.

"I'm glad you were able to make it." Noah broke into his son's reverie.

Jordan smiled as he placed condiments on the counter. Try as he might he couldn't get the right words organized in his head.

His father reached over and made his own sandwich.

"How's the development of the North Carolina location coming along?"

"Fine, just fine."

"Your mother wants to throw you a party next month. She says that it's not every day one of our sons manages his own office or something like that. I think she was just looking for an excuse to throw another party."

"That's not necessary."

"I know, but your mother gets excited when it comes to planning these things. I, on the other hand, break out in a cold sweat." Noah held Jordan's gaze as he added, "I wish I could get your brother interested in the business, but he's as bad as your mother: spend, spend, spend. It's a wonder we're not living on the streets."

Jordan laughed. "To let you tell it, you'd think the company was near bankruptcy."

"Ha! My competitors would love that."

Jordan frowned at the dark shadow that crossed his father's features, but it quickly vanished.

"The fact is Opulence is a solid business," Noah declared. "We've made record sales for the third quarter in a row. I have plans for this next quarter. Big plans."

A piece of Jordan's sandwich wedged in his dry throat. I have to tell him.

"I was thinking," his father continued. "What do you think about opening another store in the Gwinnett Mall area?"

Grimacing, Jordan swallowed. "I think I need something to wash this down." He avoided the subject by turning to retrieve two glasses and a gallon of milk from the refrigerators.

Noah's tight scrutiny followed him. "You didn't answer me," he pressed.

Jordan filled their glasses, then locked gazes with his father. "I think that's a good idea." Tell him.

They ate in silence while Jordan figured out a way to make his announcement. What was he so afraid of? Hadn't his father always been supportive?

"I need to talk to you about something, Pop."

"I figured as much."

"You did?"

"I don't have to be a rocket scientist to know something is on your mind."

Here goes. "I wanted to talk to you about the business. I know how much you want me in the North Carolina office, but I've been thinking." Jordan took another gulp of milk. His stomach twisted into knots with each word he spoke. "You know how much I've always wanted to pursue a career in computers and I think that now is the perfect time for me to branch out and do that." It didn't quite come out the way he'd hoped, but at least he'd made the announcement.

Noah's mocha skin color reddened. "Computers?"

Jordan flinched. Here it comes. He watched his father's eyes darken.

"Why all of a sudden do you want to play on computers?"

Jordan exhaled. This wasn't going well. "I don't want to play on computers. I want to make computers easier, better. The world of technology fascinates me. I want to start my own company and…"

"Start your own company?" Noah backed away from the counter as if Jordan's words had burned him.

Jordan shook his head. "I need some fresh air. If anyone needs me, tell them I'll be out in the gardens."

Sympathy pooled in the older man's eyes. "Yes, sir."

Christian McKinley wiped at her tears. Tonight had been a complete disaster. She looked down at the five-carat diamond ring that glittered on her finger. How had she gotten herself into this mess?

Her best friend, Alexandria, walked up behind her. "Chris, are you all right?"

Trying to put on a brave face, Christian smiled, but shook her head in contradiction. "Alex, this is too much. I can't marry him. I can't marry anyone."

Alex said nothing as she grasped Christian's hand to offer support.

"I didn't even know he felt this way toward me." Christian glanced up at her six-foot friend and caught the vacant look in her expression. "Hello?" She waved a hand in front of her friend's face. "Are you there?"

"Oh, I'm sorry." Alex blinked and smiled apologetically. "What were you saying?"

"I was just saying how much of a shock all of this is. Are you sure you're okay?"

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2008

    Dissapointing...

    This book was all over the place with the plot and characters. There were alot of interesting stories within the characters that if expanded upon, would have made great individual stories. But somewhere in the middle of the book the plot became rushed and fell off. It seemed as if the author was attempting to focus on too many stories at once.

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  • Posted December 1, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Not My Favorite!

    I wasn't really impressed with this novel because it didn't hit the spot with me. I was really trying to get into this book, but I couldn't connect with the characters.

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    Posted February 7, 2010

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    Posted June 6, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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