Not Even If You Begged (Invincible Women Series #4)
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Not Even If You Begged (Invincible Women Series #4)

4.0 17
by Francis Ray

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Widow Traci Evans happily sits in on meetings with the lovely ladies of the Invincible Sisterhood solely because they reached out to her first. A loner, Traci feels for the first time she belongs. All of the official members are sweet older women who have lost the love of their lives, their husbands. Unknown to them, Traci is more angry than she is


Widow Traci Evans happily sits in on meetings with the lovely ladies of the Invincible Sisterhood solely because they reached out to her first. A loner, Traci feels for the first time she belongs. All of the official members are sweet older women who have lost the love of their lives, their husbands. Unknown to them, Traci is more angry than she is grief-stricken because her husband died in the midst of cheating on her with another woman.

Her husband's deception has hardened Traci's heart so much that even close friend and next door neighbor Maureen can't convince her to open it again. But when a playful kiss with Maureen's gorgeous son Ryan turns passionate, Traci starts to rethink everything she knows about love.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This new novel from Ray (In Another Man's Bed) features Traci Evans, a widow whose husband died while cheating on her with another woman. So she's determined not to open her heart to love again, until she meets her next-door neighbor's son.

—Ann Burns

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Invincible Women Series , #4
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.72(d)

Read an Excerpt

No matter how Maureen wanted to convince herself that the meeting she had called to help her neighborhood and the Sisterhood better protect themselves against burglaries, as she watched Simon stride up the sidewalk, her racing heart told her she’d lied to herself.

Her breath fluttered over her slightly parted lips. My. My. What a man.

Today he was dressed casually in a lightweight wheat-colored sports jacket, white shirt with an open collar, creased jeans that caressed his muscular thighs. His jet black hair gleamed in the afternoon sun. His skin was the color of rich chocolate. She couldn’t see a spare ounce of fat on his muscular frame, and she was looking hard.

Her hand fluttered to her stomach. She was in good shape herself. For a woman her age. Reality hit her just at the doorbell rang. She jumped away from the curtained window. Yesterday the spa had been invigorating, but she remained fifty-nine.

The chine came again. Stop being silly, she admonished herself and started for the door. He’s just a man. No big deal. She opened the door. Simon, who had been looking around, turned and smiled at her causing her body to throb, her throat to dry. He might be just a man, but what a man.

“Good evening, Mrs. Gilmore.”

She felt old. “Lieutenant Dunlap, please come in and please call me Maureen.”

He entered and waited until she closed the door. “I guess Ashley is out.”

She flushed, then smiled because he was. “Thank you for not mentioning we’d met before Sunday night.”

His smile faded. “How have you been? Did you sleep all right? “I did. Ryan and I took your suggestion,” she told him.

“I’m glad.”

She caught herself smiling and gazing at him, the same way he was smiling and gazing at her. Perhaps Traci was right. Perhaps he would ask her out again. “This way to the terrace.” She started though the foyer and great room.

“You have a beautiful home,” he said.

“Thank you. My late husband and I moved in when Ryan was nine months old,” she told him, a subtle reminder to both of them.

“Then this house must hold a lot of fond memories for you,” he said, stepping ahead of her to open the French doors leading to the terrace.

Pleased that he understood and hadn’t choked at the mention of her late husband, she stopped. “It does. Ryan and I made more after we changed the bedding. We looked at family films and pictures. Played cards. He let me win.”

“Your smile is as beautiful as you are,” Simon said, still holding the latch. “To have stolen that would have been a travesty.”

Pleasure went through her before she could stop the reaction. She simply stared at him.

“Simon, right on time.” Ryan strode toward his frat brother, extending his hand.

Simon turned to shake hands with Ryan when what he really wished was that he could send everyone away and be alone with Maureen. Soon, he promised himself. “I didn’t expect you here.”

“Mother might not want to follow through on your suggestions.” Ryan looked at his mother. “I plan to make sure she does.”

“I’m quite capable of taking care of myself and following though with Lieutenant Dunlap’s recommendations, Ryan.”

Her son kissed her on the cheek. “Never said you weren’t.”

“Would you like something to drink or do you want me to introduce you to everyone and get started?” she asked Simon.

“Why don’t you introduce me?” Simon suggested, wondering if Ryan had caught his mother’s brief annoyance. Women hated being made to feel as if they were incompetent or stupid, and he couldn’t blame them. They were as smart as men. Sometimes smarter. “I can talk to them and see how I need to gear the discussion. A woman living alone needs will be different than a couple.”

“That sounds good. This way,” Maureen said


He was watching her. Again.

Every time Traci looked at Ryan, he was looking at her…which meant she was watching him as much as he was watching her. Annoyed with both of them she went to the kitchen for another tray of food. With the attentive way Maureen was listening to Simon it wasn’t likely she was going to get it. Traci supposed she couldn’t blame her. If she hadn’t known of their history she might not have paid any attention to all the time Simon looked at Maureen. Since she was sitting with the Sisterhood, he could have been looking at any of them.

Tracy knew better.

Simon hadn’t been boring. In fact, he was a hit. The Sisterhood liked him even before he volunteered to inspect each of their homes to improve safety. Simon was proving to be a nice guy.

In the kitchen, Traci opened the side-by-side refrigerator and bent to take out the covered meat and cheese tray. Picking up the tray she bumped the door closed with her hip and turned, almost dropping the tray on seeing Ryan. It ran through her mind that he had seen her use her wide hips, bringing more attention to them. Her temper spiked.

“Why are you sneaking up on me?”

“Sorry.” Ryan glanced over his shoulder. “I wanted to get you alone.”

Her pulse sped up. Her hands clenched on the tray.

“I need your help to plan Mother’s birthday party,” he whispered, coming closer.

Traci blinked. “What?”

“Let me have that.” Ryan took the tray out of her hands and set it on the island. “I’m not sure if she wants a large to-do at the country club or a girl’s night out with you and the Sisterhood. Maybe a private pampering spa thing.”

Traci was having trouble taking it in. “You want help planning her party?”

“It’s more involved than that,” Ryan folded his arms and leaned back against the island. “I could hire a party planner, but I want it to be special. After the break-in Sunday night, a special night is even more important.”

Surprised and oddly annoyed, Traci didn’t know what to say. How could she have been so wrong?

“I hate to throw this on you, but I’ve been trying to catch your attention for weeks. The Sisterhood is a great group and, no offense, but I thought since mother is younger and you two are such great friends, you might have a better idea on what she wants.”

He didn’t want her body: he wanted her mind. She could really hate Ryan Gilmore.

“I’ll take this. It will throw Mother off if she saw me come after you.” He picked up the tray. “We better get back before she misses us. Do you think you might be able to get away one night this week to have dinner and discuss things?”

She had let a man fool her again and, although it wasn’t in a sexual way, she wanted to disappear. How could she have read him so wrong? She had almost made a complete fool of herself. How could she have been so blind, so stupid? She knew the type of women he dated and they certainly didn’t resemble her.

His smile faded. “You aren’t going to refuse are you?”

Not if she ever hoped to be able to look him in the face again and, since he was Maureen’s son, there was no way she could ever get around that. “No, I was just thinking of where we could meet,” she lied and suggested the first place that entered her mind. “Circa 1897.”

“Great. It’s quite enough so we can plan and talk,” he said. “Is eight tomorrow night all right? There shouldn’t be any danger in Mother seeing me. I’ll make reservations.”

The restaurant was quiet all right, and very intimate, but it was done. “Why don’t I meet you there?”

He shook his head. “If I pick you up we’ll have more time to talk.” He turned away, then turned back. “Thanks. See you tomorrow night at eight sharp. This is going to be great.”

Traci watched his leave, her pride in tatters, but she had done it to herself. She should have known Ryan wasn’t interested in her. It took all of her courage to go back to the patio where all the guests were converged.

She was in time to see Celeste, the single daughter of the couple at end of the block, slide up to Ryan. Celeste was in her late twenties, a college drop-out, and still trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her life while living at home. From the way she was curled against Ryan, she had found one thing she was interested in. Ryan, just like a man, was grinning from ear to ear at the attractive brunette.

Traci took a seat and gave her attention to Simon, who was discussing how outdoor lighting served the duel purpose of beautifying your home and keeping burglars away. Too bad there wasn’t something that kept men faithful. Their conscience and morality certainly never got in the way.

Celeste could have Ryan. Traci wasn’t interested in being cheated on again.

Copyright © 2008 by Francis Ray. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Francis Ray is the New York Times bestselling author of the Grayson novels, the Falcon books, the Taggart Brothers, and Twice the Tempation, among many other romances. Her novel Incognito was made into a movie aired on BET. A native Texan, she is a graduate of Texas Woman's University and has a degree in nursing. Besides a writer, she is a school nurse practitioner with the Dallas Independent School District. She lives in Dallas.

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Not Even If You Begged (Invincible Women Series #4) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Francis Ray has written more than twenty novels in the romance genre and has been one of the top romance authors for most of her career. In her latest release Not Even If You Begged, readers are treated to an erotic tale of love between two opposites who find themselves attracted despite themselves. Young widow Traci Evans is a woman who is full of pain having discovered that her late husband died while cheating on her with another woman. When she is befriended by a group of older widows, The Invincible Sisterhood she welcomes the friendship and the love but feels like a fish out of water in the group of women who have sweet memories to share of loving and committed husbands. Her husband¿s betrayal has made her a bitter woman and nothing seems to help Traci find her way out of her misery. Although romance novels are not this reviewer¿s genre of choice I have been known to enjoy a good love story every now and then. Not Even If You Begged is one of those times. Francis Ray has written a story that showcases her talents very well. It¿s a smooth read. The characters find their way into your heart and there they stay. Although the main characters are Traci and her next door neighbor and friend Maureen the women of The Invincible Sisterhood have you chuckling at their antics, agreeing with their views on men, love and life and enjoying the way them empower and encourage one another. These women are sassy and classy and they don¿t intend to allow Traci to wallow in her misery. The men in this novel, Maureen¿s handsome son, Ryan who is taken by Traci, and Simon, a younger man who has his sights set on the older Maureen are more than just eye candy. The author has done a marvelous job of crafting these men in a positive light. Ray¿s love scenes, though tasteful, sizzle with every caress, every kiss and every explosive encounter. This was my kind of romance novel Will Traci, Maureen and the widows in the sisterhood find love the second time around? Read Not Even If You Begged to find out. You¿ll be entertained from chapter to chapter until the story ends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had never read anything by Ms. Ray in the past -- but I definitely will get more of her books. Kept me interested all the time. Easy/fast reading and great story. Keep up the good work Francis.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Ray has spun another very romantic, yet emotionally thrilling adventure for our reading pleasure. I was TOTALLY captivated from the very first page! I've read six books this January and I have to say, this one is my favorite so far. Mrs. Ray did an EXCELLENT job with Traci and Ryan's romance. And I enjoyed the INSTANT attraction between Maureen and Simon. The storyline as always flowed effortlessly across the pages. The characters are UNFORGETTABLE. Main and secondary characters will have you LOL and crying and at their many antics. I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of the ladies in the 'Invincible Sisterhood' they were funny as all get out. And even though they're all widows, they definitely knew 'how to get their groove back'. Simon and Ryan are definitely gentlemen that know how to provide protection and SATISFACTION to their women, not just a physical satisfaction, but they showed Traci and Maureen they were capable of being there for them emotionally, too. I totally got caught up in all the passion and desire between these two couples it was very sensual. I love the way Mrs. Ray allowed us to get caught up with Justine Crandall and Dalton Ramsey and Brianna Ireland and Patrick Dunlap, the couples from 'In Another Man's Bed'. I look forward to reading more about the rest of the Dunlap brothers...hint, hint...bring it on Mrs. Ray! A definite MUST read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I completed this book in one day! Ms.Ray captures the emotion that a full figured women feels when she is interested in a man she assumes is not interested in a more voluptuous woman. This book is a must buy ......
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great story! How refreshing to have a story featuring characters of a different age group who had another chance at a loving relationship. Loved it! LA-TXN
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Kaileigh More than 1 year ago
I'm so glad I'm done reading this book. NEVER AGAIN!!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was good. I enjoyed both Tracie and Maureen stories and how they are trying to find themselves and letting go of their issues. I loved how Francis Ray made a confident women who wasn't insecure in her weight because it made the story a fun to read. I really didn't like the Elisa part in the story. It was necessary for me to make me wanna read the story. At first I didn't like Tracie in the story because I thought she was very ruthless character, but she warmed up to me. Overall good story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Traci and Maureen are just 2 of the women who ran through this awesome book. All widows who share an amazing friendship and support each other through all their journeys in life. Traci and Maureen's son Ryan are attracted to each other and Maureen has a younger man panting after her. Mrs. Ray allows a glimspe of some previous characters in the series and works her incredible gift of writing a truly uplifting story.