A Madaris Bride for Christmas (Harlequin Kimani Arabesque Series)

A Madaris Bride for Christmas (Harlequin Kimani Arabesque Series)

by Brenda Jackson

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Original)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373091430
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 10/29/2013
Series: Harlequin Kimani Arabesque Series , #12
Edition description: Original
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Brenda Jackson is a New York Times bestselling author of more than one hundred romance titles. Brenda lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and divides her time between family, writing and traveling. Email Brenda at authorbrendajackson@gmail.com or visit her on her website at brendajackson.net.

Read an Excerpt

Lee Madaris glanced at the clock on his wall before rubbing away the tension forming in the back of his neck. Although it was nearing midnight, he was still in his office working. It was imperative that he do so.

Five potential investors would be arriving tomorrow and spending four days at the Grand MD Vegas hotel. He would be catering to them at a level that was unprecedented. The five men had enough cumulative capital to balance the national budget, if they'd chosen to do so. However, balancing the national budget wasn't Lee's goal. His objective was to get them to invest in his next hotel—the Grand MD Paris.

After the success of the Grand MD Dubai, as well as all the attention the hotel in Vegas had received since opening its doors four months ago, a number of investors were ready to provide funds for his next venture. But he didn't want just anyone; he wanted men willing to take a chance on a hotel that would be astonishingly different from its two predecessors. It would be a hotel of the future.

Both Grand MD hotels had been Madaris-Di Meglio joint ventures—highly successful and breaking sales records. But the third hotel, the one planned for Paris, France, would use state-of-the-art technology while maintaining the rich architectural design Paris was known for.

Lee's cousin and the architect in the family, Slade Madaris, had designed the first two Grand MDs and would likewise design the one proposed for Paris. Slade's design was nothing short of a masterpiece and would be unveiled at one of the meetings this week. Slade's twin brother, Blade, would be the structural engineer. No two Grand MD hotels would look the same. Each would have its own unique architecture and appeal.

Pulling in a deep breath, Lee returned his attention to the documents in front of him—bios on the five men. The name that topped the list was that of his grand-uncle Jake Madaris. Lee didn't need to read his uncle's bio.

The man was a walking genius when it came to playing the stock market, and as far back as Lee could remember, Jake had been financial adviser to the entire Madaris family. If it hadn't been for his uncle's smart move of establishing a trust fund for all his nieces and nephews when they were still in high school, Lee would not have had the money to partner with his good friend DeAngelo Di Meglio to build their first two hotels.

Jake and another family friend, Mitch Farrell, had been the hotels' financial backers. Mitch—the second man on the list—and Jake had already confirmed they were on board for the Paris hotel since the last two hotels had been a successful venture for them.

However, the price tag for a Paris hotel was higher than the price of the other two combined, and Jake had suggested bringing in other investors. All were good friends of Jake's, but his uncle had warned Lee that convincing them to invest would be Lee's responsibility.

He was ready.

The third person on the list was Kyle Garwood, a multimillionaire who made his primary home in Atlanta. Kyle was married, the father of six. Lee liked Kyle and highly respected him.

The last two men were sheikhs from the Middle East. Sheikh Rasheed Valdemon of Mowaiti had such a close relationship with the Madaris family that he had been named an honorary family member and occasionally went by the name of Monty Madaris when he did business in the United States.

Finally, there was Rasheed's brother-in-law, Sheikh Jamal Ari Yasir of Tahran. Lee had never met Sheikh Yasir but had heard he was a shrewd businessman, always looking for a good investment. He was married to an American woman, the former Delaney Westmoreland.

Lee would be wining and dining the five men in the Grand MD style. Everything was in place and would be set in motion as soon as they arrived tomorrow morning.

Their visit had been strategically planned down to the last detail. They would be given a tour of the hotel before they were served lunch. Since tomorrow was a traveling day, no meetings had been planned. However, early the following day, Lee's skilled marketing team would kick things off with several video presentations and meetings. Around three, the men and their wives would be given the chance to rest and relax before a dinner fit for royalty.

Afterward, they would enjoy the nightlife Vegas was famous for—from right inside the Grand MD. The casinos, live shows, state-of-the-art IMAX theater and the exquisite mall on the fifth floor that offered twenty-four-hour shopping all guaranteed that the Grand MD would gain a reputation as the hotel that never closed.

A winning hotel had to have a winning staff. He and Angelo had handpicked all of his executives and managers. Each had hotel experience and had come with sterling resumes and excellent recommendations. He and Angelo were pleased with every staff member, and those who didn't deliver were quickly replaced. Second-best was not an option at the Grand MD.

Lee moved away from his desk, intending to walk around and get his blood flowing, but the moment he stepped into the executive suite's lobby he stopped to stare at the huge picture hanging on the wall. It was a portrait of his great-grandmother Felicia Laverne Madaris the First, whom they fondly called Mama Laverne.

She was the matriarch of the Madaris family. Having borne seven sons, his grandfather Lee being one of them, Mama Laverne had raised her sons by herself after her husband, Milton, had died. All her sons were still alive except for Robert, who had been killed in the Vietnam War. Lee's grand-uncle Jake was Laverne's baby boy.

Mama Laverne had insisted that Lee hang this particular picture of her right there on that wall. She'd given the same directive to his other cousins. They all had the same framed photograph hanging in the offices of their various businesses. She was dressed in her Sunday best, with a huge dressy hat on her head, and she appeared to be looking directly at the viewer with those shrewd eyes and an all-knowing smile. At least she was smiling. A Mama Laverne frown could make him quake in his boots. She definitely liked giving orders, and she expected them to be carried out.

Lee chuckled. He wished he could say she was getting bossy in her old age, but as far back as he could remember, she'd always been bossy. Besides that, she was a notorious busybody when it came to meddling in the lives of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Even at ninetysomething, he figured she would still be around to meddle with the great-great-grands' lives as well.

He didn't want to think of a time when she would no longer be in their midst. Their love for her was the main reason why he and his still-single brothers and cousins overlooked a lot of her shenanigans, especially her determination to marry off each of them.

Closing the door behind him, he walked along the spacious lobby hallway, noting the elegance, style and sophistication that were such integral parts of his Vegas hotel. Besides being the tallest building on the Strip, with seventy-five floors, it had an amusement park on one of its lower levels, making it an ideal place to stay for both adults and families. From the carpeting on the floor to the paintings on the wall, from the furnishings to the hotel's special amenities, anyone would agree that the hotel deserved the seven-star rating reviewers were giving it.

Sliding back huge glass doors, he stepped out onto the terrace of the executive suite. Normally, he wasn't one who took the time to appreciate a lot of greenery, but with the quality of the hotel on his mind, he couldn't help doing so. Various plants had been flown in just for this terrace.

Lee inhaled deeply, breathing in the scent of the plants mixed with the September air. He looked beyond the Vegas view to study the looming desert. The rain had lessened the heat and now a sultry breeze stirred the air. The sky overhead looked dark and dreary. There didn't seem to be a single star. A part of him longed to be back in Houston, gazing up into a Texas night.

Lee shook off the longing. He had too much work to do to be melancholy. He hadn't been home since last Christmas and another one would be coming up soon, but opening the two Grand MDs had taken up all his time, personally and professionally. Now luring investors for a third hotel would make him even busier.

Just as he turned to go back inside, his gaze landed on a woman standing on the balcony a couple of levels below. His breath was snatched from his lungs. A low groan passed from his lips as a jolt of sexual energy rocked him to the bone.

She was beautiful. Sensually stunning. Picture-perfect.

She stood leaning against the balcony rail, wearing a sexy green dress and chocolate-colored stilettos, her hair blowing in the breeze. From her expression, as she stared down below, he could tell she was fascinated by the bright lights of the Strip.

Was she a guest at the hotel? He scanned the balcony connected to a tri-level observation deck. It appeared she was alone. Something about her pulled at him. She looked happy, peaceful, but lonely.

Lee didn't know the woman yet he felt as if he could read her perfectly. He stood and watched her, totally mesmerized. A slow heat flowed through him and pooled in his groin—she was arousing him in a way no other woman had. What was there about her that made every muscle in his stomach tie into knots? Made full awareness of her fill his every pore?

Granted, he hadn't dated in a while because of his stringent work schedule, but still, there was something about this particular woman that had lust rushing through his veins.

Nothing like this had ever happened to him before. He checked his watch. It was getting late, but he had to meet that woman and find out why he found her so captivating.

Anticipation filled him as he made his way off the terrace and toward the elevator bank.

She simply loved it here, Carly thought. Bright lights lit the Strip and each hotel seemed to compete to shine the brightest.

It was hard to believe she had gotten the job of pastry chef at the Grand MD's Peyton's Place restaurant a little more than a month ago. The hotel had been gracious enough to give her time to resign from her job in Miami and remain in Florida long enough to pack up her things and attend Heather's wedding.

Initially, she had missed South Beach and wondered if she would ever get acclimated to Vegas's dry summer heat. But she had discovered that in addition to being a fun city with its infamous Strip, Vegas was also a nice place to live.

Her house was in a residential area of town not far from shopping. Because she had everything she needed right at her fingertips she rarely came into town on her days off.

Except for today.

Today was her twenty-eighth birthday, and she had decided to celebrate with a night on the town. She had even treated herself to a night at the Grand MD. It had to be the most beautiful hotel she had ever seen. Her room on the fiftieth floor was to die for and the service was excellent.

Carly had stumbled across this particular balcony a few weeks ago while on break. She loved the view, and it had become her favorite. There had been several other couples here earlier, enjoying the view as well, but they had departed, leaving her alone. She didn't mind. It was the story of her life.

Carly forced the depressing thought from her mind.

After all, it was her birthday and she intended to have fun. So far it had been a beautiful day. Before leaving home this morning she'd gotten calls from Aunt Ruthie and Heather. They had remembered, and they were the only two people in her life that counted.

There was a party going on in one of the ballrooms upstairs. She could hear the music playing, a Marvin Gaye classic. She felt like dancing. What the heck. It was her birthday and she had every right to be silly if she wanted to.

Turning from the rail, she waltzed across the floor. She closed her eyes and pretended she was at a party, celebrating her birthday in style, dancing around a ballroom filled with tall, dark, handsome men. One would come forward, claim her hand and ask—

"May I have this dance?"

At the sound of the deep, husky voice, Carly's eyes flew open and she stared into the most gorgeous pair of dark eyes she'd ever seen. And there was a very handsome face to go along with those eyes. Where on earth had he come from? She blinked, wondering if she was still clutched in the throes of her fantasy. She had to be.

"Are you real?" she asked, making sure she hadn't conjured him up in her mind.

He smiled and the sight of the dimple in his chin nearly brought her to her knees. It definitely caused every hormone in her body to sizzle.

"Yes, I'm real. Now, how about that dance," he said, taking her hand in his. A different song was playing now, this one by Luther Vandross.

Carly nodded her consent and he pulled her into his arms. The man was a total stranger. Had it not been her birthday, she would not have allowed him to hold her. But she had already decided that it was okay for her to act silly today. And it wasn't every day that such a good-looking man asked her to dance. Not only was he handsome, but he smelled good too. And to top it off, they danced well together. The way their bodies swayed and moved against each other had her fighting a desire she hadn't felt in close to four years.

A desire that had never been this strong.

She was reminded how it felt to be held by a man, in powerful arms. Every part of her body tuned in to the solid hardness of his. It was staggering; she was mindful of his every movement, the steady sound of his breathing, the way his arms encircled her waist.

Carly looked up at him to find him staring down at her. His predatory look made her insides simmer. Swallowing deeply, she said softly, "Where did you come from?"

He smiled again and she felt a tingling sensation in the pit of her stomach. "From my terrace."

She nodded. He was a guest at the hotel.

"What about you? Are you a guest here?" he asked.

"Yes." She wasn't lying. She had checked into the hotel that day. There was no need to tell him she also worked here. "It's a beautiful hotel."

"I think so too. I'm Lee, by the way."

"I'm Carly."

His smile widened. "Nice meeting you, Carly. Is there a reason you were dancing alone?"

Her face warmed as she wondered if he thought she'd looked ridiculous. "It's my birthday and—"

"Happy birthday," he said.

She smiled up at him. "Thanks. I was having my own private party of one."

He tilted his head. "That's no fun. A beautiful woman should never party alone."

He was smooth, she thought. As smooth as he was handsome. And she'd noticed he wasn't wearing a ring. She knew some men didn't cherish the sanctity of marriage vows, but she did.

"For me that's no problem. I'm a loner anyway," she said.


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A Madaris Bride for Christmas 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
divas_lioness More than 1 year ago
This has turned out to be one of my favorite Madaris series books, coming in behind the Midnight Hour. Brenda Jackson continues to amaze me with her excellent writing style. All I can say is Mama Laverne strikes again. Lee thought he was putting one over on the Madaris matriarch and bless his heart for that. This story between Lee and Carly is wonderful. Lee most definitely lives up to the Madaris name with his fierce protectiveness, overwhelming passion and unconditional love for his woman. It was great that she tied in other Madaris and Madaris friends’ books as well as a Westmoreland book into this one. You get a look into how some of those characters are going about their lives. This is definitely a 5 star read and I look forward to reading more in the future. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!!!
hebehills More than 1 year ago
A Madaris Bride for Christmas -- Arabesque -- October 2013 -- Brenda Jackson -- Brenda Jackson’s celebrates with her 100th novel. -- Carly Briggs was in the wine room of the restaurant where she worked as a pastry chef when she heard an angry man accusing another man of being a traitor. When Carly heard gunshots, she fainted. But, after investigating in the alley and not finding anything, everyone thought that Carly had dreamed it. Carly called in to the Police hotline and found out no one had been reported missing. After several months Carly got a chance to move to Vegas for a better job, she took the job to get away from Miami. Still, she wondered if she’d really heard a murder take place. -- Lee Madaris great-grandmother was going to find a woman for each of her grand sons to marry and Lee is next in line. Lee Madaris co-owned the Grand MD Hotel in Vegas and Grand MD Hotel in Dubai with DeAngelo Di Meglio. Lee and DeAngelo were planning to open their third hotel Grand MD in Paris, France, as soon as they could get finance backing. One night in Vegas, Lee spots a woman dancing on the balcony of his hotel, he decides to join her. After dancing with Carly he couldn’t stop thinking about her. Lee decides that he has found his own bride, and Carly was the woman for him. -- The only problem with Lee’s plans was that a Miami mob was planning to take over the Grand MD in Vegas. The FBI wanted to take down the mob because one of their own undercover men had disappeared in Miami. They needed Lee help in taking down the mob’s origination. -- Brenda Jackson once again brings the Madaris’ amazing family and their friends to help good overcome evil. Will Lee be able to keep Carly safe from the gangsters who are invading the Grand MD in Vegas? I enjoyed Lee and Carly journey into love and can’t wait to hear more about the Madaris family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great love story!
MsTamikaMarie More than 1 year ago
Yes Brenda Jackson does it again. This book was definitely worth 5 stars and I promise that the 100th book will not disappoint you. I love this time of year because it's all about love and it never fails reading a Brenda Jackson book always renew my faith in love and have me excited. Lee Madaris whew he almost made me love him more than Clayton lol. Lee thought that he would choose his own bride but turns out that him and Mama Laverne had the same thought you could say it was just fate. Lee believes that passion is what will keep Carly and hisself together never thinking love. From the beginning his wanting to give her everything she desire, wanting her to be apart of his family since she didn't have one, wanting her to be apart of his world and that Madaris need to protect those they claim all made us believe that what Lee thought was passion was definitely love. I agree a marriage should have passion and love something about the passion Lee had for Carly and her for him that just made you smile and think of long nights cuddle by the fire place. I'm a hopeless romantic and Mrs. BJ definitely have me my fall fix. Don't miss out on meeting the next Madaris bride this book is everything I don't want to give to much away but just know if you don't read it your missing out so read it read it read it you will not be disappointed.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved every bit of it. I love how you stick to one family. Beautiful. I need more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great Madaris's book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brenda Jackson madaris family n friends books is the only hope I have left while reading and falling in love with the beautiful penman ship of ms Jackson and the depths of where her books will take you
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. Carly and Lee's meeting was hot! I've read this book 4 times and each time I love it more than the last time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm never disappointed when I buy and read a book by Brenda Jackson!! Mrs. Jackson is awesome
BoneNursePractitioner More than 1 year ago
And what a Madaris Christmas it was... Wow!! I'm just going to say that Brenda Jackson has done it again!! She just keeps getting better and better. I pre-ordered this book from Brenda's website because I wanted an autographed copy (since I won't be able to make the book signing this weekend in Jacksonvlle). I usually read digitally and can do it from my iPhone when I'm unexpectedly waiting for something. Well, I found myself squeezing this book into my purse and I just could't put it down! Oh what a Christmas...Take Carly who just wants to be wanted, and Lee who wants her. Carly is just a sweet young lady who thinks that she is willing to accept passion over love, though love is what she really wants. Lee has no intention of exposing his heart to hove and thinks that he is only able to give passion. Then he meets Carly, who in spite of not receiving love, she gives unconditional love over and over again. She loves fiercely and unconditionally. In spite of her painful past, Carly becomes the sunshine in so many people's lives. She loves Lee even when she thinks that he doesn't love her, and she loves her sister even though she wasn't sure how or if she would be accepted. How could Lee NOT love her? Carly's mother and step-father were just trifling. How could Gail look at someone that she gave birth to and be so cruel? And how could Sidney ask as much? The the perfect twist was Carly's sister's situation. It was amazing what Carly's mother and step-father were willing to sacrifice just to save face. Oh, and Mama Laverne...precious! Lee didn't see that coming, and neither did I. There were so many emotions... love, insecurity, trust, fear, and most of all passion. I couldn't stop reading! Loved it!! (as I throw cyber roses to the stage) ~Sheila
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Lori Book provided by NetGalley for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book This was a continuing story based on the Madaris family. It’s not necessary to read the other books prior to this one as each book is a stand-alone, but I highly recommend reading the other books based on this family as its members are mentioned frequently and it can become confusing. I had a hard time keeping up with Lee’s various cousins and their spouses. I had never heard of Brenda Jackson before and I decided to give her book a try as this is not usually what I read and review for this blog. I looked her website up and I discovered that she is a highly successful, learned author. I was surprised and impressed and curious about her work. Her books on the Madaris family are quite popular and successful. As well as numerous! I love books that deal with family and how they interact with each other. Books that deal with family are so much fun to read. I always want to be a part of that family and interact with them every day. I liked Lee, he was strong, handsome, kind, the qualities I like to think most women want in a man. He is a successful business man and has worked hard to get where he is and he hasn’t had to depend on his large family to get to his level of success. He’s just a nice guy that wants to love someone and to be loved. Isn’t that what most of us want? I know I do. Carly is a women who is also looking for someone to love and to be loved. She hasn’t had the same advantages that Lee has had and is reluctant to enter into a relationship. She comes from a fractured family structure and isn’t sure she’s ready to delve into a relationship. Somehow the two of them have found each other and are determined to make it work. Brenda Jackson’s work spoke to me because she writes about true love and having a true lasing marriage. I love happily ever afters too!!
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Ronnie2007 More than 1 year ago
Another EXCELLENT read from Mrs. Brenda Jackson. I just love the Madaris series!!! True to form what a Madaris wants a Madaris gets and protects. He was truly what Carly needed and wanted in her life. As I was reading I hope I can get more stories from some of the people in this book. This book has more interesting things to get you more invovled.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brenda keep your books coming. I've read all the books you have written and can't wait for more, This was wonderful and I wish their was a man like that for me. I am still praying that he will come soon. The best. Be Blessed. Leslie Middleton
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Loved it!!!
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I used it to reference all three stories included under one cover. Thanks to all three authors. I look forward to reading more from each. LA-TXN
Clairifyit More than 1 year ago
While romances can become routine and run of the mill, Brenda Jackson does it again by developing characters with real lifestyles. This was a page turner as the main characters met and their lives were woven together. A Madaris Bride for Christmas is definitely a story about building trust, understanding and love. There is always a twist within her novels.