A Seductive Kiss

A Seductive Kiss

by Francis Ray

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466804166
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 01/31/2012
Series: Grayson Friends Series , #5
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 469,663
File size: 354 KB

About the Author

Francis Ray is the New York Times bestselling author of the Grayson novels, the Falcon books, the Taggart Brothers, and Twice the Temptation, among many other books. 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. "Francis Ray is, without a doubt, one of the Queens of Romance." --Romance Review
Francis Ray (1944-2013) is the New York Times bestselling author of the Grayson novels, the Falcon books, the Taggart Brothers, and Twice the Temptation, among many other books. Her novel Incognito was made into a movie aired on BET. A native Texan, she was a graduate of Texas Woman's University and had a degree in nursing. Besides a writer, she was a school nurse practitioner with the Dallas Independent School District. She lived in Dallas. "Francis Ray is, without a doubt, one of the Queens of Romance." --Romance Review

Read an Excerpt

A Seductive Kiss

By Francis Ray

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2012 Francis Ray
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-0416-6


People thought Dianne Leigh Harrington had the world on her personal yo-yo string. Strikingly beautiful with an exquisite face the camera loved, she was known around the world as "The Face," the only model for the House of Harrington's print advertisements and lead model for their runway shows. She was on the A list, got into all the exclusive nightspots, was voted one of the beautiful people in People magazine, was sought after by some of the richest men in the world.

Those who thought she lived a fairy-tale life were wrong.

In a one-of-a-kind, haute couture, strapless, blush-pink evening gown created especially to show off her smooth bare shoulders, shapely curves, and long legs, from the side split to midthigh, Dianne sipped her vintage champagne in a quiet corner of the lavish Plaza Hotel suite, and fought not to sigh.

She was lonely. So what else was new?

Dianne could recall few occasions in her life when she had truly felt happy and wanted. Tonight, with her two closest friends in the room, should have been one of those rare occasions. It wasn't. She felt too much like the odd man out, just as she had always been.

So she did what she always did when she felt left out: smiled, sipped her drink, and pretended she didn't have a care in the world. Too bad it wasn't true.

She should be content for once to observe rather than be observed. But the more she watched the obviously in love couples circulate around the suite, the lonelier she became. Because, just like always, tonight when the party was over she'd go home alone.

While she enjoyed her glamorous career as a model and spokeswoman for the House of Harrington, and visited some of the most fascinating cities in the world, she wanted more out of life. She was frequently in the company of other models or people in the fashion industry. They tended to go out in groups, but before the night was over they usually paired up with someone in the group or with someone they'd met. Dianne wasn't into casual affairs, so she always ended up alone.

The couples in the room had what she'd longed for all her life: unconditional love. She wasn't jealous, she just wanted what they had, wondered what it felt like to be totally loved and wanted.

As an only child, she'd been barely tolerated by her self-absorbed parents. Her mother, beautiful, elegant, and always perfect, was a slave to fashion. Her handsome father's unrelenting passion was golf. They looked good together, and freely enjoyed being the recipients of the Harrington fashion fortune. Neither would have dreamed of working. If they thought about Dianne at all, it was when it was convenient or when it made them look like the loving, charitable couple they pretended to be in public.

What a bunch of crock, Dianne thought as she took another sip. Her parents only loved themselves. They even bought their own Christmas presents since they reasoned that they knew what they wanted better than anyone. Dianne seldom made their Christmas list unless they hoped to gain from it somehow.

No matter how many years had passed, Dianne still thought of the Christmas Eve when she was five years old. With TV cameras rolling, her parents had made a very public display of donating her toys to those less fortunate. There had been no cameras the next morning when her mother presented herself with a flawless diamond necklace and earrings to match. Her father's gift to himself was a membership at one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the country.

Dianne shook the memory away. She was her own woman now. She had her beloved grandfather to thank for that. A sharp pain lanced through her. She still found it difficult to believe he'd been gone for four months. He'd believed in her. He hadn't thought she was too fat or too stupid for the D collection to be named for her. Both she and the line were instant hits. That had been fourteen long years ago. Modeling for Harrington was all she knew.

In the quiet of the night, that thought often frightened her. She should be able to do something beside strut down a runway, pose for a camera, and spout how fabulous these clothes made a woman look and feel.

Laughter brought her head up and around. Each woman there had accomplished something in her own right. The men were just as successful. Her parents would have forgone anything to be there. The women were beautiful, the men gorgeous, but it was the unmistakable love in their eyes when they looked at each other that drew Dianne's attention, time and time again.

She was the only single woman there. She'd been invited by her best friend since childhood, Catherine Stewart Grayson, to help celebrate the successful closing of Sabra Raineau Grayson's Broadway play. She was Catherine's husband's sister-in-law. There was already talk that she would win another Tony for her role. She could add it to her growing collection of awards, including an Oscar. There had been a cast party last night but Pierce Grayson, Sabra's husband, wanted tonight to be just family and close friends.

In the room were Luke Grayson's brothers and sisters, their spouses, Sabra's sister, Laurel, and her new husband, Zach. Also in attendance were Shane Elliott and his wife, Paige, who was Zachary's sister. Looking uncomfortable but resigned in a tuxedo was Trent Masters with his famous wife, Dominique, Luke's cousin. They were all interrelated or friends. Luke's mother, Ruth, along with her brother and his wife, had already gone to their rooms. Dianne was the outsider as she'd always been.

Her slim fingers tightened on the stem of the flute, then eased. She wasn't going to feel sorry for herself. She wasn't the only single person there at least. Her gaze turned to the silent man across the room. She met Rio's unflinching gaze. He simply watched her. To another person his unblinking gaze might have been unnerving, but she had grown up with parents who looked through her.

"You're all right?"

The sound of the rich baritone voice made her smile. Dianne turned, aware she'd see Alex Stewart, the only other unattached male in the room. Catherine's big brother had been the extra-special bonus of having her for a best friend. "Of course," she said, still smiling up at him. It had always been easy to talk with Alex. He had also been her first crush.

"Good," he said, staring down at her with his handsome, serious butterscotch-hued face. He had thick lashes her friends would kill for, a straight nose, and a mobile, sensual mouth that she had been wondering how it would feel against her own mouth entirely too much lately. "You're here to have fun."

Dragging her gaze away from his lips, Dianne thought of the issue at hand. Alex had always looked after her. Somehow he'd always known what to do to make her feel better. She wondered if he could give her what she needed this time as well.

She wanted a man to look at her as if she were his world, as if she made his life better. She realized she wanted that man to be Alex. The realization didn't surprise her. Somehow she knew he'd be a gentle, considerate lover. He was steady and dependable. He would also be discreet, another of her requirements.

Too many times she'd heard men brag about a conquest when the relationship ended. Some of her women associates shrugged it off. Dianne knew she wouldn't be so blasé. It would wound her deeply. Outwardly she might look secure. She wasn't. Growing up, she'd been told too many times by her parents how utterly worthless she was.

Alex didn't think so, she thought, as she gazed up at him through a sweep of her lashes. But was he the man who could ease the ache in her heart and soul?

* * *

Alex stared down into the pensive, beautiful face of his one weakness, Dianne Harrington. He'd probably started falling in love with her the Christmas morning she was five years old and he was nine. He'd seen her crying on her porch steps because her parents had given away all her toys and Santa hadn't left any to replace them. He'd quickly climbed off his new bike and made up a story about Santa leaving the wrong-sized bike at his house.

The wide-eyed happy smile on her tearstained face had been worth the lie. He'd happily pushed her around on his bike most of the morning; the next day, using his own money that he'd saved for a telescope, he'd purchased her a pink bicycle. He couldn't explain to his parents why it had been important to use his own money, it just had been. They hadn't asked any more questions, just told him how proud of him they were.

He'd long since accepted that he could only have Dianne as a friend. If she learned how he felt, it would be awkward for her and embarrassing for him. Dianne was like a star, to be gazed at and admired but not touched.

"We're the only two unattached people here," Dianne said, watching Alex over the rim of her flute. "You think they're trying to tell us something?"

Alex, used to Dianne's flirtatious ways, nodded toward Rio, his face blank, leaning against the wall. Dianne followed the direction of Alex's gaze. Rio was gorgeous, and beneath his expertly cut tux he probably had a body that would make a woman drool, but there was also a dangerous alertness about him. She could never be completely comfortable around him the way she could be with Alex. "Not my type," she said.

Alex's brows knitted. There was something different about her tonight. He'd watched her from a distance, a lifelong habit, most of the evening. There was a sad wistfulness in her face that he'd caught glimpses of more and more that evening. Dianne was usually the life of the party, joking, laughing. Tonight she had been quiet and remained apart.

"You're sure everything is all right with the House of Harrington?" he asked.

Dianne accepted that Alex had always been able to read her better than anyone, even Catherine. "Fine. I guess I'm just tired. My plane got in from Paris this afternoon."

His long-fingered hand brushed up and down her bare arm, sending shivers in its wake. "Are you concerned about meeting with the new CEO?" Alex asked, apparently unwilling to let it go.

The smile on Dianne's face vanished. The House of Harrington's board had elected a new CEO a month ago to take her grandfather's place. She swallowed the lump in her throat. Her grandfather had been the only relative who saw her as a person and not as a paycheck. "No," she finally answered.

Alex's frown didn't clear. "With your grandfather gone, you need a contract."

"My parents still have a controlling interest in Harrington. We both know money rules them." She tried to say the words carelessly but, from the concerned way Alex looked at her, he knew how much it still bothered her that her parents didn't love her.

"I could clear my schedule and go with you," he offered.

Alex was watching out for her. Again. He'd do it and think nothing of it. Too many times to count, Alex had been there for her when she was growing up. "You're a great friend," she said, and watched something flicker in his beautiful black eyes.

"I'll always be there for you, you know that," he said softly.

She did. Alex was solid. He worked with one of the top law firms in New York, and was in line to be a partner. He had a Who's Who list of clients, but he also took on pro-bono cases. Catherine had mentioned that he and his two best friends in New York were known as the renegades because they followed their own dictates. They cared about people more than the bottom line. Right, not money, ruled them.

But was the possibility of being the sole object of his affection for a short time worth the loss of his friendship when it was over? And it would end eventually. She wasn't lovable.

Perhaps it was in her genetic makeup, or perhaps it was that she wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. As her mother had pointed out more than once, if she hadn't been the face of Harrington, there was no telling what would have become of her. Her mother, a former runway model, had managed to marry the son and only child of the founders of the House of Harrington, Aaron and Nora Harrington, before she turned twenty-three.

Dianne had no romantic prospects. There were men who wanted to have sex with her because of who she was or the way she looked or just to say they had, but none who wanted her, the woman behind "The Face." She didn't know why she felt tears prick her eyes. She bent to place her glass on the nearby table.

Alex felt a mild panic on seeing the sheen of tears in Dianne's eyes. Lawyers didn't panic. Without counting the cost, he pulled her into his arms. "Whatever it is, I'm here." The warmth of her body against his, the soft sigh, made his unsteady heart beat out a warning, which he ignored.

His hand splayed in the middle of her bare back. Her skin was softer than velvet, smooth as silk. Heat and desire swept though him. He held her closer. There wasn't anything he wouldn't risk for this woman, even his foolish heart.

In Alex's arms, Dianne felt safe, wanted. She'd experienced that emotion pitifully few times in her life. Reluctantly she pushed against the rock-hard chest and stared up into the face of the one man besides her grandfather she'd always been comfortable with.

At the moment, Alex's dark brows were furrowed with concern, his piercing black eyes narrowed intently on her face. He cared. She could build on that if she dared. But she'd always been a coward; she'd been hurt too many times when she reached out, especially to her parents.

"I guess I'm still tired from my flight today." She tried to smile, but for once her facial muscles refused to obey. "I think I'll call it a night." For a tense moment, she thought he would question her further.

"Let's say good night and I'll see you home," he said.

Persistent, stubborn, loyal. There wasn't a better man in the world than Alex. "Thanks, but I can see myself home. You aren't leaving your family and friends."

The long, elegant fingers of his right hand brushed down the bare slope of her shoulder. "You're like family."

The hot shivers that raced through her at his casual touch were at odds with his statement. She'd once thought she'd like to be a member of the loving, happy Stewart family, but she was suddenly glad she wasn't.

"You can see me to a cab." Pleased her voice wasn't as breathless as she felt, she went to say good night to the others in the room, all the time very much aware of the solid warmth of Alex directly behind her. She couldn't recall ever being so aware of him. She didn't know if it was because of her thoughts about the possibility of them becoming lovers or something else.

"Thanks for the invitation, Catherine," Dianne said to her oldest and dearest friend. She wasn't sure how her childhood would have turned out if not for the connection she'd made with Catherine and Alex. "I had a wonderful time."

"I'm glad you could come," Catherine said, hugging Dianne. Glamorous and beautiful, Catherine wore an emerald-green gown that showed off her slender figure. "I wish we weren't leaving so early in the morning so we'd have time to get together."

"Me too," Dianne said, swallowing the lump in her throat. It had been six months since they'd seen each other in person. Since Dianne's plane had gotten in so late, they'd had only a short time to talk tonight. "The next break I get, look for me on your doorstep."

"I'm holding you to that," Catherine said, holding Dianne's hands in hers.

"You're always welcome," Luke, Catherine's husband, said as he slipped his arms around her waist. "Anytime."

"Thank you." Dianne leaned over to whisper in an aside, "You definitely picked a winner."

"Don't I know it, but he wasn't easy." Catherine laughed.

Luke chuckled. "You had me from the moment you got the drop on me with the semiautomatic."

Those around them laughed as well. Luke had surprised Catherine at his cabin, and she'd greeted him with a gun. "That's my girl, always cool and in control," Dianne said.

Catherine and Luke shared a look. "Because of Luke," she whispered, and leaned into his muscular body.

"Thank God," Dianne said. Luke had rescued Catherine in more ways than one. Hugging both Luke and Catherine, she said her good-byes to the others in the room, then left with Alex.


Excerpted from A Seductive Kiss by Francis Ray. Copyright © 2012 Francis Ray. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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A Seductive Kiss 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
LadyRavenRAVE1 More than 1 year ago
Book Release Date: January 31, 2012 BRIEF SUMMARY Dianna is "The Face" of the House of Harrington, a company founded by her grandfather. She has been the a model and spokesperson for the family's D fashion line and the company since she was eighteen. With all the A list attention of the public and men, Dianna would rather the attention of Alex. Alex is her best friend's older brother that she has known since she was five years old, as well as desired for a long time. This is book 5 in the Grayson Friends series. The other two books in the series will follow Alex's best friends C.J and Sin. THOUGHTS This book was a wonderful addition to the Grayson Friends series. The story gives the reader a plot that includes friends, family, betrayal, and love. The author, Francis Ray, created a world that surely took you on a journey with both characters and their story. To everyone, Dianna is a famous model, but she isn't what she seems with all the glitz and glamour surrounding her. She is definitely a character most readers can relate to. Alex is a lawyer, who is good at what he does, but is kind and just the sweetest thing. His character was so lovable, caring and determine, to help the woman he loves. Both Dianna and Alex knew each other since Dianna was five and Alex seven. With both sharing the same feelings towards each other, this produced an interesting read. Their relationship had a sweetness to it that was shy with a bit of uncertainty, this brought out a cat and mouse game that drove Alex crazy. It was good to see their relationship progress throughout the story. Apart from the love story between Dianna and Alex, we get to read about Dianne's struggle with the Harrington Company, which was interesting and a roller coaster ride of emotions that added to the plot of the story. I also loved the message that the book touches on. Apart from the mentioning of previous friends, the Graysons and the Falcons, we were able to read and get teasers of Alex's best friends, C.J and Sin. All three are known in New York as the Renegades. The author definitely gave us an interesting story that is brewing between Summer and Sin. Summer is C.J's cousin, and their chemistry together should not be ignored. We also got a bit of C.J and Cicely. I eagerly await the next two books in the series. Story: GOOD Intimacy: GOOD & SWEET Enjoyment: GOOD Romance Novel Junkies
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was everything I could ever want and more. I have read all of Ms. Ray's stories on the Grayson family and their friends. Alex and Dianne's story was a perfect addition to Francis Ray's long standing ability to tell the heart of a story by taking the reader on a ride through life's often difficult circumstances. That we all can choose to rise above them to live wonderous lives of our choosing. I pray this book offers hope, courage and revelation to all those who chooses to read it. I know it did for me. Blessings & more
The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
When you are born beautiful and perfect it is very difficult to cope when your life turns out to be anything but. Dianne Harrington has always been the sought after model for her family’s agency never breaking a modeling sweat to get great jobs. When she is unceremoniously shown the door by the new owner Dianne has no idea what to do or where to turn. Alex is a person Dianne considered nothing more than a friend but of late he is turning out to be all that and more. When doors are slammed in her face he is right there to let her into his home and his bed. Alex and Dianne have known each other since childhood but never explored anything but friendship. While Dianne only thought of them as friends, Alex has always hoped for more. Now that Alex has Dianne in his life there is nothing going to happen to her or their relationship. Dianne jumps into a deep depression trying to find out what to do next and when she does Alex is right there to help. Pursuing her dreams is very risky but knowing the business helps and making the right connections will turn Dianne’s life around for the positive and Alex will be there holding her hand and shining the light of success on her. Francis Ray completely captures the reader from page one with a story everyone can relate to. She has written a tender and romantic story about two people searching for the same thing. How great is it that they get lucky enough to find it at the correct time. Dianne and Alex are a great couple that the reader is rooting for from day one and when you see the relationship bloom it is with quiet and gentle touch.
SavvyBookClub More than 1 year ago
A Seductive Kiss, was a good love story. It reminded me of how hard it is for successful woman to juggle a career and a relationship. Dianne get so evolved in her career she does'nt make time for love. And when she is ready, love has been there all the time. Love came in and swoop her up. But one thing for sure you can hurry love nor can you control it. This character reminds us that sometimes you have stop and evaluate our lives. Dianna had everything, beauty, brains, great career, great friends, but she lack one the main thing someone to share it with. Long time friend of family Alex Stewart always to rescue to help out his family friend. After time and time again, Alex and Dianne both realized they cant fight what is certain. They love each other. This is a welcome addition to the series. Love a good love story. A this was just that. Thanks you Mrs. Francis Ray. Always a fan. Savvy Book Club, Jackson MS.
Delran_Chick More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. The chemistry between all the characters was fantastic. It was great to catch up with Luke and Catherine from Until There Was You. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. I highly recommend this book.
jbarr5 More than 1 year ago
Seductive Kiss by Francis Ray Dianne is a top model with her familys agency who have offices all over the world. She is in NY for a week, after a shoot to meet with the new CEO and she starts up a relationship with her long time best girlfriends brother who is a lawyer, Alex, and he's always loved her but never told her. He's always been there for her. Things are going on with the business since her grandfather passed away and she hopes to find out and get them fixed. She's also designed a line for the agency for years. The meeting did not go as planned and she took several days to find out what she really wanted to do with her life, as she had gotten fired. She did her research and knew she'd be great making her new career. The sad thing to me through all this is how her parents treated her when she was younger and in her adult life. It was all about them, so sad. Money is more important to them than anything. Wonderful there are more in this series, awesome read!
OOSABookClub on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I¿m Coming Out Supermodel Dianne Herrington appears to have it all. As the face of her own fashion line within her family¿s mega fashion house, she is recognized worldwide and has the world readily available to her. The only thing she has never had is the affection of her best friend¿s neighbor, Alex Stewart, whom she has had a crush on since she was a little girl. Instead of her lover, Alex has become her friend and confidant. When Dianne¿s parents make a callous move with the family business that turns her world upside down, Alex is there to guide her to her true purpose. ¿A Seductive Kiss¿ is a wonderful love story with so much more. The growing pains that Dianne goes through are a story in itself and make this story stand out. There are characters to love and characters you will love to hate. Although this is a Grayson friend¿s novel, it is not necessary to read the series to enjoy this story. This was a well written, thought out story that progressed at an even pace to draw in readers to root for the couple¿s success. Reviewed by: Lashonda
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All the Grayson books were excellent reads!!
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful story about the friendship, romance and love shared by Dianne Harrington and Alex Stewart who had been lifelong friends before heading on a different path. My heart went out to Dianne throughout the story for her insecurities, lack of love in her life, her parent’s indifference and treatment of her as well as how she was treated by the company she worked her heart out for. Enter Alex, as the white knight, who had cared for Dianne since childhood, was always looking out for her from a young age and wanted a whole lot more than friendship but was afraid going for more would ruin it and leave him with nothing. Throughout the story my emotions ran from sadness to happiness, from disbelief to rooting for more good things to happen. There were tears, laughter, romance and love. The characters were well developed as was the plot. There was nice closure and a happily ever after but you know you’ll meet up with the various characters again in books 6 and 7 which continues the Grayson friends series. I have previously read books 6 and 7 and thoroughly enjoyed them. Reading this book which came first helped fill in some of the blanks. I look forward to reading more books from the author along with books 1 – 4 in this series. Bravo to Ray – keep the books coming! Favorite Quote:Stepping into the bedroom, he heard her sigh his name. He tried to see it through her eyes-the soft glow of candles on the dresser and night chest. A huge bouquet of roses and gardenia blossoms on a table. A bottle of Perrier-Jouet chilling in an automatic champagne server. The covers of his bed pulled back with white rose petals sprinkled on top. Posted by JoAnne on Romancing the Book. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hadn't read a Grayson novel in a while, forgot all about Katherine's brother. I had to go back and find the book to remember it. This was an excellent read. I recommend it.
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Francis Ray never disappoints!!!!
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I just finished reading it and I loved every part of it. I loved the character Alex so caring, I had someone like that in my life. I also love Dianne and Alex's relationship.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. Ray has done it again. This was a thrill to read... enjoyed every page on this book. I can't wait until the next installment.
qmmp More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story the character were easy to like and you want the best outcome for them. Once I started reading it was hard for me to put it down. I recommend this book and I can’t wait to read the next installment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago