Corporate mogul Shane Donovan sees the ultra-cool, collected Cecilia Riley as an ice queen--even if he can't deny that, on the surface, she's a work of perfection his body can't ignore. Forced to spend two weeks in the same house for his sister's upcoming wedding, Shane senses that deep down Cecilia mirrors his need. And he's determined to draw her into a sexy game that will melt away her reserve. . .
Losing is not an option. . .
Career-driven Cecilia Riley has just enough free time in her schedule to head out of town for her brother's wedding. But her agenda is thrown for a loop by the presence of Shane. Though his over-confident attitude leaves a lot to be desired, his insanely hot body has kept Cecilia up nights. Unsure what game Shane is playing, Cecilia takes the bait, bent on resisting him at all costs.
But as Shane and Cecilia discover, temptation follows no rules. . .
About the Author
Despite going through a light FM, poem writing phase in high school, Jennifer never grew up wanting to be a writer (she had more practical aspirations of being an international super spy). Then one day, suffering from boredom and disgruntled with a book she’d been reading, she decided to put pen to paper. The rest, as they say, is history.
These days Jennifer can be found sitting behind her computer, writing her next novel, chasing after her kids, keeping an ever watchful eye on her ever growing to-do list, and NOT checking out her husband.
Read an Excerpt
The Winner Takes It All
By JENNIFER DAWSON
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Dawson
All rights reserved.
"We got the lead story." Nathaniel Riley's voice sounded over the car speaker.
The news didn't surprise Cecilia. Reporters don't shove a scoop like this to the back page, especially since it gave them another way to trot out the "senator recovering from a blackmail scandal" angle.
Cecilia stabbed the speaker's volume button until it lowered to a reasonable level. "Then everything is going according to plan."
"I trust you're happy." Her father's purring tone made it clear that he, at least, was one satisfied cat.
She clenched the leather steering wheel.
Happy. Now there's a word. When was the last time she'd been happy?
Stop. This was not the time to get philosophical. If she wanted a chance in hell at winning the congressional seat come election time, this was what needed to be done.
It was the smart move.
And she needed to win.
She'd get over the distaste curling into a knot in her stomach. She always did.
A green highway sign came into focus. Revival. Fifteen Miles. Where everything was sunshine, laughter, and genuine happiness.
Her skull throbbed.
"Cecilia?" Her father's voice fractured her thoughts. "What did you think of the article?"
She didn't read it. This morning, she'd thrown the unopened paper in the trash and deleted the Google alert links sitting in her e-mail. It was a fluff piece, carefully crafted by the senator's finest. The first of many that would lead to a final press conference where she'd announce her bid for congress. It was all part of a perfectly planned public relations strategy, designed by her.
A fine sheen of sweat spread over her back. She punched down the air-conditioner button in her understated Mercedes sedan and let the cool air wash over her face.
"Paul did an excellent job." After years avoiding the truth, the evasion was smooth as silk.
"Since you were unavailable, Miles and I had final approval," Nathaniel Riley said in his polished politician's voice.
"Of course." While her tone rang with a practiced strength, her stomach rolled. What was wrong with her? She needed to get it together. This was the price her dream demanded. She wasn't losing anything really important. Nothing that mattered.
Life in politics was all she'd ever wanted. When other little girls were pretending to be princesses in faraway lands, she played at being president in the Oval Office. It was the only dream she'd ever known.
She'd been content putting her career aside for her father's aspirations, but that ended when his scandal broke. She'd sat at her kitchen table, reading that dreadful headline, and saw her whole world crumbling under her feet.
The young woman who'd attempted to blackmail the senator had eventually been caught and her schemes exposed, but not without damage. Cecilia had managed the fallout to perfection, minimizing the whole sordid affair, publicizing how he'd been a victim of greed. It worked, the senator was well on the road to political recovery, but she couldn't shake the worry.
This wasn't the first mess she'd helped him escape. At some point his bad decisions would have to come back and bite him. And where would that leave her?
It had been a slap in the face. A wake-up call delivered by a five-alarm fire truck.
"I'm proud of you, Cecilia," Nathaniel said, and she could practically see him sitting there in his office in Washington, scotch in hand, smug in his oversized leather chair.
Six months ago she would have lapped up his approval like a grateful puppy, but now she recognized the lie. He wasn't proud of her. This latest plan helped him. How, she wasn't sure and didn't care, but it had nothing to do with her.
It never did.
The truth only made her more determined.
A speed limit sign whipped past and she checked her speedometer to see the needle creeping past eighty-five. Easing her foot off the pedal, she started to say thank you for his sparse compliment but instead blurted, "Don't you have any reservations?"
"We talked about this," he said in a patient tone that grated on her last nerve. "This is your best shot."
Clammy sweat broke out on her forehead, forcing her to turn the air down to arctic levels. Wasn't thirty-three too young for a hot flash? She swallowed the taste of the bile clinging to the walls of her throat. "It doesn't bother you?"
"Why would it?"
Because I'm your daughter? The truth pained her, causing her voice to crack. That he hadn't even noticed she was upset made the cut that much deeper.
She shook her head. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered except getting out from under his thumb. She squared her shoulders. "Never mind. Is there anything else?"
A momentary silence fell over the car, filled with nothing but dead air. She prayed for a dropped connection (one would expect it in farmland Illinois), but the squeak of Nathaniel's desk chair quelled her hope.
"Are you almost there?"
Her jaw tightened and her ever-present headache beat at her temples. "I'm about fifteen minutes outside town."
"And your mother?" The question was clipped.
Part of Cecilia still wanted to believe that under all his bluster and power trips he genuinely cared for his wife of forty years, but she had no more delusions. "She's already there."
The green mile marker sign came into view. Revival. Twelve Miles.
She hadn't been to the small town since her grandma's funeral.
A sudden, unexpected tightness welled in Cecilia's throat and she swallowed hard.
"I see," he said and another silence descended.
She dreaded spending the next two weeks in a house filled with strangers, watching her brother fawn all over his bride-to-be. Not that she begrudged Mitch his happiness, she didn't, but witnessing it caused a strange yearning she didn't want to contemplate.
She gripped the steering wheel, tight enough her knuckles turned white. "I still think a couple of days before the wedding would have been plenty."
"Cecilia," Nathaniel said, in his patient tone. "Voters love a wedding and we need the family solidarity. This will help your image."
The logic couldn't be refuted, but she tried anyway. "And two or three days doesn't accomplish that?"
"Under normal circumstances, yes, but with Shane Donovan already at his sister's side and that football player on his way, it doesn't look good if we're not there."
An image of Shane snapped through her mind like the lash of a whip. He was one of Chicago's corporate giants, and his sister's impending marriage to the senator's notorious son had been a hot topic on a slow news day. If it wasn't for him, she'd be home where she belonged.
"So you get to stay in Washington but I have to play nice," Cecilia snapped.
"I'm in committee," her father said.
The whole situation annoyed her and she spoke without thinking. "And God forbid the voters find out your wife and son aren't speaking to you."
"That's enough. I'm still your father."
Something tightened in her chest. Was he? He didn't feel like it. She straightened her shoulders and modulated her tone to neutral. "All I'm saying is I'm not sure it's necessary."
"Trust me, it's necessary."
She laughed, a hard, brittle sound. "Trust you? You almost ruined your career."
"But I didn't," he said, his voice cold as ice. "I'm doing what I need to do, and if you want to win, I suggest you do the same."
She fought it—the pull that longed for his approval—but the habit was too old and her anger too new. She took a deep breath. "I understand."
Sometimes it was best to concede the battle to win the war. Or at least that was the political spin she sold herself today.
"Good. Remember the plan."
Ah yes, the plan. She ate, slept, and lived the plan.
Revival. Eight Miles.
Excerpted from The Winner Takes It All by JENNIFER DAWSON. Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Dawson. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was great! Loved it!!
enjoyed the book very much
ARC generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Everyone has a dream as a child of what they want to be when they grow up Cecilia Riley's was different then anyone elses, she didn't want to be a princess or a world famous rock star. She wanted to be a politician, ever since she can remember. She has worked her entire life to get to a position where she now finally has a chance to get her life's dream. Cece in simple words is complicated as well fiercely guarded. She has worked tirelessly to achieve a dream she had since she was a child, that just shows how strong, intelligent and independent she is. But what is doesn't show is that beneath that ice-queen exterior is woman who wants someone to understand and love her even though she believes herself to undeserving of it. Cece at that start of the book is a very different woman than the one that finally gets her happy ending. At the start she is conflicted and stuck in a place where she feels she has no choice but to go through with it. Throughout the book we see the 'real' Cece and see her development from a womam with only a dream to the fun, slightly emotional, loving but still a very strong and intelligent woman. I really liked her, I thought I wouldn't with how she was at the start but she won me over completely. Shane Donovan is the very handsome Corporate mogul but he isn't without his own issues. He is caretaker in his family which is why he tends to be bossy and believes that he's always right. Shane was wonderful, he loves his family very much and would do anything for them because of his childhood he feels like he has constantly make more money for his family and always feels slightly threatened that it would all go away. He's a workaholic. Shane is a genuinely good guy, who did everything in his will power to make his families live better in any way he could but nevertheless can't help but feel that he failed them. Cece and Shane have disliked each other from the first time they met at their siblings engagement party. Now those siblings are getting married and they are stuck in one house for weeks. Cece is the groom's sister and Shane is the bride's brother. I loved Cece and Shane together. From their first scene in this book their connection and chemistry was evident. They are literally opposites of each other from the way they interact with others to which football team they support. They both have very strong wills though, neither is willing to back down. Their relationship was funny, exciting, at times emotional and passionate. Their banter was also wonderful to read. They both cared and loved each other so much and were willing to do and give up so much for each other. Shane brings the best and worst (its a matter of opinion) in Cece making her more human. From the moment Shane sees that Cece is more than the ice-queen she pretends to be, that she feels attracted toward him as well, it's game on. Some of the best scenes were of them baiting and teasing each other. It bears mentioning again Wow! that chemistry was explosive. The secondary character were also interesting and very intriguing. I cannot wait to read Gracie and James book (who FYI will be getting the next book in the series) because they are opposites too and I do love that trope in romance. I really liked the realistic scenario of a child's dream and the way that the parents impact the child's behavior from an early age. Just because you have a dream of being a politician as a child shouldn't make you feel forced to follow that dream later in life especially when you no longer know what you want to do, in that path lies misery. Quibbles: The day I don't have a quibble, that's the day hell freezes over guys. Firstly I hated Cece's father with a passion, what a bastard he was. Using his daughter as a scapegoat and treating her like an accessory to be used when needed and discarded when not. Secondly, [spoiler]this is a personal preference, the whole picture thing of Cece and Shane is something I'm very uncomfortable with especially considering the huge impact other pictures had in the plot [/spoiler] and lastly I just felt like Cece's family namely her mother and brother, they should have been there for her and not made her feel like an outsider though they do come around. This is the first time I ever read a book from the author and this book will definitely not be the last. Overall, I loved this book. This book was a gem! It had it just the right amount of everything you love in a romance, strong and sexy leads, a interesting plot and it left with a happy sigh. I really look forward to reading the next book in the series. Though this is the second book in the series Something New but it can be read as a standalone. I hadn't read the first book but it didn't effect my enjoyment of this book at all. Happy Reading!
Loved it - talk about opposites attracting each other! Cecilia is seen as an ice queen, but Shane sure knows how to melt her! What starts out as insane chemistry, leads to something much more special. I loved seeing Cecilia evolve into the woman she was meant to be instead of the the woman she thought she wanted to be. I have found a new book boyfriend to add to my collection - talk about a dirty talker! Sexy & funny, this book will keep you entertained for hours! This is a must read if you like hot sex, dirt talk and happy ending. I am now a big fan of the author and look forward to the next book, perhaps about Shane's brother James and Gracie? eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Do you like books about love, political blackmail, and a dysfunctional family? Then look not further than The Winner Takes It All by Jennifer Dawson. This is an intriguing read that will keep you engaged from beginning to end. Cecilia Riley is a wonderful character. She may come across as an ice queen, but she is truly a loving and caring person deep down. Her father is a very powerful, ruthless, and self-involved Senator, whom Cecilia has worked for since she finished law school. Cecilia dreamed of being a politician ever since she was a little girl, in addition to aching for her father's approval on just about anything. Presently, her job is to clean up all the messes or scandals her father is involved with, both personally and professionally, which she does with great success and finesse. When she finds out the man she loves may lose his shirt, she steps up to the plate and takes his enemies down, while fixing her own life in the process. Shane Donovan is the type of man every woman would like to call her own. After his father died, he became the patriarch of his family, and built his construction empire through hard work and sweat, while ensuring his mother, sister and brothers were well taken care of. Shane has a good heart and truly cares about his family and his employees. He always had a soft spot for Cecilia, even though her outer shell appeared to be indestructible. Shane is an alpha male, through and through. With Cecilia's brother marrying his sister, Shane is stuck with her in the same house until the wedding day. One thing leads to another and they find themselves in a relationship, which is more than just casual sex. This is a well-written book of lust, love, and politics, that twists and turns in all the right places. Cecilia and Shane are an amazingly hot couple, and their heat is more than tangible. They are tremendously steamy in the bedroom, on the counter, and against the wall. I immediately connected with Cecilia and Shane, and there was never a moment that I did not want them to end up together. The secondary characters are unique in their own right and add a ton of interest to the present happenings. Overall, a great read. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Loved this one!!! Abortion is a tough subject since we all have strong feelings one way or the other but I felt the author did a great job presenting both sides of the subject and it doesn't feel like an overly heavy story. It is incredibly well written filled with emotion on every page. Kara Marcus is a young woman who is working to deal with the affects of that decision. It touches every aspect of her life and she needs to come to terms. Her budding romance with Colt is at risk so it is the time in her life to deal with her past. This story will definitely touch your heart. I highly recommend it.