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A Cinderella Affair (Kimani Romance) Mass Market Paperback – July 17, 2007

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Camille Davis swung the door open with so much force the knob slammed against the wall with a bang and the three people sitting at the conference table looked up instantly.

Out of breath from running down the hall to get to the designated conference room before this bogus deal could go any further, she stood there for a moment, chest heaving, suddenly unsure of what exactly she wanted to say.

"What are you doing here?" her stepmother asked as she stood, tossing her a more than disdainful look.

As Camille's heart rate slowed her anger grew. Moreen Scott Davis, her father's second wife, was impeccably dressed in a dark blue suit with silk lapels. Her glossy black hair framed her flawlessly made-up face. She looked like the twenty-firstcentury version of Diahann Carroll. Too bad she had a long way to go to ever be that classy.

"I should be asking you the same question," Camille said, taking a step closer to the table. There were two men gaping with surprise from her to Moreen but she wasn't concerned with them at the moment. Right now her top priority was nipping the Merry Widow in the bud. A task she'd been unhappily executing for the last three months.

That's when her father had died.

Randolph Davis, multimillionaire, A-list Hollywood producer, Moreen's third husband and Camille's beloved father, died of coronary disease in Cedars-Sinai Hospital one rainy July night at nine forty-five.

Camille was ten years old when Moreen, the tall, sexy model, had come into her room on her father's arm being introduced as her new stepmother. Camille had hid her fury initially, waiting until she'd had her father alone to explode. Even then Randolph had an uncanny way of calming her down. She'd been thoroughly upset at the thought of her father with another woman but then he'd explained things to her in a way that had her thinking only of his happiness. Camille loved her father too much to ever do anything that would make him unhappy.

She only wished his new wife had felt the same way. From day one Moreen made a point of informing Camille that decisions where she, the child, was concerned could no longer be manipulated through Randolph. That would now be Moreen's job. Private schools, summer camps and endless classes on etiquette and grooming were Moreen's idea of the perfect childhood. They were Camille's idea of torture.

Camille's mother had died when she was eight, from complications of pneumonia, her father said. And for two years Camille and her father had been close, relying only on each other to survive the darkest time in their lives. The darkest time, that is, until Moreen came. Her father was completely brainwashed by the sexy vixen.

Camille hated her.

That harsh emotion spun from the brash and uncaring way Moreen had of reminding Camille that she was not her child and that she was not worthy of all her father had showered on her. Remarks like, "I don't know why we waste money sending you to etiquette class, you'll never amount to anything," "You're so plain, so unattractive," "You're too short and too pudgy," had been the norm in the Davis household.

As a result, Camille struggled with depression and roller-coaster weight loss and gain. Finally, when she was in her second year of college Camille had collapsed. She was exhausted from working as an assistant in a design house and taking a full class load, and she was malnourished from trying to be like the skinny models she worked with on a daily basis. In essence, she was slowly killing herself.

Finally, when Camille had felt as if she were at the end of her rope, she'd decided to try seeing a counselor. That was her saving grace. Her counseling sessions were private, a place where she could share her innermost feelings without fear of her father finding out and having to face his rage at her exposing what he would have termed "private matters." She told of Moreen's verbal abuse and was rewarded by the fact that she was not the cause of her extremely low self-esteem, Moreen was. But even finding the cause didn't always heal the wound.

Now she was in a face-off with Moreen yet again. Only this time Camille planned to come out on top.

"I'm taking care of business," Moreen huffed.

"You're trying to sell my father's house without my permission."

"I don't need your permission."

"I own half of that house." Camille took another step closer to Moreen and tried not to flinch at the heated waves of animosity emanating from the woman to her. "You can't do anything with that house without my approval and my signature."

Then, as if she finally decided to acknowledge the two men still sitting at the table, Camille looked in their direction and asked, "Did you know that I owned half the house? Did you know that what you're trying to do here is illegal? Do you know that I can sue the pants off you and your big brass corporation for attempting to fraudulently buy my property?"

Her heart was pounding again and she didn't wait for their answer as she swung back to Moreen. "I don't know what it's going to take for you to get through your head that he left everything…down to his socks…to you and I. Fifty, fifty. Now I have no idea why he'd do such a fool thing but I am attempting to deal with that. You, on the other hand, seem to think you can do whatever it is you please no questions asked."

"Now you just wait a minute, young lady." Moreen stepped away from the table to get closer to Camille. "I don't know what's come over you—"

That made two of them because Camille didn't have a clue where she'd gotten the nerve to jump on a plane to Las Vegas, bumrush a major corporation and interrupt a meeting she was sure was worth millions of dollars. But at the present time none of that was relevant. The only thing that mattered was saving the house she'd grown up in, the house her mother had lived in.

She'd found out that Moreen was attempting to sell the house from her best friend and business partner, Dana Palmer, whose mother ran in the same social circles as Moreen. And she'd dropped everything to get here in time to stop her. "I'm tired of dealing with your drama. Your father catered to you but I certainly will not."

"Ah, it seems that you two have some sort of personal issue going on here. But we were in the middle of a meeting and—" a male voice interrupted.

Camille paused, almost stopped breathing as she listened.

It couldn't be.

She'd dreamt of that voice.

Every night for the last six months, except for the two weeks after her father's death, she'd dreamt of that voice, that man.

The deep timbre resonated throughout her entire down her spine spreading familiar spikes of warmth in its wake.

Camille paused, then moved in a way that had her convinced the entire room had been switched to slow motion.

Their gazes met and held. "—ah, we were…" The man in her dreams cleared his throat.

It was him. From the close-cropped hair and smiling eyes to the strong jaw and not-too-thick lips. It was him and she didn't know how to react.

The man sitting beside her dream man stood. "What my partner is trying to say is that you and Mrs. Davis should probably deal with your family business at another time. We are in the middle of a very important meeting."

Moreen interrupted. "I must apologize. This is my stepdaughter, Camille Davis."

The man extended his hand and nodded. "I'm Maxwell Donovan."

Camille accepted his hand with a brief nod. He was certainly easy on the eyes with his carameltoned skin and funny-colored eyes. But he was nothing in comparison to the man beside him. The man she couldn't bring herself to look at again.

"This is my partner, Adam Donovan." Camille sighed. The man in her dreams now had a name.

It would be rude not to look at him now especially since he was also standing and extending his hand. She took a deep breath and accepted his hand as well.

In her more fanciful thoughts she expected sparks to fly or maybe fireworks to explode in the distant sky at their first touch. What she didn't expect was that warmth his voice had solicited to swirl and center in the pit of her stomach then slowly slither lower.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Davis. Since you obviously have an interest in this deal, why don't you take a seat and join us," he said in that voice that Camille swore would make any woman scream.

Camille sat, ignoring Moreen's evil glare from beside her.

"As I was saying," Max continued. "This meeting was simply to get an idea of what was on the table. We haven't made any formal offers nor has Mrs. Davis accepted anything from us. However, we have done some preliminary investigation into the property. The property is a value all by itself. And the house, while in good condition, can be worth almost double once we're finished with it. Your father was a businessman—I'm sure you would agree that he would at least entertain our offer."

"It's too much space for me, Camille. And you haven't lived there in years," Moreen pleaded.

"It was my father's house. I was born there and I grew up there. It's not for sale," she said adamantly. "If she informed you otherwise then she was out of line."

Camille stood to leave. In her mind there was nothing more to discuss.

She expected the silence. Or maybe she expected Moreen to start on one of her tirades. What she did not expect—but probably should have since this seemed to be the year of surprises for her—was the touch on her arm.

"Why don't you hear us out and then decide if you're interested?" Adam asked.

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Product Details

  • Series: Kimani Romance (Book 56)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Kimani (July 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373860315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373860319
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,233,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on July 29, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sometimes we give people control over our destiny when we allow them to treat us in callous, insensitive ways. Camille Davis listened to her stepmother's total disdain of her for years; never letting on to her father anything was remiss. Moreen Scott Davis hated everything about her stepdaughter and tried to make her life miserable. As a little girl, Moreen tried to isolate Camille from her father and if that didn't work, she used harmful words designed to make Camille feel inept and inadequate as a person. As a result, Camille had a reclusive and sedentary lifestyle, especially after her father died. Despite the negativity, Camille managed to carve out an existence for herself as a well-respected and talented fashion designer with her own house.

Adam Donovan, one third of the Triple Threat Team, has always gotten what he wanted in business and in relationships. So a deal to buy the home of the late Randolph Davis was a given. But, when he meets Camille Davis again, he knows the chance of a lifetime is about to walk out the door and his legendary charm was not working. Acting on his gut feelings, he invites Camille to listen to his plans for the estate. As the two interact, Camille proposes an alternative plan. The plan is a gutsy move, but could be a major pay off in more ways than one.

In A CINDERELLA AFFAIR, A. C. Arthur tackles with finesse and aplomb, as only she can do it, the struggles of a woman who doesn't fit the image that society has for all women. I applaud her for taking on this topic and addressing the fact that women, no matter how they look, want some of the same things--to be loved, treated equally and mutually respected. The characters were fully developed, easy to understand and follow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SoCal Gigi on September 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wow! A.C. has done it again. Adam and CK' s romantic tryst is definitely one novel that captured one's attention from chapter one to the closing sentence of the epilogue. With well developed characters and an amazing plot, 'A Cinderella Affair', is a MUST READ even though stepmothers here, are portrayed as the stereotypical evil villains.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keisha Lyons on July 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was so enticing it read well I had never heard of this author but I will definitely be buying books from a this author again I would like to know more about this writer but this book was just great a true romance story.
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This story was an example of just how verbal abuse can be sometimes more painful than physical abuse. Camille tolerated this abuse from her stepmother for all those years without telling her father because she wanted him to be happy.
Always putting someone else's needs before her own. in the end she had sacrificed her own self esteem. Now though she is confident and successful in business, her personal life is in shambles, but Adam Donovan sees a gem! And what a
beautiful and handsome prince he was. He gave her his love and encouraged her to see her inner beauty, to stand up against the evil step-mother. And the Donovans, as a family, gave Camille their unsolicited support, because that's what
they do.

Adam was so patient with Camille and reaped the reward of being patient in spite of outside influences to try and derail their relationship. Everything Adam did said, "I love you," from helping Camille out at the fashion show, to his support
during her not so glorious moments, to publicly expressing his love for her and risking humiliation. I though it was sweet of Jade and Noelle to bring Camille into their sisterhood, to provide her with a different type of support and
camaraderie the she could not get from Adam.

Well done! I absolutely loved it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nicole S. Muhammad on July 18, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved the whole story. It has made want to look the first book about Linc and I am waiting for the next book about Trent. This is a writer that I am looking forward to knowing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tangra on March 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very intense story line..I would recommend to everyone..I love this Author,very realistic in the storyline.It is is beleiveable can find that sometimes..
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Camille finds herself without a mother at a young age. This leaves her father Ronald to rise her and everything was going great until he went off and married this mean lady. Her step mother Moreen was the means women in the world that didn't like Camille at all. She did everything in her power to destroy Camille. The more Moreen hated on her the stranger it made her and Camille turned out to be a clothing designer of CK Designs of her own business. Her father dies of cancer and she is left with a fortune from her father.

One day she gets a call from her friend Dana to tell her that Moreen was going to sell her father house right from underneath her. Camille takes off to Las Vegas to stop it. With all the drama she comes face to face with a man name Adam Donovan that Moreen had hired to sell the property.
Love is in the air for Adam and Camille, but will the love survive all the drama that comes with it?

This is my third book I have read from the author and she haven't let me down yet. This is a read for the summer time if you are looking to read some romance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dylan on November 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Couldn't stop reading it. Beautiful story and very interesting. Loved everything about this book. I will continue on to the next Donovan
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