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An Offer She Can't Refuse Kindle Edition

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Length: 191 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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See Me by Nicholas Sparks
"See Me" by Nicholas Sparks
Rich in emotion and fueled with suspense, See Me reminds us that love is sometimes forged in the crises that threaten to shatter us . . . and that those who see us for who we truly are may not always be the ones easiest to recognize. Learn more | See more from the author

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About the Author

Initially a French/English teacher, Emma Darcy changed careers to computer programming before the happy demands of marriage and motherhood. Very much a people person, and always interested in relationships, she finds the world of romance fiction a thrilling one and the challenge of creating her own cast of characters very addictive.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

'It's like a great big sail, Mama,' Theo said in awe, staring up at the most famous building in Dubai—Burj Al Arab, the only seven-star hotel in the world.

Tina Savalas smiled at her beautiful five-year-old son. 'Yes, it's meant to look like that.'

Built on a man-made island surrounded by the sea, the huge white glittering structure had all the glorious elegance of a sail billowed by the wind. Tina was looking forward to seeing as much of its interior as she could. Her sister, Cassandra, had declared it absolutely fabulous, a must-see on their two-day stopover before flying on to Athens.

Actually staying in the hotel was way too expensive—thousands of dollars a night—which was fine for the super-rich to whom the cost was totally irrelevant. People like Theo's father. No doubt he had occupied one of the luxury suites with butler on his way back to Greece from Australia, having put his charming episode with her behind him.

Tina shut down on the bitter thought. Being left pregnant by Ari Zavros was her own stupid fault. She'd been a completely blind naive fool to have believed he was as much in love with her as she was with him. Sheer fantasy land. Besides, how could she regret having Theo? He was the most adorable little boy, and from time to time, knowing Ari was missing out on his son gave her considerable secret satisfaction.

Their taxi stopped at the checkpoint gates which prevented anyone but paying guests from proceeding to the hotel. Her mother produced the necessary paperwork, showing confirmation that they had booked for the early afternoon tea session. Even that was costing them one hundred and seventy dollars each, but they had decided it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience they should indulge in.

The security man waved them on and the taxi drove slowly over the bridge which led to the hotel entrance, allowing them time to take in the whole amazing setting.

'Look, Mama, a camel!' Theo cried, delighted at recognising the animal standing on a side lawn. 'Yes, but not a real one, Theo. It's a statue.' 'Can I sit on it?'

'We'll ask if you can, but later, when we're leaving.'

'And take a photo of me on it so I can show my friends,' he pressed eagerly.

'I'm sure we'll have plenty of great photos to show from this trip,' Tina assured him.

They alighted from the taxi and were welcomed into the grand lobby of the hotel which was so incredibly opulent, photographs couldn't possibly capture all of its utter magnificence. They simply stood and stared upwards at the huge gold columns supporting the first few tiers of inner balconies of too many floors to count, the rows of their scalloped ceilings graduating from midnight-blue to aqua and green and gold at the top with lots of little spotlights embedded in them, twinkling like stars.

When they finally lowered their heads, right in front of them and dividing two sets of escalators, was a wonderful cascade of dancing fountains, each level repeating the same range of colours in the tower of ceilings. The escalators were flanked by side-walls which were gigantic aquariums where hosts of gorgeous tropical fish darted and glided around the underwater rocks and foliage.

'Oh, look at the fish, Mama!' Theo cried, instantly entranced by them.

'This truly is amazing,' Tina's mother murmured in awe. 'Your father always liked the architecture of the old world. He thought nothing could beat the palaces and the cathedrals that were built in the past, but this is absolutely splendid in its own way. I wish he was here to see it.'

He had died a year ago and her mother still wore black in mourning. Tina missed him, too. Despite his disappointment in her—getting pregnant to a man who was not interested in partnering her for life—he had given her the support she'd needed and been a marvellous grandfather to Theo, proud that she'd named her son after him.

It was a terrible shame that he hadn't lived long enough to see Cassandra married. Her older sister had done everything right; made a success of her modelling career without the slightest taint of scandal in her private life, fell in love with a Greek photographer—the right nationality—who wanted their wedding to take place on Santorini, the most romantic Greek island of all. He would have been bursting with pride, walking Cassandra down the aisle next week, his good girl.

But at least the bad girl had given him the pleasure of having a little boy in the family. Having only two daughters and no son had been another disappointment to her father. Tina told herself she had made up for her mistake with Theo. And she'd been on hand to take over the management of his restaurant, doing everything his way when he'd become too ill to do it all himself. He'd called her a good girl then.

Yet while Tina thought she had redeemed herself in her father's eyes, she didn't feel good inside. Not since Ari Zavros had taken all that she was and walked away from her as though she was nothing. The sense of being totally crushed had never gone away. Theo held her together. He made life worth living. And there were things to enjoy, like this hotel with all its splendours.

There was another glorious fountain at the top of the escalator. They were escorted down a corridor to the elevator which would whiz them up to the SkyView Bar on the twenty-seventh floor. They walked over a large circle of mosaic tiles, a blazing sun at its centre, over a carpet shaped like a fish in red and gold. Her mother pointed out vases of tightly clustered red roses, dozens of them in each perfect pompom-like arrangement. The doors of the elevator were patterned in blue and gold—everything unbelievably rich.

On arriving in the shimmering gold lobby of the bar, they were welcomed again and escorted into the dining area where the decor was a stunning blue and green, the ceiling designed like waves with white crests. They were seated in comfortable armchairs at a table by a window which gave a fantastic view of the city of Dubai and the man-made island of Palm Jumeirah where the very wealthy owned mansions with sand and sea frontage.

A whole world away from her life in every sense, Tina thought, but she was having a little taste of it today, smiling at the waiter who handed them a menu listing dozens of varieties of tea from which they could choose, as many different ones as they liked to try throughout the afternoon. He poured them glasses of champagne to go with their first course which was a mix of fresh berries with cream. Tina didn't know how she was going to get through all the marvellous food listed—probably not—but she was determined on enjoying all she could.

Her mother was smiling.

Theo was wide-eyed at the view.

This was a good day.

Ari Zavros was bored. It had been a mistake to invite Felicity Fullbright on this trip to Dubai with him, though it had certainly proved he couldn't bear to have her as a full-time partner. She had a habit of notching up experiences as though she had a bucket list that had to be filled. Like having to do afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab hotel.

'I've done afternoon tea at The Ritz and The Dorchester in London, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, and at The Empress on Vancouver Island. I can't miss out on this one, Ari,' she had insisted. 'The sheikhs are mostly educated in England, aren't they? They probably do it better than the English.'

No relaxing in between his business talks on the Palm Jumeirah development. They had to visit the indoor ski slope, Atlantis underwater, and of course the gold souks where she had clearly expected him to buy her whatever she fancied. She was not content with just his company and he was sick to death of hers.

The only bright side of Felicity Fullbright was she did shut up in bed where she used her mouth in many pleasurable ways. Which had swayed him into asking her to accompany him on this trip. However, the hope that she might be compatible with him on other grounds was now comprehensively smashed. The good did not balance out the bad and he'd be glad to be rid of her tomorrow.

Once they flew into Athens he would pack her off back to London. No way was he going to invite her to his cousin's wedding on Santorini. His father could rant and rave as much as he liked about its being time for Ari to shed his bachelor life. Marriage to the Fullbright heiress was not going to happen.

There had to be someone somewhere he could tolerate as his wife. He just had to keep looking and assessing whether a marriage would work well enough. His father was right. It was time to start his own family. He did want children, always enjoying the time he spent with his nephews. However, finding the right woman to partner him in parenthood was not proving easy.

Being head over heels in love like his cousin, George, was not a requirement. In fact, having been scorched by totally mindless passion in his youth, Ari had never wanted to feel so possessed by a woman again. He had a cast-iron shield up against being sucked into any blindly driven emotional involvement. A relationship either satisfied him on enough levels to be happily viable or it didn't—a matter of completely rational judgement.

His dissatisfaction with Felicity was growing by the minute. Right now she was testing his patience, taking millions of photographs of the inside of the hotel. It wasn't enough to simply look and enjoy, share the visual pleasure of it with him. Using the camera to the nth degree was more important, taking pictures that she would sift through endlessly and discard most of them. Another habit he hated. He liked to live in the moment.

Finally, finally, they got in the elevator and within minutes were being led to their window table in the SkyView Bar. But did Felicity sit down and enjoy the view? No, the situation wasn't perfect for her.

'Ari, I don't like this ...

Product Details

  • File Size: 395 KB
  • Print Length: 191 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0373130546
  • Publisher: Harlequin Presents (March 1, 2012)
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,590 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Loves To Read on December 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This was the first book I've read by this author and I enjoyed the setting. The majority of romance novels are set in the big three time periods/locations; Regency England, the American West, or present-day America. So it was nice to step out of those zones for a change and I'll probably look for other books by this author just for the international setting.

Unfortunately the story itself didn't really do it for me. The pacing was off, I didn't believe the romance and nothing was brought to a satisfying conclusion.

<Spoiler Alert>

The basic plot is that six years ago Tina was a naive and innocent 18-year-old Australian girl just starting out on her modeling career. Ari was an older (but it's never revealed just how MUCH older) rich playboy who came to town for his family's wine business. He then proceeded to seduce Tina with fancy dinners and talk about how special she was, and of course rock her world in the bedroom, until she was hopelessly in love with him. Once his business was concluded three months later, he bid her farewell without a backward glance, pausing only to thank her for the "charming episode".

I really wish the author had given us more details on how this breakup went down because it would have told us a lot. When Ari and Tina meet up six years later, Ari is apparently flabbergasted to find that Tina holds a grudge against him. How could he possibly have been clueless to how badly he crushed her? What could possibly have occurred in that breakup for him to not have understood how terribly he'd hurt her? I mean, did he break up with her answering machine or something? Did she just sit there silently as he bid her farewell and never cry or give any indication that she was hurt?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Reader on February 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Tina had first met Ari Zavros six years ago in Australia when she was eighteen, he wined and dined her she was madly in love with him and she thought he felt the same. Then three months after they first met he said goodbye leaving her devastated and with a lasting reminder of their liaison.
Six years later Tina is travelling to Greece with her Mother, they are to attend her sisters wedding, but while enroute in a visit to Dubai Tina is confronted with Ari, he is with a beautiful women, hoping that after all this time he will not recognise her she gets up to leave the restaurant, but Ari does recognise her and steps up to greet her, not realising that she holds a lot of bad feelings towards him. Tina blurts out her secret without thinking of the consequences. To make matters worse her sister whose wedding her and her Mother are going to is marrying Ari's cousin, so there will be no escape.
This story is set in Greece, a rare deviation for this author most of books are set in Australia, although it does get a mention as it is the home country of the heroine. I did like the story with some reservations those being we are not given the hero's age I wondered how old he was when he seduced the heroine when she was eighteen, that seemed to be pointedly left out. I also thought that the plot was slanted very much towards the hero. Having said that the heroine Tina was feisty and was determined not to trust Ari, and quite honestly I did not blame her. Lastly I was not feeling the passion in this, Tina's doubts came accross loud and clear, but not love and passion, I never quite lost the feeling that Ari's priorities for wanting to be with Tina were based on other things .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cloggie Downunder on April 16, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An Offer She Can't Refuse is the 68th stand-alone romance novel by Australian author, Emma Darcy. This is the much-told secret baby story: innocent virgin (Tina Savalas) seduced by rich playboy (Ari Zavros), falls in love, is discarded, left pregnant (unbeknownst to Ari) with baby Theo. However, Darcy manages to give it a bit of a modern twist by setting his first re-encounter with Tina and Theo at the magnificent Burj Al Arab in Dubai, and then forcing the couple together again on the beautiful island of Santorini when it turns out Tina's sister Cassandra is marrying Ari's cousin, George. Ari's parents are desperate for an heir; Ari wants Theo, and his mother, but Tina knows he doesn't love her: he could easily abandon her again (like he did after their first "charming episode") and take Theo. Can Ari somehow overcome her resistance? Darcy gives us the classic secret baby plot updated for the 21st century, with an intelligent and feisty heroine and a hero who admits his faults and understands the value of family. Apparently the Greek financial crisis hasn't affected these rich Greeks......still an enjoyable Darcy romance.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michigangirl on April 12, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is definitely not typical of Emma Darcy.

At 18 the heroine fell in love with the hero, and eventually fell into bed with him. He was pretty slick telling her all sorts of stories like, she was so special and different from anyone else, etc. So imagine her shock and heartbreak when his trip ends and he just skates off with, been fun goodbye.

Of course the heroine wound up pregnant from the incident but she never told him because if he didn't want her, then he didn't deserve to know, as a matter of fact, she sometimes got little thrills thinking of all the things he's missing.

She's vindictive and quite frankly a little bit psycho obsessed when it comes to the hero.

Now we have the hero, he's not the type of character I like. He's not your typical HP no promises hero, he's a player. He plays the game to make a woman feel like she's the most important thing when all along he's just using her for the now and looking out for the next best thing. He also thinks he's such hot stuff that all women adore and want him.

A chance meeting allows the Hero to know he's a father so now he's going to convince the heroine to marry him.

She rightfully doesn't trust him, and doesn't want to marry him, but he promises fidelity to her. As a matter of fact, he agrees to write a contract up that if she has solid proof of his infidelity, he will give up all rights to his children.

Now you may think this means he's turned a new leaf, but immediately after that *in what he admits was just his dislike in losing* he is upset about that clause and worried that the heroine will make his married life so terrible, that he'll have to go find some other women to be with. That's right, because D.I.V.O.R.C.E. isn't in the equation?
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