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Prize of a Lifetime (Arabesque) Mass Market Paperback – September 22, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Arabesque
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Kimani; Original edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373831684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373831685
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,572,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Donna Hill is the Essence bestselling author of Divas, Inc., In My Bedroom and If I Could. She is a public relations associate for the Queens Borough Public Library and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her website at www.donnahill.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The letter weighed heavily in Sasha Carring-ton's purse. For two weeks she'd carried it around like a talisman, still not believing the words she'd read over and over at least a dozen times. The only person she'd shared her good fortune with was her best friend, April Harris, and only because it was April who'd insisted that she submit her name and qualifications. Sasha had been reluctant to say the least. I've never won anything in my life, she'd groused to herself even as she'd sealed the envelope and dropped it in the mailbox more than five months earlier. Now her future was only a plane ride away, that is, if she could ever get off work, tie up some loose ends and pack her bags.

The instant Sasha spotted Brenda sauntering through the door, she signed off her computer with a swipe of her Summit Hotel identification card. She purposely ignored Brenda's syrupy-sweet greeting which she should have given almost an hour earlier. That was no one's fault but John Ellis, the manager, Sasha inwardly fumed. Brenda got away with murder and John turned a blind eye. Had it been her coming into work even ten minutes late, he'd be threatening to write her up.

"Anything I need to know about reservations?" Brenda asked while she settled in behind the counter.

Sasha cut her a look sharp enough to slice glass. "Guess what, I really don't have the time to explain—with you getting here so late and all," she added just loud enough for Carol, the reservation-ist at the end of the counter to hear.

Brenda flushed momentarily and tossed her head, flipping her very expensive weave over her shoulder. "Fine." She dismissed Sasha with an arched brow, put on her commercial-ready smile and moved into greeting mode as a handsome, well-dressed man approached the desk.

Sasha sighed as she watched Brenda work her usual spell around him, the way she did with every man who came within sniffing distance. His soft brown eyes didn't even register that Sasha was on the same planet. She retrieved her purse from beneath the desk, said goodbye to Carol and pushed through the revolving doors and out into the humid Savannah evening. She adjusted the strap on her purse higher on her shoulder and headed for the parking lot across the street from the four-story hotel.

"Humph, humph, humph," a man who appeared to be in his early thirties murmured as she passed. "Love a sistah with some meat on her bones." He licked his lips like the wolf with Little Red Riding Hood on his plate.

Sasha's stomach flipped when he grinned, baring a row of missing teeth. She shook her head and kept walking, trying not to let the obvious get her down. A fine looking businessman walks into the hotel and doesn't blink in her direction, yet a toothless, my-job-is-to-stand-on-this-corner man gives her a big shout-out. What is wrong with that picture? she thought as she deactivated the alarm on her car.

She slid behind the wheel, leaving the door open while she turned the ignition of her ten-year-old Honda Accord in the hope of releasing some of the tightly-packed heat trapped inside. She pressed the button for the air conditioning and inhaled a blast of hot air.

"Damn, it's hot." She pulled open the glove compartment and took out a wad of napkins that she'd collected from her various pit stops. She flipped down the visor mirror and peered at her reflection before dabbing her face. Hmmm, she needed a touch-up—badly. And when was the last time she'd tweezed her brows? She'd all but chewed off her lipstick. No wonder the only catcall she could get was from a toothless hobo. She flipped the mirror back in place.

When the car had sufficiently cooled she closed the door, buckled up and headed for her second job—the family catering business, Carrington Caterers. Between her real job at the hotel, the evenings at the family business and the classes two weekends per month for her certification in Hospitality Management and Food Preparation, it was no wonder she looked the way she did. She didn't have a moment to spare for herself, or for anyone else for that matter. Neville, her ex, simply couldn't understand that she wanted more than to spend the rest of her life at the beck and call of someone else, working at something that would never be her own, which was why their ten-month relationship had ground to a halt. She had a plan for herself and she couldn't be distracted by anything or anyone that was not part of her plan.

It was bad enough that she was off target by two years. By thirty she'd wanted to have finished her advanced degree and have her business off the ground so that she could tell the folks at the Summit Hotel just what they could kiss. Then she could buy that little house she'd had her eye on for almost five years.

In another six months she'd be finished with school and her business plan was almost completed, she mused, feeling mildly placated as she turned onto Charles Street. She zipped through a yellow light and made a right at the next corner.

She truly loved Savannah. She loved the way the late-afternoon sunlight showcased the scenery outside her window. She loved the antebellum architecture, lush greenery, landmark mansions and quaint shops. She was a Southern girl to the bone. She'd been up North a few times—New York specifically—to visit relatives. It was certainly a fabulous place, with nightlife that never seemed to end. But before her week-long visits were over, she was always ready to come home. The hustle and bustle of the Big Apple shaved a good five years off her life. The madmen behind the wheels of yellow cabs, not to mention the ludicrous policy of moving your car from one side of the street to the other on alternate days. She chuckled at the memory of her Aunt Linda jumping out of bed and running outside in her pajamas to move her car in the morning. And the noise never seemed to stop: honking horns, music blasting from car windows and she couldn't imagine that the police and the fire department could possibly be called as often as they were in New York. It was a great city to visit, but she could never live there.

The bright blue-and-gold awning with the double C logo for Carrington Caterers loomed ahead. Sasha slowed, eyeing the street for an open parking space, the closer to the front the better. She zipped her midnight-blue Honda into a spot vacated by a gas-guzzling Suburban, beating out a Lexus by a mere bumper.

Sasha bit back a chuckle and kept her eyes straight ahead as the Lexus crawled by her. She could almost feel the cuss words bouncing off her driver's-side window. She turned off the car, gathered her purse and tote bag and went inside as quickly as she could, eager to get out of the sticky heat and into the cool interior of the family domain.

CC had been in business for more than twenty years, starting off in her mother Grace's kitchen on Kennisaw Road where she did "favors" for close friends who were having small gatherings or surprise family events. Grace Carrington's homemade soul-food dinners and desserts became so popular that she outgrew her kitchen and rented the space CC now occupied. Once they were old enough, Sasha and her younger sister, Tristan, helped out. Their dad, Frank, who also knew his way around a stove, handled the books and the deliveries.

Fortunately, the recession had been kind to them. While many businesses in downtown Savannah were suffering or had closed, CC still managed to do well, all things considered, and maintained a profit. Grace firmly believed that food was the best comforter in good times and more so in bad. However, with more people becoming health-conscious and a flurry of government studies on obesity in the U.S., Sasha had been trying to convince her mother and her sister to broaden their menu to include some healthy alternatives. She urged them to serve more than the fried, buttered, gravy-laden, ham-hock-seasoned, sugar-coated foods that CC had built its reputation on. Grace and Tristan were not interested.

Sasha opened the heavy wood door and was greeted by the mouth-watering aroma of CC's famous seasoned collard greens. Her stomach jumped in delight, but she fought back the urge. For the past four months she'd quietly embarked upon a lifestyle change, cutting back or eliminating many of the foods she'd grown up on. It was a struggle, but she was slowly winning the battle, having lost nearly twenty pounds for her efforts. Her mother's high blood pressure, her sister huffing and puffing over the simplest activity, not to mention her Aunt Shelia's heart attack a year earlier had put Sasha on notice. She'd gone from a solid size eighteen to a curvaceous size fourteen. She had plans, and she wanted to be around to see them fulfilled, and if she had to take her mother and her sister with her kicking and screaming, she was going to make sure that they were around to enjoy her success.

"Hey, Charise. My mom around?" Charise was Sasha's first cousin on her mother's side, her Aunt Shelia's daughter. She came in after school to help out a couple of days a week.

Charise was busy on her iPhone. She didn't make a move without it, and she barely glanced up. "In the back." She angled her head toward the kitchen.

"Thanks. How's school?" She patted her cousin's shoulder as she came around the front counter.

"Graduate next year," Charise said, as if by rote.

Sasha smiled, shook her head and walked toward the kitchen. At least Charise was still in school and didn't have an infant on her hip like so many of the young girls in the city.

"Hey, Mom."

Grace looked up for an instant from her task of rolling dough for the crust of her famous peach cobbler. "Hey, baby. Hand me that brown sugar," she said with a slight lift of her double chin.

Sasha did as she was asked to the tune of banging pots and stirring spoons coming from the other side of the wall that divided the baking area from the ovens, supervised by Clyde, the only person who wasn't family that Grace allowed in her kitchen. "Hey, Clyde," she called out.

Clyde pok...


More About the Author

My official writing career began in 1987 when my first short story was published. My first novel, Rooms of the Heart was published in 1990. Since then there have been a slew of books and short stories that I've had published, from romance to women's fiction, chic-lit, erotica and mysteries. I enjoy them all. Three of my novels were adapted for television so that was exciting. I've had the honor of conceptualizing and editing several collections: After the Vows, Midnight Clear, Where There's a Will, Indecent Exposure, and The Hot Spot. I currently write full time and live in Brooklyn, NY with my family.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
Donna Hill is a great romance writer.
pencil thin
She gives us a couple with real strengths and weaknesses, making them own up to their downfalls before their true density can take shape.
D. Dalton
Highly listed on my list of recommendations.
D.C.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Dalton on June 27, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Donna Hill writes a fun seductive novel about love, prizes, and competition. Hill has created two characters that have you cheering for both sides of the competition. Can this couple win the prize and the love?

When Mitch Davenport life took a turn for the worst he watched both his business and the woman he thought would be there forever fall apart. But in the midst of tragedy Mitch has been offered the opportunity of a lifetime, giving him a chance to rebuild his life and regain all that he lost plus more. But before this can happen, Mitch has to learn how to accept life and all its surprise.

Sasha Carrington has always dream of having her own and making her mark on the world. When Sasha is offered the opportunity of a lifetime, she never expected to find a man who not only sparks her interest but also wins her heart. The question still remains will her need for independence overrule her heart or will she choose and allow them to have it all.

In Prize of a Lifetime, Donna Hill turns up the heat with this amazing couple. She gives us a couple with real strengths and weaknesses, making them own up to their downfalls before their true density can take shape. Definitely, another Donna Hill hit.

Reviewed by Missy
For Sexy Ebony Book Club Reviews
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By WellRed on January 21, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was pleasantly surprised with this book and I definitely got more than a bargain priced book. Sasha has always lived someone else's dream (mainly her families) but her best friend talks her in to entering a reality competition where the winner gets a hotel/resort of their choice to run and manage. This has been Sasha's dream to have her own resort business. On her way to Antigua to the competition Sasha catches the eye of the most handsome man she has ever seen Mitch Davenport. Mitch and Sasha get off to a rocky start but later they both decide to try again. There are so many sparks between the two of them but both have past that prevent them from thinking this is more than and Island affair. Little does either one of them know that they will be competing against each other in the reality show. As you read you find yourself asking will winning beat out romance. You must read to find out.....
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Trahan on October 23, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a great twist for a reality show contestant. The book definitely made me want to have a romantic getaway to Antigua and visit the sites the characters visited. A very interesting love story. I couldnt put it down until I knew who would be the winner on the show. I could not decide which character i was pulling for to win, I only knew I wanted the two of them to get together. I was never certain how Donna would pull it off, but as usual her ending was wonderful for both characters...and for her readers. What a twist of fate!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patty Cake on January 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was really interesting which only goes to show you that with faith and determination and hard work you can achieve anything.
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By Mz. Diva Dee on February 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I couldn't get my eyes off this book. I was happy, sad and angry at the same time. I recommend this book to anyone.
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By D.C. on December 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This page turner definitely answers the call. Hot and steaming, it had me checking last minute getaways'. The characters are well developed and full of real substance. I can't remember any filler. The story gives hope to the down trodden and love lost. Highly listed on my list of recommendations. Thanks for sharing Ms. Hill.
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By sunflower04 on December 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read other books by Donna hill so this one I knew would end happy. But it's great to see happiness instead of violence
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