Home > Dare Me (The Donovans #1)(5)

Dare Me (The Donovans #1)(5)
Author: Samantha Chase

Liam’s plan for when he returned to Laurel Bay was to form a construction company and his first project was going to be a tiny house community that would either be some kind of fishing resort or perhaps a fifty-five and over one. Either way, it sounded fascinating. Will had an architectural engineering degree and he knew the two of them could really do something amazing together, but the thought of being that close to Arianna and not being with her was really holding him back.

“Before we switch gears,” Will began, “let me ask you something.”


“What if…say…your sister…”

“Which one?”

“Either one.”


“Let’s say your sister meets a guy on her own and he’s older than her,” Will said cautiously. “What if he’s a genuinely good guy and you scare him off because you’ve got it in your mind that he can’t be good for her because of his age? Have you thought of that?”


His eyes went wide. “That’s it? Just no? Liam, come on. You can’t be so closed-minded.”

“Look, I get what you’re trying to say, but…I don’t know. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal for Ryleigh, but any guy older than Arianna? It would just feel a little creepy. I’ve beaten the crap out of several good friends just for looking at her.”


“O-kay, so…”

“Why are we still talking about my sisters when we have a serious business opportunity ahead of us?” Liam asked as he took the seat across from Will. “I really think you and I have a chance to make this great. Why aren’t you as excited about this as I am?”

There was no way he could answer honestly, so he had to go with some of his other concerns.

“For starters, I think this is going to take a lot of time and capital to get this project off the ground, Liam. Neither of us has sat down with a bank or lawyers or whoever else we need to, so…I’m just hesitant to make a decision to move someplace where things might not work out.”

Nodding, Liam considered him. “That’s fair. And I realize Laurel Bay isn’t a big city, but you’ve always said how you hoped you could settle down in a small town. And trust me, Laurel Bay is as small as they get.” He grinned. “Personally, I think it’s exactly what you need.”

“I can’t imagine there’s a lot of real estate there…”

“You can crash with me. I’ve got a two-bedroom apartment that I plan on keeping only for a short time, but then you’re more than welcome to it.”

“Why? Where are you planning to go?”

“Not only have I been looking at real estate for our project…”

“Your project,” Will corrected.

“Our project,” Liam stated firmly, “but I’ve also been looking at houses for myself. I’ve spent so many years here in the service either living in barracks or tiny apartments. Before that, I grew up in a small house with four siblings. I’m really looking forward to buying a place of my own and having a yard and not sharing walls or rooms with anyone.” His smile grew. “And I think I’ve found a few places that could work. My brother Patrick dabbles in real estate and property management and he’s going to help me out.”

“Oh, well…good for you.”

“What about you? Are you interested in a house? Condo? Do you want to rent or own…?”

“Hard to decide until I know where I’m going to land. I joined the Marines right out of high school, and I guess back then I always thought I’d go back to Oakland.” He shrugged. “With my mom gone, there’s no reason for me to go to the West Coast, but…”

“Then you should try the East Coast!” Liam exclaimed.

“But…I haven’t given myself the time to really think about it. Part of me thought this day wasn’t going to come.”

“Seriously? Why?”

Another shrug. “I don’t know. I think I was still considering just staying in so I wouldn’t have to decide. And with no family to go home to…”

“Well, that’s just stupid. I’m telling you, Will, you need to at least come home with me and just spend a few weeks in Laurel Bay. It’s not like you’ve got anything else planned. Just check it out and come with me to look at property—both for the project and for my own personal home purchase—and if you totally hate it there, I’ll let it go.”

It wasn’t the worst idea, but…

No, wait. It was the worst idea. It wouldn’t matter if he went with Liam for a few weeks or a few days or even a few hours. Being around Arianna would be torture and there was no way he’d be able to avoid her.

Hell, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to.

Maybe if he could just see her and explain why he did the things that he did…

She’d still end up hating him.

Probably more than he hated himself for it.

“Plus, I have a huge family!” Liam went on. “I guarantee you, once my mother meets you, you’ll be one of us!”

Yeah, that so wasn’t the way he wanted to become part of the Donovan family…

But…it also had merit.

Maybe if the rest of the Donovan family saw that he was a decent and trustworthy guy, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing for him to start dating Arianna properly. They could have the kind of relationship they should have rather than cramming a month’s worth of dating into a single day.

Okay, maybe he could get on board with this plan of Liam’s. He just had to make sure he didn’t appear too eager.

“What about financing?” he asked casually. “You don’t know anything about my financial situation, just like I don’t know anything about yours. How is all of this going to work? Especially if you’re also looking to buy a house.”

“I’ve had the down payment for a house put aside for years and I’ve lived very frugally during my time in the service. So the house is a non-issue. As for a business loan, I don’t see that being an issue either. If we present a solid business plan, there shouldn’t be any problems. As veterans, we’re eligible for plenty of programs. And with a veteran business loan…”

Will nodded. Of course his friend would have this all figured out. Everything in him wanted to say yes, but…what if Arianna had moved on?

And why wouldn’t she? You never kept in touch.

Yeah. That.

There were so many variables in play here that it wasn’t such an easy decision to make.

Actually, it was downright difficult.

“Tell you what,” Liam said, interrupting his thoughts. “Just take tonight to think about it. Tomorrow we’ve got a lot to do with packing up and all that. Promise me you’re going to seriously think about it.”

“I will. I promise,” he said, and hoped this conversation was over. What he wanted most right now was some time to himself to actually think without Liam yammering on and pressuring him.

As if reading his mind, Liam picked up his phone and stretched. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to call my baby brother and threaten to strangle him if he keeps on setting our sisters up with his friends.” He clapped Will on the shoulder. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

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