Home > Tempt Me (The Donovans #3)

Tempt Me (The Donovans #3)
Author: Samantha Chase

Chapter One



Ultimately, the eight-foot-tall smiling ghost was the last straw.

Liam Donovan certainly didn’t consider himself to be the kind of guy who didn’t enjoy some festive Halloween decorations, but for some reason, this year it annoyed the hell out of him.

“Hey,” his brother Jamie said with a smart-ass grin. “Nice ghost. Didn’t realize you were decorating this year.”

If it weren’t for the fact that his brother was carrying a box of glasses, Liam would have punched him.

Or tripped him, at the very least.

This so wasn’t the way he wanted to go about meeting his neighbors as he moved into his new home. But unfortunately, over the last week as he’d been going about doing some work on the house before he moved in, the yard decorations at the house next door just got progressively more obnoxious. Even now as he stood in the middle of his front yard and glanced over at theirs, he couldn’t believe anyone would go to that much trouble to decorate for Halloween.

And then there was the ghost that wandered onto his property.

Yeah, that was the last straw.

Liam had picked this particular house because of the neighborhood and the fact that each home had a decent amount of space between them. He was looking forward to the privacy and not having anyone living right on top of him.

And that included inflatable ghosts.

“Dude, you know I don’t mind helping you move,” Jamie said as he walked back to the moving truck, “but you have to at least give a hand.” Chuckling, he went and grabbed another large box before heading back into the house.

He hated that his brother had a point and, with more force than necessary, he kicked the ghost back over to his neighbor’s yard. He’d talk to them later about boundaries and property lines.

“Should have gone with a newer subdivision with an HOA,” he mumbled as he grabbed one of the boxes from the truck. “I could complain to them anonymously and go about my day.”

When he got out of the Marines a few months ago, one of his first goals was to buy a house. He’d been renting an apartment in town that he’d kept for years, even though he rarely used it. The logic had been that he wanted a place to come to and have some privacy when he was home on leave. With four siblings, it was important for him to be able to come back and visit and see everyone without having to stay in his childhood home and sleep in the same bed he’d grown up in. Everything had fallen into place and gone so smoothly that he’d felt like he’d hit the jackpot.

And now this.

“What are you frowning about?” his sister Ryleigh asked as he put the box of dishes down on the kitchen counter. “We’re all working and things are getting done. I thought you’d be thrilled.”

“Just…thinking,” he murmured before turning and walking out of the house again.

“It looks like the Halloween version of Candyland over there,” his other brother Patrick said as they worked together to heft a sofa out of the truck.

“Don’t remind me.”

With a small laugh, Patrick picked up his end of the sofa before they carefully made their way down the ramp.

“You should have warned me about this,” Liam grumbled.

“About what? That your neighbors celebrate holidays?”

He had a point, but…

“As my realtor, you should have pointed out this sort of thing to me. It’s an eyesore and if I’d known about it, I wouldn’t have bought the house.”

“Bullshit,” Patrick retorted.

“Excuse me?” He wanted to drop the sofa and argue this out, but he was the guy walking backwards while his brother was pushing forward.

“Liam, be serious. Are you saying you would have passed on this house because a neighbor puts up holiday decorations? I mean, I know you’re uptight, but that’s ridiculous. Even for you.”

That made him laugh. “I’m uptight? Dude, you are the king of uptight.”

Grinning, his brother shook his head. “I learned from the master. You.”

They put the sofa down in the living room before pausing and staring at each other. Maybe he was just itching for a fight because it seemed like everyone was grating on his last nerve. He was about to say something—definitely not an apology—when their mother walked in with a big smile and announced that she had lunch for everyone.

“Finally!” Jamie called out before running over and taking the box of food from her. “Your eldest child is working us all to death! He hasn’t allowed us to even take a break! I’m telling you, it’s almost criminal.”

“Seriously?” Liam huffed with annoyance. “What about on the ride over here?”

“That was a twelve-minute drive,” Jamie countered. “I’d hardly call that a break.”

“My poor baby,” Kate Donovan cooed as she patted her youngest son’s cheek. “You’d think a strapping young man like yourself could handle this sort of thing. After all, wasn’t that what you told that pretty girl the other night at the pub?”

Everyone stopped and watched as Jamie’s cheeks turned a little red.

“Wh…what are you talking about?”

“Jamie, please,” she said as she poked around the kitchen, looking in all the boxes. “There isn’t a night that goes by that you’re not flirting with one girl or another. You’re the town Casanova and everyone knows it.” She shrugged. “Of course, there are some things a mother doesn’t need to hear.”

“Mom…what the heck?” Jamie hissed.

“What?” she asked with amusement. “The cute blonde who was hanging on your every word Thursday night. She wore that very low-cut pink blouse and practically put her breasts in your face.” Pulling out a stack of napkins, she went on. “You mentioned something about your stamina and…”

“Mom!” he cried. “Oh my God! You were listening to that?”

And just like that, Liam’s foul mood dissipated a bit.

Stepping into the kitchen, he kissed his mother’s cheek and figured he’d help his baby brother out a bit. “Thanks for bringing lunch over. I’m sure things are busy at the pub, so…”

“Nonsense. We have a wonderfully competent staff and I always have time for my family,” she told him as she began pulling food out and placing it on the counter. “I brought you a bacon cheeseburger. Patrick, I made you a turkey club. Jamie, I got you the Swiss and mushroom burger. And there are fries and drinks for everyone.”

Behind them, Ryleigh cleared her throat. “Um…hi,” she said with a hint of annoyance. “Did you happen to bring anything for me?”

“Of course I did!” Picking up a container, Kate handed it to Ryleigh. “I made you a nice salad with grilled chicken and the light dressing on the side. Use it sparingly.”

“What? Why? Why do the guys all get burgers and I get a measly salad?”

“Your jeans look a little snug.”

Now it was Ryleigh’s turn to cry out in frustration. “Mom! Jeez! These are not snug!” Tugging on the waistband of her jeans to prove the point, she let out a low growl before walking out of the room.

“Are Arianna and Will here?” Kate asked as she looked around. “I didn’t think I saw their cars, but I brought lunch for them.”

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