Mia Cara (A Temptation Series Book)
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Marcus Donnelly, at twenty-six, is one of the most successful and famous painters in the entire country. His masterpieces in contemporary art have sold for millions, making him quite a well-known figure in the world of Fine Arts. However, after a mishap, two years ago, he develops a painter’s block, which he’s unable to overcome. He transforms into a depressed, reclusive infuriating monster whom no one likes. Marcus has almost given up hope when he lands at a beautiful beach house on Long Island. The positive atmosphere in the house, coupled with the presence of a young, delicate girl willing to work as his housekeeper, compels him to buy the property. Will he be able to get over his block? What will happen when he falls head over heels in love with the young girl? Can he control his feelings when they turn into an obsession? What will happen when he uncovers secrets of her past life that drive her away from him? This is a rags-to-riches story of a young girl, Cara Rose Sullivan, who struggles on her own to stardom. Running away from Marcus Donnelly, the only man who loves her the most, she is soon sucked into a world of drugs, fame, power, misery, and wealth! Will Marcus be able to conquer his own battles and rescue her?
Chapter 1 Prologue - Those Blue-Gray Eyes
Thank you for selecting my story.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of my imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Copyright © Rituparna Darolia.
All rights reserved. No part of this novel may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author.
The Temptation Series deals with the beautiful and heart-warming stories of The Donnelly Brothers and their five friends, Sienna, Alyssa, Eva, Hayley, and Skylar. This is a spin-off dealing with Marcus's story. Each story is unique and powerful and can be read as a standalone book.
“Cara, I’m hungry,” said nine-year-old Vera, unable to control the hunger pangs in her stomach. Her older brothers, Adam, and Liam, immediately jumped to her rescue. At eleven, they were too mature for their age. They didn’t want to bother their eighteen-year-old sister, Cara Rose Sullivan, who already had too much on her shoulders trying to juggle innumerable odd jobs to cater to all their needs. Yet it wasn’t enough and they struggled every day for something as basic as food!
“It’s okay, cupcake, see me make milk and bread pudding for you!” said Adam. Even with their limited grocery, he always came up with innovative food ideas to keep them alive. Cara smiled, knowing exactly what he was up to. With only a cup of milk and four slices of bread left in the house, you couldn’t make any pudding, can you? However, Vera’s eyes sparkled with excitement.
“Really? I love pudding!” she said, clapping her hands with joy. Adam smiled and took out the milk from the tiny and shabby refrigerator that had seen better days when their parents had been alive. He emptied it into a pan and brought it to a boil while Vera watched with amazement. Liam brought the bread and started tearing it up into bite-size pieces. Cara sighed and wished that she could find a stable job more than the odd jobs she did.
Two months back, after their parents' death, she had to drop out of school in her senior year. Ever since she had been struggling to find a job, but all she could find were temporary server jobs at small diners in and around Hempstead Village, Long Island. She knew the job prospects weren’t good here, yet this had been their home for the last two years and she didn’t have any place to go with her young siblings. However, finding work here was turning into a nightmare for her and she started having second thoughts about living there.
“There, done! Eat up, now,” said Adam, passing his sister a bowl of the milk and bread concoction he had prepared. Without eggs, it didn’t look like bread pudding, but anything was welcome on an empty stomach.
“This is good, Adam,” said Vera, eating up hungrily.
“Cara, here’s yours,” offered Adam, handing her a bowl of milk and bread.
“I’m not hungry, Adam. You can share that amongst yourselves,” lied Cara. A knock on the main door got her attention and Liam rushed ahead of her to open the door. Of course, they knew who it could be. Aunt Maggie, their landlady! If it wouldn’t have been for their landlord, Joe Smithfield, and his kind wife, Margaret, whom they lovingly called Aunt Maggie, they would have been on the streets after their parent’s death. They hadn’t bothered them for the pending rent, and Aunt Maggie always brought food whenever she visited.
Liam opened the door and Aunt Maggie burst inside with a large casserole in her hands.
“Aunt Maggie!” squealed Vera with delight, rushing forward to hug her.
“Hello, cupcake. See what I’ve brought for all of you,” she said, handing the casserole to Liam.
“What’s in this, aunt Maggie?” asked an over-eager Liam, unable to contain his enthusiasm.
“Spaghetti Bolognese, dear. Your uncle Joe’s favorite,” said aunt Maggie.
“It’s my favorite too,” said Vera, jumping up and down.
“Don’t drop it, Liam,” said Cara, feeling grateful to aunt Maggie for saving them once again from being famished. But how long could this continue? She needed to work immediately.
“Thank you, Aunt Maggie. I do not know what we would have done without you,” she said, her voice heavy and emotional.
“Nonsense, dear. I’m doing nothing!” said aunt Maggie, waving her off. “By the way, I have a job for you. It isn’t permanent, but the pay is good,” she said, making Cara's eyes twinkle with excitement. Any sort of work was welcome for her. She had three young siblings to provide for! She didn’t want them to be taken away to foster homes!
“I’ll do any job, Aunt Maggie. Please tell me,” said Cara eagerly.
“Frederick Davenport called a few minutes back. He wants you to clean his Southampton beach house today before sunset. The house has been sold off and the new owner would arrive here tomorrow,” said Aunt Maggie.
Cara’s eyes widened at the mention of the luxurious mansion where she had gone to work a week ago. She remembered a pair of piercing blue-gray eyes that watched her all the time while she worked, but did not know who he was! In fact, she didn’t even know his name, but ever since her eyes met his, they haunted her all the time. She just couldn’t get them out of her head. Clearly, he was the most gorgeous male species on earth, and her young heart skipped a beat whenever she thought about him. She did not know why he stared at her. There was no emotion in those eyes as they quietly took her in.
“You didn’t answer me, Cara. Aren’t you interested? Mr. Davenport has specifically asked for you. The new owner is an elusive celebrity painter and doesn’t like company. So it’s just a one-time job before he arrives tomorrow,” informed Aunt Maggie. Cara thought for a while. It wasn’t likely that she would ever meet that man with piercing blue-gray eyes again! So what was the harm in cleaning up the place before the new owner arrived?
“I’ll go, Aunt Maggie, but I haven’t taken a shower yet. I have another job to go to in the evening,” she said with wide eyes. Southampton was at least one and a half hours away by train and she could never make it back on time to get ready for her evening job at Kingston Club. The Karaoke Hour before the DJ took over was her favorite thing to do and she would never want to miss it for anything else. This job was the only permanent thing in her life, something she loved doing. Although the pay was meager, she stuck on.
“You can carry your clothes and get ready at the mansion after your work is done. You can borrow the train fare from me, Cara. Return it when you get your pay,” she said, stuffing a 100-dollar bill in her hand. Cara thanked her profusely and quickly got ready for her job.
“Stay here till I return. Take your books along and study. Don’t bother her, is that clear?” she said to her siblings. They lived on the ground floor right at the backside of the house and went over to hers in Cara’s absence.
“Yes, Cara,” said the children, picking up their books and bundling them out of their home. Cara handed Adam a set of duplicate keys in case of emergencies and, carrying the other set along with a change of clothes, she locked the door and rushed out. She took a bus to the nearest train station and waited for the train. Her mind went back to the day when she had been to the Southampton Beach House last week with Maria, Aunt Maggie’s sister. Maria worked as a housekeeper in downtown New York with a very rich family and visited them sometimes. Cara loved her as much as she loved Aunt Maggie.
Her thoughts went to the gorgeous man with his blue-gray, hypnotic eyes. Would she meet him ever again? There was no doubt that he belonged to some successful family of billionaires. His whole family had arrived that day and Cara, being just a maid there, stayed out of their way as much as possible.
The train arrived, bringing Cara out of her reverie. After an hour and a half, she stood at the gates of the enormous mansion. “Good afternoon, Cara. You have 3 hours to clean up the place. I’ll lock it up and leave. The new master doesn’t want my services,” sighed the old security guard, Ben Duncan, opening the gates for her.
“That’s bad!” she said, feeling bad for the old guard.
“It’s okay, I’ll retire, I think. Now hurry,” urged Ben.
“I’ll try, uncle Ben,” she said, rushing inside. She knew the guard, having met him on her last visit here. For the next three hours, she slogged hard, cleaning up the entire house. It was really hard work and Cara was exhausted by the time she was done. She glanced at the wall clock. It was already 4:30!
She needed to go in order to reach the club on time, but one glance at her filthy hands and outfit made her change her mind. She couldn’t go to the club looking so filthy! Rudolph Sterling, the owner, would have a heart attack! Chuckling at the thought of his reaction, she picked up her bag and walked into the nearest bedroom to take a quick shower before leaving.
However, the luxurious washroom and the warm water on her body were too much to resist. Humming the tune of Taylor Swift’s You Belong To Me, she was so lost in her luxurious shower that she didn’t hear the car come to a stop outside and the main door unlock.
Cara felt refreshed from the bath and searched for her clothes. “Oh no! I forgot my bag on the bed,” she gasped. Taking out a towel, she dried herself and wrapped it around her damp body. What was the big deal? There wasn’t anyone here to see her. She could quickly change and disappear from the mansion.
Swinging the door open, she rushed out, only to collide with a pillar! Where did a pillar appear? Stunned and totally confused, she looked up, only to drown in a pair of piercing blue-gray eyes that gazed down at her! To make matters worse, the collision made the knot on her towel loosen and it fell apart, leaving her totally bare in his arms!
Chapter 2 - Fight Or Flight
Horrified was a small word to describe her state. She blushed crimson seeing the man’s eyes trail down her body. A muscle clenched in his jaws and he looked furious. Cara came to her senses and quickly stooped to pick up her towel. She wrapped it securely around her while he watched her angrily.
Was this a nightmare? She just wanted the floor to open up and swallow her whole. She was unable to comprehend where the devilishly handsome creature who had been haunting her dreams appeared from! Surely she was hallucinating!
“Is this some kind of bl*ody joke? What the f*ck are you up to? Put on something, right now,” yelled the furious object of her dreams. His foul mouth jolted her back to reality. He was very much real, and his face was just a few inches away from hers.
She saw his gaze sweep over her and he seemed to seethe with fury! Cara blushed to the roots of her hair, realizing her naked state. This was the most embarrassing moment in all her eighteen years of li
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