Secret Love (Arabesque)

By: Brenda Jackson

Acknowledgments




To my husband, Gerald Jackson, Sr. and my sons, Gerald Jackson, Jr. and Brandon Jackson. Thanks for your understanding and support. You make writing my stories easier.



To my family and friends, who continue to give their undying support.



To my avid readers, who believe in me and the work that I do. This book is for all of you.



To my Heavenly Father, who makes all things possible.





THE MADARIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS SERIES





Dear Readers,





I love writing family sagas, and I am so happy that Kimani Press is reissuing my very first family series, the Madaris family. It’s been twelve years and fifty books since I first introduced the Madaris family. During that time, this special family and their friends have won their way into readers’ hearts. I am ecstatic to be able to share these award-winning stories with everyone all over again—especially those who have never met the Madaris clan up close and personal—in this special-edition collectors’ series.





I never dreamed when I penned my first novel, Tonight and Forever, and introduced the Madaris family, that I was taking readers on a journey where heartfelt romance, sizzling passion and true love awaited them at every turn. I had no idea that the Madaris family and their friends would become characters that readers would come to know and care so much about. I invite you to relax, unwind and see what all the hoopla is about. Let Justin, Dex, Clayton, Uncle Jake and their many friends transport you with love stories that are so passionate and sizzling, they will take your breath away. There is nothing better than falling in love with one of these Madaris men and their many friends.





For a complete list of all the books in this series, as well as the dates they will be available in a bookstore near you, please visit my Web site at www.brendajackson.net.





If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter, please visit and sign up at www.brendajackson.net/page/newsletter.htm.





I also invite you to drop me an e-mail at

[email protected] I love hearing from my readers.





All the best,





Brenda Jackson





Prologue




The telephone rang—loudly, repeatedly.

After about the fifth ring, Jacob Madaris bolted upright in bed when the shrill sound finally infiltrated his sleep-entrenched mind. He took a deep breath, dragged a hand across his face then reached out to grab the phone before it reached its eighth ring.

“Yeah?” he said, glancing at the illuminated clock on the nightstand. It was three in the morning.

“Jake, it’s Sterling.”

There was a peculiar sound in his good friend, Sterling Hamilton’s, voice that made Jake throw back the covers and move to sit on the side of the bed. He could think of only one reason why Sterling would be calling him at this hour and sounding so strange. Jake’s heart suddenly began racing and knots began forming in his stomach.

“Diamond,” he said raggedly, almost fearful. His mind suddenly clamored with images of what could be wrong. “What is it? What happened?”

Sterling, to Jake’s way of thinking, didn’t respond quick enough. “Answer me, Sterling!” He was on his feet now and his voice had escalated to a shout.

“Calm down, Jake. Diamond’s fine, but—”

“But what!”

“She needs to come home.”

More images, worse than the ones before, flashed through Jake’s mind. “What happened? For Pete’s sake, Sterling, what happened to Diamond?” The racing of Jake’s heart increased.

“Someone broke into her home…and tried to attack her.”

“What!” After that explosion several earthy expletives poured from Jake’s lips.

“Jake, she’s okay. Diamond’s fine, Jake. Listen to me, she’s fine.”

But Jake Madaris was past listening. “Who was it? What happened?” One hand balled into a fist at his side, and the veins in his neck nearly popped.

“Some obsessed fan climbed over the wall and came in through a window, Diamond’s bedroom window. Luckily she was able to get away from the intruder and call the police.”

Jake closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Thank God for that. “What about the security system? I thought that place was wired tight.”

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