On Equal Terms

On Equal Terms
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An adult desire…Sebastian Ferrari had accused Kate of being a spoiled, selfish child and his harsh words had made her angry. Why couldn't her stepbrother accept that she'd grown up and changed? Her feelings for him were certainly different - her teenage infatuation had deepened into very adult desire… .Kate knew that she was more than ready to meet and work with Sebastian on equal terms. She was no longer a girl; she had to convince him that now she was all woman and that she wanted an affair - with him!

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I’m spoiled?

Kate spoke through gritted teeth, hurt that Sebastian should see her needs so easily filled by material wealth. Her father had given her everything but love.

“That’s right.”

“I had everything, did I? Everything money could buy—”

Sebastian stopped her. “We’re not playing the role of poor little rich girl, are we, Kate?”

“I only ever wanted one thing, Sebastian, and you took that,” she told him, her eyes fixed in confrontation. “You robbed me of my partnership in my father’s company.”


was born and has lived all her life in Manchester, England, where she is a happily married woman with five demanding children, a neurotic cat, an untrainable dog and a rabbit. She spends most of her time either writing or planning her next story, and without the support and encouragement of her long-suffering husband this would be impossible. Though her heroes are always wonderfully handsome and incredibly rich, she still prefers her own loving husband.

On Equal Terms

Catherine O’Connor


KATE’S heart gave a sudden lurch. She watched in quiet desperation and disbelief as the formidable figure came striding towards her. She clutched the starched sheet in her tense fingers; the harsh cotton crackled but yielded little, despite the fierceness of her grip. Her knuckles turned white as her grip tightened still further, and her stomach twirled uncontrollably as Sebastian drew closer, coming to an abrupt stop in front of her.

‘Kate,’ he bit out, his tone clipped and curt, his sensuous mouth twisting into a bitter smile as he silently acknowledged the effect he was having on her. At the sound of his familiar voice Kate’s eyes widened and her heart leapt into her dry throat as she stared at the sight of her stepbrother at the end of her hospital bed. She couldn’t believe he had come for her and a spark of hope flickered inside her, warming the blood that now flowed quickly through her veins.

‘Hello,’ she managed in a breathless whisper, her head swimming and her heart beating out an increasingly rapid tattoo. She searched his face, her eyes aching with the effort as she sought some indication of affection, but his features were unreadable, a bronze, lifeless mask bereft of any expression.

‘I’ve come to take you home.’ His voice was freezing cold with icy indifference that made Kate’s chest contract painfully. ‘Now!’ he snapped at her with customary arrogance, and Kate had to prevent herself from nodding in agreement to his brusque order. The passing hope that he cared for her vanished as she recognised the familiar grim look.

‘I’m not coming home,’ Kate said firmly, trying to put a strength into her voice that she did not feel. She had only been in a minor road accident but she had been left bruised and badly shaken. The words were barely audible but he had heard them, and a sudden anger stiffened his jaw, a gleam illuminating his icy blue orbs with a spark of frosty light. His body was rigid as he kept an iron control.

‘I’m not here to argue with you, Kate,’ he told her, with a disapproving shake of his head. ‘You’re coming home, and that’s final!’ he said tersely, pulling open the bedside cabinet and throwing her clothes in a jumbled heap on the bed.

‘You can’t make me,’ she protested indignantly. She was still recovering in hospital; surely he would not be allowed to take her home, especially against her will? Her eyes darted furiously around the open ward but there was no one in sight to help her. The patients were either asleep or in the day-room watching afternoon television.

‘No?’ he said softly, mocking her, as his eyes followed hers and scanned the desolate ward. He shrugged dismissively as his brows rose in derision.

‘The doctors won’t allow you to take me,’ she pointed out, trying to be forceful, her voice cool—yet already she was beginning to panic. She knew just how ruthless her stepbrother could be! He had taken up partnership with her father, a partnership that by rights should have been hers. She certainly did not feel strong enough to stand up to him; her head was already beginning to ache as all the old bitterness swelled up inside her.

‘On the contrary, my dear, they are more than delighted that I am taking responsibility for you,’ he told her, the sense of victory ringing clearly in his tone. He fixed his icy blue eyes on her once more, a dangerous light flickering in their depths. ‘Now dress,’ he ordered curtly, pushing the pile of clothes closer to her. His expression was now crystal-clear and Kate read his disapproval; he did not like her new style. She made a protective grab for her clothes; they might have lacked the designer labels she had been used to, but at least she had afforded them without relying on anyone’s help.

‘Your taste in fashion certainly has changed,’ Sebastian taunted.

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