Tanya Michaels’ Synopsis

Going All the Way

Charming, intelligent, successful, and born to an esteemed Savannah family of privilege, David Grant gets what he wants. But now, he has to convince longtime friend Serena Donavan that she wants him .

Friends since college, Serena and David parted ways when she stayed in Atlanta to open her own events-planning service, and he took a job in Boston after getting his MBA. When David stopped through Atlanta the previous August, the last thing he expected was to end up making love with Serena. It was the most erotic night of his life, and he doesn’t want to return to a strictly platonic friendship. . .despite Serena’s insistence that the evening was a mistake. A patient and confident man, he planned to eventually woo her to his way of thinking, until she e-mailed that she’d begun seeing someone.

Now, however, fate is giving him the perfect opportunity to win her over. She’s broken up with her boyfriend, and David’s company is relocating its corporate headquarters to the popular city of Atlanta. How can Serena possibly withstand a Savannah Grant and fate?

He surprises her by showing up at her office, and the sexual tension between them is as sharp as when they last saw each other. Over dinner, they have a great time, and she’s tempted to invite him to bed to end her frustrating dry spell–until recently, she’d been dating a touring
artist who’d been gone too often for her to have a satisfactory love life. But the one night she and David have already shared shook her too much to risk another casual night of passion. She has no future with a Savannah Grant.

Her parents’ marriage (and bitter divorce) taught her that while opposites may attract, they don’t settle into peaceful happily ever afters. Though her father had once claimed to love Serena’s free-spirited, artistic mother, he’d later tried to shape her into an appropriate housewife. Conversely, the “stability” that Serena’s mom had loved about her husband became “stifling.” Serena moved out with her mother, who raised her daughter to be equally unconventional, and saw less of her father each passing year. Now Mr. Donavan is about to marry the conservative, refined woman he probably should have been with all along, a woman who only makes Serena feel more self-conscious.

So, while Serena admits that the passion between her and David burns brightly, she fears being hurt by it. Sure, he might find her bold sense of humor and vivid sense of style refreshing, even sexy, but for how long? He’s on the verge of a major corporate promotion, and spends time at stodgy black-tie events. Does he really want to be with a woman who has a pierced belly button and lives in a converted school building in one of Atlanta’s funkier neighborhoods? Eventually, he’d try to change her. . .or wish he’d chosen someone more compatible.

Despite all this, when David comes to take Serena apartment hunting with him, they end up kissing and stop just shy of making love. Serena wonders if, in future, maybe she should avoid being alone with David the way a recovering alcoholic avoids the bars in Buckhead. Frustrated with her stubbornness, David returns to Boston just long enough to pack his belongings and finalize some arrangements. A preparatory business meeting gives him
an idea: If Serena thinks romance is his goal, he’ll even never have the opportunity to present his case. But if they have a reason to work together, he can seduce her into giving them a chance.

His employers wants to announce their presence to the Atlanta business community in a positive way, and David hires Serena to help him coordinate a charity fundraiser–a bachelor auction. He insists on working with her for this important event. Serena’s company needs the income and publicity a job like this could bring, and she can’t help admitting she’d like the
professional confidence booster. Her step-brother-to-be is a surgeon, and his older sister is a judge. Serena isn’t ashamed that she throws parties for a living. . .she just wants them to be really kick ass parties. She consents to organize the event, on the condition David doesn’t metion their making love.

He agrees. But if, while they’re engaged in a harmless activity like picking out the perfect table linens, he should inadvertently do or say something that reminds her how good they were together, well, she never forbid that. Serena begins to wonder if the sexual vibes she’s
picking up from her friend are deliberate or the product of her own imagination and repressed desire. Is she reading too much into his words and gazes?

When she finally has enough evidence of his guilt to confront him, he unapologetically kisses her, daring her to deny her attraction to him. Serena is later crushed when David buys her a gift–a sleek black cocktail dress for her to wear to the fundraiser. It’s exactly the kind of garment she would expect to see on wealthy corporate wives, and nothing like what she would have picked. His kisses, she thinks, come at a cost.

The night of the bachelor auction, David, who is emceeing the event, surprises everyone by putting himself up for “sale.” Serena tells herself she isn’t going to bid on him but, goaded by a visiting member of his mother’s country club, she impulsively does just that–winning
him with some help from a friend. Desperately wanting to give in and make love to David, Serena rationalizes a change in strategy. Maybe instead of fighting their physical relationship, she should go to bed with him and prove that’s all they have. Lust, definitely, but no future.

She’s entrapped by her own plan when, after a stolen weekend of being David’s lover, she can no longer deny her love for him. During the following week, though, she ends up staying at his place, since he’s working such long hours, and even finds herself preparing dinner a couple nights in a row so they can eat together when he gets home.

She experiences a twinge of panic over the domesticity and the way he shifted her seamlessly from the apartment she adores with its history, character and faulty plumbing to a modern condo with every convenience and no personality. When an important potential client is in town for one night, David cancels an evening at an avant garde performance art exhibit with Serena and her friends. He makes it up to her when he crawls into bed with her in the middle of the night, but by the harsh light of day, she can see all her fears coming true a mile away. It’s time to walk away from the affair, but first she has to get through her father’s wedding.

David escorts her to her to the event, which has her miserable and on edge even before a guest is overheard asking what on earth a Savannah Grant would see in Serena. In the car afterward, David tries to assure her that he doesn’t care about their differences in background or economic status, but is so dismissive of her concerns that he comes across as condescending and insensitive. Provoked, she tells him that of course he isn’t worried about money and prestige–he’s always had them.

He’s had most things in life handed to him on a silver platter, including her. In school, he had contacts of his family’s falling all over themselves to offer him work. Even in his courtship of her, he’s used position and finances to his advantage, paying her a price she knew he couldn’t turn down to plan the auction. He spent a lavish amount on their “date” together. Serena doesn’t want to feel bought and paid for; she wants to be understood, and to have her worries taken seriously. She ends their relationship by telling him that watching her father’s happiness with his new bride–recalling his absolute misery with her mother–was a final
reality check.

Losing Serena cuts David to the quick, but he tried, dammit. He did everything in his considerable arsenal, and she’d only held it against him. He is not going to grovel on top of everything else. Ultimately, he has to accept that it’s Serena’s choice and that not even a Savannah Grant gets his way all the time.

When Serena is later discussing the wedding with a friend, she realizes how bad her mood has been. The situation with her estranged father and his well-meaning but intimidating wife had been upsetting Serena long before David showed up. Even if she and David weren’t meant to be together romantically, he didn’t deserve everything she’d said. She calls him to apologize, but he informs her that he’s not willing to carry on a safely distant friendship by phone or e-mail. He tells her he loves her and wants all of her, especially her heart. If she’s not willing to go all the way, he’d rather she left him alone. Her choice.

Conflicted, Serena finds herself alone in her apartment, thinking that it’s times like these when it would be nice for a girl to have her mother to talk to. But Serena’s mother, who’s always had a “seize the day” philosophy, is somewhere in South America, with her latest boyfriend. Mulling over her mother’s spotty romantic history, Serena wonders where she’ll be in thirty years. Still drifting from relationship to relationship? She was brought up to believe in “living life to the fullest,” but does that mean grabbing every opportunity–and
lover–life throws at you, or knowing when to grab that one special lover who comes along and hold on tight?

Serena’s still nervous about a future with a Savannah Grant, but figures she has little left to lose. Besides, fear has already jeopardized her friendship with David. She goes to his office and tells him she loves him. He thinks this is a good start but warns her that one day, he might push for even more–like a lifetime commitment. Winking at him, she challenges,
“Give it your best shot.” He assures her that Savannah Grants always do.