HEARTWOOD BY J.H.CROIX
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Download your copy HERE 👇🏻!
Audio → https://geni.us/AudibleHeartwood
Series Page → https://hearteyespress.com/wotn#/speakeasy-taproom/
Cover Design: Elle Maxwell Designs
About the Book:
She needs a fresh start. He wants a second chance…
My new job as a chef in a small town was supposed to be my ticket to peace and quiet. I didn’t expect to run into the former hockey star who gave me the hottest nights of my life. And, oops, he’s sort-of my new boss. So much for keeping my past where it belongs.
Ty still thinks I’m the fun party girl. He has no idea how much things have changed. One thing that hasn’t changed: the spark between us. It’s hotter than the blowtorch I use on my crème brûlée.
I’m already keeping secrets, so what’s one more? Our tryst is forbidden, it’s fun, and it gets complicated as fast as you can say “check, please.” I didn’t expect to have a future with Ty. And I definitely didn’t expect to have a baby with him.
Some falls are harder than others. But it depends on who’s there to catch you…
Belle’s wide brown eyes held mine, and I wanted to lean over and kiss the freckles on her cheeks. Uncertainty flickered in her gaze, but it passed quickly. She surprised me by lifting her hand and smoothing a fingertip over one of my eyebrows. Her lips curled in a small smile as her hand fell to rest on my chest. “It was messy,” she explained.
She nodded, blinking as her cheeks went a little pink.
“Well, thank you then,” I offered somberly.
She bit her lip and laughed. I took the moment to let my eyes absorb the sight of her. With her flushed skin, her bright eyes, and her swollen lips, she was disarmingly delectable. Hell, I could’ve gone another round right then. I hadn’t been living as a monk, but I also hadn’t exactly found much time of late for women, much less women who got to me the way Belle did.
If I was being honest with myself, no woman got to me like Belle. She was singular in her ability to set me on fire. We were just that good together. It was easy and fucking hot.
Just then, I noticed she was still wearing her skirt. I chuckled, and she asked, “What’s so funny?”
“We never got your skirt off.”
She grinned, and a sly look entered her eyes. “Maybe not, but at least I got my panties and boots off.”
I laughed, and she traced circles on my chest with a fingertip. I lifted a palm, needing to touch her. I smoothed it over the sweet curve of her shoulder, my eyes landing on the tattoo at the top of her shoulder blade. With her angled toward me, it was just visible. “This is new.” It was a heart, drawn as if carved into wood, the lines of the grain etched in varying subtle shades of brown and gold. “It’s beautiful,” I added.
“How do you know it’s new?” Her big brown eyes lifted to mine, a saucy hint contained there.
“Because I would remember if you had it before. I didn’t forget anything about you.” The moment I said that, my heart gave a tricky kick. Belle had this way of sliding right through my defenses. I revealed perhaps too much with that comment.
She blinked as a wash of pink bloomed on her cheeks. She swallowed, her lashes sweeping down again. “I didn’t have it before. My father’s a woodcarver in his spare time. I always loved watching him on the weekends when I was little.” Her lashes lifted again, vulnerability flickering in her gaze for a flash. “It’s to represent heartwood. That’s the densest and strongest part of the tree.”
I absorbed that as I traced the edges of the heart with my fingertip. “It’s beautiful,” I repeated.
Quiet spun out between us. She dipped her head, nipping lightly on my shoulder. I shifted closer and laid another kiss on her, for no other reason than that I loved kissing Belle. She had a sassy tongue, and she never hesitated to throw herself into kisses.
When I drew back, she asked, “Is this when I find a way to gracefully depart?”
“Hell, no. I’ve got you for the whole night.”
Her throaty laugh rang out, and I pulled her on top of me, kissing her again because I wanted her, and I wanted to dive into her fire. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to think too hard about just how fiercely I wanted her to stay.