Crashing Hearts is due for release in January. Here's a little tease with the first few pages.
Kira Nichols pushed back her hair as the crisp salt air
blew it across her face. She walked up the path—her sneakers
leaving small impressions in the soft sand—to the cul-de-sac.
At the empty lot across from her house, the foundation had
been capped over and abandoned for about a year now.
She sprang into a run at the rumble of a sports car arriv-
ing at a fast clip. She arrived at the cul-de-sac at the same time
the vehicle skidded to a stop. She caught her breath as the
lean, ruggedly handsome man exited his vehicle. The smile he
flashed her was one she imagined had many women melting at
Kira squared her shoulders and approached him. Her five
foot two inch frame seemed minute compared to his at least
six foot stature. She willed herself to appear calm and not give
away that her senses had completely left her at the sight of
“Grant Rutledge.” He extended his hand to her. His deep
voice, like a shot of brandy, was warm and soothing. She
swallowed hard, her anger forgotten for a brief second. Then
it flared back and she ignored his hand. “Do you have any idea
that there are children in this area?” she demanded, planting
her hands on her hips.
“My apologies if you felt I was going too fast.” He gave an
exaggerated glance around. “There aren’t any children about
now.” He smiled that smile again and in spite of her anger,
her heart melted. She started with the realization he still had
his hand extended in introduction. She tentatively shook his
calloused fingers. Tingles shot up her arm and she struggled
with not yanking her hand away. Heat flooded her face. She
prayed he couldn’t tell.
“Again, I apologize. I hope you wouldn’t think I have no
regard for children.”
Kira turned to go. “I just know the type.” She gestured
absently at the car. She forced herself to walk slowly towards
her house, feeling his eyes on her back. Her mind whirled.
She had practically melted at the sound of his voice. Her
cheeks reddened at the thought of him watching her walk
away—thankful she had stayed in shape.
The solitude of the cul-de-sac was the reason she origi-
nally loved this spot. Her house had been the only one in this
two-lot area for six years. She hoped the new construction
company would be considerate and not disrupt the serenity,
and keep working hours to normal business hours, hours
when Jared was in preschool.
She thought back to the long hours they kept when they
put in the foundation. Jared had been unable to sleep due to
the noise and disruption of his routine. Hopefully this time
around the noise wouldn’t disturb him. He was just beginning
to sleep through the night.
If only she could.
* * * *
Jared ran up the walkway to meet Kira, signing furiously:
“Who is that man?”
“That is Grant Rutledge,” she signed back. “He is going to
be building the new house, so you will need to stay away
from the construction site.”
Jared’s hands and fingers flew in his excitement to know
about the new house, and the fast car he saw.
“Jared, use your words.” Kira ushered him into the
“Yes, the car was red, and it’s very fast, so you must stay
away from there.”
Kira found Barbara’s eyes over Jared’s head, and gave her
the “I have so much to tell you” look.
“Time to get ready for the day, Jared,” Barbara interjected.
Jared skipped off to the bedroom happily, and Barbara
handed Kira a cup of coffee.
“Spill. I saw him. It wasn’t the fast car that made you
come into this house so quick.”
Kira, glaring at Barbara over the coffee, walked slowly to
the sliding doors overlooking the ocean. “What happened to
the quietness of our lives? Why do I feel like it is gone?”
“Is it gone?” Barbara asked. “Or just stirred up a little? I
think maybe you’ve been holding onto grief and bitterness for
so long that you don’t have any idea how to look objectively
at life. Before you say it, I’m heading for the kitchen and not
saying another word. Nevertheless, before I go, let me just
say out of love for you, Kira, darling, Patrick’s been gone for
four years now. You’ve built your life around Jared, and
that’s great because Jared needs you. However, there comes a
time when you need someone also, someone besides Jared
and an old lady like myself.”
“Barb, it’s not like that.”
“Honey, you’ve been holding on for so long, and don’t
tell me you’re not angry with Patrick for the way he left the
night of the accident. Kira, I’m angry with him. He never
should’ve left that way. You had it just as tough as him, if not
more, with the crying. He was the father. He should have
been here right beside you.”
“Stop! We are not going to rehash that night and we certainly aren’t going to blame Patrick. He’s gone and nothing is
going to change that.” Kira looked toward the ocean and for-
got about her coffee and Barbara. For a moment she lost track
of the here and now and drifted off into the peace of the
Something caught Kira’s eye, and she turned to see Grant
taking measurements, preparing for the construction. Feelings
she hadn’t felt in so long flooded her as she watched his dark,
wavy hair blow in the breeze. Half sighing, half growling to
herself, she turned from the window. Distractions were not
what she needed now. There was a routine to follow.
For Jared’s sake.
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