Today, I’m hosting award-winning and bestselling author Aria Bliss and her latest release Healing Hearts, book one in the Hearts of Watercress Falls series, a steamy contemporary romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
Two broken hearts.
A pain so strong it’s embedded in their bones.
And an unspoken attraction they can’t ignore.
Two years ago, a tragic accident left Camille heartbroken, alone, and stuck with the one label she never wanted in life—Widow.
In need of a major life change, she leaves her Savannah, Georgia home for the Rocky Mountains in northern Montana. She needs more than a distraction to take her mind off all she’s lost. She needs a new life, a new home, and a new beginning.
A mountain chalet, with amazing views of the Rockies, is exactly what she needs to refocus her life and her writing career. Just like her life, the chalet needs a major renovation, but that’s fine by her. The hard work will do her good.
She carefully planned out every detail of her move—the location, the design for the renovation, incorporating her writing career into her new home, and connecting with the local community. But the one thing she didn’t plan for was Adam.
When Adam decided to leave his promising Chicago career behind and move home to be closer to his family, he never expected to end up divorced in the process. His ex-wife said she supported his decision and wanted the same life he dreamed of having—a simple, small town life with lots of kids.
But she lied.
Fifteen years later, and he still struggles to find success as an architect in the small mountain town he calls home. It’s been even harder to find a life partner to share that life with. But it’s a life he loves despite living it alone.
His career starts to look up when an old client from Chicago invites him to bid on a mountain resort concept at the same time someone hires him to renovate a historic chalet. With these two projects on his portfolio, his career success would be secured.
But when chemistry sparks between him and the beautiful, smart woman who bought the chalet, a lot more than his career starts to improve.
Note: In this heartfelt, second chance romance, Camille falls hard for Adam, the man she hired to renovate her new home. Can she allow her broken heart to heal and accept the love he willingly offers? Or will she close herself off and doom herself to a lifetime of loneliness and pain?
Note 2: Healing Hearts is a steamy STANDALONE romance filled with lust, language, and love with a HEA ending!
My jaw drops at the sight of Adam’s office. I’m not sure what I expected—or if I even had any expectations to begin with—but it certainly isn’t this modern, sleek building that looks like something Frank Lloyd Wright might have designed. The clean lines and sharp edges are striking, but it’s the way the edges blend into the mountainside that’s most remarkable. It just fit. That’s the best way to describe it.
I thought it odd when my GPS had me turn in the opposite direction of Watercress Falls when I left the chalet. Instead of heading toward the closest cluster of businesses in a forty-mile radius, I headed into the mountainous terrain behind my home. It’s only a ten-minute drive, but unexpected nonetheless.
Now I understand. Nothing this beautiful can be achieved on Main Street. It’s a perfect showcase of Adam’s architectural skills.
I put my car in park and grab my bag. For the first time since moving to this small country town, I feel dressed for the occasion. My clothes are fancier than this town is used to, and I get more than my fair share of stares when I visit Sweet Cakes. I don’t own a single pair of jeans or anything flannel. Not that there’s anything wrong with jeans and flannels, it just isn’t how I was raised. It feels good to find a place I’m comfortable in the clothes I love.
One day, I’ll have to give in and buy a pair of jeans and cowboy boots. I’m not sure about the flannel, but there are probably other shirts I’ll love that are more fitting for this environment. I chose to move to this world, and as such, I’ll have to make an effort to fit in.
I step inside the door and gasp. The inside is more beautiful than the outside. The first thing I see is a solid rock wall with a trickle of water running over its surface. The way the building is built against the mountain, leaving the natural rock exposed, is gorgeous. The rest of the room consists of light walls and darkly stained, rough plank wood floors. It’s the perfect complement to the natural rock wall. It’s awe-inspiring and if an ounce of this look and feeling makes it into my house, I’ll be ecstatic.
I spin on my heels to take in the rest of the room, but my eyes lock on Adam, and everything else fades into the background. He’s leaning against a hallway entrance with a faint grin on his face. His casual lean projects confidence with a slight touch of arrogance. I pinch my lips and swallow the whimper that threatens to escape. I’ve gotten used to seeing him in a nice button-down shirt and jeans, but today he’s wearing a perfectly tailored charcoal gray suit with a pale green dress shirt and dark green tie that brings out the green in his eyes. His gaze challenges me with a dare to comment on his current ensemble, but I’m speechless. He’s hot.
We stare at each other for what feels like an eternity. The silence drags out and borders on uncomfortable. If he didn’t know the effect he had on me before, he certainly knows now. So much for maintaining a calm, neutral demeanor around him.
He pushes off the wall and saunters toward me, his gaze raking down my body. He stops just a few feet away and smiles. In a low, gravelly voice that makes my knees wobble, he says, “What do you think?”
“Um … you … you look … nice,” I mutter.
“Thanks.” He laughs. I squeeze my eyes closed. Shit, he meant the building.
When I open my eyes, he’s still smiling. The intensity in his gaze lets loose a swarm of butterflies in my belly. I shouldn’t be getting butterflies, should I? It feels like a betrayal to Mark, but then again, he wouldn’t want me to give up on life because he’s gone. We talked about this years ago and agreed that if one of us passes too soon, the other is free to live a happy life. No lifelong mourning allowed. Yet, I’m still not ready to let him go.
I don’t know how to feel about this attraction to Adam. My mind says it’s wrong, but my body isn’t listening. I can’t decide if I like this feeling or not … but I think I do.
He runs his fingers through his hair and strolls around the room. My eyes track him like a predator’s study prey. He makes a full loop before he turns his heated gaze on me.
My face warms and must be turning fifty shades of red, but I hold my eyes on his, mesmerized by his appearance. My eyes sweep down his form, and I immediately regret it. I’m not prepared to process how his appearance makes me feel. This is all too new, too raw. I clear my throat and force myself to meet his stare. I started down this path, I might as well own it. So, I say, “Well, you do look good. This look suits you.”
“Just good?” His teasing smile grows.
I laugh. “You’re always dressed so casual. I wasn’t expecting to see you in a suit. Plus, I haven’t seen a man in a suit in, well … It’s been a couple years.”
“I don’t wear one often. I had another client meeting scheduled after yours, and let’s just say his expectations are high.”
“Had?” I give him a quizzical look.
He shakes his head with disappointment. “The bastard canceled. Got me all dressed up for nothing.”
“And here I thought you got all dressed up for me.” I cross my arms over my chest and fake a frown.
“You don’t seem to mind my jeans and boots.” He shortens the distance between us, and my breath catches. He towers over me, and I suddenly wish I wore my three-inch heels. I’ve never felt so small before in my life. Or so turned on. Why in the hell am I turned on? “But now that I know you like the suit, I’ll reconsider my attire for future meetings.”
My mouth runs dry, and I have to remind myself to breathe. He’s standing close enough that I can feel the warmth radiating from his body. It takes every ounce of my control to not wrap my arms around his waist and press his hard chest against me.
When I realize I am enjoying the feelings he’s invoked, everything goes sour. My late husband’s face flashes before my eyes, and a chill runs down my spine. What the hell am I doing?
My heart aches with guilt, yet I have no reason to feel guilty. My husband died over two years ago, but guilt consumes me, nonetheless. I shouldn’t be thinking like this.
But this thing between Adam and me is much more than thoughts. He’s standing within arm’s reach with the same desire in his eyes that I feel burning through my body. I want to make him mine.
Desperate to increase the space between us and refocus on the reason I’m here, I step back. “This building—this room—is gorgeous. I assume this is your work?”
A hint of excitement sparks in his eyes before he clears his throat. “Yes. After I moved back home, I figured the best way to showcase my skills was to design and build my own office space.”
“It’s beautiful. I particularly love this rock wall. The way you let the natural lines of the mountainside guide and enhance the rest of the design is genius. And choosing a spot with a waterfall is a nice touch.”
He walks over to the wall. With a thoughtful gaze, he gently brushes his hand over the surface disrupting the flow of water. “You’d be amazed at how many people assume I created and carved this wall.”
“Really?” I can’t imagine how anyone could think such a thing. It’s so obvious it’s the mountainside in its natural state. “How disappointing.”
“I agree.” He turns to me and smiles. “Mother Nature is the perfect architect.”
And just like that, Adam is one of my new favorite people. Not only is he hot, he sees the beauty in what’s around him. It’s a romantic notion that I hope filters into other parts of his personality and interests. Seeing the beauty of this room and the light in his eyes makes me more excited than I already am to see the design concepts he’s worked up for my house. If even an ounce of this talent makes it into my house, I’ll be overjoyed.
The look in his eyes turns heated again. He’s watching me stare at him, and whatever look he sees on my face affects him. I turn my attention back to the rock wall and do my best to ignore the butterflies still fluttering around in my stomach.
“Shall we look at your designs?” he asks.
I nod, still looking anywhere but at him. “Lead the way.”
He heads back through the hallway from which he emerged when I arrived. I follow.
I’ve no doubt Adam is the right architect to remodel my chalet, but it might be at a cost to my sanity. It’ll be hard to keep my mind focused on the remodel instead of on his body. It doesn’t help that he’s such a nice man, too.
I just might be screwed.
Aria Bliss is the pen name of an award-winning and bestselling author. Aria writes steamy contemporary romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Her female leads are sassy and strong with a lot of spunk and drive for success. Their sensitive alpha male counterparts better be up to the challenge if they want to win their hearts. In Aria’s first series, An After-hours Affair Collection, the career-focused women of New York City are drawn to a hot co-worker, business partner, or client that teaches them there’s always time for a little romance. Her first book in the After-hours Affair collection, In Charge, was published in July 2020. Future projects include Montana cowboys, small-town nerdy girls, and secluded coastal retreats.
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