Weekend Excerpt–Broken Harts

Two weddings.
One Valentine’s Day.
And hearts will be broken.

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s beyond cliché.
But it’s what Ali Hart’s niece Shannon wants. So Ali will wear the pink tulle bridesmaid’s dress, carry the rose and eucalyptus bouquet down the aisle, and keep her opinion to herself.

Ali is back in New York to get ready for the wedding, but her older sister and brother seize on her visit as the perfect time for Ali to make arrangements for their elderly father, who can no longer independently care for himself.

A navigational error puts Ali on a collision course with destiny. Now what?

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s perfect.
Unless you’re not positive that she’s the one for you.

In the dark recesses of his heart, Logan Pryce knows that Catherine von Hollen isn’t the love of his life. The daughter of his father’s business partner, they’ve known each other for years. She’s blonde, gorgeous, and everyone loves her. On paper, it’s perfect. On paper.

A chance encounter with a nameless redhead on a crowded subway platform causes Logan to question everything he thought his life was going to be. Will he stay with the safe bet, or will he take a chance on something more?

If you love your romance with a little heat and plenty of heart, you’re going to love Broken Harts!

In this scene from BROKEN HARTS, Logan and Ali spend a cold rainy afternoon in a Manhattan coffee shop getting better acquainted.

Logan produced his smartphone. “Ali Hart,” he murmured aloud as he cued up his search engine.

“I write as Alison Hart,” she murmured, sipping her tea.

“Alison Hart.” Logan frowned at his screen, using his finger to scroll down. Then a satisfied smile stretched his lips. “Here you are. Alison Hart…Pepper Twine Mysteries…Wow, you do have a lot of books here. And there are the Fulton Family books…”

He looked up with a grin. “Here’s your official bio.”

Alison Hart was writing stories before she could speak. To date, she has published more than twenty-five novels for preteens, and more are on the way. She says she owes her love of the written word to her father, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jackson Hart–

He broke off and looked up at her, his eyes wide. “Your father is Jackson Hart?”

Ali wrinkled her nose. “Wait! It says that?” She snatched his phone and scanned the bio. “Son of a…”

She handed his phone back. “I try to keep that quiet. I guess my publicist thought it might sell more books.”

“Why keep it quiet?” he wondered as he clicked off the device and returned it to the inner pocket of his suit jacket.

“Just…well…lots of reasons,” Ali shrugged, idly stirring her tea. When Logan waited for her to say more, she exhaled sharply and rolled her eyes.

“Okay, for one reason, I don’t want to feel like I didn’t earn my way into publishing. I don’t want people to think I just rode in on my father’s coattails. And second,” she stalled, sipping her drink.

“When people find out,” she cut him a glance, “when men find out, I generally get one of two responses.”

Logan suppressed a grin. “Which are?”

Ali gestured with her right hand. “Either A, they want me to introduce them to my father, maybe get him to autograph a book, or B,” her left hand waved, “they have no idea who he is, in which case I completely lose all respect for them, because for Pete’s sake, how culturally illiterate can you be?”

Leaning toward her on his elbow, Logan laughed out loud. “Life is rough, is it?”

“Seriously, though,” Ali protested, “imagine that the entire planet was required to read your father’s work in high school. I had to read it in my junior year. And then come to class and discuss it. It’s…I don’t know…weird.”

Logan settled back in his chair again and chuckled. “I read Lessons from the Fog in high school. I think I was one of the few who actually enjoyed it.”

Ali slid him a sideways glance, and he laughed again.

“No, seriously, I liked that one. To me, it sort of encapsulates the way society shifted from the fifties to the sixties and beyond, but in an allegorical way. I really did like it, honest. I would never just say something and not mean it.”

Searching his eyes, Ali only found sincerity, and she smiled reflexively. “Yeah, that’s always been Dad. He likes to tell a story that for him has one meaning, but it’s always open to interpretation.”

Logan sipped his coffee and watched her thoughtfully. “It must have been something growing up with such a famous father.”

Ali shrugged, privately proud of her father’s accomplishments. “He’s brilliant, actually, but I don’t know that he was always the best father, especially if you’re asking my half-sister and brother. In his younger days, he was gone a lot, always protesting one thing or another. He was even a Communist for a while,” she chuckled softly. “but I think that was mostly for the shock value.”

She sipped her tea and glanced at Logan, wondering if he had heard enough. He still watched her in fascination, so she opted to continue. “My mother was his third wife. He was never big on fidelity. Megan and Brendan, my half-siblings from his first marriage, were in their twenties when I came along. By then, Dad had settled down a little. I have great memories of spending time with him. He loved that I wrote from an early age.”

Ali sighed, thinking of her sister and brother. “Megs and Bren always kind of resented me, but you know, as a kid, you don’t realize things like that.”

She looked at Logan and shivered slightly. “Anyway, you didn’t need to know all that Hart family history.”

Logan shook his head. “I want to know anything you want to tell me. Are your parents still together?”

Ali chuckled. “No. Dad could never say no to his wandering eye. During my senior year in high school, my mom finally had enough. She moved to the south of France. I stayed here with Dad, finished up school, then went to university in the UK. Which was kind of nice because sometimes, on holidays, I took the train to Provence to visit Mom.”

“Then after college, you came back here?” Logan asked.

“Nope,” Ali grinned, “I was tired of cold, grey winters. One spring break, I went with some girlfriends to south Florida, and I was hooked. Sunshine and 80 degrees in March, are you kidding me? I have a condo on the beach.”

Brow furrowed, Logan swiped a thumb across his lips. “So, you don’t live here in New York?”

Ali shook her head. “I just flew in last week. I’m staying with Dad. He still lives in the apartment where I grew up.”

Logan nodded. “And you’re here for Thanksgiving?”

“And Christmas. Plus, I figured I would stay at least through the middle of February. I mean, I can do my thing from anywhere, right? So, I’m checking on Dad, plus the holidays, plus…” Ali rolled her eyes.

He grinned encouragingly. “Plus?”

“My niece. Who is only two years younger than me.” She frowned. “I think twenty-three is too young to get married if you want to know the truth, but nobody asked my opinion. Anyway, Shannon’s getting married on Valentine’s Day, for Pete’s sake, and she asked me to be a bridesmaid. It’s cheesy as hell, but how can I say no?”

As he leaned back in his chair, a slightly guarded look settled on Logan’s face. His tone was light, though. “What’s cheesy about it?”

Ali gestured with her right hand. “Well, getting married on Valentine’s Day, for one thing. I mean, don’t you think? How original is that?” She snorted derisively.

“Plus, you wouldn’t believe the bridesmaid’s dress she’s making me wear. It’s all frothy pink tulle from head to toe. Just…” She shook her head piteously.

“So, you wouldn’t choose Valentine’s Day for your wedding? Or frilly pink dresses for your bridesmaids?” Elbows resting on the arms of his chair, Logan steepled his fingers in front of his chest. His lips twitched as though they held back an amused grin.

Ali raised a red eyebrow. “I wouldn’t choose to have a big wedding, period. From where I sit, it’s kind of a losing proposition.”

“Ouch,” Logan chuckled lightly. “That’s just a tad cynical, don’t you think?”

“I don’t know that it’s cynical, exactly,” she lifted a shoulder, “I’m just realistic. What are the stats about divorce? My dad was divorced three times. And had countless affairs that all ended badly.” She looked at him pointedly. “Are your parents still together?”

The corners of his mouth turned up slightly as he nodded. “They are. They have been together for the last thirty-three years. And not to sound all pie-in-the-sky, but they’re happy. I’ve never known them to argue.”

Ali raised her eyebrows as she scanned the coffee shop. “Good for them. And you, for that matter. Maybe they’re the exception that proves the rule,” she said softly.

Logan leaned toward her again, amusement sparkling in his eyes. “So, you’re staunchly anti-marriage?”

“I wouldn’t say that,” she frowned. “I just don’t see spending an unholy amount of money for some huge shindig. I think it sets up unrealistic expectations. It can all be done much more simply.”

She raised a finger. “If I were going to get married, and admittedly, that’s a big if, I’d do it on a much smaller scale. I certainly wouldn’t force anyone to wear pink tulle, that’s for damn sure.”

She shifted a glance in his direction. “They have weddings on the beach by my condo all the time. I mean, I see them down there, all hopes and dreams and happily ever after. But how realistic is that? I always wonder how long they end up staying together. But I suppose if I were going to take the plunge, so to speak, that’s the way I’d do it.”

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

BROKEN HARTS is available
at your favorite online bookseller.