Wow! Iona Findley and The Hero’s Heart series are the bomb.ILC “ILC”
I appreciated the way the author embraced the sentiments that love and family are the two most important things in life.JOAN THEWES
Separated spouses… will her secret and his smokejumping ruin their second chance for love?
Andy Jenkins is a hero. He’s also a husband — or at least he used to be. Now he regrets the breakup of his marriage every day. He loves his wife Amy and his sons, and he wants desperately to be with them, but he loves being a smokejumper too. He can’t give it up to play it safe even to please his wife. Or can he? When Amy shows up to suggest a reunion for the sake of their sons, Andy is overjoyed and jumps back in with both feet.
Amy Jenkins has a secret: she’s battling a life-threatening illness, and doesn’t know if she’ll survive. She’s desperately worried that between her disease and Andy’s high-risk job, their sons will end up as orphans. When they reunite can she convince him to put family first, or will the same arguments that led their marriage into trouble before put their relationship on the rocks again?
Andy finds that he loves Amy more than ever, and the sexual tension between them as they struggle between make-up or break-up is hotter than ever. Can he find a way to rescue their romance without giving up his calling to smokejump and save lives, or will their reconciliation lead to more regrets?
Evolving Hearts can be enjoyed as a standalone story or as part of the Hero’s Heart series
Fourth in the Hero’s Heart Series, EVOLVING HEARTS combines engaging characters, an action-packed, steamy plot, and real-world conflicts to create a stirring tale of reconciliation and reunion.
HERO’S HEART SERIES:
Opening Hearts (Book #1) Sam and Jessalyn
Risking Hearts (Book #2) Jake and Hope
Joining Hearts (Book #3) Zoe and Marcus
Evolving Hearts (Book #4) Andy and Amy
Finding Hearts (Book #5) Mikey and Julia
Trust My Love (Book #1) Philippe and Claire
Unwind My Love (Book #2) Delphine and Geo
Reclaimed by Love (Book #3) Remy and Rachel
If you love uplifting stories about the power of love, trust, and hope, order EVOLVING HEARTS today.
Sometimes being a hero sucked. Andy Jenkins staggered towards the stainless steel coffeemaker at the far end of his kitchen counter. The soft buzzing in his ears, and foggy hangover brain were making him sluggish. He needed the heat and the caffeine, and the comfort of routine to rally his spirits. He punched the button on the machine, thanking god for the forethought he’d used when preloading the coffee yesterday before he got the rescue call.
He reached up for a coffee mug wincing when the stiches in his shoulder tugged and limited his range of motion. He grabbed the mug but almost shattered it when he wobbled and slammed his hand down to keep from falling.
Jesus. His balance was screwed.
The stupid teen he’d pucked off the side of a cliff yesterday better be grateful. The boy was showing off for some buddy’s–climbing out on the edge of a ravine—when he slipped and fell. The boy had a guardian angel, one who kept him from dying at the bottom of the ravine. A ledge about 24 feet down broke his fall. The same ledge shattered his leg, and knocked him out rendering him unable to climb out of the mess he landed himself in.
What the kids were doing “playing” in an active wildfire location was a question for the local authorities not for him. Andy received the request for assistance and took on the job. Rapelling and climbing skills were required, and the imminent threat from fire justified a special resource assignment.
The rescue went well. He’d secured the boy to a backboard and guided the line as the team above hauled him up. He was picking his way up the cliff wall, and making good time, when a cloud of red hot ash floated across the rocks where Andy’s ropes were secured. Sudden slack in his line was all the warning he got before his body weight swung him in a freefall arc and he slammed into the side of the mountain.
His head took the worst of it crashing against an outcrop of rock and almost knocking him senseless. Instinct and his ability to power through impossible challenges saved his ass. He managed to find both a handhold and a foothold which allowed him to wait out the crew already scrambling to secure a new line for him.
He’d clung to the cliff for more than fifteen minutes, so he could damn well hold himself upright now for the three measly minutes required to brew coffee. He needed the go-juice. No wimping out now.
His boys better never take those kinds of chances. God he missed them. Two weeks in the summer and several long weekends over the last couple of years weren’t a lot of time for teaching them good sense. Maybe now that he had a home base he could work out more time with them. Every day without them was lost time–time he’d never get back.
Good job Jenkins, way to stab yourself in the gut while you’re down. Still wonky and unstable, he slid his way down the counter, yanked the carafe out of the machine and stuck his mug in it’s place to catch the dripping coffee. It was only two-thirds of the way full when he swapped the glass container back into the stream and lifted the cup of lifeblood to his lips. Mmm. Pure Columbian black, nothing better.
A knock on his door surprised him. He glanced over at the oven clock, 7:30am. Maybe the Chief sent someone for an update. He set the mug down, braced himself for the task, and attempted a leisurely pace across the room. The floor tilted, making his stomach turn, but he made it and clamped his hand on the carved iron doorknob. He took a couple of steadying breaths and unlocked the deadbolt.
His brain exploded when he opened the door. His face plant into a rock cliff and the resulting concussion were nothing when compared to the emotions, which crashed into him when he saw his two boys, and his soon-to-be ex-wife standing on his doorstep.
Dizziness and nausea threatened to overcome him, where he stood grasping the doorknob and staring at the new arrivals.
“Tyler…Jamie.. what are…”
Amy, the only woman he’d ever loved, and the one who pushed him away, cut him off. “Please let us in Andy. We’re all tired, and you and I need to talk.” She looked different–pale, resigned, yet determined–not at all the cheerful beauty who captured his heart the first time he saw her on lawn of the Rotunda at The University of Virginia. He glanced beyond her and caught sight of her minivan, loaded down with a luggage rack full of suitcases, bicycles and her physical therapy table.
She drove here? What the hell? His brain, a scrambled egg omelet of a mess, struggled to understand. He pressed two fingers to the spot between his brows, and shook his head trying to clear it. Stars flashed in front of him, and a shard of pain stabbed from his forehead to the base of his skull.
“Are you going to let us in?” Somehow the words made it through the haze of pain, and he stepped back to allow them entrance. He watched as his two boys, the best parts of him, shuffled through not saying a word, followed by their mother. All three came to a halt a few steps into the room when a bossy female voice echoed out from the back of the house.
“Andy, get back in bed.” Kylie followed her words and charged into large living room from the bedroom. Andy moaned. She was dressed in a tiny cami, which barely contained her generous breasts, and a pair of his sweatpants. Blonde spikes stuck out all over her head signaling that she’d just rolled out of bed–his bed.
“Oh.” Kylie jerked to a stop and stood in the doorway for one shocked second before launching herself to his side where he swayed on his feet. Damn concussion. She lifted his good arm and tucked it around her shoulders, careful not to grab the bruised ribs on his other side, and walked him to the sofa.
He felt Amy’s shock from across the room, and when he was seated and able to look up at her again her face reflected the same. Her mouth pinched tight and her brows merged into one stern line, she whispered something under her breath. Then she was in motion, catching each boy with one hand, spinning them around, and heading back towards the door.
“Wait.” He said.
She didn’t stop, so he lurched to his feet. Whoa. Not a good idea. He caught himself on the arm of the sofa and called out. “Amy, stop.” She kept herding the kids through the door. “Wait. Why are you here? Come back.”
Spine ramrod straight she turned to face him. Anger, pain and disappointment flashed in her eyes. “I was hoping to reconcile.” A harsh bitter laugh followed. “Guess that isn’t such a great idea.”
Reconcile? Holy crap.
“Wait, don’t go.” He reached out taking a few steps before Kylie was back at his side supporting him when he wobbled. “This isn’t what you think.”
She raised her brow and scanned her gaze from him to Kylie, to Kylie’s abundant chest, to his face again.
Okay. She was pissed. “I got hurt, and Kylie offered to bring me home.”
“I’ll bet she did.”
“Don’t be like that.” He said. “She’s a co-worker, a paramedic”
Amy stood in silence measuring his words, and scanning back and forth between he and Kylie.
“I took a fall, and the Chief said it was overnight in the hospital or Kylie. I hate hospitals, you know that.”
Kylie, his good friend, and staunch supporter chimed in. “Someone needed to be here with him. God knows, you weren’t.”
Amy gasped and stepped back.
Tyler reached out from behind his mom taking her hand. He peeked around her and towards Andy with storm clouds in his eyes. “Mom, let’s just leave. He doesn’t want us here.” The unfiltered anger in Tyler’s words, kidney punched Andy, and his hope shriveled and died. He stared at his son, whose square face and stubborn jaw so closely resembled his own and knew he’d failed his kids. Not this time.
He shifted away from Kylie and turned to see the righteous anger still flashing in her eyes. “Turns out I do have someone to stay with me.”
She opened her mouth, closed it, then opened it again. “She doesn’t know what to look for.”
“But I do,” he gave her what he hoped was a reassuring smile. “She can read the info sheets from the hospital. Please Kylie, I’ll be ok.”
“Fine, but I’m calling you in an hour, and if she’s not still here I’m coming back. No arguments, right?”
She sighed dramatically but acquiesced. She was a great friend. “I promise.”
Kylie turned, stalked back into the bedroom, and returned in minutes, carrying her gear. They all watched as she pushed by Amy and trekked across the yard, avoiding any contact with the boys.
After she drove away, Amy and the kids turned back to face him.
Jamie inched forward looking uncertain. “You hurt?” his normally exuberant smile was upside down and he looked about to cry.
Nodding Andy bent down to kneel at his son’s level. “Yeah, buddy, but I’ll be fine.”
He opened his arms and Jamie launched himself in to hug with all his strength.
Pain lanced through his ribs, but he didn’t care. His boys were back, with him, in the cabin he’d bought as a special place to share with them. He glanced up and met Tyler’s suspicious gaze, then moved his gaze to Amy’s. Her stare wasn’t suspicious or accusatory any more, instead it was blank.
He stood, tamping down both the queasy stomach and the new buzz of anxiety which hovered on top of all the pain.He faced Amy, his wife, the most beautiful person he’d ever known. “What gives, Amy?”
“Later.” She turned to the boys and coaxed them into unloading the car and carrying everything inside.
He thought of the beds purchased for the two boys, from the Scandinavian import company, still unassembled in their boxes. When Jamie struggled to drag a suitcase almost as big as him up the steps, Andy rose to help. One glare from Amy was all it took to convince him to sit his ass down and stay out of their way.
Once all the cargo, except for the bicycles, was piled up around them in the living room she gave each boy a backpack and an apple, pushing them outside to play in the back yard.
Silence wrapped around them, and Andy waited her out.
“How badly are you hurt?” She stood looking out the living room window and not meeting his eyes.
Not where he wanted to start! “Bruised ribs, a few stitches and a concussion… that’s the worry. I”ll be fine.”
“And the doctor’s instructions?”
He pointed her to the papers laying on the bar. “Just need someone around to check my behavior and speech periodically, and get help should anything strange develop. Otherwise it’s rest.”
“Ok.” She went to his recliner, tucked in and flopped back closing her eyes and blocking him out.
More than fifteen minutes passed before he pushed. “Uh, Amy?”
She didn’t answer right away, but he waited her out. She reached up, yanked the pony tail holder from her head and began massaging her scalp “Yeah?”
“When are we going to talk about why you’re here?”
“Not until I decide if we’re staying.”