The Key to Her Heart
Loving Hearts #3
November 27, 2018 - eBook & Print
She doesn’t believe a man can be faithful…
He wants to prove her wrong…
The Story Behind the Story
When he sees her on television, being interviewed about her animal rescue work following a devastating hurricane, he immediately goes to help, while hoping to reconnect with the woman his heart cannot forget. But it isn’t the happy reunion he’d imagined. Ryan will need patience and determination to tear down Alex’s walls and prove that he alone holds The Key to Her Heart.
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Your purchase of The Key to Her Heart benefits Best Friends Animal Society, the largest no-kill animal shelter in the US. Best Friends is always on the scene, rescuing animals following hurricanes and other natural disasters, as well as providing logistical support for local animal shelters and rescue efforts. For more information, please visit my charities page.
Meet the Characters
Hero: Ryan Fielding
Heroine: Alexis "Alex" Montgomery
Key Supporting Characters: Rebecca "Becca" Anderson Montgomery, Nathan Montgomery, Zach West, Jeannie Montgomery West, Seth Whitehorse, Eddie
This was a mistake.
It was only going to lead to trouble or heartbreak … or both. Every time Alexis Montgomery allowed a man into her life it always did.
The gorgeous, dark-haired hunk taking a seat across the table from her in a Las Vegas hotel bar was definitely her usual type–a guy who lived his life in the spotlight with women panting after him on a daily basis. And this one was even worse than her previous boyfriends, because he was a stripper. At least the others hadn’t earned a living by taking their clothes off every night.
Alex had met Ryan Fielding at her sister-in-law, Becca’s, bachelorette party earlier that day, where he’d been part of the entertainment. In fact, he’d given Becca a sinfully sexy lap dance that had raised a flush of heat in Alex’s body and nearly made her drool. When he’d zeroed in on her at the after-party meet-and-greet with the cast of the male revue, she’d been flattered by the attention and by his invitation to have a drink with him later. But deep down, she knew he wouldn’t make good boyfriend material. That’s why she’d turned him down, much to Becca’s chagrin, since she’d been the one to encourage Ryan to ask Alex out. Becca had a rosy view of the world, but after three failed relationships with three men who’d all cheated on her, Alex knew a happily-ever-after wasn’t in the cards for her.
Less than an hour ago, Alex had escaped from the wedding reception for her brother, Ethan, and his new wife, Becca, and came to the bar to nurse the wounds from her recent divorce. They’d unfortunately been reopened by the happiness of the nuptials that had only served to accentuate her own romantic failures. Then Ryan had chanced to show up a few minutes ago and approached her, requesting a second chance.
Why, oh why, had she invited him to join her?
Alex looked up from where she’d been staring at her hands resting on the table to find Ryan’s green-eyed gaze locked on her face as though he was trying to read her. In his eyes, she saw the heat of desire mingled with kindness and a touch of protectiveness. Then his mouth lifted at the corners into a panty-melting smile.
Oh yeah, now she remembered why she’d bidden him to sit down. Although, if she was being honest with herself, his masculine beauty and seductive charm was only half of the equation. The rest was the result of her own deep sense of loneliness that made her long for the company of another human being, even a stranger.
“So, umm …” he began in a deep, throaty voice that was made for sin. “When we met this afternoon, you never told me your name.”
“Oh!” Alex’s heart had sped up at the sound of his voice, and she suddenly felt flustered. “Sorry about that. It’s Alexis.”
“Alexis.” His voice murmuring her name sent a shot of heat through her core. “A beautiful name for a beautiful woman.”
It wasn’t the first time a man had said something like that to her. Her ex, Danny, had used similar lines to charm the socks–and other articles of clothing–right off her. She glanced down at where her fingers were nervously making creases in the corners of the napkin beneath her empty glass, and smiled indulgently. “Thank you. Everyone just calls me Alex, though.”
He tilted his head slightly, still gracing her with that studious gaze. “I like Alexis better. It has a classy, almost regal, sound to it. It suits you.”
His words were flattering, but fearing that he was only trying to charm her into bed like Danny had, Alex wasn’t sure how to respond. She was saved from having to say something when the waitress she’d been searching for before Ryan had arrived appeared again.
“Can I buy you another of whatever you were having?” he asked.
Wanting to keep a clear head for wherever this little rendezvous was going, Alex shook her head. “No, thank you. I believe I’ve had enough for tonight. I’ll just take a club soda, please.”
“Anything for you, sir?” the waitress asked.
“I’ll have a beer, thanks,” Ryan replied. After the waitress took her leave, he turned his attention back to Alex. “It was really nice of you to set up the bachelorette party for your friend.”
Alex shrugged. “It was no big deal. All I did was make a couple of phone calls.”
“So, how was the wedding?”
Alex’s brow creased. “How did you know it already took place?”
He grinned. “Things move fast here in Vegas, and based on what you’re wearing, it was a pretty easy guess. Bridesmaid?”
Alex glanced down at her emerald green gown and returned his smile. “Maid of honor, actually.”
“So, how was it?” he repeated.
Alex’s smile faltered. “It was nice.”
Ryan’s gaze knowingly searched her face again. “You don’t sound so sure.”
Afraid he could see too much of the pain she knew was probably mirrored in her eyes, Alex was relieved when the waitress returned with their drinks, giving her an excuse to turn away for a moment. After taking a sip of her soda, she answered, “It really was a beautiful wedding. I’m very happy for them. It just brought up some painful memories for me.”
Once again, his head canted in a considering manner. “Do you want to talk about it?”
Alex’s eyes widened a little. She hadn’t expected him to care. Most guys likely would’ve steered the conversation elsewhere. Maybe he wasn’t just trying to get into her pants. Still, she wasn’t too certain about airing her and Danny’s dirty laundry with someone she’d barely met, so she settled on a simple reply. “I’m coming off a divorce. That’s all.”
Ryan leaned forward in his chair, his eyes taking on an expression of sympathy. “I’m so sorry.” He continued to search her face, but somehow it was comforting rather than unnerving. It added to the sense of genuine concern he’d already conveyed. “Are you still in love with him?”
Alex let out a snort of laughter. “God, no! He killed any affection I felt for him the day I found him in bed with another woman.” She hadn’t intended to say that much, but he’d lulled her into a sense of security.
He winced. “Man, that’s harsh.” After a short pause and a bemused shake of his head, he added, “How could any man cheat on a woman as beautiful as you?”
Feeling uncomfortable, Alex dropped her gaze. He wasn’t the first. You might not think I’m so beautiful if you saw me without my clothes. Maybe I’m broken. After all, how can one girl be so unlucky in love? She wanted to say all of those things, but didn’t. Instead, she darted her tongue out to moisten lips that had gone dry and simply said, “Thank you.”
“You don’t have to thank me for something that anyone with two eyes in their head could see is true. While your friend was trying to talk with me this afternoon, I couldn’t take my eyes off you.” One corner of his mouth lifted. “Still can’t.”
Unbidden, his words drew a smile from her. Lord, he was a charmer!
Editor: Melissa Ringsted @ There for You Editing
Cover Designer: Jaycee DeLorenzo @ Sweet 'n' Spicy Designs
Cover Image: konradbak @ Deposit Photos