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After the death of her husband, celebrity chef Raven Blake moves to the beautiful high desert community of Anthem, Arizona to start over.
It’s there that she meets Jake Hughes and his young daughter Zoe whose lives have also been marred by tragedy. Together the three of them overcome the heartbreaks of the past, but fate deals them one last, cruel blow when a violent kidnapping attempt threatens to end their lives. Raven and Jake must overcome extraordinary danger in order to survive and mend their damaged hearts.
He pushed the play button again. She appeared on the screen, smiling from her make-believe kitchen, skillfully dicing leeks while explaining the intricacies of preparing vichyssoise. She held the classic ten-inch chef’s knife perfectly balanced in her hand, her strokes smooth, rapid, and precise.
As he reclined in his chair, his hand dropped to grip and caress, while her voice flowed over him. He watched, captivated by her beauty and her ability to talk, smile and teach while wielding that amazing blade with such proficiency.
This time would be different. He was certain she would be the one to stay as long as he wanted, maybe forever. And if not forever, there was always the blade, an equally tantalizing prospect.
Whatever decision she made, when the time came, she’d be his.
Raven Blake walked out of the airport terminal and into a bright Phoenix day and a new life.
She paused, looking around the frenzied commotion of the passenger loading zone and then she saw her buddy, Griff. He was waiting at the curb, nonchalantly leaning against his beat-up old work van, watching the world go by.
Griff saw her, smiled and pushed his lanky form away from the van. “Hi Raven,” he said, taking her bag.
“Hi Griff.” She paused, looking past him and up at the intensely blue sky. “What a gorgeous day.”
He grinned. “Glad you like it, I ordered it just for you.”
She grinned back. “Really, you can do that?”
“Yeah…just don’t blame August on me,” he said, opening the passenger door.
She laughed as she climbed in the van and waited for him to go around and slide into the driver’s seat. He checked the rearview mirror and slowly pulled from the curb.
“How’s the building look this week?” she asked.
“We’re almost done.” He paused, concentrating on merging into the fast moving airport traffic. “All that’s left is the exterior paint in the courtyard. You might want to check it out first, I’m not sure the color is exactly right.”
She took out her notebook, flipped through her notes and held on as the old van struggled up to merging speed. “Okay, I’ll put that on my list, but my biggest concern is the name. Please tell me they’ve decided on one.”
He shook his head. “Nope…they're still undecided.”
She reached over and smacked his shoulder. “No way, I can’t believe that. How can I open a restaurant without a name? We can’t order menus, or the sign, or advertise. Oh God, Aunt Nina and Karen aren’t fighting over the name are they?”
He glanced down at his shoulder, then over at her with a grin. “No, haven’t they been friends forever?”
“Yeah, but believe me, they’ve had a few squabbles over the years and they’ve never owned a restaurant together before. I’m worried it could get ugly.” She shook her head. “I can’t believe Phil is letting this name thing drag on. He usually keeps them in order.”
“Raven, you worry too much, just take a deep breath, relax and go with the flow.”
She did take a deep breath, slowly exhaled and looked out the window at the high-rise dotted landscape of downtown Phoenix. “You’re right. I’m letting it get to me, and ultimately it’s their problem.”
He looked over at her, nodded and smiled gently. “That’s better.”
They lapsed into a comfortable silence as they left the busy streets of Phoenix behind and drove north to the small desert community of Anthem.
Raven stole a long look at Griff when they left the freeway. “Can you drop me at Karen and Phil’s house? I had my SUV shipped out and I want to pick it up.”
He nodded. “Are you sure you’re up for driving in Anthem?” he asked, blatantly ignoring the stop sign at the waterfall-flanked entrance.
Raven watched the sign sail by. “Why is it no one actually stops there?”
“No cop, no stop…first rule of driving in Anthem.” He grinned as they rumbled over the cobblestone paved intersection.
“Damaged Hearts is a delightful romance. Raven decides to take control of her life. She lost her husband a couple of years ago. A new life, a new restaurant, and a new love all set the stage for this tale. There is a handsome boyfriend named Jake and a stalker named…..you figure it out……
Damaged Hearts still needs a bit of editing. However, I enjoyed the plot and the characters. There seemed to be several threads woven together. Each thread was interesting, but may have been a little much when combined in the same story. This book could possibly be expanded into several books. All in all, this is a great summer read.” 4 Stars! Delightful romance… Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 321
Paper Weight (lb): 13.4
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