January 27, 2013

Sneak Peek, Man of Her Heart

I feel bad about leaving you guys in a lurch with the saga of Brian and Liv, and rest assured I'm working feverishly to have this published, hopefully just before Valentine's Day.  A word to the wise:  When it is published, it'll be available at my eStore at a special price you won't get at any other retailer...and a three-book bundle of all three books (Save The Best For Last, Something Real, and Man of Her Heart) will be available through my eStore only.

Hope you enjoy it!  Keep in mind that my editor hasn't seen this yet, so this is straight from my computer.


Brian stared at his brother. “Sinclair wants to talk to me?”
“She wants to talk to us.”
“All right,” he replied with a shrug. “But what’s up? She already bought nice Christmas gifts for everybody. Is she looking for suggestions for what to get next year already?”

“I’m not sure what she wants to tell us, other than it has something to do with Liv.”

Pain stabbed at Brian’s gut for second, but was quickly overrun by his concern. “What about her?” he demanded.

“I don’t know.”

A careful look at his brother’s face helped Brian determine he was telling the truth. “Well, let’s go find out.”
Brian descended the stairs into the recreation room of the basement with his usual brisk pace, but once he reached the bottom landing he used especially long strides to reach his sister-in-law, who sat on one of the high stools arranged around one of three bistro tables in a corner of the huge room. “Sinclair,” he said without preamble as he slipped onto a stool, “did something happen to Liv?”
“I wanted you to know she isn’t spending Christmas in the Bronx with her sister’s family and her parents.”
Ivan joined Brian at one of the stools. “I don’t get it. Is this supposed to be news flash, Sinclair? If Liv isn’t with her family, then she’s with her husband’s family.”
“What’s going on, Sinclair?” Brian asked. “I’m sure you didn’t call us for this little conference just to announce Liv is with her in-laws rather than with her family.”
“She isn’t with her in-laws,” Sinclair said. “She’s in New York. At her penthouse. Just her and the baby.”
Brian’s brow furrowed. “I don’t get it. Where’s Reese?”
“He’s in Aruba. With his parents.”
Ivan shook his head. “I don’t get it. Why are she and her baby in New York if her husband and in-laws are in the Caribbean for Christmas?”
“Spill it, Sinclair.” Brian words came out sounding close to threatening.
“I didn’t know this until just now,” Sinclair said. “I’ve spoken to Liv a bunch of times in the past few months, and not once did she let on that—” 
Brian’s Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat. Could it be…“Has Liv left Reese?” 
Sinclair’s eyes widened. “How did you know?” 
“She left him?” Ivan said incredulously. “No shit!” 
Brian ignored his brother’s crass reaction. “You spoke with her?” he asked Sinclair.
“Just a little while ago.”
“Did she say why she wanted to stay in the city rather than come up here to be with her family? It’s Christmas,” Brian added incredulously. “She shouldn’t be alone. No one should be, not today.”
“She said she just didn’t feel like celebrating. She insisted she was fine, but I’m worried. Her voice wavered a little bit when she told me she and Reese have split. She said it happened back in September.” 
“September!” Ivan exclaimed. He exchanged a quick glance with Brian. “And when Sinclair and I went out to the guest house to wish Jackie and Mark Merry Christmas the other day before they left, they didn’t say a word about it.” 
“I’m sure Liv asked them not to say anything,” Brian guessed. “Remember, we didn’t know anything about her having a baby, either.” He left out the fact that he had known. The last time he'd seen Liv, she''d been seven-and-a-half months pregnant...and Reese had flirted with a barmaid the minute her back was turned. 
It sounded like she'd figured it out.
“I’m sure that’s it,” Sinclair agreed. “She actually asked me not to say anything to either of you.” She paused. “I told her I wouldn’t, but the more I thought about it… I just can’t stand thinking about her in that apartment all alone on Christmas.”
Brian hopped off his stool. “She won’t be alone for long. I know you have her address, Sinclair. I want it.” 
She hesitated.
“Sinclair.” His voice carried an impatient warning.
“But if you just show up there, she’ll know I told you.” It came out as a wail, and she sent Ivan a pleading glance for help. 
“Go ahead and give it to him, baby,” he said. “You can always tell her you only told me, and that I must have told Brian. That way she’ll be mad at me, and you’ll be in the clear.” 
Sinclair still seemed hesitant, in spite of Ivan’s encouragement. Brian knew he’d already been short with his sister-in-law, and he also knew Ivan wouldn’t stand for his being too forceful toward his wife. He tried a more gentle approach. “Sinclair. You told me because you knew I’d be concerned. What did you think I’d do once I knew Liv was spending Christmas Day with only a baby for company?”
“I guess I really didn’t think about it…but she lives on Fifth at A Hundred and Tenth.” She named the museum that took up the building’s ground floor. “Are you sure you don’t want to call first? I’m sure there’s a doorman. What if you get all the way down there and she refuses to let you come upstairs?” 
“She’ll let me in,” he replied confidently. He leaned and kissed her cheek. “Thanks, Sinclair.” He headed for the stairs, then suddenly halted. “Hey,” he called out to them, “I’m going to slip out. If the folks ask where I went, tell them I had a friend who needed me, and not to expect me back anytime soon.”
“Mom’s gonna be pissed that he’ll miss dinner,” Ivan remarked. 
“No doubt, but she knows she has two very independent sons that she can’t push around,” Sinclair pointed out. She blew out a breath. “Wow. I knew Brian would want to know about Liv’s separation, but I wasn’t expecting him to take off like that.”
Ivan got off his stool and moved to help her down. “It kind of surprised me, too. It’s amazing to think that after all this time he’s still in love with Liv.”
Arms around each other, they headed for the stairs. “What I want to know,” Sinclair said, “is how he knew right away that she and Reese broke up. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was expecting it.
Man of Her Heart, coming next month from Bunderful Books!