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He’s a single dad. She’s a damaged soul. When sparks ignite, will it be enough to heal their broken hearts?
One decision broke me, and another can set me free.
After years of neglect, and one tragic night, I need an escape.
The moment I meet the incredibly sexy Dexter Cross, I know I’m in trouble. I need to be alone so no one can hurt me again, but his intensity is electric. When he’s near, I express a sass I didn’t know I had.
The flirtation was accidental. It’s a shock to my system and puts Dexter on edge. But teasing him appears to be my new favorite pastime. When I realize he can set my entire world ablaze with a single touch, will I be strong enough to let go of my past and stay?
As a single father, I have no room in my life for distractions.
I have three small children, a multi-million-dollar business launching me into the next tax bracket, and an ex-wife who left it all behind. The last thing I need is another woman complicating things.
When nanny number three quits, my world spirals. I need help, but I wasn’t expecting the enchanting Lanie Heart to waltz into my life as if she belongs there. With her sassy mouth and unconventional ways, she turns my world upside down.
I never meant to fall for her, but now that I have, can I convince her broken heart to stay? Or are some souls too damaged for love?
Join Lanie, Dex, and a misfit bunch of friends they call family as they navigate the messy world of finding love after losing it all.
A page-turning emotional rollercoaster; can Lanie learn to accept love, or are the demons of her past too strong, even for Dexter Cross? Click the BUY NOW button to enter the world of Broken Hearts and find out!
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I am a stay-at-home mom to four, mostly good mini-humans and two fur babies. Covid hit and I was struggling. I needed something for myself that didn't include dishes, laundry, or refereeing play-room fights.
I started writing as that outlet. I never meant to publish, but when you have a pushy, well-meaning best friend, sometimes that not so gentle nudge is exactly what's needed. It was for me. After she read the rough draft, she would not leave me alone until I did something with it.
After publishing book one, the response was so incredible, I tried my hand at book two, then three and before I knew it, I was getting ready to publish my fourth book in less than a year.
I hope you love Lanie, Dex, and their misfit group of friends they call family as much as I do.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
It sounds strange, but the characters spoke to me. I tend to put a lot of myself in my characters, but Lanie's story rolled around in my head for a long time before I sat down to write her. Dex was the perfect alpha romantic that we all love and their story just grew from there.
“Yes, sir?” My assistant walks around the corner looking as frazzled as I feel.
Since Nanny number three quit two weeks ago, I’ve been asking the impossible of her. Molly is in her fifties, and while she is the best damn assistant I’ve ever had, children are not in her wheelhouse.
“Were you just asking Emily how to shut a baby up?” I ask, knowing Emily is her partner and also happens to be a kindergarten teacher.
Molly shrugs but has the grace to look chagrined. “I didn’t exactly say shut up, but Emily is much more capable of handling this…ah, stuff…than I am.”
I get the feeling Molly is at the end of her rope; this was certainly not in her job description. I have to find a new nanny soon, and it can’t just be any nanny. I will be leaving for London in two weeks, so it has to be the perfect Nanny. Fuck, it needs to be someone I can trust with my kids. I hate that I’ll be leaving them with a virtual stranger.
I also know that if I don’t make this meeting and the deal goes south, my company is in trouble. I need this venture to be successful for my employees and my family. Christ, the company succeeding is the reason we just moved into this ridiculously large house.
It was time to move out of the townhome. Get away from all the memories of Bitchzilla—the name we’ve given my ex-wife. I never call her that in front of the kids. As much as I hate her, I will never talk ill of her to my children.
Who the hell walks away from their children? Your mother and your wife, says the nagging voice inside my head. I can’t think of her right now, or ever for that matter. She is dead to me.
“What time is it?” I lost my watch in the last diaper change. I’m losing my shit here. Twins are tough, but feverish toddler twins are brutal. It’s times like this that I am so thankful for my little 6-year-old boy. Tate has always been a pleaser.
Molly gives me a look I can’t quite read…and I’m not sure if I want to. If I did, I’m afraid I’d learn she is five minutes away from quitting, and I can’t have that, so I look away.
“Shit, where is this girl?” I know her interview isn’t until five, but I’m antsy and exhausted. Harper and Sara had me up at least six times last night. “What is her name again?” I ask Molly, and I’m pretty sure she just rolled her eyes at me.
“Lanie. Her name is Lanie.” Molly says stiffly.
I glance up at her. She is in a pants suit that looks as though there might be green peas on the lapel. Man, I hope it’s green peas and not the contents of Harper’s diaper, again. “I’ll pay to have that cleaned, Molly,” I say, pointing to her jacket.
She looks down and grimaces. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. It doesn’t seem as if she even knew it was there.
“Yes, you will.” Molly whips her head up almost like she can’t believe she said that out loud, and quickly adds, “Thank you.”
I give her a quick nod. “Lanie. What the hell kind of name is Lanie? Is it short for something?”
“I don’t believe so, sir. They just buzzed her in at the gate, she’ll be arriving momentarily,” Molly states, always the efficient one.
I had moved us into a gated community and out of the town-home we lived in uptown. Everyone thought it was best for the safety of my family, but I still feel like a jackass every time I come through the gates.
If—no, when—this deal goes through, I will become more of a target, not just in Charlotte but also in New York, London, LA—anywhere with a corporate financial presence will know me by year’s end. Except, this is Waverley-Cay for Christ sakes, not the ghetto. The median home price in this neighborhood is a million-plus. I groan, knowing I have other things I need to focus on right now.
Maybe we will grow to love this ostentatious money pit, but I doubt it. In a year, maybe two, the company will be running smoothly. Then I can slowly bring us back down to earth and find a more realistic family home.
I sigh, and Molly looks at me again with concern. When I get back from London, I’m going to need to give her a raise. A big one. And maybe a vacation.
“Can you give me the quick rundown on her?” Shit, what was her name?
Molly lets out a sigh of her own and recites her details from memory. “Lanie Heart. 26. From Burke Mountain, Vermont. She graduated second in her class at Boston University with a degree in social work. She worked as a nanny in Brookline, MA, during her last two years of college. Once she graduated, she worked for the State of Vermont. There is no work history for the last eighteen months. From what I could find, it seems there was a major accident of some sort and she was severely injured. However, the records are sealed because a minor was involved. I asked Ryan to look into her and the preliminary report is that she was injured trying to save the child. No more details were readily available. She has remarkable references, most notably a letter of personal reference from Maxine and Pete McDowell.”
My head whips up. “The lawyers?”
I remember them from law school. They had a firm in Boston and won an unprecedented case that we studied in my first year. I became enamored with their skills in the courtroom and the way they worked together as attorneys while also husband and wife. In my second and third years, I followed their careers and became dumbfounded to learn they sold their practice when they were in their early forties and moved to some small town to practice family law.
“Yes, sir. It seems she has known them most of her life, would you like to see the letter?”
Just then, the doorbell rings, and Harper, who is in my arms asleep, lets out a shriek that could break the glass throughout the house. I need to unhook that goddamn doorbell. It plays some ridiculous song and goes on for far too long.
I look over to Molly. “Yes, please. Just put it on my desk…ah, at some point.”
Harper’s screams are inconsolable. I know because I have been trying for two weeks, but once she starts, she goes on for hours. Can kids have colic at eleven months? Looking down at my beautiful baby girl and soften. I have to remember it’s not her fault.
“Molly, can you get the door, please? I’ll try to get her calmed down.”
I peek back down at Harper. “Please, baby girl, don’t scare off this nanny too. I hate to admit it, but I need help.”
Harper just stares at me and keeps on screaming.
I put her on my hip and sigh. When did I become a sigher? I hear Molly coming down the hall talking. When I look up, my chest constricts. What the hell?
“Mr. Cross, Lanie Heart to see you.” Molly stares at me like I have three heads, and maybe I do, but I can’t seem to form words. “Ok, well, I’ll leave you two to it then?” My assistant says quizzically. “Sara is in the contraption on the kitchen floor, and Tate is sitting at the table doing homework,” she reminds me as I continue to stare at Lanie Heart.
Lanie Heart is beautiful, gorgeous even. I’ve never hurt for a woman’s attention, though it has been years since I’ve been affected by one. When the business took off—thankfully after Bitchzilla left—women were continually inundating me with unwanted attention, but I’m no idiot. While I know I’m good looking, I also know they see a handsome face covered in dollar signs.
Lanie Heart stands there with her hands on her hips, and her head tilted to the side. She is looking between Harper and me, and I can’t read what she’s thinking. I can always read people, which makes her dangerous for all kinds of reasons.
She’s wearing skinny jeans that cause her legs to continue for miles, matched with a t-shirt that says ‘The Northeast Kingdom’ on it. What is the Northeast Kingdom, some sort of video game? I make a mental note to Google that later. She isn’t in anything fancy, and yet the perfect fitting t-shirt has my blood running south. As if I need more reasons to be attracted to her, she has long, dirty blonde hair and the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen.
Hiring this girl isn’t going to work. I can’t have her living in my house. Nothing good will come of that.
Shit, how long have I been staring at her? She seems to be laughing at me and about to take action. Lanie is headed straight for me just as Molly walks back in.
“Mr. Cross, it’s nice to meet you. It seems like you have your hands full,” her voice melodies.
I watch on as she comes toe to toe with me. She is tall. Really fucking tall. I’m 6”5, and she has to be at least 6 feet. Harper, who is still screaming in my arms, reaches for her.
Wait, what the fuck? The pediatrician said she is going through something called stranger danger and hasn’t let anyone but me hold her in two months. That’s part of the reason I keep losing nannies. Not that I can blame them, but it’s their job, so they should be able to handle her.
I can’t take my eyes off Lanie Heart as she scoops up Harper, scanning the room with a scrunched-up nose. I take a covert glance around to determine what she sees—boxes and boxes of shit. Toys and baby gear are covering every available surface. As I scan the room, I realize Harper has stopped crying.
I stare down at her and back to Lanie Heart with wide eyes. What the hell is going on? Lanie Heart is smiling at Harper and kissing her cheeks, and my daughter is…laughing? Seriously, she’s laughing? I glace back to Lanie Heart, and she has apparently had enough of my blundering. She turns, again looking around, and asks, “Which way to the kitchen?”
Molly and I both point through the doorway, dumbstruck, as Lanie Heart starts walking away, cuddling a now quiet Harper.
Molly has come up beside me, so I glance down at her. Under my breath, I say, “Who is she, fucking Mary Poppins?”
Molly begins to answer when I realize I said it pretty loudly because Lanie Heart turns her head over her shoulder and answers me.
“I prefer Maria, but I promise not to cut up your curtains for play clothes.” She glances around the room again, “Unless I find you dress them in suits and party dresses 24/7.” Giving me a crooked smile, then she walks through the door.
“What the hell is she talking about? Who is Maria?” Molly wonders out loud.
I look at Molly and almost smile. “I think she just made a Sound of Music reference.” And she isn’t shy about calling me out either. This could be bad. Very, very bad. I discreetly adjust myself and follow the path that Lanie ‘Maria’ Heart just walked.
Avery Maxwell is an American Romance Author, who loves wine, sexy stories, pizza, and her family.
Avery is a hot mess of a mom to four wildly sweet mini-humans and two fur babies. She spends far too much time in her pj's and trips over herself multiple times a day. Accident-prone is probably a fair assessment.
Having grown up in small-town Vermont, Avery often jokes about being the most naïve person in the room. Luckily, she's used that small-town charm to write character-driven contemporary romances that have you laughing one minute, and crying the next.
When she isn't refereeing (three little boys require a lot of whistle blowing), or cuddled up with her real-life Prince Charming, you can find her tucked away with a bottle of wine (because those steamy scenes don't write themselves!), or coaching her daughter's basketball team.
Avery now lives in North Carolina where she brings life, love, and a happily ever after to every character she writes.
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