Hearts in Ruin is a newly released romance novel by J. C. Conway, rated “Spicy” by publisher Liquid Silver Books, and described by readers as “very refreshing” and “a serious story with a wry sense of humor that keeps it a light and happy romance.”
Andrea’s career-making “sure thing” archaeological dig has just been transferred to her super-hot colleague Daniel, whose questionable ideas could sink both their careers. But what if he’s right? When the site is threatened, Andrea must choose: run, and save her career, or stand with Daniel against crushing odds.
Despite the warm evening wind, Tala drew her knees close and shivered. Under the starlight, below the community’s terraced crops, mastodons filled the valley, their footfalls echoing in the dirt. But above, the Fire Star grew.
Not a good sign.
“I have something for you,” said Bin. He crouched near her on the grassy hill. “Close your eyes.”
She inclined her head. “What is it?”
“Hold out your hands,” he prodded.
She complied. A cold weight pressed down upon her palms. “Can I look now?”
Her breath caught in her throat. His gift was a beautiful bowl, bright and colorful with intricate, flowery designs. Around its interior were three words.
Bin loves Tala.
“Do you like it?” he asked.
She didn’t know how to respond. It was very sweet. But now? The Fire Star loomed. They faced imminent change—a shift that would unbalance everything.
Still, this simple display pierced those concerns.
“I want you and no one else,” he said.
He frowned. “You feel that way, too…don’t you?”
Tears welled. She glanced at the Fire Star.
He followed her gaze. “That’s a good sign,” he assured her. “It means we will be happy.”
He extended a hand. She drew a deep, slow breath, accepted his hand, and stood. The bowl slipped from her lap and cracked against a stone.
His eyes widened. His Adam’s apple bobbed. An intense remorse swept through her, momentarily eclipsing her fear of the Fire Star. She had to make this right.
She placed her hand on his chest and held his gaze. “I do love you, Bin.”
She kneeled and lifted the bowl and a fragment that had fallen from it. “This is a good sign. The words are intact.” She then handed the piece to him and arranged his hand. She held the bowl and placed it with the shard in his hand, matching. “This is yours.” She motioned. “And this is mine. It means we belong together.”
She watched his expression shift from despair to joy. He smiled and wrapped his arms around her. His eyes sliced to the Fire Star and back. He flashed a cocky smirk. “Everything will be fine,” he crooned. “You’ll see.”
She pressed her face against his chest. No, she thought. It won’t.
Bin lowered his mouth toward her ear. “We have everything we need. Nothing can change all this.”
She squeezed. He was right about how she felt. She would accept him into her heart. She saw no reason to deny that. But he was wrong about everything else.
Things would not be fine.
They would not last.
At least they had each other—even if only for now.
Three unexpected visitors waited at the summit overlooking the New Mexico high-desert site. Wind whipped at them. Crouched near the center of the dig, Daniel recognized only one—his friend, Sammy Bia, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer.
The others wore suits.
Daniel groaned. He dropped the unusual artifact he’d been examining into a plastic bag, scribbled a precise location with a fading pen, and stuffed the sample into his shirt pocket. He did not need a distraction. Just yesterday he rid himself of the pesky Spring-semester team. The next batch had to be better.
Daniel climbed the makeshift walkway to greet the trio. He didn’t want them tromping all over the excavation.
One stranger, a silver-haired man wearing a tan suit over a light blue, open-collar shirt, seemed from the tribe—not particularly out of place. The thirty-something blond fellow with him was another story. No hat. Tailored, grayish suit. Expensive tie. Soft pale skin that should burn after five minutes of sunlight.
He did not belong, and wherever he did belong was somewhere Daniel would avoid.
Be polite. They’ll be on their way soon enough.
Daniel removed his hat and wiped his forehead with his sleeve. “What’s up, Sammy?”
“Doctor Daniel Fuchs,” Sammy said with an introductory gesture and an uncharacteristically formal tone, “this is Deputy Chief William Tso.” The Deputy Chief gave a curt nod, which Daniel returned.
“And this,” Sammy continued, “is Benjamin Keller—”
“—from the university,” interjected the young man, stepping forward and extending a hand. “Special Counsel for Southwestern Polytechnic’s Board of Trustees, pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Daniel gripped the bony hand. “A pleasure,” he said, anxious to retract his hand. Keller’s smile was the grimace of a viper.
About the Author
J. C. Conway writes romance, science-fiction, and fantasy stories, and is a long-standing member of Romance Writers of America. His debut novel, Hearts in Ruin, is a contemporary romance about two archaeologists on the verge of a groundbreaking discovery. His short stories have appeared in Tales of the Talisman, Mystic Signals, Battlespace—Volume 1, (a charitable work for to benefit wounded veterans through the Warrior Cry Music Project) and many other print an online publications. For more excerpts and a full listing of his work is available at: http://jcconway.com.
Where to Find Hearts in Ruin
Hearts in Ruin is available as an eBook in all standard formats, and can be found at most major eBook outlets, including:
Liquid Silver Books http://www.lsbooks.com/hearts-in-ruin-p904.php
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hearts-in-ruin-j-c-conway/1119448532?ean=9781622101023
All Romance Ebooks (Are) http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html