Tempestuous:Restless Heart

By: Tami Hoag


Dear Reader, I’m often asked how I got started as a writer. People are sometimes surprised to find out that I began my career writing romances for Bantam’s Loveswept line. Romantic comedy may seem like a far cry from the hard-boiled suspense novels I write now, but they’re really not that far apart.

For me, there are two essential components at the core of every good story: characters that a reader can fall in love with and root for, and a mystery—whether it’s the mystery of an unsolved crime or the mystery of that most complex and complicated of human emotions, love. Even the most intricate murder plot pales in comparison to the labyrinthine maze of the human heart.

In this special edition, you’ll read two of my early romance novels. In Tempestuous, Alexandra Gianni is trying to start over with her infant daughter by rebuilding her life and the ramshackle farm she’s purchased with the last of her money. Alex’s goal of independence may be upset when she meets handsome, aristocratic Christian Atherton, who could lead her dangerously astray…. In The Restless Heart, you’ll meet Danielle Hamilton, a world-renowned, globe-trotting photographer who didn’t think she’d ever survive six weeks babysitting her sister’s five small children in New Orleans. But then she meets the nanny… tall, dark, and Cajun Remy Doucet, who doesn’t accept Danielle’s claim that true love isn’t in the cards for her.

I enjoyed writing these novels years ago, and I hope that you’ll be entertained by the journeys of these heroines and heroes.

All my best,



one

“GOOD LORD, SHE’S LOVELY!” CHRISTIAN Atherton murmured, his accent carrying the undiluted, polished tones of a British public-school student. As he came to attention his shoulders pulled back beneath the fine wool of his navy jacket. His square chin came up a notch above his neatly knotted maroon tie, emphasizing the classic lines of his lean face. In response to the tensing of his muscles his horse shifted restively beneath him.

His attention was locked on the young woman riding into the show ring to collect a blue ribbon. He’d been a connoisseur of women for nearly twenty-two years, ever since the summer he’d turned thirteen and the gardener’s daughter had suddenly developed breasts. The lady he had his eye on now was well worth a long look.

“Who is she?”

“Where have you been? Living in a cave?” drawled Robert Braddock, his voice as rich and Southern as pecan pie. His wide mouth cut upward in a sharp, handsome smile. He leaned lazily against the pommel of his saddle, showing none of the form that had made him one of the top hunter-jumper trainers in Virginia at the tender age of twenty-seven.

“Close,” Christian said dryly. “I’ve just spent three weeks in England at the family mausoleum, better known as Westerleigh Manor. Uncle Richard passed away.”

Braddock’s manners asserted themselves, and he straightened in his saddle out of respect for the dead. “I’m sorry, Chris.”

“Don’t be.” Christian grinned at his friend and rival, a brilliant square white smile that made him look exactly what he was—handsome, aristocratic, and a bit of a rake. “Uncle Dicky was ninety-seven. He drank like a fish, drove like a maniac, and died—er—in the saddle, so to speak. He had a wonderful life and a pleasant passing. We should all be so lucky.”

His neon-blue eyes took on a slightly wistful expression, and the glittering good humor that usually resided there faded momentarily as he sighed. Uncle Dicky was dead. The stuffy Athertons were down to one black sheep—him.

“Alexandra Gianni,” Braddock said, answering Christian’s original question. “Cold as a pump handle on a January morning,” he added in ill-disguised disgust.

“Turned you down, did she?” Christian said dryly, arching a brow.

“She’s been here three weeks and has managed to say one word to every fella who’s asked her out—no.”

“Well, that just shows she has good taste and sound judgment.”

“I suppose you think you can do better?”

“Please,” Christian drawled disdainfully. “Of course I could do better. Admit it, Braddock, you’ve won your share of dim-witted stable girls, but you’re simply not in my league.”

“You pompous ass,” Braddock said with a good-natured grin. “I’ll bet you don’t get anywhere with her either. You might be the Casanova of the show-jumping world, but this lady would give the iceberg that sank the Titanic a run for its money.”

Christian’s speculative gaze settled again on Alexandra Gianni. She didn’t look the ice-maiden type to him. With her olive complexion and dark eyes, her unruly short black hair and lush mouth, she looked more like the hot, feisty type. Tempestuous. The type to stand toe-to-toe with a man in a fight and rake her nails down his back in bed.

Braddock turned and grinned at him suddenly. “How much do you want to bet?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Put your money where your mouth is, Romeo,” he challenged. “I’ll bet you a hundred dollars you can’t get her to go with you to Hayden Hill’s big bash before the Green Hills Jumper Classic.”

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