Secrets of the Heart

By Willow Sanders

New adult fiction, Romance, Women's fiction

Paperback, eBook

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3 mins

Chapter One

For such a lavish affair, the Lyric apparently had decided having easily accessible bars was not necessary. Forced to traverse nearly the entirety of the Hilton Ballroom to reach one of the two bars set up for the party, she decided to enjoy her drink at said bar, rather than shimmy between chairs back to her seat without spilling its contents.
“Vodka tonic, with a lime, please.” She waved a twenty at the overworked bartender, trying to bribe his attentions away from the gaggle of tuxedoed gentleman placing drink orders.
“So how long are we going to keep up this little charade, Ivy?”
Pete sidled up to the bar, invading Ivy’s personal space while she waited impatiently for the bartender to return with her vodka tonic.
Her senses were all discombobulated. It was near impossible to keep a thought in her head when someone who smelled so good was standing so close. It wasn’t a cologne-type scent either, a fragrance displayed on the shelves at the local Macy’s. Pete’s scent was something she couldn’t quite put her finger on. He just smelled fresh, like his entire body had been laundered and hung out to dry on a beach somewhere on Cape Cod.
“Ivy.” Every time he said her name, with that amused chuckle behind the rumble of his voice, a euphoric bubble fluttered through her bloodstream.
“Why are you doing this to me?” There was no bite behind her objection, though she was positive that had been the directive from brain to mouth.
“Doing what?” Pete’s raised eyebrows and puppy-dog expression only further softened the fight she kept telling herself she possessed. He ran a finger down her cheek, and it took her digging angry half-moons into her palms to prevent her eyes from fluttering closed. “Expressing an interest in reigniting what we started in July at Venetian Night?”
“Started? Please, Pete, it was one night.”
One amazing night, filled with champagne and fireworks, bonfires and shared blankets, and barefoot running to Gold Coast apartments with beachfront access.
“Why do you keep giving me the slip?” Pete continued with that voice that could put a siren to shame. “We’re both available, attractive individuals. We clearly have a strong interest in each other given that you and I exchanged a whole lot more than phone numbers a few months ago, and yet every time I’m around you pretend you can’t stand me.”
Ivy couldn’t argue with him. Venetian Night had been magical. The event, which Chicago hosted each year for those individuals lucky enough to own luxury yachts within the city limits, put on a lakeside parade every year so those individuals who could only dream of owning such luxury could enjoy what had become an annual summer ritual. Ivy had insisted their radio station host a party lakeside, so their listeners and clientele could observe both the boat parade and closing fireworks in the comfort of an exclusive marina, instead of on blankets and beach chairs up and down Lake Shore Drive.
The promotion had gone off without a hitch; she’d been the toast of the event. Even Artie Goldsmith, the president of Summit Radio Group, had complimented her on how much revenue it had generated for their little cluster of radio stations. Of course, copious amounts of champagne had flowed that evening. A couple of bottles of Bollinger later and Ivy had woken up in her bed, tangled with Pete, after having her mind blown by his more than noteworthy talents between the sheets.
“You and I both know why we can’t do”—Ivy signaled wildly between the two of them, nearly knocking over the vodka tonic, which had finally appeared—“what we want to do because of a little thing we both signed called a non-fraternization agreement.”
“Oh, Queenie, discretion is my middle name. Who will know what we do behind closed doors?” Ivy felt the slight tug against her scalp as she watched Pete wrap a strand of her copper colored hair around his finger before letting it go. They both watched it bounce back into place before Pete continued, “Besides, we’ve already fraternized, so what is stopping us now?”
Every time Pete talked, Ivy’s sensible self decided to peace out and she was left in a strange half-world where the only thoughts in her head were how green Pete’s eyes were and how his voice did funny things to her bloodstream. Her toes curled at the remembrance of what they had done three months ago.
“Pete,” Ivy began, fighting to regain some coherent thought, “you seem to have a very misguided idea of the type of girl I am. July was a slip in judgment, and one too many sips of champagne, nothing more. If you think for one moment”—she leaned in to his ear so that only he could hear her—“that I am a booty call you can approach at your leisure for a roll in the sheets, you are sorely mistaken.”



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