Her Heart’s Desire by Lisa Watson shows us the benefits of a true “Mr. Right”. Talk about romantic!
Love is his only mission…
After a series of dating disasters, Tiffany Gentry isn’t ready to risk her heart again. Just when she decides it’s safer to stay single, the Chicago boutique owner meets Colonel Ivan Mangum. The gorgeous military hero is an expert in security. Yet Tiffany has no defense against Ivan’s sensual maneuvers….
Ivan knows that Tiffany should stop looking for Mr. Right—she has already found him! From romantic city nights to a passionate tryst at his mountain retreat, Ivan uses every seductive weapon in his arsenal to prove he’s her true soul mate. But when their future together is threatened, will this soldier find a way to turn his dream of love into a mission possible?
Her Heart’s Desire
“You know, when I came to celebrate, this wasn’t what I had in mind.” Ivan handed his grandmother her ice cream, and then parked his SUV alongside the ice-cream parlor. “Hey, I’m sick of sitting around watching television all day,” Cecile Mangum replied. “It’s my birthday. I wanted a change of scenery, and you’re the only one of us with a driver’s license. I really appreciate you taking me to my favorite ice-cream parlor, honey. Of course, if you prefer that I take the wheel I…”
“Oh, no, you don’t, Speed Racer. I can manage.”
Ivan’s grandmother snorted. “I go through one little red light, and the whole community is up in arms.”
“GiGi, you almost caused a four-car pileup behind you. Not to mention the couple on the park bench.”
“Hey, they moved, didn’t they?”
“Luckily for you, they were still able to,” Ivan pointed out. “Not everyone that old is that limber.”
“Presumably that’s why you’re here. I do appreciate the visit,” she replied.
Ivan reached over and squeezed her heavily veined hand. “It’s my pleasure.”
“I love my gift. How’d you know I like owls?”
“I didn’t.” His thoughts drifted to Tiffany. “I had some help trying to find something nearly as wise as you.”
“Scoundrel.” She chuckled. “And where’s that other rascal?”
“Cole had to work late. He’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Work indeed.” She took a spoonful of her chocolate sundae. “My grandson is probably out chasing skirts. Mangum men have always been charmers. You know, when your granddaddy was alive, he could charm me right out of my—”
Ivan quickly put up a hand to stop her. He took a healthy sip of his milk shake.
“Saints preserve me. You aren’t sitting next to the Virgin Mary, you know. It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Ivan looked decidedly uncomfortable. “Next subject, please?”
“Fine. If you don’t want to talk about my love life, how about yours?”
“There’s nothing to tell, GiGi. I’m not seeing anyone.”
“Hmm…I hear a restless note in your voice, honey. You need to make time for romance, and don’t give me that gibberish about work.”
“It’s not gibberish. I’m proud of what I do.”
“Yes, but can work get you a date?”
“I have a policy about not fraternizing with my employees…in that capacity.”
“Bah. Do you have a policy for everything? How boring is that? Ivan, work doesn’t keep you warm at night, or fill you with a burning desire to—”
“I get it,” he interrupted again.
“My body is old, sweetheart, not the mind. You need to find a woman who can make you happy…make your soul smile. That’s the kind of connection I had with your grandfather. It’s rare enough to find without you purpose- fully overlooking it.”
That made Ivan smile. He leaned over and kissed his grandmother’s cheek. “Who says I’ve overlooked it? What makes you think I’d bring every girl I date here?”
Cecile did a double take. “Every? Hell, how about any?”
Ivan stayed another few minutes, sparring with his grandmother before escorting her back to the assisted- living facility. On the drive home, he pondered her words. Some of her advice was spot-on. Ivan was stuck in a rut, and he needed to shake things up.
When it came to relationships, the challenge had been maintaining them. When he loved, he was all in. There was no in-between. Debra was the last woman he’d given his heart to, and she had handed it back with artillery shells in it. It hadn’t been loaned out since. There’d been women, but it was strictly physical, or as his grandmother put it, to get his ice-cream cone dipped once in a while. She was incorrigible. Cecile Mangum was a virtuoso at human nature, and seeing someone’s true colors. If Ivan could’ve done that half as well, he’d have saved himself a lot of heartache.
Debra’s deception had cut deep, but it was history. Ivan had survived. Now a new woman had caught his eye and breathed life back into him. She was exciting and beautiful.
Yes, definitely time to move on.
Tiffany spotted Ivan walk in. “Damn, you’re good! I love it,” she said excitedly.
“That’s good to hear,” he replied.
The Petite Boutique was not officially open, so they were alone.
“No, really. I love hearing the chime when the door opens. To know I’ve got 24/7 monitoring gives me a sense of security, and the surveillance feature…wow,” she exclaimed. “That I can be home and use my laptop to see the inside of my store blows my mind.”
It was hard not to get caught up in her excitement. Her eyes sparkled with it. Ivan was unable to keep from grinning, either. “Then I’ve done my job. I promised you Mission: Impossible, but on a budget,” he teased.
Ivan showed Tiffany more features and set up her surveillance program on her laptop. He helped her through the tutorial, as well as pointed out additional upgrades she could get later.
“Thank you for doing all this for me, Ivan.”
“It’s been my pleasure, Tiffany.”
Her associate, Celeste, walked through the door. When it chimed, the two shared a smile.
She walked him out. “So what’s next for you?”
“Jeannie asked me to conduct another senior safety class.”
“That sounds like fun.”
Suddenly, Ivan’s expression turned mischievous. “Great. I need an assistant.”
She stopped smiling. “Me? Huh? I… No, I couldn’t. I’d be terrible at it.”
“I doubt it. You said you’d taken self-defense classes before.”
“Yeah, but that was some time ago.”
“So you’re saying you can’t do it?”
There was a hint of challenge in his voice that ruffled Tiffany’s competitive side. She nodded before her cautious side could catch up. “I’ll do it. When is it?”
“Tonight. The name of the class will be on the door. If there’s a change, I’ll call you.”
“I don’t know, Ivan, I—”
Without warning, he held a finger up to her lips to silence her. She stilled.
“Hmm?” She mumbled around his hand.
He moved his finger from her lips, but remained in close proximity.
“Yes,” she heard herself whisper.
The air crackled with tension. Unable to help herself, she gravitated toward him. They stood there for infinite moments staring at each other until a horn broke the spell.
Ivan backed up. “I’ll see you tonight at five. I’ll text you the address. Traffic may be rough, so give yourself extra time to get there. Bye, Tiffany.”
Without another word, Ivan was gone, leaving her standing on the sidewalk in front of her store with a baffled expression on her face. She raised a hand up to her mouth. His hold over her in that moment was complete and all-consuming.
When she regained her wits, Tiffany was mortified. The worst realization was that she had wanted a kiss to happen, more than she wanted to take her next breath.
Tiffany gazed after him until his Range Rover was out of sight. Ivan’s lips and everything else on him are off-limits. She vowed to repeat the sentence like a litany for the rest of the day in hopes of remembering that he was already taken, and to stop her heart, mind and soul from pining for a man she could never have.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A native of Washington D.C., Lisa Watson writes multicultural novels. Having her debut novel nominated for Best Contemporary Fiction, sparked Lisa to continue creating engaging storylines, strong characters with universal appeal, and a keen sense of humor.
Lisa loves traveling, so weaving beautiful destinations into the pages of her novels as lush backdrops, or the heritage of her characters is not uncommon.
Lisa’s first series for the Harlequin’s KIMANI™ line, The Match Broker series, introduced readers to Love Contract, and matchmaking guru, Norma Jean Anderson, aka The Love Broker. Her goal is to have her son, Adrian, and everyone in his immediate circle of friends, happily married—period. Look for book two in the series, Her Heart’s Desire in May 2014, and book three, Love by Design in October 2014.
Lisa works at a technology consulting firm, is the co-publicist for RT BookReview Magazine’s annual RT Booklovers Conventions, and the new host for Reader’s Entertainment Radio show.
Married for eighteen years, with two teenagers, and a Maltipoo, Brinkley, Lisa lives outside Raleigh, NC and is avidly working on her next series.
Connect with Lisa on Facebook (NCLisaWatson), Twitter (@LisaYWatson), Goodreads, Pinterest, and at www.lisawatson.com.