Authors: Melissa Foster
overs at Heart
The Bradens, Book One
ove in Bloom Series
Smashwords Edition, October 2013
Copyright 2013, Melissa Foster
“Steamy sex scenes and heartfelt confessions. A satisfying addition to the 'Love in Bloom' series.”
Midwest Book Review
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This is a work of fiction. The events and characters described herein are imaginary and are not intended to refer to specific places or living persons. The opinions expressed in this manuscript are solely the opinions of the author and do not represent the opinions or thoughts of the publisher. The author has represented and warranted full ownership and/or legal right to publish all the materials in this book.
LOVERS AT HEART
All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2013 Melissa Foster
This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Cover Design: Natasha Brown
WORLD LITERARY PRESS
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A Note To Readers
Lovers at Heart
is the fourth book in the
Love in Bloom
series, and the first book of
. While it may be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more enjoyment you may want to read the rest of the
Love in Bloom
novels. If you have read the first three
books, then you have already met Treat Braden and Max Armstrong. If you haven’t, then buckle up for an emotional ride. These two characters have a special place in my heart, and I hope you fall in love with them as much as I have.
For Russell Blake, a talented writer, a treasured friend, and a fierce and worthy competitor. You’re a hell of a guy, skater shoes and all.
PRAISE FOR MELISSA FOSTER
"Contemporary romance at its hottest. Each Braden sibling left me craving the next. Sensual, sexy, and satisfying, the Braden series is a captivating blend of the dance between lust, love, and life."
—Bestselling author, Keri Nola, Psychotherapist
(on The Bradens)
"[LOVERS AT HEART] Foster’s tale of stubborn yet persistent love takes us on a heartbreaking and soul-searing journey."
“Smart, uplifting, and beautifully layered.
I couldn’t put it down!”
—National bestselling author, Jane Porter (on Sisters in Love)
"Steamy love scenes, emotionally-charged drama, and a family-driven story, make this the perfect story for any romance reader."
Midwest Book Review (on Sisters in Bloom)
“HAVE NO SHAME is a powerful testimony to love and the progressive, logical evolution of social consciousness, with an outcome that readers will find engrossing, unexpected, and ultimately eye-opening.”
Midwest Book Review
"TRACES OF KARA is psychological suspense at its best, weaving a tight-knit plot, unrelenting action, and tense moments that don't let up, and ending in a fiery, unpredictable revelation."
Midwest Book Review
“[MEGAN’S WAY] A wonderful, warm, and thought-provoking story...a deep and moving book that speaks to men as well as women, and I urge you all to put it on your reading list."
“[CHASING AMANDA] Secrets make this tale outstanding.”
“COME BACK TO ME is a hauntingly beautiful love story set against the backdrop of betrayal in a broken world.”
Bestselling Author Sue Harrison
TREAT BRADEN didn’t usually charter planes. It wasn’t his style to flash his wealth, but tonight he needed to be anywhere but his Nassau, Bahamas, resort—and missing his commercial flight had just plain pissed him off. He owned upscale resorts all over the world, and he’d been featured on travel shows so many times that it turned his stomach to have to play those
ridiculous media games
. Most of the pomp and circumstance surrounding him had begun to irk him in ways that it never had before meeting Max Armstrong. It had been six months since he’d seen her standing in the lobby
of his Nassau resort
. Six months since his heart first thundered in a way that scared the shit out of him.
He’d tried to ignore her, but it seemed that everywhere Treat went, she was destined to appear. Treat wasn’t a Neanderthal. He knew he had no claim on her. Hell, he hadn’t even given her any indication that he was attracted to her. But that hadn’t stopped his blood from boiling when he’d seen her with Justin Barr, one of his employees, and it hadn’t stopped him from acting like a prick when he’d seen her the next morning standing in front of the elevators at his resort, wearing the same clothes she’d had on the night before.
Meeting Max had sent his heart and mind into a wind tunnel of regret. He was thirty-seven, and it was high time that he settled into life and cast away the fears he’d carried around his whole life due to his mother’s untimely death and his father’s grief.
I’ll fall in love and she’ll be stolen away. I’ll be as heartbroken as Dad.
If he’d had to look at the lobby of the Nassau resort for one more second, he might have torn the place down. As the plane landed, Treat knew that getting away from resorts altogether and spending a weekend with his father at his ranch was just what he needed. Being with his family would center him, and Hal Braden had always been a calming influence on Treat. After his mother passed away, it was his father who pulled him and his five siblings through those tumultuous years. His father had constantly pounded a strong work ethic and sense of loyalty into his and his four brothers’ heads, and that had enabled them all to be successful in their careers. His younger sister, Savannah, however, was the most ruthless businessperson of them all. The thought of his gorgeous, albeit cutthroat, sister brought a smile to his lips. He’d have to remember to call her while he was in town.
WESTON, COLORADO, was a small ranch town with dusty streets, too many cowboy hats, and a main drag that had been built to replicate the Wild West. It was everything Treat remembered as he sat in his rental Lexus SUV on Main Street. The traffic he was stuck in was not at all typical, and it wasn’t until he crawled around the next curve and saw the balloons and banners above the road announcing the twenty-second annual Indie Film Festival that he realized what weekend it was.
. He had forgotten about the festival.
His cell phone rang, and he picked it up while he waited for the line of cars to turn off the main road toward the festival grounds.
“I can’t believe you didn’t call me before you came out.”
. “Hi, honey. I miss you, too.”
“You big oaf.” She laughed. Savannah was a ballbusting entertainment attorney, but to Treat, she’d always be his baby sister. “I’m at the festival with a client. When will you get in?”
“I’m here now. I’m on Main.” He hadn’t moved an inch in five minutes.
“Yeah? Come to the festival and see me. I’ll call Dad and let him know. I’ll wait for you at the rear entrance.”
Even though his sister had issued an order rather than posed a request, Treat smiled. All he really wanted to do was to reach his father’s five-hundred-acre ranch just outside of town, but Treat knew that if he didn’t see Savannah right away, she’d be disappointed; and disappointing his siblings was something he strived not to do. His father’s words rang through his mind.
Family knows no boundaries
“You sure you can get away?” he asked, knowing there was nothing that would stop Savannah from making time for him.
“Who are you kidding? For you? Hell yes. Come in the back gate. I’ll wait there.”
“I’ll be there as soon as traffic allows. Hey, don’t forget to call Dad.” The thought of his father waiting for him worried Treat. After he ended the call with Savannah and waited through two more unbearably long traffic lights, he picked up his cell and called his father, just in case. He didn’t like to cause his father undue worry.
“Hey there, son.”
Hal’s slow, deep drawl tugged at Treat’s heart. God, he’d missed his father. “Dad, I’m here, but I’m gonna stop at the festival first, if you don’t mind.”
“Yup. Savannah called. Treat, spend some time with her. She misses you.”
His father was always looking out for them, and it warmed his heart to hear that things hadn’t changed. “See you soon, Dad.”