USA Today Bestselling Author
Military duty called them away to war zones, but after tours overseas, the group of friends found their way back home as men, seeking the peaceful little seaside town. Now, the band of brothers, together once more, work to provide a place for less fortunate veterans to call home.
Aiden MacFarlane came home from the war determined to live life to the fullest and that included running his pub with his brother, hanging with his friends, coaching with the American Legion youth baseball teams, and enjoying the company of the vacationing ladies who passed through the little seaside town of Baytown.
War widow Lia Smith had moved to Baytown with her young daughter, and the last thing she was interested in was the town’s player. Her job is to find out who might be stealing money from the town and she knows her investigation will ruffle feathers.
First impressions were not favorable, but as Lia gets to know the town’s Peter Pan, she comes to see there is so much more to him than the carefree image he presents. As Aiden falls for Lia and her adorable daughter, he takes on the role of protector when she is threatened by someone who wants her investigation to halt.
Will Aiden be able to save them before someone takes away his chance to truly live life to the fullest?
Scenes in the book are similar to what you would find in an R-Rated movie. Readers 18+ please.
I truly love this series, I can smell the breeze on the bay and see the sunrises and sunsets in my mind as I read about these men and women.
Every one of the ‘Baytown Boys’ has a story that is related to his service in some way. Aiden’s is not something that happened to him, but something that he witnessed and affected him more deeply than he realized.
Aiden is the party boy, always joking and having fun. He also has quite the reputation as a ladies man.
Amelia has bought Thomas Redding’s accounting business. He is finally retiring at the age of 80. She and her daughter have settled on the outskirts of town, just in North Heron County.
Their first meeting is less than auspicious. However, after Aiden finds her daughter Emily when she wanders off during the music festival, he manages to get a date.
This date doesn’t go so well either, this is a favorite scene.
fingertips. Approaching the hostess counter, his heart stuttered as he observed a long-ago fling. Carlotta…fuck!
“Aiden! I haven’t seen you in forever!” The woman strutted closer and threw her arms around his neck, offering a loud smacking kiss on his cheek, perilously close to his lips.
He had to remove his hand from Lia’s back to give a slight push to Carlotta in order to encourage her to move back a step. Keeping his tone even, he said, “We have a reservation.”
Carlotta’s eyes widened as they jumped between between him and Lia and she gave him a knowing wink. “Sure, honey. Just follow me.” She grabbed two menus and began leading them toward the back of the restaurant where the booths facing the bay were.
Placing his hand on Lia’s back again, guiding her along, he felt the tension now radiating from her. Hoping to move past the awkward entrance into the restaurant, he gave a curt nod to Carlotta as he assisted Lia into the circular booth. Not giving her a chance to sit on the opposite side, he moved in next to her, forcing her to scoot over a little bit to make room for him.
Carlotta smiled as she rattled off the evening’s specials and winked at him again before she left, making her way back to the hostess counter.
Swallowing hard, he decided to ignore the past few minutes and plunged ahead. “What would you like to drink?”
“Just a glass of white wine,” Lia said, keeping her eyes down, already studying the menu.
As the waiter came by, he gave him their drink order and they listened to the specials again. Once the waiter left their table, he decided to come clean, hoping to alleviate the embarrassing start to their dinner. “I’m sorry about the hostess. She…um…is an old acquaintance.”
“Yes, she seemed to be,” her eyes moving to his. She offered him a tightlipped smile that did not reach her eyes. After the waiter returned with their wine and they placed their orders, he directed her attention to the setting sun, enjoying the way she had to twist her body slightly into his to view it. Hoping to ease her tension, he reached his arm around her shoulder, his fingertips lightly moving over her soft skin, and breathed a little easier as he felt her muscles relax.
As their meals were served, they began to chat again and he felt as though the earlier tension had left.
“Tell me about the American Legion and the ball teams,” she said.
Enthusiastic to have a conversation he was passionate about, he said, “Historically, the American Legion was chartered in the early 1900s as a veteran’s organization. It started as a group for the veterans of the first World War and has grown into one of the most influential nonprofit organizations in the United States.”
Eyes wide, she continued to eat as she listened with rapt attention. He liked the fascinated look on her face and was proud to have such a wealth of knowledge about the subject.
“When me and the other boys were in high school, we made a pact to all go into the military. It was our way to escape this tiny town and see the world. We had big dreams that we would go out and conquer.” He held her gaze as he sighed, adding, “But what most of us discovered was that the other side of the world is just that—another place. It wasn’t where our hearts were. So we all came home after our various tours ended…all but one of us.”
Her fork halted over her plate and she stared into his face. “Oh, Aiden, I’m so sorry.”
“It was our friend Philip. Philip Bayles. He was actually Katelyn’s fiancé.”
Lia was stunned into silence, clearly not having realized that Katelyn had suffered such a loss before finding love with Gareth and having their new baby.
Giving a mental shake, he continued, “But I didn’t mean to make this conversation a downer. It’s just that when we all came back, we realized that we wanted to be able to share our experiences that bound us together. There was an American Legion chapter in the northern part of the Eastern Shore that had almost died out. Mitch took the lead and managed to bring the chapter to Baytown.”
“I went to the Auxiliary meeting the other day. It was interesting and I’ve done the paperwork to become a member, but there’s still so much I don’t know,” she said.
“There are lots of activities that the American Legion is involved in, but baseball is actually one of their most successful amateur athletic programs. Our goal is to educate young people about the importance of sportsmanship, citizenship, and fitness. We’re also involved in supporting recovering recovering wounded warriors and their families. And the Auxiliary helps us with all of those endeavors.”
“Why is baseball so important?” She cocked her head and added, “For you, I mean.”
He chewed silently for a moment, thinking of his response. Swallowing, he held her gaze and said, “I guess it all comes down to my memories.” Seeing her rapt attention on him, he continued. “I grew up in this little, no-where town in America. Friends, family. Hell, the Baytown Boys were my life. Once I was in Afghanistan, I realized how much I missed it. The fun. The camaraderie. The sense of belonging. I came back to that, but started to notice how many kids in this area don’t have it.”
She nodded, her gaze never leaving his.
“When I was growing up, I never realized how poor this county was. We were big in agriculture, but by the time I was an adult, a lot of that was gone.” Shrugging, he said, “I’m just hoping to give some of these kids a chance to have a little bit of what I had.”
She reached over and touched his arm with her delicate fingers. “That’s lovely, Aiden. Really lovely.”
They finished their meals and pushed their plates back, both reveling in the nighttime sky over the bay and the good food and wine.
His hand settled across her shoulder again, fingertips soothing her skin, and he asked, “Do you think that Emily would enjoy being part of the team?”
She bit her lip, quiet for a moment, and he could see her thoughts churning behind her eyes. “Part of me wants her to feel normal and to do anything that she wants to do. The other part of me isn’t sure how that would work.”
“Why don’t you let me—”
A female voice sounded from the side and he jerked his head around. A statuesque blonde in a skintight cocktail dress leaving little to the imagination stepped over to their booth. He did not know her name but recognized her face as one of the vacation-fucks he had had the previous year.
You have got to be kidding me, he thought, once more feeling Lia’s back straighten and her shoulders tense.
“I was back in town for the weekend and wondered if I’d have a chance to see you again. We had such a memorable time the last time I was here.” Her voice slurred slightly, as though the effects of too many martinis had dulled her speech as well as her good sense.
Her behavior was rude, considering he was clearly on a date, and paired with his embarrassment over the whole thing pushed him over the edge. Deciding that he was no longer going to play nice, he said firmly, “I’m sorry, but this is not the time for a reunion. As you can see, I’m with someone.”
The blonde blinked, her eyes narrowing slightly as it appeared to dawn on her that he did not intend to welcome her with open arms. “Well, well. I never thought to see the leopard change his spots, but I guess anything is possible. But, just so you know,” she leaned in a little and mock whispered, the alcohol on her breath hitting him in the face. “If you change your mind, I’ll be here through the weekend, staying at the Baytown Hotel.” Batting her lashes, she turned and sashayed away.
Closing his eyes at that horrible display, he sat with his arm still around Lia, feeling the negative vibes pouring off her. Letting out a sigh, he turned to her. “Lia, I’m sorry, I don’t know what to—”
Without looking at him, she scooted to the other side of the booth and stepped out quickly. Not lifting her eyes to his face, she said, “I think I’ll skip dessert. I really need to get home and check on Emily.”
Dropping some bills on the table, he hastened to follow her out finding, even with his long stride, she was difficult to keep up with as she hurried out of the restaurant. Reaching his truck, he saw her standing facing the passenger door, still not looking into his face even as she heard him approach.
“Lia, please let me apologize. I never wanted our date to be interrupted like that.”
Her shoulders slumped and a sigh heaved from her body. Softly, she said, “I’m sure that’s true, Aiden. It happened nonetheless. Please take me home. I really do need to check on Emily.”
He felt sure that that was just an excuse but could not come up with a plausible reason for her to give him more time.
Jordan, Maryann. Hear My Heart: Baytown Boys.(Kindle Locations 1135-1202).Kindle Edition.
While Aiden tries to figure out how to make things right with Lia, she is deep into a forensic investigation of the town’s finances, at the request of the Town Council.
As things heat up with Aiden so do things in her investigation.
Fast paced with plenty of suspense, lots of soul searching and just the right amount of sizzle. Topped off with a few surprises.
I can’t wait for the next book in this series!
5 Contented Purrs for Maryann!
Click the Cover for Buy Links
I have always been an avid reader. My early memories were of my mother taking me to the library and allowing me to check out as many books as I could carry. My favorite books were checked out numerous times and read over and over. I would use my Barbie dolls to play out the scenes in books (such as Nancy Drew!).
I have written as a hobby for many years (probably since childhood). I have written devotionals, autobiographical writings about having a severely handicapped, medically fragile child, about my mother’s Alzheimer’s, and other subjects that interest me.
I joke that I “cut my romance teeth” on the old historical romance books. In 2013, I started a blog to showcase wonderful writers. In 2014, I finally gave in to the characters in my head pleading for their story to be told. Thus, Emma’s Home was created.
I worked as a counselor in a high school and was involved in education for the past 30 years, until retiring in 2015. I have been married to a wonderfully patient man for 35 years and have 2 adult, very supportive daughters. When writing, my dog or one of my cats will usually be found in my lap!