Tattered Hearts is Book 2 of the Vintage Love series set in the quiet little town of Awry. In Book 1, Hearts A Plenty, we met Claire Mason, Jared Young, and Mark Pierce and followed their Thanksgiving celebration. We were also introduced to Stella James and Eric Mason, ex-lovers with a past that will not be content to stay buried. Both are hot-tempered and determined to be heard.
“She wants to leave, Eric,” Quinn said. The larger man crowded in on Eric and Stella’s heart fluttered. Eric seemed to expand inside his skin as he let her pass through the doorway. Quinn may be a gentle giant, but Eric knew the man would take him apart in seconds.
“She’s good at that.” Eric’s words cut, but she kept moving. He grabbed her upper arms and pinned her to the wall outside Quinn’s office. Quinn was right there, ready to take down the younger man, but Stella waved him off. Eric wouldn’t hurt her. Not physically. He shredded her in places no one else could see.
He stood directly in front of her and leaned down close to her face, holding her gaze. “Why are you doing this to me, Stella? Why did you come back at all?”
“I’m not doing anything to you. This isn’t about you. Awry is my home.” She swallowed, trying to ignore the heat rampaging through her at his touch. She would not be handled by him. She was no longer that girl.
“I would give anything to change the past,” Eric said. Pain radiated from those green Mason eyes, scraping her own wounds raw. “Why can’t you forgive me?”
“It’s not about forgiving. It’s about moving on,” Stella said.
“I dream of you.” His whispered words surprised her. Made her ache in places she’d thought long dead. Her spine stiffened and she straightened to her full height, plus three inches, forcing him to either straighten away from her or look up to meet her eyes.
“Yeah?” She pushed at his chest, but he didn’t budge, so she slid around him, spinning to see he’d turned to watch her. He leaned against the wall, sadness and anger sizzling in the air between them. “I dreamed of you, too. When I was delirious with the pain of life being torn from my body, I dreamed of you. I screamed for you.” Tears rolled down her hot cheeks, feeling like steam should be rising there. “Where were you?”
His face paled beneath the rough stubble on his cheeks and his hands clenched into fists at his sides.
“I don’t dream of you any more, Eric,” she lied to his stricken face. “I don’t think of you at all.”