itAbout The Book:
Ten years ago, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston as a battered woman, escaping the husband who scarred her beautiful face. The physical and emotional wounds have faded with time, and her life is finally full of purpose and free from the pain of her past. But when she falls for her friend Charity's handsome and charming brother, Sean O'Connor, fear and shame threaten to destroy her. Could Sean and Emma ever have a future together? Or is Emma doomed to live out the rest of her life denying the only true love she's ever known?
Filled with intense passion and longing, deception and revelation, A Heart Revealed will hold readers in its grip until the very last page.
Emma Malloy has a tiny problem. Okay, a big problem. She has ran away from her husband who has now scarred her face from beating her. She find's another man, yes she has feelings for him. It's wonderful that he admits he feels the same but he is kind of a little late. He's betrothed to another and Emma's husband has come to get her and bring her home. Will they get too be together or will they have to forget it even happened.
Here's an admirable excerpt:
“Shh … shh … it’s okay, Emma …” He fanned his fingers through her hair, cupping her face in his palms, his gaze a tender caress. “I’m here now,” he whispered, kissing her forehead, her temple, her cheek … Her pulse quickened while her weeping stilled to soft, little heaves, and when her eyelids drifted closed, her heart stuttered when he brushed them with his lips. “I’ll keep you safe, I promise,” he whispered, and a silent moan faded in her throat as his mouth trailed to her temple. “I swear no one will ever hurt you again …”
Heat throbbed within as she lost herself in the caress of his hand, her mind dazed while his mouth explored. The soft flesh of her ear, the curve of her throat, her body humming with need as never before. She felt his shallow breaths, warm against her skin and with a low groan, he cupped her neck to capture her mouth with his own. “Oh, Emma,” he whispered, his voice hoarse against her lips, “I want to be there always, to protect you, cherish you …” He deepened his kiss, and she tasted the salt of her tears.
All reason fled and she was lost, the air hitching in her throat a mere heartbeat before she returned his passion, her mouth warm beneath his. She knew it had never been like this with anyone—not with Rory or others or even in her wildest dreams. A merging of souls as well as bodies, where hope soared and love swelled in her chest unitl she thought she would burst.
Sean—her Sean! Tasting her like this, loving her like this, felt so right, so natural, the missing piece of her soul. Kisses both tender and hungry, uniting them, changing them, molding friends into lovers for the rest of their lives …
“God, forgive me,” she whispered, her body shivering from the caress of his mouth to her throat. Her words vibrated beneath his lips, fragile and tinged with awe. “I never knew … never dreamed … it could be like this …”
He clutched her close, his uneven breathing in rhythm with hers. “Emma, I’m so stupid—I never saw this coming, but God help me … I’m in love with you.”
No! She jolted away, his words searing her conscience with a pain more awful than any Johnny had inflicted. Fear clawed in her throat, forcing her back against the wood arms of the couch. “No, Sean, please—you can’t!”
He stared, his face filled with grief. “It’s too late,” he whispered. “I can’t not love you—not now, not after this.”
“But it’s wrong!” She put a hand to her neck, her chest heaving and her mind convulsing with guilt. God, how could I have done this? Tears stung her eyes as self-loathing rose in her throat like bile. She was everything Rory had branded her—a liar and a whore, scarred and hideous, not fit for any man’s bed. She looked away, nauseous at the thought that Sean might see her for the vile woman she was. Her voice shuddered with shame. “We can’t do this, Sean, ever—do you hear? I gave my vow to Rory, and you need to marry Rose. You belong with her.”
Tragedy welled in his eyes as he shook his head. “No, Emma, I belong with you …”
Her head jerked up, eyes crazed and fear burning inside as if a scarlet letter singed her very soul. She stared, voice bordering on hysteria and hands clenched. “No, don’t say that—”
He reached to feather her knuckles with his thumb. “It’s the truth, Emma, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel. I suspect I’ve been in a love with you for a long time; I just didn’t know how much.” His voice held the barest trace of a tease, obviously intended to lighten the moment. “A late bloomer, remember?”
She found no humor in his jest. “Sean, no. You can’t love me that way—it’s wrong.”
“No, Emma,” he whispered, “the only thing wrong is that I can’t show you how much.” He quietly folded her into his arms and eased her head to his chest. The warmth from his body seeped into hers as his hand slowly fondled the back of her neck. “Heaven knows I’ve tried to fall in love with Rose, for you more than for me, but it was never really there, and now I know why. Charity was right—I am dense. I can see now I’ve been in love with you for a long time.”
She squeezed her eyes shut, fists clenched on his chest. “Stop saying that, it’s not right.”
“That may be true, Emma, but nothing has ever felt more right in my life.”
She wrenched away, shame suffocating until she thought she couldn’t breathe. “No—I’m …” She paused, the very words on her tongue proof that Sean deserved better. “another man’s wife.”
His eyes were gentle as he twined his fingers with hers. “That may be, Emma … but you belong to me, not him.”
She yanked her hand from his and shot to her feet. Out of desperation, she forced a hard tone. “To me, it’s adultery, Sean, and I won’t do that—not to someone I love and not to God.”
His eyes never strayed from hers as he rose. “I know that,” he said quietly, feathering her arms with his palms, “but it doesn’t change the fact that I love you … and you love me.”
“No, I don’t love you! Not like that.” A sob broke from her throat.
Against her resistance, he slowly gathered her into his arms to rest his head against hers. His voice was soft and low and so full of love that it made her tremble. “Yes, you do,” he whispered, “but I love you too much to ever hurt you with that love.” He lifted her chin, his gaze tender. “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, Emma Malloy, and I want you in every way a man could ever want a woman.” He stroked her jaw with the pad of his thumbs. “But if you don’t want me to act on it, then I give you my word that I won’t.”
Chin quivering, she flung herself in his arms, clutching him so tightly that the buttons of his cotton shirt ached against the bruise in her cheek. She could hear the pounding of his heart and she closed her eyes, her heart spilling over with gratitude for this man whose love made her feel almost whole. Almost worthy.
Pain shifted in her throat. “Oh, Sean, what are we going to do?” she whispered. His scent enveloped her, soothing her senses with the clean smell of soap and Barbasol and a hint of Cherry Mash.
“Well, for starters,” he said with a stroke of her hair, we’re going to eat soup.”
She glanced up, acutely aware of tiny blond bristles that shadowed his chiseled jaw and lips that had kissed hers, now curved in a smile. “You know what I mean. What are we going to do about us … at the store?” Her voice faltered. “I … don’t think we can do this … day in and day out. One of us will have to leave …”
“No.” His voice was firm, leaving no room for debate. He palmed the side of her face, his touch gentle, but his mouth as rigid as the set of his jaw. “Nothing has changed. We loved each other as friends … and now we’re simply friends who love each other. And we’ll go on as before.” His fingers grazed her chin, lifting to emphasize his intent. “Because if I am to be denied loving you as my wife, Emma, then by God, I will love you as a friend. I promise you, we can do this.” A nerve pulsed in his cheek. “We will do this.”
With a stiff smile, he gently buffed her arms and then strode toward the kitchen, his tone taut with authority. “You go change while I warm up the soup, and then pack a bag with whatever you’ll need for a week. We’ll come back for the rest.”
“What?” She wrung the top of her robe together, fingers cinched at her throat. “What do you mean?” she whispered.
He turned, hands loose on his hips and gaze slatted enough to know she had a fight on her hands. “I mean I’m not leaving you here so that lowlife can hurt you again. You’ll stay with us for the foreseeable future, until I feel it’s safe to come back.”
“With you? At your house?” Her voice edged toward shrill.
His lips cemented into a hard line. “There or at Charity’s, take your pick. But either way, Emma, you’re not staying here, and that’s final.”
“But I can’t! Mrs. Peep needs me … and my cats.”
“Mrs. Peep loves you and wants you to be safe. She’ll watch your cats, she already told me so.” The blue of his eyes steeled to gray as he peered at her, the flicker of a dormant temper glinting in his eyes. “I won’t stand here and argue with you, Emma. I’m not usually a volatile man, and you know that, but this is too important. Trust me on this—I will take you by force if I have to. So I suggest you pack your bags while I warm up the soup.” He turned away, disappearing down the hall where sunlight streamed into her kitchen.
A heave shuddered from her throat and she put a hand to her eyes, numb over how her life had changed in just a few short hours. Yesterday she had been content to be alone, fear as foreign to her now as Rory’s violent scorn. And yet, with one vile slap, her yesterday had shifted into a present steeped in fear, shame and guilt, all neatly laced with denial and despair.
“We will do this.” Sean had said.
The memory of his mouth caressing hers burned in her thoughts, unleashing a flood of shame and guilt that caused her to quiver. Her hand trembled to her lips as tears slipped from her eyes.
No, God, we won’t …
About The Author:
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of "Passion With a Purpose" underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as "Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction." Chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #4 Novel of the Year and #3 Series of the year. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter and is the author of "The Daughters of Boston" series--A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Book 1 in her "Winds of Change" series A Hope Undaunted ranked #5 on Booklist's Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010. You can contact Julie through her website at www.julielessman.com