Secrets of the Heart

Boruma Publishing

Hollywood superstar Conor Fitzpatrick was captivated when he met a beautiful young woman who looked eerily like the childhood sweetheart he'd left back in Ireland 13 years ago.

But pretty Kiera Donovan was hiding a tragic secret that would change his life—and could prove deadly to them both!

~~~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~~~

“Peggy?” An electric shock tingled through Conor’s long fingers when his hand closed over the girl’s slender arm.

She spun around, and gaped up at him in blank shock. And even before she stepped back with a stammered, “My name isn’t Peggy!” he knew he’d been wrong.

“I’m sorry, you looked so much like…”

“My name is Kiera Donovan.”

They both spoke at the same time, then stopped in momentary confusion. Conor broke the baffled silence first by flashing her a smile guaranteed to melt even the stoniest heart.

“You are from Ireland.” It was more a question than a statement. “It’s amazing, you know, your resemblance to Peggy Malone, the girl I knew back home. And I’m completely forgetting my manners.” With a rueful grimace, he offered his hand. Another electric jolt sizzled along his nerve endings as their fingers met. “I’m Conor Fitzpatrick.”

“Yes, I know.”

The entire world knew Conor Fitzpatrick’s astoundingly handsome face. And Kiera felt mesmerized as she stared up at him, drinking in details made even more stunning by proximity. He was the hottest name in Hollywood…and with good reason. There was even talk about him becoming the next Bond sensation—partly, she was sure, because of his striking resemblance to an earlier Bond actor.

And he was smiling down at her with that multimillion dollar smile, and clasping her hand like a long-lost friend! The sheer energy radiating from his lean body made Kiera feel like she’d grabbed the wrong end of a bare electrical cord. At any moment, smoke might start pouring from her ears!

“Well, it’s a lovely treat to hear a familiar voice so far from home,” he exclaimed. “Will you have lunch with me?”

Any other woman would have sold her soul for the chance to stroll down Sunset Blvd. on Conor Fitzpatrick’s muscular arm. But for Kiera, the prospect was a terrifying nightmare. Her heart slammed against her ribs like a jackhammer as she hastily tugged her hand free, and backed away.

“I can’t.” Even in her own ears, her panicked refusal sounded rude and abrupt. Quickly she forced an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry. My lunch break is only an hour, and I’m due back in ten minutes. If I’m late, Chandra will have my head. It was nice meeting you, Mr. Fitzpatrick.”


But his automatic correction met thin air as she turned and scurried toward the small parking lot.

Conor watched the graceful sway of her back as she unlocked the door of a small, battered black Honda, and slid inside. Then he made his thoughtful way back to Liam Kerry, his personal assistant and bodyguard, who’d been carefully watching the entire exchange from a tactful distance.

“What on earth did you say to her, Con?” Liam looked as baffled as he felt, and it showed on his deceptively-boyish, freckled face. “That’s not the usual effect you have on women!”

“For a moment, I thought she was an old friend from Ireland. I suppose this proves the old tale that everyone has a double roaming about somewhere.” Conor leaned one broad shoulder against a nearby tree, and slowly shook his head. “Irish she is, and alike enough to be Peggy’s sister. But Peggy Malone she’s not. It’s all very curious.”

Something in his voice made the younger man look closer, and then a crafty grin curved his lips. “You aren’t going to let her get away, are you?”

“Oh, no.” Smug satisfaction colored Conor’s rich voice. “Lady Luck’s with me today, boyo. I know where she works. I’ve a gut feeling there’s more to this Kiera Donovan than meets the eye, and I want to see her again…” 
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About the author

Jo Grant, a native of Indiana, currently lives in Florida with her family and a veritable zoo of rescue animals.

In addition to modern-day and medieval romances such as Secrets of the Heart, Stormy Bay, One of a Kind, and Mara My Love, she has also published several childrens’ books and full-length fictional novels, including Obsession and Alter Ego, the first two books of her popular The Bureau series.

If you enjoyed this book, please visit her website,, to see what other books she has published.

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Additional Information

Boruma Publishing
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Fiction / Romance / Contemporary
Fiction / Romance / Erotica
Fiction / Romance / General
Fiction / Romance / Suspense
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This anthology features the first five erotic stories from the celebrated series, The One Less Traveled, a steamy collection of books involving a gorgeous hotwife, a dominant black man, and a reluctant husband who evolves into an eager cuckold.

Nick and Nicole are the quintessential married-with-children suburban couple. Nicole seeks a boyfriend. Nick wants a happy wife. When they search for excitement outside their marriage and connect with a rich, handsome black stranger who desires control, a tempestuous erotic ride through the rapids of a carnal cuckold relationship ensues.

~~~~~ PG Excerpt ~~~~~

“I thought you got lost out there. I was going to send a search party and maybe call 911,” I said sarcastically.

Irritation flashed in her eyes. “What did you think was going to happen? Besides, you don’t like to dance, and I do.” She grabbed her drink, and finished it in two swallows. I poured her another drink, although I didn’t add as much whiskey this time. I wanted her relaxed and happy, not drunk and pissed.

“You’re right, honey. Please don’t be mad. You stayed out there a little longer than I anticipated, and I felt neglected. I’m sorry.” I handed her the drink, and took her hand. “I want us to have fun tonight, so feel free to dance your ass off.”

She took a sip of her drink, then leaned forward and kissed me on the cheek. “Are you sure? Because I don’t want to upset you.” She paused and met my eyes. “So you’re sure you’ll be okay if I dance a lot with other men?”

“Absolutely.” I put on my most reassuring smile, and made the decision to open up and confide in her. “Actually, watching you dance with him turned me on. You looked hot, and he was clearly into you.”

“Good.” A playful smile curved her lips. “He was nice, but not really my type. So,” she added, and cocked her head at me. “It turns you on to watch me, huh?”


Just as she finished her question, her eyes rose from my face to something behind me, and a strong, deep baritone voice sounded over my shoulder.

“I apologize for interrupting, but you are absolutely gorgeous. May I join you two?”

The voice came around from behind me, and I got a chance to see the speaker, a well-dressed black man with sharp, expressive eyes and an easy smile. I stood as he moved around the table, and I realized that he towered over me by at least six to eight inches. Nicole stood, too, and smiled widely at him.

“Hi. My name is Collin,” he said, and took her hand. “I noticed you on the dance floor, and I had to come over and meet you. You are an amazing dancer.”

“Thank you.” My wife beamed up at him, and made no effort to take her hand back. “I’m Nicole. We don’t get out as often as we used to, and I really miss dancing.” She paused, and then motioned at me. “Sorry, this is my husband, Nick.”

He finally broke eye contact with her as she finished and mentioned my name.

“Nick,” he said, repeating my name as though he wanted to remember it. “Nice to meet you. You’re a lucky man.”

“Nice to meet you, too…and yes, I’m the lucky husband. Thanks for coming up and introducing yourself.”

I wanted to be gracious, and at first glance, he seemed like a genuinely nice guy. I figured it must take courage to approach a couple in a swingers club.

Nicole was devouring him with her eyes, so I motioned to the empty chair. “Why don’t you join us?”

His smile widened, and he nodded his thanks before all of us sat down. We were at a small round table that had three chairs, so we were able to carry on a conversation despite the music.

When the next song came on, he motioned at the dance floor. “Would you like to dance?”

“Yes.” Her reply was out of her mouth almost before he stopped speaking.

“Do you mind, Nick?” he asked, turning to me.

“That’s fine,” I surrendered with a forced grin. “You two kids have fun.”

My wife’s reaction surprised me. She’d always said that she didn’t find black men attractive, but she looked at Collin like a starving person at a buffet. I didn’t know if her taste in men had changed, or if she’d kept her taste for black men a secret during our marriage. Either way, my heart started racing as they walked away.

It was the cruise of the century--a once-in-a-lifetime extravaganza for those rich enough to indulge their wildest fantasies. The luxurious new Fairy Princess ocean liner would zigzag all across the planet, stopping at every exotic port and island and country. Few would be fortunate enough to afford more than a month’s travel--but the entire two-year trip was booked solid. It was an undertaking that would make the legendary Titanic look like a rerun of Gilligan’s Island.

And then the impossible brass ring--twelve elegant staterooms had been reserved for twelve lucky random couples, to hobnob with the world’s obscenely rich and shameless. The "Lucky Twelve" contest had commanded more media attention than the latest five presidential scandals combined.

Ex-Marine Mitch O’Neill couldn’t believe that he’d been randomly chosen. Things like that just didn’t happen to him! Then he discovered that the elegant young woman in charge of the grand voyage was none other than his estranged lover, Lady Guenevere Thurmond...and he was sure that someone had deliberately arranged for him to be on board.

Seven years ago, Gwen had vanished without a trace, only to explode into the media spotlight by marrying Lord Winston Thurmond, a British lord nearly 40 years her senior. Mitch had never forgotten, or forgiven, her heartless betrayal.

Who could possibly want to reunite them? And why?

Against his better judgment, Mitch finds himself unwillingly drawn to Gwen again. But Gwen is hiding a tragic secret of her own--and revealing it could cost her everything, and everyone, she holds dear!

~~~~~  Excerpt  ~~~~~

“Don’t you make a charming picture!”

Gwen was languidly brushing a long-haired pup when his bitter words rang out of the darkness. She knew that low, husky voice! And it was so achingly familiar that every nerve in her body went on instant alert, and her heart began to pound wildly. The brush fell from her numb fingers as she whipped around, hardly daring to breathe.

“Mitch?” His name emerged as a hoarse, disbelieving whisper.

“Don’t act so surprised.” Sneering, he emerged from the shadows, and balanced his long frame against the doorframe to keep it from tipping drunkenly back and forth. “You know very well that your loving husband arranged for me to keep you company on this delightful little pleasure cruise!

“Or was it you?” His eyes narrowed suddenly as stunned heat flushed her pale cheeks. “By God, it was, wasn’t it? You arranged to have me here! He doesn’t have a clue what you did!”

The blank shock on her face was too real to be contrived. But ripe fury was overwhelming his common sense. All the long-suppressed anger and betrayal was churning in his gut, bubbling over, finding a handy and oh-so-perfect target. And nothing else mattered but letting it spew out in a hot, vicious torrent.

“What’s the matter, sweetheart?” He took an unsteady step forward, and clenched his big fists until the knuckles turned white. “Finally tired of your feeble old charity case? Isn’t he man enough to satisfy your needs?” Oh, how he’d love to wrap his long fingers around her lying little throat and squeeze, until she’d paid for every sleepless night since the day she’d run away from him!

Gwen scooted back against the wall as terror and elation warred for command. Outrage won by a narrow margin, and gave her the strength to scramble to her feet. “What are you talking about? You aren’t...I didn’t...”

She sputtered for a second, then backed away again when he advanced, with murder clearly visible in his dark eyes. How could she have forgotten how big he was? Those rugged hands could snap her into tiny little pieces!

“Did you think I wouldn’t figure it out?” His arms shot out to block her escape, and he deliberately loomed over her, forcing her to cringe against the sturdy wall. “I’m no Einstein, but even a moron could see through your flimsy motives!”

“You’re insane!” Her voice shook as she punched both fists against his wide chest. It was like hitting a granite boulder. “Mitch, let me go!” Rising panic made her voice shrill as he crushed her between his muscular body and the wall. Every nerve began to scream warnings as she felt his unbridled rage... and God help her, his fierce arousal.

This wasn’t the Mitch O’Neill she’d worshiped, the consummate lover she still dreamed about every night! This man was a terrifying stranger, bent on destroying her!

His harsh mouth descended on hers, choking off her frightened cry. So familiar, and yet not... And even so, some insane part of her own mind arched into the savage kiss with a wild passion she hadn’t even known she possessed.

But when his long fingers closed over her tender flesh, something snapped. Just as he’d taught her all those years ago, she twisted slightly to one side, then brought her knee up with explosive force.

He was drunk--but no man alive could be drunk enough to ignore that visceral agony!

The air exploded from his lungs, and he staggered back a pace. That was all the room she needed. Snarling, she brought her knee up again, and felt it connect a second time, squarely on target. And as his long body folded like a snapped twig, she clenched both fists together and swung them, like an iron mace, at his unprotected throat.

“And you taught me never to lower my guard!” Panting, she glared down at his writhing frame. Serve him right if he walked funny for a whole month!

“Gwen...” His contorted face was a sickly green. “Jesus, Gwen!”

“You deserved it!” Vigorously she wiped a hand across her mouth. “Remember that the next time you get stinking drunk, you two-timing...”

Nicole’s sexual evolution continues unabated, and Nick finds himself swept up in the current of her growing sexuality. Nicole’s new friend, Cynthia, becomes a fixture in their lives, and despite his natural confidence, even Collin seems unsure where Nicole will take them next. What is certain is Cynthia’s desire for Nicole, and her willingness to do anything to secure Nicole’s affections. When Nick and Nicole's children start asking questions, they begin to question their travels down The Road Less Traveled.  

~~~~~ PG Excerpt ~~~~~

“Why did you drag me up here, Nikki?” Cynthia’s voice was teasing, but sultry at the same time. “I saw your boyfriend pick you up and kiss you.” Disappointment colored her voice. “What do you want with me?”

“I wanted to talk to you alone.”

Nicole’s hesitant, careful tone surprised me. Based on what I’d heard so far, I half-expected them to rip each other’s clothes off. Cynthia apparently caught the note of caution, too.

“Okay.” Her voice was tinged with a little concern. “What’s up?”

“Let’s sit down.”

“Oh, shit.” Her voice got a little harder. “Is this where you tell me you don’t like girls? Or that you have herpes?”

Nicole laughed. “Bitch! No, damn it. Come here and sit down.”

“Fine,” Cynthia said around a sigh. “Break my heart now.”

“I’m not going to say this right, so just bear with me.”

“Jeez, spit it out already.”

“Be nice,” Nicole snapped. “I like you…a lot, and I’m very attracted to you. Can I trust you to keep a secret? It’s important.”

My wife’s voice trailed off, and I pressed my ear against the door, desperately trying to hear everything. A maddening silence descended in the room for several seconds.

“Of course, Nikki, but why do you need me to keep a secret?”

“You know I have a boyfriend, right?”

“Yes. Honestly, I’m not interested in Collin.” Cynthia paused for a second before her voice became accusatory. “Wait, he doesn’t want to share you with a woman, does he?” She cursed softly. “Damned men.”

Nicole sighed loudly. “Would you stop interrupting?”

“Sorry. Sorry.”

“Collin is fine sharing me.” She giggled. “He’s like all guys…he loves the thought of two women together.”

“Don’t they all?” Cynthia’s tone held a little bitterness in it. “You should know that I’m not interested in being shared with your horny boyfriend.”

“That’s fine,” Nicole reassured her. “That’s why I wanted to talk to you privately. I didn’t want you to feel any pressure.”

“Good. A lot of the girls I meet immediately want to pass me over to their boyfriends. I don’t mind guys once in a while, but I prefer women.”

“You don’t have to worry about that with Collin and me,” Nicole assured her.

“Good.” Cynthia paused. “That isn’t all, though, is it?”

Nicole sighed. “No.”

“That doesn’t sound good.”

“My situation is complex. I didn’t want anything to happen between us unless you know it all first. It wouldn’t be fair to you.”

“Thank you. I appreciate it.” A short pause. “So what’s the bombshell? You’re really a guy?”

“No.” A pregnant pause. “I’m married, and I have two daughters.”

Nicole said it plainly, and silence descended in the room.

“Wait, you’re married, and you’re seeing Collin on the side?” Cynthia’s voice sounded impressed. “You go, girl.”

“Not exactly.” Nicole paused. “God, this is hard to explain.”

“I’m still listening.” A humorous, interested note tinged Cynthia’s voice. “And now I’m intrigued.”

“I’m married to an amazing guy, and I have two great daughters.”

My heart nearly burst from my chest! My wife said I was amazing! I’d take that any day of the week.

Several longs seconds passed with my ear pasted to the door before she continued, “Sexually speaking, I wanted more, and I asked my husband if I could have a boyfriend. He said yes.”
Nick and Nicole’s hotwife and cuckold husband experiment is a resounding success…until it isn’t. Their sexy triad seems poised for more exciting and erotic fun, until Collin unexpectedly disappears with Nicole, leaving Nick frantic with worry. Sheila senses an opportunity with Nick. Nicole, lost in her boyfriend’s spell, realizes her sexuality is still evolving when she meets someone new.

~~~~~ PG Excerpt ~~~~~

My phone rang right when we’d finished. It was Nicole.

“Hey, gorgeous. How’s the weekend going?”

“Great. I love you, and thank you again for letting me stay with Collin this weekend.”

“You’re welcome. Please come back to me when the weekend ends.” I was only half-joking.

“Stop! Of course I will.”

A loudspeaker in the background drowned out her next comment.

“Nicole, where are you?” The line was suddenly quiet. “Nicole?”

She sighed. “I’m at the airport.”

“Airport? Are you going out of town?”

“Yes, our flight is leaving in a few minutes.”

“Where are you…”

She hurried to interrupt. “Collin doesn’t want me to say.”

“What? When are you going to be back?”

“I’ll call you on Sunday. Okay?”

“Are you serious? No, it’s not okay! You’re leaving town, and you won’t tell me where you’re going, or when you’ll be back.” She didn’t respond, and the silence built until I couldn’t take it anymore. “What part of that is supposed to be okay?”

“You already agreed to Collin and me spending the weekend together,” she reminded me a little sharply. “What difference does it make where we go, as long as I’m back on Sunday?”

I snorted. “If I’d known you were going out of town, I might not have agreed. Also, what if something happens to you?”

“Nick, stop!” She sounded partly impatient, partly exasperated. “What’s done is done. I’ll call you when we land, and I’ll be back on Sunday.”

I didn’t respond. My hands clenched, and I ground my teeth together. I’d been taken advantage of by my wife and her boyfriend. I struggled with my anger, but I also struggled to manage my excitement. Their surprise decision to leave town for the weekend made me feel powerless, and while that bothered me, it also excited me. My cuckold engine revved hard, drowning my anger in lust, excitement, and delicious angst.

“Please don’t be mad, baby.” Now her voice was soft, soothing, and it lowered sexily as she talked. “I’ll tell you everything that happens when I get back. Besides, knowing I’m out of town with Collin turns you on! Doesn’t it?”


My weak response was as good as a confession, but I couldn’t think of a better reply. My wife’s voice strengthened with confidence, and a note of dominance laced her words when she pressed her case. “I belong to him this weekend. Not you. Behave, or you’ll wear that chastity belt until our kids graduate college. Understand?”

Every bit of moisture evaporated in my mouth. I swallowed several times, but still wasn’t able to think of a response. My growing excitement choked any thoughts of resistance, and my anger meekly submitted to lust.

I’d been an angry husband when we started our conversation, but after a few words from my wife, I’d transformed into a submissive cuckold.

The worst part?

I loved it. I yearned for it, in fact.


My beloved hotwife wouldn’t stand for silence as a response, and her dominant voice stabbed my ear. “Answer me, cuck!”

“I under…” My voice broke, and I swallowed convulsively several more times before I managed a response. “Understand.”

“Good, boy. Now, we’re leaving in a few minutes. I’ll do my best to check in with you, but if last night is any indication, I’m going to spend most of my time naked and getting banged senseless.”

Her words flooded my system with sharp, jagged cuckold angst, and I barely stifled a moan. It was the kind of manipulation I enjoyed, and she knew it. She ruthlessly exploited my submissive reaction. She pushed all the right buttons, and I melted into a quivering, horny pile of cuckold goo.

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