Mended Hearts

Mended Hearts

3.8 9
by Ruth Logan Herne

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Taking Charge…Of Her Heart

High-powered businessman Jeff Brennan can't figure out why he's so smitten with the town's new librarian. Hannah Moore is quiet, skittish—and wants nothing to do with him. Yet as they work together on a fundraiser, Jeff resolves to discover why she came to the small New York town. Is working two jobs and


Taking Charge…Of Her Heart

High-powered businessman Jeff Brennan can't figure out why he's so smitten with the town's new librarian. Hannah Moore is quiet, skittish—and wants nothing to do with him. Yet as they work together on a fundraiser, Jeff resolves to discover why she came to the small New York town. Is working two jobs and tutoring kids with special needs an escape for Hannah? If so, Jeff is determined to show her that love can be the most powerful healing force of all.

Product Details

Love Inspired
Publication date:
Love Inspired Series
Product dimensions:
6.66(w) x 4.16(h) x 0.64(d)

Read an Excerpt

Megan Romesser's eyes brightened as Hannah Moore walked through the back door of Grandma Mary's Candies on this quiet September afternoon. Quiet equated good in Hannah's book, because she longed to vent loud and long, knowing Megan would listen, commiserate and then tell her to get on with it.

Megan understood the role of a good friend.

But venting would mean explaining why heading up a library fundraising drive with weekly meetings and full immersion into what everyone else considered normal life thrust Hannah into an emotional tailspin. Opening that door meant facing things she'd tucked aside years ago.

If not now, when?

How about never?

Hannah shoved the internal questions aside. If keeping that door closed guarded her mental health, then so be it.

She nodded toward the trays of fresh candy and the wall of boxed chocolates shipped in from Grandma Mary's Buffalo-based factory. "Just being around this much chocolate adds inches to my hips. Why do I work here? To torture myself?"

"To see me." Megan sent her a quick grin, finished packing an order, then waved toward the back. "New sponge candy in the minikitchen. See what you think."

"I love the perks of this job. Have I mentioned that lately?"

"Which is why you run voraciously. Nothing sticks on you."

"A blessing and a curse."

"Ha." Megan sent a doubtful look over her shoulder. "Not packing on pounds is never a curse. Bite your tongue."

"Let's just say I'm not afraid to augment as needed," Hannah shot back, grinning. "Aiding and abetting my lack of curves."

Megan laughed out loud. "Seriously, Hannah, the way you look in a dress? In your running gear? Head-turning. Brat."

"Thanks." Hannah nipped a piece of fresh sponge candy, closed her eyes in appreciation and breathed deep. "Wonderful. Marvelous. Words escape me."

"That'll do for the moment. The chocolate is smooth enough?"

"Like silk."

"Sweet enough?"

"The perfect blend of slightly bitter chocolate to golden, sugary honeycomb. Need any more convincing?"

"I could use you to write my ad copy." Megan grinned, then turned to answer the wall phone. "Grandma Mary's Candies, Megan speaking. Hey, darlin', when are you coming home?"

Honeymooner talk. Hannah moved into the kitchen, removing herself from the inevitable love-yous and miss-yous of being separated for two whole days.

Right now, the last thing Hannah needed was another reminder of her empty life.

She tried to appear normal. She'd done a morning stint at the library, followed by a mandatory meeting with Helen Walker, CEO of Walker Electronics, which put her into this current tizzy. Now she would put in four hours of work helping Megan in the family candy store in Wellsville.

Working odd jobs offered a semblance of normal, but normal had disappeared on a rainy afternoon almost five years ago, taking a hefty part of her self-reliance with it.

Pretense worked now. Fake it till you make it, an old sales adage that applied. Only Hannah hadn't gotten to the "make it" part yet. Lately she'd been wondering if she ever would. Perhaps Helen Walker had been right, maybe shouldering this library fund-raising task would be good for her. Anything that pushed her out of her self-imposed comfort zone wasn't bad, right?

Depends on your definition of bad, her inner voice scoffed.

Oh, she knew bad. Been there, done that, had no desire to return. Not ever again. Keeping her responsibilities minimal meant downsizing risk, and that had become her current mantra. "Hannah?"

"Yes?" She poked her head around the corner, then shifted her attention to the phone. "You done with lover boy?"

Megan laughed. "Yes, but he's not coming home until tomorrow. Problems with staffing at the Baltimore store. Wanna do a movie tonight?"

Hannah shook her head. "Too nice to stay inside. What about walking the ridge?"

"As in walk, not run?"

Hannah smiled as she weighed sponge candy into one-pound boxes. "Promise."

"I'm in. You're okay on your own here?" Hannah glanced around the empty store. "Fine. You're leaving?"

"Just for a bit. Ben needs a ride home from the restaurant."

Ben was Megan's developmentally challenged younger brother who lived in a group home a few blocks from the store. "You go get Ben. I'll do quality control on the sponge candy. And maybe the caramels, as well."

"Can't be too careful." Megan paused and gave Hannah a quick hug on her way out. "Are you okay?"

"Fine. Why?" Steadying her features, Hannah glanced up.

"You seem a little off"

"I'm a girl. That happens, doesn't it?"

"Hmm." Megan didn't look convinced. "If you need to talk…"

"Which I don't."

"Even so." Megan gave Hannah a look, her expression unsure. "If you do, I'm available."

"I know." Hannah turned her attention back to the task at hand, shoulders back, feet firm. "I appreciate it."

"Well, then." Megan sounded dubious but she'd never delve. More than Hannah's friendship, she respected her right to privacy, a wonderful plus in this age of girlfriends-know-all.

Hannah couldn't afford to have anyone know all. Bad enough she carried that burden on her shoulders. She refused to bring others down. But that weighted the yoke, and with the Allegheny foothills hinting gold and red, fall's beauty carried heavy reminders of love and loss.

The antique bell announcing a customer's arrival provided a welcome interruption. Hannah left the half-filled box on the scale and moved to the front of the east-facing store. A man stood scanning a new display kiosk, a man who'd become distressingly familiar two hours ago. "May I help you?"

Surprise painted his features as Jeff Brennan turned from a corner display. Hannah fought the rise of emotions his expression inspired. In three years she hadn't crossed paths with this man, and now twice in one day?

Obviously God had a sense of humor, because the last person Hannah wanted to be around was a rising young executive, no matter how great he looked in gray tweed, the steel-and-rose pinstriped tie a perfect complement to the silver-toned oxford. She'd seen enough in the library council meeting to know he was self-confident, self-assured and slightly impatient, a condition that might arise from lack of time or lack of compassion, not that she cared.

His crisp, clean, business-first air had Brian's name written all over it, a CEO in the making, driven and forward-thinking. With the leaves beginning their annual dance of color, thoughts of her former fiancé only worsened matters. She shoved the memories aside, kept her expression calm and stepped forward, determined to get through this library fundraiser somehow, since her library contract allowed her no other choice.

"You've got time to work here, but you're reluctant to help with the new library?" The hint of resentment in Jeff's tone said her lack of enthusiasm was unappreciated in light of Helen and Jonas Walker's sacrifices.

But then Jeff had no idea what dragons loomed in her past as summer faded to fall and kids marched off to school, pencils sharp, their backpacks fresh and new, a world she'd been part of until that dark November day.

She met his gaze, refusing to let the clipped tone get to her. "My library job in Jamison is part-time. Last I looked life was full-time and that includes living expenses. An extra job helps pay the bills since the county couldn't afford more hours in the library budget."

"And you tutor?"

He'd actually been listening when she'd tried to beg off the fundraising committee earlier, but that shouldn't surprise her. You didn't get to Jeff Bren-nan's rung on the corporate ladder at thirty-plus without having a working brain. Of course being the boss's grandson couldn't hurt, but somehow she didn't see that happening at Walker Electronics. She slipped on fresh plastic gloves, ignored his question and indicated the glass-fronted candy display with a tilt of her head. "Would you like a hand-chosen collection, Mr. Brennan?"

His eyes narrowed, his look appraising once again. She got the idea that Jeff Brennan did a lot of appraising.

Well, he could stuff his appraisals for all she cared. Feigning patience she waited, a box in hand, letting him make the next move. Which he did. "Are you free for dinner tomorrow night?"

It took her a moment to register the words, shield her surprise, think of a response and then shelve the comeback as rude, a quality she chose not to embrace.

This is not Brian.

And yet the quick looks, the straight-on focus, the let's-get-down-to-business mode pushed too many buttons at once, especially with the distant hills hinting gold behind him.

He angled his head, his eyes brightened by her reaction. Which was really a nonreaction, and he seemed to find that almost amusing.


"I'm not, no."


"The library is open until eight on Wednesday."

He sent her an exaggerated look of puzzlement, crinkled his eyes and moved closer, his manner inviting. "You can't eat after eight o'clock? Are you like one of those little aliens that couldn't eat after midnight?"

"Thanks for the compliment. Sorry. Busy."

"Look, Miss Moore."


A smile softened his features; he was probably remembering they'd had this conversation before, like two hours ago in the conference room of Walker Electronics.

"Hannah. Pretty name. It means favored. Or favored grace."

"And you know this because?"

"I looked it up on my computer when I got back to my office."

Add smooth to the list of reasons to avoid Jeff Brennan. Too smooth, too handsome, too winsome with his short curly brown hair, hazel eyes, strong chin, great nose and lashes that girls spent way too much money for.

Hannah flashed him a cool smile, not wanting or needing to dredge up a past best left buried, not this time of year. "You and the wife picking baby names, Mr. Brennan?"

He raised unfettered hands. "Not married, never have been, nor engaged. And dinner is simply so you and I can go into Thursday's meeting on the same page with similar goals, if neither one of us successfully ducks this project. No strings, no ties, no ulterior motives."

The sensibility of his argument enticed Hannah to accept. Chronic fear pushed her to refuse. She waffled, hating this indecision, longing to be the person she used to be. Strong. Self-motivated. Forceful.

But that was before Ironwood, and nothing had been the same since. She shook her head, needing to decline and hating the cowardice pushing the emotion. "I can't. Sorry."

Meet the Author

Author of the successful "North Country" series (Steeple Hill, 2010), Ruthy is delighted to release a new 2011 series with the great crew of Love Inspired. Married for thirty-six years to a very patient man, she's taken the characters living in her head and given them homes on paper, much to everyone's relief! Using her strong belief in God's redeeming love, she's unafraid to tackle tough subjects with humor, pathos, grace and remorse. And chocolate, of course.

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Mended Hearts 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Sis_Steel More than 1 year ago
Librarians have long been a popular heroine in romances. No wonder. They are intelligent yet quiet, often secretly longing for a more exciting life, and coaxed to love for the first time. In Mended Hearts by Ruth Logan Herne, the librarian theme is given a contemporary twist with a heart-broken librarian who hides from the world due to headline-inspired events. Taking inspirational romance to a new level, Herne's story demonstrates how love and friendship provide healing in the wake of tragic experiences and is a lesson to all who have isolated themselves due to their own fears. In this gut-wrenchingly wonderful romance, Herne introduces us to Hannah Moore, a recent resident of Allegany County. As someone longing to stay safe and not take risks, her thinking is challenged by a very intense yet understanding hero, Jeff Brennan. Hannah is a part-time librarian and tutor who otherwise stays uninvolved in her community. She also doesn't do romance, no way, no how. Due to manipulation on the part of wise women, she finds herself teamed with businessman Jeff on a library fund-raising project. From the moment he steps into her life, she is challenged, supported and wooed in a way she hadn't thought possible. One of my all-time favorite heroes, Jeff has his own challenges to face and learns from Hannah's example as she confronts her fears and comes to terms with her past. Mended Hearts ended too soon for me. Fortunately, Allegany County continues to be full of stories and secondary character Matt is due his own romance. I can't wait.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So you read part 1 and now want to read part 2 well you cant mooooohaaaaahaaaahaaaa. Ok done with evil laughter and joking. You may want to know about me ya know hobbies and that stuff. Well i read, write(okokok attempt to write) books, and chat with all my friends in nook world(a grande total of 3 not counting rp yeah [sidenote i miss my friend patty]). Now why would me a girl who apears to be friendly outgoing and nice want to spend 24/7 on the nook simple i have 8 friends one i see once a year two i see maybe 2 or 3 times a year two i see most Sundays and Wednesdays but not all and three friends i chat with almost everyday who happen to be on the nook. Ya catchen on yet readers. Not to mention i got one enemy (who i would gladly strangle by the way) who i see eveyday except Saturday. So answred another question &#12485 . Lets see what next oh you want to know my looks well arighty then. I a 5'4 i have green/hazel eyes i wear glasses i am sadly a little overweight (little over 200 pounds) i wear jeans and T'shirts (usually long sleeve) on my right arm is two half circle burn scars and on my left arm(below the elboe on both arms) at least 10 half circle burn scars i have almost shoulder length dark not shinny brown hair i usually wear a gold cross necklace with a heart over the cross and a stainless steal right(cause if half circle burn scars). Ok that is it for my looks now for my likes and dislikes. <p> Likes~ people, animals (i honestly pefer animals but i like people for the most part), pit bulls, reading, writing, anything horse or wolf related, making new friends(before you ask my school is tiny we got 10 students all together so i dont get to make many new friends), hanging out with people i care about, protecting my friends, making sure my friends aint hurt, the word anywho, and finally protecting my friends(yes i know i said it twice but it is my fav passtime) <p> Dislikes~ jerks who hurt others for fun, my one enemy (duh), bullies, people who hate pit bulls jsut because they are pit bulls, anyone who hurts a person or animal for fun, those who get mad at others because of their spelling/grammer hey we all aint great at english, and those who are disloyal to their friends. <p> ok that is it for now so you are free to tell your friends bout this and ask questions. <p> <p> <p> <p> <p> <p> P.S. check out xed and mindful thanks
Life_Long_Reader More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy Ruth Logan Herne's books. She has a warm cozy writing style that brings you into the hearth and home of the characters. This book had a nice story, but I sometimes felt that I was reading the author's voice instead of the character's voice. I'm not aware of many men who would use internal thought such as &quot;darling girl&quot; or &quot;delightful girl&quot;. This seems as if it is the author not the character speaking and it didn't ring true for me. Many times I thought Jeff wasn't completely flushed out as a character.
TammyK1 More than 1 year ago
A sweet, fast-paced story. Enjoyable.
NancyKimball More than 1 year ago
Jeff Brennen the hero is everything I wanted to dislike about corporate America but he wrecks the stereotype in delightful ways. Hannah, the heroine has a painful past not of her own making and seeing her heal through the cast of supporting characters was enjoyable. I typically don't enjoy a book so much where one good honest sit-down and have it out conversation will bring to rights what keeps the hero and heroine apart but in true Ruth Logan Herne style she makes the dance these two do page-turning worthy with bits of humor, reflection, and wisdom that I've come to expect in any book with her name on it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Sandra_Leesmith More than 1 year ago
Ruth Logan Herne knows how to get to the heart of her characters. Mended Hearts is a delightful story of small town living and relationships. Her Men of Allegany County series bring the small upstate New York area alive. Not to mention the men are wonderful heroes. I look forward to reading Yuletide Hearts, coming out in November.
MaryConnealy More than 1 year ago
This is a truly beautiful love story. There is so much going on and I loved these characters so much, the hero and heroine but also all the other characters who inhabited the pages. My only objection is I needed more. I wanted to stay with those people and be their friend for a lot longer. Mended Hearts promises to be part of a series called Men of Allegeny County and I love that. I get to go back! I'm also hungry for sponge candy and caramels.