Defensive Heart

Defensive Heart

by Dorothy F. Shaw

Paperback

$19.99

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781983917400
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 01/17/2018
Pages: 380
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.85(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Jimmy Donnelly's shoulder jerked forward. What the —

"Pardon me. Crap! Ugh."

He glanced to see who'd bumped him and his mouth dropped open. Whoa! "No problem," he managed to mumble after he'd gotten his jaw working. The woman was gorgeous — and tall. Holy crap she was tall.

"Thanks." She looked down. "Oh my God! No!" She swiped her hands down her white suit jacket.

"Shit. Let me get you a towel." Jimmy signaled the bar-back and then handed her the clean rag. "Was that your drink or his?"

"His. I was just coming to get my own. Ugh! That guy didn't even apologize." Her tone was filled with annoyance as she swiped at the front of the jacket, then down one thigh.

Jimmy let his gaze roam down her body. She was tall, but also petite — a complete oxymoron, but the perfect description nonetheless. He took in the white formal pantsuit she wore and continued down to her beige, very expensive-looking — holy shit — stiletto pumps. Jimmy whistled low. Classy for sure, but completely out of place in a dance club like Tangled. He rested his elbow on the bar. "Could be worse. Could be red wine."

She pinned him with a glare cold enough to freeze hell. "Let me know if you have anything useful to say. That's really not helping." She went back to swiping at her clothes.

"Uh ..." He cleared his throat. "Yeah, sorry." Talk about feeling like his mother just scolded him. Jimmy smiled, trying to hide the sudden nervous energy filling his belly and rocketing up his throat. It made his tongue feel like someone had spread a layer of rubber cement on it. He turned away and resumed his wait for the bartender.

A few minutes later she slid into the small space between him and another patron. Like a magnet drawn to the pull of another, Jimmy couldn't help himself and looked over, taking in her profile. Man, she really was beautiful.

She glanced at him, nodded, then turned away. After a few beats, she looked back. "You're staring."

Jimmy cringed. "Sorry." He focused back on the bartender, but after another few moments, curiosity took over and he risked another peek. Her blonde hair was pulled up in a twist on the back of her head, appearing to defy the laws of gravity, and she had the brightest sky-blue eyes he'd ever seen. She wore little makeup and had one of those faces with skin so milky white and perfect it looked like it'd been scooped out of whipped cream.

She hit him with another glare and shifted to face him. "Is there a problem?"

He bristled at her annoyed tone layered with a hint of a New York accent. Yup, he'd been staring, but Jesus, she didn't need to be so nasty. Jimmy looked her up and down, damn ready to give it right back to her. Being of Irish descent, he normally let things slide but she'd definitely riled his temper. The crowd pressed in closer and someone muscled in behind her, forcing their bodies to almost touch. "You're a little overdressed for a place like this, don't you think?"

She raised a single brow. "Aren't you a master of observation."

"Usually." Jimmy smirked. Jesus, she smelled good. "If you don't mind me saying, you're ... stunning."

She cocked her head to the side with a smirk rivaling his own. "Great, thanks."

Stunning with an attitude. A little like fire and ice. How intriguing. Unable to resist a good game of tit for tat, he leaned toward her. "Nice shoes. You mug someone in a back alley to score them?"

She took a small step back and bumped the guy behind her. "Hardly."

"I'm striking out here, aren't I?"

"That's assuming you ever actually made it up to bat."

"Ouch." Jimmy rubbed the center of his chest. "Look, let me start over." She mumbled something sounding a lot like, "Do I have a choice?" but he ignored it. Jimmy held out his hand. "Hi, I'm James Donnelly. Let me buy you a drink. To — you know — make up for my sarcasm."

"I think I can manage the purchase of my own drink. Thank you anyway." She didn't take his offered hand, just turned back toward the bar.

Jimmy laid his neglected palm on the bar top and leaned close enough to almost touch her ear with his lips. "That was rude."

She jerked away as if he'd slapped her. "What was rude?"

"I got you a towel so you could wipe up a drink I didn't spill on you. Then I tried to apologize for staring at you, which again, wasn't trying to be rude ... then I tried to start over with you and shake your hand, and you snubbed me." Screw this lady. He drummed his fingertips on the counter.

"I beg your pardon?" She faced him, one hand on her hip and annoyance clear in her expression. "I thanked you for the towel. Ugh, forget it. Why are you talking to me?"

"Exactly." He shrugged and turned away. Why waste time and energy on someone with an entire stick up her ass? He wanted to ask her where her broom was but figured she'd turn him into a toad — or worse. He loved a little fire and ice in a woman, but she wasn't full of fire or ice. The woman appeared to be merely a regular bitch.

"Now who's rude?" She tugged on his arm, and he glanced over his shoulder at her. "Fine. Buy me a drink." She sighed. "Vodka tonic, with a lime."

Interesting. Maybe the stick wasn't imbedded as deep as he thought. He faced her again. With a broad smile, he smoothed his hands down the front of his white button-up shirt. "Tell me your name first."

*
Who in the hell did this lunatic think he was? Sonja Martin stood, hand planted on one hip, studying the boy standing before her. Yes, boy. She took a moment to appraise his features: A head full of dark, almost black, spiky and tangled hair fell over his forehead and covered the tops of his ears, both of which were pierced. Equally dark brows framed a set of pale hazel eyes. His nose, with one nostril pierced, was thin and straight, but curved slightly down at the tip. A thin goatee framed his full mouth and merged into a thin strip down his squared, narrow chin.

Plenty good looking, no denying it, but his features weren't perfect either. He was younger than her but, then again, who wasn't in a place like this? Giving in, she held out her hand. "Sonja Martin."

He wrapped his fingers around her hand in a firm but not excessive grip. "Nice to meet you. Can't say it's been a pleasure so far, but maybe there's hope." He winked and smiled, revealing a set of straight, white teeth and a pair of dimples some would kill for.

The smile was potent, and her breath caught in her throat. "You really know how to turn on the charm, don't you?" "Oh, come on. Lighten up, will ya? We need a shot."

"I'm not doing a shot with you, Mr. Donnelly."

"Sure you are. Good memory with the name, by the way." He rubbed his hands together. "I'm going to order two shots along with your drink, then we'll drink them. Simple."

Sonja couldn't quite believe this guy. He was either already drunk or just plain stupid. Never mind rude, annoying and downright egotistical. She could go on and on, and should've already walked away from him. Yet she stood there, like some sort of subservient sheep — how typical of me — and let him order them shots and drinks.

Sonja shook her head, clenching her teeth in complete annoyance. Thing was, she wasn't sure who she was more agitated with, herself or him. Just what she needed, another pompous ass ordering her around. Spare me. I'm full up. The bartender returned with her vodka tonic (minus the lime), two shot glasses filled with dark fluid, and a glass of what appeared to be Guinness. When her unwelcome and distracting company slid the shot in front of her, Sonja eyed the nearly black liquid and frowned. "What is it?"

"Jägermeister." He raised his shot glass. "Come on, lift it. What shall we drink to?"

She waved her hand, signaling the bartender. She needed the lime for her drink. "I'm not drinking that."

He picked up the other shot and held it in front of her. "Sure you are."

"Mr. Donnel —"

"James. Take the shot."

"James. Whatever. You can have both." The bartender appeared. Finally. "You forgot my lime."

"It's been a while, hasn't it?" James chuckled.

"Excuse me?"

He set the shot intended for her on the bar top. "Safe to assume you're single. It's been a while since you've gotten laid, huh? Must be it."

"It has no —" Heat flooded her cheeks and agitation pulsed through her. She was single, but her relationship status or sex life was none of his damn business. And besides, it hadn't been that long. Had it?

Cupping her elbow in his hand, he bent close to her ear. "You are, and it has. Drink the shot, Sonja. Trust me, you need it." His hot breath feathered over her neck and she shivered.

Sonja cursed her body for responding in any way, shape or form to him. She should slap him, not get aroused by him. Breathing deep, Sonja sought for some measure of calm and came up short when his masculine scent flowed through her senses like a cool stream, making her shiver again. Crap. Always such a sucker for the aroma of clean soap and cologne. The bartender placed a lime on the edge of her drink and she shifted, pulling away from James. "Thanks."

James held her shot glass up in front of her again. "Drink up."

"You don't give up, do you?"

"Once I sink my teeth in, I don't let go."

Knowing it was a bad idea, Sonja took the glass from him. "Is that it? You think you've sunk your teeth in?"

"The bite is so much more pleasurable if you relax and go with it." He smiled and raised his shot. "To being stunning, Ms. Martin." He tapped her glass with the edge of his.

She paused and took in his dimples, the curve of his lips. He was too sexy. A prize, chock full of wickedness she wasn't quite sure she wanted to collect on. "Are you trying to seduce me, James?"

"Do you want to be seduced?"

"Not particularly." With a laugh, Sonja tilted the shot to her lips. She closed her eyes and swallowed the dark liquid; the sweet licorice flavor spread over her tongue and burned on its way down her throat. When she opened her eyes, he was watching her, his gaze fixated on her lips. She licked them ... slowly. Two can play at this game.

James's eyes flared before narrowing. He tapped the bottom of the shot glass on the bar top and drank it down.

Was that some sort of shot ritual she wasn't aware of? Hmm. "How old are you?"

He hissed through his teeth and set his glass down. "Old enough to know, and still young enough to do something about it."

"How very cliché."

"And how old are you?" A smooth grin tipped the corners of his lips.

"How very impolite." She raised a brow and squeezed the lime into her vodka tonic. "Too old for you. What are you, twenty-five? Twenty-six?" She licked the remnants of lime juice from her fingertips.

"Are you trying to seduce me, Sonja?"

"Only in your wet dreams."

He leaned close again, placed his hand on her lower back and pulled her against him. "Keep licking your lips and fingers like that, honey, and you'll be the star in my wet dream tonight."

Sonja tensed, trying and failing to ignore his words and warm breath on her ear. The heat of his hand burned through her clothes and she trembled against his hard chest. James dragged his hand from her lower back to her waist, framed it for a moment between his thumb and fingers, squeezed, then let go of her. A beat of arousal pumped through her and settled between her thighs. Sonja swallowed past the lump in her throat. Why was she letting him get to her this much?

He waved for the bartender. "I think we need another shot."

"No. No, we don't."

He smiled and winked at her. "Shh. I got this."

"I bet that smile gets you into a lot of beds, doesn't it?" She sipped her drink.

"Will it get me into yours?"

A laugh she couldn't suppress bubbled up, and she sucked the liquid down the wrong pipe. Talk about a cold splash of water. Her libido went silent as she attempted to breathe.

"Shit. Sorry." James grabbed a napkin and handed it to her and then rubbed her back while she tried like hell to appear dignified while coughing up a lung.

Sonja wiped her mouth with the napkin. "No. Not likely." She coughed again and cleared her throat. "Don't you have a girlfriend around here somewhere you should be annoying?"

He grabbed the freshly delivered shots. "Nope. I'm all yours. Here."

"Oh God. Are you trying to get me drunk?"

"Will it get me into your bed?"

"Not a chance." She smirked, but took the shot and tossed it back, this time with no hesitation.

He shook his head. "You didn't wait for the toast. Bad form, Sonja. Bad form."

"Aw. You'll get over it." She patted his shoulder.

"Nope. You've wounded my heart. How much of a beating do you think a guy can take?" He placed his hand over his chest. As he did, the sleeve of his shirt rose, revealing tattoo work on his wrist.

"Oh my, this wounded puppy thing is pretty pathetic. Go ahead, make a toast. I'll sip my drink while you toss back the second shot you insisted on having."

"Wounded puppy? You are relentless." He grinned. "I think you should make the toast this time."

Thanks to the alcohol kicking in, Sonja's tongue was getting looser and looser. Where were her friends, anyway? Weren't they supposed to be there to save her from situations like this? However, Sonja's libido didn't want her to be saved at this point.

The guy looked more like the clients she represented back home in Manhattan than any type of man she'd ever consider going to bed with. There was something about him though. It made her go weak in the knees, which was more troubling than anything else. "Okay, fine." She raised her drink. "To your bedroom eyes, dimples and wicked smile, created to drop panties ... though surely not mine." She nodded, feeling quite pleased with herself.

He dipped his chin and raised one brow. "Clever. Very clever."

"Thanks. Glad you liked it."

He repeated the actions from before: tapped the bottom of his glass on the bar, raised it to his lips and swallowed the alcohol. When he did, she caught a glimpse of a tattoo snaking up his neck, visible just above the collar of his shirt. She intended to ask about the little ritual with the shot but was so distracted by the tantalizing peek of his ink, all rational thought left her mind.

He set the empty shot glass upside down on the bar. "I'm thirty."

Holy shit.

CHAPTER 2

Jimmy watched her expression change when he told her his age. She'd asked how old he was and guessed wrong, yet hadn't told him hers. The look on her face was proof enough she had to be older. "Problem, Sonja?"

"You're older than I thought, but still young." She brushed some invisible lint off the sleeve of her jacket.

He leaned forward. "Is this where you tell me you're too old for me?"

She laughed. "I am too old for you."

"Let's do another shot and discuss it." He took a swig of his Guinness.

"No. Oh God, no." She placed the palm of her left hand on his chest.

He glanced at it. Smooth alabaster skin, long French-manicured nails, and like he noticed already, no wedding ring. No mark from one either. He placed his hand over hers and met her gaze. "Okay, no shot. Let's discuss it anyway."

"How many tattoos do you have?"

He smirked and traced her fingers. "One."

Sonja pulled her hand away and let out a nervous laugh as she turned and stared toward the dance floor.

"You don't have any, huh?"

"You have more than one." She looked back at him and traced the dragon's tail swooping up the side of his neck.

Her cool fingers on his skin lit his blood on fire. He stood stock still, but his pulse pounded like a drum in time with the music and he tightened his grip on his beer glass. "I'll let you count them if you want."

She licked her lips. "No, I don't have any."

The shots of liquor had worked their magic and loosened her right up. He wasn't trying to get her naked — not that he'd turn her down if she offered — he just wanted to help her relax. Honestly, she intrigued him. She was such an anomaly in this club, with her white dressy business suit, her perfect blonde hair and her bottomless blue eyes. He wanted to know more about her. "Do you live here?"

"No. I live in Manhattan." She ran her fingertips down the buttons of his shirt. "I'm here partly for business, partly for a visit with a friend." She pulled her hand away. "Do you?"

"That explains the suit." He moved his hand to her hip. Point for him on the Manhattan info. "I don't live here either."

She glanced at his hand but didn't pull it away. Yup, bless the Jäger gods. Sweet. They were doing their job nicely.

She scraped her teeth over her bottom lip. "I should go find my friends."

"If you insist." He tilted his head to the side. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Sonja Martin." Taking her hand in his, he kissed her palm.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Defensive Heart"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Dorothy F. Shaw.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Defensive Heart 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
asgoodrich More than 1 year ago
As much as I enjoyed Unworthy Heart, I liked Defensive Heart even more. It’s probably the whole “bad boy with a heart of gold” angle, but I loved Jimmy Donnelly. While I didn’t love watching Sonja stomp on his heart over and over, I was able to forgive her because I understood where she was coming from and as the author revealed more and more about Sonja’s past over the course of the book, her behavior made more sense. Fortunately, by the end of the book, I no longer wanted to throttle Sonja’s daughter either – ground her well into adulthood, yes; throttle her, not after she gave her mother the talking to she needed. This installment overlaps slightly with book one as it shows Ryan and Jimmy’s trip to Vegas, which is where Jimmy meets Sonja. While the two rub each other the wrong way when they first meet, within minutes of pushing one another’s buttons, Jimmy finds himself attracted to Sonja’s frosty demeanor and fiery attitude – her fire and ice. Fortunately for Jimmy, Sonja is not only visiting Vegas at the same time he is, she also lives in New York and not too far from him. When he finally returns to New York and calls her to set up a date, Sonja feels as though too much time has passed and she’s firmly shut the door on her moment of insanity – there’s an 11-year age difference, for goodness sakes! (That’s her assessment, not mine by the way.) So Jimmy sets out to woo her and show her that he’s worth the risk. As one of ten siblings, Jimmy has a rather persistent nature and finally wears her down. He soon learns that getting Sonja to agree to a date is a very minor victory, but he’s determined to show her that there’s more between them than sexual chemistry. And they have some freaking hot sexual chemistry. Good grief! Their dynamic in bed, the piercings, and the dirty talk insured that Sonja wasn’t the only one squirming. But when Jimmy pushes for more, Sonja has to face her real fears and decide where her priorities lay at home and at work. I really loved watching Jimmy and Sonja together. When Sonja managed to relax and just enjoy her time with Jimmy, they were both sweet and seriously hot together. I loathed the relationship Sonja had with her ex-husband and was really appalled at what she allowed him to do. Even though she didn’t realize it at the time and fought against it until she no longer could, Jimmy coming into her life was exactly what she needed. Jimmy helped her find her way back to herself and gave her the courage to stand up to her ex and call him out for his behavior. I hated that she ended up hurting Jimmy so completely before she stood up to her ex. But I was glad that she recognized that it was up to her to repair their relationship and that she needed to win Jimmy back. I also liked the relationship that Jimmy and Sonja’s daughter developed. Other than Sonja breaking his heart, the only other thing I really didn’t like about the book was the ex-husband – he was a…I don’t have a word I can use to describe him accurately (at least not one I can use in a review). Defensive Heart was an excellent addition to The Donnellys series and I’m looking forward to reading Shattered Heart soon for the next Donnelly sibling’s story. I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!
Got_Romance_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Ok so after reading the first book in this series, I was seriously hooked on Jimmy and hoping the second book would be his story. Lucky for me, Miss Shaw did not disappoint. This book totally exceeded my expectations (and they were pretty high to begin with). Jimmy is tattoed, pierced and an artist. He is pretty much the trifecta of a hot, bad boy. The thing is, he’s not really a bad boy. He’s sweet and just plain adorable, but only with Sonja. He enjoys getting her worked up in all the best physical ways, but isn’t afraid to push her emotional buttons as well. She’s cold to him, without really wanting to be. It just makes him work that much harder to crack her ice. Sonja is a criminal lawyer who works too much. She wants to let Jimmy in but continues to find ways to convince herself it won’t work - he’s too young, he’s too demanding, she’s not looking for a relationship, etc. Her teenage daughter is a handful. Her rebellious nature creates problems between Sonja and her ex-husband, who incidentally is a real piece of work. All of these things, in Sonja’s mind, are reasons she cannot allow Jimmy to be anything more than a bed buddy. There are so many amazing parts to this story. I love that Jimmy never really gives up on her. No matter how much she pushes him away, he keeps coming back with a new way to break through her wall. He is determined to be a part of her life. I love how he relates to her daughter and quickly becomes someone she feels comfortable and safe with. What woman doesn’t want a guy as sexy as Jimmy who treats her daughter like something precious to be cared for and protected? Major swoon-worthy! Every time Sonja pushed him away, I found myself wanting to yell in frustration. This book grabbed me and sucked me right in. I stayed up most of the night reading and reluctantly put it down to go to work. Still, I found every chance I could to continue reading it while I was there. While this book stands on its own, if you haven’t read the first book in the series, you should. Ryan’s story was great and there are several glimpses of Jimmy that made me crave more of him. There is no hint in this book of which Donnelly we’ll meet next, but I have no doubt it will be amazing. Until then I will read Jimmy’s story again and try to be patient.
ReneeEntress More than 1 year ago
4 star If you have not read the below I would recommend reading those books(s) first Unworthy Heart (The Donnellys, #1) This is Sonja and Jimmy’s story. Sonja and Jimmy are complete opposites. She is older, an attorney and has a teenage daughter. He is younger, with piercings and tattoos, and could pass for one of her clients. But the chemistry between them is off the charts. The more he pushes her the more she pushes back. Can she really date someone like him? Will it ever work? He is determined to have her even if it means a little stalking on his part. If she can get her ex to go away she might be able to try and develop a relationship with Jimmy. Can Jimmy get her to open her heart to him? Will they be able to overcome the outside issues? I felt I was able to connect with the characters and the story was a great read. I recommend this book.