A Stolen Heart

by Rachel Anne Jones

A Stolen Heart by Rachel Anne Jones
Isolde returns to the one place she swore to leave in the past, her hometown. Secrets and lies about her father plague her, and she vows to uncover the truth. She goes straight to the source, Tristan Mountain, who is four years her senior, the man responsible for incriminating her father with his accusations. Isolde demands he employ her as an accountant at his firm. Much to her surprise, he relents. Tristan tells himself she needs answers and experience, as she’s fresh out of college, but he can’t help but notice the attraction between them. The longer they work together, the stronger it grows.

Will Isolde uncover the answers she’s so desperate to find? Can Tristan bear to work with a woman who’s determined to bury him financially and professionally? How long can they tolerate each other’s presence as sparks fly between them? When Isolde is threatened and Tristan is her safe haven, she’s torn between abandoning the search for her father and feelings for her boss that she can’t ignore.

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Release Date: November 21, 2023
Genre: Contemporary Romance

A Pink Satin Romance



The house is dark. Tristan’s growing pains wake him, along with the feeling in his gut that something isn’t right. There’s a restlessness in the house, recognition of an intruder. He creeps down the hallway toward the sound of men’s voices.

“What are you doing here?” his father, Douglas, demands in a tone so gruff Tristan opens his mouth to answer.

“I’m getting what I came for,” a second voice answers, taking Tristan by surprise. What is Howard Pike doing in his father’s study at 2 a.m.? Instinct tells Tristan to go back to his room, but he can’t. What if his father is in danger?

Sixteen-year-old Tristan hovers in the hall, longing for his quiet room to shut out this invasion into his normal life in the middle of the night. What are Howard and his father up to?

“And what did you come for?” Tristan flinches at his father’s tone that is hard as a rock, not at all like his usual, gentle manner.

“You know what I came for,” Howard replies in a similar tone.

“I want you to say it,” his father commands.

Harsh laughter follows. “Fine. I’m here for my records of investors,” Howard responds. There’s no mistaking his desperation.

“Last I checked we are not an investment firm,” Douglas grounds out.

“It’s my business, Doug. This has nothing to do with you,” Howard argues.

“The hell it isn’t,” Douglas bellows, and Tristan instinctively ducks, even though no one sees him. Tristan stops just short of bumping his head on the wall as he sinks slowly to the carpeted floor.

“You were conducting a side business in my office using my family name to fool everyone into thinking you were on the level,” Douglas taps a heavy pointer finger on the solid oak desk for emphasis, “and you most certainly are not. You have no intention of investing anyone’s money. You’re nothing more than a petty thief.”

His father’s accusations confuse Tristan. Douglas and Howard Pike have been in business together for years. They’re good friends, the best of friends. Howard spends more time with his father than Douglas’s own family, a common complaint Tristan has heard more than a few times over the years at the supper table.

“You don’t know that, and you can’t prove it,” Howard argues, but his words don’t sound too convincing. “Hand it over, and I’ll be out of your life. I’ll no longer be a blemish on your spotless reputation,” he snarls.

“Why are you acting like this is my fault?” Douglas demands. “I didn’t ask you to lie to me and tear down everything I’ve worked so hard to keep.”

“You took my clients, Doug. You made it impossible for me to earn a decent income,” Howard whines. “I have to support my family.”

Douglas snorts at his partner’s words. “Your clients came to me because they were tired of your dishonesty and incompetence. Don’t put your problems on me.”

“I’m an outsider, Doug. Your family name has been here for four generations. That’s all it ever was. It had nothing to do with my job performance, which, by the way, is not lacking.” An awkward silence follows. “I’m tired of your accusations and this small town. I’m taking my business somewhere else. Now, give me my binder.”

“You know I can’t do that. I won’t play any part in your crimes,” Doug warns.

The seconds drag by. Tristan wants to go in, but he doesn’t know what to do or say, and he’s pretty sure his dad doesn’t want him to know any of what he just heard.

“I’m done asking. Give me what is mine.” Howard’s voice is low and sinister. A chill goes down Tristan’s spine.

“Are you going to kill me? Put the gun away,” Douglas says in an authoritative voice Tristan knows all too well.

No sooner do the words of warning register in Tristan’s terrified brain than a gun goes off. Tristan feels as if his heart stops beating. He’s frozen with fear. His mother’s footsteps on the stairs wake him from his reverie. Indecision tears him in two. Tristan doesn’t know if he should go after his father, who may or may not be alive, or stop his mother from getting any closer to the gunman.

“You bastard! You shot me.” Tristan releases the breath he didn’t know he was holding at the sound of his father’s voice. He jumps up at the form of his mother, rushes toward her and holds her tight.

“Don’t go in there. Howard has a gun,” Tristan whispers in his mother’s ear. “He’s lost his mind.”

“Give me the binder. The next time, I’ll make it count.” Howard growls. “Are you willing to risk your life for a ledger?”

Tristan has heard enough. He can hardly believe himself as he races through the doorway of his dad’s office. His mother is close behind him. He feels like someone else as he flips the light switch on the side wall. It’s difficult, but Tristan holds Howard’s manic stare. “What color is the binder? Tell me what I’m looking for. I’ll help you find it,” he offers in as calm a voice as possible.

Howard has the gall to smirk at him. “Gee, Tristan. Thanks for being so helpful. It’s red and it has ‘Bahamas’ written on the outside.”

“Is that where you’re going?” Douglas inquires.

Howard’s face reddens. He waves the gun wildly. Tristan’s eyes scan his dad’s office frantically. He can’t believe his dad is taunting Howard, an armed crazy person.

“Shut up. I’d hate for anyone else to get hurt,” he threatens.

Tristan is about to give up his search when a folder on the floor catches his eye. He bends over to grab a hold of it. “I found it,” he says. Somewhere between the floor and standing up, pure rage flows through him. He stumble-trips on his way to Howard, whose eyes are glued to the binder that comes up in one fluid motion as Tristan puts all his force behind it and slams Howard in the face with it right before body-slamming Howard into the bookshelf lining the side wall of his dad’s office.

Tristan’s hand grips Howard’s wrist of his gun hand. He slams it repeatedly against the wooden bookcase. Howard cries out, but Tristan’s ears are deaf to his cries for mercy. Tristan doesn’t stop the pounding until he hears the metal of the gun hit the carpet. He rams his knee between the two of them, hitting the right spot.

Howard drops to the floor, clutching himself. Tristan is exhausted from the struggle, as Howard is not a small man.

Tristan almost tips over when he leans down to pick up the gun. Sirens sound in the distance.

Howard peels himself up off the floor. “I’ll see myself out,” he says in a casual, brisk manner that implies he’s nothing more than a rude dinner guest instead of an unstable maniac who just attempted an armed robbery.

Tristan lays the gun on his father’s desk with a trembling hand. He bites his lip as he looks at his father and tries to hold back his tears. “I’m sorry, Dad. I should have been here sooner.” 

Douglas winces at his wife Rachel’s tugging on the make-shift tourniquet. “Dammit.” Douglas groans. “That’s too tight. It hurts.”

“I’m not taking it off until you call the ambulance,” Rachel argues.

“Fine. Have it your way,” he grumbles.

Tristan clutches his mom’s cell phone. “I already did.”

Minutes later, there’s a knocking at the front door of the house. Tristan goes to answer it. He’s surprised to see a police officer on the other side. “Hello,” he says because he doesn’t know what else to say.

“Hello. We had a noise complaint and possible gunshot report,” the officer announces. “If you could give me any information at all, we would appreciate the feedback.”

“I’m in here,” Douglas yells out in answer.

The cop draws his gun and holds a finger to his lips. He creeps stealthily across the room.

“My father was shot,” Tristan states. He can’t believe the cop is going after his father like he’s some sort of criminal.

The officer stops in his tracks. “Who shot him?”

“His business partner, Howard Pike,” Tristan responds.

“Is the shooter still on the premises?” the officer demands.

“No, sir,” Tristan answers tiredly. “He came here for something, but my dad wouldn’t give it to him, and so he shot my father.” Tristan’s voice grows louder the longer he speaks, but he’s so angry. “They were more than business partners. They were best friends,” Tristan gets out as his voice breaks, and a tear rolls down his cheek. He quickly wipes it away.

The officer continues toward the office with his gun drawn. Tristan collapses on the couch. His hands shake when he thinks of the gunshot followed by the blood-soaked wrap on his father’s arm. He doesn’t understand why his dad would risk his life over a stupid binder, or why Howard came after his father, but Tristan knows one thing. He’ll do whatever it takes to make Howard pay for his crimes. “I’ll never forget what he did.” Tristan vows.


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