Everything His Heart Desires

A Lafayette Falls Romance~Book One

Home for the holidays…After years of working in war zones overseas, widowed photographer Natalie Layton returns home with a battered soul. She’s happy to reconnect with her family and old friends. Yet she didn’t foresee being roped into a plot that reunites her with Brett Harris, the guy from the wrong side of town who constantly taunted her in high school. Natalie is delighted to turn the tables on him.

Growing up poor on Trinity Road has only fueled Brett's ambition. Now a cardiologist, Brett sees the ultimate opportunity when the influential Layton family promises him a coveted position at the hospital in exchange for helping their ailing matriarch. Brett jumps at the chance. The only catch? He must team up with Natalie to win over her pretentious grandmother.

As they work together, they can’t ignore their attraction. But how can the two of them be right for each other? Ultimately, will their separate them forever, or will love find a way to overcome their misconceptions and unite them?

Fast and flirty, Rhonda was built to please, and Brett Harris had been hooked the moment he saw her. She was fine in all the ways that mattered. Perfect body. Plus, black leather suited her. What more could a guy want? Rhonda had been worth every dime of the sixty-two thousand that Brett had paid for her.

In mint condition, Rhonda, a deep blue 1969 Road Runner, was one of four classic muscle cars he owned. He owned a red Camaro called Cathy, a silver Mustang, Molly, and Farah, a black Firebird. He affectionately called them his "girls." They were beauties, and they never let a guy down.

Since it was Friday, the physicians' parking lot was almost empty. Over half of the medical staff, including Brett, took Friday as their day off. He lived for three-day weekends.

"It's all about heaven on earth, Rhonda." He patted Rhonda's shiny blue fender and headed toward the catwalk that would take him to the physician's entrance.

The brown leather bomber jacket he wore over a navy pullover and khakis warded off the crisp chill of the first Friday in November. Fall was here, and soon, it would be cool enough for a fire in the fireplace. He loved the scent of wood smoke. You knew it was fall when you smelled wood smoke in the hills of Tennessee.

This weekend, a warm front would keep the temperature in the seventies. Great weather for renting a cabin at Covington Lake. His phone was filled with numbers of available women. Any one of them would be happy to accompany him.

Life was good. . .

In the hallway, he passed a couple of lab techs. "Hey, Hot Rod," they greeted him by his nickname. "TGIF!"

"You got that right," Brett replied. Nothing like a Friday to put a little spring in your step. On Friday nights, he usually hung out at the Thunderbird Bar and Grill. He had invested a wad of cash into the Thunderbird, which was paying off nicely.

He was all about success and adding dollar signs to his bank account.

As he approached the elevators at the end of the hall, the doors to one of the cars slid open, and he made a dash for it. He almost ran into Mrs. Rutherford, the hospital's stodgy dietitian, who stepped out of the elevator.

"Doctor Harris, aren't you energetic this morning?"

"It's Friday, Mrs. Rutherford. Best day of the week!" Brett rushed into the elevator car as the doors started to close. Hospital elevator cars were built to accommodate stretchers and medical equipment, so they were roomy enough.

He nodded at an elderly Asian couple standing in the middle of the car. He stepped to the left, where the operating panel was located, and pressed seven. The executive offices and meeting rooms were on the top floor of the hospital. Then he settled in the front corner as the car shuddered and began its climb.

That's when he noticed the hot chick standing in the rear corner of the elevator, diagonal from him. Long hair, the color of gold dust, rippled over her shoulders and formed an S-curve along her cheek. She wore a short burgundy jacket with embroidered lapels over a silky top, along with snug jeans and knee-high brown leather boots with stack heels.

She looked as if she had just stepped out of a glossy ad for clothes by Ralph Lauren. All cool and classy. Like she belonged at a polo match, on a yacht, or in his bed, he thought with a grin. She held a couple of large, white pastry boxes from the hospital cafeteria.

He reflexively checked out her hands. Delicate clear nails and no wedding band or engagement ring. He grinned. Maybe it's my lucky day. Maybe a lucky weekend, too.

The elevator opened on the second floor, and the Asian couple got off. While the elevator was stopped, Brett took the opportunity to move to the rear of the car. So he and the Ralph Lauren model stood in opposite corners.

The elevator hydraulics sighed as the door closed. He cut his eyes in her direction. Classic bone structure. High cheekbones, straight nose, oval jawline. You inherited some fantastic genes, babe.

She shifted the boxes she held and looked at him. Her bold sapphire blue eyes pinned him with a gaze that would have fired up the pistons in any man. A tiny smile played at the corner of her lips. A girl giving a guy a shy smile was usually a good indicator that she liked what she saw. He ignored the dicey feeling in his gut.

"I've heard we're going to have great weather this weekend," he said.

The weather was always a safe conversation starter. He tapped the handrail. For the first time ever, he wished the elevator would move a little slower.

Her smile widened slightly. "There's a storm coming."

A storm? He frowned. He had watched the weather report on TV before he left his house. Sunny autumn weekend, high in the seventies, and no rain. "I don't think so."

"Oh, I'm fairly certain of it," she insisted with a swift lowering of her lashes. She had a breathy voice with a slight lilt. She didn't sound local, but she did sound sexy.

Suddenly, she flashed him a tempestuous smile. All the shyness was gone. "Have you ever been caught up in an earthquake? Kinda leaves you in shambles, you know."

He blinked. He wasn't sure if she was talking about an earthquake or using the word as a metaphor—like for sex? Holy shit. He raked back his hair. If he were a Christmas tree, every light on him would be glowing.

The elevator passed the fifth floor. There was no time, so he decided to go for it.

He might have been born poor but not humble.

"I'm going to be at the Thunderbird tonight. Hanging out. If you're out that way, stop by. I'd love to have some company." He didn't make a big deal of it. Subtlety had its merits.

He noticed a flicker of amusement in her gorgeous eyes, and for a second, she seemed familiar. Like he'd seen her before. That wasn't possible. He wouldn't have forgotten her. He never got that drunk.

She kept smiling. Almost as if she couldn't stop herself.

"How about it?" he asked. "How about meeting at the Thunderbird tonight?"

She wet her luscious lips. "The storm will be here by then."

"No," he remarked as he withdrew his phone from the holster on his belt and tapped the weather app. "See. Sunny and in the seventies all weekend."

She glanced at his phone. "The storm that's coming isn't on the weather map, Brett."


"Brett and Natalie's attraction, which they denied when they were teenagers, is still there. Their chemistry is undeniable, but Brett is still unsure about Natalie. Can he give her what she needs—happiness, a reason to stay, and a common future?

I devoured this tender, funny and romantic story."

~Francoise, Net Galley

'I loved the muscle car angle; Pharaoh, Aunt Clara and Miss Piggy just made the story a little lighter.

Patricia Preston brought Everything His Heart Desires to life with her complex characters and interesting storyline. You felt Brett’s confidence and insecurity. You felt Natalie’s heartbreak and pain. The story was beautifully written, fluid and fast paced."


"This beautiful romance was tender, funny and painful at times. The addition of vintage cars added an upbeat dimension that put a smile on my face. I loved the older characters in the book, particularly Anna, Clara, and let's not forget Pharaoh! With Anna's scheming, Brett and Natalie didn't stand a chance and, being the master manipulator, Anna gets her way. This charming book is part of a series, the second book is as enjoyable as the first, and can be read as a standalone."

~Margaret Watkins, Reviewer

"The secondary characters, Anna and Clara, are delightful as are the rest the town dwellers. That said, the story is more than the plot. It reminds us of how our childhood, what others think of us, our loses as a child, and the effects of war and death can change a person. The feelings of inadequecy as a child, will linger through adulthood , and the pain of loss, may make us stay away from love, for fear of more loss and heartbreak. A thought provoking , well written story."

~Yvonne Cruz, Net Galley

What Reviewers Are Saying...

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