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Hearts Reclaimed (Ardor Creek #1)

Hearts Reclaimed (Ardor Creek #1)

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Main Tropes

  • Grumpy-Sunshine
  • Widowed Hero
  • Second Chance
  • Steamy Small Town Romance


USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Hefner writing as Ayla Asher

Two weary souls find each other against all odds...

Ashlyn Rivers left her cheating fiancé behind and moved to Ardor Creek to revamp her life. Done with men in general, she has plenty to focus on, like building her new business and renovating her house for the local haunted homes tour. Falling in love is definitely not on the agenda.

Scott Grillo lost his family in a tragic accident several years ago. Still processing the loss, he throws himself into his contracting business, pushing away the loneliness and heartache.

When Ashlyn blazes into Scott's life, he turns down her request to renovate her house, vowing to squelch the desire she stirs deep inside. But Ashlyn is a force to be reckoned with and Scott finds himself longing for her embrace each day she remains in Ardor Creek.

Can these two disillusioned souls reclaim their hearts and choose to love again?

Welcome to Ardor Creek, the small Pennsylvania town where love is in the air! If you like a grumpy hero, a feisty heroine and steamy romance, this book is your jam. The main character is a widower who discusses the loss of his family so please take note of this before reading. Settle in and fall in love with Ardor Creek today!

Intro Into Chapter 1

Ashlyn Rivers drove her sporty compact sedan through the small town square. The sidewalks were lined with businesses one would expect from any American hamlet: drugstore, diner, hair salon, and so on. Mentally checking them off in her mind, she noted the immaculate signage and clean streets. Grandma Jean had loved this town and had a fondness for the mayor, who’d passed several local ordinances to ensure the business owners hung signs with the same fonts and colors. Ardor Creek, Pennsylvania had been Jean’s home for eighty-two years and now it was Ashlyn’s.
Heart filled with trepidation at starting over, Ashlyn took several deep breaths as she passed the tall clock situated at the northernmost point of the main square. Veering onto the two-lane road, she continued down the street, not another car in sight, although it was three in the afternoon and the sun sat high in the blue sky.
Searching the horizon, she saw the small gravel road that led to her grandma’s house. Turning onto it, her body vibrated along with the car over the rocky path. After passing the woods that surrounded the home, she pulled up in front of the house, craning her neck to look at the dilapidated structure.
“Well, Ashlyn, you wanted an adventure,” she muttered. “Might as well get on with it.” Stepping from the car, she pushed the door shut and tentatively approached the house. Sticking her hands in the back pockets of her jeans, she marveled at the project she’d undertaken.
Some might say she was running, and that was just fine. They didn’t understand her circumstances and they’d never met Grandma Jean. The woman was a firecracker and Ashlyn had loved her more than anyone. When she’d passed away a month ago, Ashlyn had expected her to leave the house to her parents or her uncle. Instead, she’d left it to her only granddaughter, shocking the family. As her eyes wandered over the home, Ashlyn felt a tug deep in her bones. A reminder of the times she and Jean had shared. Grandma was convinced a spirit haunted the century-old home and Ashlyn had shared her beliefs. Now, she was going to renovate so the house could be added to Ardor Creek’s haunted homes tour. It was a popular fall attraction in the rural town and would give her some much-needed publicity for her mobile restaurant.
Somewhere along the way she’d gotten the idea that she wanted to buy a food truck and create an organic mobile restaurant…in a brand new town…two and a half hours from Manhattan in the middle of Pennsylvania. Good lord, she was certifiably insane.
Rubbing her forehead, she continued to study the house, understanding it needed a ton of work. Jean spent her last two years in assisted living and the house had been vacant that entire time. It would need a complete overhaul and renovation. Thank goodness she had a crap ton of money saved from the corporate job she’d resigned from two weeks ago. It wouldn’t last forever but it was a healthy chunk and would help her get on her feet with the new business and the house.
Crossing her fingers inside her jean pocket, she willed that sentiment to be true. It was okay to make mistakes—that was inevitable—but she couldn’t fall on her ass completely. Success was her only option. Lifting her chin with determination, she embraced her future.
“All right, Ashlyn, enough staring. Time to make good on all those promises you made yourself.” Steeled with determination from the self-pep-talk, she grabbed her bag from the car and trailed up the rickety front porch steps, spine straight and head held high.

Two souls wary of love just might find it in Ardor Creek!
Ashlyn rolls into town and knocks grumpy widower Scott's socks off. Neither are looking for love but they just might find it in Ardor Creek.
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