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Her Patriotic Prince (Manhattan Holiday Loves #3)

Her Patriotic Prince (Manhattan Holiday Loves #3)

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Main Tropes

  • Secret Baby
  • Second Chance
  • Found Family
  • Steamy Contemporary Romance


USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Hefner writing as Ayla Asher

It was only supposed to be one night...

Laura Cunningham is gorgeous, witty and tough as nails...and still single in her late thirties. After dating every man in Manhattan, she's resigned herself to the fact that true love just might not exist for her. Certainly a bummer for the woman who observed her two best friends fall in love with sexy, strong men who are their soul mates.

Adam Gardner is a soldier who's been committed to the cause his entire life. Nearing forty, he realizes that once his next mission is complete, he wants to settle down and build a home and family.

Laura and Adam meet on a romantic summer evening, knowing their time is limited due to Adam's impending deployment. Taken by their instant chemistry, they commit to spending one passionate and intimate night together.

Years later, Adam returns to find Laura with a daughter who shares his sky-blue eyes. Determined to be a father to the little girl, and still enamored by the woman he could never forget, he strives to discern the best path forward.

Laura is shocked by the appearance of the man who stole her heart so many years ago...and who still possesses it. Can the star-crossed lovers build a life together or will their secrets and fears keep them from achieving happiness?

Intro Into Chapter 1

Laura sat at the table, her teeth crunching ice from her almost empty vodka soda as she scanned the room. She’d hoped to find a hot stud to dance with at Carter and Kayla’s wedding but, so far, the pickings were slim. Uncle Bob was probably the most eligible bachelor and he had a cane and smelled like Listerine. Wrinkling her nose, Laura wondered if this was what it had come to. Washed up and single at thirty-nine. Good grief, it was pathetic.
Telling herself to stop the pity party, she rose and headed onto the balcony of the sprawling banquet hall. It was one of the largest in Long Island and offered a gorgeous view of the sound. Shrouded in moonlight as the stars twinkled above, she rested her forearms on the balcony railing and stared across the dark water. There was a loneliness to the gentle liquid as it stretched before her and it comforted her somehow.
Suddenly, a tingling sparked in her spine, spreading through her body as the tiny hairs on the back of her neck stood to attention. Glancing to her left, she noticed the man approach and settle next to her, stretching his arms over the railing as well. Hmmm. He was quite presumptuous to enter her space and she found herself intrigued.
“Can I help you?” she asked, a slight annoyance in her tone.
When he tilted to face her, Laura knew she was screwed. As in, royally, head-over-heels at first sight screwed. He was gorgeous, with thick, full lips curved into a sultry smile. Ice-blue eyes pierced her under his short, dark hair. A chiseled nose and jaw completed the face of the most attractive man she’d ever seen.
“I would love nothing more than to have you help me, ma’am.”
His slight Southern drawl was so sexy that Laura was sure she gushed in her thong. Telling her erratic heartbeat to chill the fuck out, she arched a brow. “Well, I’m all ears. What do you need assistance with?”
His tongue darted out to wet those full lips and her knees almost gave out. Good lord, were men really allowed to be this hot? There had to be a law against it or something, right?
“I’m just wondering why a woman as beautiful as you is standing alone on a balcony when there’s a perfectly good DJ inside. Perhaps you can help me answer that question.”
“I’m actually not here for the wedding with the DJ. I’m here with the one that has the live band. They’re okay but I needed some air.”
“Got it,” he said, his eyes traveling over her bare shoulders under her silky midnight blue dress. “Who’s getting married at your wedding?”
“My best friend and her super-hot actor fiancé. They’re so in love it’s nauseating. I only hate her a little bit.” She smiled, conveying her teasing. “Who’s getting married in your shindig?”
“My brother and his fiancée. Well, wife now, I guess. And same on the lovey-dovey stuff. They’re deep in it.”
“Yikes. Makes you wonder if they’ll ever miss the days of a good ol’ fashioned hook up. One and done.”
Mr. Sex-on-a-Stick’s eyebrow arched. “Are you into that sort of thing?”
She shrugged. “When the feeling’s right. We all have needs and I like a good tussle here and there. If I feel comfortable.”
He studied her for a moment. “What makes you feel comfortable…?” He trailed off, eyebrows lifted in a question.
“Laura,” she said, offering her hand. He enfolded it in his, warm and calloused, and the scratch against her palm set off all sorts of sparks in her body.
“Adam,” he said, shaking. “Really nice to meet you, Laura. So, you were saying, what makes you feel comfortable is…”
She gave a low chuckle. “I wasn’t really saying anything of the sort, but if I was, I would say that I like to be wooed a bit and told how unfailingly gorgeous I am.” She flicked her hair dramatically. “After that, I’d probably be down for some sexy times if the energy was right.”
“Hmmm…” he said, squinting as he considered. “Good to know. I think I’d really enjoy making sure the energy was right with you.”
Throwing her head back, she gave a hearty laugh. “Would you now?”
Blue eyes sparkled as he gazed into hers. “Oh, hell yes.”
Inhaling deeply, she pondered, feeling her eyes rove over his face. “I have to go back and do a few more formal bridesmaid things but my obligations will be over in about half an hour. I have a room at the hotel next to the banquet hall so I was contemplating going for a walk on the beach before I head to bed.”
“Same for me. Just a few more brotherly duties and I’m free. I’d love to escort you on your walk, Laura. Want to meet me down there by the lifeguard station in forty-five minutes?”
Laura contemplated. She hadn’t had a one-night stand in a while, although she didn’t mind them when the opportunity arose. She was very comfortable in her sexuality and thought sex should be enjoyed between two consenting adults if it felt right. And, oh man, did it feel right with this hunk of magnificence. Had she ever slept with anyone as viscerally sexy? Wracking her brain, she realized that was unlikely. He was a fucking Adonis.
“Okay,” she said, throwing caution to the wind. After all, her best friend was married now and would be spending the night with her hot-as-hell husband. Her other best friend was married to the sweetest, most adorable man on the planet and since their son was home with the babysitter, they’d be knocking boots tonight as well. Why should she be left out of the fun? After suffering through yet another wedding as the obligatory amusing, single friend, she deserved a good time. “I’ll meet you there. Don’t be late.”
“Sweetheart,” he said, leaning in, his warm breath across her ear making her shiver, “I’d sooner lose a limb than be late to meet you on a secluded beach under the stars. See you soon.” Gently trailing his fingers over her bare arm, he turned and strode away.
“Holy shit,” she whispered, blood pulsing through her frame as she realized she’d just signed up for an evening with the hottest man on the planet. Determined to allow herself a night of unrestrained enjoyment, she headed back in to complete her bridesmaid duties with an almost noticeable skip in her step.

It was only supposed to be one night...

Can Adam and Laura overcome the past to find true love?


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