It's Valentine's Day and Tonya Paul would love to celebrate, but it's a day she'd rather forget. Ironically, she makes chocolate novelty items called "Heart Puzzles" that have become the new necessary Valentine's Day gift. She has no idea that her co-worker and former boyfriend, Sean McHenry wasn't going to let another day go by without telling her the truth. Sean's plan is desperate, but after a year of waiting for Tonya to get a clue, he's done with patience. It will take a lot more than rope and brute force to get her to listen, but he's willing to use both to get to the truth. It's a heart puzzle he believes is worth piecing together. The question is whether Tonya will break his heart in the end.
“How is your drink, Miss Paul?” Her boss grinned as he waved a bottle of wine in her face. She studied him over her wine glass. Big, jolly and happy, Winston Jergens invented the chocolate puzzles so popular at the moment. Incredibly, the man came up with a brilliant way to use chocolate and created Romantic Riddles. Each box contained a series of chocolate pieces when put together spelled out a personalized message for the recipient. Tonya had been there when the idea had been born.
“Just fine, Winston, thank you.” She glanced over Winston’s shoulder. Where was he? He liked these little soirées less than she did, but they were like the three legs of a triangle, each necessary to the whole. Was it pathetic that she hungered for these short glimpses of him?
Winston filled her glass despite her answer. His face was a little flushed and he beamed with success. “It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since we came up with the Heart Puzzles.”READ MORE
Tonya blinked. “Really?” She took a sip of her wine. “It seems longer.”
The man’s grin dropped away. “You’re thinking about Tommy.”
“Yes, I am.” Suddenly, she couldn’t take it anymore. She set her glass down and picked up her purse. “I’m afraid you’ll have to continue the festivities without me, Winston. I’ll see you on Monday.”
His stubby fingers caught her arm as she started for the elevator. “Sean will be disappointed.”
Tears pricked her eyes and she met Winston’s compassionate gaze. “I assure you. I won’t be missed.” She gently extracted her arm and walked calmly to the elevator. Her coworkers all smiled and waved as she headed out the door. Somehow, she returned their greetings and held her emotions in check. None of them had known her brother. They all came after he was gone, after he’d been killed by his own recklessness. Valentine’s Day, February 14th, a day of love, a day of happiness. Not for her.
The doors to the one of the elevators opened and she didn’t glance up as she stepped into the car. She wanted to escape, run away, be alone. Instead, she was face to face with the one man she did, and didn’t, want to see today.
“You’re leaving.” His voice was so deep and low no one else could hear it. “Get in. We need to talk.”
Her gaze clashed with his. His blue eyes snapped and his lips tightened. She tried not to stare at him. Reddish brown hair, light blue eyes and the straight nose gave the wrong impression. He was no easy going Irish boy anymore. Winston may have come up with the idea for the chocolate puzzles, but Sean made it a multi-million dollar industry. She, of course, provided the logistics, the chocolate making, the actual molds that made the puzzles famous. She and Tommy had. “Everything we had to say to each other was said a year ago.”
A muscle in his jaw pulsed and she realized how angry he actually was at that moment. Confrontation, today of all days, was beyond her. She started for the stairs. Instead, he grabbed her arm and yanked her into the elevator. “That’s it,” he snapped. “I’m done being a nice guy.”
He slammed her against the wall of the elevator with one hand and pressed the button to go down to the parking lot with the other. She glared at him. “Let go of me.”
“You’ve been moping around for the past year. I’m not going to allow another one to go by.”
“It’s none of your business.” Adrenaline swept through her veins. All the pent up frustration and anger swept through her. Who was he to tell her how to grieve?COLLAPSE