The Heartbreaker<br/>

Author: Maddie James
Publisher: Maddie James
Published: 2010-05-25
ISBN(s) 9781935817116
Illustrator: Calliope-Designs
Language(s): English
Category: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Genre(s): Romance, Romantic Suspense, Women's Fiction Read Excerpt >


“Do you want to do this standing up, or lying down?”

Lucki Stevenson shrugged. “I don’t care. What works best for you?”

“Standing—and hurry up. Bend over the table.”

Turning away from Sam Kirk, Lucki did just that, placing her elbows square on the table to brace herself. She stared at the back wall of Sam’s kitchen, focusing on the sunflower print his mother had hung there years ago, and waited for what seemed a small eternity. She was anything but embarrassed; she was furious.

“You’re going to feel a little pop, then a sting. No big deal.”

“Just do it!”

Grimacing, Lucki gritted her teeth and waited. Pop. Sting. She squirmed. Yeah, he was right. Not a big deal. A minute later, she was numb.

“All right. It’s in there pretty deep, but I think I can take care of it by myself.”

For an undetermined amount of time, Lucki stared at the print while he probed. Okay, let’s get this over with.

“Hold on. I’m going in with the tweezers now.”


“I’m halfway in. Hold still. I’ve got to widen the point of entry just a…little…bit…more.”

Lucki gripped the edges of the table, then she felt the final tug.


Sam emitted a satisfying sigh behind her, then she heard a definite ping. Thank God! “Was that it? Are you finished?”

“Not quite. Let me clean off the blood. Douse it with some antiseptic. I think you may need a stitch or two. And you probably should get a tetanus shot.”

“Stitches!” Lucki jerked and tried to look behind her.

“Dammit, Lucki! Hold still. Now you’ve got blood all over me, and I’ve got a date in twenty minutes.”

“Well, la-de-dah!” Lucki rose further on her elbows and turned to look Sam dead in the eye. “At least you don’t have a BB imbedded in the cheek of your butt!”

He tossed her a sarcastic grin. “You don’t either, smart ass, thanks to me. Now turn around and hold still while I finish up here.”

Turning, Lucki waited until she felt a couple of tugs on the wound. Stitches, she guessed. Maybe it was better she couldn’t see.

“Thanks to your little brother and his equally bratty friend, I’m having to endure this humiliation.”

“Lay off J.J. and Spud, will you? I’ll take care of them.”

“Oh, yeah? Like the last time when they put that mangy old cat in the cab of my truck all night? The animal peed all over my carpet and ate the last of my donuts. You didn’t do a thing but make them apologize.” She glanced back again.

Sam soaked a cotton ball with peroxide and dabbed it over Lucki’s wound. She flinched.

“What did you want me to do? And why do you keep donuts in your truck cab anyway?”

“I keep them there so I can eat on my way to work. It’s quicker that way.”

“Most people keep their donuts in the kitchen.”

“I’m not most people.”

“How well I’ve learned that over the years.”

Lucki stared again at the print. Sunflowers. Sam’s mom had loved sunflowers. Lucki instantly felt a pang, she’d loved Sam’s mother almost as much as she loved her own. Martha could make the best damned butterscotch-oatmeal cookies. Lucki grinned. She’d eaten a million of them with milk at this table.

Now this is a twist. Bet Martha never expected anyone to endure minor surgery on her antique oak pedestal table.

Damn those twelve-year-old, pre-adolescent, scoundrels. When she got hold of them, she would give them a tongue lashing they wouldn’t soon forget.

“I think you ought to take the guns away from those boys.”

“I said I’ll handle it, Lucki.”

Lucki snorted. All she was doing was minding her own business, washing her pick-up truck, and the demons had to shoot her in the butt with a BB gun, right as she’d bent over to pick up the sponge from the bucket.

She’d slung suds and water for fifteen feet chasing after them, but the sting of the BB got to her pretty quick, and then she realized that the damned thing had actually penetrated her cheek, just beneath the leg opening of her bathing suit bottom. Damned, skimpy, thigh-cut suits.

If Sam hadn’t been home, she didn’t know what she would have done. Thank God she hadn’t had to go to the emergency room.

He placed a bandage over the wound and then taped it in place.

“All done.”

Lucki stood up and grimaced at the pull of the bandage. She faced him.

“It’s going to be sore for a few days. Keep it clean and let me see it tomorrow.”

Feeling a little saucy, Lucki sidled up to Sam, put one finger on his chest, and said, “Doctor, are you just trying to get me to drop my pants again?”

His eyes shooting rounder than buttermilk biscuits, Sam grabbed her hand and shoved it downward. “Stop it, Lucki. That’s enough.”

The mood had changed and even though she didn’t know what possessed her to do such a thing, she drew back and reassessed. Staring Sam directly in the eyes, she lifted two fingers to her forehead and thrust them out in mock salute. “Yessir! Dr. Kirk.”

“Cut it out, Lucki.”

Sam turned away and washed his hands. Lucki studied his back. She hadn’t noticed before but Sam was dressed to go out: shirt, tie, his Sunday trousers. She glanced to the kitchen chair beside of her. His best sports coat.

“Who’s your date?”

He turned slightly and dried his hands on a kitchen towel, then wet it and dabbed a little dishwashing detergent on it. He brushed at the blood stain on his pants, then tossed the towel in the sink. After a minute, he looked at her and rolled down his sleeves and buttoned his cuffs. “Missy Hawkins, why?”

Lucki shrugged, wondering if she should offer to clean his pants. “Just wondered. You’ve been seeing a lot of her lately.”

“Some.” His gaze caught hers, his expression difficult to read.

“Where are you going?”

“Dinner and a movie, probably.”


He slipped the jacket off the chair and put it on. “I’ve got to run. I’m late already. You know the way out.”

Lucki nodded and smiled. “Okay. I’m leaving.” She started for the back door then turned around. Sam was watching her. “Tell Missy I said hi.”

“I will.”

“Thanks for, well, you know.”

He nodded and flashed her a wicked smile. “Yeah. See you at church in the morning.”

“Sure. In the morning. Have a good time.”

Then he was gone. Lucki lingered momentarily at Sam’s back door. A frown settled over her face. Abruptly, she turned and left, the screen door slapping hard behind her.

The Heartbreaker   by   Maddie James   |   See Bio >
The heartbreaker is back in town. Sam Kirk broke Lucki Stevenson's heart in high school. Now he's moved back home. Can Lucki protect her heart this time?

Lucki Stevenson spends most of her time coaching unruly teenagers and avoiding the unwelcome advances of a co-worker in her Parks Department job. So when all-grown-up, boy-next-door, Dr. Sam Kirk moves back into his childhood home, she doesn’t hesitate welcoming him back into town and her life, as her childhood best friend, of course. Because that’s all they will ever be—best friends.

Sam broke her heart once; she won’t give him a chance to do it again.

Returning home to care for his younger brother J.J., after his mother’s death, Sam is happy to accept Lucki’s expert advice about kids—and even happier that the tomboy he remembers is now a beautiful woman. When Lucki agrees to help him with J.J., Sam is sure he’s on the road to success as an instant parent, and possibly as a husband—but first he’s got to convince Lucki that he’s not the heartbreaker of her past.

In fact, he might have to get the whole town in on the act.

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