Mixed martial arts studio owner Kit Barranos has always been a fighter. He will fight for his family. For his friends. For anyone in need.
What he doesn’t know how to do is fight for himself…
… Or the inconvenient and consuming desire he has for single mom Lily Fallahil Office manager, Lily has spent the last decade raising her son and proving her independence to her protective and overbearing brother, Drake.
She has no time for romance. Especially with Kit Barranos, who has a body to die for and eyes that dig into her soul.
When Kit reveals his heartbreak to Lily – he has a secret brother he never knew about, one he considered his closest friend – it creates a bond neither can deny.
And explodes the attraction that simmers between them.
But it isn’t just Lily that Kit is slowly but surely falling for. It’s her adorable son, Bret.
Navigating the holidays, their families and their feelings is no easy task, but flawed and fiercely loyal, Kit and Lily have fought the odds and survived so far.
Except, survival no longer seems enough.
Can they take a chance on each other, on fate… On a love that braves The Heart of You?
The Heart of You is Book Three of The Geeks of Caltech, a unique band of friends bonded by loyalty, brotherhood, and pain. The Geeks of Caltech are to die for and their women all they wish to live for!
“What do you see, Lily?”
His face was two inches away from hers and she was woozy from the crying jag and staring at him. He was beautifully made in a way that constricted her heart and made her yearn for something she instinctively knew was trouble.
“I know that you’re a dangerous man, Kit Barranos.” Her murmur was almost inaudible.
“I’m not,” he countered. “I’m very safe. I am harmless. Like a panda bear.”
Lily snorted again. “If you’re a harmless panda bear; I am Queen Marguerite of Spain.”
The breath caught in her throat as she saw the way he was looking at her. His eyes burned her cheeks, her lips, made them tingle as if he was touching them. Kissing them. Sliding his sexy beard around her sensitive skin.
She wondered if his beard would be soft and silky or scratchy-rough. Her fingers clenched around the dirty pocket square.
“She isn’t half as amazing as you are, Lily Fallahil. And I am sorry but I just have to—”
The air thickened around them in the space of a heartbeat.
“Have to what?”
“Have to do this.”
Her lashes fluttered closed as she felt his breath waft over her. He smelled of expensive cologne and healthy male sweat and the milk and sugary kheer. He felt very, very male, and unsafe.
Arousal and anticipation whispered through her, bringing back long-dead nerve endings to life.
Her fingers curled around his wrist, feeling the steady thrum of his pulse. It calmed her. Weakened her.
He brushed one thumb over her cheek. Brisk and soft, the touch producing chills down her spine. And then his face was no longer close, his breath no longer near hers. Mingling in her air.
She opened languid eyes, let go of his wrist. “What was that?”
“Your mascara had run down. It was smudged. I cleaned it up.”
A weak laugh escaped her and she brushed her own hands over her face. “God, I am so embarrassed. I am a mess.”
He was droll. “We just established that you’re prettier than the Queen of Spain. I am done complimenting you.”
“You’re not good for my ego, Kit Barranos.” But she stood up, pleased to discover that her legs and her nerves were steadier than she’d thought. He didn’t stand up, which put them somewhat at eye level. “I thought you were going to kiss me.”
Well, that was a slap to said ego. “Right.”
“Not here,” he added.
Kit stood up.
She had to step back in order to continue holding his burning gaze. Heat snaked up her spine, melting legs that had been steady just a minute before.
“When you’re still crying over a fraction of a man who did not deserve you for a single second.”
Her throat closed up at his meditative words. “That wasn’t—”
He cut her off with, “When I kiss you, it will be you. It will be me.” He bent down and spoke into her burning ear. “You’ll know it will only be me. You can keep the pocket square. I don’t need it anymore.”
With that, he strolled out of the room, while she tried to formulate some sort of response. Leaving her even more confused and wanting than before.
She was in so much trouble.
About the Author
Aarti V Raman lives in Mumbai, India and has been a commercial editor and business journalist for the better part of a decade.
She is an incurable romantic who has taken up the task of bringing Happily Ever After to life for the characters in her head. She has three traditionally published novels out, all contemporary romances from 2014-2016, with the next one slated for release in 2019.
She currently writes and self-publishes steamy contemporary romance for urban millennials with a global twist. Sometimes, there are guns and car chases too.
Her new contemporary romance series include GEEKS OF CALTECH and ROYALS OF STELLANGARD as well as standalone romances – all of which have become Amazon India and US bestsellers.
She has also appeared as speaker at lit festivals and events around India and also dabbles in poetry, while conducting creative writing workshops.