Hearts on Fire 4: Kisses Sweeter Than Pie

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer



DEDICATION





Dear readers,



Thank you for purchasing this legal copy of Kisses Sweeter Than Pie.

Dreams can come true, no matter what the obstacles, no matter how hard others try to put you down, minimize your dreams, or attempt to squash them entirely with their negativity. Anything worthwhile in life takes determination, strength, and passion. There’s a hunger in each and every one of us who seek that dream, that goal, that almost unreachable, tangible or intangible object of our desires. The difference between those who actually achieve it and reach that goal, that dream, and those that give up, weaken under the power of others’ negativity, is that inner strength. The motivation, determination, and hunger that make us thrive to succeed.

Nina is a great example of a woman who has failed, been held down, held back, controlled, manipulated, and oppressed by a man who knows and thrives on the ability to do so.

It takes three men with compassion, with scars of their own, and a deep belief in Nina’s beauty and abilities to help Nina to see that the fight is still on, that a new life, achieving her dreams and goals, is within reach with the help of true friends, honest Samaritans, and ultimately true love.

I hope you enjoy her journey.

Happy reading.



Hugs!



~Dixie~





Prologue



“I don’t have the money, Rico. Please, give me time and I will pay you back.”

“You can’t pay me back. You owe Xavier thirty grand and now you owe me a hundred grand. I want my fucking money.” Rico stared at the old man. He’d seen him gambling for years, his habit costing him more and more just like every other shithead’s habit or obsession. Tonight he fucked up. Tonight the old man gambled against Rico and now Rico would get exactly what he was after.

“Do you have my money or not?” Rico asked the old man.

“No. You know I don’t. I should have won that last hand,” the man said, raising his voice as he looked around the room at the other players and Rico’s bodyguards. No one would support him. They all knew what Rico wanted. Her.

“What are you trying to say, that Rico cheated?” Miguel, one of Rico’s cohorts, asked.

The old man scrunched his eyebrows together. “You know he cheated. He had that ace up his sleeve. This game was fixed from the start.”

Miguel grabbed the old man by the neck and squeezed his throat. The old man would be no match for Miguel, for any of them. Rico walked closer. His confidence and the knowledge he had that his plan was successful fed his next sentence. The old man had no choice.

“There’s one way we can work this out. One way only.”

The old man looked at him, swallowing with difficulty because of Miguel’s professional throat hold.

“What?” he squeaked.

“I will release you of your debt, including the debt you owe Xavier, for one tiny, little thing.” Rico thought about Nina. She was petite, sweet, and a virgin with a body of a sexual fantasy. He wanted her just like a lot of the guys in the neighborhood did, but she wasn’t biting. He kept his distance, waited for an opportunity, hoping his reputation would never reach her pretty little ears. He looked at the old man.

“What is it? Whatever it is, I’ll do it. I have nothing. This was my last bet, my last chance to win big and pay off the debts.”

Rico smiled softly. “I want Nina.”

The old man’s eyes widened and he shook his head side to side profusely. “No. No,” he said, practically crying.

Miguel squeezed the old man’s throat a little tighter to get his message across.

“That’s not the right answer. You give me her, you get her for me, and neither of you will die.”



* * * *



Nina Valone took a deep breath as she held the doorknob.

This was a huge risk she was taking. Never in her twenty-four years of life had she been so brazen, so filled with emotion that she allowed those emotions to direct her actions.

Rico is not cheating on me. I’ve been with him for nearly a year. He was my first lover. My only lover. I won’t find him in his apartment with another woman. I won’t. What the others told me can’t be true. He couldn’t have been seen at the club with Stacy. Rico wouldn’t do that to me. He loves me. He wants me to achieve my goals, my dreams.

Nina took a deep breath and released it. She thought about how they met. How he saw her through the crowded club, locked gazes with her, and knew they were meant to be. He told her he spotted her. She was sitting all alone. Turning down guy after guy who wanted to buy her a drink, try to cop a feel, or even convince her to go home with them. She turned them all down but then Rico showed up. He acted sweet, funny, and sincere. He didn’t even try to touch her, and she found herself wanting him, too.

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