Painted On My Heart
(Layne Family Duet, Book 2)
Artist Kellus Hardin let love and loyalty cloud his past decisions, a mistake he definitely won’t make again. Now, lost and alone, he’s left to pick up the shattered pieces of his broken heart while facing the truth of his reality.
Arik Layne exudes power, confidence, and determination. But when an encounter with the guarded artist shakes him to the core and alters all his future goals, he finds more than just his heart on the line.
For Kellus, opening himself to love isn’t an option.
All Arik wants is to make the artist his.
Can love create a masterpiece when it’s painted on your heart?
This is a layered masterfully woven story with depth and real life problems that adults face; a complete story that will warm your heart and touch your soul.
I can’t emphasize enough how much Painted on My Heart moved me. Kindle Alexander’s stories have always been some of my absolute favorites, and this one is no exception. It is a fantastic 5-star read, and it’s joining the rest of this author’s stories in my re-read yearly list of books.
This book left such an impact on me – I’m still thinking about it days later. It was an experience that will be hard to forget. But after reading Painted on My Heart I am walking away feeling like there is always the chance to move forward and find happiness, you just need to try.
eLit Awards GOLD Winner in Romance
This is the first time a gay romance has won the top prize in this category.
BOOKS IN THE Layne Family Duet…
♡ EXCERPT ♡
Unwilling to let go of Kellus’s hand, he had them walk the entire length of the store, stopping here or there to read the ingredients. When he found the box of chocolate-coated skulls, he immediately picked it up. “This is awesome. Have you had any of these?”
“No, but I sent those out last Christmas to my clients. People loved them,” Kellus replied.
“You don’t eat chocolate?” He hadn’t truly believed that could be a truthful option.
“No, not usually. Now if you were to tempt me with that drunken nut pie from Emporium Pies down the street, I’d be all in.”
“We can go there instead,” Arik offered. He set the chocolates back on the shelf and started walking toward the door.
“No, stay. I’m good. Really,” Kellus said, staying rooted in his spot. There was a moment of indecision on Arik’s part until a row of syrups caught his eye. Tunnel vision had him pulling Kellus in that direction, chuckling once he got close enough to read the labels. “Love Potion, Break-up Potion, One Night Stand, and Summer Lovin’ chocolate syrups. That’s amazing.”
Arik’s grin turned into a full-fledged smile as he looked over and gave Kellus a wink, hoping he picked up on the significance when he pushed the bottle of One Night Stand aside. “We don’t need that one.”
Then he picked up a bottle of each of the others, reading the descriptions. He handed one to Kellus and gripped the other two with one hand. “Let’s get these, then go get you some of that pie.”
“No, I’m fine,” Kellus protested.
“Have you tried those?” the silver-haired man behind the counter called out in their direction.
“No, but I read the ingredients and they sound great,” Arik said, moving them toward the counter. He placed his bottles down, then took the one Kellus held.
“Come get a sample, guys. Name’s Mark by the way.” The guy gave him a wink and grinned as he picked up a small plastic cup to pour in a generous amount of the dark liquid before handing it to him. Kellus lifted a hand, refusing his.
“Thank you, Mark,” he said, and looked down at the cup. Loving chocolate as much as he did had him finally releasing Kellus’s hand to stick his finger inside the small container, coating it with the sugary contents before bringing it to his lips for a taste. He was pretty sure his eyes rolled back in his head as the sweetness melted against his tongue. Pure heaven. He immediately dipped his finger back into the liquid chocolate before turning to Kellus and teasing it along the seam of his lips. The action had been spontaneous, and Arik wasn’t prepared for the intimacy of such a move. Kellus seemed hesitant. He stared into those indecisive blue eyes, waiting on pins and needles as the sexy artist seemed to struggle with some sort of inner demon.
Dear fucking God, his dick punched at his jeans the minute the tip of Kellus’s tongue darted out of his mouth and curled around his fingertip. Damn, he was so attracted to this shy, humble man. Arik absently placed the small cup on the counter and reached for his wallet. His eyes never left Kellus’s lips until he was forced to look down so he could find the right bill. He pulled a hundred dollars from his wallet, surely that would cover the cost. He’d lost track of his purchases.
He laid the money beside his chocolate collection on the counter in front of the register. “We’ll be right back. Bag that up, please.”
He took Kellus’s hand, dismissing the startled look on his gorgeous face and pulled him out the door as he stuffed his wallet back in his pocket. Just a few steps to the left and around the black iron fence, and Arik had Kellus all to himself on the side of the building.
“You’re all I think about. I’ve wanted to kiss you since I first laid eyes on you.” He pushed Kellus against the brick wall and moved in to do what he’d dreamed of since the first time he saw him. Seconds before his lips touched Kellus’s, a strong hand pushed against his chest, halting his forward motion.
No way was that hand going to stop him. Not now. He couldn’t explain the way his body responded and his brain jumbled when he was around this sexy artist, but something deep in his inner being told him they were right together. Kellus just had to give them a chance. He leaned forward, pressing into the strong hand attempting to hold him back. Kellus’s force increased, pushing him away. Kellus’s actions confused Arik. He could have sworn their feelings were mutual. Even now, he was thrown off by the signals. Kellus’s eyes remained shut, his chest rising and falling with each breath escaping from his slightly parted lips. Damn, he was so fucking beautiful.
“Why?” he asked, his breath mingled with Kellus’s as he spoke. Was it something he’d done? Was he moving too fast?
Kellus’s eyes fluttered open at his words, sadness had replaced the intense hunger he’d been met with earlier. That solitary look stopped him in his tracks and caused him to move a fraction of an inch backward.