Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Heartwood by J.H. Croix Blog Tour

She needs a fresh start. He wants a second chance…  Heartwood by J.H. Croix

She needs a fresh start. He wants a second chance…

My new job as a chef in a small town was supposed to be my ticket to peace and quiet. I didn’t expect to run into the former hockey star who gave me the hottest nights of my life. And, oops, he’s sort-of my new boss. So much for keeping my past where it belongs.

Ty still thinks I’m the fun party girl. He has no idea how much things have changed. One thing that hasn’t changed: the spark between us. It’s hotter than the blowtorch I use on my crème brûlée.

I’m already keeping secrets, so what’s one more? Our tryst is forbidden, it’s fun, and it gets complicated as fast as you can say “check, please.” I didn’t expect to have a future with Ty. And I definitely didn’t expect to have a baby with him.

Some falls are harder than others. But it depends on who’s there to catch you...

Heartwood is a stand-alone novel set in Sarina Bowen’s World of True North.

Welcome to Speakeasy, where the beer is handcrafted, the patrons wear flannel, and the romance is steamier than the gourmet kitchen out back. The Speakeasy Taproom books are standalone romances set in small-town Vermont. Jump in anywhere!

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Speakeasy Taproom series!
For book one, Touchstone, click HERE.


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Heartwood by J.H. Croix

Book 2
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Audiobook (US)  ~  Paperback (US)




Belle’s wide brown eyes held mine, and I wanted to lean over and kiss the freckles on her cheeks. Uncertainty flickered in her gaze, but it passed quickly. She surprised me by lifting her hand and smoothing a fingertip over one of my eyebrows. Her lips curled in a small smile as her hand fell to rest on my chest. “It was messy,” she explained.

“My eyebrow?”

She nodded, blinking as her cheeks went a little pink.

“Well, thank you then,” I offered somberly.

She bit her lip and laughed. I took the moment to let my eyes absorb the sight of her. With her flushed skin, her bright eyes, and her swollen lips, she was disarmingly delectable. Hell, I could’ve gone another round right then. I hadn’t been living as a monk, but I also hadn’t exactly found much time of late for women, much less women who got to me the way Belle did.

If I was being honest with myself, no woman got to me like Belle. She was singular in her ability to set me on fire. We were just that good together. It was easy and fucking hot.

Just then, I noticed she was still wearing her skirt. I chuckled, and she asked, “What’s so funny?”

“We never got your skirt off.”

She grinned, and a sly look entered her eyes. “Maybe not, but at least I got my panties and boots off.”

I laughed, and she traced circles on my chest with a fingertip. I lifted a palm, needing to touch her. I smoothed it over the sweet curve of her shoulder, my eyes landing on the tattoo at the top of her shoulder blade. With her angled toward me, it was just visible. “This is new.” It was a heart, drawn as if carved into wood, the lines of the grain etched in varying subtle shades of brown and gold. “It’s beautiful,” I added.

“How do you know it’s new?” Her big brown eyes lifted to mine, a saucy hint contained there.

“Because I would remember if you had it before. I didn’t forget anything about you.” The moment I said that, my heart gave a tricky kick. Belle had this way of sliding right through my defenses. I revealed perhaps too much with that comment.

She blinked as a wash of pink bloomed on her cheeks. She swallowed, her lashes sweeping down again. “I didn’t have it before. My father’s a woodcarver in his spare time. I always loved watching him on the weekends when I was little.” Her lashes lifted again, vulnerability flickering in her gaze for a flash. “It’s to represent heartwood. That’s the densest and strongest part of the tree.”

I absorbed that as I traced the edges of the heart with my fingertip. “It’s beautiful,” I repeated.

Quiet spun out between us. She dipped her head, nipping lightly on my shoulder. I shifted closer and laid another kiss on her, for no other reason than that I loved kissing Belle. She had a sassy tongue, and she never hesitated to throw herself into kisses.

When I drew back, she asked, “Is this when I find a way to gracefully depart?”

“Hell, no. I’ve got you for the whole night.”

Her throaty laugh rang out, and I pulled her on top of me, kissing her again because I wanted her, and I wanted to dive into her fire. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to think too hard about just how fiercely I wanted her to stay.



“I know what you need, sweetheart.”     Jesus. When he talked like that, all bossy and clear that he knew just what I needed, I trembled all over.



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the second book in the new series based in Sarina Bowen's True North world. I loved Sam and Phoebe's story, and was delighted to review this one too. A very different story, although Belle is working in Phoebe's kitchen at the Speakeasy and Ty is the manager there.

Ty and Belle have a spectacular past as regularly exceptional hook-ups whilst at college. Now, by a strange twist of fate, they find themselves working in the same building. Ty is closed off from thoughts of romance, thanks to being brought up by two people who really should no longer be together. He cannot deny that he’s never forgotten Belle, or how good they were together.

Belle, as we learn right at the beginning of the story, dropped out of college after a manic episode and the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. She is on medication and has found that working as a chef really suits her better than studying law. Ty doesn't know what happened to her, and now seeing him again has brought back memories of her frenetic college days.

It is very moving watching these two tiptoe around the clear chemistry between them, but they are so cautious of committing to more than they think they can offer. It is thanks to their friends and their natures that they can finally see that they do have the chance at a future, a great future. It is rather wonderful seeing how the gang gather round and support them as they fall in love and find a way to make it work.

Another great installment in the series.



The man knew how to make me fly. He handled me with a deft mix of bossy and tender, taking turns being commanding and filthy, and gentle and sensual.


Author Bio

USA Today bestselling author J.H. CROIX lives in a small town in the historical farmlands of Maine with her husband and two spoiled dogs. Croix writes steamy contemporary romance with sassy women and rugged alpha men who aren't afraid to show some emotion. Her love for quirky small-towns and the characters that inhabit them shines through in her writing. Take a walk on the wild side of romance with her bestselling novels!

Connect with J.H.

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Croix's Crew



If I was being honest with myself, no woman got to me like Belle. She was singular in her ability to set me on fire. We were just that good together.


Hosted by

Heart Eyes Press

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Heartwood (Speakeasy Taproom #2) by J.H. Croix to read and review for this tour.

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