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Only with the Heart -- Linda Steinberg

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Only with the Heart
Contemporary Romance

When love is blind, only the heart sees.

Brian McKay hates Tinseltown. Everything in L.A. reminds him of his actor father, who deserted Brian when he was four. But when he needs funds to construct a model of his invention, a voice activated hotel suite, he’s forced into a business partnership with his spoiled half-brother Connor. Brian’s got three weeks to complete and sell the product, then he’s outta this town, and nothing can stop him. Except the distraction of a beautiful Beverly Hills do-gooder with a smile that can melt ice, and a heart big enough to embrace the whole world.

Special education teacher and day camp volunteer Paige Anderson is looking for a way to draw out her shy, visually-impaired campers. When she visits her friend Connor’s design lab, she finds just the thing: a talking robot. Paige is even more intrigued by the robot’s creator and programmer, a surly loner with a chip on his shoulder who needs drawing out even more than her campers. But when she finally succeeds in opening Brian up, she finds a soul that attracts her as no one ever has before, and a heart that demands more than she has ever had to give.


Someone was in the laboratory.

Setting aside his blueprints and sandwich, Brian flattened his palms against the metal desk and listened. Thirty seconds after the security beep, he heard the grinding of a gear.

He took in a shallow breath. He didn’t expect Connor back from lunch for at least two more hours. And no one else had a key to the lab.

Possibly some street kids had broken into the converted warehouse, thinking it was unoccupied. Brian mopped his brow with the tail of his flannel shirt and silently exhaled. Slipping his feet out of his sandals so they wouldn't flop against the concrete floor, he threaded his way through the graveyard of electrical circuits and wires. As he passed the unassembled fileserver rack, he grabbed a four-foot metal rod and shouldered it like a baseball bat. 

A rash of static crackled through the stale air. A raspy, inhuman voice grated. “Hellooooooo.”

The intruders had activated Victor.

Clenching his weapon tighter, Brian stepped over a stack of computer science magazines, raised the pole and prepared to swing it at--

A woman? He lowered the pole to the floor.

The female hunched over the platform supporting the VICTR 001 prototype was blond, shapely, and definitely hot, though from her provocative position, he couldn’t see her face. The feature that first drew his attention was her compact, heart-shaped backside.

An eyeful of tanned legs lured his gaze from the short, classy tennis dress to the spotless white sneakers with cheerleader sock pompoms kissing her ankles. Upper crust Valley girl. Connor’s type.

She didn’t turn or look up. Brian’s military stealth training served him well. Though females rarely noticed him even when they were looking straight at him.

The woman reached a hand under the hem of her flared mini-skirt. Skimming pink pearl fingernails over a bare buttock, she yanked a wedged cotton panty over the mouth-watering expanse of skin.