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Reluctant Hearts by Linda Griffin is a Beach Reads Event pick #romance #beachread #giveaway

Title: Reluctant Hearts

Author: Linda Griffin

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Blurb:

Four couples, four stories:

Darien Francis and Richard Li meet during a bank robbery, but she’s afraid to love again.

Shane Kenniston and Beth Parker are reacquainted years after she had a crush on him, but she is a recent widow, and Shane’s life was upended by a false accusation.

David Early and Kate Howard meet in the laundromat, but her life is consumed by the needs of her disabled child, and David isn’t ready for the responsibility.

Realtor Frank Ellison meets Kayla Barnes at an open house, but a mistaken first impression derails any chance of romance.

Can they all overcome the obstacles to love?


Finally, the light changed, and she slid into a parking space not too far from the door. She entered Carroll Savings and Loan braced for more frustration. It was the first of the month, so it was more crowded than usual. The security guard, coming from the closed Staff Only door to the right of the lines of waiting customers, gave her a nod and the hint of a smile. He was the younger of the two familiar guards, perhaps thirty, Asian, and attractive in a quiet, conservative way. He took his usual post near the door.

She joined the farthest line from the entrance. It was the shortest, but of course did not move as fast as the other three. Not today. A dense but determined female customer in a garish blue flowered dress was holding things up. Darien willed herself to relax—fretting only wasted energy. She should recite poetry or make a mental list.

A sudden flurry of activity arose to her left, at first too chaotic for her to understand, and then a tall, angular young man was waving a gun—she didn’t know anything about firearms, but it was a big one—and he yelled, “This is a stickup!” A second man with an even bigger gun stood beyond him. She was aware of a brief, confused moment when the security guard could have taken out one or both robbers, and she glanced back at him. His right hand was on his holstered weapon. “I want all the bank employees on the ground right now,” the first robber shouted. The guard hesitated and took his hand off the gun. The lobby was too crowded—too many people were in the way—and now the second robber had him in his sights. “Face down! Hands behind your backs! If any alarms go off, somebody is going to die.” Darien put her driver’s license, checks, and deposit slip back in her purse. She wanted to be ready to run. Her leg muscles were already tensed with the instinct for flight.

A blonde in a tailored black suit opened the Staff Only door. She had heard the shouting, but not grasped the situation. “You! Out here!” the tall robber commanded. The tellers disappeared behind the counter, and he climbed on a chair to make sure they followed instructions. The loan officer left his desk on command and awkwardly lay almost at Darien’s feet. The blonde woman glanced around uncertainly and stretched out beside him. A few mutters could be heard, but shocked silence was the norm.

“Customers! Sorry to inconvenience you folks. We are the ninety-nine per cent. I want all of you on your knees right now. Hands on your heads—I need to see all those hands. This is not a good time to reach out and text someone.” As several people hurried to comply, he stepped down from the chair, gun pointed toward those still standing.

Darien knelt quickly, her heart pounding even though she was strangely calm. Most of the women dropped their purses, but hers was a shoulder bag, and she was able to keep it close while she interlaced her fingers on top of her head.

While the tall robber was making sure everyone was down and helping an elderly woman with arthritic knees to a chair, the second man advanced threateningly toward the security guard. The guard’s hands were out away from his gun, but he made no effort to get down. “Drop your weapon,” the second robber ordered. His speech was odd, as if he had an impediment, but his meaning was clear enough. The guard took his gun out of the holster with two fingers and bent to lay it on the ground. The robber kicked it away from him in the direction of the staff door, pulled the guard’s walkie-talkie from his belt, and threw it against the wall. “Get down!” The guard got down, but he didn’t hurry.

“Okay,” the tall robber said. “Good job, everybody. Nobody does anything stupid, nobody gets hurt. Mr. Jones will keep you all company for a few minutes, and I’ll need one volunteer to help me in the vault.”

The loan officer opened his mouth, and the robber shouted, “SHUT UP! I know she left the door open. She’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.” The woman in the suit started to sniffle. “You shut up, too. If any bank employee moves a muscle or opens his or her mouth, Mr. Jones has my permission to shoot. He’s not as patient as I am. Okay, I want a customer—an actual human being—to help me out. How about it, folks? Any volunteers?”

Complete silence followed. The robber shook his head and then, moving very quickly, grabbed Darien’s right arm and jerked her to her feet. Her calm disappeared. She flushed with heat, and her head was so light it could have floated away. She looked at the security guard. He was on his stomach like the rest, with his hands behind his back, but his head was turned toward her, watching. She wanted to be sure he understood that she hadn’t volunteered and could testify that she wasn’t a willing accomplice. If she survived this, she didn’t want to go to jail.

The robber kept an iron grip on her arm and pulled her through the staff door. Inside were two open office doors and a short corridor leading to the vault. It was not as large or imposing as bank vaults in caper movies always were. The door was open. The robber checked inside the offices before he shoved her into the vault and let go of her arm. Neither criminal was wearing a mask. They could be identified by many witnesses. Did that mean they were all going to die? It was a surreal thought—I might die today.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

What makes your featured book a must-read?

Reluctant Hearts is a collection of four short contemporary romances, so you can read one any time you want a quick read in that genre. One of the four stories features two scenes at the beach, which is also honored by the cover. Indies Today said, “Each story and couple are so engaging that you’ll be hard-pressed to choose a favorite…If you’re looking for a gentle collection brimming with possibility, curl up with a copy of Reluctant Hearts.” Each story is different, and the first one starts with a bang…literally.

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally. Runs July 17 – July 25, 2023. Winner will be drawn on July 26, 2023.

Author Biography:

Social Media Links:


Jul 20, 2023

I like reading Driven series by K. Bromberg by the pool or at the beach.


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Jul 17, 2023

Thank you, Linda, for sharing your book in our Beach Reads Bookish Event! We loved this book so much!


Rita Wray
Rita Wray
Jul 17, 2023

I liked the excerpt.

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