When Hearts Speak

Sarah Grace Mayhew, a Southern widow, avoids new love. When enigmatic Wyatt Harper lifts her from a fountain, he gets under her wet skin. Yet, how can she love the man whose phantom enemy also targets her? And why should Wyatt cherish a woman tied to his family’s worst nightmare? Only their hearts can say…

(Trade paperback) ISBN: 978-1-61309-862-2


ISBN: 978-1-61309-145-6



Barnes and Noble


"Karen Hudgins has created yet another "masterpiece" with her latest novel, WHEN HEARTS SPEAK. As before, she has no problem demonstrating her extreme talent for writing a gripping story with prose that reads like lyrical poetry. Each of her novels is like taking a small vacation from ordinary life and escaping into a world filled with beauty, adventure, and romance." 5 Stars on Amazon.com
~C. Q. Scafidi, Author and Journalist

“Well-written, tender, and sweet, with its moments of tension and conflict, When Hearts Speak is a story you’ll long remember.” ~ Joan Conning Afman, Author

“When Hearts Speak is an entertaining read, warm and sensual, filled with love and spiced with danger.” ~Sharon Drane, Author & Pop-Culture Diva, http://Sdraneauthor.blogspot.com

“Karen Hudgins has penned another wonderful story. When Hearts Speak is one of those books that touches your heart. I highly recommend.” ~Judith Leigh, Author, When the Bow Breaks

“Karen’s creativity is in full bloom in When Hearts Speak. Deftly defined, memorable, and colorful characters…conflict and mysteries…in a rich, flowing narrative from beginning to end. Readers will rejoice with such a rewarding read.” ~Kay Nance, Librarian-lover of books, St. Louis, MO

“Karen’s book was wonderful. [It] took me away…” ~ Mary Compton, Reader, Ponte Vedra, FL

“As satisfying as sweet tea on a hot summer day. You won’t be able to put this book down. Karen has served up another delightful story that will satisfy your appetite for romance.” ~ Kelly Erwin, Reader & Sr. IT Analyst, St. Louis, MO

"When Hearts Speak is great! Couldn't wait to read it all, but then I didn't want it to end."
~ Sheri Stoner, Reader, Neptune Beach, FL


Shortly after sunset Sarah Grace marveled that the tent was up, and Wyatt had hung lanterns in the low pine branches. She was eating a plate of barbeque beef brisket, corn bread, and quartered potatoes that Wyatt had carried in with him. She drank country fruit wine from a faded blue porcelain metal cup.
A long time had passed since Sarah Grace sat on a blanket spread on a log in her jeans, girly plaid shirt, Nikes, and a light jacket. This almost seemed surreal.
“What a difference eighteen miles makes,” Sarah Grace said quietly, taking it all in.
“I thought you’d like it here,” he said. “These are the backwoods to my home away from home. It’s a little cabin along Sandy Creek.”
“Nice natural landscaping,” Sarah Grace remarked and licked stickiness from her fingers.
“It’s about as natural as it gets.”
“I like natural.”
“I remember.” He moved closer to her and touched her leg with his.
“Is there a special reason why we’re here?” Sarah Grace asked thoughtfully. “Seriously.”
Wyatt blew the flame off two more marshmallows and gave her one.
“Seriously, yes. I wanted for us to have some time away,” he said. “Away from work problems, public parties, and family pressures. Let’s just be us and watch the sunrise together up here on the only decent hill in this whole county.”
Sarah Grace smiled around her marshmallow. He made them perfectly--charred. Also, he was right. Being away with each other was the best filter she’d seen in a long time. “I wouldn’t have thought of this,” she said. She stretched out her legs and crossed her ankles. She and Wyatt weren’t that far out of town. Yet, she was already feeling a difference.
“You make a good fire,” she added. “Were you a Boy Scout?”
“Nope, Grandpa Joel taught me. He was Grandma Bunny’s husband,” he said, propping the long fork against a rock. “The secret’s in the stacking and dry wood. I keep some under a tarp by the big oak tree.” He hiked his thumb over his shoulder. “There’s a cave up here too. Fearless Alan checked it out once and got a bat scratch.”
Sarah Grace cringed and rolled her eyes. “Boys.”
“What? You don’t like boys?” Wyatt teased.
Looking up at the moon, she flung back, “I do, but it’s a little vampire in the making that gets me going.”
Wyatt laughed and touched her hair. “I’ve been missing you.”
Sarah Grace squeezed his hand. Keeping things very loose for a while helped her. Now being close to him like this reminded her why it was worth the effort. Wyatt made her feel chosen and cherished. He moved his fingers to her cheek and stopped at the corners of her mouth.
“C’mon, let’s go see the owls.” He got up and took her hand, grabbed a lantern from a branch, and led her onto a narrow path of chipped wood. He urged her to be quiet, and soon enough they stopped at a small stone bridge over the creek. She held the lantern while he drew a flashlight from his jacket pocket and shone the beam upward into the tallest pine tree. Large, beautiful golden eyes radiated down at them. “There’s a family up there. Chicks every spring,” he said.
“Their camouflaging is amazing,” she said.
He embraced her with his free arm, and she again was transported into his world. The more he revealed of himself the more she liked him. He was respectful of her and nature. He took things a little at a time, not at a reckless pace. He fed her spirit with gentleness. He fueled her desires with roguishness. With his eyes he read her needs, with his spirit he met them. She was feeling blessed tonight to be in his company.
On the way back to the campsite, he flashed the light into the trees. Bright, silvery eyes popped into view. “Deer,” she said in awe, counting three. “This is awesome.”
Wyatt swiveled the light beam onto the path. “I should come more often. Last time the whole family was here for my dad’s birthday campout a couple of years ago. A little black bear visited us at the cabin. Mother dropped the strawberry basket on the porch. So the bear stuck around for a while.” He pushed aside a long branch for her to pass by. “Say, are you ready for a warm-up? The coffee pot has about two cups in it yet.”
As the night grew darker Wyatt pulled her in for warmth and comfort beside him. They shared more stories, including a ghost story for good measure. Ruby had its share of them. The coffee was finished. The breeze around them whooshed through the pine tops, and the lanterns were not as bright. But who needed them for kissing?
Wyatt turned and held her chin with his fingers and fired a sound kiss on her lips. Her need for love soared higher and deeper by the second. Cupping the back of her head with his hand, he let his passion take over.

He parted her lips with his tongue and she poised hers for playful pressure. He moved his other hand to her jacket and unzipped the front. He found her breast and fondled its peak tenderly. Her nipples hardened in nanoseconds, and she lifted herself to him.
Spreading his fingers, he soon claimed her thrumming skin of her midriff. She wiggled beneath them with delight. A soft sigh pealed from her throat. Her senses all opened up again at once, like a first spring flower after winter.
His moves launched her into another round of new-felt freedom. She closed her eyes as she pressed her bosom firmly pressed against his. His hardness excited her more. He left her breathless. Her whole body anticipated his next touch, and he upped the pace.
Sarah Grace’s cares floated up and away with the dying embers from the fire. She and Wyatt were building their own special heat, and her desire surged into passion. She wanted him. Every inch, breath, and skill he had in his wildly good sex toolkit. This was her time now. She was done with lonely. She was ready for taking a giant step toward new love.