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Scarlett Heart (The Scarletts Book 7)

Scarlett Heart (The Scarletts Book 7)

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Could his new heart be ruling his life?Since his heart operation Noah Scarlett, was convinced that he had inherited some of his donor's tastes for foods and music and a persistent feeling for a woman called Cassandra Green. No one had to tell him her name; he woke up with it in his head after surgery!After a formerly quiet life as a librarian and author, his new heart was taking him into the realms of detective work. He had a couple of things to do: find out more about his heart donor, find out who Cassandra Green was, and find out why he had a strong attraction and a sharp sense of déjà vu with bookstore manager, Raine Childs.
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Chapter One

Who spent New Year's Eve in their study hunched over a pile of research while everyone was out partying?
He was probably the only one on the planet with a new heart and a fresh start who was probably not giddily excited to see another year begin. Instead, he was obsessing over his heart donor and the lack of information on him.
His phone buzzed for the hundredth time and he glanced at it. A new year’s message wishing him the best. This one was from his brother, Oliver. He picked up the phone and looked at the grinning profile picture of Oliver and his wife, Ashaki. They had on ridiculous hats and were making faces at the camera. They were at a family party; he saw some other familiar faces in the background.
Come and join us, Noah, at least for tomorrow… family get together at Uncle Lloyd's. He read the end of the message and smiled. He wasn't feeling much like going to a family get together with the million and one relatives he recently found out that he had. He knew Oliver loved that kind of thing because he grew up practically alone with his mother, but he was the opposite. His mother had a huge, boisterous family, and they were also having a party right now a little distance from St. Ann's Bay. His mother had pleaded with him to attend that party earlier.
But here he was.
He quickly typed in: Happy New Year to you both, have fun. He put some party emojis at the end of the sentence to take away any sting his one-liner might cause and then put away the phone.
He turned to his laptop once more and typed in the name Dean Long. They were two common names, but the results that came up once more were quite disappointing. There was a long list of Dean Longs, none from Jamaica, none of them 24 years old, and none of them a freelance journalist.
He would have to hire a private investigator to get to the bottom of this or maybe not. He could imagine the conversation. "So, Mr. Scarlett, who do you want me to find?"
"My heart donor," would be his reply.
"But if he were your donor," the investigator would ask, "wouldn't that mean, he is dead?"
"Yes, but I need to know stuff about him. Who was he? Why did he like the things he liked? Who were the people in his life, and how did he die?"
"Why do you care?"
Noah inhaled. Even in his head, the imaginary conversation was not going well. He could still feel the side eye of the imaginary detective.
For weeks now, this obsession was dogging his footsteps. It was time to put away the obsession and live in the here and now, but that was proving to be difficult. He swiped his hands over his eyes and then got up and stretched. He paced from one end of the ornate study to the other until he couldn't take it anymore. He opened the patio doors and let in the cool air from outside.
He went to the edge of the patio, feeling the unusually cool wind whip through his silk shirt, chilling him uncomfortably; he could bear it for a couple more minutes. He looked out at the sparkly lights in the distance.
He could hear just the faintest music from the Rose Hall Hotel, which was in the same exclusive gated property where he lived. He could see fireworks in the distance as colorful sparks of light lit the night sky. He looked at it with a half-smile.
"Happy New Year to me."
Resolutions this year, he had but one: find her; find Cassandra Green. He felt as if his heart was driving him to it.
It was going to be a quest of impossible proportions—a needle in a haystack. It was going to be like a crusade, but he had the time. He had quit his librarian job before he had the heart transplant to focus full time on his writing, but he hadn't written a publishable word since getting the new heart.
This was a major concern to him. He had always wanted to write, so this absolute desert wasteland where his creativity used to be was unfamiliar to him. His brain was usually swamped with stories. Like a sea, ideas kept rushing to the forefront of his mind as he knocked out book after book. Sometimes he did so for months, resenting any other intrusions in his life.
But now he could picture his brain like a sandy wasteland. Bereft and dry. It had gotten so bad he was on the very cusp of retiring, hanging up his pen in frustration.
With sixteen books under his belt, he hadn't done badly so far, but his muse was strangely silent, and he knew that the reason for this dearth of ideas was directly linked to this new heart.
"An impossible notion," his doctor had told him frankly. "Your heart doesn't drive you to do anything. It is an organ whose main function is to pump blood. Your mind is what is playing tricks on you. See a psychiatrist Noah, please."
Noah snorted in disdain as if his doctor could see him.
He begged to differ. He was the one with the strange cravings and new favorite songs and foods, not his doctor.
Though admittedly some of those cravings were slowly fading, like the insane need to be pumped at the gym.
He had never liked going to the gym. It was an aversion that was cultivated from years of having to be careful, lest his heart should give way, but now he had muscles.
He looked down at himself. He had honest to goodness muscles. He wasn't big and beefy by any means, but he was looking toned and less wiry.
And that was one of the reasons why he had pushed to find out who had been his donor.
It hadn't taken him long to get a name and some rudimentary information. The hospital where he had the surgery had a policy of not releasing donor information for a year, but it had been easy to find someone in hospital records who liked the idea of an all-inclusive vacation for two at a five-star hotel.
His willing source had been a young administrator who had batted her eyelashes at him and called him a slim Daniel Sunjata with brown hair and hazel eyes.
He didn't know who Daniel Sunjata was, and had never heard of him, but he had smiled at her, slowly using charm he didn't know he possessed and frankly felt smarmy using it, but it had worked.
She had run to do his bidding, photocopying the details on Dean Long and eagerly handed the information to him. That was two weeks ago.
And that was how he could put a name to the heart beating in his body. Dean Long had saved his life. Dean's heart was beating where his defective one used to be, and he wanted to know more about this guy.
The information on the medical records was sketchy and that frustrated him. Dean's name, age, and occupation, and donor registration were all he had. There was no address in the records and no mention of him on the Internet, in old library files, nor police records.
Neither was there any mention of her. The woman whose name was etched in his head or was it in his heart?
The suspense was keeping him up at night.
He whispered her name aloud. "Cassandra Green, Cassie, Sandra, CG."
All he needed to do was to find out more about Dean Long, and then he would find her. But when he found her then what?
His heart would know. He hoped.
Even to himself he sounded fanciful, like one of his books.
He finally went inside, the cold getting the better of him. But this time he bypassed his cluttered desk. He would continue the search in the morning.


Noah awakened slowly. As usual, when he opened his eyes, he gave a sigh of relief. He had never taken the whole wake up in the morning thing for granted. He gave himself a mental checkup. Heart still beating—check, no chest pains—check, the yearning ache for the elusive Cassandra Green—check.
It was going to be a normal day for him.
Well, his new normal.
Before having the surgery, he would wake up in the morning and wonder when his heart would finally give way. And he would pray feverishly that today was not the day because he had a book to finish.
He had an odd way of viewing his work-in-progress. He didn't want anyone to finish them for him. Rightly or wrongly he always asked God to spare him to finish his current novel. So far, God had answered his prayers.
He got up and stretched, looking in the mirror at his scar critically. It had faded into a long straight reddish line. He pulled on his sweat suit and headed to the kitchen where Dotty was already fussing around the counter, preparing a fruit platter.
"Morning Dotty."
"Good morning, Noah." She grinned at him. "Happy New Year. You look rested."
"Thanks, same to you. I went to my bed pretty early last night."
"You weren't up for the celebrations?" Dotty raised an eyebrow. "Are you feeling unwell?"
"I am actually feeling quite fine. No celebrations for me last night, being rested is a good way to start the new year."
"Good." Dotty nodded still giving him that inquisitive motherly frown as he went in the fridge for his water bottle and tucked it under his arm.
Noah winked at her and Dotty shook her head at him. He understood that she couldn't help being concerned. She was employed by his mother from he was ten years old. Dotty had been in his life for close to twenty years and yet she didn't look as if she had aged much. Same unlined smooth skin, same clear complexion. Maybe a few more lines around her eyes and one or two faint ones on her forehead but those were her only nod to aging.
She wore the same hairstyle for years: jet black curly hair slicked back with the same ponytail clip. It couldn't be the same clip, could it? Noah looked at the clip as Dotty turned to the cupboard to take out something.
She hadn't put on or lost weight either. She was trim and neat, not exactly slim but certainly not stout. She was a swimmer. She woke up early in the morning and did several laps in the sea. She claimed that that was the key to looking so youthful in her late fifties.
After his death ten years ago, his stepfather, Alan Levy had left her one of his condos in an upscale neighborhood nearby and a substantial pile of cash in his will for Dotty which made her a wealthy woman in her own right.
Dotty did not have to work for him, she just chose to do so. She looked after the house as if it were her own and treated him and his stepsisters as if they were family.
She had stuck around when his mother had moved out of the house five years ago. Though his sisters got married and left to start their own households, Dotty remained. Everyone had pleaded with her to come with them.
Patty, his oldest sister, had resorted to bribery. Dotty changed the figure she was willing to pay her in every retelling of the story. Char, his second dramatic and over the top step-sibling, had tried begging and tears. His last sister and the one closest to him in age, Whitney, had tried a different strategy, borrowing Dotty every chance she got to help her with dinner parties or choosing furniture or anything she could think of.
"What's wrong? You are looking off into space." Dotty interrupted his thoughts.
Noah shrugged. "Just thinking."
"You got your muse back?" Dotty asked eagerly. She was quite worried about his dry spell.
Noah made a rueful face. "If only. I was just thinking about you actually and how much you mean to me."
"Aw," Dotty grinned showing the gap between her teeth, which made her even more endearing. "If you cared about me so much, you'd find a good woman to settle down with, so we can have some children running around here."
"Forget it." Noah pushed off from the counter. "I am not having these broody conversations with you again. You are almost as bad as Mom. Since Patty had a kid, all that you guys talk about are babies."
"Too bad Patty doesn't live here," Dotty muttered. "She had to go and live in St. Lucia."
"She heads the hotel group there," Noah said patiently as if they didn't have the same conversation every time Dotty got broody. "And Jared is St. Lucian."
Dotty grimaced. "I will always be a stranger to their little St. Lucian baby."
Noah sighed, "Here we go again. If Patty had her way, you would be living with her in St. Lucia."
"True," Dotty shrugged, "and if Char had her way I would be living in Canada in cold, cold, cold Vancouver." She made a shivering movement. "Don't you leave here Noah Scarlett." Dotty wagged a finger at him. "Because I am getting too old to be going all over the place."
"I am not going anywhere." Noah headed to the archway. "Just the gym downstairs." The gym was in the refurbished basement. He had found it tiring to be driving to the one at the hotel that he frequented. And since this whole working out thing was a newly acquired habit that seemed as if it was here to stay, he thought it best to do it in the comfort of the house close to his office. Whenever his elusive muse came back, he would be close to his laptop.
"Oh, before I forget," Dotty called after him. "Your sister called."
Noah stopped and turned around. "Which one of them?"
"Whitney. If I am not mistaken, she sounded like she was crying, and she mentioned Bradley."
"Was it serious?"
"She said she is coming over," Dotty warned. "I'll send her straight to the gym."
"No." Noah shook his head. "You deal with it. You are good at handling Whit's emotional episodes."
"No, I will not." Dotty sniffed. "I told her on her wedding day that when the scum she was getting married to decides to show his true colors, I will not be lending a listening ear."
"For God's sake," Noah mumbled. "Send her to Mom."
"Your mother loves Bradley, her charming son-in-law. She thinks the sun rises and sets on him. She is more likely to be on his side than Whitney's."
Noah sensed that he wasn't going to have a peaceful day when Dotty started tapping her feet and getting agitated.
"I know his type," Dotty said sourly. "I was married to his type. He is too slick, too sweet mouth, too something you can't really articulate but you can sense. He is all style and no substance. Besides, I overheard him talking to some woman at the wedding reception on his phone, calling her sweetie and reassuring her that marrying Whitney Levy was the best for their finances."
Noah looked at her skeptically.
"Ain't nothing wrong with my hearing Noah. Your sister suggested the same thing and I resented it. She should have left him right there and then when I told her.
Instead, two years later, here we go. I knew the cracks would soon appear. She is not as happy in that marriage as she is trying to make out to be. I think this morning he must have done something pretty terrible to her for her to call here sounding distressed."
Noah sighed. "And she asked for me? Why me?"
"Don't know. But I want to find out." Dotty raised her head. "Because of my principled stand on not saying anything about her snake-husband I can't pry as I want to. I am sending her to the gym and pretending that I don't care that she is wasting her life on that no-good beast."