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Heart's Home

Gold Rush Museum director Tracey Gordon was perfectly content with her job, her cozy little house, and her role in the Living History Program. Then Scotty swept into her life, promising to show her how exciting life and love could be, and proposing marriage and a trip around the world on the yacht she'd inherited from her father. But now Scotty was dead. So who was this man claiming he was Scotty? Coast Guard pilot Steve Tockterman had flown twice across the United States as a result of letters from this conniving little gold digger. He had not expected to find her so appealing, or so vulnerable and honest. But if she was not after his family's money, who was? And why were they using his name and Tracey? He had to find out who, what, and why before Tracey's escalating "bad luck" destroyed them both.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

Eloise Barton     Eloise Barton's first book, a 125,000 word novel based on the blending of her four and her husband's five children into one big happy-well, interesting-family, is not publishable, but it was the source of many of her over one hundred published articles and stories. Her first published book, Finding Mariah, a YA Suspense released by Hard Shell Word Factory, was a 2001 EPPIE Finalist. 
    During her motherhood years, Eloise volunteered as a Bluebird and Campfire Girls Leader, Girl Scout Leader and Cub Scout Den Mother, Sunday School teacher and Youth Group Leader. As a writer, she joined a half dozen writer's organizations and held office in all of them-most recently, Treasurer for two years for EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection.) After her husband's death, she worked for the California State Fair and was a busy "Grama Boo" to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. (Thirty-one at last count.) 
    Eloise has now retired and moved to the mountains of Northern California with her new husband, his big black Lab, Scooter (a retired service dog) and their three fat cats. She has declared a moratorium on volunteering and holding office so she can be what she started out to be: be a full-time writer. In their spare time, she and her husband go square dancing and motorcycle riding. 
    Eloise can be reached through her website, www.eloisebarton.com

5 Hearts

"The plot was well executed. At first I had thought it was going to be another young woman grieving for her long lost love, and when the real S. Tockterman shows up it turns a simple romance into a mystery, suspense. Readers will enjoy not only the story but will get engrossed into the hunt for who Scotty really was. Also readers will get to feel that somehow everything leads back to her step mother's past. I don't want to give away the story but it's well worth the read for romance and suspense."

Louise Riveiro- Mitchell -- The Romance Studio

"Heart's Home by Eloise Barton is a fast paced, well written romantic suspense. Tracey and Steve are wonderful lead characters that bring out the best in each other and the reader is privileged to witness the wonder of them falling in love while they search for answers about the man that has brought them together. If you like a little mystery mixed with your romance, this book is for you."

Char -- Romance Junkies

"Heart's Home grabs you from the start. The writing is crisp and the plot catches your attention. The revelation doesn't come as a huge surprise, though I had one aspect of it judged incorrectly. The path to the conclusion is well-worth any lack of surprise."

Tracy Farnsworth -- Round Table Reviews

"Heart's Home is a good solid story with characters that have to face their fears and overcome them. Tracey learns that the security of her home does not matter as much as following her heart. Steve is the alpha male when it comes to Tracey and past hurts will not keep him from having what he wants which is Tracey. Ms. Barton has created a story that will entertain the reader with a few laughs to break the serious moments."

Cassandra -- Coffee Time Romance

Overall rating: 4.75

"All in all, the two main characters were quite realistic and yet idealistic enough to make you smile and join the story. I enjoy the suspense plot line and twists it took in revealing the truth behind the "Scotty" persona."

Lori Graham -- Once Upon a Romance

Chapter One

"I CANNOT ABIDE HERE without him. My heart aches with emptiness. I must flee to the man I love, or I shall die."

Tracey stared at the elegant black handwriting on the journal's fragile yellowing pages. Even now, almost one hundred-and-fifty years later, she felt the writer's anguish—an anguish that she, too, should be feeling at the loss of Scotty. But she didn't. She just felt numb.

Like Tracey, this woman—her many-times-great-grandmother—had loved a man and lost him. But unlike Tracey, she'd found her love again and married him.

Tracey closed the leather-bound diary and returned it to the old-fashioned, curved-top trunk beside her. She slipped off thin white cotton gloves and buried her face in her hands.

"Why did you have to die, Scotty?" she whispered. "You promised me a lifetime of love and adventure." And passion to fill the long, lonely nights. Would she ever know passion? Or love?

An island of light surrounded Tracey and her worktable in the silent museum warehouse. Shelves to the ceiling, filled with archive boxes, stretched into the darkness. An air conditioner's hum muffled any sounds from outside.

For two weeks, she'd waited for news about Scotty. D.A.R.T., the sheriff's Diving And Rescue Team, still hadn't found his body. Don, his roommate, had heard nothing. Though Tracey wanted to hope, she knew Scotty must be dead.

She rubbed the small silver key she wore on a chain around her neck—the only memento she'd kept of the man she'd promised to marry. If he'd lived, would she have fallen in love with him during those long nights on the high seas?

A click startled her and she turned. Marge Jefferson, her deputy director, stood in the doorway from the office area.

"Tracey? Are you all right, honey?"

"I'm fine," she replied automatically.

She didn't sound fine and she knew it.

Marge's dark eyes were compassionate in her round, brown face. "You ought to take a couple of days off, honey. Go somewhere, or stay home and—"

"No!" Not meaning to sound so harsh, Tracey softened her voice. "No. We have too much to do. And I need to work. I don't want to sit home and…"

And what? Listen to the silence? Drown in the loneliness? Go crazy thinking about what might have been? Tracey shook her head.

Marge was not only her assistant, but also her friend. After Scotty's death, she'd taken over all the meet-the-public duties so Tracey could bury herself in her work out in the warehouse. But Marge shouldn't have to run the whole museum by herself.

"I did not come back here to sit around and mope." Tracey picked up her white cotton gloves. "I intend to get everything in this trunk sorted tonight, and be back to my office tomorrow."

Marge jammed her fists against ample hips. "Tracey, you push yourself too hard. That trunk's been in your grandmother's house for over fifty years. It can wait another few days."

Tracey smiled. "You're right. But this job is good for me right now." She straightened the stack of letters she'd already enclosed in Mylar. "I can't imagine why Grandma didn't bring these things down to the museum before. Unless she forgot she'd stashed this trunk up in the attic."

"Or saved it for you to work on after you graduated and took over as director here."

That would've been just like her grandmother—keeping a few exciting jobs to intersperse with the boring ones. She'd always done anything she could to keep Tracey interested in her studies, and in the museum that was to be her life's work.