My Heart Still Beats Read Online Helen Hardt

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Billionaire, Contemporary, Dark, Suspense Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 99
Estimated words: 101254 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 506(@200wpm)___ 405(@250wpm)___ 338(@300wpm)

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Helen Hardt comes a deeply emotional tale of being lost, until light—and love—brings you back to shore…

Some days I can almost see the person I used to be. See the version of myself that felt joy, even passion. But she's gone...just out of reach.

Life moves on for everyone else, though, and as my best friend’s maid-of-honor, I have a bachelorette party to plan—in Jamaica, no less. And that means working side by side with the best man: Benjamin Black.

Billionaire. Workaholic. Ultimate bachelor. The perfect catch for any woman—unless she's lost her sense of self.

Apparently my body hasn’t gotten the memo. Because from the second we meet, something begins stirring, warming my blood.

And when our hands touch, it’s a heady reminder that even if I feel numb, my heart still beats.

He’s nothing like I thought. Every moment with him unshackles a little more of my fears, cracks another layer of ice.

But I should be afraid—and so should he. Because the past never lets go so easily.

Trigger Warning: My Heart Still Beats is a dark, emotional romance with a happy ending. However, the story includes elements that might not be suitable for all readers. Sexual assault, physical assault, rape, child molestation, suicidal thoughts, suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, PTSD, panic attacks, murder, and blood are shown in the novel. Readers who may be sensitive to these elements, please take note.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************



“Did you really think you could hide from me forever?”

I turn as the voice I hoped to never hear again crawls up the back of my neck.

Inconceivably, he looks much like he did when he was seventeen. He’s now thirty-two—the same age as I am.

Dirk Conrad.

My senior year in high school, I was lost. My brother, Braden, had graduated three years earlier and was working with our father in his fledgling construction business. Our mother had died several years before, and after school I was expected to not only get my homework done and bring back decent grades, but also to work the business at least twenty hours per week.

We needed the extra money to make ends meet.

This was my senior year, and it was supposed to be fun. Football games, parties, and girls. But not for Benjamin Black. I had to work my ass off at school and then work my ass off at some construction site until my fingers bled and my muscles ached. I’d much rather have been playing sports, but the one good thing the work did was give me a physique that any athlete would envy.

One day, though, I was sick and tired of it.

So I didn’t go to work that day.

I didn’t do my homework, either.

Instead, I went out looking for some fun.

And that’s where I found Dirk Conrad.

The same Dirk Conrad who insisted on meeting me at my office today.

So here he is, same brownish hair—though the hairline’s a little higher—same crooked smile, same attitude. Same well-worn jeans that hang low on his waist. A gray hoodie and brown work boots complete his outfit.

“What the fuck do you want?” I ask.

“Did you really think I wouldn’t come after my share eventually?” He presses his thin lips together.

I hold back a scoff. “Your share of what?”

He takes a step toward my desk. “You owe me, Black. Me, Jerry, and Carlos. All of us.”

Carlos hightailed it to Mexico right after high school, and Jerry’s serving time for second-degree murder. He’s eligible for parole in five more years. I’ll worry about him then. Dirk? Last report from my PI said he was living in Bumfuck, Alabama, and had a few baby mamas. I’m guessing that’s what this is about.

He needs cash, and he thinks I’m his meal ticket.

He can think again.

“I don’t owe you shit.”

“You do.” He smirks, keeping his tone even. “You do, or we’re going to go to the newspapers. We’re going to tell everyone exactly what went down that night.”

The skin on the back of my neck contracts, making it feel like it’s choking me.

But I’m a businessman now. I help my brother and father negotiate multimillion-dollar deals, so I know how to bluff.

“You mean the royal we? Because Jerry’s in prison, and Carlos is nowhere to be found. This is all you, and you have no proof. Plus, you don’t have the balls.”

He runs his fingers over the smooth mahogany of my desk. “You think I don’t have proof?”

“If you did, you’d have squirmed out from underground before now. Maybe when Braden and I started to make it big.”

“Everybody knows Braden is the brains behind your success,” Dirk says. “And I’m sure your big brother—your goody-two-shoes big brother—would love to know what you were up to that day.”

This time I let the scoff come out. “You don’t know my brother at all.”

Indeed, he doesn’t. Atilla the Hun is a bigger goody-two-shoes than Braden Black.

Still, though, I can’t let this dark secret come to light. There is no statute of limitations for what happened all those years ago, and quite frankly, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life behind bars.

I shrug, maintaining a casual demeanor. “There’s a flaw in your plan, Dirk. If you have any evidence at all, it will implicate you and the other two just as much as it may implicate me.”

He grins, only it’s not a grin so much as the look a snake gets before he sinks his fangs into your flesh. “You’d think so, wouldn’t you?”

My heartbeat increases, but I stay composed. “You’re bluffing.”

“Am I?”

“Absolutely. Why now? Why not before, when we first started raking it in?”

“I don’t have to tell you nothing, Black. Just know I need three million. A million each for me, Carlos, and Jerry. And that’s the last you’ll ever hear from us.”

I walk from behind my desk to face Dirk straight on. “Money won’t do Jerry any good from inside the slammer.”

“It’ll take care of his mother.”

I shake my head, chuckling. Jerry’s mother passed away two years ago. I keep tabs. “Why don’t you tell the fucking truth, Dirk? It’s all for you. You and your gaggle of illegitimate kids down south.”

He says nothing, but I can read the redness creeping up his neck. I hit the nail on the head.