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Directions of the Heart

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Embark on a remarkable journey of drama, romance and passion…

In all of these amazing stories, there’s one burning question…is love worth the risk?

Without You

Reece and Jenna are two childhood friends separated by time and distance. Can they find a way to heal their bond, or perhaps forge a new one?

Strange Heat

Spurred by her friend’s close call, Victoria decides to take a risk and prove the lifestyle she led was her downfall. But as Tory sinks deeper into the tumultuous abyss of desire with the mysterious Rick, can she climb back out before it’s too late? Or does she even want to?


Struggling to run her family’s farm on her own, Sadie takes on a hired hand, Matt. As they grow closer, so does the danger. Someone wants her legacy. Can they combat this new threat, as well as the demons of the past, before Sadie loses everything, including her life?

A Touch of Dawn

Caitlyn thought she’d be in the dark forever. But with the light came Jack, the police consultant who found her. Can they take a journey of healing together, or will Caitlyn retreat into the darkness of her mind, where she lived for so long?

(CONTENT WARNING: With an abuse awareness theme in this collection, there may be triggers here for past trauma sufferers. However, HEAs are guaranteed.)

346 pages, Kindle Edition

Published July 25, 2017

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About the author

Marie Lavender

29 books162 followers
Multi-genre author of Victorian maritime romance/family saga, Heiresses in Love, and 18 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 and a half years. Listed as one of TOP 5 Authors Who Write Compelling Romance on Wiki Ezvid. She made the TOP 10 list for Authors on the 23rd Annual Critters Readers’ Poll. Subsequent 2020 accolades include: Top 10 Book Cover Artwork for UPON YOUR RETURN, Top 10 Romance Novels for CHASING GINGER, Top 10 Romance Short Stories for THE MISSING PIECE, and Top 10 Sci-fi & Fantasy Short Stories for MAGICK & MOONLIGHT. Additionally, the I Love Romance Blog was listed as one of the Top Novel and Books blogs 2020 on Sparpedia. BLUE VISION made the TOP 10 on the Science Fiction and Fantasy category of the 2019 P&E Readers' Poll, and also reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category of the 2018 P&E Readers' Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers' Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader's Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK's Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title - winner of the "Broken Heart" themed contest and the "I Love You" themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers' Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers' Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for the first edition of UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 21 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, romantic comedy, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. An avid blogger on the side, she writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She also contributed to several anthologies. Though she has some standalone titles on the market, her current published series are The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series, The Misfits Series and The Blood at First Sight Series, but she has many others planned. Her Victorian maritime romance series has returned, and the second editions of the trilogy will be released under her new publisher, Foundations Books. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for JoAnne.
2,527 reviews19 followers
April 25, 2017
Marie Lavender is an author I've previously read and enjoyed especially her Heiresses in Love series.

Directions of the Heart was not what I was expecting especially since there were 4 complete stories included in the book and each one was set in different locales and in different venues. Each had a couple looking for love but had a trauma or traumas in their life that brought them to this point. There were sensitive topics that were handled well but still gave an edge to the story and often made my heart clutch or race. The characters in each of the books was trying to reclaim their lives especially if they didn't like themselves too much. If they couldn't understand themselves they didn't think anyone else would be able to.

There were family and friends but also some depraved people in the stories, heartache, fear, sadness, tears, anger, hate, hope, a chance for happiness, healing and peace. There was a nice flow to each of the stories and the characters were multifaceted. What you saw wasn't always what you got and you had to delve deeper under the surface. All the stories had nice closure and I felt the endings were realistic.

The hardest characters for me to like were in Strange Heat. I had a hard time liking them since they didn't seem to like themselves. Lyssa put herself into dangerous situations and Victoria, much more naive, seemed to follow in her footsteps but got herself into some ugly situations as well.

Lavender is an author whose books I look forward to reading. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Leigh Podgorski.
Author 16 books111 followers
August 2, 2017
Directions of the Heart is the newest release from popular Romance novelist Marie Lavender. The book is a collection of four stories and with the exception of the first story, “Without You,” takes the reader on a journey both hot and spicy and to the darker corners of love.
Ms. Lavender does not flinch as she puts her characters through their paces with many challenges and obstacles—all found in today’s world—real-life tragedies, real-life situations such as sexual insecurity, haunting memories, suicide, and rape that as a society we still do not comfortably face. Our courts and police forces in many areas of the country still do not know the best practices when faced with these situations, often leaving the victim feeling victimized not once but twice.
In “Strange Heart,” Victoria Weston lets her inner wild child loose, only to find she may not want to put her back. The encounters between Victoria and Rick are spicy and take the reader to the edge of their own wild child.
“Memories,” in part, details not only our heroine’s response to rape, but her lover Matt’s as well as the authorities and those who committed the crime.
In “A Touch of Dawn,” Caitlyn and Jack overcome their tragic past together.
Ms. Lavender presents these stories and characters head-on and boldly—there’s no soft-pedaling or pandering here.
She calls her book a romantic dramatic collection, which is apt as the majority of the time in these stories deal with the confrontations and love scenes between two people. One can easily see these pieces adapted to one act plays (spicier elements adjusted for the stage), or shot as short films—no adjustments necessary..
You will be taking a wild ride here, but make no mistake, Ms. Lavender knows her craft and there is always a rainbow at the end.
And isn’t that what we all hope for?
Profile Image for Sandra Lopez.
Author 3 books316 followers
September 20, 2017
Two high school friends that have known each other their whole lives will be separated for the first time ever. Jenna and Reese will realize how much they mean to each other in “Without You.”

Plain Victoria has always been envious of her friend’s attractiveness, how men desired her. Just once, she’d like to know what that’s like. After all, “wasn’t there more to this existence than work, and feeding her cat, before she spent her evenings alone reading a book or taking a relaxing bath?” (65) This time, she’s letting the reins loose in “Strange Heat;” however, she’ll soon realize that when you play with fire, sometimes you get burned.

And can a battered woman learn to forget the severe trauma and find the strength to love and trust again? “Somehow, you’ve got to learn to push forward, keep moving on until one day, you don’t think so much about it. Maybe you’ll always remember. Maybe it will haunt you in some small way. But, being a survivor can strengthen you too. We shouldn’t let our fears paralyze us, Caitlyn. Believe me, I still feel it. But not as much as I used to.” (276) Still battling with their demons, Caitlyn and Jack struggle to break free from their pasts and find comfort in each other. This one was probably the best and the most gripping.

Directions of the Heart is a well-written and lovely compilation of love and friendship. Although long-winded at times, the stories are genuine and endearing. The author certainly knows the way to readers’ hearts. A fun, delightful read!
Profile Image for Debbie  Victorino.
403 reviews9 followers
July 26, 2017
Well written and heartfelt

This book has 4 stories. Each story was well written and kept me wanting to read more. These stories have many issues that many people face today. They include pain, struggle, happiness faith and an HEA. This author is pretty new to me, but I would recommend her in a heart beat. My favorite story was A Touch of Dawn. I could relate to Jake. He was so well written I had tears in my eyes more than once. These stories do go into struggles like faith, intimacy and other issues. The author wrote about real problems that many people can relate to. This is a must read I think. This book is very well written and it just seems to flow so smoothly. A great book.
Profile Image for Amy Shannon.
Author 98 books117 followers
July 25, 2017
Simply and absolutely ravishing

As a fan of Lavender's, I was looking forward to reading her collection for stories, and I was not disappointed. The stories she shares, hits the heart emotionally and puts that ever so gentle lump in the throat. The stories were put together very well and fit within the premise of the collection. My favorite of the stories was "A Touch of Dawn" and I was immediately stricken when Jack uttered the words "I won't be like him" and it just made the story real, especially when he was dealing with his own issues, with being personal, with intimacy. I read that story twice, and maybe will read it again. A great collection and definitely highly recommended.
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews

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