One plus one equals….much more than two, for Terry Newman’s newest


Heartquake is the result of synchronicity. Two dissimilar events came together to make this book possible. Maybe that’s why I love it so much.

The first is the creation of the character of Riley Brockton. He was a secondary character in a short story I wrote for a freelance client. The client never paid for the work, so it became mine.

I had a setting, Prague, Ohio, and characters, including Riley Brockton, with no respectable home for them. They hung out in the files of my computer.

Illustration of the hydraulic fracturing process with drilling rig and fuel tank over nature background

Until…a friend of mine invited me to attend several anti-fracking meetings with her. She was a strong-will activist who belonged to a group of mostly moms fighting the activity. They brought in experts and journalists to help them fight. Thanks to their determination, the cause gained national attention. Well, international attention; a Japanese television crew covered one event I attended.

My friend urged me to write a book about fracking. I don’t know if she really meant a romance, let alone a romance involving a lionshifter (I’m betting she didn’t), but the moment she said that, I knew I had found a home for my orphaned characters.

A fictional town in northeastern Ohio was already the setting of my original story. The real-life fracking was occurring in northeastern Ohio. What better vehicle to showcase the damage this intrusive type of drilling could inflict, not only on the environment, but on people’s health.

And Riley was already a venture capitalist who dabbled in buying and selling businesses. All the elements came together seamlessly.

The result? I received the chance to create a city full of characters I loved. Then I simply told the story of my friend’s struggle to get a fracking moratorium placed on the city ballot.

While that’s the end of one story, I discovered characters in Prague, Ohio, who had stories of the their own and I’m busy giving them homes of their own. Be on the lookout for them.

Coffee shop owner, Charlee Lightheart, views corporations with contempt. She believes her father died at the hands of the pharmaceutical industry. When she’s approached to run for city council on an anti-fracking platform, she’s reluctant. She’s not sure this movement is her cause.

Billionaire Riley Brockton has given up on love. Then he walks into Charlee’s shop. All he wanted was coffee and muffins. From that first electrifying touch, he knows he needs more. He withholds one piece of vital information: he’s a lionshifter.

A rogue reporter sets out to reveal the one secret that can destroy the anti-fracking movement and the couple’s relationship. Can their love survive the truth and public exposure?

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“Brockton… Really, I’m that late? I’ll be there in about fifteen minutes. I’m just about done here.” He smiled up at Charlee, nodded, and gave her a thumbs up. “What am I doing? Well, I’ll save that story for when I see you, Renee.” He held the phone away from his ear, then said to Charlee, “My visitors are a bit miffed I’m late.”

He turned his attention back to his caller. “Yeah, I know they’re upset. I think they’re more upset they have to meet me in Prague rather than New York City. But I have faith you’ll keep them calm with your charm.” He clicked the phone off and returned it to his jacket pocket.

“Your meeting. I forgot all about it. I’m so sorry.”

“Do I look worried about being late for a meeting?” When he didn’t get a response, he answered the question himself. “No, I’m not. These people weren’t happy to begin with to come out to Ohio. And they want something from me. So, they’ll wait.”

He turned to Mel, who had just waited on the last few customers in line. “It’s ready to use. Make my order last.” He didn’t know how many had to wait for the wand to get cleaned, but he hoped they weren’t inconvenienced. “And tell them their coffee’s on me.”

He enjoyed the look of amazement on Charlee and Mel’s faces. Charlee started to protest, “You don’t have to do this. It was our mistake.”

“I know. But it did take me a little longer than I expected. I’m a little rusty. I’ll just sit at the end of the counter until you get caught up.” He pointed to an empty seat. “And by the way, make that five lattes now. I think I’ll bring a peace offering.” He paused. “Not that I have to, but…”

Mel told Charlee to sit with him; she had everything under control. And it looked like it. The only customers left were the ones who waited for their lattes. And they looked content.

“Care to tell me where you learned how to unclog an espresso machine?” she asked once she sat next to him.

He gave her a peck on the cheek. “My dad. His first job was as a coffee salesman. After ten years of selling, he bought the company.” Riley smiled as he remembered how his father continued to buy companies after that. “And then another company and another. But back to the point. My brother Quinn and I used to tag along with him at the coffee company. You’d be surprised how often he was asked to clean those things. We learned just by watching him. And then…he would put us to work.”

Charlee nodded, apparently satisfied with his explanation. “Then I have your dad to thank in addition to you. It would have taken us twice as long if one of us had to clean that.” There was a moment of silence, and he wanted nothing more than to embrace and kiss her.

“Here are the lattes, Riley,” Mel said. “And I’ve included extra muffins, too, just in case you want to make a larger peace offering.”

He stood and put on his jacket. “Duty calls.” He kissed Charlee and gathered up the cardboard container of four lattes in one hand and the bag and the fifth coffee in the other. “I’ll text you later.” And he kissed her again.

As he walked out the door, he felt confident not only in the outcome of the meeting, but in his new relationship with Charlee, his lioness.


Charlee watched as Riley exited and, as luck would have it, someone entered at the same time and opened the door for him. She could see him nod in appreciation.

“That was a surprise,” Mel said. “That’s about all I can say.”

Charlee laughed. “I know. Who would have a thought a billionaire could do anything manual like that?”

She sighed and wondered what other surprises he held. Then she realized she had just met him; he probably had many. She looked forward to learning them all.


Terry Newman has always loved words. As the editor-in-chief of a national natural health publishing company, she has written books on a variety of topics, as well as writing direct-mail advertising.

She’s also worked as a reporter, a communications specialist and a freelance writer. She’d had clients worldwide, and researched and wrote hundreds of eBooks and print books as well as ghostwrote novellas and short stories.

One day she woke and decided to make her dream of writing her own novel come true. She sets all her stories in fictional towns in northeast Ohio and writes about things she loves—like coffee.

Terry has taught workshops on writing and character development.

She has a daughter, a son-in-law, and a grandpuppy, and lives in North Lima, a real town in northeast Ohio.

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Posted on June 13, 2022, in book, fiction, guest author, magic, paranormal, romance, shapeshifter, Uncategorized, urban fantasy, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. We have it here in Texas, too — so awful. I love the setup of this story! Just bought the book! WIshing you all the best!

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