Half Of My Heart - Book cover

Half Of My Heart

Iya Hart

Age Rating


Anya catches her boyfriend cheating and breaks up with him. However, she finds solace in the unexpected bond she shares with his father, Dimitri. As their connection deepens, they navigate through guilt, desire, and betrayal, leading to a passionate affair. But when secrets are unveiled and loyalties tested, their love faces challenges that cannot be overcome.

Will they choose passion over propriety, or will duty and responsibility tear them apart?

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Chapter 1


AnyaBlake’s sick today, so I’m here to check on him.
AnyaPostpone movie hour?

The phone rings almost a heartbeat after I hit send on the message to Vanessa McCarthy, my best friend and neighbor. Her name flashes on the screen, and I bite my tongue, picturing her annoyed expression before receiving the call.

“Did you buy him cookies again?” she fires off without even saying hello.

“What? He loves them,” I hurriedly defend my impulse purchase as I pace in front of his apartment building.

I received a text from Blake, my boyfriend of two years, while I was on the way to my last lecture of the day. He mentioned he couldn’t attend the class due to being under the weather. Concerned, I decided to drop by to check up on him and surprise him with a care package.

“I don’t know what you see in that guy,” Vanessa quips in a bored tone. “His dad, on the other hand…”

“Nessa! He’s my professor.”

“Don’t tell me you haven’t been crushing on him too,” she says with a chuckle. “You could totally get him!”

I smile despite myself, wondering if she was right, but then I quash that thought. “No, thanks.”

“Just saying.” Her voice takes on a breathy tone. “I bet he thinks the same about you.”

“Shut up!”

“He gave you his key.” She clicks her tongue suggestively. “In biblical terms, that would mean an invitation to—”

I end the call before she can go any farther down that conversational road, but she’s not entirely wrong. While I am probably the only student with a key to her professor’s home, Professor Rossi didn’t give it to me for any “biblical” reasons.

He gave it to me after I started dating his son because he grew tired of having to buzz me in every time I came to hang out with Blake. Eventually, he refused to do it anymore and instead made me a copy of the key.

Shoving the phone deep into my miniskirt’s pocket, I enter Blake’s apartment complex and take the nearest elevator to the third floor. As I ride up in silence, I think about how much of a pain Vanessa can be.

She claims to have psychic powers and keeps warning me to stay away from Blake. Even though he has always been nice to her, she says she never gets “good vibes” from him. I just wish she could be more supportive of my choices.

If she weren’t my best friend, she would surely be my enemy.

The elevator dings its arrival, and the doors glide open. Stepping out, the cookie box in hand, I head for apartment 305.

As the lock clicks, I push the door open cautiously, familiar with the creak it has the habit of making. The foyer of the Scandinavian-styled apartment is dim, the last of the sun’s rays playing on the ceiling.

Stepping inside the cozy space that has become a second home to me, I take in the fruity smell that I have come to associate with the Rossi men. I ease the door shut and listen for any movement, my eyes scanning the manly decor devoid of any feminine touch.

Blake and his dad are the only ones who live here. Since Blake’s mom disappeared from their lives many years ago, there have been few signs of her. She was more passionate about her career than her baby son, or so I have heard. She only recently came back into his life.

I smile to myself, excited at the thought of surprising Blake.

Stalking up the wooden staircase that leads to his room, I pass the photographs of his childhood with his father that are fixed to the wall in an ascending manner.

When I reach the upper floor, I happily sprint toward Blake’s room, but a sound from inside makes me halt before I can open the door.

Moans meet my ears, followed by the familiar grunting of someone I am used to hearing. There is a rocking sound, and the female moan grows louder as I stand outside, my feet glued to the floor.

My stomach aches. Dread fills my heart.

He promised he wouldn’t.

Grinding my teeth while anger rages through my veins, I throw the door open to Blake’s room, and the sight that greets me proves his infidelity.

Sitting on the bed with a naked girl riding him, Blake has his white shirt unbuttoned and his jeans still on. But judging by the pleasure she is receiving, I know they are not completely on.

Her back is to me, but I don’t need to see her face to know who she is—Amelia Miller, the head football cheerleader and the one who did everything to kick me off the team when I started dating the star player.

Blake glances from over the shoulder of the bouncing brunette and pales when he meets my gaze.

“Fuck you!” I yell, lifting the middle fingers of both my hands to show him how done I am with his shit. Without waiting to hear his explanation this time, I spin on my heel and storm out of the room.

“Anya, wait!”

Amelia’s moans finally cut off, and hurried footsteps follow behind me while I sprint down the stairs with tears building in my eyes.

I let out a choked sob as I reach the bottom, and fingers curl around my wrist, turning me to face a bare chest still tainted with lipstick marks.

“Anya, let me ex—”

“No! There’s nothing to explain!” I yank my wrist out of his grasp. “You fucking liar! You have been lying to me all along. Why the fuck do you keep making false promises when you don’t have any interest in this relationship?”

“Anya,” he huffs, raking a hand through his thick, dark hair. “I swear, I didn’t mean to this time. I…I want you.”

“Fucking hell you want me!” I push his chest, shoving him back, and he hits the entryway table behind him, stumbling on his heels. “I’m done with you, Blake. We’re done!” I grit my teeth, promising myself not to cry as I turn around.

Before I can open the front door, though, it is opened from the other side, and I collide with a solid chest, gasping from the impact. Then a hand curls around my exposed waist, the sweet pressure of it reminding me of feelings other than anger.

Tilting my head, I skate my eyes up the broad chest of a man who stands nearly at six feet, five inches tall. They linger on his tanned skin where tattooed ink peeks out from the collar of his cotton shirt.

I find his eyes, their amber irises magnetizing me. I take in the other handsome features of the not-so-stranger’s face—from his dark, wavy locks sprinkled with white strands to his strong, square-cut jaw dusted with a light stubble to his Cupid’s bow lips.

The man before me is Dimitri Rossi, the thirty-eight-year-old father of my now ex-boyfriend. He intensely studies my face, his pure concern for me locking his jaw tight. He reads my expression instantly.

I should have known he would be coming home, too. Most college courses were over for the day.

“Anya.” Dimitri speaks my name with such carefulness, in that Italian drawl of his, that I forget about heartbreak for a second and let the sound of his voice soothe me. “What’s wrong?”

This man has always been kind to me, considerate of Blake and my relationship. He has asked countless times if his son was messing up, and I have always stood up for Blake.

Whether it was during my and Dimitri’s late-night ice-cream sessions after Blake made me cry or while watching action movies from opposite ends of the couch as I waited for Blake to stumble home, I defended him.

The many nights here with the Rossi men have filled me with every emotion possible, but as I stand here with Dimitri’s hand on my waist, the familiar guilt overcomes me. Guilt for having a crush on my boyfriend’s father—and my professor.

His touch burns my bare skin, and I fidget under his grasp. When he notices that, he releases me—one tattooed finger at a time—leaving behind only heat.

I pull away from him and march out of the apartment, leaving his question unanswered, knowing he would figure it out anyway.


“That jerk did what!” Vanessa bellows over the phone while we video call. Lying atop her plush bed, she stops picking at her manicured nails to react to my news.

Even though she had warned me hundreds of times about Blake, I had to tell her. Vanessa is the only one who can assure me that things are going to be okay.

Her smooth, glistening brown skin contrasts with the ivory shades of her bedsheets, accentuating the elegance of her appearance. She has so much grace in how she carries herself. I would be so lost without her.

“Can you believe it? I blame myself for trusting him instead of you!”

Vanessa nods and tilts her head. “I told you he has a reputation.”

I sigh. “You know me,” I say, shrugging, unable to properly defend my actions. “I’m a mess.”

“He’s such an asswipe,” she groans. “If you go back to him, I swear…”

“Never,” I declare firmly with a swipe of my hand. “I’m so done with boys, Ness. From here on, I’m only dating men. Real men.”

Or one particular man.

Now that I think about it, actually, I don’t know whether I am disappointed or relieved that my boyfriend cheated on me.

On one hand, I am upset that Blake wasn’t willing to change for me, that two years of trying to make it work were wasted. My feminist brain is telling me to be angry and to curse the hell out of him.

But then there is a tiny part of me that is rejoicing from the thought that now I can crush on his dad all I want without an afterthought. He is still my professor, though, and anything between us could threaten his job. I couldn’t do that to him, could I?

“Get home soon, bitch.” Vanessa’s voice breaks through my thoughts. “I’ll bring over the Bordeaux.”

I chuckle. “Here I was thinking you’d let that rot in your cupboard till death.”

“One glass each only.” She wags her finger at me with each word then winks.

“Okay, I’m on my way. I love you.” I blow her a kiss over the phone. “Thanks for always being there for me.”

She blows me a kiss back. “Love you too!”

I laugh before hanging up. Only Vanessa can make me forget all my worries with just a few words. She has a skill.

Walking in a daze along the cobbled path in New York outside Blake’s apartment building, I curse my instinct to blindly trust people. My mother always says I trust too easily, and I am finally starting to believe her.

People pass by as I wait for a cab, standing under a heavily pregnant sky. Rain would be a mercy; it would at least make me feel something other than self-hatred. A gust of wind sends goosebumps over my exposed midriff, and I hug my waist, recalling Dimitri’s touch.

He is no doubt way too good-looking, giving major daddy vibes twenty-four seven. I used to suspect that the only reason I accepted Blake’s bullshit was to be close to his dad, but the clench in my heart, now that I realize I won’t have late-night ice creams with him anymore, confirms it.

But he is still my professor, so I will still see him. However, it is not like I have been able to focus on his classes—I am too busy checking him out instead. And why wouldn’t I?

Not all professors have enigmatic personalities with a body that is covered with ink. Even his fingers are tattooed, adorned with a signet ring on the middle finger of his right hand along with two other rings on his index and ring fingers.

Worst of all? He has a tongue piercing, and looking at it only brings me visions of his head between my thighs. As his hands brush over my belly up to my breasts, and his fingers pinch my nip—

Wait! Do I really want that? To feel him between my legs and on my body? Do I actually like him more than a crush?

No, it is so sick of me to feel such things for the father of my ex—and my professor. I shake the thoughts away and pull out my phone to use a rideshare app.

Before I can input my ride details, however, a black SUV pulls up, and the window rolls down to reveal Dimitri Rossi sitting in the driver’s seat.

My heart flutters, and butterflies dance in my stomach.

The doors unlock with a click, and he leans over. In that deep accent of his, he asks, “Ride with me instead?”

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