Contemporary Adult Romance
Orginally published February 2012
79,372 words, 240 pages
3-Flame Sensuality Rating
You have the right to remain cherished. Anything you read or scream out in ecstasy can and will be used against you in the bedroom of Willow DeVane. You have the right to enjoy a big, sexy cop. If you can't find your own, one by the name of Raith Malloy will be provided for you to enjoy and explore thoroughly within these pages.
Tempers flare from the first moment divorce lawyer Willow DeVane crosses paths with sheriff deputy Raith Malloy. Both too stubborn and controlling for their own good, Willow and Raith butt heads until anger turns to passion, and they begin an affair despite their brewing hostilities. But more than one force works against them when they learn Willow's being targeted by a dangerous stalker.
(Revised and Reprinted from the 2012 Champagne Books Edition in January 2019)
"You've gotta be kidding me," Raith Malloy muttered under his breath as the judge's gavel slammed against its partnering sound block.
The jury's verdict continued to echo through the room seconds after the jury foreman spoke. A hushed commotion followed as everyone in the crowd whispered personal judgments to each other. Raith's fingers constricted around the butt of his gun strapped in its holster as he glared daggers through the back of the defendant's head. He watched Max Kettle's smug grin as the slimy ass turned to murmur something to his lawyer— probably a congratulations.
"Order," Judge DeVane roared. "The jury hasn't finished. There's one charge left."
The room settled, and all eyes shifted to the head juror—a short, plump, balding man—who nervously cleared his throat and rushed out the words, "On the charge of possession of an illegal substance, the jury finds you... guilty."
"What?" With indignant innocence, Kettle surged to his feet and gaped slack-jawed at the twelve seated in the jury box. "But I—"
"Be seated, Mr. Kettle," DeVane commanded from his throne. He gripped his gavel as if he might use it as a hatchet to chuck at Kettle's head. "Now."
From the last row near the door, Raith smirked. Possession of an illegal substance wasn't quite the justice he craved, but it beat letting the bastard go scot-free. Now if God were smiling on him, the jury would've given Kettle a guilty charge for illegal trafficking with intent to sell as he deserved. By this point, however, he'd take what he could get.
"Your sentencing is set to take place in five weeks on the twenty- seventh of next month. At that time…" DeVane droned on, explaining the sentence hearing process, until he finalized the case and adjourned court.
And it was over.
Observers pushed to their feet, already gossiping about the outcome as they shuffled toward the exit. A pair of uniformed court security officers flanked the convict when he stood. As they led him away in cuffs, Kettle glanced over his shoulder to glare directly at Raith. His eyes clearly snarled, This is your fault, Malloy. When I'm out, you're dead.
Hinton, a fellow deputy standing next to Raith, bumped their elbows together. "I don't think he likes you much, bud."
"And here I assumed all my feelings were one-sided." Raith winked at Kettle, making the con's face flush a bright, angry red.
Kettle heaved his body toward Raith, struggling against his restraints. Two more officers who had just testified rushed forward to help contain him. Raith moved to assist as well, but the prisoner was so quickly back under control, he paused, deciding he better stay away as not to incite another scuffle.
Hinton lifted his eyebrows. "I'd watch myself if I were you, Malloy. He'll be out again sooner than you think. And I have a feeling you're the first person he's going to look up once he's free."
"Yeah, well, he can just get in line behind the rest of my admirers." Raith waited until Kettle disappeared through a side door before he turned toward the public exit. The younger deputy followed.
"Man, I can't believe we caught him with twenty-three kilos of cocaine, and his lawyer was still able to throw out most of the best evidence. That's bullshit. All the work we went through, and he'll probably only have to serve two years."
"Or nine months if he gets out on parole for good behavior," Raith sneered.
Hinton shook his head and hissed an obscenity under his breath. "Damn lawyers. I tell you what— the world would be a better place if it weren't so full of all these idiot attorneys, making money by putting rapists, murderers, and drug dealers back on the streets." He paused to glare at a passing suit they both knew to be a lawyer.
Appreciating Hinton's sentiment, Raith hitched up the corner of his mouth in amusement. "I hear you, kid." He slugged the younger deputy companionably on the back as the two of them parted ways.
Though he still would've liked to bash a couple counselors' heads together, listening to Hinton rant calmed Raith's boiling blood to an irritated simmer. He pushed out of the building and jogged down the million and one marble stairs toward the sidewalk.
Decked out in his formal dress uniform, which the department required its deputies to wear to court, he resisted the urge to readjust a certain area of his anatomy. But, gah, he hated these monkey suits. He was so used to going commando, he usually forgot to put on underwear when he wore the abrasive polyester pants, and they never failed to irritate the hell out of his balls. He couldn't wait to change back into his worn BDUs and return to regular duty.
At the curb, Raith passed a BMW with an American Bar Association sticker in the window parked in a handicapped spot. Noticing it, he slowed to a stop and scowled at the silver car.
"Freaking lawyer," he muttered, shaking his head as he bent down to glance through the window for any sign of a handicap label or tag. The dirt bag owner was probably the very attorney who had just saved Kettle from serving hard time.
When Raith found no proof of the owner's impairment on the license plate or anywhere else, he decided it was time to take action. Wanting revenge on all lawyer scum around the world, he unleashed his anger on this particular idiot. He headed toward his cruiser for the proper forms and went to work.
Leaning against the driver's side door of the BMW, pen in hand and ticket pad resting on the roof, Raith sighed, waiting for dispatch to get back to him with a name, when he heard the voice.
"Hey! Excuse me."
He turned. And holy hell. Instant lust.
Sex in a business suit appeared on the top step of the Dexter County courthouse's entrance, leaving the building like some kind of dark goddess come to tempt him into sin. The woman stepped from between two tall columns, her straight skirt with a slit up the side whipping around and clinging seductively to her lethally long legs. The breeze mashed her designer jacket to her chest. Her dark auburn hair came loose from its low bun, and she pulled out the rest of the pins to shake the locks free into a long, luscious mass.
Raith sucked in a breath as the waves of hair spilled over her shoulder and down her chest to bounce against the swell of her full, pert breasts. He told himself right then it would be his new life mission to someday bury his hands in that hair.
"What's wrong with my car?" she demanded, scowling as she descended the rest of the marble stairs of the portico in her tight skirt and heels.
Raith glanced at the BMW and quirked an eyebrow. "This is your car?"
God damn it, she was a lawyer. Life would suck like that.