Running Rogue, the anxiously awaited second book of the Rannigan’s Redemption series, is out in less than two weeks on February 9.
Here’s the third exclusive excerpt.
Maggie checked her watch as she hurried home. She was supposed to meet Mike after work at Murphy’s but she’d called him to say that she wanted to go home to shower first. It had been an unusually steamy spring day and she knew she’d feel better with a cool rinse and a change of clothes.
Thankfully, Mike had been understanding. “No worries, baby, take your time,” he’d said.
Things with Mike ran hot and cold and Maggie could never predict which Mike she’d get. He’d moved in with her a few months earlier and she still wasn’t used to sharing her space. Her mind drifted to thoughts of last Christmas when they’d had a huge blow-up. Mike had assumed they’d spend the holiday with his family on Long Island. When Maggie informed him that she would be hosting the Orphans and Misfits at her place as usual, things got particularly heated.
“You’re welcome to join us at my apartment, or you can go be with your family. You won’t hurt my feelings either way, but I won’t skip our regular Christmas,” she’d told him calmly.
“What am I supposed to tell my family?” he’d demanded.
“Tell them whatever you want. I’m sure they’ll understand.” They hadn’t, of course. As usual, they took her absence personally. He’d come back with stories of how they’d wanted to know why Maggie didn’t like them. And if Maggie was honest with herself, she didn’t like them much. They were loud and pushy and demanding.
Maybe it’s just that I’m not used to such a large family, she’d tried to tell herself. But she thought about the way Mike’s mother had greeted her when they’d first been introduced, the way she’d pawed Maggie and declared her hips to be too thin for child-bearing.
Standing in the shower she determined to wash away the negative feelings. It’s the weekend, she told herself. We’ll hang out a Murphy’s for a while, then make it an early night. Maybe we’ll hit the park for a picnic tomorrow.
She flipped on the television to the national news, turning up the volume so that she could hear it in the bedroom as she dressed following her shower. Leaning into the bathroom mirror to apply a quick coat of mascara, she heard a familiar voice.
She padded out into the living room, mascara wand in hand, and watched Michael give his expert opinion of the latest trial that had captured media attention. She smiled unconsciously. He looks good, she thought. Her mind drifted to all those who’d had their lives disrupted when he’d left the firm in shambles. Still, she shook her head, this is the perfect job for him.
Half an hour later Maggie walked into Murphy’s. She’d texted Mike to say that she was on her way. As she entered the bar, she looked around but couldn’t find him. She was startled when an arm reached around her waist and pulled her back.
“There she is,” Mike cooed into her ear. He placed light kisses down her neck. “I missed you.”
“Hi, babe, sorry to be late. Where is everyone?” she asked.
He motioned with his head. “We’re in the private room. We wanted space for all of us together.” Maggie frowned slightly. It seemed odd for Mike and the other cops to request the back room. Usually they just spread out over the whole place. She held his hand and followed him to the back.
As they entered the private party room, a cheer went up from those gathered. Maggie recognized many of Mike’s buddies and fellow cops. Then she saw Mike’s brothers with their wives and his sister with her husband, and finally his mom and dad. Her heart began to pound as she tried to comprehend what she saw but before all the pieces could come together, Mike was addressing the crowd.
“Alright, ladies and gentlemen. Friends. Assorted family.” He looked toward the back of the room. “And all you assholes over there.” Another cheer went up. “We’re gathered here today because I want to make an announcement.” He looked to Maggie and took her hand.
Maggie’s eyes widened. No, God, please don’t do this!
“I love this woman! I love you, Maggie. And that is why,” Mike dropped to one knee, “Maggie Flynn, love of my life, will you do me the honor of marrying me?” He pulled a black velvet box from his pocket and opened it, revealing a smooth yellow gold band with a small round diamond solitaire.
Maggie couldn’t breathe. She looked around at the crowd as they watched her silently. She looked back to Mike as his eyes pleaded with her to answer. Swallowing, she nodded and the crowd erupted in cheers. Mike took the ring out of the box and placed it on her finger.
All Maggie could think was, Holy shit!