Weekend Excerpt–Just One Night

JON new coverIt’s the middle of July.  Which seems the perfect time to share an excerpt from my naughty little summer novella, JUST ONE NIGHT.

Teacher Katie Parker is on a Caribbean cruise with her best girlfriends from high school.  Fresh off a humiliating break-up, Katie is determined to forget about her disastrous love life by having an anonymous shipboard fling with a handsome stranger.

By chance, she meets Mac Coleman, traveling with his brothers to Mexico for a wedding.  He’s more than happy to go along with Katie’s plan.  But he soon realizes that what they’ve found is worth more than just one night.  Can he convince Katie to give them a chance?

Read a teaser…

Hours later, Michelle led the foursome as they made their way toward the main dining room.  “I’m starved,” commented Jayma.  “Who decided that we wouldn’t eat until the 9:00 seating?”

Michelle rolled her eyes.  “Don’t be so Nashville.  Civilized society doesn’t eat until late.”

“You live in Dallas, not Paris,” Katie quipped.

“Anyway, most of the families with little kids eat earlier,” Chelsea added.  “We should have a nice serene dining experience.”

“I just want some grub,” Jayma giggled.

Immediately before they reached their destination, they passed a small alcove where photos taken during the day were displayed for purchase.  “Hey, you guys go on ahead to our table.  I want to look at the pictures,” Katie said.

In the ten years since they’d graduated from high school and gone their separate ways into college and life, Katie had been the self-appointed documentarian of their annual outings, taking photos and gathering mementos, sending them off to be made into a photo scrapbook.

The one of us on the gangplank would be just right for the cover of this year’s album.  She scanned the hundreds of pictures already hanging on the racks, looking for the one of the four of them.

Finally, she saw it and reached for it, smiling.  As she did, her hand collided with a large masculine one reaching across in front of her.  Startled, she looked up.  “Oh, I’m so sorry!”

Soulful brown eyes gazed down at her.  “No, it’s my fault.  I was rudely reaching in front of you.  I was paying attention to the photos and not to what’s going on around me.”

Katie laughed lightly.  “That’s exactly what I was doing.  Again, I’m sorry.”  She felt her face redden as she reached again, snapped up the photo, and hurriedly turned away.  Quickly, she charged the picture to her cabin and left the alcove, glancing back over her shoulder as she did.  The man was still watching her.

I’m going to get laid, she says, Katie thought miserably.  Not like that I’m not.  What the hell just happened?  That was a perfect opportunity.  But she knew why she’d blown the chance meeting.  Casual sex was not who Katie Parker was, it wasn’t how she operated.  Flustered, she entered the dining room and found the others already seated at their table.

Jayma smiled as she sat down.  “Did you find it?”

“I did.  It came out great.”

“What’s wrong with you?  You seem all out of breath,” Michelle observed.

“I’m just starved,” Katie replied in mock seriousness.  “We’re eating in the middle of the night.”

Conversation around the table was about their respective years since the last time they’d been together.  Of course, they kept up on everyone’s latest via email, text messages, and social media so there was little news.  It wasn’t until halfway through dessert that Katie looked across to see the man she’d run into in the photo alcove.  He was seated about three tables away facing her direction.  And he was looking right at her.

She felt her eyes widen before she moved her gaze back to her plate.  A flush crept up her neck and across her cheeks as she tried to casually look across the room again, only to find him still watching her.  As their eyes met, he smiled.

Holy heaven.  If you looked up ‘tall, dark, and handsome’ in the dictionary, his picture would be there.  Topping the soulful brown eyes were expressive dark eyebrows.  Framing a gorgeous face was tousled dark brown hair.  There was a shadow of stubble over a strong, square jaw and lips that looked imminently kissable.  Katie reached for her wine and slugged back the remainder.

“More wine, madam?”

“You betcha!”

“So Katie, what’s new with you?  How’s your love life?”  Chelsea gazed at her expectantly.

Katie sipped her wine, stalling for time.  “Oh, well, you know…”

“No, we don’t know, that’s why we ask,” said Michelle.

Katie sighed.  “I dated a guy for a while and he turned out to be a shit.  I met him on a dating website and—“

“A dating site, really?”  Chelsea grinned.  “I don’t think I’d ever be brave enough to try one of those.”

“Or desperate enough,” Michelle muttered.  She looked up at Katie, wide-eyed.  “Not that you’re desperate, that’s not what I meant, I just meant…”

Refusing to bail her out, Katie sipped her wine and narrowed her eyes, waiting to see how Michelle would untangle the mess she’d created.

Jayma came to her rescue.  “Oh, you know, as a teacher, Katie doesn’t have the opportunity to meet guys at work.  Honestly, I think meeting someone online is way better than picking up some guy in a bar.”

“You know what I think?” Michelle flagged down the waiter for a refill of her wine.  “I think that teachers should stay single.  You know, like Miss Beadle from Little House on the Prairie.”  She grinned before sipping her wine.  “Completely dedicated to the kids.”

Katie was sure she felt actual steam coming out of her ears.  “Really?”  She nodded sharply.  “That’s what you think?”  She could hear her voice growing louder.  “You think that teachers should just forego a personal life and live like nuns, nobly pouring out their lives for kids who don’t care, and parents and administrators who blame them for everything?  And for low salaries and shit benefits to boot?  Or maybe they should just work for free.”

Again, Jayma was the peacemaker.  “No, I’m sure that’s not what Michelle meant.”

Katie stood abruptly.  “I need some air.”  She turned and left the table heading for the same doors they’d entered.

***

Meeting a woman had been the last thing on Mac’s mind.  He was moving across the state just to get away from the last one he’d dated.  But the redhead in the photo shop intrigued him.  She’d been as startled as he’d been.  Truthfully neither of them had been watching what they’d been doing, as occupied with looking at the photos as they’d both been.  But when she’d looked up at him with those grey-green eyes, he’d felt a spark.

So when he’d realized that she was sitting a few tables away he couldn’t resist watching her.  She was unbelievably pretty, almost like a fairy or something with her red hair and her fair skin.  He wondered briefly how she’d fare for a week in the intense Caribbean sun.  She was chatting animatedly with the women at her table.  And don’t think he hadn’t noticed.  She was traveling with a group of women, not a man.

“So what’s the deal with this restraining order?”

Mac pulled his eyes from the gorgeous redhead and focused on his brother.  “It’s a long story.”  He shook his head.

“Well, we have a couple of days before we hit Mexico.  Will that be enough time?”  Danny had always been the sarcastic one.

Mac sighed, shrugging.  “I went out a couple of times with a girl from my apartment complex.”

“What was her name?” Tommy wondered.

Mac frowned.  “Erin.  What difference does it make?”

“I just wondered, is all.”

“Anyway, she seemed like a pretty nice girl but after a few dates, I knew she wasn’t the one for me.  I just didn’t feel that…I don’t know, spark.”  Instantly the redhead popped up in his mind, and he couldn’t resist a glance in her direction before he continued.

He looked from one brother to the other.  “So I very gently suggested that although we’d had a good time going out, I felt that we were not completely compatible and it would be better if we didn’t go out again.”

“And she didn’t take it well,” Danny summed up.

Images of his tires slashed to ribbons and a deep, jagged groove keyed down the side of his black Jeep popped into his head.  “No.  No, she did not.”

“I can’t believe you had to take out a restraining order.”  Tommy’s eyes were wide.

“Dude, I’m moving to a new city.  I have a new job and everything.  Do you really think a piece of paper will keep away a psycho?”

Danny shook his head.  “I assume you fucked her.”

Mac rolled his eyes.  “Well, yeah, we slept together.  Who knew she was batshit?”

“Ya see, this is why you need to settle down with a nice girl, get married, and have a family.”  Danny had married his college sweetheart and was now raising three little girls.  He was forever trying to persuade his brothers to join him.

“Well, that’s what Tommy-boy is doing.”  Mac playfully punched his baby brother’s arm.  “I’m happy for you, bro, really I am.  Gretchen is a great girl.”

“Thanks man, I appreciate it.”  Tommy grinned ear to ear.  “I love her, I truly do.”

As dessert was served, Mac’s attention was drawn back to the table across the room.  The redhead suddenly looked right at him and he felt his automatic smile, which widened as she snapped her eyes away.  He continued to watch as she raised her gaze casually as if to see if he was still looking.  This time he smiled deliberately.

At that moment, her head turned and she spoke to someone at her table.  Her face changed and she seemed to be speaking passionately, an angry flash in her eyes.  He watched as she removed the linen napkin from her lap and dropped it on the table, pushed back from the table, and stalked out of the dining room.

Impulsively, he knew he needed to follow.  “Gents, I can’t eat another bite,” Mac said as he pushed away from the table.  “I’m going to walk off a little of this dinner.  I’ll meet you two later.”

By the time Mac made it to the door of the dining room, the redhead had disappeared.  He glanced to his left and then to his right, trying to guess her more likely route.  The woman at the photo checkout cleared her throat discreetly and he looked in her direction.  She nodded meaningfully to her right and smiled.

He grinned at her wholeheartedly.  “Thanks!” he proffered as he hurried off in the direction the clerk had indicated.  Mac made his way through the door that opened onto the deck and he saw her leaning against the railing, looking out over the dark water.  Her skirt ruffled lightly in the breeze and the full moon overhead gave her hair a fire-like glow.

Ignoring the slight case of nerves he felt, he approached the railing, stopping by her left elbow.  “Hey, you,” he said casually.

She startled slightly, whipping her head to her left, eyes wide.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.  I just saw you standing here and I thought I’d say hello.”  He held his hands in front of himself in surrender, pasting on what he hoped was a charming smile.

The redhead continued to stare at him wordlessly.  “I don’t mean to bother you.  I can go if you’d like.”

She shook her head.  “No, I don’t want you to go.  I was just surprised, that’s all.”

Mac smiled gratefully.  “Well, it’s a beautiful night.  And dinner was fantastic.  I don’t know about you, but I had the lobster and it was amazing.”

She smiled back.  “I had the mahi and it was delicious.”

They stood awkwardly for a moment.  “Listen, would you like to get a drink or something?” Mac offered.

She looked out at the water, then back at him, nodding.  “I’d like that a lot.”

His grin was genuine.  “Good.  Great.  Let’s go find a drink.”

JON 99 cents

Originally a Kindle exclusive,
JUST ONE NIGHT
is available for only $.99 at your favorite online bookseller.

Just use this Universal link: books2read.com/JustOneNight

Weekend Excerpt–RANSOMING REDEMPTION

RR3 promo

Rannigan’s Redemption is an epic 3-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.  It’s the story of the complicated relationship between hotshot Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and Maggie Flynn, the smart, talented redhead he hires straight out of law school to join his prestigious firm.

RANSOMING REDEMPTION is Book 3 of the trilogy.

[Beware: Spoilers ahead!]

Maggie is so far from Michael’s usual taste in women, the vapid bottle-blondes he keeps on speed dial.  He can’t figure what it is about Maggie that he can’t quite get out of his mind.  After a night of passion ends in disaster, the pair go their separate ways, each of them making questionable decisions both professionally and personally.

In the process, Michael burns all the bridges he had left, so when his world comes crashing down, he doesn’t know where to turn.  Only Maggie is willing to stand beside him.  Michael’s all wrong for Maggie, he knows that.  He could never be the man she needs.

But he’s met someone who might fit the bill.  If only Maggie will give him a chance.  Putting Maggie and Bobby together is part of Michael’s attempt at redemption.  But is it enough?

Here’s an exclusive new excerpt from RANSOMING REDEMPTION, the third and final volume of Rannigan’s Redemption.

Spent, Bobby tenderly kissed Maggie’s temple, separated his body from hers, and collapsed beside her on the bed.  Following their union on the couch, they’d moved into the bedroom, making love for hours.

“Now the bed is much fucked-upon,” Maggie giggled.

He gave her a wry look and linked his fingers with hers.  “Lucky bed.  Lucky me,” Bobby murmured.

Maggie rolled onto her stomach and propped her chin on her hands.  “I’m pretty sure I’m the lucky one.  Sore, in a good way obviously, but lucky.”

“We’ll compromise and say we’re both lucky,” he said, lightly tracing the tiny sun tattoo on her hip.  A smile played on his lips.  “Tell me about this, cher.”

She glanced over her shoulder to the yellow and orange sun before looking back at him, a sly smile spreading across her face.  “Casey and I went to Daytona for Spring Break one year during law school.”

Bobby grinned as he imagined young Maggie on the loose for Spring Break.  “We were kind of drunk and I wanted to go back to the hotel, but on the way we passed a tattoo shop and she dragged me inside.  She got this really stupid unicorn.”  Maggie laughed.  “I can’t ever tell her it’s stupid.  She probably realizes it by now anyway.”

She looked back at Bobby.  “So there we were and I couldn’t decide what to get.  Then I saw this.”  A pensive look crossed her face.  “Casey didn’t realize that it was the anniversary of my father’s death.”

She breathed out and paused.  Bobby waited patiently.  “My dad used to sing this song to me when I was little.”  She looked up at him through her lashes.  “When I saw the sun, I knew.  It’s kind of weird, I suppose, getting a tattoo on my ass to remind me of my dad.”

“It’s your hip, not your ass.  And I think it’s a beautiful reminder of special times with your father.”  He gave her a look.  “I sing that song to Savannah.  Must be a father/daughter kind of thing.”

She watched him steadily, her eyes sparkling in the half-light.  “I never told anyone that before.  Even Casey doesn’t know why I chose the sun.”

“I’m honored that you shared it with me.”  He stroked her cheek, and she turned to plant a kiss on his palm.  “Speaking of sharing intimate things, you mentioned something over the phone that I found interesting.”  She waited, brow furrowed, to hear what he would say.  “You said you might be interested in having my cum on you?”

“Oh, God!” Maggie muttered, covering her face with her hands.  “I’d had some wine and you were far, far away.”

Bobby grinned, arching an eyebrow.  “Maggie Flynn is something of a kinkster,” he teased, twirling a lock of her hair around his finger.  “I love it.  Cum on your tits, don’t mind being a little sore…  What else might you be interested in?”

She blushed deeply.  “I don’t know, I was just talking.”  Uncomfortable, she chewed her lower lip.

He lightly stroked from her shoulder down to her tattoo and back up again.  “You can tell me.  Blindfolds?  Cuffs?  Toys?” he asked softly.

She chewed her lip harder and nodded sheepishly.  Bobby laughed.  “Oh, cher, you are such a hellcat.  Have you done those things before?  Why are you shy to tell me what you like?”

Her eyes widened and she pushed herself up, sitting on the edge of the bed with her back to him.  “Because I don’t want you to think…”

“Think what?”

“I don’t want you to think I’m a whore,” she whispered.

Baffled, Bobby sat up behind her, his hand on her back.  “Jesus, Maggie, why would I think that?  Is this about your fiancé?  You told me before that he wasn’t good to you.  I didn’t mean to open up old wounds.”

She waved him off.  “It’s no big deal.”

He pressed his lips to her shoulder.  “You can talk to me, cher.”

Maggie sighed and allowed him to pull her back against his chest.  They rested against the pillows and he wrapped her in his arms, tucking her under his chin.  Absently she stroked his chest.  “I met Mike when he was the arresting officer on one of my cases.  After I met with him and his partner at their precinct, he followed me out and asked me to have a drink with him that night.”

“Mm-hmm,” he encouraged.  She felt the vibration through his chest.

“Well, so I did meet him for drinks that night after work.”  She breathed out sharply.  “And I slept with him.”

Bobby waited but she seemed finished.  “And?  Cher, you met a guy you were attracted to and you had sex with him.  Consenting adults do it all the time.”

I don’t.  I don’t do it all the time,” she said.  “But I was lonely and he seemed nice.  The next thing I knew we were dating, and then we were engaged, for fuck’s sake.  I didn’t really even like him.  And he was crap in bed.”

She looked up at him trying to decide how much more to say.  “I never came with him.  Not once.  I tried to, you know, suggest a few things.  But he just shut me down.”

Thinking about the multiple times she’d come since they’d been together, he pulled her closer, kissing her forehead.  “So what made you finally end it?”

“We went to Rance’s wedding.  It turned out that Michael was there, too.  I was surprised.  I hadn’t seen him in over a year.  So he and I talked for a few minutes and that was it.  When Mike and I got home he went ballistic, practically accused me of fucking Michael right there at the wedding.”

Bobby’s mind went to his own insecurities that had been on display earlier in the evening.  He sighed as he lightly caressed her upper arm.

“He told me that nobody but a whore would sleep with a guy on the first date,” she whispered.  “I felt so ashamed.”

“Oh, ma ‘tite cher,” he hugged her tightly.  “Remember what you said earlier about scars?  You’re a sensual, passionate woman.  You enjoy making love.  That doesn’t make you a whore.  He’s an idiot.  You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.”

Maggie looked up at him solemnly, unsure whether or not to believe him.

“You scared him, cher.  He didn’t know how to handle a smart, hot blooded, sexy woman like you.”

She seemed thoughtful.  “Do you know how to handle me?”

He gazed at her lovingly.  “Learn what you like and give you a lot of it.  It’s not that complicated.”  Leaning down, he placed a chaste kiss on her lips.

rannigan3

You can get your copy of
RANSOMING REDEMPTION
at this link:
books2read.com/RansomingRedemption

Rannigan's Redemption all books promo

Better yet, the entire
Rannigan’s Redemption Collection
is available in one boxed set. books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

 

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Cover Reveal–Italian Playboy by Holly J. Gill

    *´¨💕) COVER REVEAL💕

 

¸.•´¸.•*´¨)¸.•*¨💕)

💕(¸.•´‪ 💕 💕

Title: Italian Playboy

Standalone
Author: Holly J. Gill
Genres: #Romantic #Erotica #BDSM  #adult #HollyJGill #Italianplayboy

 

Can A Playboy Ever Be Tamed?

 

 

💕✶ BLURB ✶💕

 

I’m an arrogant, self-righteous Italian guy who

only thinks through one thing… I never see the same woman twice – it’s my rule.

I throw the most outrageously wicked and sexy parties for my own satisfaction

and relish on women like I do my fine dining. I’m a playboy by day and a

playboy by night. They call me the Italian Playboy and I love it! Only, all of

that changed one night when a dark haired beauty stepped into one of my sex

parties. From the moment I laid eyes on her, I had to have her. But no sooner

than my eyes had met her naked body, she was gone. I had to find her. And I

wouldn’t stop until I did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch This Space–Up to Bat by Maggie Jane Schuler

Up to Bat Cover DIGITAL FINALMaggie Jane Schuler is launching a new collection called The Diamond Series, and the first book, Up to Bat comes out July 25.  I couldn’t be more excited–I’ve been a huge fan since her fabulous book, Resurrection.

Up to Bat is a contemporary, suspenseful, steamy romance and I can’t wait for it to come out.  To tide us over until then, here’s the description.

Samantha Sawyer, a busy college junior, is thrown a curveball when she’s asked to mentor Adriana, a shy freshman with secrets and mysteries.

Unfortunately, these secrets lead Sam into a dangerous game she’s not sure she can win. Her salvation comes packaged in the tall, sexy, and self-assured Blake Angel. Can he save her, or is he really the devil in disguise?

Meet the author.  Maggie Jane Schuler is a wife, mother of three almost-grown children, and teacher by day. While she has always loved to read, the thought of writing her own prose did not strike until she was in the middle of writing her Master’s Thesis. From that point on she was hooked.

She Resides in Southern California. Besides the family and books, she loves baseball. Since the Dodgers, Angels, and Padres are all within a short distance, and the Giants and Athletics a nice weekend jaunt away, she’s got plenty of games to take in during the season. Additionally, she enjoys cooking, movies, the beach, and the local mountains. She’s most content being with her family engaged in whatever activity they have planned.

Connect with the Maggie Jean Schuler:
Website: www.maggiejaneschuler.com
FB: bit.ly/AuthorMaggieJaneSchulerFB
FB Reader Group:bit.ly/TheNaughtyNerdyNest
Twitter: bit.ly/MaggieJaneSchulerTwitter
IG: bit.ly/maggiejanenerdynovelistInstagram
Google+: bit.ly/MJSchulerGooglePlus
Goodreads: bit.ly/GoodreadsMJS
Amazon: Author.to/AmazonMaggieJaneSchuler

UTB Teaser Text

Want to read Up to Bat?

TBR: Goodreads
http://bit.ly/MJSchulerUptoBat

Up to Bat is out July 25,
and will be available
at these fine online retailers.


Amazon: Available on Release Day
iBooks: http://bit.ly/ibooksMJSUptoBat
Nook: http://bit.ly/NookMJSUptoBat
Kobo: http://bit.ly/KoboMJSUptoBat

 

It’s Going to Be HOT in Tampa!

 

Looking for your next great read?  Love to have fun in the sun?  Join me this Sunday, July 16, in Tampa for the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention!

I understand that about 40 Indie authors will be there, chatting with readers and signing books.  I’ll have copies of RESISTING RISK, LUKE & BELLA, and LOST & BOUND.  I’ll also have some free swag.

Admission to the event is FREE, and you can buy tickets to the VIP after party where there will be food and an OPEN BAR.  Just imagine, sipping cocktails and chatting with your favorite Indie authors.  Sounds amazing, right?

Check out the official Facebook page of the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention.  And if you’re going to be anywhere close, please stop by and say hello!

Weekend Excerpt–RUNNING ROGUE

Rannigan 2 promo

Rannigan’s Redemption is an epic, 3-novel erotic romance law drama.  It’s the complicated story of arrogant Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and Maggie Flynn, the smart, redhaired lawyer he hires to join his elite defense practice.

Their friendship is instant, as is their mutual, but unexpressed, attraction.  They come from vastly different worlds.  Michael is vain and shallow, leaving a trail of broken hearts in his wake.  Maggie is a realist, but she sees the man he could be.

RUNNING ROGUE is Book 2 of the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy, picking up where RESISTING RISK left off.

Michael and Maggie have gone their separate ways following a night of passion that ended badly.  Now they’re both making questionable choices, professionally and personally.  Once colleagues in criminal defense, they find themselves on opposite sides of the courtroom.

Here’s an excerpt from RUNNING ROGUE.

It was finally time for closing arguments and Michael couldn’t be happier.  This trial had taken too long.  The jurors were tired, he could see it in their faces.  Was it a mistake to use all that expert testimony?  It had irritated him that Maggie didn’t bother to question his witnesses.  She was playing it smug.  She’d find out that taking that tack was folly.  He was almost certain.

He launched into his summation, fixing each member of the jury with his signature smile.  He charmed them as he recounted pertinent testimony, reminding them of the mountain of scientific evidence he’d laid out before them.  They were smart, reasonable people.  His client was being unfairly scapegoated, accused of being responsible for a terrible accident that was not his fault.

Michael glanced back dramatically at his client.  “Jean-Luc and I want to thank you for your time and for your thoughtful consideration of all of the facts.  We know that you’ll see that the only reasonable verdict is ‘not guilty.’  Thank you.”  He grinned at them appreciatively and returned to his seat.

Maggie watched him walk by and sit beside Jean-Luc.  He flashed her a knowing look and she saw the challenge in his eyes.  She slowly stood and walked to the jury box, standing before them with her hands gently clasped in front of her.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for your patience.  This has been a long trial.  Mr. Rannigan has presented an impressive amount of evidence.”  She gestured toward the defense table.  “We’ve heard testimony about tire tracks, needles of different sizes, weather conditions…  I’m surprised we haven’t heard about sunspots and astrological signs.”  She smiled, as did some of the jurors.

Aw, shit, Michael thought.

“The facts of this case remain the same.  That night, Jean-Luc LeRoi drank copious amounts of alcohol, a fact backed up by eyewitness testimony.  He got behind the wheel of an expensive high-performance automobile.  He lost control of that vehicle due, in part, to the fact that his blood alcohol level was several times over the legal limit.  When that car hit the water, he was concerned only about his own safety, never bothering to assist Julie Baker, who according to expert testimony was alive and well following the crash.  Jean-Luc LeRoi made sure he got to safety, even secured a ride to another bar where he callously continued to drink, while Julie Baker drowned.”  She shook her head piteously.  “All the rest of the evidence…is just smoke and mirrors.”  Maggie turned away from the jury and crossed to the table where Malik sat, letting that thought sink in.

Returning to face them a moment later, she continued.  “We heard Gail Evers, the ER nurse, tell us that out of concern for Mr. LeRoi’s comfort, she used a small-bore needle to perform the blood draw.”  She looked at each juror.  “If it had been me, or you, there wouldn’t have been any special consideration.  I mean, we’re just regular people, working hard every day to put food on our tables and shoes on our kids.  People like Jean-Luc LeRoi are accustomed to receiving special consideration.  They come to expect it, feel entitled to it.”

Michael saw the frowns on the jurors’ faces.  This was going very badly.

Maggie continued.  “And they feel entitled to behave in any manner they see fit, regardless of how their actions impact others.  Jean-Luc felt entitled to drink as much as he pleased, to drive that Maserati as fast as he pleased, and when that went south, he felt entitled to leave that accident and to leave Julie Baker to fend for herself.  He’s guilty, at the very least, of DUI manslaughter, if not felony first degree murder.  That is for you to decide.  You have the opportunity to send the message that nobody is entitled to break the law at someone else’s expense.”  She softly pounded the rail in front of the jury box to emphasize the last sentence.  “Thank you.”

Maggie returned to her seat, her eyes meeting Michael’s with a triumphant gleam.  If I didn’t win this thing, I did my absolute damnedest.

The judge gave instructions to the jury and they were sent to deliberate.  Jean-Luc was taken back to his cell.  Maggie and Malik began to gather up their things.

“Food on our tables and shoes on our kids?”  Maggie looked up to find Michael standing beside her.

She grinned.  “Did you like that?  I just wanted to create camaraderie.”

Michael laughed softly.  “Not too shabby, Mags.”

“Good luck, Michael,” she said honestly.

He gave her a look.  “I’d say the same but I’m not sure you need it.”

Three days later they were all called back to hear the verdict.  Maggie sat anxiously clasping her hands together under the defense table.  Michael sat across the aisle chatting confidently with his client but she saw the tightness in his face.  The jury passed their verdict to the bailiff who handed it to the judge.  He glanced at the slip of paper before handing it back, instructing the defendant to rise.  Out of the corner of her eye, Maggie could see Michael, Jean-Luc, and Amy stand.

The jury foreperson read aloud.  “As to count one, felony first degree murder, we the jury find the defendant, Jean-Luc LeRoi, not guilty.”  Maggie breathed out forcefully and out of the corner of her eye she saw everyone at the defense table relax a bit.

“As to count two, DUI manslaughter, we the jury find the defendent, Jean-Luc LeRoi, guilty.”  Maggie closed her eyes.  We did it.  He’s going away for a long time.

The judge addressed Jean-Luc.  “You’ve been found guilty of DUI manslaughter by a jury of your peers.  I hereby sentence you to sixteen years in prison.”  As the judge banged his gavel, there was a buzz of voices throughout the courtroom.

As two deputies approached Jean-Luc to handcuff him for the return to jail, Michael was speaking into his ear, but Jean-Luc’s eyes were on Maggie.  He suddenly scrambled over the table and leaped on Maggie, knocking her to the floor.  “You useless cunt!” he growled, gripping her around the neck.

The deputies were quick to grab Jean-Luc by his arms, pulling him off Maggie and dragging him backwards.  Malik knelt down beside Maggie, who lay gasping for air.

As they dragged his client away, Michael leaned over her.  “Are you okay, Mags?” he asked, his deep brown eyes wide with concern.  He and Malik helped her sit up.

“I’m fine,” she croaked as she moved to stand.

“Ms. Flynn, do you require medical attention?” the judge asked.

Maggie stood shakily.  “No, your honor, I’m alright.”

Late that afternoon Maggie and Malik joined the rest of the office at Pete’s Tavern for celebratory drinks.  Unlike Murphy, Rannigan, Rance’s office rarely had official gatherings after work, but this was an exception.  Maggie wasn’t sure she was in the mood to celebrate, but she was pleased that Jean-Luc would be separated from the rest of the world for a long time.  Truthfully, she was still a bit shaken from his attack, but she’d have chewed off her own arm rather than admit it to anyone.

Rance was pleased with Maggie’s work and told her more than once that he should have trusted her instincts from the beginning.  “I’ll remind you of that next time,” she promised as she sipped her Guinness.

A server approached their table with a single drink on a tray.  She set the glass of bourbon in front of Maggie.  “From the gentleman at the bar,” she told her.  Maggie glanced over.  Michael smiled and raised his glass.

She shook her head and suppressed a smile.  “Excuse me a moment,” she said, picking up the glass and pushing back from the table.

She crossed the room and took the stool beside Michael.  “Thanks for the bourbon.”

“You’re welcome.  How’s your neck?”

Maggie shook her head dismissively.  “No worries.”

Michael squinted his eyes and watched her skeptically for a moment.  “Well, congratulations,” he smiled.  “You soundly kicked my ass today.”

Maggie grinned into her glass, sipping slowly.  “Your client was guilty.  I just pointed out the fact.”

“I’m filing an appeal,” he said softly.

She shrugged.  “I expected nothing less.”  They sipped companionably.

Michael nodded thoughtfully.  “You built your case and you kept it simple.  You appealed to the jurors as people.”

He stood.  “I don’t want to keep you from your party.  I just wanted to say…”  He looked down uncomfortably.  “I wanted to say that you did a good job.  You’re a great lawyer.”

“I learned from the best,” she said quietly.

Michael smiled, eyes crinkling.  Then he reached up and squeezed her shoulder gently before he turned and left the bar.

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