Weekend Excerpt–RUNNING ROGUE

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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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Use this LINK to get your copy of RUNNING ROGUE.

 

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