Rannigan’s Redempton–RUNNING ROGUE: My How Things Have Changed

Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.  It tells the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan, and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the smart, redheaded lawyer he hires straight out of law school to join his elite firm.

In previous posts, you’ve been introduced to Michael and Maggie.

If the first book, Resisting Risk is the set-up for the story, the second book, RUNNING ROGUE, is about change.  [WARNING: Spoilers ahead!]

For years, Michael and Maggie resisted the risk of love.  But one night of passion tore them apart, and now they’re just running rogue, making questionable choices in both their professional and personal lives.

When Michael receives devastating news, he’s shaken to his core.  And having burned all his bridges, there’s no one willing to stand beside him.  In desperation, one cold, rainy night, he finds himself outside Maggie’s apartment.  Is there any way she’ll forgive him?

Here’s an excerpt from RUNNING ROGUE.  Be forewarned, it includes spoilers.

Michael?” Maggie asked into the intercom.

“Hey, Mags.”  His voice sounded tinny over the ancient device.  “I know it’s late.  I’m sorry.  But when I saw your light on, I mean…  Can I come up?”

Maggie hesitated, her finger hovering over the button.  “What do you want, Michael?”

“Mags, I just…I just want to talk.”

She shook her head, checking the time again.  What the hell?  And he’s probably drunk.  Standing out there in the rain like he’s got absolutely no sense. 

            She pressed the door buzzer.  “Don’t wake my neighbors,” she admonished him.

Maggie pulled the wooly cream colored robe tighter around herself, tying the belt securely and she stalked to the door, opening it to wait for Michael.  She watched him coming up the stairs, his soaked hair matted to his head.  His wet shoes squeaked softly with each footfall.  She started to say something snippy but noticed the haunted look in his eyes, so she simply stepped back and let him into the apartment.  She closed the door behind him and walked to the kitchen counter where she leaned back, crossing her arms, head cocked at him expectantly.

Michael stood just inside the doorway, rainwater pooling all around his feet.  He looked ill at ease and uncertain.

“Well?” she finally said.

He ran his fingers through his wet hair and sighed deeply.

“Oh for God’s sake, Michael!”  She left him standing there and returned with a large blue towel.  “You’re soaked.”

She took his jacket from him and hung it over the back of a kitchen chair.  As he used the towel to dry his face and hair, she couldn’t help herself.  “Are you drunk?”

He frowned and shook his head.  “I’m not drunk.  I had some bourbon.  I might be drunk.  A little.”

Maggie rolled her eyes.  “Sit down.  I’m making you some coffee so we can send you home.  Have you eaten lately?”

“I don’t know.”  Michael sank onto a chair at the kitchen table.  He glanced around as Maggie busied herself putting a kettle of water on the stove and taking a French press from a cupboard.

“I hope I’m not causing a problem with your fiancé.  Husband?  Whatever.”

Maggie paused to look at him, her lips forming a grim line.  “Yeah, well, that didn’t work out so…no worries.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.”

She worked in silence breaking eggs into a bowl and putting strips of bacon into a skillet as Michael sat at the table and occasionally used the towel to swipe at his face.   On the stove, the bacon began to sizzle as the kettle whistled.  Maggie poured the boiling water into the press and let it stand for a moment as she chopped a small onion and part of a green pepper.

“Did you know Stan Hodges died?” Michael finally asked.

Maggie arched an eyebrow.  “I was at the funeral.  Where were you?”

“I don’t know,” he answered vaguely.  He watched her grate cheddar into the eggs.  Then she pressed the plunger on the coffee and poured some into a cornflower blue mug with a white script ‘M’ on the side.

M for Maggie. Or Michael.  He shook his head to dismiss the inane thought.  Looking around the small apartment, he asked, “Why are you still here?”

Maggie glanced over her shoulder.  “What, I should move uptown into one of your glass and steel monstrosities?”

“I was just thinking that you could afford a bigger place, that’s all.”

“This may be a tiny apartment but this building has soul.  Once upon a time, a family called this place home.  Maybe I can’t afford to own a whole townhouse but at least I can rent a small part of it.”

Michael watched her for a moment.  “You could have bought your own townhouse if you’d stayed with the firm.”

Maggie turned around and leaned against the counter, crossing her arms.  “If I’d stayed, I’d have been out of a job along with everyone else.  You really tanked everyone, you know that, right?”

He looked down at his hands.  “I wouldn’t have pursued the television thing if you’d still been there.”

She snorted, returning to her cutting board.  “Bullshit.  Being on the news every night is exactly your thing.  You can’t put that off on me.”

She set the coffee in front of him.  “What are you doing here, Michael?”

He stalled, sipping the steaming hazelnut blend.  “This isn’t where I meant to be.  I went out and ended up down here in the Village.  I was at the Blue Note until they kicked everybody out.  I got a little lost and then realized I was across the street from your apartment.”

Maggie turned back to her omelet, stirring in the vegetables.  The bacon had quieted down and she turned over the strips, causing them to erupt into loud sizzling once again.  “Why are you here?” she asked again.

“I’m sick,” he said quietly.

“I don’t doubt it.  It’s forty degrees outside and you’re soaked.  It’s a wonder you don’t have pneumonia.”

“It’s cancer.”

Maggie froze mid-stir.  “What?”  Slowly, she turned around.

“Cancer.”

“Shit.”  She crossed to the table and sank onto the chair across from him, gaping at him wide-eyed.

“There was this spot.  And then they found out it was melanoma.”  Michael’s face twisted.  “Mags, you wouldn’t believe the chunk they cut out of my shoulder.”

“Well, they got it then,” she said.  “Good.  That’s good, right?”

“Bacon’s burning,” Michael said quietly.

“Fuck!”  She jumped up and took the pan off the burner.

“I like it that way,” he offered as she set the strips of bacon on a paper towel to drain and poured the omelet into the pan.

“So after they took the hunk out of my arm they did a biopsy.  It was melanoma, just like the doctor said.  Then they had me get a PET scan.  Said they needed to see if it had spread.”

Maggie worked mechanically at the egg mixture in the pan, listening intently as he spoke.  “And?” she asked as she slid the omelet onto a blue ceramic plate.  She placed it in front of him and sat down again.

“And they called this afternoon to say they have the results.  The doctor wouldn’t discuss it over the phone.  He wants me to come in tomorrow.”  He looked down at the plate.  “He said I should have someone with me.”

“Oh my God.  Michael.”

He nodded.  “I started making phone calls.  That’s how I found out about Stan.  Which was after I called Murph and then Jimbo.  They pretty much told me to go fuck myself.”

Maggie watched him grimly.  I imagine they did. 

“I called some of the women I go out with.  I guess everybody has a lot going on.”  He sighed.  “I thought about calling you.  But, I don’t know.  I’ve been an asshole.  Plus I figured you were busy with getting married and stuff.”  He met her eyes.  “I didn’t mean to come here, honest to God.”

She watched him pick at the omelet.  “My agent’s pissed at me because I bailed on some appearances.  Asking her to come with me is out of the question.  She’s probably not in town anyway.”

Michael shook his head.  “I don’t know why they’re insisting that someone comes with me to that appointment tomorrow.  I should just go and find out what the scan shows, figure out where to go from there.  It’s just…”  His voice broke.  “Mags, I’m scared shitless.”  He put down the fork and held his head in his hands.

Maggie could never have imagined a scenario in which S. Michael Rannigan would break down sobbing at her kitchen table.  She felt as though her heart would break.

“Michael,” she said softly, standing beside him, placing her hand on his shoulder.  His body shook as he let loose the emotions that had been building since the day the nightmare had started.  “It’s okay,” she murmured.  “It’s okay, everything’s going to be alright.”  She waited for him to quiet down.  “What time is your appointment?”

Michael sat up, sniffing and using the towel to wipe his face.  “Shit.”  He coughed and took a sip of coffee.  “I have to be there at 1:30.”

Maggie looked over to where her files still sat scattered in the living room.  She knew they probably represented ten hours of work for the following day and she sighed heavily.  “Where is the doctor’s office?”

“It’s on E. 80th between 2nd and 3rd.”

She nodded.  “Okay.  I’ll tell Rance that I have to leave at lunch.  I’ll meet you there.”

“I can’t ask you to do that,” Michael said quickly, but he looked at her with such gratitude she felt the sting of tears in her eyes and a huge lump formed in her throat.

She coughed lightly.  “You didn’t ask, although you seem to have asked everyone else in your Contacts, and I’m going to try not to take that personally,” she said.  “I’m offering.  Take it or leave it.”

Michael smiled thinly.  “I’ve missed your smartass.  I’d be so glad to have you with me.”

Maggie nodded.  “Done.  But if for some reason I’m running late, you go on in.  I’ll be there.  I promise.”  She took his plate and warmed it in the microwave before placing it in front of him again.  “Now finish this up.  I’m calling you a cab and sending you on your way.”

RR2 review

RUNNING ROGUE is available at your favorite online bookseller.
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You can also find the entire trilogy in one complete boxed set.
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Rannigan’s Redemption–Meet Maggie Flynn

Rannigan’s Redemption is a three-novel contemporary erotic romance/law drama.  It tells the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan, and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the smart, redheaded lawyer he hires straight out of law school to join his elite firm.

In my last post, we met Michael Rannigan, the irresistible bad-boy title character.  Today, meet Maggie Flynn, the woman who causes Michael to question the way he lives his life.

About to graduate from law school, Maggie has her life all mapped out.  But when she sees Michael taking interviews at a job fair, she takes a chance, and he hires her nearly on the spot.

Attracted to him from the start, Maggie realizes that her crush on Michael is all but hopeless.  He’s a self-absorbed womanizer. But beneath that cool exterior, she’s seen the man he can be and she’s sure that love can bring that out. In the meantime, she’s content to work with him.

In this excerpt, Maggie meets Michael for the first time.

Michael Rannigan dry gulped three ibuprofen tablets as the car from the service weaved its way through mid-day Manhattan traffic.  He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a hangover.   The previous night had been exceptional.  At an art gallery opening, he’d met twin flight attendants who matched him drink for drink before going home with him for an extended threesome adventure.

I’m getting too old for this shit.  Should have called in sick today.

As a partner at Murphy, Rannigan, there was no one to question his absence.  But it was his turn representing the firm at the job fair at NYU.  Brian Murphy was out of the country on vacation.  And James Metheny was recovering from surgery.  Tonsils or some shit, Michael mused.  Didn’t everyone have their tonsils out when they were five?

Sure the firm needed new talent.  But why did he need to be there?  He knew exactly why.  Without his presence, John Hemphill would be the senior man there, and that couldn’t happen.

Hemphill’s an idiot, he thought.

The car dropped him at the entrance to Vanderbilt Hall.  He knew it well.  After all, NYU was his alma mater.  He took a moment to straighten his tie before entering the building.  As expected, the hall was full of fresh young faces, soon-to-graduate litigators who needed jobs.  Unconsciously his eye roved, looking for nubile young female candidates.  Not necessarily for the firm, mind you.  He was always on the lookout for his next conquest.  He passed a group of girls who giggled as he walked by.

“Ladies,” he greeted them, flashing his mega-watt smile.

Just get this over with, he begged as he zeroed in on the Murphy, Rannigan table.

Already seated at the table were John Hemphill, Stan Hodges, and Ellen Standifer.  The trio were associates from the elite 50th floor of Murphy, Rannigan.  They were good enough at what they did, which was mostly research and legwork, with the occasional foray into the courtroom when necessity called.  Each had a laptop and on the table was a spreadsheet they’d worked out back at the office.  Of course, they’d vetted possible candidates before they ever set foot at the university.  Preparation saves time in the long run, they knew.

Michael took a bottled water from the table and sipped, standing behind the three and continuing to scan the room.  “What’ve we got?” he asked.

Hemphill gave him a brief rundown.  “We’ve interviewed five candidates so far, five of the ones we were interested in.  We’ve turned away about a dozen others that didn’t meet our standards,” he related in his adenoidal drone that so grated on Michael.

“You’re turning away interviewees who aren’t on your candidate list?” Michael snapped.  “How sure are you that your list is accurate?  Paper and data don’t always tell the story.”  Hemphill reddened a bit.

“Well, I…” the man floundered.

Michael grinned to himself.  It’s the little pleasures in life that make it all worthwhile, he thought.

He watched as a young woman crossed the floor, seeming to make a beeline for their table.  She was petite, with red hair, and she was wearing a grey suit paired with a green silk blouse.

What have we here, he wondered.

“Hello,” said the young woman.  “I’d like to interview with your firm.”  She reached across the table to shake hands with the attorneys seated there.

“And you are?” Michael asked, still standing behind the others.

“Oh, sorry,” she said, clearly flustered.  She opened her folio to remove copies of her resume and several slipped out, sailing across the floor.  Michael watched in amusement as she scrambled to gather them up again.  “Sorry,” she repeated, as she handed a document to each of them.

“Mary Margaret Flynn,” Michael read from the top line of the resume.

“Um, Maggie, actually,” the young woman corrected.

“Have a seat, Ms. Flynn,” Hemphill directed as they read over her resume.  Standifer pulled up Mary Margaret Flynn on their database and Hodges located her name on their spreadsheet.  There were two stars beside her name.  How have we not spoken with this one yet?

Michael took a seat directly across from her.  He was impressed with the resume, and he’d found her name on the spreadsheet before Hodges had.  He looked from the document back up to her face.  Her green eyes were wide and as she sat, she fidgeted nervously with the atrocious vinyl folio containing her resumes.

“So Ms. Flynn, your resume is impressive.  It says that you interned with Rance Stockwell at the DA’s office.  I’m surprised he hasn’t offered you a job.”

“Oh, he has,” Maggie replied.  “I just haven’t accepted yet.”

“Looking for better offers, are you?” Michael asked, arching an eyebrow.

“I have a great deal of student loan debt,” she confessed.  “It makes sense to me to look around and find my best options.”

Michael leaned back in his chair.  “Are you familiar with our firm?” he asked.

“Yes, actually,” Maggie answered.  “I heard you speak once at a charity luncheon.  You said that everyone is entitled to the best defense possible, regardless of the circumstances of their charges.”

Michael tried to suppress a smile.  “I said that, did I?”  The others at the table snickered.

Maggie’s face reddened a bit as she glanced down the line of lawyers.  “It really resonated with me,” she said quietly.  “I also tried one of your cases as a mock trial project.”

“Which case did you choose?” asked Michael.

“People v. Lawson.”

The other three snickered louder and Michael looked down at his notes, suppressing another grin.  “Well, Ms. Flynn, if you were going to try one of my cases, you might have chosen one I actually won.”

Maggie glared indignantly at the panel.  “I, well, I tweaked it a little.  I uncovered evidence that you overlooked.”  Michael sat up straight; she had his undivided attention.  “Testimony in the deposition was contradicted on the witness stand.  The victim stated in the deposition that she’d met the defendant two weeks prior to the incident.  On the stand she said she’d just met him that night.  It was enough doubt for the mock jury.  I won your case.”

Michael looked at the other three.  If someone had dropped the ball on the case, he or she was currently seated at the table.  They all looked down, suddenly intensely interested in their notes.

He cleared his throat.  “It seems, Ms. Flynn, we have everything we need.  We’ll make a decision by the end of the week and let you know.”

Maggie stood and reached out her hand.  “Thank you for your time.”

“Thank you,” Michael nodded, shaking her hand.  He watched her walk back across the room and disappear in the crowd.

RR1 review

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You can also find the entire trilogy in one complete boxed set.
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