Weekend Excerpt–A Different Kind of Christmas

Rannigan’s Redemption is the story of high-profile Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the talented redhead he hires to join his elite firm.

Michael is an inveterate player with a contact list of hot blondes at his beck and call.  Maggie is nothing like his usual type–she’s way too smart, for one thing.  So why can’t he get her out of his mind?

Here’s a Christmas snippet from RUNNING ROGUE, Book 2.

Following the dinner party at Rance and Jason’s, Maggie felt a bit more comfortable in the new office.  At least she knew a few people to speak with, some to go out to lunch with, and those few introduced to her more.  She dived in to the cases that came her way and before she realized it, she’d been with the DA’s office for six months.

Suddenly she was making plans for Christmas.  The usual cast of characters was invited along with a few new orphans and misfits from work.  Rance and Jason promised to stop by on their way to Jason’s mother’s house in Connecticut.

Maggie wondered about Michael.  Since that first year, he’s arranged his vacation so that he could at least put in an appearance at Maggie’s before jetting off to some exotic locale for the rest of the Christmas holiday.

Should I formally invite him?  Surely he knows…  His status as an orphan and misfit hasn’t changed. 

But as Christmas day wore on, as guests arrived and dinner was prepared and consumed, gifts were exchanged and hugs were shared, Maggie kept an eye on her phone, her ear tuned toward the door buzzer.

By the time the last of her guests hugged her good night and headed out into the twilight of early Christmas night, there was still no sign of Michael.  She glanced at the lone gift still waiting under her tree, the bottle of Parker’s Heritage “Golden Anniversary” bourbon she’d snagged for Michael at the liquor store where the manager always called her around the beginning of December to tell her about the rare bottle he’d put away for her annual purchase.

She considered the gifts he’d given her over the years.  He always found something unique and beautiful like the moonstone bracelet which she adored and had tried to give back.  There had been interesting art pieces, a hand-made necklace, and once, tickets to a Broadway show.

She shook her head, feeling foolish at having assumed he would come.  I should have invited him.  It’s not like me to be so passive-aggressive.  I’m an idiot.  She turned away from the Christmas tree, figuring she’d have the gift delivered to the office sometime after the New Year.

Her phone blipped indicating a message.  She swiped at the screen to see a Snapchat notification.  Pulling up the app, she saw that the message was from Michael and her heart pounded.

“Hi, Mags,” Michael smiled into the camera from the couch in his living room.  “Merry Christmas.  I was thinking about you and the other orphans and misfits.  I hope you had a nice holiday.”  Maggie smiled sheepishly.  He had been waiting for an invitation.  She considered not replying then thought better of it.

“Merry Christmas, Michael.  We missed you today.  When you didn’t come I figured you were already out of town.  I hope you had a good holiday.”  She pressed Send before she could change her mind.

He replied a few minutes later.  “I leave tomorrow,” he grinned, looking away from the camera.  “I wasn’t sure I was still invited.  I had a peaceful day, no hassle or stress.  It was nice.”

Wasn’t sure he was invited.  Maggie sighed.  She decided to play it off with humor.  “You are an orphan and a misfit, Michael.  You qualify on both counts,” she laughed.  She looked directly into the camera.  “You’re always invited,” she said softly.

Michael smiled into the camera, his eyes crinkling in that singular Michael Rannigan way.  “I’m glad to hear it.”  He paused a moment.  “A messenger will be arriving at your door any time now.  I’m sending your gift.”

Instinctively Maggie looked out the window.  “Michael, you didn’t need to get me a gift.  Seriously, it’s not necessary, I just…”  She broke off as the buzzer sounded.  “That must be he.”  She sent the message and buzzed the front door.

A knock at her door told her the messenger had made it upstairs.  She opened the door to find a tall young man holding a small parcel.  “Maggie Flynn?” he asked.

Maggie smiled.  “That’s me,” she said, taking the parcel.  She signed for it, then, “Listen, can you take a parcel to the man who sent this?”

The young man grinned.  “He said you’d probably ask me that.”

Michael always thinks he knows me, she thought irritably.  She went to the Christmas tree to retrieve Michael’s gift.  “It’s fragile,” she told him.  “What do I owe you for delivering this?”

He shook his head.  “Mr. Rannigan already paid me,” he said.

Maggie nodded.  “Of course he did,” she muttered.  “Thank you again, and Merry Christmas,” she wished him as he turned to leave.

She took the box to the living room and sat on the couch in front of the tree.  She gazed at the gift for a moment.  He’s probably waiting to hear if I like it, she thought, carefully removing the wrapping.

Inside the brown paper was a pale blue box tied with white ribbon, Tiffany & Co. stamped in silver on the lid.  She removed the lid and gasped.  There was a pair of dangling silver filigree earrings set with moonstone cabochons.  They had to be the matching earrings to the bracelet.

Maggie crossed to a mirror on the wall and held up an earring to her ear.  They were absolutely exquisite.  She put them on and held up her phone.   “Michael, I don’t know what to say.  These are amazingly beautiful.”  She tilted her head from side to side to show them off.  “They go perfectly with the bracelet.  You shouldn’t have, really.”

Michael smiled into the camera again.  “I’m glad you like them.  I knew you would when I saw them.”  A serious look crossed his face.  “You should have beautiful things.”

There it was, that classic Michael Rannigan mixed message that had kept her bound to him for so long.  Maybe it’s just that he has no idea what he really wants.  Which is why I can’t wait around for him anymore. 

Maggie shook the ambivalence out of her head.  “I love them, Michael, I really do.  Thank you!”  She grinned at him.  “As you predicted, your messenger is on his way back to you.  I thought I was going to have to send your gift to the office when you got back.  Instead, you can have it now.”

He replied to her fifteen minutes later.  “Holy shit, Mags, you did it again.”  He held up the bottle of bourbon.  “I don’t know how you always manage to find a different rare bottle every year.  This is really something else!”  He looked directly at the camera.  “Now I have to find someone to share it with who will appreciate such a fine bourbon.”

Maggie rolled her eyes.  I’m not biting, Michael.  “I’m so glad you like it.  How I find great bourbon is my little secret,” she winked.  “And I have no doubt in your ability to find someone to share it with you.  No worries.”  She smiled and sent the video.

Michael felt unsettled as he watched her last message.  That’s it.  She’s over me.  She’s not mad, she still likes me.  But she’s not in love with me anymore.  The thought unnerved him more than he would have thought.  He keyed up Snapchat once more.  “Well, thanks again, Mags.  I love it.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

She replied one last time.  “Merry Christmas, Michael.  Have a great trip.  Happy New Year!”

Rannigan’s Redemption is available as individual novels RESISTING RISK, RUNNING ROGUE, and RANSOMING REDEMPTION.  It’s also available in one boxed set.

Click HERE to indulge in Rannigan’s Redemption.

Weekend Excerpt–Christmas With the Orphans and Misfits

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling in the holiday spirit!  The decorations are up, the music is playing, I’ve squirreled away gifts for those I love.  So I’m in the mood for a Christmas scene.

This one is from RESISTING RISK, the first book in the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy.  Fledgling attorney Maggie Flynn is alone in the world.  Her mother abandoned her and her father when she was a toddler.  And her father during her college years.

So every year, Maggie hosts her annual Orphans and Misfits Christmas for her friends who, like her, have nowhere to go.  One particular Christmas, she has a surprise guest.

“Maggie, is the turkey ready?” Casey asked.

Maggie checked the clock and shook her head.  “No way, it has at least another hour, then it has to rest.  We can put in the beans and the stuffing when it comes out.  Nate, how do we reheat the red beans and rice?”

As Nate answered Maggie’s question, Ben wandered over to the window.  The buzzer rang again.  Ben glanced at Maggie in the kitchen.  “Somebody’s buzzing downstairs, Flynn.”

Casey was helping Maggie turn the turkey around in the oven.  “Well can you please buzz them in?  I’m a little busy here.”

Ben pressed the buzzer but made no move to open the apartment door.  About a minute later there was a knock.  The others were engrossed in the football game.  Ben stayed put.  “Somebody’s at the door, Flynn.”

“Oh, for God’s sake, I’ll just drop everything and get it myself,” said Maggie, tossing down pot holders in exasperation.

Maggie flung open the door to find Michael standing in the hallway.  He grinned sheepishly.  “Merry Christmas, Mags.”

She blinked, confused.  “Michael, I…I mean, Merry Christmas.  But what…Shouldn’t you be in St. Bart’s?”

“I got snowed in.  My flight was canceled.  I have a charter later on, but I thought I’d stop by here.  Do you have room for another orphan?”

A slow smile spread across her face.  “Of course, there’s always room.  Come on in.”

Maggie turned to find that everyone in the apartment was watching the two of them.  “Everyone, this is Michael.  Michael, everyone.”

“Hello, Merry Christmas,” he greeted the group.  To Maggie, “I brought wine.  I wasn’t sure…”

“Wine is perfect, thanks,” she told him.  Waving toward the kitchen she said, “Help yourself to something to drink.  We’ve been enjoying the munchies out of your gift basket.  Dinner will probably be another hour or so.”  She smiled at him.  “I’m so glad you’re here.  Shocked, but glad.”

After he dropped his coat and his suitcase in Maggie’s bedroom with the other coats, Michael got a beer for himself and settled in the living room, striking up a conversation with the guys watching football.  Casey sidled up to Maggie in the kitchen.  “You didn’t tell me Mr. Wonderful was coming.”

“I didn’t know Michael was coming.  He’s supposed to be in the Caribbean.  With someone, you understand, nobody goes to the Caribbean alone.”

“Maybe.  But he’s here now.”

Michael relaxed on the couch and looked around appreciatively at all the activity.  Maggie and Casey were in the kitchen along with a couple he didn’t know.  There was an older woman chatting with Nate from the firm.  Several others were watching football.  Everyone seemed happy and at home.

“This is nice,” he commented to Ben.  “It feels like a scene from Rent.”

Ben smirked.  “Viva la vie Boheme!” he raised his beer.

Michael chuckled and raised his beer as well.  “La vie Boheme.”

Dinner was served on three tables pushed together in the middle of the living room.  Plates were filled buffet-style in the kitchen.  Ben insisted that Maggie toast before they ate.

She raised her glass of wine.  “I feel like the luckiest girl.  I’m here celebrating the holiday with my most favorite people in the entire world.  There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.  Merry Christmas!”

After everyone ate as much as they could, the guys agreed to do all the clean-up.  Maggie supervised returning the tables to their proper places then sank onto the sofa, resting her feet on the coffee table.

“What about the dessert, Flynn?” Ben asked when the leftovers were packed up.

“Let’s be informal.  Grab some if you want some.  I want to do presents,” Maggie said.  Michael brought her a fresh glass of wine.  She looked up at him, grinning in appreciation, and patted the space beside her.

“I’ll sit on the floor, I don’t mind,” he said, sliding to a spot beside her feet.

“Now the way this works is, everyone takes a number.  We go in order starting at 1.  Number 1 picks first.  Number 2 can pick a new present or steal from Number 1.  Everybody got it?” Ben asked.  Maggie watched in amusement as some played shyly while others were cut-throat.

“What’s this?” Michael asked quietly.  She looked down to see him holding an ornament from the tree.  It was a small red glass ball held by a green paper cone.  Her name was spelled out in glitter.

“I think I was about six when I made that,” she smiled.  “The Christmas ornaments were some of the few things I took from my dad’s house.”

He grinned.  “I like it.”

When the gifts were over, Maggie had a new hand-crocheted toilet-roll cover.  Michael had a $10 gift card to Starbucks.  “Guess somebody didn’t get the memo,” he quipped so that only Maggie heard, and she giggled softly.

He winked and leaned close.  “Mags, I should be making my way to the airport.”

“Okay,” Maggie sighed.  “I’ll walk you out.”  She got her coat and hat while he said his goodbyes.  “I’ll be right back,” she said to Casey as they headed out of the apartment.  They walked down the stairs without chatting.

Once out on the sidewalk, Michael turned and faced her.  “I had a great time, Mags.  Thanks for inviting me.”  He glanced up.  “We have an audience, by the way.”  He waved at the crowd gathered in Maggie’s front window.

She looked up at them, scowling.  “Come on,” she said, turning right and heading down the sidewalk.  She stopped just around the corner.

Michael smiled.  “Thanks.  I just wanted to say goodbye privately.  I brought you a gift, but I didn’t want to give it to you in front of everybody.”  He pulled a small flat box from his pocket.  It was light blue, tied with a white ribbon.

Maggie’s eyes widened.  “Sean Michael Rannigan, you did not!”

“How did you know the S stands for Sean?

She shrugged.  “Everyone knows it’s Sean.  I can’t believe you went to Tiffany…”  She stopped and looked up at him, smiling sadly.  “This wasn’t for me.  This is supposed to be for someone else.”

“No, Mags, this is for you,” he said earnestly.  “I mean, to be honest, I went there yesterday looking for something for Jana.”

“What, Toys R Us and GapKids were closed?” Maggie quipped.

“Ah-hah-hah, you’re very funny.  I found a little trinket to give to Jana, but then I turned and saw this.  All I could think was that you should have it.  It’s for you, Mags.”

Curious, Maggie slowly pulled the white ribbon and lifted the lid.  In the box resting on light blue velvet was a delicate silver bracelet.  It had a vintage look to it with large rectangular milky white cabochons alternating with trios of small round diamonds surrounded by platinum filigree.  She looked back up at Michael, eyes wide.

“Those are moonstones,” he said proudly.  “This was in the vintage case.  It was made in 1915.”  He gazed at the bracelet.  “It’s graceful and classy, just like you.”

“I don’t know what to say, Michael.  I’ve never seen anything so beautiful.  Will you help me put it on?”

He lifted the bracelet from the box and as Maggie held out her left hand, he fastened it around her wrist.  She held it out and watched it catch the natural light.  As she did, she noticed a tiny platinum tag hanging from the clasp.  Peering closer she saw that it was engraved.  To Maggie, From Michael. 

“See?  I told you it was for you.”  She looked back up at him, eyes shining, and as she did, a gust of wind caught some stray hair, blowing it across her face.  Michael gently moved the errant strands, tucking them behind her ear.  Without planning it at all, he planted a tender kiss on her lips.

He moved back slightly as Maggie looked up at him, eyes shining with desire.  He leaned into her again, the kiss this time all heat and passion.  She brought her left hand up to cradle his right cheek, her desire matching his.  When he stopped kissing her, he pulled her close, tucking her under his chin and they stood like that for a moment.

Finally, he gently set her back from him.  She looked up, the sad glint once again in her eyes.  After all, he was leaving her to go to someone else.  “Merry Christmas, Mags.”

“Merry Christmas, Michael.”

The newly re-edited RESISTING RISK is available
at your favorite online bookseller,
in both eBook and paperback formats.
books2read.com/ResistingRisk

Weekend Excerpt–RESISTING RISK, Rannigan’s Redemption Book 1

Sometimes you meet someone who changes your life forever.
In ways you could never imagine.

 

Hot-shot Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan has his life arranged just the way he likes it, thank you very much.

A founding partner of the law firm of Murphy, Rannigan, and Metheny, his high-profile criminal defense practice runs like a well-oiled machine.  He has competent associates who do all the leg work, leaving Michael to do what he does best–charm juries and leave a sound bite on the evening news.

His personal life is no less organized.  He has a contact list of surgically-enhanced bottle blondes at his beck and call, whether he needs a date for a charity function…or he just wants to get laid.

Hiring red-haired Maggie Flynn to join his elite firm changes his life in ways he could never see coming.  She’s far from his usual type.  She’s way too smart, for one thing.  But there’s something about Mary Margaret Flynn that he can’t quite shake.

Maggie is attracted to Michael from the beginning.  Beneath his cavalier exterior, she’s seen the man he could be.  She knows her crush is all but hopeless.  For the time being she’s content just to work with him.

What would happen if they ever crossed that line?

Read an excerpt from RESISTING RISK:

They sat chatting about the fireworks and the music, leaving out their time on the dance floor.  Maggie wasn’t sure how she felt about it.  Being in Michael’s arms had been glorious.  Wearing his coat, surrounded by his seductive scent, the memory of his voice in her ear…  She furtively glanced at him, desire causing her pulse to pound.   She knew that she wanted him.  She also knew that she was a little tipsy and that she might not be making the best decisions.

“What is your cologne?” she blurted out.  Case in point of reckless decisions, she thought.

He grinned in amusement.  “It’s Bleu de Chanel.”

“It’s heavenly,” she said before she could stop herself.  “It’s just that, well, your jacket smells like you, which is good, really.  I mean it’s very nice.”

“You’re drunk, Mags,” he observed quietly.

She made a valiant attempt to look at him squarely.  “Maybe just a tiny little bit.”

Michael checked his phone.  “The car’s out front.  Are we ready?”  Between the two of them, they managed to get Ben to his feet and across the expanse of lawn to the driveway where a medium sized stretch limousine waited, driver holding open the back door for them.

Wide-eyed, Maggie looked around Ben to Michael.  For his part, Michael looked a little embarrassed.  “Jana likes to ride in a limo,” he shrugged.

Ben had fallen asleep again and together they maneuvered him into the car, laying him gently onto the black leather couch that ran down the driver’s side of the passenger compartment before they settled back into the plush leather seat at the rear of the car.

“Traffic is heavier than usual, Mr. Rannigan,” the driver told him.  “The drive may take a couple of hours.”

“Thank you, Mason.  And thanks for taking care of Ms. Hansen.”

“Of course, Mr. Rannigan.  Happy to help,” the man replied before closing the door.

Michael turned to Maggie as the car began moving away from the house.  “Hope you don’t mind a bit of a drive.  I hadn’t counted on traffic.”

“Please!” Maggie said.  “This beats the hell out of public transportation.  And traffic or no, we’ll still get back before we would have on the train.  Thank you for the ride.”

He smiled.  “My pleasure,” he said.  And meant it, he was mildly surprised to realize.  Impeccable manners had been instilled in him by the aunt with whom he’d lived after his mother had died.  At the time, he’d resented it, but they had served him well.  On the other hand, he often found himself mouthing words he didn’t mean.  Not this time, he thought to himself.

“Can I offer you a drink?” he asked, motioning to the bar that was opposite the couch on which Ben lay snoring.  Loudly.  “There’s bourbon and pink champagne.”  Maggie frowned quizzically.  “Pink champagne is Jana’s favorite,” he elaborated somewhat apologetically.

“I’ll take bourbon if it’s all the same to you,” Maggie responded, trying not to smirk and hoping that she was successful.  Michael turned over two glasses and began to carefully pour bourbon from a crystal decanter.

“Boy, renting a stretch limo, stocking it with pink champagne,” she muttered to herself.  “She must be some kind of lay.”  Michael glanced at her, shock registering on his face.  “Shit, was that out loud?” she asked.

“It was,” he answered, handing her a glass of bourbon as he settled back into the seat.  “And truthfully, she’s not all that.”

It was Maggie’s turn to look shocked.  Michael gave her a wry smile and clinked his glass to hers.  “To nights that turn out differently from the way you expected.”

They sipped their bourbon wordlessly, occupied with their own thoughts for a few miles.

“I know it’s none of my business,” Maggie began.

“Those words are always followed by a ‘but’,” Michael interjected, shaking his head.

“BUT,” Maggie continued, “I don’t know how you do that.”

“Do what?”

“How do you sleep with someone that you don’t even like?  I could tell from the moment we sat at the table that you didn’t like that girl.”

“Okay, I don’t want to have in-depth conversations with Jana, but did you see her?  Like I said before, it was just the wrong event for her.  She’s great at Nets games, music awards, things like that.”

“I just couldn’t sleep with someone that I wasn’t attracted to intellectually, that’s all I’m saying.”

“Is that what’s wrong with Dan?” he probed, happy to be talking about someone besides Jana.

“He’s a nice guy.  He’s smart and articulate, and not bad looking,” Maggie conceded.  “I just don’t feel that…spark, that’s all.  If I went out with him it wouldn’t be genuine.”

“You’re picky,” Michael concluded, shaking his head.

“I deserve to be,” she said quietly.  “You do too.”

They passed another few miles in silence.

“You know,” Maggie said, “I hear Disney’s coming out with a new princess movie soon.  And you could take her out for ice cream after.”  She gave Michael a mischievous look.

Michael gave a reluctant grin and his eyes sparkled in the lights of passing cars.  “You, Mary Margaret Flynn, are a smart ass.  It’s kind of endearing.”

She grinned at him.  “You’re welcome!” she teased.

He poured them both more bourbon.  “In a pain-in-the-ass sort of way.”  They both laughed.

***

“Mags,” she heard out of the shifting fog.  “We’re back in town.  I need you to tell us where to go.”

She opened her eyes and realized that she’d been sleeping with her head on Michael’s shoulder.   “Oh, God, I’m so sorry.”  She sat up abruptly.  “I didn’t realize…  I wish you’d awakened me.”

“No worries.  But we need to know exactly where to take Ben and where your place is.”

Maggie could see the driver watching her in the rear view mirror.  “My place.  Right.”  She gave the address and the driver thanked her, the partition whooshing back into place.  “Ben can sleep it off on my couch.  It won’t be the first time.”

The car came to a stop in front of Maggie’s apartment.  “Nice building, Mags.  Is the whole thing yours?”

She fairly snorted.  “In my dreams!  One day when I’m rich and famous, I’ll have my own brownstone.  For now I’m happy with a tiny part of the second floor.”  She smiled gratefully.  “Thanks again for the ride.  You are a life saver.”  She moved to open the door but the driver was there first.

“Let me help you get him inside,” Michael offered.  They both glanced at Ben, who hadn’t so much as shifted during the entire ride.

She looked back at Michael.  “Probably a good idea.  I won’t be able to get him up the stairs by myself.”  They succeeded in rousing Ben enough for him to put his arms around their shoulders and they moved him to the sidewalk.

Michael spoke quietly to the driver, who nodded before returning to the driver’s seat and slowly driving away.  Maggie looked at him questioningly.  “I told him to find a place to park.  I’ll call him after we get your date settled.”

They managed the stairs and Michael leaned Ben between himself and the wall as Maggie unlocked the door and let them into her apartment.  “Let’s just lay him on the couch,” she said, cocking her head in the direction of a large grey velvet sofa with navy blue accent pillows.

They worked together to get the unconscious and snoring Ben safely onto the couch, Michael studiously ignoring the way his jacket gapped open, inviting views of Maggie’s breasts as she leaned over to place a pillow under Ben’s head.

“Thank you so much, Michael,” she said as she removed his jacket and held it uncertainly.  “Can I offer you a beer or coffee or something?  Or do you need to go?”

“Coffee sounds good,” he answered.

Maggie smiled brightly as she gently placed his jacket over the back of a kitchen chair and set about making coffee.  Michael wandered around the living room area to the bay window and looked out over the street.  He turned back around to take in the view of the room.  It was small, of course, but nice in a quirky sort of way.  She’d left on a dim lamp near the window that gave enough light to the space without being intrusive.  “This is a nice place,” he commented.

She smiled at him from the kitchen counter.  “Thanks.  And again, I really appreciate your giving us a ride.”

“Mags, you’ve thanked me about a thousand times,” he said gently.

She blushed slightly.  “Well, I didn’t want to forget,” she said sheepishly.

He watched her as she worked in the kitchen, measuring out coffee into a French press, putting a kettle of water on the stove, little mundane domestic tasks.  His mind skipped to flashes of her from throughout the night.  Slowly it dawned on him what it was about Maggie that made him uncomfortable.

She’s real.  She has no hidden agenda.  She isn’t playing some game, she doesn’t want anything from me.  He sighed deeply. She’s the kind of girl who could make you forget your own rules.

Michael slowly crossed the room and stood by the kitchen counter.  “Can I help with something?”

“No, it’s all done.  We’re just waiting for the water to boil.”  She leaned back resting her hand on the counter.

He gently placed his hand on hers.  “You…are very dangerous,” he whispered, lifting her hand to his lips and kissing it softly, his deep brown eyes peering into hers.  Her brow furrowed, perplexed.

Gently, he tilted up her chin with his fingers and leaned down, meeting her lips with his own, lightly at first, and then more urgently.  He ran his other hand down the smooth fabric of the back of her dress coming to rest on her firm ass as he probed her mouth with his tongue, seeking hers.

Maggie responded, matching the heat of his kiss, reaching up, tangling her fingers in the hair behind his ear, giving herself over to his embrace.  Michael’s hand left her ass and smoothed its way back up to her side, her ribs, stopping just under her breast.  Reluctantly he pulled himself away.

Maggie breathlessly gazed up at him.  He smiled gently.  “We’re both a little drunk,” he said.  “Which is why I’d better go.”  Tenderly, he kissed her once again and walked out the door.

Michael and Maggie’s story, Rannigan’s Redemption,
is a three-novel erotic romance law drama.
Start with RESISTING RISK: books2read.com/ResistingRisk
Follow up with RUNNING ROGUE and
RANSOMING REDEMPTION.

 

Weekend Excerpt–RANSOMING REDEMPTION

RANSOMING REDEMPTION is the third and final book of Rannigan’s Redemption, my ‘spicy vanilla’ erotic romance law drama.

Rannigan’s Redemption is the story of hotshot Manhattan criminal defense attorney Michael Rannigan, and his complicated relationship with Maggie Flynn, the smart redhead he hires straight out of law school to join his elite practice.

By the last book, Michael and Maggie have been friends for years.  Although she’s not anything like the vapid, surgically-enhanced blondes he favors, he’s never been able to shake the attraction he feels for her.

Now, though, this inveterate player feels the need to make amends for the ways he’s used people, to find redemption for all the ways he’s failed those around him, Maggie in particular.

So he hatches a plan to make sure that no matter what might happen in the future, Maggie will be happy.  And he’ll do it, too, even if he has to give her a little push.

Here’s a snippet from RANSOMING REDEMPTION.

Standing in the empty parlor three steps down from the entry, Maggie’s gaze traveled from the intricately designed hardwood floors to the crisp white crown molding, halting in amazement on the ornate stone federalist fireplace.  Winnie was giving a running narrative though Maggie only half heard her.  “Now you’ll notice lots of original details throughout this property.”

“When was this house built?” Michael asked.

“Got to be late 1800s,” Maggie murmured thoughtfully.

“1890 to be precise,” said Winnie sounding pleased.  “You know your architecture.  It’s believed that it was originally built to be the home of a gentleman’s mistress.  He set her up in grand style.”

Maggie giggled.  “Ooh, how scandalous!  What an interesting history.”  She walked the perimeter of the room.  “Michael, do you see the wood inlay in the floor all around the edge?” she asked, stooping to lightly caress the design.  “This is just exquisite.”

She turned to Michael suddenly.  “You’re not seriously considering moving?”

He shook his head.  “Nah, this would be an investment.  I wanted your opinion on the place, though.”  Crossing to a bay window that overlooked the sidewalk and street, he sank onto the seat and put his oxygen back in.  “How about you look it over for me and see what you think.”

Winnie nodded.  “If you go on back, you’ll see they’ve upgraded the kitchen while keeping the original style of the place intact.”

Maggie continued down the hallway past a formal dining room and into the kitchen.  As Winnie had said, it was spacious and open, boasting high end stainless steel appliances and stone counter tops, but nothing overpowered the original stone floor and fireplace.  At the end of the room was a space for a breakfast table and beyond that, tall vintage French doors.

“Oh, Michael, there’s a yard back here,” she called, letting herself out into a small gravel courtyard dominated by a huge old oak tree and edged by landscaping beds.  There are probably tulip and daffodil bulbs that pop up in the spring, Maggie mused.  The brick walls of the garden were covered with ivy.

She returned to the parlor.  “Michael, this is absolutely amazing.”

“You like it, then?” he asked, seeming pleased.

“It’s beautiful.  Maybe you should think about moving,” she said.

“You haven’t seen the upstairs yet,” Winnie reminded her.  “This house has four bedrooms and four and a half baths.  The master suite takes up the entire second floor.  Two bedrooms are on the third floor, and there’s a smaller attic bedroom at the top.  Oh, and the basement is finished.  It’s perfect for a home office or a gym.”

Maggie had just started up the stairs when Michael called from the window seat.  “Hey, Mags?  Do you have a couple of dollars?”

“A couple of dollars?”

“Yeah.  I want to buy a newspaper.”

“Michael, I’ll buy you a paper on the way home.”

“There’s a little store on the corner,” he hooked his thumb toward the window, “I just forgot my wallet.  Can you loan me some money?”

Maggie returned to the living room.  “Oh, for fu-,” she glanced at Winnie, “I mean, for Pete’s sake,” she muttered as she dug though her purse.  “Here’s five bucks.  Honestly, I would be happy to get your paper when we’re finished here.”

Michael flashed his best grin.  “Thanks, Mags.  By the way, can you sign as a witness?  I’ve decided to buy the house.”

Maggie frowned at the document in his hand.  “We haven’t even looked at the rest of it yet.”

“I’ve seen the pictures.  And judging by the way you like this floor, I’m thinking this is a good deal.”

She took the document from him, her brow furrowed in thought.

“Maggie, wait until you see the claw foot tubs in the bathrooms,” Winnie said.  “And they’ve maintained the vintage tile on the floors and walls.”  Maggie looked up from the contract.

“Just sign below me, Mags,” Michael said, pointing to the line.  Distractedly, she took the pen from him and quickly signed her name as Winnie continued talking.

“And the master suite has its own original fireplace similar to the one down here.  Let me show you.”

Taking one last look at Michael, Maggie dutifully followed the realtor up the stairs.  Michael smiled smugly to himself.

RANSOMING REDEMPTION, Book 3 of Rannigan’s Redemption,
is available at your favorite online bookseller,
in both digital and paperback formats.
books2read.com/RansomingRedemption

 

But be sure to start at Book 1,
RESISTING RISK:
books2read.com/ResistingRisk

 

And pssst, just between you and me…
I’ve posted RESISTING RISK chapter by chapter on Book+Main.
Or you can read it in its entirety for FREE at Bellesa.co.

 

Weekend Excerpt–RUNNING ROGUE

RUNNING ROGUE is Book Two of Rannigan’s Redemption, a ‘spicy vanilla’ three-novel erotic romance law drama.   Rannigan’s Redemption is the story of the complicated relationship between bad boy Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and Maggie Flynn, the smart redhead he hires to join his prestigious firm.

Michael is a rogue, an inveterate player with a stable of surgically-enhanced bottle-blondes at his beck and call.  Maggie’s smart and capable, maybe even a better lawyer than Michael, if he stops to think about it.  She’s too smart for his sexual tastes, definitely not his type.  So why can’t he get her out of his mind?

Maggie has been in love with him from the beginning.  She knows how he operates, and that the situation is all but hopeless.  But she sees the man he could be.  For now, she’s content to work with him.

If the first book, RESISTING RISK, sets up the story, RUNNING ROGUE is all about change.  Just when you think you know where the story’s going, it all blows up.  In this book, Michael and Maggie are going their separate ways, each making questionable decisions in their personal and professional lives.  Then one day, Michael receives news that shakes him to his core.

Here’s a snippet from RUNNING ROGUE.  **Warning–Spoilers abound.**

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 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.”

Use this link to get your copy of RUNNING ROGUE
at your favorite online bookseller:
books2read.com/RunningRogue

Or start at the beginning with
RESISTING RISK: books2read.com/ResistingRisk