A woman driven to know the truth...
Criminal defense attorney Amara Clarke can't help but be hot and bothered by the handsome, enigmatic new cook at her local diner--and his seeming dislike of her. Until she finds herself in a dangerous situation--and the mysterious Jack Parker comes to her aid.
...The man who'll do anything to protect her.
Amara doesn't know that Jack is a DEA agent, evading death threats from a powerful drug lord. The last thing he wants is to endanger her by letting her get too close. But when fate puts her in his path, Jack's cover is blown wide open. Soon he and Amara are on the run--but they can't escape the smoldering chemistry between them. To keep Amara out of harm's way, Jack will have to take drastic measures--even if it means shattering her fragile heart...
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October 31, 2010
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Excerpt from Deadly Pursuit by Ann Christopher
Kareem Gregory settled deeper into his leather chair and listened to his attorney do so much worthless yap-yap-yapping that he wanted to shove his fist down the man's throat. Every overpriced word that came out of the dumb-ass bitch's mouth only made Kareem hate the man more.
But for them and their incompetence, he'd be out of this mess by now.
Thanks to them, he was still hip-deep in shit. What kind of shit? Entrapped by the feds, for one.
Arrested on bogus money-laundering charges, for another. All his assets, from his million-dollar estate down to his last pair of diamond cuff links--pretty much everything he'd ever worked for--threatened with seizure and currently being eyeballed by the DEA and the IRS. Convicted and sent to a phone-booth-sized cell in federal prison when he had a business to run.
Well . . . two businesses.
His string of auto-customizing shops because, yeah, he liked to pimp rides.
And his real empire. The drug one.
Not that the feds had ever been able to nail him for it, because he was too slick and clever for them and he compartmentalized his organization so that the right hand never knew what the left hand was doing, and only he had both hands.
Only a few people knew he was the top dog, and he intended to keep it that way.
The feds' best efforts had only led to a money laundering conviction. Even so, he'd gone to prison-- and prison was prison.
He was lucky he'd survived one day on the inside, much less a year. Lucky for the fine wool of the suit he now wore and for the soft cotton of his undershirt instead of those coarse prison rags that scratched his skin.
The only good thing a lawyer had ever done for him, despite the tens of thousands he'd paid in legal fees, was winning his appeal. Now, after all the suffering he'd endured, God had finally smiled on Kareem again and sent him a few blessings, no doubt as a sign of greater things to come.
A retrial. Release on bail. The opportunity to crack a few heads and make sure everything ran smoothly within the organization. Renewed success in his hunt. The chance to expand his wine collection and screw every woman in sight.
Well . . . every woman but the one he really wanted. Kareem shot a quick glance at Kira, his tight-lipped wife. She sat beside him in her designer dress, looking the way she always looked: icy and beautiful.
Funny, huh? The one woman he should be able to have at will hadn't given him any since he was arrested nearly two years ago, and here he was, still sniffing after her. Back in the day, she'd loved him and given him that delicious body enthusiastically and often. She'd been his moon and stars. His freaking sun. Kira wouldn't let him touch her for now, but he'd get her back as soon as they worked out the whole trust issue.
In the meantime, there were plenty of other fish in the sea--damn sexy little minnows, too--and Kareem had several of them on retainer. Why not take full advantage? It made sense to store up a little in case his latest lawyer turned out to be as incompetent as all the rest, lost the retrial, and landed Kareem back in prison. Not that Kareem had any intention of going back to prison.
Which was one of the reasons he'd taken matters into his own hands.
That, and revenge, which was going to be oh so sweet.
"The U.S. Attorney's Office sent over their final witness list. A lot of familiar people on it." Jacob Radcliffe, who looked barely old enough to be out of diapers but was one of the best criminal defense lawyers in the city, flipped through his thick file, found some papers, and slid them across the enormous carved desk to Kareem. "No real surprises."
Ignoring the sudden, slight tremble in his hand, Kareem scanned the alphabetical list for the names he wanted, ignoring the others. He found them right away, and each one jacked his blood pressure up another thirty notches, sent his thundering pulse into overdrive.
Jackson Parker. Ray Wolfe.
A searing rage rose up his neck and burned his cheeks before it prickled in his scalp. To think that he, Kareem Gregory, a world-class judge of character with enough savvy and street sense to sniff out every liar within a twenty-mile radius, had trusted them. Liked them. Let his guard down around them. And what had his good faith gotten him? Betrayal by the kilo.
To add insult to injury, those men had eluded him and his inevitable retaliation for months. Months. That, fortunately, was about to change.
"So that's the plan." Jacob showed signs of wrapping this shit up, thank God. "We're going to do our best to get an acquittal this time and make sure you never have to go back to prison."
How touching. As if Kareem would leave his future in this punk's pristine hands. Not in this lifetime. He thought of his plans, which were in motion even now. He thought of the bit of crucial information that had recently and unexpectedly fallen into his lap. He thought about how difficult it would be for his former business associates--Parker and Wolfe--to testify against him at the retrial if they were dead. He thought of their deaths, one of which was imminent.
Best of all, he thought about doling out the punishment these men had coming, and he smiled. If you betray Kareem Gregory, even if you're a fed, you pay the ultimate price.
Simple as that.
"I'm going to do my best to stay out of prison, too," Kareem told his lawyer. "My very best."