On the outside, Molly Gifford has it all--a hot legal career and Daniel Hunter, her equally hot boyfriend. But what she really wants is a family. So when she discovers her real father, she doesn't hesitate to pack her bags. Even though it means leaving her old life behind--A year later Daniel Hunter's still trying to get on with his life. Then Molly shows up at his door, begging for help. Her newfound father is under arrest for murder, and she's convinced Hunter is the only attorney with the skill and reputation to get him off.
Hunter can't resist helping an innocent man. But this time he'll be the one walking away-- even if it breaks both their hearts to do it.--
The latest contemporary romance from bestseller Phillips is a warm, sexy whodunit featuring powerhouse lawyers Molly Gifford and Daniel Hunter, who, despite success in the courtroom, are still plagued by abandonment issues: years in foster care have left Daniel scarred, while Molly's boarding school experiences have left her desperate for a real family. After weathering another stunning disappointment from her mom, Molly leaves to track down her long-lost father, rejecting her smitten friend Daniel's heartfelt attempts to help. But just as Molly settles down with her father and a promising new family, her father is accused of murdering his best friend and business partner. Despite the hurt she's caused him, Molly successfully pleads with Daniel to join her on the case. Residing under the same roof--and the watchful, caring eyes of her new family--Molly and Daniel surrender to passion even as the case for the defense grows increasingly bleak. Phillips's quirky cast is delightful, especially an outspoken grandma (known as Commander) and a potty-mouthed macaw; meanwhile, the romance generates sufficient heat and the pieces of the mystery fall together to satisfying effect. (Oct.)
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-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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October 01, 2007
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Excerpt from Sealed with a Kiss by Carly Phillips
Eight Months Later
"I want my father out of his jail cell now," Molly demanded of the public defender assigned to her father's case.
Bill Finkel, Esq. rummaged through the papers in front of him, searching for heaven knew what. Each time she asked the man a question, he responded by first sifting through his disorganized folders and briefcase. He finally glanced up at Molly. "It's a murder case."
She cocked her head to one side. "And?"
He looked down and shuffled some more papers. Molly was getting tired of looking at the top of his bald head. "I may not specialize in criminal law, but even I know that since the general is a decorated soldier and an honorably discharged war hero, there's no reason you can't get him released on his own recognizance or a minimal amount of bail." Her years in real estate law felt like a waste right about now.
Bill cleared his throat. "It may not be that easy. Your father is accused of murdering his friend and business partner. He had a key to the office where the body was found, and motive since he discovered Paul Markham had been embezzling money from their real estate business." The public defender read word for word from the paper in front of him.
Weren't good lawyers supposed to think fast on their feet? "It's all circumstantial. Ask the judge to balance the weight of the evidence against my father's reputation in the community, his ties to his family and business, not to mention his service to this country!" Molly slammed her hand against the old metal table in frustration. "Speaking of my father, where is he? They were supposed to bring him to this meeting twenty minutes ago."
"Ah, I'll go see what's holding him up." Bill scrambled to his feet and practically ran out the door in an effort to get away from Molly and her questions.
She didn't care if she scared him silly or if he wet his pants. He was all her father could afford after discovering his partner's embezzlement, which meant unless Molly had a better idea, that bumbling excuse for a lawyer held her father's life in his hands.
From the moment Molly had shown up on the general's doorstep, he'd accepted her into his heart and made her a part of his close-knit family. She might not feel as if she was completely a part of the family yet but she couldn't deny how badly she wanted to be. She'd also grown to love the man and she intended to see to it that he lived his life outside prison walls.
Another ten minutes passed before Bill walked back into the room. "They said they're shorthanded and can't bring him down right now."
And he'd stood for that? Molly had had it. She needed a lawyer who would break down walls to get her father free. She needed Daniel Hunter. Without pausing to let herself think about what that would entail, she slung her bag over one shoulder and made a beeline for the exit.
"Where are you going?" Bill asked, running after her. "We have strategy to discuss. The guards said he'd be here within the hour."
Molly glanced over her shoulder. "I'm going to do what I should have done the minute I got the call that my father was arrested," she said to the dim-witted attorney. "Tell Dad I'll be back to see him tomorrow, but not to worry. I have a plan."
Bill blanched, his white, pasty skin turning even paler. "Aren't you going to share it with me? I'm his lawyer."
Not for much longer, Molly thought. To Bill, she said, "It's on a need-to-know basis and right now, you don't need to know."
Her plan hinged on getting the best criminal lawyer she knew to represent her father, but the chances of Hunter agreeing to help her were slim. After all, she hadn't ended things between them on a positive note. Hunter had offered to uproot his life and his practice and leave town with her. To go wherever she needed to run to so they could be together. She'd walked away from him instead.
Although she'd had her reasons, she held no illusions that he understood. Then or now. It wouldn't matter to him that she'd never stopped caring, never stopped thinking of him. After the way she'd rejected him, Molly had no choice but to visit him in person if she wanted him to even consider representing her father.
Faced with the sudden prospect of seeing Hunter again, Molly's stomach churned with a combination of excitement, panic and fear. She would have to risk everything by trusting her father's life and the rest of the family's future to Hunter.
A man who probably hated her guts.
Molly knew she could make the drive to Albany in one day. Three hours there, three hours back. She could do it, but first she had gone home to change into comfortable driving clothes, and yes, gather her nerve. In the privacy of the guest room where she was staying until she decided where she wanted to live more permanently, she tossed a few spare things into a duffel bag in case she had to stop overnight.
She didn't miss the irony of her situation now. Over the last year, she hadn't been able to think about anything more than how to fit in here.