A hungry attraction. A hidden enemy.
Devoted defense lawyer Clare Westbrook, used to working for others, can now call the shots on her own terms. A multi-million-dollar inheritance from the father she never knew has allowed her to start her own practice. And with her teenage niece, Emma, whom she's raised as a daughter, on a school trip to Europe, Clare has been able to focus on turning a storefront in a tough Phoenix neighborhood into the legal firm of her dreams and offering her services to the troubled community. But just as she opens for business, explosive shots take out her street-level windows -- and nearly take her life. Someone clearly has targeted Clare, though she doesn't know who or why. All she knows is she must surrender to Tony Sonterra's protection if she wants to survive....
Sonterra has designs on a career move to the FBI -- and on rekindling his scorching, no-strings-attached affair with Clare. But can the man who sparks her passion be trusted with her life? Or is someone using Clare, the one person Tony has dared to get close to, to get to him?
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December 31, 2003
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Excerpt from Never Look Back by Linda Lael Miller
If there's a maniac or an ax murderer within a hundred-mile radius, he ' or she ' will come straight to me, Clare Westbrook, hapless attorney at law, like steel filings to a magnet.
Take Peter Bailey. Please ' take Peter Bailey.
The very day I opened my new storefront office, in one of Phoenix's less sought-after neighborhoods, he wandered over from the mental health clinic next door and peered at me through the glass door, hands cupped around his face. It was a childlike stance, reminiscent of a little boy yearning after puppies gamboling in a pet store window.
Of course I didn't know his name yet. Nor did I know he was under psychiatric care, though it wouldn't have taken a nuclear physicist to figure it out. He had that look ' eyeballs spiraling in two directions, lean body seeming to hum with that frenetic energy peculiar to those whose brain chemistries are seriously out of whack.
I remember that I sighed philosophically and reminded myself that I'd chosen my office because it was smack in the middle of Dysfunction Junction. I'd recently inherited twenty-odd million from the father I never knew, and after weighing my suddenly expanded options, I'd taken the high road. Since bringing in a paycheck was no longer a matter of desperate compunction, I had decided to use my law degree and my hard-ass reputation to strike a few blows for the underprivileged. The ones who needed my expertise but were unable to write a retainer check ' at least, one that would clear the bank.
The man staring through my door probably qualified.
I crossed the mostly unfurnished room, turned the lock, and let in a rush of hot desert air. October, and the temperature was still high enough to roast a lizard on a rock.
"May I help you " I asked.
He recoiled as though I'd thrust something sharp at him, and for a moment I thought he was going to bolt.
"You're Clare Westbrook," he said, shifting from foot to foot. "I've seen you on TV. Lots of times."