Chad Michalski is just doing his duty when he pulls over Tessa Howard for speeding. But from the moment the vivacious blonde strolls into traffic court, the widowed cop knows he's headed for trouble. Especially when she enrolls in the Lakewood Citizen's Police Academy, where he can keep a stern eye on her...and attempt to resist her much-too-tempting charms.
Tessa has always admired a man in uniform. But the sexy lieutenant's by-the-book attitude could derail their relationship before it picks up steam. That's when Tessa, who's working hard to support her six younger siblings, decides it's time to show Chad what it really means to protect and serve. And maybe even land the lawman in the process!
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February 09, 2009
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Excerpt from Once A Lawman by Lisa Childs
Tessa Howard glanced around the courtroom, crowded with whispering people of all walks of life: elderly, teenagers and young professionals like herself. The knot of tension in her stomach eased.Hewasn't going to show up.I'm almost free.Maybe taking the time to fight her ticket in traffic court hadn't been wasted. If the officer who'd given her the ticket failed to show up, the speeding charge would be dropped. She glanced at her watch, the knot of tension tightening again as she thought of the appointments she was missing. While she couldn't afford the time waiting in court was taking, she could afford another ticket even less."Tessa Howard," the bailiff called her to the bench.Tessa stood, refastened the button on her suit jacket, and tugged down the skirt that had ridden up her thighs. She swung her straight blond hair over her shoulder. The hair flip, as usual, attracted male attention. From her career in telecommunication salesand her maternal grandmotherTessa had learned that a smart woman used her brains and her femininity to get what she wanted. Of course, neither of them had gotten her out of her ticket. Yet.She drew in a deep breath. After crawling over the other people in her row, she stepped into the aisle and, heels clicking on the tile floor, approached the bench."You're in my court again, Ms. Howard," the judge commented as she approached. "Speeding?""No, sir, I wasn't speeding. The officer must have confused my car with someone else's," she insisted. What was it that Nana Howard had always claimed?A lie well told and stuck to is just as good as the truth.Her grandmother had freely imparted her sometimes unconventional bits of wisdoms. Nana-isms had probably prepared Tessa more for her career than the marketing classes at Lakewood Community College had.A smile tugged up the corner of the judge's mouth, softening the older man's austere face. "Is that true, Lieutenant Michalski?"Tessa's heart skipped a beat. She'd thought she was home free, that the uptight lieutenant had been too busy to make her little court date Her pulse quickened as she realized he stood right beside her, his long, muscular body clad in the black uniform of the Lakewood, Michigan Police Department. She tilted her head to see his face.He'd lost the sunglasses he'd worn the day he had pulled her over, but still she couldn't see his eyes. He stared straight ahead, as completely uninterested in her as he had been when he'd given her the ticket. She hadn't been able to flirt her way out of this violation, as she had some others."Lieutenant Michalski?" the judge prodded him."Ms. Howard's SUV was the only vehicle within radar range. She was definitely the one speeding.""I wasn't going as fast as you said," she persisted."Eleven miles over the speed limit," he stated unequivocallyand correctly."But eleven miles " Wasn't that many over the limitit certainly wasn't as reckless as he had claimed it was. She wouldneverdrive recklessly. Too many people depended on her."Eleven miles over is still speeding, Ms. Howard. The ticket stands," the judge ruled. "Pay your fine.""Your Honor, please," she beseeched him. "I had a good reason for speeding." Which she had tried to tell Lieutenant Michalski, but he hadn't cared."So now youwerespeeding, Ms. Howard? A minute ago you assured me you weren't," the judge reminded her."But " She bit her lip and refrained from explaining that her mother's car had broken down. As the lieutenant had said when she'd offered him the excuse, her mother should have called the Auto Club instead of Tessa.But Tessa actually had been on the way to pick up her younger brother, Kevin, not her mother. Recognizing an unsympathetic listener, she hadn't bothered explaining about her teenage brother and that if someone didn't pick him up from high school, he would disappear for the