Laws of Attraction

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She's a lawyer, he's an ex-con

Derek Malone makes a bold proposition; unlimited sex with Emily Larson for six weeks in exchange for relinquishing his right to sue Emily’s father, the corrupt prosecutor who railroaded him into prison. But he never figured he’d lose his heart to the dynamic public defender with the courage to accept his wicked offer . . .

Emily Larson can hardly believe she agreed to Derek’s audacious scheme. But she knows it’s just sex and that suits her just fine. There’s no room for the emotional chaos of jealousy or heartache. Derek is just a drop-dead sexy guy who knows how to cook—in the kitchen and in the bedroom. But he’s a little bit dangerous, and makes no secret of his desire for revenge against her father. Emily cannot allow herself to trust him, even as she finds herself falling deeper under the spell of his devilish charm.

Read an excerpt:

The door banged open and Emily bristled, expecting another barrage of questions.

But it wasn’t a reporter. A man strode through the women's restroom doors, his sky-blue eyes pinned on her. And not just any man. Emily’s heart skipped a beat.

“Hello Emily.”

She turned away from the sink and faced him, but said nothing.

He advanced with purpose, and before Emily could stop herself, she stepped backward.

Mistake number one. Don’t show fear. Her back met the cold tile wall.

“Derek Malone.” Memories from that summer flashed, revealing a younger, more arrogant Derek. Now, though no less handsome, his eyes were guarded. They held more than a fair share of anguish. If anything, the lines of age and hardship made him even more handsome.

There were rumors that during his incarceration he’d received marriage proposals from women he didn’t even know, and lonely, horny strangers lined up to offer “unofficial” conjugal visits.

“Long time no see.”

“Not long enough.” Emily knew his case as well as she knew the gorgeous planes of his face. Some of the files she’d caught her father trying to destroy revealed evidence of testimony manipulation in Derek’s trial, a trial that four years ago, she’d been completely ignorant of. Had her father hid it from her to keep her out of his business, or because he didn’t want her thinking about the boy she’d been forbidden to date?

If she’d known Derek was on trial, would she have looked into her father’s underhanded methods back then?

Derek’s was one of three overturned convictions resulting from the investigation into her father’s actions, and though she’d never say so out loud, she couldn’t help but feel the four years he spent in prison were her fault for not discovering her father's crimes sooner.

Of course, sleeping with that under-aged bimbo was all on him.

“You probably think I’m here to thank you.” Mockery rang in his voice.

He stalked directly across the restroom floor and planted his hand on the wall beside her head. She swallowed so hard her head bobbed up and down. Mistake number two.

“In the women’s restroom?”

He pressed close. Another inch, and he’d pin her to the wall with his muscular body. He was clean shaven and smelled lightly of minty cologne. That scent, and its hints of familiarity swirled around her, rocking her back in time. Had he looked this good back then? He couldn’t have, or she’d never have let her father forbid her to see him.

Black, wavy hair brushed the collar of his shirt. The shirtsleeves were rolled to the elbows, revealing the tight chords in his forearms. Even under the pale blue cotton that made his eyes stand out more brilliantly than the sky, his broad shoulders and the bulge of well-formed biceps were obvious. He’d spent the last four years lifting weights and avoiding trouble in prison.

Those amazing eyes flicked down to her lips. “Nice comment to the press. Too bad you didn’t mean it.”

So he’d been following her. The fear swirling in her gut increased two levels.

“I meant it. No one is above the law.”

He snorted. “Right.”

“My father is in prison.”

“Your father is at a country club for the rich and privileged.”

She didn’t argue. It was essentially true. But her father was a fifty-eight year-old white-collar criminal with influential friends in the court system and ties to the community. He wasn’t a physical threat to the public, or a flight risk.

Derek Malone had done hard time in one of California’s most brutal prisons.

“Why are you here, Mr. Malone?” Emily hoped he couldn’t hear the quaver she felt in her voice.

He laughed. “Mr. Malone? In high school you called me Derek, until the first time you touched my dick. Then you called me Bull.”

She narrowed her eyes.

The thin mask of pleasantness in his face vanished. He eased closer yet, and his leg slipped between hers. “I spent four years in prison for a rape I didn’t commit. I think I deserve what I paid for.”

Black spots popped into her vision. She could hardly draw a breath. “So you’ve come here to rape me, is that it?” Emily’s pulse thundered in her ears. Had those words really come out of her own mouth?

He frowned. “Of course not.”

The door swished open. A woman peeked in, a camera man looming behind her. It was Rita Ward, the snarky reporter from channel 4.

Derek shot a glare over his shoulder. “Get out!”

The woman backed out and the door eased closed.

Rita had seen her, too, but it didn’t relieve Emily’s fear. Derek’s anger seeped out of every pore like a living, breathing thing.

“I’m owed retribution. I’m going to get it, one way or another.”

Enough was enough. She hadn’t fought her way up the corporate ladder through a jungle of chauvinistic bravado only to turn into a shrinking violet now.

She squared her shoulders. “What do you want from me?”

“A private moment, alone.”

“We’re having that now.” Her voice still trembled, like it used to during her first year in court. The man had turned her into a jumpy novice all over again.

“A longer moment.” Malone cocked a slow, lazy grin. “Six weeks, to be exact. A day for every month I spent in prison.”

A moment of confusion passed. He was crazy. Then his eyes slid down her body slowly, appraisingly, and understanding clicked.

 

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Copyright Crystal Kauffman
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