Authors: Ann Jacobs
Book 1 in the
Courthouse Connections series, a spin-off from Lawyers in Love.
Lanie Winstead is
sort of married to a senator who isn’t what he seems. And she’s carrying on a
torrid affair with hot corporate lawyer JD Ackerman. Something’s got to give
when her affair is brought to her inattentive husband’s attention.
But wait. Suddenly
the senator is dead and secrets start unraveling as Lanie is accused of his
murder. JD will do anything—anything—to protect his lover, even if it means
revealing a tangle of lies and deceptions that will tear them all asunder.
Contains a graphic gay BDSM scene, not for the faint of heart.
suspense erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave
Everybody seemed to be paired off after the
morning session, most of the lawyers combining a weekend of continuing
education at this luxurious beach resort on Key West with a getaway with a
Lanie Winstead sighed. She had a
husband—sort of—but no significant other. Still, she felt weird, having told
Wayne yesterday morning before coming here that she couldn’t go on any longer
with the marriage-that-never-had-been. Adrift, twenty-eight years old with a
fledgling law practice and her husband’s blessing to go her own way while he
went his, she envied the couples who seemed to take their happiness for granted.
Alone. That was how she felt now but it
wasn’t all that much different from the way she’d been for the past eight
years, envied for being married to the popular state senator. At the same time
she’d had to take care so no one would guess that they lived separate lives but
for the public moments they shared in the limelight of political rallies and
other media events.
Restless, she finished the fruity drink
she’d been sipping and headed out for a walk along the beach. Unlike some of
the unescorted women she’d talked to during breaks in the seminar schedule, she
hadn’t come alone to troll for a bedmate. Not that she couldn’t, of course,
because even before she’d asked Wayne for a divorce they’d both been free to enjoy
sex whenever, however and wherever they chose—as long as they did it
When she stepped onto the long pier that
jutted out into the Gulf of Mexico, she spotted what looked like another
solitary soul who’d escaped temporarily from the Florida Bar’s continuing
education seminars. She couldn’t put her finger on exactly what it was that had
attracted her attention to the big, dark-haired corporate lawyer. He looked
more like an NFL player than the successful corporate attorney he was—a partner
in the prestigious Tampa firm of Winston, Roe and Associates. She didn’t know
him well, but they’d been introduced at a recent fundraiser for Wayne’s
She couldn’t deny that sex appeal oozed
from every inch of his muscular six-foot six-inch frame. A lot of his appeal
was in his dark-brown wavy hair that tempted her to run her fingers through it.
What drew her to him most, though, was the shuttered expression in eyes that
reminded her of rich, dark chocolate. She looked with envy at a fringe of
eyelashes she knew most women would die to have for themselves.
But it wasn’t just that JD Ackerman looked
good enough to devour whole. The look of sadness in his gorgeous eyes made her
want to gather him in her arms, comfort him and wipe away the quiet despair
that shadowed his expression.
As though he were a magnet, he drew Lanie
closer until she stopped beside him and looked out over the calm aqua water. A
few yards away a pair of bottle-nosed dolphins cavorted, apparently oblivious
to the gentle waves, the Gulf tide’s ebb and flow. A pelican swooped across the
surface of the water, dived, came up with a hapless fish.
JD turned to her as though he’d just
noticed her presence at his side. “You’re Elaine Winstead, aren’t you? I
noticed you in the lecture on torts this morning.”
At the deep, compelling tone of his voice,
she met his gaze and thought she saw the slightest easing of whatever it was
that made him so sad, perhaps even the beginnings of a healthy interest in her
as a woman. “Yes. My name is Elaine but everybody calls me Lanie. If I’m not
mistaken you’re JD Ackerman. I believe we met at a political event a few months
“You’re right. I’m surprised the senator
didn’t join you this weekend. It’s a great place to bring a spouse—almost like
a tropical honeymoon paradise.”
Yes it was, only not for the sort of couple
she and Wayne had been. “Wayne and I have separated. Not many people know it
“I’m sorry. Losing a loved one is
difficult, however that loss occurs.” He paused as though wondering if he
wanted to continue their conversation. “Would you like to join me for a walk
along the beach?”
“I’d like that.” She glanced at his left
hand, saw the telltale pale circle on his finger that said louder than words
that he’d worn a ring there for a long time and removed it very recently. “I
take it you came here alone too.”
“I do pretty much everything by myself
these days. My wife died a little over a year ago. We weren’t blessed with
“God, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything.”
He stopped and rested both hands on her
shoulders. “Yes you should. When I saw you walking along the pier looking a
little bit lost, I felt something other than grief for the first time since
Miriam died. Before you came up to me, I was thinking how it would feel to dive
into the water, swim and swim and swim until I couldn’t go any farther—how it
would feel to let the Gulf claim me.”
“You were thinking of joining your wife?”
Lanie couldn’t believe that. Not really. JD was too strong, too alive…
“No. Not that. I don’t believe in
resurrection or life after death, not really. I was thinking more about…just
ending a life that I’d begun to believe was no longer worth living. Does that
She’d never known love like he must have
lost. Never known love at all except the silent devotion of the felines Wayne
always complained she treated like children. For long moments she held JD’s
solemn gaze, trying to formulate an honest reply.
“Yes. No. I don’t know, JD. I’m glad I came
along, though, if me running into you helped make you want to stick around.”
She tried for a light tone as she twisted the engagement and wedding rings
Wayne had insisted that she keep, realizing she had nothing other than casual
friendship and perhaps the use of her body to drive away the pain that still
was evident in the faraway look on JD’s handsome face.
Not now in any case.
“It did. How about that walk? I’m game if
you are.” He dropped his hands off her shoulders and took her right hand in his
left as he adjusted his long stride to accommodate her shorter one.
* * * * *
Afternoon conference sessions forgotten,
they walked for hours along a nearly deserted stretch of white sand dotted with
sea grapes and driftwood. Near the water they paused to look for shells in
piles of seaweed left ashore by an earlier high tide. Holding hands now, their
fingers laced together as the tropical sun gave way to a harvest moon, they
were mostly silent yet she soon felt they were kindred souls.
Pausing and focusing out over the calm Gulf
waters, he told her about his wife’s long illness and death, as though by doing
so he relieved some of the burden on his heart.
“Don’t be sad for Miriam. By the time she
died, she’d spent the last six months begging for death with every breath. I felt
relief for her when she died but that didn’t stop me from grieving. I still
wake up some mornings reaching out for her—we were that close. I’m sure that
separating from a spouse is almost as hard,” he told Lanie with a hint of a
smile on his handsome face.
She shook her head. “No grief here. Maybe a
few regrets but my separation put an end to an untenable situation.”
“Now I’m the one who’s sorry for making you
look so deep in thought.”
“Our marriage was always one of mutual
convenience.” Lanie hoped that was sufficient explanation for her lack of the
angst that seemed to go with the breaking-up of marriages.
Although she’d known JD for only a few
hours, it felt to her as if they were old friends, comfortable with each other
despite an undercurrent of sexual tension that grew stronger with every
moment—so strong it became impossible to ignore.
It seemed right, perfectly natural, when JD
bought a beach towel and something in a shiny foil package from a nearby vendor.
When he found a deserted section of sand that was sheltered on two sides by a
stand of sea grapes, he bent and spread the towel. “Join me, Lanie,” he said,
stretching out his long body until his lower legs hung over the end of the
towel in the powdery sand.
When he spoke, a quiet but unmistakable
demand, she couldn’t help but obey. She drank in the beauty of his taut,
muscular body as she kneeled beside him and traced the length of a whitened
scar that went from his left shoulder blade nearly to his armpit. “That must
have hurt,” she said, meeting his intent gaze.
“It did. I tore up my shoulder playing
football my senior year in college. What’s hurting me now is this, though.” He
took her hand and dragged it across his belly, over his swim trunks and on to
his impressive cock, letting out a groan when she encircled him with both hands
and explored his turgid, throbbing length. “It’s been a long time since I
wanted to make love, but you can tell how much I need you now.”
His frank need fueled her own. A need to
make love, he’d said, not fuck, though the emotion he was feeling certainly
couldn’t be love in the hearts-and-flowers, happily-ever-after sense that
fantasy authors tried to sell in the romance novels she’d read. JD wore his
grief like a shroud that he was just beginning to shed.
No, what was happening between them wasn’t
love. But that didn’t matter. “I want you too.” The size and strength of his
erection scared her a little but she didn’t care. She’d welcome any pain that
might accompany the pleasure he’d give her.
It had been years since Lanie had had sex,
since before she’d married Wayne. Her experience before that had been sketchy
at best, furtive fucking in the backseat of a boyfriend’s car when they had both
been teenagers. She was no teenager now, and JD certainly was no horny, groping
kid. She couldn’t say whether the little shudder that went through her body was
from anticipation or fear.
JD traced the rings she still had on her
right hand, where she’d put them when Wayne had pressed them into her palm as
she left. “You’re sure? Are you having second thoughts about reconciling with
the senator? If you were mine, there’d be no way I would let you get away.”
“I’m very sure. My marriage has been in
name only for a long, long time.”
It was never anything else,
silently. To cover her nervousness, she pulled off the oversize white cotton
shirt she’d had on over her bikini. “Touch me. Please.”
The way he looked at her, as though she’d
given him a treasured prize, made her go warm and liquid inside. After
caressing her with his heated gaze, he explored her body with gentle hands.
“You’re beautiful. I’d love to keep
touching you this way all night long, but if I don’t get inside you soon I
think I may just curl up and die.” His massive hands were a little shaky as he
finished undressing her as eagerly as a little kid might dig in to a
much-awaited present from Santa. “Come here and kiss me.”
She met his gaze, saw raw desire…but
something more. A profound need that made what they were doing more than
scratching an itch, more than a chance sexual encounter in a tropical paradise
miles away from home and everyday reality. He seemed anything but a stranger
when she stretched out beside him.
And then she kissed him.
He tasted good, like citrus aftershave and
coconut sunscreen flavored with a little salt from the sea breeze. His lips, which
she’d thought had a hard set to them, felt as soft as velvet, a stark contrast
with a day’s growth of coarse facial hair.
He rolled her over on her back and got rid
of his swim shorts. She’d never understood the appeal of a naked man, but then
she’d never before seen one who looked as good as he did. He was so gorgeous
that she wanted to taste him all over as she watched him tear open the condom
and roll it down over the erection that seemed to grow bigger and harder before
“It’s been so damn long for me…hell, I want
you so much that I’m likely to go off like a cannon.” He leaned down and kissed
her hard, then managed an incongruously sweet smile. “I hope that if I do
you’ll give me a chance to do it again—with a little more finesse than I’ll be
able to manage now.”
She nodded. “That sounds great to me.”
Holding her gaze until their lips met, he
kissed her again. Then, slowly, he lowered himself over her. She loved the
heat, the weight of him as he nudged her legs apart and lay between them. “Feel
how much I want you, Lanie. There are so many things I want to do to bring you
pleasure, things I will do when we’re in the privacy of a bedroom instead of
out here where anybody could walk by.”
Lanie gasped when he entered her in one
quick, hard thrust.
JD stopped immediately, mumbled an apology
against her lips. “Sorry, sweetheart. I wouldn’t have hurt you for the world.”
The pain soon ebbed, leaving her with a
full feeling, a need for all he had to give. “Make love to me, JD. Please.”
When he began to move she wrapped her legs
around his lean waist. Nothing mattered but the way it felt, the ebb and flow
of his body in hers, much like that of the tide going in and out.
So this was what good sex was all about. If
she’d known, she never would have gone without for so damn long. A tingling
sensation started in her pussy and spread. Oh God, did it spread.
“Don’t stop. Don’t ever stop. That feels
incredible.” She clutched him harder, strained against him as wave after wave
of delicious sensation coursed through her body.
“Go with it, sweetheart.” He fucked her
deeper, harder as she writhed beneath him. “Come for me again. Oh fuck, I can’t
hold back.” He stiffened above her, his muscles bulging as he let go. As she
lay there, she cradled his spent body against her, enjoying the quiet
I just had my first climax,
she thought, listening to the pounding of the Gulf on the nearby
shore that mocked the rhythmic thump-thump of his heart and hers in perfect