Authors: Kristi Gold
“Characters who touch your heart and a story to match. When I finished the last page, I wanted to start reading it all over again.”
âBestselling author Jennifer Greene on
Doctor For Keeps
“Gold shines at creating characters you care about.”
âBestselling author Virginia Kantra
“Kristi Gold is one of those authors whose books you never want to miss. She touches your heart in all the right places.”
Reader to Reader Reviews
will captivate readers with its undeniably sexy hero and the combustible attraction between characters. An exceptionally well-written story that should never end.”
Reviewers' Choice Award
“Kristi Gold combines her trademark larger-than-life hero with the Barone Dynasty's sensuous plot and comes up big in
Expecting The Sheikh's Baby.”
Expecting the Sheikh's Baby,
2004 National Readers' Choice Winner, Best Short Contemporary Series
Don't miss Signature Select's exciting series:
The Fortunes of Texas: Reunion
Starting in June 2005, get swept up in twelve new stories from your favorite family!
COWBOY AT MIDNIGHT by Ann Major
A BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING by Marie Ferrarella
IN THE ARMS OF THE LAW by Peggy Moreland
LONE STAR RANCHER by Laurie Paige
THE GOOD DOCTOR by Karen Rose Smith
THE DEBUTANTE by Elizabeth Bevarly
KEEPING HER SAFE by Myrna Mackenzie
THE LAW OF ATTRACTION by Kristi Gold
ONCE A REBEL by Sheri WhiteFeather
MILITARY MAN by Marie Ferrarella
FORTUNE'S LEGACY by Maureen Child
THE RECKONING by Christie Ridgway
I was thrilled to be invited to participate in THE FORTUNES OF TEXAS: REUNION with my contribution,
The Law of Attraction,
for several reasons: I'm a born and bred Texan, San Antonio is one of my favorite cities, I enjoy working with authors to bring together a satisfying series, and I'm admittedly a television courtroom drama addict.
This story features Daniel Fortune, a dynamic San Antonio assistant D.A. who has designs on being the next District Attorney, and Alisha Hart, who left corporate law to become a champion of justice for the common folk. Take these two passionate attorneys, pit them against each other on a high-profile case, add a good dose of chemistry, and you're bound to have fireworks inside and out of the courtroom. As an added bonus, that high-profile case involves an infamous exhibitionist known as the “San Antonio Streaker,” an element that lends itself to more than a little humor, and a whole lot of fun. And I admit to having had more than my share of fun writing this book.
Needless to say, quite a bit of research on Texas law was involved and I've tried to make the legal process as accurate as possible. However, I'm a writer, not an attorney, so I did use a little creative license in the courtroom scenes for the sake of entertainment.
I invite you to get ready for a wild ride, and I do hope you enjoy
The Law of Attraction
as much as I've enjoyed writing it!
Many thanks to family friend and future attorney, Wes B., for pointing me in the right direction. Any errors in legal procedure I might have made are definitely my own.
To Kathie DeNosky, one of the most talented authors and best friends I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.
can't believe you spent all day with the naked guy.”
For once Alisha Hart was thankful for the barroom buzz drowning out the cute and somewhat cocky Joe Alvarado's comment. Unfortunately her current law clerk had a definite lack of decorum at times. But he worked cheap, and with her fledgling law practice, cheap was all she could afford.
Moving her glass of champagne aside, Alisha folded her hands before her on the scuffed wooden table and frowned. “Do you think perhaps we could call him Mr. Masseyâhis appropriate nameâinstead of âthe naked guy'?”
Joe loosened his tie, reclined in the high-backed chair and chugged another drink of beer. “I just call 'em like I see 'em. And let's face it, plenty of San Antonio's good citizens have seen him. All of him.”
“Not all of him.”
He forked a fast hand through his dark hair and gave her his usual impatient scowl. “Okay. Most of him.”
Alisha couldn't argue that point, but she would soon have to argue the now infamous case of the “San Antonio Streaker.” Without an official public defender's office in the county, she'd qualified to be added to the list of practicing attorneys willing to represent those who couldn't afford private counsel. Just her luck of the draw that she'd been assigned as Les Massey's public defender. True, the man had posed almost in the buff at several notable tourist attractions, but he'd been clever enough to keep certain parts of his anatomy covered. As far as Alisha was concerned, he might be a misguided man on a mission, but he was within his rights to express himself, even if he freely expressed himself practically naked.
“Regardless of what he's done,” she told Joe, “he's still a client and deserves my attention.”
“More or less a nonpaying client.”
Alisha recognized that Les Massey would soon receive the benefit of her services without handing over a dime of his own moneyâas if he had anyâcourtesy of the state of Texas. “That's what the system is all about, Joe. Solid legal representation for the indigent. The âlittle guy,' so to speak.”
He let go a strident laugh. “From what I hear, Les wouldn't be considered a âlittle guy.' Rumor has it that was one long coonskin tail he had covering his goods during his little show at the Alamo. Have you seen any evidence of that?”
“Oh, dear God, Joe. I'm not even going to go there.” Granted, Alisha had been mildly curious, but she suspected that the legend of Les's “goods” had been blown totally out of proportion. And even though he would be considered a fine specimen, with his buff body and surfer-blond hair, she wasn't interested in his “goods” or any other aspect of his person. Besides, he was seven years her junior, rarely utilized all three of his brain cells at once and was a little too smarmy for her selective taste in men. “Can we change the subject now?”
“Sure. Let's play Twenty Questions. Guess who just walked in?”
“Nope. Not yet.” He leaned forward. “I'll give you a hint. He's practically a legend in legal circles.”
Couldn't be Les, unless he'd escaped from jail. “I give up.”
“Would you believe the big man himself?”
“Isn't it a little late for Santa?”
“Try Daniel Fortune.”
Great. Just what she neededâthe man who delighted in pushing all her hot buttons whenever the opportunity presented itself. The man who ruled the criminal courts like a king. The man she wanted to cling to like cheap plastic wrap every time he came near herâa fact that would remain a secret to everyone, especially the senior assistant district attorney.
“Well, I should've known the iceman cometh,” Alisha said, trying to keep her tone nonchalant. “The temperature just dropped a few degrees in here.” In reality, her body temperature had risen to rainforest proportions.
“He's brilliant,” Joe said. “One of the best prosecutors in the state.”
One of the best-looking prosecutors in the country. “Yes, he's got a good record.” And a great butt.
“Don't look now, but he's heading this way.”
Alisha battled the urge to look and she won out for the time being. Maybe Mr. Fortune would keep walking right on past her. Maybe then she could sneak another peek at his derriere.
Joe slapped his palms on the edge of the table, startling Alisha. “I'm going to go to the boys' room, then give Julie a call. If she doesn't get here quick, she's going to miss the festivities.”
Alisha wanted to ask him to please stay, which was totally absurd. Chances were the esteemed A.D.A. wouldn't even bother to say hello. And even if he did, her obligation only required she be polite and toss out a few insults if necessary. “Fine. I'll be here when you get back.”
Trying to appear relaxed, she turned her attention to the
wide-screen TV across the room and pretended to watch the Times Square globe beginning its descent, signaling the arrival of the new year on the East Coast. Pretended not to be at all concerned that the preeminent attorney was somewhere on the premises. Pretended she didn't care where he was or what he was doing, even if she did. She'd just sit there and blend into the surroundingsânot at all that difficult considering she had blending in down to a fine art in crowded bars.
“Hey, Hart, did you really get the guy with the big schlong?”
Following a spattering of laughter, Alisha's gaze snapped to the man posing the query seated two tables overâthe lard-bellied lawyer, Billy Wade Carlisle, not board certified in anything since “bottom feeder” had yet to be designated as a specialty. Right now she would like to take his ratty toupee and stuff it in an orifice where no toupee belonged.
So much for remaining anonymous. Of course, the place was rather loud and a bit rowdy tonight. With any luck, Mr. Fortune hadn't heard Billy Wade's brilliant query.
“Looks like you could use a drink.”
The sound of his voice coming from behind her, deep and downright deadly, drew Alisha's complete attention. So did the very masculine hand that slid a glass of champagne before her. She visually tracked his navy coat sleeve up to his wide shoulder and, against better judgment, continued on to his eyes. Tonight those eyes looked dark even though she knew they were greenânot crystalline green but a deep green that at times looked almost brown, other times green-gold, depending on the lighting. Intense eyes that shouted power. Considering the definite cast of amusement in his gaze, no doubt he was about to contribute to her status as current courthouse laughingstock.
“Don't even start, Counselor,” Alisha muttered.
He had the nerve to look innocentâand stunning, with his brown hair combed back in neat layers and his jaw surrounded by a spattering of evening whiskers. “Start what?”
“Your commentary on my recent appointment to represent Mr. Massey.”
He moved beside the table, giving her the full effect of his striking face. “No commentary involved. I just wanted to buy you a drink.”
She tried to look pleasant and calm despite her frenzied pulse. “Thank you, but I still have one.”
“Save it to toast the new year.”
The drink would probably be warm by then, and that definitely complemented her current state at the moment. “I appreciate it.”
He surveyed her face from forehead to chin before centering his gaze on her eyes. “I take it you're getting your share of digs about the streaker.”
Alisha rimmed her glass with a fingertip, purposefully avoiding his gaze. “He doesn't streak, he poses.”
“Poses until he evades the authorities, then he streaks.”
“I'm not going to give you any details about my defense, if that's what you're after.”
“I'm only wondering how you're handling all the
Cute. Real cute. She risked a quick look at him to find him sporting a half smile. “I assure you, I'm handling it fine.” As fine as she could with an extreme exhibitionist who enjoyed strutting like the cock of the walk, something she'd discovered during the first encounter with Les Massey at his arraignment.
Daniel propped his hand on the back of her chair and leaned closer. “Just another quick question.”
He was nothing if not persistent. And darned if he didn't smell good, too. “I said I'm not going toâ”
“Are you alone?”
she wasn't expectingâa query posed in a provocative tone that sounded as if he was quite capable, and willing, to end her solitude.
Fortunately Joe picked that moment to return to the table, prompting Alisha to spout out, “I'm with him,” followed by
a wave of her hand in the clerk's direction. After all, Daniel Fortune didn't have to know that her companion was blissfully married. She certainly didn't want him to think that she was so pathetic she'd been forced to spend New Year's Eve without a date, even if she had been dateless for some time now.
In the blink of an eye, the A.D.A. straightened and restored himself to consummate professional. The iceman returneth. “Good to see you again, Mr. Alvarado.”
“Same here.” Joe shook Daniel's offered hand with gusto and grinned like a down-and-out miner who'd struck gold. “The way you handled the Richardson case last year was amazing. I still don't know how you managed to get a conviction without the victim's body.”
“I owe it to the San Antonio PD's spotless investigation.”
Good answer, and good grief. When Alisha noticed Joe's starstruck expression, she expected him to fall prostrate at the A.D.A.'s feet and kiss the large shoes he walked in. “Joe, I'm sure Mr. Fortune would just as soon forget about work tonight.”
“You're right, and I'm being rude.” Joe gestured toward the chair next to Alisha. “Why don't you join us? My wife should be here in a minute.”
So much for Alisha's pretense that Joe was her date. Daniel sent her a quick glance, as if asking her permission to join the party, which she didn't give, and not because she wouldn't like to have him join them. Because she
like for him to join them, and that wasn't necessarily advisable. Considering her status as a part-time public defender and his as full-time defender of the public, for all intents and purposes they were enemies. Especially now with the high-profile Massey case hanging over her and his office in charge of convicting him, not to mention her unwelcome attraction to the prosecutor.
For what seemed liked infinity, he simply stared at her and she stared back, until she heard, “Sorry I'm late.”
Alisha released her gaze on Daniel to find Julie Alvarado standing at the table, all five feet six inches of head-turning
brunette. The kind of woman you wanted to hateâmodel-beautifulâbut was simply too nice to despise. A social worker who devoted her life to protecting children and spoiling her husband. “Hi, Julie. We were starting to worry you might not get here in time.”
“I was beginning to wonder, too.” Julie tossed her bag on the table and leaned to give Joe a kiss. “Sorry, honey. I had something I had to take care of tonight. An emergency removal of three kids. What a way to end the year.”
Joe stood and wrapped an arm around her shoulder, looking very proud, and rightfully so. “Mr. Fortune, this is my wife, Julie. Julie, this is Daniel Fortune.”
“We've met,” Julie said. “I testified during one of your trials.”
“The Henson trial,” Daniel said. “That was a tough one.”
Julie regarded Joe again. “The one where the boyfriend put his girlfriend's five-year-old daughter into a coma because she spilled her juice on his CD collection.”
Alisha inwardly cringed when she recalled the details she'd only read about. Thank God she'd still been working at her former firm defending rich executives involved in white-collar crimes, and that so far when appointed by the court she'd only represented misdemeanor offenses and not heinous felonies.
“Are you sure you don't want to join us?” Joe pointed to the empty chair beside Alisha. “We can count down together.”
Alisha counted to ten before Daniel said, “Maybe some other time. Enjoy the rest of the evening.”
With another glance at Alisha, he strode away with blatant confidence, his wide shoulders straight, his large hands dangling at his sides, while heads turned as he passed. No doubt about it, he was a natural attention-getter. He'd certainly gotten hers on more than one occasion.
After Julie sat down beside Joe, Alisha pushed the glass of
champagne, compliments of the A.D.A., toward her. “Take this. I still have some left.”
Julie exchanged a veiled look with her husband. “I don't care for any champagne, but I guess it will work for a toast.” She held the flute aloft. “To the new year. May it not royally suck.”
They all touched their glasses together with a shared “Here, here.” Joe and Alisha took sips of their drinks while Julie merely pushed the untouched glass aside.
Joe narrowed his eyes and said to Alisha, “That Daniel Fortune is something else. You should do him, Hart.”
She nearly gasped. “Why would you even think such a thing?”
He looked at her as if she'd just plummeted several rungs on the intelligence ladder. “Because he wants you.”
What a colossal joke. “Oh, sure he does.”
“Don't be obtuse, Alisha,” Joe said. “I saw the way he was looking at you. In fact, I've seen him look at you that way before at the courthouse. He treats everyone else with indifference, but he treats you like he'd like to get into your drawersâand not the ones in your file cabinet.”
She shrugged off the remark. “He razzes me because he doesn't like defense attorneys.”
Joe sighed. “Jeez, Hart. Have you been out of the dating loop so long that you don't recognize a few come-ons? The guy's got a hardâ”
Julie slapped a hand over Joe's mouth. “My husband is trying to sayâand failing miserablyâthat Daniel Fortune's hot for you.”