As chief legal council for Project Justice, widow Raleigh Shinn doesn't seem the type to accept bribes. Still, Griffin Benedict has an anonymous tip that points to her guilt. And if he wants to make the move to national news anchor, he needs a sensational story.
But nothing is as it seems. Including the do-good lawyer. Underneath shapeless suits and oversize glasses hides an exceptional beauty. Now Griffin not only seeks an exclusive, he wants to uncover Raleigh's secrets for himself.
When lies turn to attempted murder, they must hunt down the truth together...to prove her innocence, protect an honest man and save both their lives.
Raleigh Shinn hesitated on the sidewalk outside the coffee shop, her palms damp, her chest tight. She hadn't been this nervous since she'd argued a case before the Texas Supreme Court.
She so much preferred to be the one asking the questions. But she had committed to the interview; she couldn't weasel out.
Raleigh did not like the media. Even when she fought for a popular cause, the press often described her as a bulldog, a terrier, or a sexless, humorless legal machine.
Those descriptions were, perhaps, not entirely undeserved. But now, she needed some good press, because her current cause was decidedly unpopular. It would take a tidal wave of evidence to get the D.A. to reopen the case of Anthony Simonetti, currently sitting on death row for supposedly gunning down his girlfriend in a cold-blooded act of premeditation. Raleigh wanted public sentiment squarely on her side when she made her argument.
Griffin Benedict, roving investigative reporter for the Houston Telegram, could turn public opinion. He was immensely popular—almost a celebrity in his own right. People believed what he wrote. He could help her cause.
Or he could crucify her. She had to take her chances.
After a deep, fortifying breath, she entered Legal Grounds, a coffee shop near the Harris County Courthouse.
She spotted him immediately. Even if she hadn't seen his picture, she would have known he was the one. He was the only man sitting alone, and he was staring right at her.
Lord have mercy, he was gorgeous.
That thought surprised her. She didn't normally think of men in terms of their looks. She sometimes sized up a client's appearance and how it would play with a judge or jury, but she couldn't remember the last time she had found a man attractive.
Griffin Benedict's sexual magnetism hit her like a fog bank, momentarily disorienting her. Brown hair, longish and with a rakish wave, framed a square-jawed, tanned face. The nose had a slight bump, as if it had been broken. Mouth, sensual. That was the adjective that leaped to mind, although she wasn't sure what made it so.
His broad shoulders filled out a button-down shirt rolled up to the elbows, open at the throat, tucked into well-worn jeans. Scuffed cowboy boots, of course.
He continued to stare at her, frowning slightly, and she shook herself out of her stupor. Eyes forward, posture erect. She had to show quiet confidence. She strode forward, hand outstretched. "Mr. Benedict."
He stood and flashed a welcoming smile, his large hand swallowing hers before giving it a firm shake. Either his hand was very warm, or hers was cold. Would he note that? Would he attribute her lack of circulation to nerves? Although it was late September, the weather was still warm, no reason for cold hands.
"Ms. Shinn. Good to meet you. Would you like something to drink? I was just going to get myself a coffee."
"No, thank you."
"Be right back, then."
He was tall, well over six feet. She was five-nine, and she wore heels, so she didn't often look up to people. She watched him walk up to the counter with an easy saunter and then tore her eyes away when she realized she'd focused too long on the way his backside filled out those faded jeans.
Maybe she should have ordered hot tea. It would give her something to do with her hands. But her choice of drink revealed something about her psyche, and she wanted to avoid that. This interview was about her work.
When Benedict returned to the table, he held two steaming cups.
"You must be very thirsty," she said.
"The tea is for you. In case you change your mind."
Raleigh's whole body tingled. How had he known hot tea would be her beverage of choice? Lucky guess? She did not...