For powerful emotion and unforgettable romance Sharon Sala canât be beat. This beautifully repackaged classic is sure to delight her long-time fans and attract new ones!
Jackson Rule had spent nearly half his life behind bars for murder. Now he was starting over--or trying to. Once he laid hungry eyes on his new employer, though, his resolve to lead a simple solitary life deserted him, replaced by yearnings for fierce, forbidden passion.
Preacherâs daughter Rebecca Hill was raised to give folks the benefit of the doubt--though maybe this time sheâd taken charity a bit too far. True Jackson Rule had paid his debt to society, and was a hard, honest worker. What threatened to undo her was the sheer burning desire she felt in his presence, and the sinking feeling that her heart would be his captive forever.
The urge to run was overwhelming. But AndrewJackson Rule had not survived the past fifteen years ina maximum security prison by running, and so hewalked through the last set of locked gates leading tothe outside world as if he didn't care that this was thefirst breath of free air he would be taking since his sixteenthbirthday.
The security guard accompanying him seemed jittery.Jackson knew that he'd garnered a reputation insidefor being a hard-ass. But he didn't care. It hadkept him alive and more or less in one piece, if youdidn't count the scars, both inner and outer, that hewas taking with him.
Jackson Rule had been convicted of only one crime,but it had been an unforgivable act against God andsociety -- even in the minds of the most hardened ofinmates -- and one to which he had calmly confessedwithout blinking an eye.
Finally, they were at the gate. The guard paused,eyeing Jackson Rule's new denim pants and jacket -- compliments of the state of Louisiana -- and the plain white T-shirt he wore beneath it. He glanced down atJackson's shiny new boots and then handed him theduffel bag containing all of his worldly possessions.
"Here you go, Rule. Don't forget to write," theguard said, and then snickered at his own joke.
Jackson took the bag, but the look he gave the guardsilenced the man's chuckle. Then Jackson turned,squinting against the searing heat and the barely stirring,thick sultry air. He stared through the massiveiron bars, waiting for the gates to swing open and givehim his first unimpeded sight of Louisiana in almosthalf of his life.
When the gates began to move, Jackson's heartbegan to pound in rhythm to the movement, but hedidn't take a step. Finally they stood ajar, and hemoved through them as swiftly as he'd passed fromhis mother's body on the day he'd been born.
At thirty-one, Jackson Rule was birthed anew in thebright light of day. He had lost his youth inside thehigh walls of Angola State Penitentiary, but he had notlost himself.
Unfortunately, his sister, Molly, who was four yearshis senior, could not say the same. She was as lost as awoman could be. According to her doctors, who hadbeen the source of Jackson's only outside contact forthe entirety of his sentence, she went through the motionsof living, but without truly participating. But itwas to be expected. Nearly all of the patients in theNew Orleans home where she lived were missing afew active brain cells.
Tunica, the city nearest the prison, was located justoff the banks of the mighty Mississippi. If one lookedcarefully, remnants of the Old South and the grandeurit once stood for could be seen, but not on the dusty path that led to the bus stop. Louisiana dust coatedJackson's new boots with a dirty brown pall, and inhonor of his arrival, the sickly breath of wind managedto lift the long hair hanging down the back of his neck.It whipped wildly in the wind like the wings of a hoveringcrow. So shiny. So black.
His expression was bland, but his mind was in turmoil.Now that the long-awaited day of his release wasat hand, the memories that came with freedom weremore than he'd bargained for. He tried, without success,to remember Molly in happier times, but hecouldn't get past his last image of her, covered in theblood of their father and screaming until there was nobreath left in her body.
Angry with the morbid thoughts, he lengthened hisstride. When he finally looked up, he was at the busstop. An empty bench beckoned. But Jackson had nointention of spending his first free minutes outside ofthe penitentiary on his ass. He had places to go and asister to see. And as he thought of her again, he knewthat theirs would not be a simple reunion.
Ah God, Molly, how can I let you see me...