Book Title: Trusting Love Again
Publisher: Black Velvet Seductions
Publisher: Black Velvet Seductions
Date Published: November 8, 2015
Genre: Contemporary romance
Heat Rating: 3
Page Count: 99
All she wants is to start over, live a peaceful life…
After an abusive marriage and an ugly divorce, Toni needs to rebuild her self-confidence and start a new life in her hometown. Going home again and confronting people she’d hurt when she’d left is never easy. She’d hung onto the idea of buying a long-abandoned old house and remodeling it to help her recover. But a man from her past has recently purchased it for his business. That’s her emotional breaking point and she does something reckless. Now she must pay the legal consequences of her foolish actions…by working for him.
All he wants is to focus on his work…
Chad’s job as a lawyer working to protect the rights of the abused elderly consumes his time and energy. It cost him his marriage and an aborted child he hadn’t known about. Now he works harder, guards his bruised heart. Yet the return of someone he’d held secret feelings for comes back to town. She upsets his world, starting with minor destruction of his business property and causing him minor injury. He shouldn’t become involved in helping this troubled woman, yet he can’t keep from doing so.
Two heart-damaged people have trouble trusting love again.
The judge cleared his throat and brought Chad back to the moment, again. “You are also charged with criminal mischief, knowingly damaging property that belongs to another person. In this case, an iPad belonging to Chadwin Anderson, as well as to a sign belonging to the Anderson and Anderson law firm.”
Toni’s shoulders slumped. He wished he could stop this, but it was out of his hands at this point.
“Do you understand the charges, Ms. Thornton?”
“Yes,” Toni whispered loud enough for him to hear.
“What is your plea, Ms. Thornton? Not guilty. No contest. Guilty.” He looked intently at her. “I assume you have been told the differences.”
Toni nodded, took a second, and said, “Guilty, Your Honor.”
Chad waited as anxiously as Toni, who shifted uneasily. He knew the possible sentences and had already spoken to the judge, first in an attempt to have the charges dropped. When that hadn’t been accepted, he’d suggested a possible sentence that he could live with.
“You will pay a fine of $150 on each of the three charges, for a total of $450.” The judge gave Toni a stern look. “I know your history in this town as a teenager, and I know your family.”
Chad fought to stay seated, wanting to defend Toni somehow. Many in the town had disapproved of the almost constant mischief she’d gotten into in her teenage years. Nothing had ever been harmful to anyone or anything. The worst incident being when they’d filled the baptistery with powdered strawberry drink. She just got carried away sometimes and ran around with a group of mischief-makers. He didn’t think she should be judged by her past.
Toni trembled, making him worry about her fainting or something.
“I could sentence you to thirty days in jail.” The judge hesitated and slowly looked understanding. “Several people have come to me on your behalf.”
Who? He had, of course. But who were the others? Possibly his father. Maybe her brother, a town councilman. Maybe her father. Whoever they were, he was grateful.
Toni remained silent.
“Ms. Thornton, I sentence you to thirty days of community service, 240 hours.” He glanced at Chad. “Is this acceptable to you, Mr. Anderson?”
He stood. Toni turned to look at him, clearly wondering. “Yes, Your Honor.”
“You are also in agreement with having Ms. Thornton perform her community service by working for your law firm?”
Toni’s eyes widened and she tensed.
“Yes, Your Honor.”
“Ms. Thornton, you will begin your sentence tomorrow.” With that, the judge pounded his gavel on the bench and got up to leave.
Instead of being happy with the light, easy sentence, Toni shot Chad a sizzling look. It would be an interesting thirty days.
Starla Kaye wears many hats professionally and as a writer. She is the community coordinator for a Midwestern accounting firm, a gerontologist who volunteers with an active group of senior adults, a mentor/teacher of writing, and a multi-published author. She dabbles in writing romances of many sub-genres: contemporary, historical Western, medieval, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, and Regency. To date she has published 20 novels, 39 novellas, 8 anthologies, 18 short stories, and 3 audio books. You can learn more about her work at http://starlakaye.com
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