Forced to represent an outlaw biker, a married attorney must come to terms with her feelings for her client while avoiding the danger he brings into her sedate life.
Love is the ultimate outlaw.
How do a lawyer and a badass biker with a heart of gold keep their love alive while their opposing worlds collide?
As a dark cloud descends over Hope and Rock’s already precarious future, will a long-hidden secret push them both past the point of no return?
It wasn’t love at first sight when I met her. Lust? Definitely. I don’t think I believed in love at the time, but one look at her beautiful face, and all the bad stuff around me melted away. Not an easy feat for a guy in handcuffs.
Someone as innocent as her should never have gotten involved with a man like me. By innocent, I don’t mean she was some breathy, eighteen-year-old virgin ingénue. No—when we met, she was a thirty-one-year-old married lady. When I use the word innocent, it is in terms of never having killed someone. Never seeing someone die in front of her. Never breaking the law.
True violence had never touched her life.
Violence and I had been close personal friends for a large part of my life. Along with crime. And death. I used violence as a tool to keep order in my often chaotic world, just as she used the law to keep things orderly in her black-and-white one.
She was a lawyer. I was a criminal. She was married to a decent, hard-working, honest guy. I fucked any willing girl who hung out in my club, and made my living in less than honest ways.
She was kind. I didn’t know any nice women. Hadn’t known one since my mother died shortly after my eighth birthday. I don’t have many memories of her, but the ones I do have are warm and pleasant.
None of the tramps my father brought home after her death had an ounce of compassion for a motherless brat. The strippers that danced in my club seemed younger every day. A lot of them were bitchy drama queens, and the older I got, the less patience I had for emotional scenes. The girls who attended to the members of my motorcycle club were down to fuck, but not much else. That’s how I liked them.
We met in a courtroom. I sat in the area designated for prisoners. Shackles laced my hands and feet together. I shuffled into the room wearing a spiffy orange jumpsuit, the county correctional logo stenciled across my back in big white letters—just in case anyone thought I suffered from bad fashion sense.
She sat in the front row. I didn’t hang my head when I entered. I stood proud and tall looking over the entire room. Some of my brothers stood along the back wall, waiting to see if I’d get bail.
I couldn’t find my attorney in the sea of people. His big, shiny, bald dome should have been easy to spot. My gaze wandered back to the girl in the front row. Long, straight, reddish-brown hair flowed down past her shoulders. Straight bangs across her forehead framed brilliant green eyes. Even from where I sat, I spotted freckles splattered across her nose. The deep green suit she wore emphasized the creaminess of her skin. The banister separating the criminals from the common folk blocked my view of anything below her shoulders, but that angelic face hooked me right away.
The sheriff leaned over and whispered to me, “Your attorney called to say he’s running late.” I nodded and mumbled a “thanks” without taking my eyes off the girl. Was her old man locked up? Was she a witness to a crime? Would my asshole lawyer get here so I could get free and talk to the girl?
“Any other message?” I asked Deputy Brown. He was a decent guy as far as pigs went. He’d treated me with respect, hadn’t tried to bash my head into anything, and even brought me a donut before leading me upstairs to court. He didn’t get a chance to answer, because the bailiff made a big show of telling me to shut up. Arrogant prick wasn’t good enough to even be a cop, but he sure acted like one. I’d dealt with him before.
“Just for the arraignment. To get me out.”
The deputy motioned to the bailiff to watch me and went to talk to the clerk. She nodded, and when the judge had a moment, she whispered in his ear.
Fuck. The girl was putting her stuff away and getting ready to leave. I really wanted her. I mean, I wanted to fuck her, of course. But I also wanted her to represent me. People seemed to like and respect her. I’d been in and out of the criminal justice system long enough to know getting out of trouble was sometimes less about what you knew and more about who you knew. If I’d gotten picked up in a different county, I could have used my connections to make this go away. Here, I was kind of stuck. I needed her.
“Attorney Kendall, could you stay and do an arraignment, please?” the judge asked off the record.
Her jaw dropped, and the color drained from her face. “Uh, I’m not a criminal attorney, your honor,” she stammered.
“It’s pretty simple. Mr. North’s attorney got delayed. Don’t make me appoint you,” he teased.
“Well, um, just for the limited purpose of this arraignment?” she asked with a hopeful lilt to her voice.
The judge waved me over next to her. Her big eyes widened in shock as I lumbered over. I was mildly insulted. Had she really not noticed me the entire time I’d been sitting there?
“I can pay you,” I whispered down to her.
She looked startled. “It’s okay. What are we dealing with?” I liked the way she said “we.”
She gave me a blank stare.
“Marijuana. Got caught with a couple blunts.” Acting on a bad tip from one of the club’s many enemies, the cops had been hoping to pin a whole hell of a lot more on me. This was why, instead of ignoring the weed like most cops did these days, I was standing here in shackles and the orange jumpsuit.
“Oh geez.” She rolled her eyes. At me or the charge, I wasn’t sure.
“Do you have a record?”
“About a mile long.”
That stopped her. She stared up at me, searching my face for the truth. Apparently deciding no one would joke about that, she nodded her head.
“Can you post bail? Do you work? Have a family?”
“Yes, yes, and yes.”
She didn’t ask what kind of work. Or what kind of family for that matter.
“Your honor, I’ve had a chance to confer with my client.” “Very well. Let’s call it.”
His clerk stood and read out, “The People of the State of New York versus Rochlan North.” Look at that—the old gal even pronounced my first name right.
My girl looked up at me again. My manners were shit. I’d never bothered to introduce myself, I guess.
The judge slammed his gavel down. First time I’d heard him do it all morning. The sharp thwack broke the staring contest my pretty lawyer and I were engaged in. “Do you wish to hear the reading of the charges, counselor?”
She hesitated for a minute, and the judge covered the microphone with his hand. “Usually the attorney waives the reading, Miss Kendall.”
“I know, your honor. Thank you. Yes, I’ll waive the reading. May I have a copy of the charges for my file, though?”
“Yes, of course. Do you wish to be heard on bail?”
“Yes, your honor. My client assures me he can pay a reasonable sum. He’s a hard-working family man, so it would be in society’s best interest to allow him to continue to work and provide for his family while he waits to address these false charges.”
I’m proud to say I kept a straight face during all of that. She impressed me with her quick thinking, though. Criminal attorney or not, she was clever. I had a fondness for clever. Clever kept you alive.
Cute and smart. I should get arrested more often.
“Very well. Bail is set in the amount of five hundred dollars cash. If your client is able to post it now, he can be processed downstairs instead of going back to county.” She looked up at me and arched an eyebrow. I nodded and motioned my crew forward.
“That’s acceptable. Thank you, your honor.”
“Off the record,” the judge said to the court reporter. He looked back up at my attorney. “See, that wasn’t so hard, Miss Kendall.” The judge’s face lit up in a wolfish smile I didn’t take kindly to. Already in my head, I’d laid claim to this woman whose first name I didn’t even know.
The sheriff came over and gripped my elbow.
“Can’t you remove the restraints, now?” she asked the sheriff with wide, pleading eyes.
To say her request stunned me would be an understatement. No one had ever given a crap about my discomfort.
The sheriff did not look surprised. He answered her gently. “No counselor, not till he’s posted the bail money. You can meet us downstairs.” He nodded toward the guys standing behind the banister. “His posse can show you the way.”
She hesitated, and I read the expression on her face loud and clear. She didn’t want to follow my crew anywhere. In fact, she looked like she wanted to run away.
“Go ahead, I’ll be fine.” I appreciated that she’d given it a try. Sheriffs wouldn’t break protocol no matter how owl-eyed innocent she acted. It sure turned me on, though. Maybe that was the moment I fell in love with her.
Autumn prefers to write her romances on the classy side of dirty, and she’s a sucker for a filthy-talking, demanding alpha male hero. The bigger the better. She believes true love stories never end.
Some of Autumn’s favorite hobbies include reading, writing, acting, music and horror movies. When she’s home, her faithful Pug is always by her side. She’s an active member of her local chapter of Romance Writers of America.
Autumn was born and raised in upstate New York. She still enjoys all four seasons there with her very own alpha hero and their three rescue dogs.