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An angry violence coursed through Roman’s veins after he’d seen the vid footage from the hallway outside the courtroom. He’d fixated on the look of panic flashing over Abigail’s features and then nausea rose as he’d watched her panic fade into blankness.


Saul Kerrigan was a thug and if, after the dressing down he’d received for nearly a standard hour, he did not change his behavior and stay the hells away from Ms. Haws, Roman would punish House Kerrigan severely, no matter what connection existed between them.

A man did not use his size and power to harm a woman. It simply wasn’t done. Roman’s wife had been such a sweet and fragile woman, he couldn’t imagine having touched her in anger even if she’d been as tough as the petite Abigail Haws was.

He shoved that line of thought far away. Lindy had been gone twelve years and it wouldn’t do to think on that just before he was due to meet with Ms. Haws.

Once Marcus announced her arrival, Roman terminated his comm immediately and told his assistant to send her in.

He stood and met her at the door. “Ms. Haws, are you well?”

She sighed out and the tension vibrated from her, concerning him deeply.

“Marcus, will you please bring us some refreshments? And hold all comm traffic please.” He looked back to her. “Please, sit down.” When he touched her arm she jumped. He slowly moved away, taking a seat after she did.

“I’m fine. I take it this is about the scene Saul Kerrigan made today in the hall?”

He nodded. Her voice was so flat, the spark in her dimmed. There was something wrong with her just then. She wasn’t her usual combative self. “I saw the footage, Ms. Haws. Is your arm all right?”

She winced holding it close to her body. He had to know.

“Did he mark you?”

“That’s none of your business.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Indeed it is. This is my damned ‘Verse and I take care of my people. You’ll show me your arm because I asked.”

She jerked back, brown eyes flashing, face flushed and satisfaction roared through him that she showed signs of her spark.

“I’m not one of your peasants as if you are a fief lord in the oldest sense. If you saw the vid, you saw an Affiliate House leader act inappropriately. Security came and he left. I went to the rest of my hearings and came back to the office. By the way, thank you for speaking to Administrator Cushing. Gretel Mortan is now home with her family. She’ll still have to endure trial but at least the credits won’t be an issue. Her case has been taken up by my office and paid for by an anonymous donor. Now, would you like to speak about the Movement for Representative Democracy?”


Marcus chose that moment to glide in and place a tray heavy with food and tea on the table between Roman’s and Abigail’s chairs.

While her attention was on Marcus leaving the room, Roman leaned forward and pushed her sleeve up. The creamy pale skin was marred by an ugly thumbprint bruise.

All he heard was a gasp before he found himself flat on the carpet with her scrambled atop his chest, teeth bared.

Her hair had come unmoored from the nest at the back of her neck and her spectacles sat askew on her face. The uptight barrister had been replaced by a wild woman with a river of dark hair and big, flashing eyes. Her lips, why hadn’t he noticed them before? Plump and juicy. And he certainly didn’t miss the heaving breasts. He’d pretended not to notice she hadn’t been wearing a bra the evening before but with them only inches away from his face, he couldn’t pretend they weren’t there. Large, fleshy and mouthwatering. The upper curve of her right breast was exposed at the neck of her blouse as she leaned over him.

The moment stretched between them. He knew Marcus must have heard but the door had not opened. Madness took hold in him chasing all rational thought away.

His control slipped, replaced by fascination at what she’d feel like. His hands found her thighs as she straddled his body, slid up until the edge of her stockings alerted him to bare flesh. Her breath hitched and then she froze.

“I…” She blinked as if awakened from a dream.

“You have very soft skin,” he murmured, his thumbs sliding back and forth along the band separating bare, velvet thigh and the stocking.

She scrambled back, legs akimbo giving him a perfect view of the slice of her body he’d started to yearn for. Red. Bright red panties and stockings underneath the sensible suit. Abigail Haws had a bit of insensible and a lot of sexy.

“I’m so sorry.”

He moved, slowly on his hands and knees, until he reached her. “I shouldn’t have startled you. I’m the one who’s sorry.” Clearly something had happened to her to make her respond that way. He wanted to know, wanted her to trust him to tell him but it wasn’t the time.

“You make me feel…this shouldn’t be happening,” she whispered and the shadow of fear slid from her eyes, replaced by something else.

He caught the dark shadow of her nipples against the front of her blouse, even through her bra. A deep breath as he sought control brought her scent, her arousal, into his system. It had been a very long time since he’d felt this sort of raw need.

“It is.” Reaching toward her very cautiously, he tucked some of her hair behind her shoulder. And fell. Fell into her, into her spell, into whatever delicious thing that had built between them. The soft, cool silk of the dark strands caressed his hand and arm until all he could do was lean in and kiss her.

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