Trouble with the Law
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by Tatiana March
Description: Arrested for soliciting during a wedding in rural Pennsylvania, Justine Whitmore spends a steamy night with the local sheriff who clears up the misunderstanding and releases her. She never expects to see him again, but when an interfering busybody makes a complaint, Justine agrees to pretend a whirlwind romance in order to protect her reputation and the sheriff's job. Embittered by a divorce from a scheming city woman, Sheriff Mark Taylor has sworn to avoid her kind. No amount of cursing will change the fact that he fell for the wedding guest hauled into his office dressed in nothing but expensive underwear. A country hick and a high maintenance PR executive-can they tolerate each other long enough to make it look real? But sometimes people are not what you believe them to be...
eBook Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, LLC, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: December 2009
26 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [121 KB]
Reading time: 72-101 min.
Chapter One * * * *
Justine Whitmore crouched down and tipped the contents of her satin evening bag over the gravel ground. Just to make sure, she ran her hands over the spilled clutter.
In the darkness, her fingers closed over a credit card, a few coins, a lipstick--but no room key.
She peered at her gold watch, her face furrowed with concern. Half past two in the morning. Not the best time to go pounding on the door of a sedate country inn.
As she rose to her feet, her eyes fell on a wooden bench by the wall beneath a wisteria. The sweet scent of flowers filled the balmy air. In the sky, a golden August moon hung like a giant lantern, casting a glow over the house and the parking lot.
In her silver Mercury sedan, a half empty bottle of champagne stood wedged in a bucket of ice. Sandra had shoved it at her as compensation for not being able to drink the wedding toasts because she had to drive.
A slow smile replaced Justine's scowl of frustration.
She could sit outside, and while away the hours until someone woke.
Justine shivered on the bench, sipping her third glass of champagne. The night air had turned cool, and she needed to pee. Above her, the dark windows stared down like a row of unseeing eyes.
Bouncing up to her feet, she surveyed the gables and turrets. A sturdy trellis with creepers covered the wall, and a thick drainpipe ran down from the gutter. And wasn't that her room right at the top, with the window she'd left ajar to combat the muggy August heat?
Swaying on her heels, Justine suppressed a champagne-fueled hiccup. She teetered in for a closer inspection. All she needed was to climb up, then step across and flop in over the sill. Piece of cake for someone who at college had rock climbed to grade five point seven on the difficulty scale.
Kicking off her flimsy sandals, she slithered out of her dress and folded it over the bench. She'd splurged on a slinky Dior, a consolation prize for once again being a wedding guest instead of the bride. No way would she risk ripping a garment worth two thousand bucks. Unclipping her gold watch, she hid it under the dress, together with her car keys and satin evening bag.
Then she blew into her palms and attacked the trellis.
Piece of cake, just as she'd expected. She jerked the window wide and flopped inside with a thud. The ledge scraped her shins as she tumbled through. Wincing with pain, she scampered to her feet and inspected the damage. Drops of blood trickled from the cuts, and her silk stockings were torn, but at least her garter belt and lace panties remained intact. She adjusted her bra, and groped her way to the bedside lamp.
Her hand butted against a large object. As she fumbled along the lumpy contours, a scream pierced the darkness. Justine froze. She prepared to move again, but the bedside light snapped on, illuminating the room with a yellow glow.
"What in heaven's name?" A grouchy male voice muttered out the words of complaint, and a frail figure clad in striped flannel bolted up on the bed.
The screaming grew louder.
Confused, Justine retreated to the window. "I'm sorry," she said, and another hiccup escaped her chest. "I think I've got the wrong room."
"It's all right, Clara." The man in striped pajamas reached out to pat the mountain of flesh next to him. "The lady's got the wrong room."
The bedspread sailed to the floor, and an enormous woman wearing a long frilly nightgown clambered to her feet. "Hussy!" she cried. "Harlot!" She stepped forward to block the man's view.
Justine surveyed the scene, and although she knew that her reaction was like tossing gunpowder into flames, she couldn't help herself. She clutched her sides and burst into peals of laughter.
"Call the police," the woman said. "I'll restrain the harlot if she tries to flee."
The man flickered a glance between them, then shrugged his narrow shoulders and reached for the telephone on the nightstand.
Justine opened her mouth to protest, but when she caught the determined scowl on the woman's face, she slunk into the corner. She was too tired to argue. She'd curl up on the floor and sleep until the police arrived to rescue her.