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By JoAnn Johnson
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 JoAnn Johnson
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Chapter OneAnother boring fund raising dinner one thing that John Robert Mason hated avoided if at all possible but had been suckered into this one by his parents saying it was a good cause. That it was.... CPS Child Protective Service. Yes, that was a good cause one that he had worked for and with, in the past and would continue to support even if it meant a boring dinner every now and then. Little did John Robert know that his life was about to change in a very pleasant and excited way.
The evening may hold promise as the most attractive woman that he had ever laid eyes on walked in to the room. A room that has as many home grown good old boys as it had millionaires two for every blonde and then some. Gold diggers came to mind but didn't know so he just thought that in his mind. Over priced dinner of rubber chicken and over cooked vegetables was beginning to be worth it when he laid eyes on the creature that was floating around the room. The thought of going home early wasn't entertained anymore he had to know who this woman.
He noticed her the moment that she walked into the room. Not knowing where she was coming from but he knew he had to be a part of where she was going. She was breath-taking, beautiful beyond words. The kind of woman that when entering a room all heads turned in her direction, she moved with the grace of a ballet dancer and with the power of a CEO. In her she was all a man could want in a woman and then some, damn she was fine. Her hair was like spun copper in flowing waves and the bluest eyes he had ever seen, skin like peaches and cream he knew he would have to touch it soft, slow and sensual damn, she had to be part Irish if not full blood, what a woman he also knew that this was the woman that he would spend the rest of his life with, but who the hell was she?
He had to find out who she was and where she came from. When she moved his eyes never left her he could image being wrapped around a woman like that for the rest of his life. It was as if she was a magnet drawing him closer and closer. What was it about this woman? Why was he acting as if he were a horny high school teenager chasing after the prom queen, damn he didn't like not having total control, he had to get a grip. Never in his life had he felt the way that he was feeling right now. God she was beautiful almost mystical and he was hooked oh he was gone big time try and explain that to Ben when ask for him to research her.
Working his way around the room trying to get close to her and just as he finally reached her she turned and their eyes met, yes there were sparks and as for him they were the only two people in the world. When he thought that he might have a chance he had to know, so as she came closer and that worked for him as he got closer and closer to get her name and number. Whoa! Who the hell is that man that just walked over and swept her off to the dance floor?
Damn, had he missed his chance? No he wouldn't give up that easy she would be his one way or the other. It was crazy he was acting like he had lost his ever loving mine but for some reason he couldn't control himself. As he watched for his chance he was so aware of the grace and primal abandonment with which she moved you could tell that she loved to dance to become one with the music that in its self was one of the biggest turn on ever. As if that was what she was meant to do being the center of attention she was in her element. John Robert knew that he was in for a long run and it was going to be very interesting.
John Robert Mason was a man that almost always got what he wanted, he is a successful lawyer, he was a CIA special operative agent consultant, a force to deal with when the event called for it that was why he was a success in his business but was also known as a real nice guy. The people that knew him knew that he was a good man that he was always for the underdog he liked to help people it was his passion, always had been he had seen people get the shaft and he was tired of it so in his small way he helped when he could one case at a time. JR had taken on more pro bono cases than any of his co-workers which was a good thing because he almost always won his cases, he was good at what he did and everyone knew it. He wanted to do the best he could by helping people, to try and make a difference, it was his goal, and JR now had a new goal one that he would succeed in, He wanted to know this woman and he would before the night was over.
Anna saw him when he entered into the room, he was one the most handsome men she had ever seen.... not just his rough and rugged good looks, all muscle tanned to perfection but what got her was the long eyelashes that covered the most beautiful green eyes. When he smiled it set a glimmer in his eyes that kept you guessing as to what he was thinking. He had an air about him that just let everyone around him know that he was in charge of his and your world. Six foot three of all man and one that she really wanted to get to know. This man was going to make a very big difference in her life she had never had good luck picking men the ex-husband proved that, but this one was different there was something about him that drew her to him his animal magnetism he was a power to be deal with and not with kid gloves. She couldn't help it her heart skipped a beat when their eyes met from across the room she actually felt her body grow hot and was sure that she blushed but tried not to act like a teenage girl on her first date, the next thing would be a loud giggle, Oh Anna get a grip she told herself. What was going on? What was happening to her? She never believed in love at first site but ... she told herself Anna Marie Warren grow up this was wild, but she couldn't help the warm feeling that was covering her whole body ... Damn she had it bad.
He didn't take his eyes off her & she was beginning to get closer to him. Maybe he will ask me to dance, get a drink anything that will bring him closer, she couldn't help herself and never had she felt this way about a total stranger. Don't show how weak you feel she told herself, be cool.
All of a sudden she was on the dance floor and in Tom Burkman's arms. This isn't what she wanted, but she could think again and the butterflies were gone. She still wanted to know who, what and when about the handsome stranger that for a few minutes had turned her world upside down for ever. The man with the most beautiful green eyes that any woman could get lost in forever and never regret anything she would or could do. This man was the kind of man you take home to meet your family and hope they like him as much as you do.... wow! She knew she was in for something very special something she had been searching for all her life.
John Robert swore like a sailor on leave for the first time in six month when she looked so at ease in this man's arms he was jealous what the hell was this he didn't even know her but he did know Tom Burkman and he knew that he was a son-of-a-bitch. He is a man of no character he used people up and when finished he threw them out like yesterdays trash. This wasn't a good sign. His first thought was to get her away from him and don't let her fall in to Tom's trap, just be ready to step in at any time. It was JR's specialty rescue only this time he wanted to take this rescue home for himself, all in good time.
Chapter TwoTom Burkman was a good looking man some would say that he was a ruggedly handsome man. He set out to make a life for himself that didn't have anything to do with drinking or drugs several years ago and it had worked, he had a great life more than enough money the respect of lots of powerful people but he wasn't a good man he had a mean streak in him that came from him being raised by a drunk of a father and a drug addict for a mother. Even though Tom was a product of his upbringing and that wasn't a good thing even though he had made himself a very powerful man he came from a very sick dysfunctional family.
Ryan Luke Burkman (Tom's Dad) drank himself to dead after he got drunk and passed out on the train track and ended up losing both his legs. It was an accident that would not have happen if he had not been drinking. Stupid act on his part but Ryan blamed everyone and anyone that he could but never accepted the responsibility of his own bullshit of a life. Ryan wasn't a good father he just didn't have it in him to give anything to anyone especially since his accident his self pity wouldn't allow him he felt that everyone owed him. Tom was always the brunt of his anger and rage along with his mother.
Lisa Ann Morris Burkman (Tom's Mom) was a sweet loving southern woman that had big dreams and plans for herself and her family. She wanted as all sweet southern women wanted a big house with columns and magnolia trees lining the drive way and a house full of kids. She wasn't a knock out in the looks department but wasn't all that bad her loving nature was part of her charm. She loved kids and wanted a house full with one under foot all the time.... it wasn't meant to be. Then she met Ryan Luke Burkman the biggest mistake of her life but by the time she realizes it she was 2 months pregnant with Tom. Lisa Ann liked Ryan when she met him and wanted to learn to love him in time, but then she met the real Ryan shortly after they were married. Ryan and Lisa were married shortly after finding out about the baby. The beatings started when Lisa was 7 months along, she almost lost the baby, but the baby was born at a healthy weight and in good shape. Due to the beatings and the like of good health care Lisa would never carry another child. This broke her heart she had planned to take her baby and leave Ryan, to start her life over, now she ask herself why? What could she ever offer another man now that she couldn't have other children she didn't feel that anyone would love her for herself? Over time she grew to hate Ryan and when the depression started the rounds of drugs took over her life she went through days in a fog not aware as to what her actions were doing to her only child. She loved Tom but she didn't know how or what to do with the depression so she just got through each day the best that she could. The days that she didn't have a clue as to how she got through were the days that she would sleep letting Tom fend for himself it was those times that Ryan took everything out on Tom, there was no happiness in the house so she would hide with her pills, Ryan with his drinking.
Tom saw what the drinking and drugs did to his Mother and Father. He knew that he wouldn't end up that way that he was much stronger than either one of them.... He ended up making sure that he would never feel anything ... it was easier than dealing with all the crap that had happened in his life. Yes, he wanted what everyone else wanted but it wasn't that easy for him ... he had no idea as to how he would get a woman to fall in love with him when he didn't even like himself. In the past whenever he tried to have a normal relationship he always screwed it up with something really stupid. Mary Alice White had been the best thing in his life and look how that had turned out. She tried to commit suicide when she walked in on Tom with another woman in their bed ... fucked that up. Then it seem that there was never anyone who measured up to Mary Alice ... lots of willing women but not the kind you would take home to your Grandmother ... yes, he was a messed up dude and would continue to be so, at least he didn't see that changing any time soon. What the hell it was his life and who cared how he fucked it up.
Chapter ThreeJohn Robert loved the law and was a good businessman he had made a good living with his law firm. The firm was his baby and he had more than enough to keep him busy for as long as he would like to work. His specialist was criminal law. He enjoyed the law, working with people, helping when he could and getting innocent people a fair break.
John Robert had a nice size house that he and his two childhood friends (Doug & Jesse) had been working on for a couple of years he would furnish the beer and they furnished the labor, sometimes they got a lot done sometimes not so much but they all enjoyed it. It was an old house with character and plenty of southern charm he fell in love with the old place the moment he set foot in the door. It sat on about five acres with a trees lined drive that gave you the idea that you were going to a place set back in time, back in the eighteen hundreds, some of the trees had to have been planted back then also, it took your breath away the first time you see it, JR loved the grounds almost as much as the house. The woodwork in the house was at least one hundred years old with columns tall and stately, it was a house waiting to become a home. The staircase with the most amazing wood working lead to a second story with old steps that creaked when you took a step that was what they were trying to restore, it seem to be the heart of the house. The big old fashion kitchen was the first thing that he and his friends had worked on it really needed a lot of tender love and care before it could be utilized, it now was state of the art but they were able to keep the charm and character of the time it was a great place to start the day with a cup of coffee and a cool breeze, it was home. He had on one of his trips to the east coast found a four poster bed that was made for the house so he bought it and had it shipped in, this was the way that he had been able to pick up a lot of things for the house, he liked looking for things for his home. He had several antique dealers on speed dial and knew that if they ran across something they thought he would be interested in they were able to get in touch with him through his personal cell phone, yes he wanted to restore the house and all it furnishing.
The gardens around the house were full of antique roses his favorite was a pink climber called the "seven sisters" its fragrance was intoxicating especially on hot summer nights the fragrance would almost make you drunk. The old magnolia trees were beautiful and really spoke to him with the rustle of the leaves when the hot summer winds blew, the oaks were big and as antique as the roses they looked as if they were umbrella's protecting a secret just beyond their shadows with their Spanish moss moving with the gentle breezes. He loved working on the house it gave him time to think, to relax he liked roaming around the old place at night when he couldn't sleep if only walls could talk it was as if it was waiting for someone to come and breathe life into it and now he was going to find this mystery woman to help him make it a home.... he hoped.
John was going to use his connections to find out who the woman from last night was and where had she vanished to and with whom she disappeared with ... he hoped that it wouldn't be Tom Burkman. He would find her one way or the other ... she had never left his mind since he laid eyes on her at the dance and by the end of the day he will know all about her. His way of working was the old fashion way and that was to do some door knocking and asking questions face to face not over the phone or texting or that silly e-mailing ... He knew how to use all of it but he just liked doing it the old fashion way, yes I know it is the 21 century but he liked his old ways of handling his firm and his people knew that about him. He had a PI on his payroll and that was where he was going to start. Ben James was the best and didn't always ask why. When Ben found the girl he would decide what the next step would be would it be to bringing her to his office or passing depends on the type of person she turns out to be he wasn't worried he knew that she was what he was looking for and that she would be a disappointment. John Robert just knew that he had to find her and soon. He knew that she was in his life and would be for a long time to come.
Anna Marie had known a few men in her life but never had she felt the way she felt about the stranger from the dance last night. Every time she thought of him she felt the butterflies reappeared and her blood ran hot, wow! She had it bad. She knew the man's name and that he was a lawyer, John Robert Mason and that he was good at what he did, a true honest man ... so the papers said and so did everyone that mentioned his name. That was a good thing she was so tired of the men like Tom Burkman and Liam Sullivan, ones that thought they owned you and when tired of you just dismissed you. Not that Tom had done that yet but she also knew his background and that his track record wasn't very good. Tom just wasn't a nice man and didn't care who he hurt if they got in his way.
Excerpted from The Chase by JoAnn Johnson Copyright © 2011 by JoAnn Johnson. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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