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Out For Justice
By Susan Kearney
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Hi, short-stuff. What's up?" Andrew McGovern answered his sister, Kelly's, phone call with such enthusiasm that if she hadn't known better, she wouldn't have guessed he'd just worked an eighteen-hour day.
"It's after midnight," Kelly pointed out with sisterly affection. Andrew might amuse himself with his gadgets, like the caller ID that had told him she was on the line before he'd picked up the phone, but she'd bet her new diamond-bezel Rolex her parents had given her for a college graduation present that her brother hadn't checked the time in hours.
Papers rustled. She pictured Andrew behind his battered desk in the annex of his law office of Lambert & Church, his tie and jacket thrown over the back of a spare chair, his desk a mountain of papers, his file cabinet half-open, his eyes bleary despite the numerous cups of black coffee he'd drunk to keep him awake.
"And?" he asked.
"Don't you have anything better to do than work on Saturday night?"
"Nag. Nag. Nag." Andrew chuckled. "Short-stuff, if you aren't careful, you'll start sounding just like Mom. And if, like her, you want to know if I'm still engaged to Debbie, I am. In fact, I'm bringing her to breakfast at the house tomorrow morning."
Kelly sucked in her breath. Mom and Dad didn't approve of Debbie West's family and they certainly wouldn't be pleased about his engagement. Andrew's fiancée lived on an impoverished ranch just outside of Mustang Valley, Texas, about an hour north of town, with her alcoholic father and no-good brother. While Andrew seemed oblivious to his parents' reservations about his current relationship, Kelly's stomach knotted. She didn't like discord. Doing what her parents expected of her was so much easier than butting heads.
She'd always enjoyed her parents' approval, making straight As, being popular in school and avoiding trouble. Sure, sometimes she'd rather have been out partying than hitting the books on a regular basis, but she had discipline, something the brilliant Andrew, who often worked through the night but then didn't go into the office for another two days, knew nothing about. And she'd never understood why her older brother seemed so intent on riling up the folks by choosing friends from the other side of Mustang Valley. Like Andrew's best friend, that renegade Wade Lansing, who owned the Hit 'Em Again Saloon, and Debbie West, a high-school dropout who worked at a local diner.
Daddy had worked hard to buy the biggest house in Mustang Valley, and Mama had spent half her life decorating it. Kelly had enjoyed teen parties by the pool during high school and had been proud to bring home college friends to stay during vacations. Her best friend Cara Hamilton might not be as wealthy as the McGoverns, but she came from a middle-class home just a few streets away and now lived in a new apartment complex with nicely landscaped grounds and all the amenities, including a spa and security system. And she had a respectable career as a fledgling reporter. While her brother turned up his nose at the McGovern life-style, Kelly liked having her own horse and the pretty Jaguar Daddy had bought her after graduation. She saw nothing wrong with appreciating the finer things in life.
However, Andrew seemed to take pleasure in thumbing his nose at convention and the family. He hung out with whomever he pleased and rarely brought them home. Although he'd never been in serious trouble, Andrew had enjoyed racing his souped-up Mustang with dual chrome exhausts down Main Street and spying on the girls skinny-dipping at Half-Moon Lake. All harmless pranks - but ones that could have led to more serious trouble. Then, after finishing law school, instead of joining their father's oil company, he'd chosen to work at Lambert & Church, happily taking pro bono cases and mixing with all kinds of lowlifes, even criminals, as well as high-paying clients.
"Andrew! I think the only reason you date Debbie is to rile Mom and Dad." Kelly's older brother might hang out with some unusual people, but nevertheless the siblings were close. She enjoyed teasing him, especially about his friends. "I thought I should warn you ... Dad still wants you to work for him. He's going to make you another offer."
"I wish he wouldn't. I'm happy here. Busy. Needed." More papers rustled, and she suspected she had only half his attention. "In fact, I'm working on something real interesting."
His car alarm interrupted their conversation.
Andrew swore. "That stray cat must have jumped on my car, again, no doubt leaving sandy paw prints all over it, never mind waking everyone within a quarter-mile radius. Gotta go. See you tomorrow."
"Bye." She set the phone back in its cradle with a shake of her head, turned off her light and pulled up her covers. She wouldn't have fallen asleep so easily if she'd known that was the last time she and her brother would ever speak.
Excerpted from Out For Justice by Susan Kearney Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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