Arrested in L.A. and charged with the murder of her art restoration business partner, Jonathan Linton, Laurel Jennings fears that the evidence against her is strong enough for a conviction, especially with her fingerprints found on the murder weapon. After an anonymous tip, her ex-lover, former Los Angeles DA Damon Metcalf, returns to L.A. to represent her at her bail hearing. The Linton family's connections reach far and wide, and Damon stays on as Laurel's lawyer when no reputable L.A. criminal defense attorney will take on her case. A break-in at Laurel's business, a suspicious theft and a lucrative but sketchy restoration project deepen the mystery surrounding the death; soon there are more murders, and Laurel herself is in danger. Laurel and Damon can't keep it just collegial for very long. As the novel races toward its explosive conclusion, creative plotting insures that they have to stay together, right where romantic suspense fans will want them. (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Remain Silentby Jamie Denton
When You Know Too Much
Laurel Jennings may be an expert at art restoration, but she's a novice at the justice system. When her business partner Jonathan Linton is found dead and she's charged with the brutal murder, she needs helpfast. But with the powerful Linton family wielding their vengeful influence, the only lawyer willing to represent her is/b>
When You Know Too Much
Laurel Jennings may be an expert at art restoration, but she's a novice at the justice system. When her business partner Jonathan Linton is found dead and she's charged with the brutal murder, she needs helpfast. But with the powerful Linton family wielding their vengeful influence, the only lawyer willing to represent her is her former lover.
Sometimes Keeping A Secret
Damon walked away from the L.A. County DA's office when his star witness in an infamous drug lord's trial was gunned down on her way to protective custody. Protecting Laurel is Damon's first priorityeven if she has made it clear he's the last man she wants representing her.
Is The Only Way To Save Your Life
A chance discovery throws Damon and Laurel into a conspiracy that could rock the art world to its very foundations – with deadly consequences. With only each other to turn to, Laurel and Damon find the passion that once burned between them is a dangerous risk when betrayal lies at the heart of Jonathan's murderand the body count keeps rising. To protect the future, and keep the past buried, Laurel and Damon will have to stay together, keep calm, and remain silent. . .
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By JAMIE DENTON
BRAVA BOOKSCopyright © 2007 Jamie Denton
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLAUREL JENNINGS DETESTED funerals. Her dislike was even more profound when the interment consisted of someone close to her, someone vitally important in her life. That particular list, which was short to begin with, had now been reduced by one more.
She recognized the faces of many of the mourners, most were from the occasional social function her business partner had insisted she attend. They were old, boring, and disgustingly rich, but they'd kept her art restoration business flourishing, so with a grudge, she'd gone whenever Jonathan had insisted. No one would force her to be sociable now.
It would all be over soon, she thought, shifting her gaze from the simple pine casket with the Star of David etched onto the top, to the rabbi. She wouldn't be putting in the obligatory appearance at the Linton home following the graveside service. Johanna Linton, Jonathan's mother, had made that point patently clear. Instead, she would escape the bloodthirsty stares of Jonathan's family and mourn in private the loss of her business partner and dear friend. Until then, she'd maintain the status quo by remaining on the fringes and keeping her distance.
Distance was easier than involvement. Involvement required an emotional investment and risks she was no longer willing to take. Experience had taught her only her work was worthy of that kind of investment. Her work couldn't betray her. At least not the kind she performed now. Four years ago, it'd been a different story ... and another unhappy ending.
Laurel bowed her head as the rabbi issued the final blessing over the casket, automatically crossing herself after the final Amen before she realized her mistake. The gold of her Rolex caught the sunlight. A surprise gift from Jonathan when he'd landed the St. Giovanni's restoration project. Had it only been a year ago? Jonathan had been so happy. The restoration of the Gates of Paradise had been a major coup, one she'd never dreamed would belong to Artifacts. But Jonathan had worked his magic and made it happen, catapulting them to worldwide recognition, and within a matter of weeks, they'd had more work than they could handle.
She let out a breath and quashed the memories. As she turned away, her black Italian heels ripped into the soft, damp grass. Quietly, she walked away and headed across the cemetery to where her car was parked while the mourners paid their respects to Jonathan's family. She'd already said her final good-byes to her dear friend. There was no need to do so again.
She adjusted her dark sunglasses and looked toward her car. For a brief second, she stilled, her fight or flight instincts warring for domination. After a slight moment's pause, she continued forward, her head held high. She could run, but they'd easily catch her, so why bother? Fighting she was accustomed to, it was as familiar to her as being alone. Besides, she'd known they'd come. It had been inevitable.
"This is rather dramatic," she said in a cool, calm voice intentionally devoid of emotion when she neared the front end of her sleek, silver Jag where the two detectives waited for her. Determination straightened her spine. She wasn't about to let Detectives Pete Teslenko and Gino Scanlon see they'd rattled her.
They'd questioned her for hours following her discovery of the body, and she hadn't fallen apart once. Not when they'd searched Artifacts, nor when they'd conducted an extensive search of her home. Keeping her emotions buried inside was a habit born from necessity, and her toughest survival skill she'd managed to hone to a fine polish over the years. To allow the overzealous detectives to witness how much their presence at Jonathan's funeral upset her wouldn't only be a waste of time, but a drain on valuable energy she suspected she would desperately need to see her through the next few hours. Besides, it went against everything she'd ever learned since she was ten years old. There was no reason to break from tradition at this point.
Teslenko and Scanlon looked at each other, speaking some silent dialogue she had no hope of understanding. She'd studied their faces and habits during those long, relentless hours of interrogation. Studying people was her business, especially when she knew without a doubt she'd be fighting for her freedom-perhaps even her life.
"Tell me, gentlemen. Is arresting me at Jonathan's funeral for the benefit of the family, or could it be for something as tasteless as the camera crew that showed up ten minutes ago?"
Detective Scanlon, an aging, portly fellow with a weathered face and more salt than pepper hair, stepped forward. His faded blue gaze was narrowed and cold. "Laurel Jennings," he said, slipping a pair of handcuffs from the leather pouch attached to his belt, "you are under arrest for the murder of Jonathan Linton."
Despite her determination to remain detached, hearing the words still made her flinch. She swore under her breath, then turned and handed her Fendi bag to Detective Teslenko as if he were nothing more important to her than a lackey to do her bidding. She'd known this was coming, she just hadn't known when, or expected it to happen so soon. Based on what she'd learned from observing Scanlon and Teslenko, two of L.A.'s finest, she should've known they'd arrest her at the funeral in front of not only Jonathan's family, friends, and business associates, but the Channel 4 news team as well. She didn't put it past the two glory seekers to have tipped off the press themselves about her impending arrest in the first place.
The murder of Jonathan Linton, one of the Beverly Hills social set, was news. Big news. The list of Lintons was indeed powerful, from a studio head all the way up to the nation's capital. When one of their own was brutally and viciously murdered in cold blood, the news not only made headlines, but warranted a sound bite or two during the commercial breaks of prime time.
If it bleeds, it leads.
This one bled all over the place.
Scanlon reached for her right arm. "You have the right to remain silent."
She watched helplessly as the mourners filtered into the parking area, their attention locked in her direction. They looked on in varying degrees of shock, surprise, and even a few not-so-surprised observers, as Scanlon slipped a chilled silver handcuff over her wrist.
The television reporter rushed them, shouting instructions to the cameraman.
"You have the right to an attorney," Scanlon continued, his voice as cold and emotionless as his eyes had been.
The reporter from Channel 4 thrust a microphone in her face. "Dr. Jennings, did you murder your business partner, Dr. Jonathan Linton?"
"If you cannot afford an attorney ..."
Laurel struggled to keep her breathing even. Don't show them anything! She silently repeated the mantra, shutting out the drone of Scanlon's voice as he issued her Miranda rights.
The ratcheting sound of the cuff pierced her concentration as Scanlon secured her left wrist. Her steady breathing faltered.
Getting nothing from her, the reporter peppered Scanlon with questions. "Detective, is Dr. Jennings being charged with the murder of Jonathan Linton? When will she be arraigned?"
Teslenko, Scanlon's much younger, cocky partner stepped in front of the reporter while Scanlon led Laurel across the blacktopped roadway. Amid the sea of Jags, Mercedes, Beemers and limos, the shit-brown, state-issued Chevy was anything but nondescript. The door creaked when it opened and Scanlon helped her inside. He shoved it closed, then signaled for his camera-preening partner.
She was going to jail. For a murder that, if Detective Teslenko was to be believed, had death penalty written all over it.
She'd need an attorney. A damn good one, too, because if the district attorney managed to get a conviction, he'd make sure she fried.
The general population of the Inmate Retention Center consisted heavily of drug dealers, gang bangers, and smalltime crooks as well as some of the county's most notorious criminals. Overcrowding, under-staffing and inside deals occurred with such regularity, no one paid attention any longer. Just because the residents of the county cooler were behind bars didn't mean their illegal activities had waned, slowed, or dissipated, and were often enabled by the very men and women paid by the taxpayers to run herd over the underbelly of society.
The large, imposing multi-million dollar complex was Laurel's new home away from home. She fought to control the fear twisting inside her. Having become adept at hiding her emotions years ago, she didn't worry about anyone knowing she was afraid. There had been situations in her past more frightening than what she was about to face. Neither the loud slam of the steel door, nor the finality of the computerized lock clicking into place made her flinch or show a speck of what was really going on inside her.
With her head held high and her back as straight as a refurbished six-hundred-year-old pilaster, Laurel walked in front of the female guard down a narrow corridor decorated in solid concrete. Turning right where the guard indicated, she entered a large dressing room area without frills, or privacy, more reminiscent of a locker room, sans the lockers. A young girl, dressed in a gray shirt and pants that resembled a doctor's scrubs, slid off a backless stool and tossed a dog-eared romance novel on the high counter. The kid looked no older than sixteen, with short-cropped black hair and the tattoo of a tear drop just below her left eye. Laurel didn't care to know the significance of that tattoo.
"You a six?" the kid asked, then, without waiting for an answer, crossed the room to a shelf containing Laurel's new wardrobe. She glanced down at Laurel's feet. Her brows rose a notch and a covetous light entered her dark brown eyes. "What size?"
"Five and a half," Laurel answered, vaguely wondering how this young girl recognized top quality, designer shoes. She seriously doubted someone with a tear drop tattoo shopped at Neiman's on a regular basis. Until recently, Sears had been considered high dollar to Laurel.
The trustee handed her a stack of gray then dropped a washed out pair of slip-on sneakers on top of the pile. "Strip down. Keep your bra and panties." Her tone was indicative of a recitation by rote. "Put the rest of your clothes in this bag. It'll be tagged and returned to you if you're released. You gotta take a shower then the guard will search you before you dress. You don't have to wash your hair, but you have to wet it through."
Laurel kept the guard and the trustee in her line of vision and did as instructed. The soap smelled of disinfectant, didn't lather worth a damn, and was just as worthless in removing the remaining ink stains from her earlier fingerprinting.
None of it mattered. She'd lived through worse and survived. She'd do so again.
She finished with the sorry excuse for a shower, then turned to find the guard watching her. Damn. She used to be better at looking over her shoulder. Somewhere in the past few years since leaving Boston, she'd gone soft. The illusion of safety did that to a person.
She wanted a towel, something to wrap around her hair and wipe away the water chilling her skin, but from the surly look on the guard's face, she had a feeling her request wouldn't be well-received. After suffering the indignity of a cursory body search, she was ordered to dress, handed a scratchy, woolen blanket and a man's black pocket comb before being ushered out of the dressing room through another series of buzzers and metal doors.
They were putting her in with the general population. For the first time in her life, the whiz kid who'd graduated high school at the age of fourteen, obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry from MIT by the age of eighteen, and achieved her second doctorate, in Art History, from UCLA after leaving Boston for good, was no one special. Laurel Jennings was nothing more than just another sorry story in gen pop.
The L.A. county jail didn't have a special wing for geniuses. No one cared that she'd once been responsible for dissecting antibodies that would save the lives of hundreds in the event of chemical warfare. No one gave a damn this wasn't the first time she had blood on her hands.
"This way." The guard prodded her with the tip of her baton, urging Laurel through the final doorway.
She kept her eyes on the back of another female guard, following her past a row of cells on the right, and dirty, barred windows on the left. The noise level hummed with conversation, televisions, and surprisingly, laughter. The guard stopped in front of an open cell door. So did the conversation of the five women occupying the ten-by-ten cell.
Using the tip of her baton again, the new guard pointed to a bunk against the far wall. "In there," she ordered in a harsh voice, then waited for Laurel to precede her into the cell. "Ten o'clock is lights out. Meals are at six, twelve, and six. You miss chow, that's your problem. Showers and head are through that door."
That door consisted of an open doorway in much the same layout as the drab cell. Three walls, metal bars, and no privacy.
Laurel nodded, then dropped the blanket on the vacant lower bunk once the guard left. The other women stared at her, but she ignored them and spread the blanket over the stained, bare mattress, determined not to think about the lack of sanitation.
"You're gonna have to pay for that bunk, Honey."
Laurel let out a sigh and turned, facing her new cell mate. Great, she thought. She wasn't here two minutes and already she was starring in a cheap remake of Corman's The Big Doll House, the kind that played on cable well after midnight.
When Teslenko and Scanlon had arrested her, she'd tried not to think about what could happen to her in jail. She was tough. She could handle it. In fact, she seriously doubted anything the burly woman standing center stage planned to dish out could be worse than what she'd already suffered in her life. From the long line of foster homes after her mother's death, to a betrayal so devastating her life had been forever changed, a night or two behind bars would be a breeze.
She lifted her chin a notch. "Sorry, but I left my platinum Visa card at home." She turned her back on the woman, dismissing her.
"I ain't looking for money, Honey."
Laurel sighed again and turned back around, nailing the woman with a narrowed gaze. "I really don't give a damn what you're looking for, so back the fuck off."
The nearly six foot, easily two-hundred pounds plus convict in desperate need of a lip and chin wax had the audacity to laugh. "Oooh, tough little bird, aren't you? Let's see how tough you are after I get what I want."
A slender woman with hair as black as midnight and eyes to match slid off the top bunk above Laurel. "Lay off her, Billie."
"Keep out of this, Rodriguez." Billie shot Rodriguez a heated glance before shifting her attention back to Laurel.
Billie took a threatening step toward her, but Laurel held her ground, her chin inching up another notch. The three remaining cell mates stared with a mixture of awe and excitement. "This is between me and Miss High and Mighty."
"I've already been charged with one murder," Laurel said, keeping her voice low, cool, and emotionless, and she hoped, threatening. She gave a careless shrug she was nowhere near feeling. Whatever worked. "One more doesn't much matter to me at this point."
Behind her, she heard Rodriguez's sharp intake of breath. "No shit?"
Laurel kept her attention on Big Burly Billie. "No shit."
A scrawny woman with pasty skin and the most lifeless brown eyes Laurel had ever seen, swung her feet to the floor and stood beside Billie. "Self defense?" the woman asked. "Right?"
Laurel slowly shook her head. "Wrong." God, she prayed she was playing out this scene right. She was on her own, and fighting for her life-again. And in more ways than one. "Cold blooded. Pre-meditated. Capital murder."
Laurel took a step toward Billie and tipped her head back to look directly into the woman's startled hazel eyes. "It's your call," she said in the same cool, careless tone that belied the trembling of her insides. "You can sleep in your bunk tonight or a pine box. I really don't give a rat's ass."
Excerpted from Remain Silent by JAMIE DENTON Copyright © 2007 by Jamie Denton. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Really liked this book, except that it felt too rushed in the end. The suspense builds up gradually so you cannot put the book down. But in the last chapters it started to rush and the plot became a little predictable. I even figured out the murderer earlier than I would have liked. On one hand a lot of clues were revealed in just a few pages to wrap it up. On the other hand, some interesting parts of the mistery behind the character's pasts were never fully developed or revealed. There is also a parallel love story between the two main characters: the two had been a couple and rekindled the relationship. I would have also liked to see more development of their relationship in the end. Still, this is a good read.
In Los Angeles the police arrest art restorer Laurel Jennings and charge her with the murder of her business partner Jonathan Linton. The evidence against Laurel is overwhelming as she had the motive, means and opportunity and her fingerprints are on the murder weapon. Ex Los Angeles County District Attorney Damon Metcalf returns home to represent his former lover at the bail hearing and subsequently at the trial when no defense lawyer would agree to handle the case. Damon realizes that the powerful Linton family is pushing for her conviction and made it clear to the legal profession to stay out or face the consequences. When someone breaks into Laurel's business facility, Damon fears for her life especially as they begin to uncover an apparent deal Jonathan had arranged that appears nebulous especially with the amount of money exchanged. Soon more homicides follow with Laurel as the prime suspect although she has an alibi, Jonathan and the danger to both of them mounting. --- Jamie Denton provides readers with a terrific romantic legal thriller filled with plenty of suspense. The lead couple is a nice pairing as they still love one another and though both agreed to professional and platonic, can¿t help but jump each other¿s bones. The whodunit is cleverly devised so that the audience will wonder who and why. Sub-genre fans will not REMAIN SILENT as to how entertaining this tale is. --- Harriet Klausner