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Mine To Entice
By Karen Anders
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhere the hell was Kate? Jericho St. James thought to himself as he continued with the questioning of his next-to-last witness. He'd scheduled Kate Quinn last for the impact of her testimony, but she hadn't come in on time. He had no idea if she was waiting outside the courtroom ... or not. He couldn't even ask the judge if he could skip over her, since she was the only witness he had left.
Just as he asked his final question, he nodded to the bailiff who knew to go get Kate. Hopefully she was sitting just outside the door.
He opened his mouth to tell the judge he had no more questions, but the courtroom doors opened and Kate walked through.
Jericho stared. He couldn't help it. He'd never seen buttoned-up Kate Quinn dressed this way. It wasn't as if the dress was too tight or too sexy. It was conservative and covered all the important parts. It was the whole package that had him gaping.
It was true that he found it very difficult to concentrate when Kate was in the room, no matter how she was dressed. She looked like innocence personified, wide open and defenseless and soft, like whipped cream, like butter, like silk. But there was something about her that promised ecstasy and fire, something that was inherent, but dormant.
Heat infused every pore of his body with the sight of her loose, untamed head of curly blond hair framing her arresting face, sliding and dipping over her delicate shoulders, disappearing down her back. He'd imagined plenty of times how it would look down, feel against his skin, clenched in his fist. It was like cornsilk, glossy and beautiful.
And the dress she wore. Damn.
The color of passion flowed over her thighs, cupped her breasts and cinched her waist. It made him think of red, pouty lips and a vermilion-satin-draped bed.
Her gaze met his and he was stunned at the intensity of her blue eyes, the color of cornflowers, the lashes thick and lush. Eyes that were usually covered with lenses from a pair of horn-rimmed glasses.
She wore gloss on her lips, accentuating the soft mouth, the pouting, kissable lips until he wanted to go to her and finally know what it was like to crush his mouth down onto hers.
He dreamed how that mouth would feel against his skin, around his aching cock, all over his body.
"Mr. St. James?" the judge said impatiently.
Jericho snapped out of his trance and said, "I have no more questions for this witness, Your Honor."
He walked back to the prosecutor's table and had to school his features. He sat down and closed his eyes as her warm breath flowed over his ear, sending heat arrowing into his groin.
He had no business getting a hard-on for a coworker. It was deadly stupid, and it had to stop.
"I'm so sorry that I was late."
He nodded once without turning around, directing his attention to what the defense attorney was asking of his witness in case he had to object. But another part of his brain still reeled over the transformation of the woman he'd worked with for three years.
It wasn't the co-worker he was used to, but the woman who had played a nightly role in his sexual fantasies come to life. In his mind, he'd taken her every way a man could.
The defense attorney asked a leading question and Jericho objected neatly, receiving a sustain from the judge.
The defense attorney finished his questioning and the judge excused the witness.
Jericho stood and said, "The State calls Katherine Quinn to the stand."
She stood. The displacement of air as she rose wafted over him. A subtle scent hit his nostrils, unfolding inside him like a seductive tease. Jericho turned his head just as she moved through the wooden gate railing that separated the courtroom from the gallery. She passed between the defense and the prosecution tables and it was as if time slowed.
He sensed every male eye in the room was on her as she glided across the polished wood floor, the sling backs making a soft clicking sound. The slow swing of her arms covered demurely in red knit, the crisscross of the material across her breasts, leaving her neck bare where a ruby glowed blood-red against her golden skin.
With a shock he realized that Kate's hair reached past her shapely butt. It was gorgeous multihues of blond and gold. Slowly she raised her hand and repeated the oath. With a rustle of cloth against her legs, she sat down.
Jericho pulled his professionalism around him like a cloak and stood, buttoning the jacket of his double-breasted, blue pin-striped suit.
He approached the witness stand and said, "Hello, Ms. Quinn."
She smiled brilliantly, showing perfect white teeth.
"Could you state your name for the record?"
"Katherine Quinn." Her husky voice caressed his ears.
"Where are you employed?" Focus on the questions, he told himself fiercely, not on her delectable mouth.
"The crime lab for the City of San Diego," she replied, and licked her lips as if she'd heard his thoughts.
"What is your job title, and what are your duties?"
"I'm a Criminalist III. My duties include examining, testing and analyzing tissue samples, chemical substances, physical materials and ballistics evidence. I interpret laboratory findings and tests along with collecting and preserving criminal evidence. I confer with ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, electronics, medical, chemical or metallurgical experts. I reconstruct crime scenes, prepare reports or presentations and provide expert witness testimony on evidence or laboratory techniques in trials or hearings."
Excerpted from Mine To Entice by Karen Anders Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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