Order of Protection

Order of Protection

by Lexi Blake

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Overview

Order of Protection by Lexi Blake

A sexy and suspenseful new contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake where love and law entwine for a conviction of the heart.

To high-end defense attorney Henry Garrison, Win Hughes is a woman he met during one of the most trying times of his life. She's soft and warm, and he finds solace in their brief relationship. But Win has a secret. She's actually Taylor Winston-Hughes--born to one of the wealthiest families in the country, orphaned as a child by a tragic accident. Win moves in the wealthiest circles, but her lavish lifestyle hides her pain.

When her best friend is murdered in the midst of a glittering New York gala, Win's charged with the crime, and the only person in the world she wants to see is Henry.

Henry is shocked at the true identity of his lover, but he can't reject the case. This trial could take his new firm into the stratosphere. Still, he's not getting burned by Win again. And yet every turn brings them closer together.

As the case takes a wild turn and Win's entire life is upended, she must look to the people she's closest to in order to find a killer. And Henry must decide between making his case and saving the woman he loves...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399587467
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/05/2018
Series: A Courting Justice Novel Series , #1
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 44,054
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Lexi Blake is the New York Times bestselling author of the Lawless novels, including Ruthless, Satisfaction, and Revenge, and the Masters and Mercenaries series, including Submission Is Not Enough, Dominance Never Dies, and From Sanctum with Love. She is also coauthor with Shayla Black of the Perfect Gentlemen series, including Big Easy Temptation and Seduction in Session, and the Masters of Menage series, including Their Virgin Mistress and Their Virgin Secretary.

Read an Excerpt

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof*** Copyright © 2018 Lexi Blake

Chapter One

Martha’s Vineyard,
Massachusetts

Henry Garrison sat on the back-porch steps, looking out at the Atlantic. The waves were calm at this time of day, an endless beat that once had been the rhythm of his childhood. The sky was darkening, a storm coming in with savage quickness. It was one of the things he’d always loved about this place. One minute the sky was perfect, and then some terrible storm would roll in, and thirty minutes later the world was back to flawless again.

If only his life had turned out to be so quick to change. Oh, it had gotten shitty fast, but the cleanup afterward seemed like it might take a lifetime.

He let the coffee cup he held warm his hands and concentrated on the beach. When he looked out over that sand, he could practically see his grandfather walking. The old man who’d raised him had walked the shoreline every single day, combing the beach he’d known for decades as though he would find something new. He would show back up with some shell or sand dollar like it was a treasure.

Damn but he missed that old man.

Sometimes he didn’t though. He was happy his grandfather hadn’t lived long enough to see the complete wreck Henry had made of his life. Along with his daily walk on the beach, Alistair Garrison had sat right here on this porch and read the New York Times every single morning while sipping his two cups of coffee. Never more, because that would be too indulgent.

Control and discipline, my boy. Those are the keys to life.

Yeah, his grandfather hadn’t lived long enough to watch his only grandchild, the golden boy, fall from grace because of booze and arrogance. He hadn’t had to watch as the New York Bar had nearly taken away his ability to practice law. He hadn’t been alive to witness the downfall of his grandson’s made-for-the-tabloids marriage, and Henry was sure as hell happy he hadn’t been alive to know that his precious house was being put on the market to pay off a never-ending series of bills he’d run up when he’d been married. He’d bought cars and houses and other shit he didn’t need.

Most of which he didn’t even own anymore. He’d had to sell almost everything to simply keep his head above water. He’d blown it all on booze and luxury vacations and clothes with price tags that would have made his grandfather roll over in his grave.

Henry gripped the coffee cup with both hands, willing himself to stay out here on the porch and not go back inside the small but beautifully decorated bungalow. That had been his grandmother’s doing, and he reminded himself that he was happy she hadn’t witnessed his tragedy either.

He’d been packing up the closet in the smaller of the two bedrooms when he’d found a wooden box containing a lifetime’s worth of photos. They were black-and-white and color. Some had been professionally done—his father’s army photo, his grandfather’s wedding portrait, Henry’s Harvard graduation portrait. Some had been from the various cameras his grandfather had used over the years. There had also been a Bible with a pressed white rose in it. His mother’s.

Pictures of the dead. Pictures of people who’d smiled and had lives, and then they were gone and he was left behind.

But those bittersweet memories weren’t what had prompted Henry to practically run out of the house.

Nope. It had been the small bottle of Scotch he’d found. There had been almost half the bottle left. He’d looked at that liquid gold and known exactly how it would taste, how it would smell, the way it would burn down his throat. He’d stared at it and figured he could get three decent glasses out of it. He could go to the kitchen, grab one of the crystal tumblers his grandmother had been proud of, and sit and toast all that death.

He’d dropped the bottle on the carpet and walked out of the house. He’d walked to the small café two blocks from the beach and ordered a large coffee and told himself that he could keep the monster locked in that room. He would simply sell the contents of the house along with the structure.

The problem was, the monster didn’t live in the bottle. The monster was with Henry always.

His cell trilled, and he practically breathed a sigh of relief. Work was something he could deal with. Work was an addiction he could sink into. He set the cup down and answered the call. “This is Garrison.”

“Hey, buddy. How’s the packing going?” David Cormack’s voice came over the line, a steady sound that soothed Henry. There was something about the ex–NFL star turned lawyer that Henry found oddly calming. David never flipped his shit, never got angry or emotional, but managed to also never seem cold.

David’s whole world had turned upside down, all his hopes and dreams burned to cinders, and all he’d done was find a new dream.

Henry would bet that not once had David ever had a drunken screaming argument with his wife in the middle of a Manhattan restaurant with a phalanx of reporters documenting every moment for posterity.

Of course, David was a widower. He didn’t argue with his wife at all.

“I’m getting through it. I only got in yesterday. I’m going to pack up anything personal and let the movers take the rest.” He wasn’t going to talk to David about the fact that he was on the back porch hiding out from a bottle of Scotch. David had enough to deal with. “Did the kid get in all right?”

The kid was named Noah Lawless, and he was the only fucking reason Henry Garrison was still going to be able to practice law in Manhattan. After his disastrous divorce, he didn’t have the influence or the cash flow to keep up his private practice. Manhattan’s best criminal lawyer had become a has-been, and only his connection to the incredibly powerful Lawless family was saving him this time.

Once upon a time, he’d defended Riley Lawless’s future wife from embezzlement and fraud charges. Not that she’d needed much defending, since she’d actually been innocent, but getting Ellie out of jail had apparently endeared him to the clan, and when he’d needed help, they’d been amenable. They were funding him for the time being. They were also his only real client.

Of course, that meant doing Drew Lawless, the family patriarch and head of their multibillion dollar company, a massive favor and taking on his baby brother as a freaking junior partner. But a desperate man did what he had to do. Noah wasn’t coming in as an associate, the way he should. He had his damn name on the door.

“He’s not as bad as you think.” David knew how reluctant Henry was to take on an entitled kid. He’d dealt with enough rich pricks to last a lifetime.

Despite the fact that he was sitting on one of the world’s most affluent islands, he hadn’t grown up wealthy. The house had been built by his boat captain great-grandfather back in the 1920s and passed down the line. His grandfather had been a fisherman, and his father had gone into the military. After his father had died, Henry had grown up here as a townie. It had only been later on that he’d turned into an overprivileged asshole of a human being.

“I think he’s probably pretty bad, so you’re not giving me a lot of confidence.” Henry wished he hadn’t stopped smoking. No more smoking. No more drinking. No more random, meaningless sex. Being virtuous was starting to get to him. He needed a good murder case, and soon, or he wouldn’t know what to do with himself. “The kid went to Creighton Academy. They’re all rich jerks who never worked a day in their lives.”

“He’s not what you would think, and you know his background. He practically raised himself. I like him. And he’s damn good with computers,” David said, his enthusiasm coming over the line.

“I would think he should be.” The Lawless family money was built on technology. 4L Software was known for innovation. “I don’t know why he didn’t go into tech in the first place. He could be working at 4L.”

“Maybe you don’t know him as well as I do. Read the files I send you every now and then. Or at least pretend to. He used to be a hacker, and it got him into some trouble. Things got violent, and he wants to stay as far away from that world as possible. When he went to college, he liked the law classes he took, and here he is.”

“Yes, big brother bought him a law firm.” And two partners. There was really no way around that. “I’m sure he’s also got a multimillion-dollar penthouse. I’m sure he’ll be supereasy to deal with.”

“Can the sarcasm, please,” David admonished. “As I was trying to explain, he’s worth more than the cash he’s bringing in, and he is very helpful. The network went down, and he got it up and working long before the IT guy I called managed to get to the office. By the way, we could use an in-house IT guy.”

They could use a lot of things they weren’t going to get. “Find me his salary in our budget and we’ll talk. Until then, the Creighton kid can do it, apparently. How did the meeting with Keillor go?”

Greg Keillor was a Wall Street businessman accused of murdering his business partner. The police believed he had one hell of a motive. A quarter of a billion dollars was worth killing over in a lot of people’s minds. It was exactly the kind of case Henry liked to sink his teeth into. High-profile, tons of billable hours, a client who could pay his freaking bill. Yeah, he wanted in on that. He’d been back in New York for less than a year, and most of his cases had been small-time. He’d done a couple of pro bono, mea culpa I’m-still-a-beast cases, but it was time to move back into prime time.

“I’m sorry, man. Keillor decided to go with Dustin and Klaus.” There was something tight in David’s tone.

“What did he say?” If this had been three years ago, Keillor would have been begging to have the Monster of Manhattan as his attorney. Henry Garrison would have been the first number he called. Henry would have been the one to make sure the case was worth his time.

Unfortunately, this was today.

“It doesn’t matter,” David insisted.

“It matters to me.” He should let it go, but he couldn’t. Now it was almost more real than it had been before, because now he wasn’t simply Henry Garrison, Esquire. He was a member of Garrison, Cormack, and Lawless. He’d brought himself down. How much harder would it be to bring them all down? After all, he hadn’t meant to do it the first time.

“He wasn’t interested in a lawyer who was more scandalous than he was,” David replied, his tone wry. “See? He’s a massive ass if he thinks divorcing your actress wife is more scandalous than beating his business partner to death with a polo mallet. Also, might I add that he was a shitty polo player and that was the most action his mallet ever saw. I don’t want him as a client.”

That was David. He looked to the silver lining. “You need to think about this, man. I know we’ve been friends for a long time, but you might do better on your own.”

It was an argument they’d had many times since the night his old friend had come to him and offered to start up a law firm. Henry had pointed out that no one wanted an addict, who couldn’t even keep a wife, as a lawyer.

David had pointed out that no one would want a washed-up jock, who hadn’t been known for his brains, as a lawyer.

“Stop. There’s no going back now. We’re in this and we’re a team. And you know it’s not all bad,” David quipped. “This office is small but spectacular. Drew Lawless knows how to pick real estate. The view impresses the hell out of everyone. I’ve already got two clients, and one of them is the Missiles. We should be rolling in dough soon, because you know how those athletes can be.”

He sighed in relief. David had been trying to get on as the Manhattan Missiles’ lawyer on retainer for months. It was a secret no one liked to talk about, but many professional sports teams kept criminal lawyers on retainer just in case. They wouldn’t be rolling in dough, as he’d said, but that retainer would keep the lights on. And it was a serious win for his friend. “Good for you, man.”

“Yeah, well, the new GM is an old friend of mine,” David admitted. “But you’re the one who told me half this business is who you know. Speaking of who you know . . . there’s a rumor floating around that a group of New York–based reality stars are hanging around Martha’s Vineyard for the end of the summer. No cameras. Apparently this is vacation time, so they might be willing to talk.”

He groaned. That was not a world he wanted to set foot in. He’d been around the elite of the entertainment world, and they were bad enough. Reality shows were pretty much the bottom of the barrel. “Absolutely not.”

“Come on. You know that’s a gold mine,” David countered, his voice going low. It was the same tone he used when trying to get a jury to see his point. Look at how sensible I’m being. Don’t mind the facts. Isn’t my voice soothing? He had to admit it. David had that shit down. “And it’s publicity, Henry. You’re the one who taught me getting your name out there is half the battle. This would be a great way to announce you’re back and you’re not afraid of anything. It’s work just waiting to happen. They always get in trouble. It’s actually a part of their career paths. If their ratings stall, they get arrested and do an apologetic media tour. That group has been going for more than five years now. They’re all about to hit thirty, and that’s geriatric on their network. Rumors are it’s going to get canceled soon. One of those kids is going to do something stupid, and we could be the lawyers who get paid for mopping up the mess.”

The thought made Henry’s stomach churn. He glanced out over the beach. It was peaceful. So unlike his former life. At this time of evening, the families had gone in for early dinners and the only person he could see was a woman jogging toward him from the east side of the island.

She was brave, because that storm was moving in even faster than he’d thought. There wasn’t much the way she was going. No shops unless she made a turn and jogged into Edgartown proper.

“I’m not getting back into that life—even as the janitor,” Henry replied. “Besides, after the way I left L.A., I don’t think there’s a studio or a network around that would recommend anything with my name on it.”

That had been the real mistake. He’d followed his bombshell actress wife out to La La Land, and that’s where it had all gone to hell. He should never have left the East Coast. God, there were pictures of him in douchebag V-neck T-shirts and skinny jeans. What had he been thinking?

He’d come back to New York with his tail between his legs and a big decision to make. Keep the home he’d grown up in or the Manhattan condo that impressed potential clients. In the end, there had been no other logical choice. The Martha’s Vineyard property was worth even more than the condo, but he couldn’t practice out here. Oh, he was perfectly licensed to practice in the state of Massachusetts, but there wasn’t much to do. The worst thing that happened out here was someone’s Maltipoo violating the dog-doo rules.

Unfortunately, the murders were few and far between.

“Think about it,” David said with a sigh. “I know you hate the fact that you have to climb the ladder again, but it won’t take as long this time. New York is different than L.A., and you know it. That Harvard degree means something here.”

So did his public meltdowns. They had been scandal fodder in L.A., but they were serious here in New York. New York lawyers were serious. They did not make headlines for anything but winning cases. “I’ll think about it.”

He wouldn’t, but he owed the lie to David. He glanced up again, and the jogger was getting closer. She was pretty, from this far out. Not the type he’d gotten used to in L.A. Thank god. This woman looked healthy. Nice breasts that not even her sports bra could force to be still. They moved in a way that let him know they weren’t made of silicone. Her blond hair was up in a ponytail, leaving her face exposed. She wasn’t all angles and planes. There was a softness to her even as she jogged along.

He heard the first rumble of thunder and saw her glance up at the sky.

“All right, then,” David said with a long sigh. “I’ll let you go, but seriously think about what I said. That chick Brie Westerhaven alone could bring in millions if she’s anything like her dad. And I seem to remember there was a best friend. Some superskinny heiress.”

“Yeah, I know who you’re talking about,” he replied. His ex-wife, Alicia, had been obsessed with Kendalmire’s Way. It was a reality show about the über-rich and idiotic. One of the “stars” had been a woman named Taylor Winston. “She was the Billion-Dollar Baby.”

When Taylor’s parents’ yacht had gone down in a storm on their way to Bermuda, there had been only one survivor—a baby found floating in a life vest. The newspapers had called it a miracle, and Taylor Winston had inherited a multibillion-dollar fortune before she’d turned two. Too bad she hadn’t used it to get an education. He knew little about her and didn’t want to know more.

The woman jogging by him was probably a local. She was too healthy to be a model. She was at least a whole size six, and in that world she would be plus-sized. Those breasts wouldn’t fit in designer wear, and she was wearing a plain T-shirt, cutoff sweats, and old-school Ray-Bans. Her sneakers were nothing special. There was none of the blingy designer crap the wealthy and desperate-to-be-seen wore. And this was a quiet beach. No cameras or gawkers.

He nodded her way, giving her a friendly smile. He didn’t recognize her, but then he’d been gone for nearly twenty years. Maybe he could visit some old acquaintances during this last two weeks.

Or maybe he should get his ass back to New York. “Are you sure you’re all right with me taking this time?”

“Stop, Henry. Take it. This is the last time you’ll get to be in that house, and you’ll regret it if you don’t pack it up yourself,” David insisted.

And regret was one thing he didn’t need more of. “Have I told you how much I appreciate you?”

The old Henry had appreciated nothing. The new Henry wasn’t going to make the same mistake.

“Never. But you could let me win the next time we play golf,” David suggested.

“That will be the day.” He hung up, feeling a bit better.

And then even better, because the blonde smiled back at him and he was damn near knocked over by those sweet dimples. She was soft and sexy and . . .

Clumsy. She hit something in the sand and went flying.

He let the phone drop and got off the steps, racing toward her. He’d saved many a woman from tripping in five-inch heels on the streets of Manhattan, but this was his first sneaker rescue. She was facedown in the sand when he got to her. It was shitty and supermale of him, but he couldn’t help but notice that she filled out those sweats. Her backside was gorgeous and curvy.

She didn’t move.

“Are you all right?”

“It depends. Is this a weird anxiety dream?” She stayed down, her face inches from the sand. “Because then I’m sure I’ll be okay. I’m nervous about starting grad school in a couple of weeks, and you could be a stand-in for all those professors at Duke who are going to be grading my work soon. So if you’ll turn into a walrus and start singing, my work will be better.”

Oh, he liked a quirky girl. It was absolutely where drunk-ass too-rich-for-his-own-good Henry split from the Henry he’d been when he’d lived here. The blond hair and curves were nice, but the weird sense of humor was what really did it for him. “And if I’m nothing more than a guy sitting on his back porch?”

“Then I’m planning on lying here until you go away, and then I’ll slink off and never come back again.”

He didn’t want her to slink away. She might be the most interesting thing that had happened to him in a long time. What would it be like to sit with a normal woman for a few hours? A grad student. Didn’t get more normal than that. “There is a third option.”

“I’m listening.” She turned her head slightly, and he could see her lips starting to curl up.

He knelt down. “You could let me help you up and take a look at your ankle.”

“Are you a doctor?”

“Lawyer.”

She groaned and let her head sink back to the sand. “Nope. I’m staying here. Can’t deal with lawyers. This is my home now.”

“Well, your home is going to get awfully wet in a few hours when high tide comes in. How about I promise not to throw any legal crap your way and you let me ice that ankle before it swells, and then you can decide if you want to become a mermaid.” He didn’t usually bring random women inside his childhood home. Hell, he hadn’t brought them back even when he’d lived here.

But he wanted to talk to her. She was intriguing. Even more now that he realized she was a weirdo.

She glanced up at him and frowned. “Sure you’re not a ridiculously hot figment of my imagination?”

That was another plus. She had terrible taste in men and likely no idea who the hell he was. “One hundred percent real.” He could guess at what made her skittish. “And you should know that I found your swan dive charming and attractive. Now let me get you inside. It’s going to rain soon.”

She groaned. “Yep, that’s what my nana said. She won’t let me live it down if I come home looking like a drowned rat. Is it all right if I ride it out?”

“Anything for a fellow townie.”

She pushed up and winced as she got to one knee.

He held out a hand and helped her up. “I’m Henry Garrison, by the way.”

She smiled, and those ridiculously adorable and yet sexy-as-hell dimples showed up. “Winnie Hughes. But please call me Win. Not that the nickname is applicable today. It’s nice to meet you. Actually, the ankle’s not too bad. It’s mostly my pride and the fact that if I don’t get in before it starts raining, people are probably going to see way more of me than they want to. I was so sure it wouldn’t rain that I picked a thin white T-shirt. That’s what I get for rebelling against authority.”

He felt the first drop of rain hit his head and managed to not keep her longer. He wasn’t going to be some leering stranger. After all, he wasn’t that far out from his divorce. It had only been six months since he’d signed on the dotted line, and he wasn’t about to be the idiot who threw himself back into the ocean after nearly drowning.

She was a townie, and he was going to miss the hell out of this place, so he would play nice.

Also, for the first time in hours, he wasn’t thinking about a drink. “Come on. Let’s get inside.”

The sky chose that moment to open up and bring down a deluge. Win squealed in a wholly feminine way and ran for the porch. Henry followed her, thankful because he knew he was going to make it one more day.

That was all he could ask for at this point.

Taylor Winston-Hughes took the tea from her gentleman savior. Outside, the rain beat against the roof of his small house. Her clothes were in his dryer, and she wore a way-too-big-for-her Harvard T-shirt and pajama bottoms she’d had to tie around her body. Her hair was in a towel, and she was absolutely certain she looked ridiculous.

Naturally, she looked like a crazy person and he was a gorgeous god of a man.

“Thanks.” She looked up at him, hoping she wasn’t drooling. He was an actual man and not a boy in designer clothes. She would bet he didn’t spend all day checking his Twitter or starting flame wars with other celebs. “So you live here? I haven’t seen you around.”

She’d been on the island for six months. Six months since she’d gotten back from Sweden. Six months since she’d hugged her counselor and walked back out into the world. Would Helena be proud of her that she hadn’t even hesitated to ask for sugar for her tea? Real sugar. And she was going to eat one of those cookies he’d put out, because they looked really good and her life was going to be about joy now, not fitting into some tiny piece of fabric and having the world celebrate her for not eating.

“I used to,” he admitted, holding out the plate. He smiled at her. “Don’t get excited. I didn’t make them. Actually, that’s something to be excited about, because I’m a terrible cook. I got them from the bakery in town.”

“Christina’s.” She knew the place well. She took one of the snickerdoodles. “I love that place. She makes the best madeleines.”

He put the plate down and sat across from her. “When I was a kid, the place was run by her mom, the original Christina. Though she answers to the name, the woman who runs it now is actually named Dawn. I went to high school with her. Never thought she’d come home to run the bakery. I believe she left the island the day after we graduated with dreams of becoming the next great country singer.”

Win shuddered slightly at the thought. She knew too many desperate artists. Her house was full of them right now. It was why she’d gone for that jog despite the weather. If she’d had to listen to one more complaint from Brie’s overly injected mouth, she would have screamed. “Yeah, I think that sounds horrible.”

Henry shrugged. “I suppose when you’re young it all seems like a good idea.”

“Somehow, I don’t see you dreaming of fronting a band.” There was something serious about the man, even when he was smiling. “When I was a kid I wanted to be a zookeeper. Then I got a real whiff of what it smelled like and I shifted my dreams.”

He laughed, a deep, rich sound. “I can see where that was a wise move. My grandfather was a fishing boat captain.”

She fought back another shiver. Though she couldn’t remember the accident that had taken her parents’ lives, it was embedded deep in her subconscious. She could get on a boat, but it bothered her. The storm bothered her, too, which proved how far she’d come. Now she found dealing with Brie and Hoover and Kipton was far worse than a potential storm. “I’m not big on boats.”

“But you live on an island.”

She did now. She could tell him about the Manhattan penthouse or the pied-à-terre she kept in Paris. She could mention the manor house outside London or the mansions in Bedford, Malibu, and Palm Beach, but she kind of liked being a townie. “Let’s say I’m working on getting over all my hang-ups. So you grew up here?”

She didn’t want to talk about herself. She’d spent way too much time doing that. If she could spend a day as Win Hughes, she would count it as a victory. She was trying her hardest to leave Taylor Winston-Hughes as far behind as possible.

“I did. This house has been in my family for a couple of generations. The Garrisons have lived on Chappaquiddick since long before it became associated with the Kennedys.”

Her eyes went wide. “I left the main island? Wow. I got on to one of the trails and started following it. I wasn’t thinking.”

He had to laugh. “Haven’t been here long, have you?”

“My nana moved here ten years ago.” Right after Win had left for college. Right before she’d fallen in with the ridiculous crowd and wrecked her life. Mary Hannigan had been her nanny all Win’s life, and when Win had moved, she’d decided to take over running the house on Martha’s Vineyard. She’d wanted a quieter life, but Win suspected she’d mostly wanted to be rid of Win’s uncle.

After the last year, Win had wanted nothing more than to find home again, and for her, it wasn’t a place. Home was a person, a person she shared not a drop of blood with. “I kind of screwed up my life, and now I’m living with her until I start grad school. Typical millennial, you know. Almost thirty and still searching.”

“Well, I’m moving toward forty and I still don’t have it figured out. I think it’s a human thing.” He sat back. “I miss my grandfather. You’re lucky to still have family. I’m afraid I am the last of my line.”

She gave him a short smile. She was fairly certain it didn’t reach her eyes. “My family is very small and not warm. My parents died when I was young, and I’ve been raised by my uncle ever since. Not that he had much to do with me. He was busy running the business my dad left behind. It’s been me and Nana for as long as I can remember.”

It wasn’t like she was going to see Mr. Gorgeous again. She was leaving for North Carolina in a couple of weeks, and according to him, he was selling this place. There wasn’t any real reason for her to explain the complexities of her life to a stranger. Actually, he might be a nice diversion before she threw herself into her studies.

She needed a diversion. Brie constantly trying to get her back on the show was proving to be stressful.

It was obvious to her this man had no idea who she was, and she liked it that way. Especially since she knew exactly who he was. Henry Garrison, former Manhattan attorney turned Alicia Kingman’s latest victim. She’d heard he’d gone into rehab after leaving L.A., and she believed it. He looked good and seemed calm and centered.

He was exactly the kind of man she could spend some time with. But once they were both back in New York, their paths wouldn’t cross, since she was staying completely out of social circles as much as possible from now on. There would be her charity work, but since they’d never bumped into each other before, she had no reason to think they would again.

The house rattled with the next clap of thunder.

“You all right?” Henry asked.

“I don’t like storms much either.” She’d almost gotten caught in this one. This part of the island wasn’t filled with houses and shops. It was stark and beautiful and isolated. It was why she spent so much time here, though she was usually on the Edgartown side of the beach. She glanced at the window. Lightning blanketed the sky.

“It’s okay.” His voice was deep and rich. “It’s hurricane glass, and this isn’t a hurricane. It’s a nasty storm, and from what I read on the weather site when I went to make the tea, it’s going to last a couple of hours. We should talk about what that might mean.”

It would be dark by the time she could start back. “I can call a cab. Well, maybe.”

“I’ll drive you back. I have a Jeep up here, but there might not be a road left,” he said. “The beach often floods. In fact, if you’d been here a couple of years ago, you wouldn’t have been able to get lost like you did. Norton Point Beach went underwater for eight years. It could do the same tonight, though it shouldn’t last quite that long.”

Oh god. She was stuck. “Is there a motel?”

“Not close, and again, I wouldn’t drive around as long as the storm is going. My nearest neighbor is about a mile to the east. I could try to get you there if you’re worried I’m a serial killer who waits for his victims to fall while jogging by.”

When put like that, it didn’t seem at all likely. Also, she was fairly certain he meant her no harm. She had some friends who knew Alicia, and they had nothing but good things to say about her third victim . . . husband. Alicia Kingman was a tornado who swept up men and tended to drop them again in a place that had been devastated. She kind of understood that. “If you don’t mind, could I stay for a while?”

“I would not mind the company at all,” he said, his voice warm. “I’ll be honest. I’ve been lonely for the last couple of days. Going through all my grandparents’ things has made me melancholy, and I forgot how isolated it is out here.”

He was packing up his childhood and looking forward to an uncertain future. Yes, she definitely understood that. How long had it been since she’d been around a real man? One who cared about something beyond his Instagram followers and how his hair looked? There had been a guy in Sweden, but she’d had to focus on herself and getting healthy.

It would be nice to spend an evening with a man she could talk to. “Thank you. I’ll call home and let them know I’m safe. Do you have a landline? My cell isn’t getting service.”

“Of course.” He stood up. “It’s in the den on the desk. I’m going to head into the kitchen and pray I can heat something up for dinner.”

“I’m pretty handy in the kitchen. I’ll be right there. I can pay for my room and board with my culinary skills.” She’d grown up in Nana Mary’s kitchen, helping her make meals and learning how to bake.

She’d relearned how to eat, and oddly, it all seemed new again. New palate. New girl.

New woman. She wasn’t going back to being a girl again.

“I’ll see what we have.” He grimaced. “Besides frozen dinners for one. We might be choosing between frozen mac and cheese and Salisbury steaks. You might prefer the storm.”

Oh, she knew that wasn’t true. “I promise. I can come up with something good.”

He pushed open the door that led to the kitchen. “I’ll hold you to that.”

The door swung shut. Damn, that man was fine. He was roughly six-two, with ridiculously dark hair and blue eyes. Had he been wearing glasses she would have called him Clark Kent. He did have a jaw of steel. Something about a cut jawline did it for her. Broad shoulders and a fit body rounded out his status as a complete hottie.

She was never going to call him a hottie, but he was.

She picked up the phone and dialed the number to the landline at Hughes House. She’d been forced to memorize it as a child. Nana Mary hadn’t wanted her out playing without a way to contact her, but she’d also wanted her to have some freedom during those summer months.

“Winnie?”

Only her castmates from the old show called her Taylor. She was Win to her real friends. She’d been Win to Brie for years before that stupid show. The fact that her childhood friend now exclusively called her Taylor said a lot about where they were. “Hey, Nana.”

She couldn’t bring herself to call the woman Mary.

A long sigh came over the line. “Thank god. I was worried. You’ve been gone so long.” Her accent was strong, proving how emotional she was. “I was about to force those lazy boys of yours to get off the sofa and go and look for you.”

Hoover and Kip? She would bet they’d spent the afternoon playing video games and taking selfies. “Please don’t. They rarely drive themselves and won’t have any idea how to handle a car in this weather. They would kill someone. I’m fine. I’m at a friend’s house, and I might stay here if the weather doesn’t break.”

“A friend?” There was no small amount of suspicion in her voice, but Win couldn’t blame her. After all, she hadn’t been smart in choosing friends before. “I didn’t realize you still had friends on the island.”

She had a couple of acquaintances, but any real friends she’d made during those childhood summers had left the island long ago and were out in the world making lives for themselves. “All right. He’s a new friend. I met him recently, but he did save me from becoming a land mermaid. He’s got a place on Chappaquiddick. I must have wandered over here.”

“The closest house to those trails is the Garrison place.” Mary was quiet for a moment. “Are they renting it out, or is the son there? I know the grandfather passed a few years back, but the son was a nice boy. You were a bit too young to remember him, but he was extremely polite.”

It was funny that was what she remembered, since it wasn’t his reputation now. However, Win knew sometimes reputations weren’t earned. “Yes, his name is Henry and he assures me he’s not a serial killer.”

“Did he say that? Because that’s what I would say if I was a serial killer.”

“It was a joke. He’s nice, and he offered me the phone so I could tell you where I am. Hardly the actions of a man about to murder me.” She had to smile because at least someone gave a damn. “I’ll call you in the morning, and I’m sorry I left you with guests. I promise I’ll get rid of them as soon as possible. Once they figure out I’m not coming back on the show, they’ll move on and find someone else.”

There would be a line waiting to take her place.

“Don’t worry about it, love. But Brianna is here and she’s insisting on speaking to you,” Nana said, her voice going professional. There was barely a hint of her Polish accent now. “And your uncle is here. He managed to fly in before the storm hit and he’s staying for a few days. He wants you to sign some paperwork for the foundation.”

“All right. I need to talk to him about the fund-raiser, too. The good news is, I’ve got everything ready and the invitations went out months ago. I need to wrangle a nice check out of him and then the pocketbooks should open up.” Her uncle wasn’t a cold man. He simply wasn’t great father material. He’d done right by her in a way though. He’d given her Mary and ensured that Mary had everything she needed to be a mother. He’d allowed Mary to make all the decisions, and he’d shown up from time to time and sent lavish gifts for her birthday. She certainly didn’t hate her uncle. They’d managed to get closer since she’d grown up. He simply hadn’t known what to do with a child, which was odd since he’d had one of his own. Not that he’d spent time with his son, either. “I’m going to talk to him about taking over the foundation. I want to be more than a figurehead. I can do more than plan a fund-raiser.”

“Once you have your master’s degree, he won’t be able to argue with you,” Mary said. “And he’ll have to deal with you once you turn thirty. You’ll be his boss then. He won’t be able to treat you like a child.”

She didn’t like to think about it, but it was true. She would come into her inheritance when she got married or turned thirty. The marriage thing hadn’t happened, but the birthday was inevitable. She’d been assured nothing had to change, except she would sign more paperwork. “Don’t even tease him about that. I have no idea what I would do if Uncle Bellamy didn’t take care of the business. I want to concentrate on the foundation, not on making cash. Tell him I’ll be there as soon as I can, and maybe don’t mention I’m at a strange man’s place.”

While he wasn’t the most involved of guardians, he could be a bit on the protective side. The last thing she needed was her uncle calling down a bunch of PIs on Henry Garrison. He’d had enough scrutiny for a lifetime.

“I’ll be silent as the grave, love. Here she is.”

“Jesus, Tay, where are you? How could you leave me stuck here? This place is supposed to be all luxurious and shit, but it’s superdull. I can see an ocean back in L.A.” Brie’s voice was like nails on a chalkboard after the soothing ease of Henry’s.

“Then you should go back to L.A. I’m stuck on Chappaquiddick, and I won’t be back until the morning,” she explained. “Don’t even try to go out in this. No clubbing tonight. They won’t be open in this storm.”

“What the hell am I supposed to do then?”

Win looked over the bookshelves in front of her. They were built-in and ran the length of one wall. There were some pictures, but the shelves were mostly used as they had been intended. The owner of this home loved books. She ran her fingers over the spines. The Complete Works of Melville. Mutiny on the Bounty. In the Heart of the Sea. There was definitely a theme going. But there was also a shelf of legal-looking books, and she found another with Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

“Read a book,” she said to Brie.

Laughter came over the line. “That’s funny. I guess I’ll give myself a facial or something and post it online. And you know I’m not leaving. I’m going to help you with the fund-raiser, and we have to meet with Sully next week.”

Win knelt down, looking at the bottom shelf, where the paperbacks were. Oh, those told a tale. There were a bunch of split-spined Stephen King books down there, along with novelized adaptations of big Hollywood sci-fi films. Michael Moorcock and a Dan Simmons. And a thick stack of comic books. Nerd. He’d been a nerd.

Somehow that made him even hotter.

Was she actually thinking about seducing the Monster of Manhattan?

Could she? He’d been a gentleman up to this point, but he’d also definitely been flirting with her.

“I’m going to be happy to see Sully, but I’m not coming back to the show. He doesn’t want me back.” Sullivan Roarke was the producer of Kendalmire’s Way. He was a genuinely lovely man. He was the one who’d been kind enough to fire her. He’d also sent her to Sweden, and every week that she was in the clinic a lovely new bouquet of flowers had been delivered with a note wishing her well.

Getting fired was the best thing that had ever happened to her. She would love to see Sully, but she would never work with him again.

“You’re wrong. He knows how important you are and what your story line would mean to the series.”

“Story line?” It always made her a little nauseous to think about the fact that her life was some kind of story line to entertain people.

There was a pause that let Win know Brie was still capable of some form of subtlety. “Win, you went through something rough.”

She’d gone through anorexia. “I’m good now. Hell, some people would even say I’m moving toward heifer status.”

The bitchy mean girls would definitely say it. If she put herself back on the Internet, the trolls would have a field day with her. She wasn’t afraid of them anymore, but she also no longer needed their approval.

“Don’t say that about yourself,” Brie said, her voice more emotional than Win could ever remember.

It was good to know that under all that Hollywood chic, Brie still cared. “I wasn’t saying it about myself, but other people will. Going through what I went through is precisely why I can’t go back to that world, Brie. The first thing the producers will say is that I would look better on camera if I lost a few pounds. Nothing serious. No more than five pounds at most. A single dress size. And they’ll be right. I did look better on camera.”

“You’re beautiful now, Win.”

Tears pierced her eyes. “That’s the first time you’ve called me that in years.”

“Because I don’t want to screw up in public. Look, I’ll back off for now, but you could show young girls that they don’t have to be a size zero. I know I’m a freaking caricature of myself now. I do get that, but I remember who I am underneath it all, and if you come back, I will defend you. I love you, Win. I don’t say it often enough, but I admire you. I wish I could be more like you.”

“You are the toughest chick I know, Brie Westerhaven,” Win said with a smile. “You don’t need to be anyone but your own fabulous self.”

Brie chuckled over the line. “Yeah, well, we tabloid babies have to stick together. You safe where you are? Because I can come get you.”

“I’m good. A white knight saved me from the storm. I’m going to sleep on his couch.” She found a bunch of old board games.

“On his couch? Is he hot?”

“Yes, he is, but he’s also not the type who parties it up. I think I really will be on the couch tonight.”

“Every man is the type to save a pretty girl and have her pay him back with her sweet, sweet body.” Brie was right back to her usual role—dirty sprite. “I like this, Win. Handsome man saves innocent woman and requests her body as payment.”

“I’m hanging up now.” She wasn’t going there. “Good night.”

She hung up the phone and pulled out a battered edition of Clue. She remembered that game well.

There was the sound of pans clanging and a low growl of masculine frustration.

She needed to fix that if she was going to have any chance of not sleeping alone. Perhaps if she fed the beast, he would be in a more affectionate mood.

Or she could accept that she was going to pass a pleasant but passionless evening with a nice man. She shoved the Clue box back and pulled out Monopoly. Not as much fun, but given what was happening in her life, it was the safer bet.

She carried it with her as she made her way into the kitchen.

After all, she didn’t need to play a murder game. Not when a killer was stalking her.

She glanced outside, at the lightning flaring along the sky.

At least for tonight, she seemed to be safe.

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Order of Protection 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
MaimeosAngelsEL 11 months ago
5 Star Review of Order Of Protection (Courting Justice #1) by Lexi Blake When I heard that there was a new Lexi Blake series, I jumped at the chance to dive in. Having read many of her previous books, I was excited to see what she had in store for us in Order Of Protection. In my humble opinion nobody does sexy suspense books like Lexi Blake. If you like sexy alpha males, some really hot scenes and characters that will melt your heart, then look no further. One of the things that I love about Lexi Blake is that her characters are never one dimensional, there are always so many layers and Henry and Win were no exception. Henry Garrison is a lawyer trying to get his life back under control, a recovering alcoholic, whose divorce left his life and career in tatters. Win Hughes is the mysterious woman he meets while packing up his family home. They connected for a time, then like ships in the night they parted ways. However fate has more in store for Henry and WIn than either of them could expect. Life has not been kind to Win, however she has gotten back on track and is determined to make the most out of life. When Win is charged with the murder of her best friend, she has no hesitation in seeking out Henry to represent her. However this Henry is not the friendly man she hooked up with on the island, he is furious that she “lied” by omission and did not tell him who she really is. To be honest when they meet again Henry acted like a jerk, in fact I wanted to smack him across the head and tell him to grow up. It was good to see some familiar faces make an appearance and the suspense and twists and turns had me continuously guessing Will Henry and Win be able to find out who the killer is and thereby prove Win’s innocence or will the killer strike again?.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Fast paced,sexy, and keeps you guessing. What more could you want.
BeckyRendon 8 months ago
3.5 stars Nothing says trouble like a reality tv star being arrested for murder. Nothing spells ratings like the lawyer representing her being a past lover. Nothing spells trouble like holes in an alibi and lack of proof... But that isn't stopping the DA and it's only going to get worse. Order of Protection is a new start to new series but don't fret too much, there are plenty of "visits" from familiar faces in the Lexi Blake universe. Enjoy the muscled men of McKay- Taggert and their appearances. But don't think this legal office is lacking in the looks department either!I look forward to future installments.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Great!
Anonymous 8 months ago
I loved this book from the first page. The characters were realistic and lovable. The romance was sizzling. The plot was great!
Cynthia181 9 months ago
I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review, I was not required to. This is a beginning of a wonderful story of how ideas about a group of people can change .Each character in the story are strong and the writing is wonderful. Win was the Million Dollar Baby who was going spending a little time at Martha's Vineyard before she left for grad school at Duke, Henry is attorney is settling with the decision he is having to sell his family home because of his divorce and downfall from his marriage. He is a attorney in NYC and needing to start over. They meet on the beach behind his house and things just continue from there.
chrismom 9 months ago
Order of Protection Lexi Blake Henry Garrison went back to the house he grew up in and had happy memories to sell it. It is very difficult for him. He meets Win Hughes on the beach after she falls and realizes she is different from the women he was used to. Both share secrets, Henry, that he is an alcoholic, and Win who she really is. During a party in New York, her best friend Brie is found murdered and Win is accused of it. It is then Henry finds out who she really is. Hating rich actresses because of his ex wife, he walks away from Win even though she was the best thing that ever happened to him. After she is arrested, he still feels protective of her and has his team work on her defense and finding the actual killer. I enjoyed this book. This is Henry’s story whom we met in the first book of the Lawless series. There is also the connection of the youngest Lawless, Noah, working for Henry’s firm. Henry has to make a decision. Will he choose Win over everything else or will continue with his empty life? There are some twists and turns throughout this story that makes it a real page turner. I recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Great new series. Lexi Blake is one of favorite authors to read. Win and Henry story had we laughing and sad at times. Win is a heiress to a fortune and trying to make her way after tragedy in her life. Henry is a super hot lawyer and recovering alcoholic trying to make better choices in his life when he meets Win. They both agree to have a affair for a couple of weeks and then go their own way.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Great story, I can't wait for the next book. Keep them coming :)
In_My_Humble_OpinionDA 10 months ago
Order of Protection is a sexy contemporary that feature two lost souls with trust issues. Henry is rebuilding his life after a disastrous marriage and a stint in rehab for alcohol abuse. Win has other issues including eating issues. These two are terrific together if they can get past their issues. I really enjoyed this fast paced, steamy story.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Definitely a great beginning to a new group of strong characters, but with a sprinkling of old friends.
Lit_Litehosue 11 months ago
I have to admit I kind of though Henry was a bit of a jerk at first, then I loved him, then I thought he was a jerk again but when Taylor (Win) is accused of murder he steps up and made me fall in love with him. This story has everything we want in romance and it has lots of twist that will make you fly through those pages. I loved this story and since it’s book on of the series I am excited to read more about these characters.
TBR_Book_Blog 11 months ago
Another amazing book from Lexi Blake! You will recognize a lot of her other series characters that make appearances like the Lawless family for one. I love when authors have multiple series' out and find a way to tie them all or at least have characters appear in the other series. It helps me with the world building. Plus a new Lexi Blake series?? I'm SO there!!! I love Win and her personality. She was done being a reality TV star with her friends and what it meant to be, especially since that wasn't her at all. When she met Henry, he didn't know who she was and she loved that. She liked being anonymous (sorta) and not living in the spotlight and as fodder for the tabloids. This story has all the Lexi Blake goodness you've come to expect but also is different because it's delving into the world of reality TV, which I know can be daunting. I can't wait to read more of this series!!!
gigiluvsbooks2 11 months ago
A sexy and suspenseful new contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake where love and law entwine for a conviction of the heart. To high-end defense attorney Henry Garrison, Win Hughes is a woman he met during one of the most trying times of his life. She's soft and warm, and he finds solace in their brief relationship. But Win has a secret. She's actually Taylor Winston-Hughes—born to one of the wealthiest families in the country, orphaned as a child by a tragic accident. Win moves in the wealthiest circles, but her lavish lifestyle hides her pain. When her best friend is murdered in the midst of a glittering New York gala, Win's charged with the crime, and the only person in the world she wants to see is Henry. Henry is shocked at the true identity of his lover, but he can't reject the case. This trial could take his new firm into the stratosphere. Still, he's not getting burned by Win again. And yet every turn brings them closer together. As the case takes a wild turn and Win's entire life is upended, she must look to the people she's closest to in order to find a killer. And Henry must decide between making his case and saving the woman he loves... Review: This was an exciting start to this new series. Loved the whole mystery going on here. Crap! I want to let some plot points out, but I am going to try not to because I think the Author did a great job of throwing in some great surprises into the mystery surrounding Winnie. I will say that the mystery was very well-done, lots of misdirections. The story does have a resolution for Henry and Win. I did enjoy seeing characters from previous series in this book. I am not sure where the series is going, but I cannot wait to find out Henry and Win....they are super sexy and really are great together. They do have a multitude of problems and obstacles to overcome on their way to a HEA. It was quite the ride though. Ms. Blake has a way with writing that really draws you in and makes you want to lose yourself in the story. Plus, she can write sexy like nobody's business. Wonderful, wonderful start to this series! 4Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.*
gigiluvsbooks2 11 months ago
A sexy and suspenseful new contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake where love and law entwine for a conviction of the heart. To high-end defense attorney Henry Garrison, Win Hughes is a woman he met during one of the most trying times of his life. She's soft and warm, and he finds solace in their brief relationship. But Win has a secret. She's actually Taylor Winston-Hughes—born to one of the wealthiest families in the country, orphaned as a child by a tragic accident. Win moves in the wealthiest circles, but her lavish lifestyle hides her pain. When her best friend is murdered in the midst of a glittering New York gala, Win's charged with the crime, and the only person in the world she wants to see is Henry. Henry is shocked at the true identity of his lover, but he can't reject the case. This trial could take his new firm into the stratosphere. Still, he's not getting burned by Win again. And yet every turn brings them closer together. As the case takes a wild turn and Win's entire life is upended, she must look to the people she's closest to in order to find a killer. And Henry must decide between making his case and saving the woman he loves... Review: This was an exciting start to this new series. Loved the whole mystery going on here. Crap! I want to let some plot points out, but I am going to try not to because I think the Author did a great job of throwing in some great surprises into the mystery surrounding Winnie. I will say that the mystery was very well-done, lots of misdirections. The story does have a resolution for Henry and Win. I did enjoy seeing characters from previous series in this book. I am not sure where the series is going, but I cannot wait to find out Henry and Win....they are super sexy and really are great together. They do have a multitude of problems and obstacles to overcome on their way to a HEA. It was quite the ride though. Ms. Blake has a way with writing that really draws you in and makes you want to lose yourself in the story. Plus, she can write sexy like nobody's business. Wonderful, wonderful start to this series! 4Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.*
Anonymous 11 months ago
Not as sexually charged as others series, but be prepared to meet a few characters from other HOT series that drop in to add some color. This twisting plot is a page turner on the who-done-it front right to the end.
Sandy-thereadingcafe 11 months ago
3.75 stars--ORDER OF PROTECTION is the first installment in Lexi Blake’s contemporary, adult COURTING JUSTICE romantic, suspense series, a spin-off from the author’s LAWLESS series. This is thirty-seven year old, high-powered, defense attorney aka The Monster of Manhattan, Henry Garrison, and twenty-nine year old, former reality TV star/heiress Taylor Winston-Hughes aka Win Hughes’ story line. There is a slight cross-over with the author’s Masters and Mercenaries series with the inclusion of several security experts from McKay-Taggart. Told from dual third person perspectives (Win and Henry) ORDER OF PROTECTION follows the acrimonious relationship between thirty-seven year old, high-powered, defense attorney Henry Garrison, and twenty-nine year old, former reality TV star/heiress Win Hughes, and the search for the truth. A month earlier, hiding from scandals that had become their lives, Henry Garrison and Win Hughes would spend several glorious weeks together on Chappaquiddick with the knowledge that their relationship was only temporary, and no-strings attached. Never having revealed to Henry the true identity about her past and reality TV, Win would return to civilization, only to be charged with the murder of her co-star Brie while attending a fund-raiser set up by her Uncle Bel. Enter Henry Garrison, who has been hired to defend our story –line heroine. What ensues is the caustic relationship between our leading couple as everyone struggles to uncover the truth. Approximately twenty-seven years earlier, an infant Taylor Winston-Hughes was the lone survivor of an explosion at sea wherein her billionaire parents were killed leaving their only child the heir to a fortune but her personal life would become fodder for the news media naming her the Billion-Dollar Baby, that followed her the rest of her life. Quiet, shy, determined and beautiful Win is a recovering anorexic whose time spent on the gossip beleaguered, reality television show brought with it the demands of perfection and more. Working with Henry to solve the murder meant working with a spiteful, angry, and demeaning man whose inability to forgive and forget found our heroine on the receiving end of acidic barbs and accusations of murder from the man hired to work on her defense. From the outset, recovering alcoholic and scandal plagued Henry Garrison finds himself attracted to his temporary neighbour, and his relationship and sexual attraction is palpable and sweet, but murder charges against, and the revelation of our heroine’s true identity turn Henry into a caustic, monster of epic proportions. Cynical and untrusting Henry is unable to move beyond the scandal that plagued his marriage to actress Alicia Kingman, a disastrous and fraudulent marriage that has blinded our hero to love and a happily ever after. For all intents and purposes Henry became the nightmare our heroine was trying to avoid. ORDER OF PROTECTION is a detailed and complex story line with a couple of twists revealed at the very end. The premise is engaging, entertaining and edgy; the romance is dramatic and provocative; the characters are spirited, startling and animated but saying that Henry’s abrasive, antagonizing and ill-tempered treatment of our story line heroine is offensive until the very end; the character portrayal of Henry is questionable-he is not a likeable hero but more of an anti-hero; redemption is difficult. ORDER OF PROTECTION is a well written story.
Jill__D 11 months ago
3.5 stars for - Order of Protection - book one in the Courting Justice series by one of my favorite authors - Lexi Blake. While I freely admit I had some trouble in the beginning trying to get into this one rest assured it did eventually pick up. Then when you add in LB's signature style of a lot of sexy, some dangerous bad guys, and members of M+M it turns out to be a good start to this brand new series. Taylor Winston-Hughes better known as Win is a reality tv actress . Having lost her parents in an accident she inherited their corporation and money along with the stresses of losing them so young. Her coping mechanism just so happens to be something that could kill her but she hides her pain as best she can all while trying to maintain the façade people expect. Henry Garrison is an attorney in Manhattan and is quite literally known as a monster - taking even the most dire of cases knowing his ruthlessness will suffice. Being married to an actress and in the spotlight was something he never minded actually even using those times to bring his law firm more business until it backfired on him spectacularly. While professionally Henry is at the top of his game, personally he was obliterated by his ex-wife in a messy, public divorce. Leaving Henry very bitter of many things and wanting no part of those spotlights again. Can't wait to see what kind of trouble the other partners in this law firm are gonna get into next! Who knows maybe Ian can show up and save the day too :)
Anonymous 11 months ago
Love Win and Henry. Good murder mystery and hot lawyers. Great to catch up with Noah Lawless and see how he's come into his own. Win is a wonderful person, rich but a heart of gold. The perfect girl for the fallen from grace badass lawyer Henry Garrison. These two have fabulous chemistry and bring out the best in each other.
TheBunny1 11 months ago
4.5 Stars I am not sure what I was expecting from this title, but this wasn't it. In the best possible way. Win and Harry were a little more broken and damaged than I was expecting. A little more fragile, a little more drawn to one another because they each knew where the other was coming from, how the broken pieces could fit together as a while, but stay a little broken...and they saw this in each other. I loved how resistant Henry was to being with her, while being so drawn to her that he keeps accidentally letting Win into his life, even when he thinks he doesn't want to. Lexi Blake always packs a punch, she always tells an interesting story, and this one tells a different yet interesting story. I am not sure why this felt so different, honestly...it had suspense, a mystery, secrets, danger and a character from a previous title (Hello, there...it was nice to see you although I am not telling anyone who you are) and so much of Lexi's normal stuff that I really am not sure why it felt so different. But, I loved it all the more for this reason. I recommend this title.
mamalovestoread22 11 months ago
After a devastating divorce and his ex-wife launching a public smear campaign, Henry Garrison's reputation in Los Angeles was left severely damaged, to the point that he can hardly land a single client. Between the divorce, losing his business, and just about everything he owns, he turns to alcohol to numb the pain, but all that managed to do is get him in more trouble. So after a stint in rehab, he decides it's time to return to what he knows, which means returning to New York again, where he will partner with some friends to open a law office and hopefully rebuild his reputation in his field. While preparing his grandfathers home to be sold, he spies a beautiful girl face planting on the beach, so he rushes to rescue her and winds up meeting the most interesting person to come into his life in a long while. The chemistry between them is immediate, and it spawns a little vacation love affair,that he knows it won't lead anywhere special since they have different plans for their lives, so he decides just to enjoy it while it lasts. But once he arrives back at the law office he gets the surprise of a lifetime, when his beautiful woman crashes into his world once again, and brings along some secrets and a job offer that he can't refuse! Order of Protection is a scintillating tale that is sure to pull readers in from the very first page and keep them completely enthralled until the last. With it's suspenseful and steamy story line it's a can't miss read, and I have to say it was one of the most impressive first reads that I have experienced in a long while! These wonderful characters' story packed a powerful punch, both damaged from their pasts, both struggling to keep their demons at bay, and both fighting like hell to come out on the winning side of things... you couldn't help but root for them. This was quite the literary journey for me, the suspenseful side kept me on my toes, the steamy side had me swooning throughout, and the emotional side put a squeeze on my heart! Highly recommend! I requested an advanced copy of this title from NetGalley and I am voluntarily leaving my honest opinion.
grammyx3 11 months ago
Order of Protection is the first book in author Lexi Blake's new Courting Justice series. This story begins with high-end defense attorney Henry Garrison at his childhood home in Chappaquiddick packing up personal possessions so the house can be sold. His life is a mess, financially and personally, after a very messy divorce from his Hollywood star wife. His drinking hasn't helped any. Rehab over Henry needs to get his life back together. He meets a beautiful lady who is jogging on the beach past his house. Win Hughes trips, falls and looks up to see her rescuer, Henry. So Boy meets Girl. Boy and Girl are very attracted to each other and begin a two week fling. Girl recognizes Boy but Boy doesn't recognize Billion Dollar Baby, reality TV star Taylor Winston-Hughes. Boy has sworn off interacting with any more Hollywood types. The revelation of the truth doesn't go over well in spite of their feelings for each other during their two week fling. Things get even more complicated when Win is accused of murder and asks Henry to defend her. Lexi Blake has a most devious mind. The plot twists in this story kept me turning the pages well past my bedtime. To add to the enjoyment of the story we get to read about some of our favotite characters from Lexi's other series. In my eyes that is a super bonus. It looks like another winning series for this author!
JenniferSchultheisJS 11 months ago
Order of Protection by Lexi Blake is book one in the Courting Justice series and is off to a killer start! Henry Garrison is a high-end defense attorney going through some issues. He has an alcohol problem and is fresh off a divorce. When Win Hughes falls his way, he can’t help but think how opposite she is from his ex-wife and finds solace in her willing body and her heart. But the real world doesn’t wait for anybody, so he leaves Win and goes back to work. Win Hughes is actually Taylor-Winston Hughes and she is part of one of the wealthiest families in the country. She is also the miracle child who lived when her parents didn’t. To say she’s famous is putting it lightly. When Win is accused of murder, it’s up to Henry and his team to get her off. But Henry is just learning how full of lies Win is and won’t be playing nicely. The book didn’t immediately capture my attention, but the story picks up and keeps you engaged. So, hang in there because it really is a great read! I will also admit that I was totally wrong on who the ultimate bad guy was. Just when you think it’s over, the author throws you a curveball and changes it up, which was good because I didn’t see any of it coming. I liked the emotional issues revolving around Henry and Win. I also really enjoyed how much I didn’t hate Henry’s ex-wife. She wasn’t good for him, but she wasn’t a total witch, either. Overall, a great read filled with many different layers! Looking forward to the next book in the series!
MBurton 11 months ago
For my first read of Lexi Blake this definitely wet my appetite for this authors story telling. What I liked about it was that it drew me in from the start. She grabbed my attention and had me wanting to find out where she was taking us with these characters. There is a mix of likable, unlikable and some mysterious characters that kept things moving in the story. Win, the female lead was one of those likable characters. She did make some bad choices that put her in a bad place and the story begins at her healing. What grew of that was a woman who overcame and matured into a lovely young woman who dealt with problems in a reasonable manor. I loved that she wasn't prone to jumping to conclusions or acting out. She's a heroine you can genuinely like and wish the best for. Henry, the male lead of the story is a bit more of a mix of likable and unlikeable. He's made his own bad choices in life and what came out of it was a man who was also more mature but still held onto some bitterness that made him judge unfairly. I liked him but then he had moments where I didn't like him. He never crossed a line that was unforgivable, but for me it kept him from becoming a character that I truly loved. There were plenty of side characters that added to the intrigue of the story. Some may surprise you, some are predictable and some you will love and want to find their books to read about them. Since this is my first read, I'm assuming here but I got the feeling a few of these characters do actually have their own books. I will be researching that. As for the story itself, there was good mix of drama to the story if a tad unrealistic. Only these things can happen to the uber rich in a book. Maybe that is why it pulled me right into the story and had me wanting to see how it all ended. Some of it was predictable and some unpredictable. I like that I didn't guess every single clue. Now I'm off to see if those delicious bodyguards and their wives have their own books! ARC provided by NetGalley.
Hray16 11 months ago
There are a few times that a book is read that leaves me speechless at the end. This was one of those books. I was hooked from the beginning, trying to figure out what would happen next, what kind of turn was coming, and who really did it. To say I was on the edge of my seat is an understatement. The characters where so life like. Henry was an a$$, but we have seen it before. The man fighting the love he obviously has for his woman. Win, a strong woman who know who she wants. sidelined by a little murder.. I loved how Henry gives in and the Monster of Manhattan does something he never does. Ask if his client did it. The end is oh so sweet, and also a very hard fought for HEA.