Author: Skye McNeil
Title: Appointed by Fate
Series: The Mobster Files, Book 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: September 30, 2017
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Cover Designer: Claire Smith
One of Iowa’s most prominent criminal attorneys, Joci Dorous is ruthless and devoid of emotion in the courtroom. It’s what makes her the best. Her most recent client allegedly committed murder and, despite a rocky start, Joci is determined to win Cameron Shearer’s case.
Since this is her first homicide, she has the support of a second-chair attorney—her ex who wants her back. To make things more complicated, her hunky cop of a booty call, Cameron’s arresting officer, isn’t quite ready to let her go either. Who knew being surrounded by three hot guys could be so deliciously exhausting?
As the mystery of the case unravels, she soon discovers the true reason behind Cameron’s impromptu visit to Iowa. It’s this knowledge that endangers all those she holds dear. Caught up in confusion, chaos, and criminal law, how will her heart survive the final verdict?
They sat in comfortable silence, Cameron’s warmth spreading over her and compelling her eyes to close. No doubt it was way beyond the normal time she fell into bed at night.
“Just so you know, neither the attorney douche nor the cop stripper will work for you,” he whispered into her ear, forcing her eyelids to stay open.
Joci grunted. “You wouldn’t know who works for me.”
Cameron circled a bold arm around her waist, pulling her flush to him. His mild scent filled her senses, lulling her. “Maybe not yet, but I can tell neither guy could make you happy. Not in the long run.”
Lifting her eyebrows, she let her eyes linger on his torso. He was magnificent up close, but even more so because she felt him beside her. She’d never thought the lanky kid with Metallica T-shirts would grow up to be more handsome than the majority of her exes. Why she allowed him to grip her like this, she’d never understand, but it was familiar.
“How would you know who would bring me happiness?” she questioned.
“I just do.” With fluid movements, he reached back and tugged at her ponytail. “I hate these things, by the way.” He clutched the hair tie and slid it down until her hair fluttered into her face. “Much better.”
“Why are you so much nicer when it’s the two of us?”
He tilted his neck and trailed his hands up her sides. “I don’t know. You’ve got this effect on me. I’m either an asshole because I want to see that angry crinkle on your brow.” He smirked when she obliged. “Yeah, that. Or because I want to know how your lips taste on mine.”
Joci’s breath caught in her throat. No words could form in her mind. She couldn’t admit to having reciprocal wayward thoughts. They were friends. Even if he was my first crush. Instinctively, her eyes lowered to his mouth. That was a mistake. His full lips curved in a smile.
“You too, huh?” Cameron’s hands disappeared, making her whip her attention to where they were going.
With care, he eased her back to the couch and tucked her under his arm. She expected him to make a move—they both wanted it—but he didn’t do anything. He simply kept her safe in his arms. With heavy eyes, Joci sensed her body drifting to sleep. The steady rhythm of Cameron’s heartbeat in her ear calmed her. She shouldn’t stay, but her tired body swayed her from the thought. Falling asleep in the sturdy arms of an ex-convict who also happened to be her oldest friend was her best definition of perfect. They used to build forts in the basement of his house and spend the night in sleeping bags, so what was the harm?
Startled to consciousness sometime later, Joci sat up and gasped. Somehow, the lights had been turned off, save the lone one above the kitchen sink. She glanced around the room and saw the clock on the wall. Shit, it’s three in the morning.
Cameron shifted beside her, and her pulse quickened. He looked too damn handsome for a murderer, with his unruly curls and long eyelashes. The darkness hid his tattoos, but she ached to turn on a light to see them. They were always a deterrent before, but the ones he wore fit him and drew her in more each time she viewed them.
“Aren’t you going to make me breakfast?” his sleepy voice mumbled when she managed to retreat from the cozy couch.
Cursing, Joci turned around to see him studying her. “It’s not morning yet, so I’m off the hook,” she teased.
He didn’t try to stop her, just watched her instead. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell your boyfriend wannabe or your fuckboy about this.”
Joci was startled when she realized that possibility didn’t bother her. Thinking on it, she wasn’t sure how either Adrian or Quinn would react to hearing she’d slept in Cameron’s arms. She wasn’t in a relationship with either one, so it didn’t matter. Adrian would curse her out for putting herself in a compromising position with the ethics board, but they hadn’t done anything, and they were friends long before her firm was retained for the case. Plus, it was sleeping, not screwing.
“It’s fine,” she reiterated, searching for her purse.
“Then you’d want to do it again?” Cameron appeared at her side.
“Shit, you move like a ninja.”
He clicked his tongue. “Not an answer.”
Swinging first her coat and then her purse over her shoulder, Joci shrugged. “It doesn’t matter, Cameron. It can’t happen again. I’m your attorney, whether we knew each other years ago or not.”
His arms were around her in a flash, sending her off-balance. Cameron caught her against the wall, his dark eyes scouring her face. “Pretty soon you won’t be.” He pressed his body to hers, the act sending a ripple effect through Joci. “But it is kinda hot this way too.”
She should move away from him, but the tender yet steady way he held her made Joci second-guess herself. By the time she talked her body into escape, his lips were there to silence her.
Erratic butterflies swarmed her gut when his mouth fastened to hers. Cameron plunged his hands in her tousled hair and tilted her head up to meet his. Any gasp she wanted to muster dissolved at his prodding tongue. The more he kissed her, the more Joci was positive this was a dream. She couldn’t be kissing a client like a slut! It was a dream and nothing more, she was certain—until he came up for air.
“I want you to remember this in the morning, Ms. Dorous.” His eyes dropped to her neckline and he let out a shaky breath. “Because you would be the type to think you’re imagining this.”
Not given the chance to answer, Joci’s moan echoed in his mouth when his hands cupped her ass. His kiss bolted her feet to the floor, hurling her mind into fathomless wonder. Leisurely, his lips moved to her neck, then lower until he reached her shirt.
“Don’t say I never gave you anything,” he warned, dropping to his knees and lifting her shirt.
Joci’s breath hitched. Having him in front of her in such an intimate way sent naughty visions through her imagination. She dug her nails into his shoulders when his lips clashed with the tender flesh of her breast. Her brain screamed at her for allowing his daring act, but the delightful pain he caused in her veins silenced her.
When he detached his mouth from her, Joci whimpered at the loss. Time was a foreign concept as he stood to tower above her. His breath washed over her face.
“Better scurry home, Joci. If you stay here much longer, I won’t have any control of myself,” he warned, his brown eyes filled with longing. His hand traced the breast he’d left moments prior. “Sweet dreams.”
She bobbed her head in agreement. She needed to get out of there before he killed her with his lips. On a cloud of desire, Joci moved to the exit and felt his gaze on the back of her head. Checking over her shoulder, she spotted his tall figure, but couldn’t decipher the emotions on his face.
Once outside the apartment, her hand fluttered to her chest. She reached the elevator and pressed the button for the ground level. What just happened couldn’t be described. She didn’t know why it happened or what it meant, but her body wanted more of it.
Curiosity got the better of her and she yanked up her shirt. “A hickey! That son of a bitch gave me a fucking hickey!” She yelped at the sight of the red love mark. A smile overwhelmed her face before she could stop it. She had to hand it to Cameron; she wouldn’t be forgetting what transpired anytime soon, thanks to his reminder on her body.
It was then that she was thankful she refused both Adrian’s and Quinn’s proposals for relationships. After feeling a portion of what Cameron could give her, she couldn’t think about, much less accept another man’s touch. The problem was she wanted more of what he offered. A craving that was both foolish and erotic.