Title: Ever After by Rachel Lacey
Love to the Rescue Series Book Three
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
CAUGHT IN THE ACT
Olivia Bennett is not having a happy birthday. Instead of blowing out her twenty-nine candles, she’s stuck in jail, caught red-handed in a graffiti incident that (perhaps) involved one too many strawberry margaritas. Worst idea ever. The only bright side is that she ended up in the strong arms of the most gorgeous lawman she’s ever seen.
Pete Sampson (aka Deputy Hot Stuff) faces intense pressure from the sheriff to find out who’s behind a string of vandalisms. And after her spray-painting spree, Olivia is suspect number one. Still, Pete can’t stop thinking about her. Wanting her. Now he’s torn between his duty and his overpowering desire for the vivacious waitress. But he may have to bend the rules because true love is more important than the letter of the law . . .
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Hurry up, Liv,” Kristi called from below her.
Olivia raised the canister and let loose another blast of red paint. She’d just started “I” when the sound of an approaching vehicle reached her. Her finger slipped, and a fresh coat of paint soaked her hands.
Kristi and Terence must have heard it too, because the flashlight shut off, leaving her at the top of the ladder in pitch darkness, afraid to move. Headlights slashed through the night from Garrett Road, some two hundred feet to her left. They slowed, then tires crunched over gravel as the car turned into the factory parking lot.
Christ on a cracker.
“Get the hell down, Liv. We’ve got to get out of here!” Terence whispered.
A swirl of blue lights turned the night into a kaleidoscope of oh, shit. She pressed against the side of the building, stymied by paint-slickened fingers as she fumbled for the top of the ladder.
She was so not getting arrested on her birthday.
Except that she so was. A spotlight shone from the cruiser, illuminating her in a blaze of light so bright she could do nothing but press a hand over her eyes and count how many ways spray-painting Halverson Foods’ chicken-processing plant had been a bad idea.
The ladder shifted beneath her, and she groped for the top rung. The combination of the spinning blue lights with the piercing glare of the spotlight was seriously disorienting.
“Hands where I can see them,” a male voice boomed.
She shoved her hands into the air, managing to smack herself in the face with the can of spray paint in the process. It fell to the ground with a muffled thump. Oh, this sucked.
“Come down from the ladder, nice and slow, and keep those hands up,” the cop instructed. He sounded nice-ish. Maybe he’d go easy on her. Maybe . . .
Awkwardly, she fumbled with her right foot for the next rung of the ladder. It swayed dangerously to the side.
“Terence!” she hissed, her fingernails scoring metal as she tried to steady herself.
Silence. She looked down, but the spotlight’s glare blinded her, preventing her from seeing past her own paint-spattered boots. “Terence? Kristi?”
She managed to get her foot settled onto the rung and took a step down. No answer came from her friends. What the hell?
She lifted her left foot to take the next step, and the ladder just dropped out from beneath her. One second it was there, the next she was plummeting through space.
“Oomph,” came a masculine grunt, as she slammed into someone’s chest and big, strong arms closed around her.
“Terence?” Her voice was a squeak, because Terence was nowhere near this strong, and he didn’t smell as good either. This man smelled faintly of cinnamon, his arms solid as steel behind her thighs, and based on the hard bulge stabbing into her kidney, he was also armed.
Oh, crap. Crap. Crap!
“Sorry,” he answered her question, setting her roughly on the ground. “Not Terence.”
“Oh.” She staggered, still blinded by the spotlight aimed at her. Disoriented, she turned her back and blinked at her shadow on the factory’s gray wall. Terence and Kristi had deserted her. Bastards.
“Keep those hands where I can see them,” Invisible Cop said.
With a sigh, she placed them on the wall before her. Her hands glistened blood-red in the harsh light. She had been caught red-handed. Dammit. She’d always hated being a cliché.
Rachel Lacey lives in North Carolina, with her husband, son, and their own rescued pup. She volunteers her spare time with Carolina Boxer Rescue and truly has a passion for helping our furry friends. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her local Heart of Carolina RWA chapter.