Anne L. Parks
Kylie Tate survived a life of dominance and abuse. An up-and-coming criminal defense attorney, she has been assigned to a first degree murder case which could make or break her career. The downside—the second chair is fellow attorney and violent ex-boyfriend, John Sysco.
When she catches the eye of enigmatic billionaire, Alex Stone, she can’t help but be drawn to him. Unfortunately John is not willing to let her go—especially into the arms of another man.
As John’s sanity spirals into darkness, his attempts to get Kylie back escalate, along with the abuse she thought she had escaped. The one glimmer of hope she has is the unconditional support Alex provides. Ravaged by demons from his past, Alex vows to stop at nothing to keep Kylie safe.
But the closer the couple gets, the more Kylie wonders if Alex is truly her savior—or as dark and dangerous as John.
This book opens with Kylie Tate on her morning run, she has a feeling she’s being watched but is then distracted by a very expensive car at the side of the road with an irritated man trying to get his cell phone to work. She offers her help and arranges a tow truck from her mechanic, and letting him use her phone to call for a ride. She gets really annoyed with him when he offers her money for her help. Although the encounter may just spark some interesting dreams.
We then meet this man she helped when he shows up with her boss. Kylie is a well known criminal defense attorney and apparently one of their top clients, Alex Stone, needs her help for his nephew.
This is just one of many favorite scenes.
Jack Daniels— no shit, his actual name— crosses to one of the two chairs opposite my desk. In his early seventies, he has no inclination to retire— despite the rumblings of the rumor mill. He’s still handsome— salt-and-pepper hair and kind blue eyes— until he’s pissed off. He’s been my biggest supporter at the firm and lobbied for me to move up to the penthouse when others sought to keep a males-only attorney pool.
“Kylie,” Jack says, “I’d like you to meet our client, Alex Stone.”
I hadn’t noticed him until he strolled to the vacant chair next to Jack, and I nearly choke on my recognition. Alex Stone is the arrogant, smarmy Mr. Rich Pants from my morning run two days earlier.
Jack takes a seat across from me. “Alex has been a client of this firm for— what— fifteen or sixteen years now? He utilizes many different areas within the firm for his various business ventures.”
I stand, offer my hand to Stone, and kick myself for not figuring out who he was that day on the side of the road. His face is blank, and I’m sure he doesn’t recognize me.
But I remember him— and those gorgeous eyes. It’s as if the gods pulled water from the Aegean Sea, with all its beauty and sparkle, and poured it straight into Alex Stone’s irises.
Stone releases my hand, and I’m vaguely aware of Jack singing my praises.
My brain finally engages with my mouth, and I manage to get out, “Very nice to meet you, Mr. Stone,” as I sit back in my chair.
“Likewise, Miss…” His words are as smooth as silk.
“Tate. Kylie Tate.”
He nods, sits in the chair next to Jack, and I decide he hasn’t made the connection between the sweaty car expert from the other morning and the woman in the business suit in front of him.
“Kylie, Alex informed me of a sensitive issue he needs to discuss with you. It involves his nephew, and the family would like to keep it out of the press at this time.”
This introduction is something more than a simple meet-the-newest-penthouse-associate-and-she’s-a-woman… aren’t-we-progressive? introduction I’ve been subjected to since my move upstairs. Apparently, Stone’s underage nephew, Joshua Banks, was caught drinking alcohol at a party. He also had a joint in his pocket when the cops frisked him.
I turn my attention back to Stone. “Do you know the name of the prosecutor assigned to his case?”
“No, but I can find out.” He thumbs through his cellphone, presses a button, and speaks to someone on the other end.
I smile, remembering his inability to use the phone two mornings ago which prompted me to stop and help him. His gaze is locked on my mouth, and I bite my lower lip. He looks away and shifts in his seat.
“Amy, look in Josh’s file and tell me the name of the prosecutor in his case,” he asks Amy.
“Do you have the charging documents? Or the initial citation he received when he was arrested?” I ask Stone while he’s still on the phone.
“Send a copy of the file to Miss Tate,” he says into the phone. He looks at me. “Your email?”
I give him the address, pull a yellow legal pad from my desk drawer, and start running through more questions I want to ask.
“You should have all the documents shortly, Miss Tate,” Stone says, and slides the cellphone back into his pocket.
My email pings with the materials from Stone’s assistant and I do a hasty scan for the information I need.
The office is quiet as the two men watch me read. I reach for the phone and make the all-too-familiar call to the prosecutor’s office.
“Hi, Teri. Kylie Tate. I understand you’re assigned to the Joshua Banks case. Charges are intoxication of a minor and possession of an illegal substance. Looks like the hearing is set for this Friday at three. What’s the offer on the table right now?”
I listen to the prosecutor’s admonition. It is a serious charge. We need to nip this in the bud while he’s still young…
Blah, blah, blah… bullshit on top of bullshit.
“Teri, this is a good kid from a good family. He made an error in judgment, nothing more. He has no prior criminal record. Hell, he’s never even been sent to the principal’s office. Are you really going to saddle him with a criminal record for going to a party and having a beer?”
“You’re forgetting about the marijuana in his possession, Kylie,” Teri says.
“The joint wasn’t even lit. Someone handed it to him and he inadvertently put it in his pocket, intending to flush it later.” I take a breath. “He’ll be applying to colleges soon. He doesn’t need this hanging around his neck like an anchor.”
Teri sighs as though what she is about to do is going to cost her job. “I shouldn’t do this, but…”
I scribble her offer on my legal pad. It’s decent, and what I expected for a first-time offender.
I thank Teri, tell her I will get back to her, and hang up the phone. “They’re offering a deferred sentence, three-hundred-dollar fine, and ten hours of community service. It’s a good deal, in my opinion.”
It’s the standard deal actually, and I wonder why this needs the attention of an experienced attorney instead of the many new, eager lawyers looking for some face time in court. Any first-year associate would’ve been given the same deal.
Not that I mind. Assisting Alex Stone can only help my career here at the firm. And I get the added bonus of spending more time with the man who has captivated my thoughts over the past couple of days. He both intrigued me and pissed me off that day on the side of the road. But one thing is for sure. I won’t be getting this man out of my head anytime soon.
I explain the remainder of the process as he leans back in his seat. I watch as his thumb slowly moves across his bottom lip. The motion is sensuous and my breath hitches. The corners of his mouth twitch into a faint smile. I blink and break the connection.
“Have your nephew meet me outside the courtroom on Friday. I’ll go over the procedure with him to enter his plea. Make sure he’s dressed appropriately for court.” It’s a programmed and automatic recitation, which I desperately need at this moment. Alex Stone’s proximity and intense gaze are entirely disarming.
Jack is grinning, apparently happy with my work on this sensitive matter. “See, Alex? I told you she’s amazing.” Jack winks at me.
Stone stands and provides a glimpse of his incredible physique. “That she is.” Stone’s gaze are still fixed on mine, a near imperceptible shake of his head.
“Happy to help.” I extend my hand to him once more.
He leans in toward me. “Thank you again for your assistance earlier this week, Miss Tate. You continue to come to my rescue just when I need you.”
My eyes stay on his, but I’m unable to speak. My heart beats double time. The return of his arrogant, smug smile as he releases my hand and joins Jack, yanks me out of my state of infatuation, and I remember why this man created such disfavor days earlier. Good looks can only compensate for so much, and Stone’s outstanding physique does not offset his egomaniacal personality.
“Thanks again, Kylie,” Jack says.
I sit at my desk as they leave my office and walk to the elevator. Shaking hands with Jack, Stone is left in the care of the busty, blonde Sarah with her just retouched makeup. I try to pull my gaze away from him but find it impossible. He is quite possibly the most imposing, sensual man I have ever met. The overwhelming urge to dislike him is arm-wrestling with my schoolgirl crush, which is pissing me off. I’m too old to have this type of a reaction. Add to that a deep distrust of men, and Alex Stone is nothing more than a fantasy that I can live without.
Anne L. Parks. Malevolent: A Kylie Tate Novel (Kindle Locations 214-276).
Now Kylie and one of the other attorneys at the firm once had a relationship, one that was extremely mentally and physically abusive. She did finally get away from John Sysco’s control, but his threats to her career remain foremost in her mind.
When she accepts a date from Alex Stone, John decides he wants her back. Stalking her, inflicting property damage and accosting her in semipublic places. It’s Alex that comes to her rescue and although she refuses to report it begins some protection for her. He has his own security act as body guards for her.
As she begins work on a murder case, threats come in and Alex starts becoming a bit overprotective and controlling. There is plenty of romancing in this even as things escalate with regard to John.
A lively journey to balance career and relationship as the attraction begins to sizzle. A bit of a cliff-hanger but the next book is only a few weeks away. I can’t wait!
5 Contented Purrs for Anne!
Coming June 22nd!
Born and raised in the Rocky Mountains, Anne L. Parks has spent the last 28 years moving all over the United States. Married to the Navy – well a Commander in the Navy – Parks has lived in various locales throughout the United States. She currently resides in the Washington D.C area. When not writing, she spends her time reading, doing yoga, mountain biking, and keeping track of four kids and a very spoiled rescue German Shepherd. And drinking wine.
Author of nine novels (Tri-Stone Trilogy, Return To Me series, and Strangers) and four novellas that have been published in anthologies, she loves to create stories with mystery, plenty of twists and turns, and loaded with suspense.
With a military husband, it was only a matter of time before she broke into the military romantic suspense genre, where she feels right at home amongst highly trained, somewhat jaded, ready to take out terrorists alpha males and the strong, brave women who love them. Parks first military romance, MIA, went to #1 on Amazon’s Kindle World. Thirteen more books will be released in her new series, The 13. Two other series are being planned.