USA Today Bestselling Author
He’s a ruthless attorney.
She’s a determined bar owner.
Together, they’re INVINCIBLE.
Bottom line, I put the hammer down. That’s the truth and nothing but the truth. But when the CIA director calls in a favor, I’m forced to comply. Keeping an eye on his feisty, reckless sister goes way beyond my retainer. The relentless bar owner doesn’t know when to throw in the towel, which is why I can’t get enough of her.
On my own, doing it my way, that’s all I want. Maybe the bar wasn’t the greatest idea. Punks are stealing from me, quitting on the spot, and worst of all, I’m breaking up bar brawls nightly. Now, I’ve got a rabid lawyer breathing down my neck. Granted, he’s hot as Fireball on a Friday. But I have a job to do; the last thing I need is to get HAMMERED.
Sterling “Hammer’ Anderson has just landed in Texas after attending Saint and Harper’s wedding in London. He was a bit surprised to see a text from Kellen “Money” McTiernan since they had been on the same flight to DC. Apparently, something urgent has come up and even though he really wanted sleep he made the call.
Money’s half-sister Maeve is in trouble and needs a lawyer in a hurry. She’s a lot younger than Money, is beautiful, smart and wealthy to boot. All things that can complicate things for her.
When Hammer calls Mac MacIver, the sheriff, he finds the charge to be attempted murder, but Maeve also has bench warrants and other things outstanding. Not helping is the victim is the sheriff’s brother, Bobby. All of this stems from Maeve making an offer to buy the bar. Now why she wants a bar in Texas is anyone’s guess and Money has tried to discourage the purchase. Money also told him she has an aversion to the words no and don’t. If you use them with her, she will do the opposite every time.
Hammer manages to get Maeve out of jail on a writ bond, which means both his money and reputation are on the line if she flees.
His ranch manger, Zane “Rip” Kailor also works for the Invincibles but on a part-time basis, Hammer lets him know about Maeve’s situation since it’s possible to be called away for something else and she can’t be left alone.
There’s also the attraction between them that hovers close in all their scenes together. There’s also a lot more to Maeve buying that bar than meets the eye.
First the attempted murder charge needs to be resolved as does the other older charges against her. The judge while not lenient appears fair, although the community service hours seem a bit much. The judgement that the writ stays in place is something neither of them expected.
This is a favorite scene following that judgement.
She laughed, but not because she thought it was funny. The angry look on her face intensified. “Which part don’t you believe? The part where I’m a princess or that I have a blatant disrespect for the laws of the country I am so privileged to be permitted to reside in. I am a US citizen, and I pay taxes, Hammer. A great amount of them, actually.”
I let go of her arm, but rather than getting up, Maeve sat on her bottom.
“I’m sorry, okay?” she repeated, looking everywhere but at me. “I’m obviously less pleased about this than you are, but I don’t know what’s to be done about it.”
“Maeve?” She turned her head more, so I was looking at the back of it. “Dublin?”
“What?” she snapped.
“I’m not angry with you. I’m not even angry with the judge. If you want to know the truth, I wasn’t ready for you to leave.”
She spun around. “Did you ask him to do this?”
I laughed at the look of horror on her face. “No. I didn’t. But the idea that we’d both be returning to our normal lives already, well… I knew I’d miss you.”
“It’s true. It isn’t every day a man gets to have such a beautiful woman sleeping in his bed, even if he isn’t sleeping there with her.”
“Hammer, I… I’m not…”
“Look, don’t think I’m trying to pull the same thing Bobby did. For one, I’m too old for you. Two, I’m your attorney. Three, if I were going to try to seduce you, this wouldn’t be how I’d go about it.”
She studied me. “How would you go about it?”
I stared at her a long time before I responded. “I’m your attorney,” I repeated.
“If you weren’t?” her voice was breathy, her tone deeper.
“That would be an entirely different story.”
“You said we needed to talk.”
“Yeah, we do. Let’s go back to the house.” It took a bit of effort, but I was able to stand. Tomorrow, though, I’d be sore as hell.
On our return, I thought through exactly what I wanted to say to Maeve. Should I tell her what I’d overheard when she was behind the closed doors of my bedroom and that it was the reason I’d left earlier? She’d probably be mortified, and that was my reason for not being honest earlier.
We’d just gotten to the house when my cell phone rang. I motioned to the Adirondack chairs and took a seat when she did.
“Hey, Mac. What’s up?”
“Sorry to be calling again, but this is important.”
I almost groaned. What now? “Go on.”
“When we left your place earlier, I realized how serious my brother’s drinking has gotten. That he drove drunk was a wake up call for both of us. I decided it’s time I stepped in.”
“I’m sorry, Mac,” I added.
“Appreciate it, Hammer. Listen, there’s something I want to run by Maeve and you.”
“She’s right here. I can put the phone on speaker unless you want to talk with her privately.” Although, as her attorney, I really shouldn’t have made that offer.
“Speaker’s good, Counselor.” Mac obviously thought the same thing I had.
“Hey, Dublin.” Maeve smiled, and so did I.
“Hey, Mac,” she responded.
“As I just told Hammer, my brother’s behavior of late has made me realize he needs more help than I can give him.”
“If you’re thinking rehab, it’s the best thing for him,” I said.
“Yeah, something like that. Anyway, it means, without him at the helm at the Long Branch, my inclination is to close the place down for a while at least.”
“No!” Maeve gasped. “I mean, sorry, but that will be very detrimental to it as a business.”
“I agree, and that’s the reason for my call. Maeve, if you’re still interested in buying the place, I have a proposal for you.”
“Go ahead,” I said when she nodded.
“It’ll take some time for you to make arrangements to get the liquor license. Hammer, this is where you come in. Until her various charges get dismissed, the liquor board isn’t going to look at the application too favorably.”
“My proposal is this. The two of you go under contract on the Branch. Once Maeve has completed the terms of her sentencing, she should be able to get a license on her own. After that, it’s a simple ownership transfer.”
Maeve’s eyes opened wide.
“You’ve given this a lot of thought,” I said.
“The last thing my brother needs now is an assault charge. I’ve got a bargain to uphold.”
I wanted to tell him neither Maeve nor I would hold him to it, but it wasn’t my place to without conferring with her first.
“How does going under contract keep it open?” she asked.
“If you’re interested in moving forward with the sale, we can structure the purchase so it doesn’t finalize until the liquor board approves the license. In the meantime, you manage it.”
“Can you give us some time to talk this over?” I asked.
“Of course. But the clock is ticking, Hammer. I’m sure as hell not opening the place up tonight myself.”
“Got it.” I ended the call. There was a lot more to this than Maeve agreeing to Mac’s proposal. I had to as well.
“Taking myself out of the equation, my first question before we discuss some of the other things Mac presented is do you still want to buy the Long Branch?”
“I can’t answer that.”
“I gotta ask. Do you have any idea what goes into running a place that size?”
“You’re assuming I’ve no experience, is that it?”
“If you did, you wouldn’t want a place like the Branch.”
“I suppose you haven’t heard of Mary Donoghue’s, then.”
“Of course I have.” It was one of the most well-known pubs in Ireland, although it was far more than that. It was said a few of the world’s most successful bands got their start at their location in Dublin. I’d also heard they’d expanded throughout the UK. “Did you work at one of them?”
Maeve laughed. “My mother was Mary as was her mother before her and her mother before that, reaching as far back as ten generations.”
“Are you saying your mother was Mary Donoghue?”
“If they were all named Mary, how come your name is Maeve?”
She shook her head. “As with each of them, Maeve is my middle name.”
“Then, you know it isn’t an easy business.”
“What about you? You’re part of this, at least initially. Have you ever worked in a bar?”
I nodded. “All through college.”
“I know the business, Hammer. Better than most. The Long Branch is already successful. I can make it more so.”
“You also know your brother isn’t in favor of you doing this. With good reason.”
“Does that mean you’re saying no?”
“If I were saying no, that’s what I would’ve said.”
“I’m aware of my brother’s opinion; what’s yours?”
“You’re going to have to assemble a crew you trust. Since you intended to buy it on your own, do you have people in mind?”
“I’ve gotten to know key personnel quite well. I wouldn’t disrupt the staff, particularly with Bobby going… away.” She leaned forward and wrapped her arms around her bent legs. “What about you, Hammer? You said to take you out of the equation, but Mac’s proposal hinges on you.”
Heather Slade. Hammered (Kindle Locations 968-1033). The Invincibles Book Nine.
It takes a while but once Maeve opens up about the true reason she wants the bar. That reason is downright scary and dangerous. Although she doesn’t say exactly what the person stole from her, his affiliation with the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas makes things complicated.
All through this, the attraction between Maeve and Hammer accelerates. There’s also an interesting twist in all this as an Invicibles case intertwines with it.
I couldn’t put this book down, there are twists, turns, romance, and so much more jumping off the pages.
I can’t wait for the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
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My books are filled with things that bring me joy: music, wine, skiing, families, artists, and cowboys. Not always in that order.
I’m an Amazon best-selling author, and a PAN member of Romance Writers of America. I speak, teach, blog, am an executive sommelier, and all-around entrepreneur.
I grew up an east coast girl, and then spent half my life on the west coast. Now my husband, our two boys, and I happily call Colorado home.