Beth Andrews On Her Side

ISBN 13: 9780373717941

On Her Side

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9780373717941: On Her Side
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Attorney Nora Sullivan wants her mother's killer behind bars. To do that, she needs the help of the primary suspect's son?Griffin York. Too bad Griffin seems determined to avoid all involvement. Fortunately, Nora knows something about persuasion and sets out to convince him he's needed. It's not easy getting past his rebel facade, yet she sees glimpses of the considerate?and sexy?side he hides. Her efforts to sway him have an unexpected effect when every glimpse of the inner Griffin makes her want him more!

Regardless of the simmering attraction, what can the future hold for them? Their differences go beyond the murder case between them. Yet when Nora needs Griffin the most, he proves he just might be on her side.

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About the Author:

Beth Andrews is a Romance Writers of America RITAź Award and Golden Heart Winner. She lives in Northwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and three children. When not writing, Beth loves to cook, make bead jewelry and, of course, curl up with a good book. For more information about Beth or her upcoming books, please visit her Website at: www.bethandrews.net

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

It was the rare—and what her sisters would probably describe as blessed—day when Nora Sullivan was struck speechless. But try as she might, she couldn't articulate any of the thoughts flying through her head. Not after the bombshell Layne had oh-so-casually just dropped.

Luckily her other sister, Tori, had no such problem. "What did you say?"

At the head of the table, Layne tightened the band around her long, dark ponytail. "I asked you to pass the Italian dressing."

Tori shoved the bottle at her. "Before that."

"You mean when I asked if you wanted a beer?" Layne soaked her salad with the dressing, releasing the scent of olive oil, vinegar and seasonings, then licked a drop off the side of her thumb. "Because there's some in the fridge."

"No, smartass. What did you say after that?"

"Oh. You mean that Ross and I are seeing each other?"

"Yeah," Tori said, taking a big bite of her pizza before reaching for a paper napkin from the pile in front of her, "that's what I thought you said."

How could they both be so cavalier? Nora wondered as Layne dug into her salad. This wasn't just huge, it was momentous. Shocking. And possibly the dumbest, most reckless thing Layne had ever done.

"Wait, wait. I think my head's going to explode." Nora pressed her palms against her temples in case her brain went boom! and splattered over their dinner. "You're sleeping with your boss?"

That was so wrong on so many levels, and so unlike her usually cautious sister, Nora didn't even know where to start. Though she was pretty sure Have you lost your freaking mind? was as good a place as any.

"Isn't that against the law?" Tori asked as she got a beer out of the fridge and twisted it open.

"He's my superior officer," Layne said dryly, picking out a second slice of cheese pizza and setting it on her paper plate. "Not my brother. And there are currently no rules against departmental relationships."

Nora speared a cherry tomato from her salad with her fork. "Well, gee, if there aren't any written rules against it, we should all hook up with our bosses and damn the consequences."

Tori dropped the cap from her beer into the trash can. "Considering my boss is a woman, and our father's girlfriend, I guess I'm out."

"This is serious."

"Please. Cancer is serious. Kids going hungry is serious. This is sex between two single, consenting adults. What it should be is fun. Hot. And, if they're doing it right, and often enough, exhausting." She sipped her beer and sat back down, wiggled her eyebrows at Layne. "So, is it any of those?"

Nora deliberately set her fork down so she wouldn't be tempted to stab Tori in the hand. Breathing deeply, she centered herself. "Look," she said to Layne, "Chief Taylor seems very...capable—"

Tori snorted. "Just how every man dreams of being described in bed."

Nora's lips twitched and she had to clear the humor from her throat. "I meant at his job. God, get your mind out of the gutter." And capable did aptly describe the big, silent, watchful police chief. "But that doesn't mean you should risk your career for...for..."

"A few rounds of slap and tickle?" Tori interjected helpfully.

Reaching across the table, Layne plucked the beer from Tori's hand and took a long drink. "Whoever said sisters are one of the nicest things to happen to anyone never met you two."

"Hey, I'm on your side." Tori took her beer back. "I don't blame you for wanting some good times with Chief Taylor. He's completely hot. All controlled and commanding and in charge." She gave a little shiver that, if it'd been any other woman, would've looked like a convulsion. But with Tori it was just sexy. "Plus he has a top-notch ass."

"I'll be sure to mention to him you think so."

Tori grinned sharply and shook her hair back. The caramel highlights in the dark, shoulder-length strands caught the setting sun as it streamed through the French doors. "Oh, I'd be more than happy to pass that information on myself," she said in a seductive purr that went perfectly with her tight dark jeans and off-the-shoulder yellow top.

She would, too. Of that, Nora had no doubt. Tori was confident and sensual and used to men falling at her gorgeous feet. Layne, while more reserved, was no less beautiful. When Nora was younger, she'd envied her sisters for their long legs, dark hair and sharp features. Until she'd realized being blonde and curvy had its own rewards.

Like the ability to get away with just about anything because you were pretty and looked as if your head was filled with pink cotton candy, happy thoughts and sug-arcoated dreams.

Nora may not be as brazen as Layne—who bulldozed her way over opposition—or as inherently sensual as Tori—who flirted and charmed her way into getting what she wanted—but she was smart.

Smart enough to have learned long ago to forge her own way instead of following in her sisters' footsteps.

Bobby O, Layne's black Rottie/Lab mix with floppy ears and a squared off snout, nudged the side of Nora's thigh then dropped a worn tennis ball at her feet. She kicked it softly so that it rolled across the wooden floor into the family room. Bobby raced after it, his tail wagging furiously as he skidded to a stop, taking the burgundy-and-brown throw rug with him.

"I'm having a hard time processing this," she said. "Have you considered what could happen to your job, your reputation, once this gets around?"

"Of course I have," Layne said, as if a few of those brain cells Nora had tried to hold back earlier had seeped out anyway. Which was crazy. Because anyone who knew Nora would never accuse her of being stupid. And her sisters knew her best. "I just.. I think he's worth the risk."

"Wow." Stunned, Nora sat back. "You... He... Wow. Wow."

"Very articulate."

"Sorry, but you've never been big on the whole relationship thing before."

Any relationship. Layne was a rock, an island in their family. Nora had always thought she preferred it that way. After all, while Nora and Tori shared secrets and clothes, good times and bad, Layne maintained her distance. But maybe that had less to do with her wanting to be alone and more to do with how she'd cared for her sisters from such a young age, had set their bedtimes and helped with homework. Had given them attention, love and, when needed, discipline. Things their father hadn't been around enough to do, their mother was too selfish to do.

Nora wondered if Layne would ever forgive their parents for being so much less than perfect. If she'd ever stop resenting her sisters for needing her.

Layne tore her pizza crust into small pieces. "I tried to ignore my feelings for Ross, hoped that if I pretended I didn't care, whatever I felt for him would go away. But it didn't work. Today he stopped by and I realized what a coward I was being by not taking a chance on him. On us. I don't know what's going to happen—with our jobs or this relationship—and that terrifies me, but." She brushed the crumbs from her fingers. "I'm not willing to let him go."

"Look who realized she can't control everything," Tori said, lifting her bottle in a toast. "I thought this happy day would never come. But I doubt the only reason you invited us over for an impromptu pizza dinner is to share with us that you finally have a sex life."

"I wanted to tell you before it got around town."

Tori picked a carrot slice out of the salad on her plate and popped it into her mouth. "And?"

Sighing, Layne pushed her plate aside. "And I wanted to talk to you about Mom's case."

"Did something happen?" Nora asked, hope rising that after three weeks the Mystic Point Police Department finally had a lead. "Did they find Dale?"

"No." Layne got to her feet and began to pace, Bobby on her heels, the ball in his mouth. "There have been no bank or utility records in his name, no credit card statements, payroll information or tax returns filed. It's as if he ceased to be when he left Mystic Point."

"Why don't you quit chewing on whatever it is you have to say," Tori suggested, "and just spit it out?"

Layne stopped, gripped the back of her chair with both hands. "We have to face the fact that we may never find him."

A roaring filled Nora's head. If they never found Dale York, they'd never punish the man responsible for their mother's death.

"So he gets away with murder?" she asked incredulously, her fingers curling into her palms. "No. Unacceptable."

"It's more than likely Dale skipped the country all those years ago. Or he's dead. The truth is, even if we did catch a major break and find him, the chances of getting a conviction are slim to none. We have no concrete evidence linking him to Mom's murder and no eyewitnesses."

Layne was using her reasonable I'm Assistant Police Chief and therefore know better than you tone. Nora wanted to toss her salad in her sister's face, rub Ranch dressing into her hair. God, how dare she stand there so poised and rational? This wasn't just another case they were discussing. This was their mother. She'd never understand how Layne could stay so detached.

Not that she'd question her sister about it. She'd done that once, the night they'd discovered their mother was dead. She'd never seen Layne so angry with her. So hurt. She'd never felt so guilty for causing that pain. Nora never made the same mistake twice.

"You're just giving up?" Tori asked Layne.

"The case will remain open—"

"But you don...

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