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Ford Hyatt thought he was done. He was all set to give up on himself and on Project Justice. Then Robyn Jasperson walks back into his life. His former bad-girl crush looks better than ever and needs his help getting a case overturned. Robyn's got an ex-husband in jail, a murdered son and nowhere else to turn.
Ford let her down before. But now he can find the truth, set matters straight and redeem himself. And time is running out. If he fails, she has everything to lose. If he wins, he has everything to gain, including Robyn's heart.
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If one Wild Turkey on ice didn't make the pain go away, maybe two would. That was Ford Hyatt's thinking when he'd ordered a second drink even though he needed to drive home. But two didn't work, either, and now he'd have to sit in this damn ugly bar for at least two hours while he sobered up.
This never worked. He just wasn't a drown-your-sorrows kind of guy. He was more of a go-fix-what's-wrong kind of guy, except there was no way to fix this, no arguing with the fact that a woman was in intensive care, and it was Ford's fault.
His supposedly infallible instincts had failed him. Again.
"Another?" The bartender nodded toward Ford's empty glass.
"Sure." Hell, why not? In for a penny and all that. He could take a cab home.
He first became aware of the woman on the bar stool next to him when he smelled her perfume, a light, teasing scent. He looked over, surprised to find her there. She'd slid onto that stool as noiselessly as a cat.
"Need someone to drown your sorrows with?" she asked.
How had she known? Maybe it was just a lucky guess. Guy drinking alone in a bar must have some sorrows.
"I don't need company, thanks," he said. Or, more accurately, he doubted she would want his company inflicted on her. Under other circumstances, he might have responded to the flirtation. He gave her a second look from the corner of his eye. She was tall and long-legged, and dressed too nice for this dive. The fact she was hanging out alone at McGoo's meant he could probably have gotten her into bed without too much effort.
But the easy conquests of his youth held little appeal these days. Anyway, he was in a helluva mood. Being nice, even civil, would require too much effort.
She ordered her own drink, a diet cola, which made the bartender's grizzled eyebrows rise in surprise. Ford was amazed the bar stocked diet anything.
He gave the woman a third look—and realized he knew her. He hadn't seen her in well over a decade, and she'd changed quite a bit, filled out, darkened her hair a shade. But her eyes were the same, big and blue and innocent—deceptively so, some had said.
"Robyn?" He would probably regret starting a conversation. But he had to say something.
"I wondered if you'd recognize me. It's been a long time." No smile, but why should there be? Their history wasn't exactly warm and fuzzy.
"You obviously recognized me," he said, wondering why she would even bother acknowledging him.
"I heard you hang out here sometimes. Your number's not in the book and no one would give it to me."
"Cops seldom list their numbers." God only knew how many wackos he'd arrested who'd love to find him, get a piece of him.
"Ex-cop now, isn't it?"
He nodded. "I left the Houston P.D. a couple of years ago."
"Why'd you leave?" The question sounded impulsive. "I mean, you were good at your job."
"You've been asking?"
"It's come up in conversation." She paused to take a sip of her drink, and Ford found his gaze drawn to her lips pursing around the straw.
Idiot. Yeah, so he'd found her hot in high school. The bad girl, forbidden fruit. Always in trouble. Not someone he would have gotten involved with. But that hadn't stopped him from getting a hard-on every time he saw her. Stupid how powerful adolescent memories were. He could suddenly remember every nuance of what it had been like for him back then, wanting something he knew would be bad for him, something that didn't fit in with his ironclad plans for the future. Doing the right thing, but wishing he didn't have to.
He took a gulp of his drink. "Any particular reason people have been talking about me?" he asked.
The single word hung in the air, and he knew...
Taken to the EdgeBy: Kara Lennox