Fingerprints, Lipstick and Blood
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Josephine Valent
Word Count :48977
Publication Date :2022-06-10
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3551-6
Appearances can be deceiving.
Life is not always as it appears, and Jordan Maxwell discovers that the truth doesn’t always matter. When a beloved rock ‘n’ roll legend is found dead in his apartment, she is charged with his murder. With her fingerprints lifted from the knife embedded in his chest, her lipstick discovered on his lips, and her clothes covered in his blood, the district attorney figures it’s a case of a lovers’ spat gone deadly. To him, a guilty verdict is a slam dunk. To make matters worse, when the court of public opinion weighs in, Jordan finds herself catapulted from relative obscurity to the most hated woman in America.
Having once loved Jordan enough to ask her to marry him, Reed Carrington still cares enough about her to want to keep her from going to prison, and he knows he’s her best chance.
When he offers to represent her, Jordan knows it’s an offer she can’t refuse despite the five years of estrangement between them. He’s the most sought-after criminal defense attorney in New York, and his reputation is well-earned.
Reed and Jordan both agree that it is crucial to Jordan’s defense that they find the murderer. They didn’t count on dealing with powerful, lingering feelings while navigating the threat to Jordan’s safety and sifting through the increasing pool of suspects. Both tasks feel more daunting than ever when they discover the murderer isn’t finished.
Jordan Maxwell paced the cold, concrete floor, her arms pressed across her chest, her fingers clenched around tensed biceps. The adrenalin blasting through her clashed with the fatigue that threatened to strangle her, marking the beginnings of what she was sure was going to be one heck of a headache. But that was the least of her problems.
She tried to shake the gruesome vision from her mind so she could concentrate on making some sense of the nightmare she found herself in, but it was as embedded in her head as the knife had been in Steve Tanner’s chest. He may have lived the life of an idol and might have lived life recklessly by most standards, but he didn’t deserve to die. And certainly not so brutally.
The thought that she had been in his home when he was murdered shook her to the core. That she had watched him take his last breath numbed her to the bone.
She dragged her fingers through her hair. Things like this don’t happen to girls like me, she thought. She was raised in a quiet, upscale neighborhood, attended a top university, and worked hard at a career as a writer. She managed to get published and have a loyal enough following to live a decent life. She led a quiet existence. She didn’t live life in the fast lane.
The explosion of iron crashing against iron thundered in the silence and had her heart slamming against her ribs. She listened as heavy footsteps followed. They were soon muffled by growls and grumbles, then a general stirring of life.
“Jordan Maxwell.” A tall, hulking woman in a blue uniform stopped and glared at her from the other side of the bars. She unlocked a tiny opening between the bars and pulled a set of handcuffs from her belt. “Turn around,” she barked.
“Where am I going?” She backed up to the bars and offered her wrists to the guard. Home, she prayed. Maybe the police had discovered that they had made a mistake. Maybe they were releasing her. Maybe it was all a nightmare, and when she walked out of the cell, she’d wake up in her apartment.
“Your lawyer’s here,” the guard answered, and she felt the cold steel cuffs clamp around her wrists.
“My lawyer?” She’d been stripped of everything, including her watch. As best as she could judge, she’d been in jail for only a couple of hours. She hadn’t even called anyone. Her throat went dry at the thought that it might be the murderer. Maybe he thought she’d seen him. Maybe he’d come to silence her. She tried to smother the panic before it had a chance to kindle. Don’t be ridiculous, she told herself. No one would walk into a police station and kill someone. Besides, it would do no good to get hysterical. She had to try to keep her wits about her. “I didn’t call a lawyer,” she said as calmly as she could muster.
“Well, somebody did.” The guard slid the bars aside. “Let’s go.” She grabbed her arm and yanked her from the cell.
The cuffs cutting into her flesh were a painful reminder that it wasn’t just a bad dream.
“Do I have to be handcuffed?”
“You were arrested on suspicion of murder. They’re required.”
The words pulled at the knot in her stomach. It was the second time they had been said to her. It was absurd that anyone, especially the police, would think that she had killed Steve Tanner. That they did just twisted the knot tighter.
She offered no resistance, yet the guard’s hand was cinched like a vice around her arm, as if the handcuffs and two hundred pounds of rock-solid muscle towering over her weren’t enough. The guard steered her through a door, and they headed down an empty hallway. “Why’d you kill him? I heard it was in a fit of jealousy.”
The guard was baiting her. She knew she wouldn’t believe her if she denied killing Steve, but she knew if she didn’t deny it, her silence could be a mark of admission. “I didn’t kill anyone,” she answered and felt the guard’s fingers tighten.
The caustic laugh that followed scratched through her like a claw through flesh. “If that’s your defense, you’d better get yourself ready for a new home, sweetheart.”
They turned at the end of the hallway and took a few more steps before the guard spoke again. “Your lawyer should be in here.” She pushed open a heavy door. Planting a foot against it, she shoved her into a small room.
Barely past the threshold, Jordan stopped dead in her tracks, somewhere between relief and shock. She fought hard to keep her jaw hinged. That she could control, but the jackhammer pace of her heart was a lost cause.
She’d seen Reed Carrington’s picture in newspapers over the years. She’d even seen him on a few television news programs, but she never thought she would see him again in person. Yet he was standing less than ten feet from her, staggeringly handsome with his dark, meticulously-groomed hair and magnificently-toned body expertly fitted in the finest custom-made Italian suit. She’d done her best to avoid events and parties she thought he might attend. She’d had no interest in running into him after they had gone their separate ways. To steer clear of him had been the only way for her heart to survive. It had been the only way for her to move on.
“Good morning, Mr. Carrington,” the guard gushed and then sidled toward him. “They didn’t tell me you were representing Maxwell.” The guard’s rigid movements softened into a fluid dance as she continued. “It’s nice to see you again.”
“You as well, Gloria,” Reed replied with a slight nod and the kind of smile that made a woman feel like she was all that mattered.