From the wrong side of the tracks...
Alyson Blake had learned early on that the only one she could depend on was herself. The only light in her life was a boy whom everyone agreed was destined for prison; but with his first kiss, he had set her soul on fire. Since the day the police dragged him away in handcuffs, she had managed to lead a quiet life, but when she attends an event fraught with mayhem, trouble resurfaces.
The one person she can’t forget...
Jamison Weston is the kind of guy dads load their shotguns for; endowed with a hot temper and a rap sheet as long as both tattooed arms. Known as “The Judge,” Jami’s hot temper, lethal fists, and cocky attitude have earned him respect and admiration both in and out of the ring. But just when he thinks he’s pummeled his past to death, Alyson Blake reenters his life.
Two paths collide…
After years of separation, Alyson is eager to reexplore the man who’s never left her thoughts, but for Jamison, she’s both the distraction he wants, but doesn’t need. As the two embark on a relationship that neither of them expected or bargained for, an outside threat closes in. When Alyson crosses the line of professionalism and takes her work home with her, her life is put in danger, leaving Jamison with no choice but to once again step in and become her protector.
Meet the Author:
J.C. Valentine is the alter-ego of Brandi Salazar, whose enjoyment of tales of romance spurred her to branch out and create her own.
Brandi Salazar lives in the Northwest with her husband, their wild children, and far too many pets. As a university student, she studies literature, which goes well with her dream of becoming an editor. Brandi entertains a number of hobbies including reading and photography, but her first love is writing fiction-in all its forms.
Her eyes warmed as she studied him. Touching his face, she traced the line of his jaw from ear to chin. Then her fingers found his lips. He opened his mouth and licked the tips as she skimmed his bottom lip, and he committed the sultry look that flashed in her eyes to memory. “You don’t lie to me, do you?”
Jami held her head in his hands and looked into her eyes. “No, and I never will.” Jami couldn’t tear his eyes away. She smiled up at him, her expression soft, welcoming. Completely open to him. No one had ever looked at him quite like she did. As if she trusted him, and she did. He knew that. It wasn’t even a question.
He could fall in love with this girl. With this woman. This person who was his friend, and the only one who knew everything about his past—everything—and didn’t judge him for it. Even Coach didn’t know what he had done before they crossed paths. He knew he had a history with the cops and a bad home life, and that was the extent of it. Was she what people thought about when they thought of soul mates? The type of person they dreamed of when combing the world for The One?
How was a guy to know?
“If you keep looking at me like that, you’re face is going to freeze. All the guys at the gym will laugh at you, and then I’ll be forced to fight for your honor.”
Jami smirked, peeled her shirt up to expose her abdomen, and lowered his head. He glanced up at her. “You have a sassy mouth, Ally. I aim to fix that.”
“What—Jami!” Ally wheezed and squirmed beneath him in a futile attempt to escape his teasing tongue. Again and again, he swirled his tongue across her stomach, chuckling with each clench of her muscles, each lost breath, and squeal of delighted torture. When she grabbed two fistfuls of his hair and pulled, he decided to have mercy on her before she ripped a chunk of it from his scalp.
Somehow, he just didn’t think bald or patchy would be a good look for a guy his age.
“All right, okay,” he said, pulling her hands away gently. “Truce.”
Her laughter abated. When he let go of her hands, her arms fell out to the side. “You’re such an ass,” she panted. “My abs will hurt tomorrow, thanks to you.”
“No, thanks to you,” he corrected her. “It’s that sassy mouth getting you into trouble.” He was grinning, amusement, and true joy filling him up to the brink of overflowing. “You make me happy,” he blurted out.
Ally’s smile faltered and Jami wanted to punch himself. Why did he say that? Touching his face, Ally angled her head, studying him. “I’m glad. You’re always so serious. You need to smile more.”
“I smile all the time,” he protested.
She rolled her eyes. “Yes, you’re right. What was I thinking? You smile every day when you get to beat on poor Mike and whatshisname. You’re a very happy man then.”
“Hey, you gotta take it where you can get it.” Jami shrugged.
Silence fell between them, and they stared into each other’s eyes. This close, there was never any room for escape. It felt like he could see into her soul, and she into his. All the layers of bullshit were stripped away, cutting right to the heart. He’d never felt this way before. As a sliver of truth sat on his tongue, he opened his mouth to say what he knew she was waiting to hear. “Ally, I—” His throat closed up and no words came out.
Placing her finger over his lips, Ally hushed him. “Shh, you don’t have to say anything. I can see it every time I look at you.” She kissed him lightly on the mouth. “I feel it whenever you touch me.”
“But you want—”
She cut him off. “It doesn’t matter. I can wait. I don’t want you to say it unless you feel it in here.” She flattened her palm over his heart. “I don’t want you to choke on the words. I want you to say them because you can’t not say them. Okay?”
He stared down at her. Who was this girl? Hundreds of women would be lined up outside his door just to hear those words, and she was telling him to wait? Unbelievable.
“I see those wheels turning,” she teased, then grew serious again. “Jami, let me ask you a question. Out of all the women you’ve had sex with, how many of them have you stuck around for?” Zero. She saw the answer in his eyes right away. “That’s what I thought, and that right there is why I am okay with waiting. Your heart already knows what it wants. Now we just have to wait for your brain to catch up.”
Tom Hardy as Jamison Weston
25 years old
Natural born fighter
A bit of a neat freak
First stint in juvie at age 13 for ripping off a convenience store
Has only been in love with one girl: Alyson Blake
Jane Levy as Alyson Blake
23 years old
Nervous habit: lip biting
Has been in love with Jami since...forever
Amanda Seyfried as Olivia "Liv"
Alyson's best friend since high school
Hails from Tennessee
A little high strung
Fun, confident, and looking for a good time
Is dating Jami's friend Spencer
Cam Gigandet as Spencer "Spence"
Jami's closest friend
Dating Alyson's friend Olivia
A tiny bit shady
Max Ryan as Don
Owns a spastic terrier named Sparky
Stern but loves Jami like his own son
Isn't too fond of Alyson