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Stark Raving Mad

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Heartbreak and danger follow wherever she goes, but can his love save her before her past destroys their future?
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Stark Raving Mad

by Vanessa M. Knight

Series: Chicago's Finest: Book 2

Genre Romantic Suspense

Tags Romantic Comedy, Lawyer, Police, Chicago

Release August 28, 2015

Editor Erin Dunbar

Line Editor Nancy Canu

Cover Designer Charlotte Volnek

Pages 307

ISBN 978-1-77127-735-8

Price $5.99


Back Cover

Brooklyn Southby has everything she’s ever wanted—partnership in a law firm, a beautiful house in the suburbs, and a wonderful boyfriend. Well, ex-boyfriend. Her heart troubles are the least of her problems, though, when her first case comes back to haunt her in the form of an angry, sadistic man with bad hair.

Joe Perretti deals with his own issues the only way he knows how—hiding behind his work. As a homicide detective with the Chicago Police Department, there’s never enough hours in the day for a social life or a woman, at least until he’s given the task of protecting Brooklyn Southby.

Business and pleasure collide as his life becomes all about keeping her safe, whether she likes it or not.

Will they find love, or will they be destroyed by a man who is stark raving mad?


Excerpt

Joe Perretti walked into Adam’s condo and tried hard not to grimace. He just didn’t belong here. White couches with fluffy green and pink pillows. Mahogany furniture pulled to the far right of the room to make room for standing-height tables. Vases that cost more than his house on the south side. Once upon a time, he might have been comfortable in this kind of setting, but he’d given all that up when his dad high-tailed it to Florida with his child-bride.

Being a Chicago detective didn’t help. He saw how both halves lived—like the methodical servers wandering the living room with their smiles locked in place. What did they think about the rich revelers who drank champagne and ate caviar while people outside the ivory tower scraped to get by?

Shit. When did I become a bleeding heart?

He ran a hand through his dark hair as his eyes searched the party, looking for the newest detective to join the Chicago Police Department. Adam’s brown head bobbed up and down as he laughed with his girlfriend. He’d made the jump from rich-elite to cop look so easy. He was comfortable in either setting. Maybe Joe had a problem because he’d gone from rich and elite to nothing, and then from nothing he’d built himself up to cop. Very different set of circumstances.

Joe snuck through the crowded living room and smiled as Adam snuggled with his woman. If only the guys at work could see him now. Adam was all business and hard as nails. They’d never believe this whipped man was the same person who ruled a crime scene with an iron fist. Joe fought the urge to pull out his cell phone and capture some blackmail material.

Too bad his partner, Shay Washington, had blown him off for the evening. She wouldn’t have hesitated at a possible extortion plot. They could have hijacked a few weeks of free coffee.

“Hey, Byrnes…Allison. The place looks good.” He remembered the last time he set foot in the infamous condo. Adam was shot and unconscious, and the family lawyer was holding a gun on an unarmed Allison. Definitely not one of their best days.

“My mom.” Adam shook his head. “The woman is a decorating machine.”

Allison bumped Adam’s shoulder. “It looks nice.”

“It looks like a museum, complete with patrons.” Adam smiled down at her as she took a drink. The looks they gave each other should have been censored. Things were falling into place for Adam. He had the girl, he was a detective with Chicago Police Department, and he had this mansion-sized condo in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Something almost like jealousy twisted Joe’s gut. He could live without the condo, but the adoration these two had for each other made him long for something more than Bruno, his bulldog.

Hell. Who was he kidding? He didn’t have time for women these days. Budget cuts had hit everywhere. Crime didn’t seem to be letting up, but they weren’t replacing outgoing cops. They were lucky to get Adam, but no matter how good Adam liked to think he was, even he couldn’t make up for the five detectives that retired over the past year.

“Thanks, Perretti. Where’s your pseudo date?”

“Washington blew me off for a real date…something about the possibility of sex outweighing the guilt she’ll feel for ditching your party.”

“Well, I see where we rank.” Allison laughed. “Shay’s smart. I honestly can’t say I would have made a different choice.”

“Hell, if I had a chance at sex, I’d ditch your ass, too.” Joe grabbed a wineglass from a passing server. Mostly for show. He wasn’t exactly a wine kinda guy, but he hated standing there empty-handed.

Adam’s eyes bulged as he stared at Allison. “Why exactly are we having this party if sex was on the table?”

“Because your mother asked us to, and with you sex always seems to be on the table.” Allison smiled and lifted her glass. “It looks like the Mayor’s here. I’ll be back soon.”

“Nice party.” Joe leaned against the window and listened. Glasses clinked over the dull hum of conversation. “What are we saving here? Puppies…rainforest…?”

“Children’s Memorial Foundation. This was one my dad’s pet projects. My mom didn’t want to see it stopped, so she took over on the board and decided to keep all the parties intact.”

“Lucky you.”

“Yeah, but I’m not here alone, so lucky us.”

Yeah. Lucky us. This was so not his thing. He’d much rather play a game of darts or pool, anything but hear himself talk.

“I could use a real drink. This fizzy crap is not cutting it.” Adam left his glass of champagne with a passing waiter and edged his way through the partyers.

The scent of overpriced perfume mixed with shrimp tickled the inside of Joe’s nose as he followed Adam through the crowd and into another room. Grey leather furniture. A cabinet behind the couch, and a white oak wall unit surrounding the desk on the far end of the room. Chicago Flurries hockey gear lining the wall. This room was more Joe’s style. No floofy pillows and no noise.

Silence.

And a woman lying face-down on the couch.

From behind, she looked good—golden blonde hair falling to just above her rounded ass. Yeah, she was nice to look at.

Adam sat on the table next to the couch. “Brook, what are you doing in here?”

She flew up to a sitting position, eyes wide. The bottle of wine she was holding sloshed, splattering red drops on her dress. “I’m…drinking. What does it look like?”

“Passing out,” Joe said. The words came out before he could stop them, but he wasn’t wrong.

Brook’s eyes narrowed into slits. He thought she might have recognized him—he’d recognized her. She’d been the litigator in numerous cases Joe worked over the years. Her eyes glazed as she shook her head and brought the bottle to her perfectly-shaped pink lips. Her back had looked good, but the front—she was hot.

But then again, if he remembered correctly, she’d always been hot. It was her attitude that sucked. The last time he saw Brook Southby—hell, anytime he saw her—he wanted to shake the lawyer arrogance right out of her. She drove him crazy.

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