Authors: Kitty DuCane
Tags: #menage, #wealthy, #BDSM, #murder, #suspense
Their Summer Heat
By Kitty DuCane
Summer Heat is a nobody in NYC, but when ladies are murdered from the society gala she’s volunteered at the past three years, she’s suddenly in the limelight as a suspect and as the lover of two sexy brothers who’ve dated most of the unlucky women. Referred to as the Society Murders, terror grips the city as the FBI tries to protect the women and find the killer.
As successful businessmen, Max and Logan Preston have found the lady of their dreams. She’s smart, witty, gorgeous, and refreshingly down to earth, and they don’t mind sharing—but not with a serial killer who’s coming for her when he finishes his list. Keeping her safe is the priority. Keeping her forever is a necessity.
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Their Summer Heat
Copyright © February 2015 by Kitty DuCane
All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the original purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from the author. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
Printed in the United States of America
This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language, which may be considered offensive to some readers.
DISCLAIMER: The author will not be responsible for any loss, harm, injury, or death resulting from use of the information contained in any of her titles.
Summer Heat took a deep breath as her name rang out in the New York County civil court. She stood and leaned forward, resting her hands on the bannister that separated the uppity lawyers, court personnel and the judge from the fifty or so people in the I-don’t-want-to-be-here crowd—of which she was a card-carrying member.
“Here,” she croaked like a frog drowning in a hurricane.
“Your Honor,” said a man sitting in the sea of suits corralled in the jury box. “I’m representing Attorney Jocelyn Moore in the Bunkum Bank v. Summer Heat.”
Chills slid over Summer’s skin as his deep, rich voice carried well in the acoustically correct high ceilings. She didn’t know this man, and he didn’t even acknowledge her, which was okay because she wanted to melt into the carpet, never to be seen again. Airing her dirty laundry in a court of law ranked right up there with a root canal.
“Your Honor, I’d like to confer with Miss Heat in the hallway.” The man turned his head. His dark mid-shoulder-length hair curled at the ends and swished, and clear blue eyes bored into her green ones. His gaze was intense, meant to strike terror in all those unfortunate enough to be in their sight.
Why hadn’t she sat in the back instead of so close to the jury box?
Summer lifted her head and swallowed hard. “Your…Honor. On July the tenth, I met in the hallway with a Ms. Jocelyn Sutton from Craven Law who represents Bunkum Bank. At that time, I made an offer to settle my debt, and Ms. Sutton informed me that Craven would get back with me. Craven lacked the decency to contact me over the last two and a half months, even if only to decline my offer. Since a hallway meetin’ didn’t do me any good before, I do not wish to have another one. I’m also retractin’ my July offer. I’m now offerin’ fifty cents on the dollar with a payment of $200 a month until the debt is paid in full…or until I win the lottery and can afford to pay them off.”
The people behind her snickered, and even Judge Julie Overton grinned from behind her big-ass desk.
Summer swallowed hard to dislodge the lump threatening to choke her. “Furthermore, this current offer is only good if I’m
required to present my case to the court today. Otherwise, I reserve the right to withdraw.”
Overton turned to the blue-eyed man. “Counselor?”
“Since I’m filling in for Jocelyn, I ask for a continuance.”
Jocelyn? So, he was on a first-name basis with her, had probably slid out of her bed this morning after a wild night of monkey sex.
“Your Honor,” said Summer. “I am currently missin’ class today and possibly my job this afternoon, along with the work I missed on the tenth. We’re here because Bunkum’s attorney filed the…er…paperwork and not because I want to be here.” More snickers echoed behind her, but the laughter didn’t lessen the dread gnawing in her belly. Making this into a comedy show was not her intent.
“Since Craven Law can’t pick up the phone and call me about my offer, I don’t think
should be penalized because they ain’t ready.”
“She has a point,” said Overton.
“But due to the fair interest of all parties, I still move for a continuance.” His smile was brilliant, obviously used to affect a positive response from female judges.
Her Honor looked between Summer and the unnamed man, which somehow gave Summer courage, and she said, “Fairness is the one thing I have not received so far from Craven Law.”
“I agree with Miss Heat,” said Judge Overton.
“Madam Judge, I have another commitment this afternoon, so you understand my dilemma.” He spread his large hands in a show of surrender.
“I have a question, Counselor. If I hadn’t appeared in court today, what directive did Ms. Moore give you?”
He turned and glared at her, apparently astounded she’d spoken directly to him. “I think you know the answer.”
His basic response surprised her. She would have bet good money he would dance around the question like only a lawyer could do.
“I do, but it will have so much more impact comin’ from you.”
Summer sneaked a peek at the judge, who grinned like a mule eating briars.
“He’s not on trial here, Miss Heat. He does not have to answer.”
“It’s okay, Judge. I would have asked for a judgment against you for the full amount.”
“And if I appeared here today, what was your directive?”
“To ask for a continuance.” His voice was strong, clear, void of shame but perhaps contained a touch of anger, or maybe just annoyance.
Even though she couldn’t determine if he was grinding his teeth or see a vein pounding at his temple, she’d bet he was seething.
“Hmmm,” said Summer loudly. “So Craven intends to string this out when I appear. A continuance is not gonna work for me, Your Honor.”
The good-looking man crossed his arms and rocked back on his heels. “Your Honor, I request a jury trial.”
Of course, he did. Jury selection would start Monday morning and this circus could drag out for a week. “Totally
, since Craven did not come prepared. I can’t afford to miss any more school or work, as I need the money to pay my debt. I’m perfectly happy with you presiding today.”
“Miss Summer, I will grant your request to go forward today, but I advise you not to continue without an attorney.”
“I can’t afford a lawyer, but I wish I could.”
Then my knees wouldn’t be knockin’ like a woodpecker, and my voice wouldn’t be squeakin’ like a scared rat
. “I’m sure I won’t be articulate, speak gracefully, or be judicially correct, but I’m willin’ to surge forward.”
“Judge Overton,” began the attorney.
“Perhaps,” said Summer, “Counselor should use this time to rearrange his schedule, or persuade Craven to accept my new offer, or maybe he could just ask one of these other lawyers to stand in his place. I honestly don’t care.” It was rude to cut him off, not something a southern gal would normally do, but this was dragging on too long. Besides, he rubbed her the wrong way.
All the attorneys whipped their heads toward her with indiscernible looks on their faces. Had she committed judicial suicide with the comment as it had shot from her unbridled mouth?
Her opponent slowly turned his head; his blue eyes pierced hers again. “Your Honor, I accept Miss Heat’s challenge. I will be ready this afternoon.”
After his statement, she recognized pity in some of the lawyers’ eyes.
“Miss Heat. I advise you to take a continuance,” pleaded the judge.
The judge seemed to contemplate her answer. She covered the microphone with her hand and spoke loudly. “This is Max Preston. His nickname is the New York Shark. He’s never lost a case, and his firm has a…a…a very high win rate.”
Yes, the moniker fit him well. At a head and a half taller than everybody else in the room, he stood around six-five or six. A predator who swam just beneath the surface, circling, circling until the right time to latch on to a flailing limb and drag you under. But she couldn’t let his success change her mind. She had better things to do than sit in court all week or, heaven forbid, come back in another two months.
“Ma’am. I don’t swim in the same circles as Mr. Shark, so I don’t feel the awe and fear everyone else seems to feel.”
More chuckles came from behind her, and even a few of the suits couldn’t seem to hold back their grins.
“But my defense will not change based on who’s sittin’ across from me.”
The judge cleared her throat. “Okay, Miss Heat. I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“Thank you, Your Honor.”
As the Shark weaved his way out of the jury box, an extremely attractive blonde followed him like an obedient puppy.
Summer sank down in her hard seat and sucked in a massive breath. She’d always been a sucker for doing the right thing, even if it was the wrong thing to do in the long run. Her mama, God rest her soul, had always said, if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. Letting Craven and the New York Shark win on their terms was the problem. She only hoped she was the solution.
After glancing at her watch, she prayed for all this calling-of-the-roll to hurry itself along, so maybe she’d be on time tonight for the charity ball. After pulling her book out of her backpack, she found the chapters for Tuesday’s test.
“Bunkum Bank versus Summer Heat.”
Summer stood and tugged down her too-tight dress, knowing it was a mistake to have worn it today, but she had an appointment at five-thirty. It was three-forty, and with this zoo, she’d be amazed if she had time to catch a cab and arrive on time. Grabbing her things, she moved to the defense table.
Mr. Preston and his puppy—each carrying a briefcase that probably cost more than Summer’s entire wardrobe—took the table on the other side. They retrieved laptops and powered them up. Preston had also pulled his hair into a ponytail, like a warrior would do before he stepped onto the battlefield.
She grabbed her large hot-pink folder, which contained every piece of correspondence she’d received from Craven Law. Two years of credit card debt, a true ball and chain around her neck, her ankle, her waist, around her everything.
“Mr. Preston. You’re up.”
“Thank you, Your Honor. Miss Summer Heat has amassed a credit card debt in the amount of $16,256.34 and hasn’t made a payment to Bunkum Bank in fourteen months. Since Miss Heat was reckless in her spending, it would only be fair for Miss Heat to repay the amount in full with interest.”
He eased his big frame back into the chair, and Summer blinked in amazement. That was it? The whole case summed up in just two sentences? Admittedly, the second sentence was a long one, but really…? This was all the high-powered shark had to say? Hell, it had taken him longer to setup the laptop than to utter his case.
Summer remained seated, because if she stood, they’d hear the tremors coursing through her body. “Your Honor, it was never my intent not to pay the debt, and it’s true, I was reckless in my spendin’, but once I realized I was over extended, I asked Bunkum and other creditors to reduce my interest rate and work out a reasonable payment schedule. The other creditors were extremely accommodatin’, and I’ve been payin’ them a total of $336 a month for well over a year now. Bunkum did offer to reduce my debt from sixteen thousand to twelve—with four ‘easy payments’ of $3000.”
She paused for the grunts from the I-don’t-want-to-be-here-crowd to settle down.
“In response, I informed them that if I had had $3000, I would have been able to make the $700 monthly payment in the first place.
“In 2008, Bunkum Bank received 8.9 billion dollars—that’s with a B, Your Honor—in bailout money from the federal government. I’m not sure what interest rate they were charged, but I’m goin’ to go out on a limb here and say they weren’t charged 29.5 percent. So Bunkum Bank can take money from taxpayers when they needed it, but they refuse to work with the little people, who in essence provided the money they borrowed for oh, say, six percent. Because Bunkum Bank and Craven Law can’t work with me, I’m withdrawin’ my second offer and offerin’ 40 cents on the dollar, paid in $200 monthly installments until the debt is paid in full.”