Under the Law_A When Opposites Attract Romance, page 1part #3 of Fanning the Flames Series
Under the Law
A When Opposites Attract Romance
By: Liz Peters
Copyright 2018 by- Liz Peters -All rights reserved.
In no way is it legal to reproduce, duplicate, or transmit any part of this document in either electronic means or in printed format. Recording of this publication is strictly prohibited and any storage of this document is not allowed unless with written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved. The characters in this book are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. WARNING: Contains mature themes and language.
The leaves that blew around outside the small white house gathered in the corners surrounding the front steps and porch in drifts that grew and shrank as the wind changed direction. The setting sun meant the sky was darkening and the light that was cast from the windows of the house were becoming the largest source of light for the front porch. One window, in particular, was lit up more brightly than the rest, the living room beyond was lit up with the television, the lights embedded in the ceiling, and the fire that flickered in the fireplace. Samantha and Reid Spencer were curled up on the couch in each other’s arms and not paying attention to what was playing on the television in the slightest.
September wasn’t the best month in the world for a fire, but they had the gas logs, and Sam was a sucker for lighting them up no matter what the weather was. The leaves outside were just starting to change and fall from the trees, and the air was beginning to take on the crisp bite that accompanied autumn.
It had been four weeks since their wedding. They were just getting settled into the idea of living together. Sam had finally figured out where to put all of the duplicate things the two of them had shared. It helped that Reid had only shared a cabin with another guy at the ranch before now. There wasn’t that much that he’d brought with him, but it was still an adjustment to having another person live with her.
Sure, when he’d visited, he’d been in her apartment, and in her space, but Sam hadn’t really lived with someone since she was in college and had to share a dorm room for the first couple of years. It was something completely different to have the house be home for the two of them. She enjoyed having him there every night after they finished work. That was the best part of things, but no one ever would have been able to make her understand that being married to someone and being engaged to someone was going to be two completely different states of being.
Reid was so different than she was. It was one of the big things that she loved about him. It was also the most difficult thing for the two of them to get around now that they were sharing a house but being wrapped up in his arms every night like this was worth any amount of adjustment the two of them had to make.
Samantha absentmindedly twirled the ring that sat on her left ring finger and grinned as she snuggled into the chest of the man with who she was planning to spend the rest of her life. She drank in his scent as she buried her face in his shirt and let out a long breath. It had been a long day in the office too. There were more cases than she really knew what to do with, and it was getting to the point where she was pretty sure she was going to have to hire help. At least Debbie had been there to help her since she’d moved here, but it was even getting to be too much for her, especially since she had decided to go back to school to work on a law degree.
Sam was going to need a new assistant, and soon, which meant that she was going to have to start the hiring process. She knew a few people around town since she’d moved here. Reid had introduced her to his roommate Matty, who had been the best friend at the wedding and to his boss Rob Strickland who’d been one of the groomsmen. It was clear that Reid thought of Rob like a dad, even if he hadn’t told her that, the way the two of them interacted told her everything she needed to know about their relationship.
It was after dinner, and the sky outside was growing dark. The TV was on for background noise mostly, and neither of them had really even paid attention to what they’d put on it. They’d just been focused on getting to be with each other for the first time all day. It was a Monday, the worst day of all the week for them since they were used to being around each other all the time by the time the weekend was over if it wasn’t one of Reid’s weekends to work, besides the fact that Monday was always the busiest day at work for the both of them.
“So tomorrow is Debbie’s first day of class.” She grinned up at her husband. Reid and Debbie had gotten to know each other very well since Debbie and Sam had moved here to open the law firm. It turned out that the two of them were a lot alike. She shouldn’t have been surprised when she’d figured out that she appreciated the same characteristics in a friend as she had in a husband, and the two of them got along like brother and sister.
“Is she looking forward to hitting on all of the college boys because god knows she’s been through just about every cowboy in town.” He laughed and tugged his wife closer, pressing a kiss to her forehead.
Reid wasn’t exactly wrong. Debbie had been a huge flirt ever since Sam had met her, and the plethora of men around town hadn’t escaped her notice. It didn’t hurt that the town was surrounded by farms and ranches and full of single men who spent every day working with their hands. She flirted with almost everyone, but to be honest, she hadn’t even been on a date since the two of them had arrived in Colleston. She might flirt with every man who crossed her path, but in reality, she was pretty picky about who she spent her time with.
Debbie was living in a duplex she’d rented on the other side of town. Sam had offered to let her stay in the spare bedroom here at the house, but she hadn’t taken her friend up on the offer. Debbie was always independent. It was one of the big things Sam had liked about her friend. Debbie worked for what she got, and she always had her entire life.
Sam laughed softly in reply to Reid’s comment and shook her head.
“I guess so. At least it will give her some new victims. Heck, she might even find someone she actually wants to go out with instead of just a bunch of guys who wish she would quit just talking and actually go out with them.” Reid’s laugh just deepened in response.
“You know if I didn’t know better, I’d think she was secretly shy or something, Legs, but you’re right she’s more bark than bite. I like her. I had half a head to set her up with Matty, but I think the two of them would wind up killing each other before everything was said and done.”
Matty and Debbie had met each other a couple of times, both times had ended up with the two of them arguing, once on the front porch of this house, and the other one at their wedding reception. They were both hotheaded, and they had such different opinions that putting the two of them together was like pouring gas on a fire. If you’d pushed Sam to decide, she’d have said that Matty was the gas and Debbie was the fire.
“Well, there would only be one survivor of that relationship. That’s for certain, besides she’s got a lot on her plate with going back to school and getting settled in a new place. I think she’s just trying to focus on everything without too much of a distraction. A law degree is a real pain in the ass to get when yo
“Hey you know I offered to take your last name there, Legs.” Reid grinned down at her. He wasn’t lying. He had made the offer before the two of them walked down the aisle. Samantha just hadn’t agreed to it. Her new business cards had been waiting on the two of them when they’d gotten back from their honeymoon trip to the beach, and she’d had all her ID changed over within a week or two after. It just meant she had to break the habits she’d formed her entire life of signing things with her maiden name. She guessed that everyone had to do something similar when they got married, but it was one of her most common goofs these days.
“Reid, honey, if I’d thought you’d have had an easier time remembering to sign as Reid Crawford instead, then I would have taken you up on it.” She winked at him playfully. “Besides, I like the alliteration. Samantha Spencer sort of rolls off the tongue, and it looks good on the sign out front of the building.” She leaned up and stole a kiss off Reid’s lips. That was all it took to stop him talking altogether.
One thing that married life hadn’t changed at all was the way the two of them felt about each other. They were still as crazy about each other as they had been the weekend he’d shown up on her doorstep back in the city. Samantha found herself lost in every kiss that the two of them had shared. She hadn’t known she was going to feel like this about anyone in her life, and it was such a pleasant surprise to have found it in the last place she’d ever thought she’d be looking.
Debbie had pulled her shoulder-length auburn hair into a ponytail at the nape of her neck and pulled on a pair of jeans and a green blouse before she’d left the house this morning. She’d been through about a dozen outfit ideas last night before she let herself go to bed, and she’d changed her mind three more times when she woke up this morning. Finally, she just gave up and settled on the first thing she’d pulled out of the closet last night. She wanted to make a good impression on her first day at Plains State University’s law school.
The school was about half an hour from the town where Sam had opened up the law office. It was convenient that she’d managed to find a university with a law program so close to home. It meant she was going to be able to continue to work and go to school. Sam was paying for part of the degree out of the profits from the office with the promise that Debbie was going to help her out as soon as she’d finished up her degree. It would take a few years before she was ready to plunge into the job completely, but she was going to be able to do more complicated work around the office as soon as classes started.
Legally speaking, there were things that a law student could handle that a secretary couldn’t touch. There were all kinds of rules and regulations that couldn’t be gotten around, so even attending school meant that Debbie was able to take over more of the work around the place than she would have been able to handle even being in the office every day. It just meant that she was going to have a whole hell of a lot of work on her plate for the next few years. She didn’t know if she was up for all of it. The idea that she might fail at all of this terrified her, no matter how good she was at covering all of that up. Samantha was there to help her if she was struggling. She knew she could depend on her friend if she needed her, but there was a large part of Debbie that didn’t want to have to ask for help.
Samantha and Debbie had arranged all her classes so she was only out of the office on Tuesday an Thursday to attend lectures. The rest of the week would be spent back at the office in Colleston. It had been a few years since she’d been to college, but she wasn’t worried about fitting in. Looking around the campus, she was only barely older than most of the students here, but she could fit in with them well enough. Now, she just needed to figure out where her first class was going to be.
Debbie had a campus map in one hand, and she was glancing around her trying to figure out exactly where to start on finding her way to her first class. Time was starting to run short, and she still hadn’t had any better luck on getting to where she was going. The names on the buildings were on the map, and she had a good idea of where she was located, but she wasn’t entirely certain which direction she was supposed to head in. It was time to find someone to ask for help.
She could have stopped one of the people her own age who were making their way down the sidewalk on either side of the large green she found herself on, but the chances of them being just as new to campus as she were just too high. Instead, she decided to stop one of the older guys who she guessed was a professor here. He was handsome, so there was a bit of a bonus in stopping him to talk in her mind. He had dark hair, going gray at the temples, and piercing blue eyes. She tugged her blouse down at the waist, holding her map and schedule tightly in her hand before walking over to stop him for a moment.
“Excuse me, I know you’re probably going to think I’m absolutely ridiculous here, but it’s my first day, I’m lost, and I’m about to be running late for class. I’d hate to make a bad impression on day one, so I was hoping you could help me find my way to Lewis Hall. I’ve been trying for a bit, but I can’t make heads or tails of this map.” She grinned up at him, using her best smile and hoping that he didn’t just dismiss her outright.
“Well, you’re in luck, Miss. I’m headed there myself so I’ll escort you there.” His accent had taken her off guard. He was British on top of being attractive, and she’d always had a thing for accents. He offered her his arm, and she looped hers through his with a brilliant smile. Good looks, an accent, and great manners. She was going to have to be careful not to just go right ahead and fall head over heels in love with this one.
“Isn’t it just my lucky day then. Forgive me for not introducing myself. My name is Debbie MacIntyre, and before you try to start back in with the Miss. I’m going to insist you call me by my first name so you may as well start now.” She was aware she was being a little bit pushy, but that was who she was. She would much rather someone not want to be around her because she was too much than to have to push herself down in order to keep someone else comfortable.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you then, Debbie. I suppose you can call me Joshua then since we’re on a first name basis with each other.” There was that damned accent again. Every time he spoke, she had to force herself to focus on where the two of them were headed. God, this one was going to be trouble, but Debbie was starting to think that she was going to like trouble.
There had been a lot of guys she’d met and flirted with since she’d moved here, but none of them had made her feel that spark or made her want to take it much past flirting. There was something about this guy whose arm she was draped across that made her want to change all of that. If he’d stopped and asked her out right then and there, she would have said yes at the drop of a hat.
Debbie guessed Joshua was a professor here. It wouldn’t have surprised her in the slightest, given his age and the way he spoke. He was clearly educated and well spoken, not to mention attractive, and the exact opposite of all the boys who frequented the cafe every day back in Colleston. It was a refreshing change of pace after all the months of nothing but cowboys to talk to. She’d thought that was what she wanted, but in the end, none of them had quite been enough to get her to want to settle down or really even give them a chance to get to know her. They were fun to flirt with, but they made it too easy. Debbie didn’t want easy. She wanted a challenge, and this older man looked like he might be a fun challenge.
The two of them chatted until he stopped walking just outside of one of the huge stone buildings. Debbie noticed the sign that sat out front read Lewis Hall.
“Well, Miss Debbie,” he grinned at her, well aware that he was using the formal title she’d asked him not to paired wit
“Just wait right there.” She took her arm from his, placing a hand on his chest to stop him from walking away before she fished a piece of paper out of the back pocket of her jeans. It was just a small scrap of paper, some receipt or something useless she’d been carrying around all day. Then she grabbed the pen from the lapel of his jacket, quickly jotting her number down on the paper before tucking both it and the pen into his pocket. It was incredibly forward of her, but she didn’t care. “That’s my number. Don’t lose it, and I’ll make sure you do see me around more often.” She winked at the older man before walking off into the building he’d shown her to.
It was the first time she’d given someone her actual number, and Debbie wasn’t certain what had gotten into her when she’d decided to just go for it and slip him a way to contact her. She flirted and hung out with all the men around the cafe in Colleston, but she’d not found someone she really and truly wanted to spend more time with. The walk she’d taken with Joshua had at least left her wanting more.
Debbie’s class was on the first floor, but she still had fifteen minutes left before it began. She needed to stop by the bathroom before she headed into the large lecture hall. She found it first, taking care of business as quickly as possible, then checking her hair and makeup before she walked back out into the hallway. Her class was right across the hall, and the room was already filling up with students. She didn’t want to be too far behind, so she made a beeline for the room, settling into the first empty chair that was closest to the front.
She was too busy getting out her things to look up when the professor walked into the room. It wasn’t until he cleared his throat and began addressing the class that she thought to see the face of the person who’d set up behind the podium. When the English accent registered in her thoughts she caught her breath in her chest. It just took a single glance up to confirm her suspicions.
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