Sasha, prominent judge, and the last remaining single female of her trio friends, has a killer coming after her. She’s decided to leave her friends behind to keep them safe. That was until Cirro was involved. He’s denied her as his mate from the moment he saw her, but no one, absolutely no one, can hurt her without going through him.
Now he just has to keep his hands off her, and his heart under lock and key. But how? When his mate needs him in ways he can’t deny?
She was going to have to give up her career. Sasha MacAdams, independent, full-hardy, confident, and fashion conscience judge, was running scared. So what if the man who had her on his hit list was a nasty son-of-a-bitch? So what if he’d made people disappear in the worst possible ways after mailing their body parts to family members? No matter how bad his crimes he deserved to be tried in the court of law, not treated as some lethal god who was above the law because simple humans were too afraid of his whiplash. If the District Attorney had the balls to try the case when no one else would, even facing removal after some palms had been greased with lots of cash to try to stop him, then she could only honor him by being the one judge that would stand by his choice. Many of her peers had steeped out, for one reason or another publically. Some she knew was because they got paid to. Others were terrified.
She couldn’t blame them. Though it hadn’t been proven, six judges and nine lawyers who’d had some sort of connection with Diego “Ice” Rodriguez had something happen to them. From mysterious deaths, to random attacks that left them crippled, to children coming missing, it all had happened. Shamefully Ice became a name synonyms with “don’t fuck with him” in the legal world. She understood the police’s frustration. It was too hard for them to get evidence, and when they did, things were tossed out of court for technicalities, moved to other locations, or repeated continuances until the next judge conveniently dismissed the charges due to lack of evidence or ill-preparation of the prosecution. No matter what Ice walked free.
Sasha knew his background before his case ended up on her docket. She’d made waves as a young D.A. before gaining her place a judge. She was good at what she did, very good. And there were whispers that she could be a shoe-in for a future appellate seat appointment if she kept going the ways she was going. It was a dream of hers, the end game, if she didn’t try for supreme. Either way, that was all going to be a wash right now. She looked over at homicide detective Thomas Masterson sitting in her livingroom nursing a glass of scotch in his hands. The salt-n-pepper haired detective had been lead on Ice’s case for the last fifteen years, and he wore the badges of his work in his mannerism. For a man who was so large he looked utterly defeated—his shoulders slumped, his mouth in a permanent frown, and his eyes cold. He’d seen every body, mutilation, and beating that Ice had been alleged to be involved in. He knew his perp better than anyone. It was why he came to her home in the first place. He looked up at her with sad green eyes, all the light beat out of them.
“I’m sorry. You did an amazing thing taking that case and stopping the continuances. But we just can’t risk it anymore,” Thomas said with a sigh.
“Are you sure he’s coming after me?” Sasha asked, hoping against hope it wasn’t true.
“Your Honor, I have looked at this every way I could. I know Ice’s stamp, even if no one else will take me seriously.”
“More like they don’t want to acknowledge it. Everyone seems to want to turn a blind eye when it comes to Rodriguez,” Sasha said sarcastically.
“Right about that. It doesn’t matter thought,” Thomas continued. He sat his glass down, after swallowing the scotch that was left in it. “You name has been coming up calls I’ve been monitoring.”
“Since when was there a wire tap approved?” she asked. When Thomas stared her blankly she just shook her head. “Forget I asked.” For the moment she was happy that Thomas had broken the law. He was saving her life right now.
“He’s mentioned you, and your address. It’s all been about how nice the neighborhood is and how he’d like to visit one day, but we both not that’s not his M.O.” Thomas finished.
“Any time frame you can gather?”
“None. The sooner you leave the better. If you know a place you can disappear for a while is a good bet.”
“What about the case? My career? A judge can’t disappear. People will be looking for me.” Sasha argued.
“And you don’t know who can be on his payroll. I say tell who you need to that you are taking an extended vacation for a family emergency. Recues yourself from the case and leave.”
“If I step down then he will leave me alone. Why not just do that then?” Sasha asked.
“Because we both know that you have publically said you would not be backing down without a fight. You’ve attacked Ice’s pride, and he won’t forget. It won’t matter that you won’t sit on the case. He’s going to get his pound of flesh. You need to disappear.”
“If he won’t stop then you’re saying I can never come back home. Never pick my career back up.”
“It’s better than dying. If you want to take your chances, fine by me. All I could do was warn you,” Thomas finished and stood. He left her house while she was still sitting there, lost. She hadn’t meant to argue, she knew that the detective was doing her a great service by coming to her. He didn’t have to tell her. Hell, he didn’t have to let her know, someone who could have his badge, that he had an illegal wire tap going and that gave him the information that could save her life. But he had, and she couldn’t stand there and toss that back in his face.
She poured herself a glass, a tall one, of scotch and made the necessary call. Her clerk knew how to handle her affairs while she was gone. The idea that she was running stuck her craw, but she didn’t have a choice. Once that was done she packed some clothes a quickly as she could, drinking the whole time. She needed to numb her fear, her pain. Never had she imagined this happening to her. She would never have dreamed that her career would end like this, in her mid-thirties, and with no end in sight. She gritted her teeth as she picked up her phone again. She had to make one last call. Her best friends, Mandy and Selene, had moved in with each other in Selene’s fiancé’s mansion the year previously. The women had been happier than a fiddle with their men, Connor and Pietr, since they’d met that girl’s night out that seemed like ages ago. Sasha was happy for them, and went to visit them often. But now she would be staying away from them, to keep them safe as well.
Tears clogged her throat as she dialed. She would miss them.
“Hey, Sas, long time no hear. What happened to you coming over the house last week?” Selene said by greeting.
“Worked late, and then I was too tired to take the drive.” Sasha answered, sniffling.
“Uh oh. What’s wrong? Who’s ass am I kicking?” Selene asked. Noise on the other end of the line crackled and then Maddy’s voice came over the line.
“What’s up? Where do we need to meet you?” Maddy asked. Sasha smiled through tears. Maddy was barely five-feet tall, a pip squeak. But she’d be ready to stand beside her friends through anything. Selene, at five-foot ten, and tenacious, would probably do better.
“Long story, but I can’t get into the details. It’s for you safety,” she rushed to say when Selene grunted. “I need to disappear for a while but I want you guys to know that I’m okay and I’ll be checking in with you while I’m gone.”
“Sas, you’re scaring me. What’s going on? You know you can trust us,” Selene argued.
“Selene, really. I can’t tell you.”
“You know my fiancé is rich right? The security we have is top notch. If it’s that bad, we can protect you.” Selene said.
“I don’t know about that. Selene don’t make this harder on me than it has to be.”
“Screw this,” Maddy said and a knock sounded. Sasha figured she’d dropped the phone. Selene continued to argue with her and Sasha was just about to hang up when a gravelly voice came over the phone.
“What is wrong, Sasha?” Sasha stopped breathing. In all her time going to visit Selene, Cirro had been the hardest to deal with. Six-foot two, wrapped in muscle, with blue eyes, and blond hair, the man was a walking aphrodisiac, and found himself scarce whenever she’d come around. At first she’d been hurt, something in her drawn to the quiet speaking man who always seemed to be watching, moving through the house. Selene had told her that he ran the security for the people in the home, and she could believe her. She’d never seen him with less than two guns and knives on him at any time. He looked deadly, but all she’d wanted to do was gobble him up, to feel the strength of his body against her. She wanted to know if his hands were as skilled as they looked. But he hadn’t looked her way, never acknowledged her. She’d decided he just wasn’t interested and her pesky heart needed to ignore him.
“Sasha?” he asked, sighing, and she remembered to breath. She coughed over the phone, yelling at her heart to stop beating so fast. It must be the not breathing, she thought sarcastically.
“It’s complicated,” She started.
“Try me,” he said then, unflappable, steady. Something in her opened up, in a way she hadn’t been able to with her friends. It was as if she couldn’t argue with him, or deny his request.
“I have a man that’s trying to kill me,” she blurted. Cirro grew quiet on the phone. She heard muffled speaking and then Cirro came back on the line.
“I’m will be there. Don’t leave you house, lock the doors, have you bags packed and at the door. Stay on the phone with Selene until I get there.”
“Wait,” she yelled, but Selene was already speaking, and the man she thought always tried to avoid her was running to her rescue.