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In Too Deep

J. Kenner

  In Too Deep

  J. Kenner


  Title Page

  About In Too Deep

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15


  Light My Fire

  The Men of Man of the Month!

  Meet Damien Stark


  Also by J. Kenner

  Also by Julie Kenner

  About the Author

  In Too Deep


  J. Kenner

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  About In Too Deep

  Hannah Donovan is not my type.

  Intellectual and career-focused, she's a lawyer, and an intimidatingly beautiful one, at that. I'd rather pump iron than open a book, and the only reason I'd go to court would be for a traffic ticket.

  She's the most gorgeous woman I've ever seen. So how can I turn down her plea that I pretend to be her fiance for one weekend?

  But I never expected our pretend kisses to feel so real ... or for it to lead to a wild night in bed that will forever stand out as the highlight of my sex life.

  Our performance convinces everyone, but it was never meant to be more than a fantasy. A short term gig before reality sets back in.

  I can't imagine ever being good enough for her, but I'm hooked. And now I'm determined to do whatever it takes to make this fake engagement real.

  Meet Mr. October -- he's determined to make her his.

  Each book in the series is a STANDALONE with NO cliffhanger and a guaranteed HEA!

  But even so, you won't want to miss any in the series. Because then you can answer the question...

  Who's Your Man of the Month?

  Down On Me

  Hold On Tight

  Need You Now

  Start Me Up

  Get It On

  In Your Eyes

  Turn Me On

  Shake It Up

  All Night Long

  In Too Deep

  Light My Fire

  Walk The Line

  and don't miss Bar Bites: A Man of the Month Cookbook!

  Visit to learn more!

  Want your own Man of the Month calendar? Grab it now! (While supplies last!)

  In Too Deep Copyright (c) 2018 by Julie Kenner Release Me excerpt Copyright (c) 2012 by Julie Kenner (used by permission with Bantam Books) Cover design by Covers by Rogenna Cover image by Perrywinkle Photography ISBN: 978-1-940673-68-4

  Published by Martini & Olive Books v. 2018-6-11

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are the product of the author's imagination and are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or establishments is solely coincidental.

  Chapter One

  "Well?" Easton asked. "What do you think?"

  Hannah Donovan turned a slow circle in the sunlit reception area that took up one corner of the seventeenth floor of the Bank of America tower at the corner of Sixth and Congress. Her soon-to-be law partner, Easton Wallace, stood in front of her, a wide grin playing across his classically handsome face. Behind him, Selma Herrington, Easton's girlfriend who had fast become a close friend of Hannah's, stood with her back to them in cut-off shorts and spiky blue hair, her hands pressed to the glass overlooking Austin's famous Sixth Street.

  "It's amazing," Hannah said, still having a hard time believing this was real. Were they actually looking at property to lease? For that matter, were they actually opening their own law firm?

  She grimaced. Apparently they were. After all, she'd already given notice at Brandywine Consulting where, until yesterday, she'd been gainfully employed as in-house counsel. But as soon as she gave notice, her prick of a boss had suggested that she go ahead and take her accrued vacation. Basically kicking her out the door without even time for cupcakes in the break room.

  But that was okay. Because now she was free as a bird. A somewhat terrified bird, facing a brand new adventure.

  A bird who didn't have the money she'd counted on to fund this little venture. Because her pig of a former boss had managed to trigger a clause in her retirement plan, leaving Hannah with a retirement nest egg that she was absolutely forbidden to borrow from. And if she closed it out completely and took the money, the penalty was so stiff that she'd barely have enough to buy the whiskey in which to drown her sorrows.

  Which meant she was looking at this fabulous office space without her share of the money for their new law firm's start-up capital. Which, of course, included the down payment for this lease.

  And that was a fact she hadn't yet shared with Easton.

  Now his brow furrowed as he peered at her. "You're way too quiet. Do you not like it?"

  Selma turned, her eyes wide. "Of course she likes it. She'd be an idiot not to like it."

  "If I didn't, I'd hardly admit it now," Hannah said, amusement overcoming her worries. Selma--in typical Selma fashion--merely shrugged. "And to be clear," Hannah continued, "I do love it. I was--" She cut herself off with a shrug. "I just can't believe it's happening so fast."

  That, of course, was the understatement of the year. And she didn't have a clue how to tell Easton that she had to scrape up another source of funds. How horrible to disappoint him that way, especially since she was the one who'd had the original idea for the two of them to form a partnership.

  Not only that, but she knew him well, and it was obvious that he'd fallen in love with this space. Hell, she had, too. Just this quick look around and she was convinced that this suite was as perfect for their venture as they'd ever find.

  A truly breathtaking space, the suite formed a U that took up half of the east wall, all of the north wall, and the entire west wall. The tiny bit of remaining space was used as storage for the bank that owned the building--which meant that only the employees and clients of Wallace & Donovan, Attorneys At Law, needed to get off at this floor.

  A set of double glass doors opened onto the luxurious reception area that faced east and looked out over Sixth Street. But right beside reception was a large conference room--also with glass walls--that faced north and looked down on the historic Driskill Hotel and a tiny hint of the Texas Capitol building. Because of the glass, the room was bright and airy and full of light. But the conference room was designed with automatic blinds, so clients and counsel could work in privacy if necessary.

  Offices for associate attorneys--when they hired some--lined the north and west walls, and would also be used for the legal assistants. The northwest corner office boasted a stunning view straight down Congress Avenue, and the southwest corner had a view of the river in the distance. All in all, the space was incredible.

  "Nothing wrong with fast when it's right," Easton said to her, though he added a wink to Selma, obviously in honor of their whirlwind romance. "And I really do think it's right. This whole idea is right. This space. Our firm. You and me as partners." He crossed to her and gave her a one-armed hug,
the same way he used to congratulate her in law school whenever she got an A or nailed a particularly tricky concept during one of their study sessions. "I've had a good feeling since we took the leap and agreed to do this. Even my crazy notoriety has played into our favor. I'm getting all sorts of calls about folks wanting to talk about representation."

  Easton and Selma had been caught with their pants down--or, more specifically, Selma had been caught with her skirt up--not too long ago. The scandal had cost Easton his chance at a judgeship, but as it turned out, he was okay with that. What he really wanted was to practice law--and he'd pulled his name from the race and taken Hannah up on her suggestion that they both quit and open a firm. A suggestion that had been absolutely seaworthy at the time she'd made it, but which had recently begun to spring a few leaks.

  "I have a good feeling, too," she assured him. "I swear, I'm not bailing." She wouldn't do that to him. This was too important to them both. This firm was their future. And it represented the kind of law career she wanted. A vibrant practice doing interesting work with a partner she trusted. She'd loved the people at her old job, and she was going to miss seeing her friends everyday. But she'd been about to rot in that environment and had been bored to tears with the actual work.

  The in-house job at Brandywine Finance and Consulting had been her second law job. The first had been at a giant law firm where she'd worked for years on cases so huge that she was often only aware of one legal issue--the big picture of the overall litigation wasn't even shared with her.

  Some of the work was interesting, but she'd had little client contact, and even less contact with the overall battle plan. She knew she was paying her dues, but after a while she couldn't take it anymore, and she'd accepted the in-house position at Brandywine.

  That was better for a while, but after time, the work became rote, and it was no longer about the job but about a steady paycheck. She'd realized almost too late how much she wanted to be out there handling actual cases. Writing detailed briefs that argued real law. Building a practice and making a reputation.

  Fortunately, Easton wanted the same thing.

  Unfortunately, she'd lost time--most attorneys her age who went out on their own already had a handful of clients in their pocket. Which meant that if she wanted to build the firm up into something successful, she had to put all her focus and energy into this firm. Into making certain that she and Easton succeeded.

  "I know you're not bailing," Easton assured her. "But we need to lock this down. If we take too much time, someone will snatch it out from under us. I got first look because the guy who handles leasing for this building owes me a favor. But he'll only hold it open for us to Monday morning. After that, we won't be the only interested parties. Besides, the sooner we commit to this place, the sooner we can start meeting with clients."

  Hannah turned in a slow circle, taking it all in. And, yes, coveting this suite. "This place will definitely wow them." The space had previously housed a defunct law firm, and they had even left their law library behind, a spacious room filled with all the necessary resources, nestled in the interior of the building.

  "And you can have your pick of corner offices," Easton said. "Capitol or river view. No drawing straws."

  "Really?" She shot a quick glance at her friend.

  "Of course you get first dibs. Without you, this wouldn't be happening. "

  Her stomach twisted. Because the truth was that even with her it might not be happening. Not unless she could come up with her share of the money.

  She drew in a breath and was gathering the courage to tell Easton the hard, cold truth, when Selma threw her hands out to her sides and twirled her way over to Easton in that vivacious Selma way she had. "Well, I love it. But darling, can you afford it?"

  "We," he said, smiling at Hannah as he brushed his thumb over Selma's lips and pulled her close. "And of course we can. Yes?"

  "Absolutely," Hannah said, aiming her smile at both of them and taking a great deal of pride in the fact that her voice didn't crack. Because, dammit, she'd figure out a way. "We'd be crazy not to grab it," she added, as much to convey her enthusiasm as to convince herself. Because it really would be nuts to walk away from such a fabulous deal. Especially when the only tiny stumbling block was Hannah's own lack of funds.

  At least the lease had a two-week escape clause, or so Easton had said. Which meant that she had two weeks to either get the money or fess up to Easton.

  Surely she could get the money. It wasn't as if she was entirely out of options, after all. There was always her mother and the money that Mom used to call The Hannah Fund. It was out of reach now, true. But maybe, just maybe, she could change that.

  She was pondering how to approach her mom--and, more importantly, her stepfather--when she felt the weight of Selma's eyes on her. She glanced up, only to see a glimmer of curiosity cross Selma's face before she turned to Easton and gave him a little shove. "Okay, mister, we're all done here. Go. Do manly things."

  His eyes widened, and his lips twitched with obvious amusement. "Trying to get rid of me?"

  "Um, duh. Hannah and I have plans," she announced, which was total news to Hannah. "We're off to drink cocktails and ogle hot men. Or women," she added with a glance toward Hannah. "If you'd rather."

  Hannah lifted a shoulder, forcing herself not to smile. "Either way, I'm good."

  Selma laughed, as Easton cocked one brow. "Just ogling?"

  "Don't worry," Selma assured him. "With other men, I only look." She pressed herself against him, her arms going around his waist. "But sometimes that makes the touching later all the more fun. And in case you need it, here's a preview. So you can remember why it's me you come home to." She kissed him--hot and deep and so slow that Hannah was starting to feel like she'd fallen down the rabbit hall into an NC-17 movie.

  But when Selma grabbed Easton's ass, it was time to cut the show short. "Okay, you two. Get a room."

  As Selma backed away, her expression smug, Easton held his hands out to his sides and indicated the huge, empty reception area. "A room?" he repeated. "Isn't that why we're here?"

  Hannah parked one hand on her hip and cocked her head. "There will be no wild sex on the desks in our law office. Especially since one of us doesn't have anyone to have wild sex with."

  On top of everything else, Hannah had been single--and sadly hook-up free--for well over six months now.

  Sadly, that state of affairs showed no signs of changing any time soon. A particularly unfortunate fact since an upstanding boyfriend with a good job and decent manners might be the key to solving her current financial crisis.

  And, honestly, she missed the fringe benefits, too.

  Chapter Two

  "Over six months?" Selma looked so shocked that Hannah almost sank off the stool so she could hide under the long oak bar at The Fix on Sixth. The local Austin bar was not only full of atmosphere, but it also happened to be conveniently located just a few blocks down from what would soon--hopefully, maybe--be Hannah's brand new office.

  Coming to the bar had been Selma's idea. Not only did she patronize the place, but Selma's company, Austin Free-Tail Distillery, supplied a variety of whiskeys to the popular bar. Now the women were sitting at a two-top in the smaller back section of the bar, Selma drinking her own whiskey straight-up, and Hannah sipping a Loaded Corona.

  "Six months," Selma repeated, studying Hannah's face. "Good God, you're serious."

  Hannah felt her ears turn pink. "That's hardly a lifetime."

  "Says you."

  "I just haven't met anyone I like, and I got tired of doing the hook-up thing, then wasting all that emotional energy wondering if he or she was going to call again."

  "I get that," Selma admitted. "But it doesn't explain the weirdness."

  Hannah blinked, trying to follow the thread of conversation. "What weirdness?"

  "You. In the office. I may not know you as well as Easton does, but I can spot obfuscation a mile away."

  "Good God, can
you really?" Hannah teased. "Because I can't even spell it."

  "Hannah." Selma's voice was flat. Almost parental. "Just spill it, okay? What's going on?"

  That was one of the things that Hannah had found so refreshing about Selma the first time they'd met--the fact that she didn't pull any punches. She said what she meant, and she meant what she said. With Selma, what you saw was what you got.

  Usually, that was an amazing trait.

  Right now, it was more than a little unnerving.

  "Do not even think about dodging the question," Selma said. "Come on. Tell me." She reached out and put her hand over Hannah's, warm and reassuring. "If it's something you don't want Easton to know, I can keep a secret. Or you can talk to someone else. But you need to talk. I see it all over you."

  For a moment, Hannah considered telling Selma that she'd find someone else to talk to. But why? Selma was there. Selma would undoubtedly understand.

  And most of all, Selma thought outside the box. If anyone would have a creative solution, it would be Selma.

  "Right. Well, I'm kind of having a cash flow issue."

  Selma leaned back in her chair, nodding slowly. "I thought it might be something like that. What happened?"

  Once again, Hannah almost diverted the conversation. After all, talking about money--or at least the lack thereof--ranked way up there on the scale of mortifying topics. But saying nothing wasn't gong to help her. Better to just go for it.

  "It's my fault. I thought I'd be able to borrow from my retirement account. You know, for the money that Easton and I are both contributing as operating capital."