Hard Justice(4)

By: Lori Foster


The freaking mansion had intimidated him. Who the hell needed a house that big? A few times there, he’d thought for sure his voice would echo back at him.

The obvious wealth had intimidated him, too. The ornate staircase alone probably cost more than what he got paid in a year. The rock on Mrs. Wade’s finger had all but blinded him. He’d been half-afraid to move for fear he’d bump into some pricey shit and break it.

As if all that weren’t enough, Fallon Wade’s father had tried—unsuccessfully—to cow him. The man had a cold stare that probably made lackeys buckle. But behind that act, Justice had seen the real concern.

The man loved his daughter, spoiled as she might be.

Thinking of her...little Fallon was quite the surprise. He’d expected a princess, a snooty brat used to snapping her fingers and having her every wish granted. Instead, he’d looked up that sprawling staircase and found a curious mouse peeking through the rails... Then he’d caught her wicked grin and bursting enthusiasm and knew that looks were deceiving.

He watched now as Fallon Wade practically danced down the wide tiled steps to the circular drive where he’d parked. The printed scarf draping her neck blew out to the sides from an increasing wind.

Brown hair, parted on the side with wispy bangs over her forehead, skimmed just below her shoulders, bouncing with her every step. That hair looked silky enough to be liquid.

When he’d first seen her, he’d noticed the smooth, flushed cheeks, a small straight nose and rounded chin... Really nice mouth, too.

But it was her eyes that got him.

For an otherwise unremarkable face, her eyes were amazing, dark like a doe’s, framed by long, thick lashes and gently arched brows.

The innocence and curiosity in her face was enough for a second look, but the body...

She wore a plain pink crewneck top tucked into a long black skirt, a darker pink cardigan sweater and that fancy scarf.

For a petite girl with slim legs and arms and a narrow waist, she still had curves. Hard to tell much about those curves in that particular outfit, but he had a feeling she’d be pretty sweet all over.

Following her down the steps to the SUV, Justice noticed she had some nice padding around back. There’d be no hiding that heart-shaped ass.

As she headed for his ride with a happy, brisk walk, her black skirt hugged her hips but swished around her knees.

Her face looked young, her body looked ripe and she behaved like a puppy just let off the leash.

Her parents treated her like she was ten instead of twenty-four. Overprotective much? Hell, it had smothered him to see the way they tried to harness her.

Somehow, Justice thought, he had to get a handle on the situation. He’d expected this to be an easy assignment, but so far, nothing added up.

In an effort to understand, Justice drew out his phone and pulled up the internet.

He was aware of Fallon Wade watching him before she asked, “Do you need privacy for your call?”

So even now she wouldn’t complain about his lack of deference? He should be focusing solely on her, but first... “I’m just looking up a word.”

She tipped her head. “What word?”

“Avuncular.”

The wind carried her laugh until it surrounded him.

Smiling, Justice asked, “You think that’s funny?”

Mirth danced in her dark eyes. “And a little embarrassing.”

“Because I don’t know the word?” It finally popped up on the screen.

“No, of course not.” She looked wrecked by his conclusion. “I was in no way judging you.”

That only made his smile widen. He didn’t come off as the most professional person and he knew it. “Then why?”

She faced him from a good distance away. “Because my father felt the silly warning was necessary.”

Avuncular: of or pertaining to an uncle, especially in kindness and manner. “Ah.” Now he got it. “So your dad was warning me against making any moves?”

“It wasn’t personal. Dad feels compelled to make similar warnings to everyone, even though it’s never been an issue.” She wrinkled her nose. “I’d hardly need to hire you if I had a string of big, strong guys taking me out, right?”

“Oh, I dunno.” By the minute, she somehow got sexier. Justice didn’t understand it, but maybe it was that quirky smile or those subtle curves she tried to downplay. She definitely didn’t seem spoiled, and in fact was downright modest. “I think if you wanted it, you’d have plenty of guys hoping for a shot.”

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