Tis The Season_.For Romance(4)

By: Brenda Jackson



She nibbled on her lips for a moment before getting up the nerve to ask him the one question she had wanted to ask him months ago. “How did you know I was innocent of shooting Ron when your partner was convinced I was guilty?”

He met her gaze and the look she saw in his eyes almost captivated her. “I knew the moment Hollis began talking and telling you that your husband had taken another woman on vacation with you. There was a shocked look on your face that I knew wasn’t phony. And then there was the pained look that had suddenly appeared in your eyes. I could see that not only had you not known, but finding out had hurt you deeply. I was actually able to feel part of your pain.”

He paused a moment and then said, “And although my partner believed you were guilty, I knew that you weren’t. I reacted on gut instincts.”

Barbara lowered her gaze from him as she thought about what he said, and then she lifted her eyes to meet his gaze once more. Tears stung behind her eyes but she fought to keep them at bay. She had made a promise to herself on the day her divorce became final that she would not shed another single tear for Ron.

But she knew that the man sitting across from her, the man who had been quick to believe in her, needed to know something. “I’m not sure what I would have done to him had I found out another way,” she said honestly. “My mind might have snapped and I could have hurt him.”

Rick shrugged. “Yes, you could have. A person who feels betrayed can be pushed into doing a lot of things, which is why Melissa Langley was found not guilty in shooting your husband. A court of law was convinced losing her child and having him treat her the way he had was reason enough for her actions. Of course it helped that she had a jury of nine women and three men. I’m sure the females sympathized with her; especially with how your husband was portrayed by the defense.”

Barbara nodded. “Yes, I’m sure that’s true.”

She hadn’t attended any parts of the two-month trial, but Courtney and her sister Peggy had. Luckily for Melissa’s defense team, a few of Ron’s phone calls to her had been recorded by voicemail and had been replayed in the courtroom. Everyone – judge, jury and all present– had heard first hand some of the things Ron had said to Melissa. They had been mean and ugly statements while the woman was still mourning over the loss of the child she and Ron had made together. Proof had also been presented that the child Melissa had lost had been Ron’s, although he denied such fact. In the end the jury had decided, based on Ron’s behavior and Melissa’s state of mind, they could see how her mind had snapped.

Although Ron had been upset with the not guilty verdict, Barbara had not begrudged the woman in any way. She of all people knew what Ron was capable of doing. Barbara had put up with all his affairs and betrayals because she loved him and was convinced he loved her and would do better. In the end she’d discovered Ron only loved himself. Melissa hadn’t been the first nor had she been the last.

“I understand your husband is no longer with the university.”

“That’s right,” she said. The university where he’d worked hadn’t had a choice in the matter when it came out during the trial just how many of his female students he’d impregnated.

Deciding at that moment she needed to get her mind and thoughts off the subject of Ron and his issues, she leaned back in her chair and said, “I’m sure you came here for some reason other than to rehash an old case you worked months ago, Mr. Blair.” Although she hadn’t a clue what could have brought him to her office that wasn’t business related.

“Yes, my visit has nothing to do with the case I handled regarding your ex-husband. The reason I’m here is strictly personal so I hope we can proceed on a first name basis.”

She lifted a brow. “Personal?”

“Yes. I’m here to ask you out on a date.”





Two




Rick thought the shocked look on Barbara’s face was priceless. He had caught her off guard and to him that was a good thing. She hadn’t expected him to ask her out and a part of him couldn’t understand why. She was definitely an attractive woman and she had gotten a divorce from a man who had not appreciated her value as a wife, and as a woman.

“You want to take me out on a date?”

“Yes.”

“A date?”

He chuckled. Such a thing seemed to be hard for her to grasp. “Yes, you know, take you to places like to dinner and the movies.”

He watched as she nervously pushed her hair behind her ear. “Why?”

His lips lifted into a smile. He would think his reason was obvious. But since she asked, he would give her several. “I’m attracted to you. I think you’re a nice person and I want to get to know you better.”

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