Read Midnight Sins Online

Authors: Lora Leigh

Tags: #Romance, #Romantic Suspense Fiction, #Suspense, #Fiction, #Contemporary, #Man-Woman Relationships, #Murder, #Crime, #Erotica, #Ranchers

Midnight Sins

BOOK: Midnight Sins
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CONTENTS

Title Page

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

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

St. Martin’s Paperbacks Titles by Lora Leigh

Praise for bestselling author Lora Leigh’s Elite Ops

Series

Copyright

CHAPTER 1

Cambria at thirteen

It would have been amusing, if it hadn’t had the

potential to be so dangerous.

Jaymi Flannigan Kramer watched as her younger

sister, Cami, sneaked another shy look at Rafer

Callahan, one of Corbin County’s three bad boys and

the man Jaymi’s deceased husband had claimed as

a blood brother.

He was also the man she was sleeping with, but

that wasn’t as important as the fact that he was her

best friend. And he knew, just as well as she did, that

sleeping with him was her attempt to stay close to the

husband who was forever gone. He had been Tye’s

best friend, his blood brother, and the only man she

knew who even came close to her soul mate.

She turned her gaze away from Cami and Rafe

and let it sweep over the crowd attending the

Saturday night social.

Jaymi loved the name of the county’s weekly

street party and dance that had become a tradition of

almost-required attendance. The mayor and city

officials pushed the weekend socials the way some

towns pushed voting, sports arenas, and political

agendas. Wholeheartedly.

Corbin County and its seat, Sweetrock,

promoted their drug awareness and “Children First”

agenda with the same passion and strength. They

had adopted the slogan more than a generation

before and made certain everyone knew they meant

it.

Friday after school the community center opened

and any child enrolled in school from Head Start to

college was welcome. BYOSB—Bring Your Own

Sleeping Bag—was the rule. But there were so many

donated bags that it really wasn’t necessary.

City officials, employees, and any and all

teachers, from tenured to substitute, were required to

give one weekend per month to chaperone the social

as well as the community center.

Families donated the food and drinks that were

prepared in the community center’s kitchen, and

parents who didn’t stay around to help chaperone

were forced to sign a legal release stating that if they

left their children, at any time, in the care of the

county’s volunteers, the parents rescinded all rights or

legal abilities to sue in the event of accident.

However all manner of ills could befall anyone

who chose not to participate. Permits could get lost or

delayed, mail could be misplaced, utility workers

could move at a much slower pace, and just forget

getting out of that speeding ticket. And that was

nothing compared to what local business owners

could do.

City Hall had begun the socials, and their

commitment to providing something entertaining and

supervised for the county’s youth had been sustained

for over twenty years. It had grown to the point that if

that commitment lapsed in any way, then newspapers

and radio stations found the phenomenon strange

enough to report it.

Corbin County had found that the key to keeping

their youth away from delinquency or drugs was to

give them something to do. And it was still working.

Parents and teens mingled in the dance area,

while the younger children played games or watched

supervised videos.

Parents took the few hours’ break to dance,

socialize, and build not just friendships but also those

all-important ties that sustained a community.

But there were undercurrents. Undercurrents

existed in any town. It wasn’t all sweetness and light.

For Corbin County, those undercurrents seemed to

swirl most viciously around Rafer Callahan and his

cousins, Logan and Crowe. The three disowned

grandchildren of Corbin County’s founding and most

influential families.

Crowe, Logan, and Rafer Callahan were each

the son of a reigning princess of one of those

founding families and the Callahan brother she had

married.

Many said those three unions were born of the

murders of the brothers’ parents. The couples had

died in a suspicious accident on a mountain road.

Within days of their deaths the Rafferty, Corbin, and

Roberts patriarchs had arrived at the court house with

a bill of sale and proof of purchase of the extensive

Callahan lands bought by the three men. When their

sons Samuel, David, and Benjamin returned from the

military to a pittance amount for prime land, they

turned their attention to the daughters of these

families.

The Callahan brothers had acquired more than

they had ever lost when they married those daughters.

At least for a few years. Until a freak blizzard had

swept through the Colorado mountains. The storm

had surprised the three couples who were returning

from Denver that night. Slick roads, high winds, and

near-zero visibility had sent their SUV careening over

a mountain cliff, killing them, as well as a single infant

daughter, instantly.

And it had left three orphans whom those

influential families had opted to disown and attempt to

rob of the inheritances their mothers had left to them.

Property, cash, trust funds, and a multitude of stocks

and bonds that totaled into the millions. At last

rumored count, it was close to $40 million among the

three cousins. Funds that were still frozen and in

litigation ten years after the death of their parents.

If it hadn’t been for Rafe Callahan’s uncle Clyde

Ramsey, the boys wouldn’t have had a chance of

surviving or fighting for what was theirs.

But the same city officials and reigning families

who sponsored, pushed for, and fought for the

weekend attendance at the socials also put just as

much energy into ostracizing the Callahan cousins.

And the reasons why just simply didn’t make

sense. Why would the Raffertys, Robertses, and Corbins

turn on the only heirs their daughters had left?

Wouldn’t it have made more sense to draw the

orphans to their hearts, care for the boys, love them,

or at least give them the illusion of love, and steal their

inheritance once they were older?

But why turn on them at all? Why try to destroy

three kids who simply didn’t know what the hell was

going on or why their families had disowned them to

begin with?

It was a question that Jaymi hadn’t really thought

much of herself until lately. It was simply accepted.

She had accepted it all her life, just as everyone else

in the town had.

As their mutual friend Jack Townsend had said

the other night when she had asked him about the

past, there were just things they had accepted as kids

but had learned better than to believe as adults.

But because of his father’s demands and a

county’s blind obedience to the three founding

families, Jack had been forced to take his friendship

with the Callahans into the shadows. It was either that

or watch his parents’ garage slowly go bankrupt.

That was how it worked in Corbin County. The

county was one of the last holdouts to an archaic

community. It was ruled by the financial power of three

families whose focus on the destruction of their own

flesh and blood was becoming a shadowed, silent

feud. That feud had the potential to tear families apart

in not too many more years.

Whether the Corbins, Rafferys, and Robertses

liked it or not, Corbin County was growing. New blood

was coming in. Technology was making the world a

much smaller place, and Corbin County would be

forced to change with it. Whether any of them liked it

or not.

Besides, there were more important things in the

world to worry about than these three young men. Men

who had been unfortunate enough to have been born

to an inheritance their families didn’t want them to

have.

“Did you hear about Amy Jefferson?” Jaymi

heard the question posed several tables over by one

of the women who had volunteered to chaperone that

weekend.

Amy, the daughter of Colorado’s state

representative, had been found raped, tortured, and

murdered. Another victim of a serial killer’s hunger.

“Poor thing,” Sara Keane, the wife of the

pharmacist Jaymi worked for, said. “They said they

found her in her car on the road at the base of Crowe

Mountain. She was a mess, too. She had suffered

badly the state police reported.”

That mountain belonged to Crowe Callahan and

it was part of the inheritance he was still fighting the

three families over. A mountain that had been in the

Corbin family since before the county had first been

created that went to the oldest child of the family, and

if that child was a daughter, all that was required was

that she have a child herself. And all the better if he

were a son and carried the “Crowe” name. Bloodline

was more important than name to the greatgrandmother

who had set the trust in motion.

Bloodlines, and the family name that originated

centuries before.

But the implications of the state representative’s

daughter dying at the base of the mountain wasn’t lost

on Jaymi. There were already those more than eager

to pin those murders on the Callahan cousins.

She slid a look to Rafe to see him laughing with

Logan. Cami had wandered away from the table, as

she was prone to do lately, as though she couldn’t

bear to be around Rafe for long. At the same time,

she would catch little glimpses of him as if to be

certain he was still there.

Teenage hormones, Jaymi thought sadly, weren’t

being kind to her sister, and they boded ill for Cami’s

future. A fascination such as the one she was showing

for Rafe would only end up breaking her young heart,

one way or the other.

It wasn’t as though Cami had a lot to hold on to in

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