Read Stay (Dunham series #2) Online

Authors: Moriah Jovan

Tags: #romance, #love, #religion, #politics, #womens fiction, #libertarian, #sacrifice, #chef, #mothers and daughters, #laura ingalls wilder, #culinary, #the proviso

Stay (Dunham series #2)

BOOK: Stay (Dunham series #2)
6.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Book 2 in the Tales of Dunham



Moriah Jovan


Smashwords Edition



* * * * *



At 12, Vanessa defied her family to save 17-year-old
bad boy Eric from wrongful imprisonment and, possibly, death. She’d
hoped for a “thank you” from him, a kiss on the cheek, but before
she could grow up and grow curves, he left town.


Fourteen years later, Vanessa is a celebrity chef at
the 5-star Ozarks resort she built. Eric is the new Chouteau County
prosecutor on his way to the White House.


Four hours apart and each tied to their own careers,
their worlds have no reason to intersect until a funeral brings
Vanessa back to Chouteau County, back to face the man for whom
she’d risked so much, the only man she ever wanted—the only man she
can’t have.



* * * * *




B10 Mediaworx on Smashwords

9754 N Ash Avenue, *204

Kansas City, MO 64157



Copyright © 2009 by Moriah Jovan


ISBN-13: 978-0-9817696-2-2

ISBN-10: 0-9817696-2-4


Editor: Eric W Jepson

Proofreader: M. Elizabeth Palmer


All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights
under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or
transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written
permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of
this book.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places,
brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the
trademarked status and trademark owners of various products
referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without
permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not
authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark


Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment
only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.
If you would like to share this book with another person, please
purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If
you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not
purchased for your use only, then you should return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting
Moriah Jovan's work.


This title is available in dead-tree-ink-and-glue at



* * * * *



To my mom, who, in 1995, asked me,


Why are you basing your goals

on decisions someone else has to make?


(She and I get along very well.)



* * * * *








Eva Gale and RJ Keller for their all-too-welcome


Sabrina Darby for her incredible patience and


Eric W Jepson for his edit and Elizabeth Palmer for
her proof




the Romance Divas chat divas



* * * * *



December 14, 1994



“People versus Eric Niccolò Cipriani. Charges of
statutory rape, sexual assault in the first degree, and forcible
rape in the first degree.”

“Ms. Leventen, how does the defendant plead?”

“Not guilty.”


“Remand, your honor. The victim is thirteen.”

“So ordered.”



* * * * *



The Poor Get Their Ice in the Winter



* * * * *



1: Smells Like Teen Spirit



He laughed at the college girl as she scrambled for
her clothes, half drunk and pissed. He tipped his head back and
swallowed a mouthful of warm, flat beer from the bottle he’d left
on the bedside table.

“You’re a prick, Eric,” the girl—he didn’t remember
her name—

snarl-slurred as she misbuttoned her blouse.

“Yeah, you didn’t mind so much when I was fucking
you with it, did you? What, did you think I was going to tell you I
loved you?”

“No, but I didn’t expect to get insulted,

“Whatever. You’re twenty. I’m seventeen. You came to
a frat house looking for good college-boy sex and you got better
than you expected. What’s the problem?” She curled her lip at him.
He shifted to sit more comfortably in the bed, his back against the
wall, and gestured at her midsection with the hand that held his
bottle. “Didn’t you learn how to dress yourself when you were

She screeched and threw her shoe at his head. She
was too drunk to hit him, though, and he watched it land three feet
away. He laughed harder. She opened her mouth to say something else
equally scathing when the door burst open, startling them

“What the fuck—”

“Shut up,” snarled a Chouteau County deputy, who
hauled all six feet three inches of naked Eric out of the bed by
his hair and shoved him up against the wall, his arms yanked behind
his back.

He was too shocked, too suddenly terrified to make a
sound when he heard more than felt his rotator cuff pop out, just
drunk enough not to feel the pain of having his dick and face
slammed against plaster and woodwork, and not drunk enough to be
able to laugh it all off.

“You’re under arrest for statutory rape and sexual
assault . . .”

His mind shut down immediately, completely unable to
process the combined assaults on his body, his senses, or the
college girl’s sudden hoots of delighted laughter, her taunts.

Statutory rape and sexual assault? Of

His mind then spun to life, turbocharged in spite of
the numbness he sought. How would he get out of this? He already
had a juvie record with nothing to offset it but a 4.5 average in
his Advanced Placement classes, and a job as a manager at a feed

He had no money and he’d never had good luck with
the public defenders.

Statutory rape and sexual assault?! He couldn’t
possibly have fucked a girl that young . . . could he?

Still naked except for a ratty blanket, he got
stuffed in the back of a squad car. Cold. So cold. The deep freeze
of a Missouri December at two A.M. was just another insult. He saw
the frat house from which he’d been dragged, alight but still and
quiet, all its occupants clustered together on the sidewalk at the
foot of the concrete stairs that led up to the house. Sober,
clustered together, shivering in various states of undress, they
tried to keep warm while they watched Eric hauled away so
spectacularly. He blinked. Glanced away, unable to look back at the
people he had blithely called “friends” for the night.

None of them would bail him out. They barely knew
him, much less cared. He was just known to be a hard partier and a
good fuck.

He gulped.

No one to call. His mother, out of the question. She
would believe that he had fucked an underage girl and let him rot,
not that he could blame her. She’d bailed him out enough.

Couldn’t call old Jenkins. He’d told Eric that one
slip-up would get him the boot straight out of the feed store.

Statutory rape and sexual assault.

I didn’t do it!

Wouldn’t matter. No one would believe him

They had no reason to.

The squad car finally began to move toward the
courthouse. He knew the routine; he’d been through it enough times,
but not for a year and a half now. He’d tangled with almost every
one of the prosecutors in that office, Hicks more than most. He
closed his eyes and collapsed in on himself. Please, no. Not

The man was vicious and, unlike most of the
attorneys in that office, was not on the take. Eric could only hope
to get the new prosecutor, that fucker straight out of law school
who’d offed the serial killer and skated. That was a man who’d
appreciate a bundle of cash to overlook whatever bullshit Eric was
said to have done.

Only . . . Eric had no money, so it didn’t matter
who ended up prosecuting him.

No money, no payoff.

And for this, he’d be tried as an adult.




He regretted his wish for the newest, youngest
prosecutor immediately upon staring into Knox Hilliard’s cold, hard
face—the face of a killer with nothing to lose and a raging thirst
for justice.

“Simone Whittaker?!”

Eric shot to his feet, jolted out of his shocked
numbness into a rage of his own when Hilliard told him his alleged

“Siddown,” Hilliard snarled, so Eric sat.

“It can’t be,” Eric said, desperate for him to
understand. “She came on to me and I told her to get lost. I don’t
do little girls at all ever. Never. Second, even if I did—which I
—I wouldn’t have touched
with a ten-foot
pole. She’s a disgusting, lying little bitch and who the hell knows
what diseases she’s got.”

That was the wrong thing to say. He knew it by the
chill in Hilliard’s ice blue eyes, knew it even before his
court-appointed attorney hissed, “Shut up, Eric.”

“I’m done with this asshole,” Hilliard murmured,
calm and cold, staring Eric down until Eric had to look away. Cold.
That was the only word Eric could apply to the man who’d murdered
another man in cold—well, not so cold—blood, who sat there on the
right side of the law like he had a right to be there.

Eric’s attorney did manage to get him seen for his
torn rotator cuff, but no one much cared beyond giving him a sling
to wear in jail while he waited for his trial. His life was over,
over before it had begun.

Simone Whittaker, thirteen going on

He knew at least two dudes in his class who’d fucked
her, but Eric? No way. He’d been creeped out enough to look at a
girl that young dressing, talking, acting like an oversexed college

He resigned himself to his fate, although his
attorney, a lady Hilliard’s age, also straight out of law school,
was actually doing a pretty decent job of defending him. He
wouldn’t get off, though, because he could clearly see Hilliard was
better—and motivated.

Thirteen-year-old girls.

Even ones who looked and acted ten years older, who
spread her legs for any male who’d have her. No matter Eric was
smarter than his cohorts: valid picture ID and condoms. Always,
every time, without fail.

Shit, yeah, Hilliard had made his opinion known loud
and clear what he thought of that particular crime. The man had a
roar that could be heard all the way to St. Joe. A lion, his
attorney had called him; then, after Eric had caught her checking
out Hilliard’s ass, he wondered if she was fucking him on the

“Lord, no,” she breathed, aghast when he asked her
point-blank. “Knox doesn’t like blondes and he doesn’t like women
my age.”

“Are you telling me he’s a closet pedophile?” Eric
asked slowly.

“No, Eric,” she said dryly. “He’s not letting loose
any self-loathing on you. He likes women older than he is. And no,
I wouldn’t sleep with him while I’m defending you anyway. That’s
just a little too kinky for my taste. In any case, I doubt any
prosecutor anywhere would go any lighter on you. These crimes

Yes, he knew. Universally despised. “I didn’t do
it,” he protested. Weak. It was weak. Nobody ever believed a
defendant who said “I didn’t do it” because they all said that.

She patted his hand. “I know you didn’t. I’ll do the
best I can.”

Apathy: The only emotion Eric could muster.

Except when . . . put in general population, at
which point, he didn’t hesitate to make his opinion known about
some other inmate’s assessment of him. For the first time, Eric
cursed his looks. The term “hottie,” applied by a male, didn’t seem
like such a compliment. It was a relief when he was thrown into
solitary confinement for damn near killing the fucker with his bare

“At this point, all I care about is managing to get
myself in solitary for the rest of my life,” he said to his
attorney the next time he saw her.

She pursed her lips in commiseration.

She knew she was losing. Eric wouldn’t live to see
his nineteenth birthday.

BOOK: Stay (Dunham series #2)
6.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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