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Authors: Billie Green

That Boy From Trash Town

BOOK: That Boy From Trash Town
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That Boy From Trash Town
Billie Green
Silhouette Books (2013)
PAST... 
When a tough fourteen-year-old rescued a lost little girl, friendship was inevitable. Wealthy Whitney Grand didn't care that he was "that boy from trash town." Dean Russell was her hero, and no one could ever break them up! 
PRESENT...
 
The impossible had happened. Something was breaking them up, but even Whitney couldn't have predicted...hormones! What else could make her fantasize about Dean's kisses? Certainly not the L word! 
FUTURE...
 
Dean knew there was no escape. But Whitney seemed bent on showing him that he was the only man for her. And he was beginning to believe her...

THAT BOY FROM TRASH TOWN


Billie Green

Copyright © 1992 by Billie Green Australian Copyright 1992

New Zealand Copyright 1992 Philippine Copyright 1992

First printing September 1992

First Australian Paperback Edition January 1993

ISBN 0 373 09763 8

BILLIE GREEN

college professor once told her that she was a natural writer. But her readers and editors find it hard to believe that she writes one good story after another only because she comes by them naturally. Maybe someday this devoted wife, mother of three and romance writer extraordinaire will create a heroine who is a writer. Then, possibly, we will get a hint of her trials and tribulations.

Chapter 1


A
lvo …. Alvo, listen …. Damn it, kid, would you shut up and listen for a minute!"

“Assured that he had finally gained the fifteen-year-old’s attention, Dean leaned back in his chair and relaxed his shoulders relax a little. "I'm your lawyer,” he said slowly, calmly. "And what’s more important, I outweigh you by at least fifty pounds. Be smart for once in your life and listen to me. I don't care if the guards are a bunch of retarded sleazes, like you say. They’re in control, Alvo. They have the power. Fight them and you’ll only hurt yourself. Word is, they’re ready to start pumping you full of Ritalin. So unless you can fake them into believing you’re a civilized member of … What? What did you say?”

When Alvo repeated his opinion of civilization, Dean laughed. "You have a warped sense of humor, kid. I like that. But I'm afraid my opinion isn't shared by the guardians of the law who have to put up with you on a daily basis. Come on how, you've got a brain. Use it. Let me do my job without worrying about whether or not you're terrorizing your fellow inmates."

But Alvo wasn't ready to give up yet. It took Dean another thirty minutes to get a grudging promise of good behavior from the boy. It would do for now, he' told himself as he hung up the phone, even though he was pretty sure his idea of good behavior was nowhere near his young client's.

Alvo Gutierrez was accused of brutally assaulting his stepfather, Harland Jackson. On the surface the whole thing looked cut-and-dried—everyone who knew the boy said Alvo had a violent temper. From his hospital bed, Jackson swore that his stepson had attacked him, beating him senseless because he refused to give Alvo money for drugs.

The boy's story was tragic, but unfortunately not unusual. Dean had handled plenty of similar cases-men, women and children who turned against their own families in an explosive act of violence.

To make things worse, Alvo wasn't exactly a physically attractive specimen. His thin face was pitted with acne scars, his hair habitually dirty. And his personality was even worse. With his foul mouth and bad temper, Alvo offended anyone who came in contact with him.

Only twice in the two weeks that he had worked with him had Dean caught a glimpse of the real Alvo Gutierrez. There was something in his eyes, something scared and lonely. It was that boy who Dean was busting his butt to help. It was the scared, lonely boy behind the belligerent act who Dean refused to give up on. He would have done his best on the case no matter what the circumstances, but that rare glimpse of the real Alvo was pushing him to go the extra mile. There was also the fact that, although there was no physical resemblance, Alvo reminded Dean of himself at that age. And Dean, of all people, knew what it felt like to be scared and lonely.

Pushing away from his desk, he stood up and moved to pull a heavy law book from the bookshelves lining one wall of his home office. Thumbing through it, he looked for a case he vaguely remembered from law school.

When he eventually found it, Dean read through it slowly, even though he was pretty sure it was a waste of time and wouldn't be relevant to the case at hand. He was deeply into judicial doublespeak when a slight noise pulled his attention away from his work.

Looking up, Dean saw the head and right half of a young woman more or less hanging around the door-jamb. She wore a faded green T-shirt and ragged cutoff jeans. Her black, shoulder-length hair was pulling loose from a careless pony tail, and her blue eyes sparkled with some irresistibly exuberant emotion-amusement, perhaps, or excitement—that added to the look of beautiful vagabond.

A stranger observing them would probably have thought that Dean, the respectable, affluent lawyer, had befriended a young woman from the wrong side of the tracks.

The idea almost made Dean laugh. Whitney Grant was twenty-four and had just received a graduate degree in Art History. Her mother, Anne Harcourt Grant, was one of the San Antonio Harcourts, very important people in this neck of the woods.

Although most of her revered relatives were all flash and no substance, Whitney was a different breed of Harcourt. When the occasion called for it, she had enough flash to dazzle a blind man, but on the inside, where it counted, Whitney was true-blue.

"Dean, my Dean," she said earnestly, her generous lips curving in an outrageous grin. "Did I ever tell you you're my one and only true friend?"

He closed the law book and studied her grin with suspicious eyes. "You're making me nervous, Whitney," he said finally. "Come on, get it over with. Have you murdered one of your cousins? All of them? Did you incite the Harcourt servants to riot? What?"

Her eyes widened in what he knew from experience was plainly false indignation. "You wound me. I don't know what you're talking about." '

"I'm talking about whatever it is you're hiding on the other side of that door.''

"Oh.This."

Turning, she began to back into the room, exposing the end of a rope that was clutched between both her hands. Whatever was attached to the other end obviously didn't want to come in, but that didn't stop Whitney. She struggled and pulled, slipped and slid, then turned around with the rope over her shoulder and leaned forward. Finally an enormous dog—at least Dean thought it was a dog—skidded on its rump across the polished wood floor.

"Happy birthday, Dean," Whitney said, trying to catch her breath. "Isn't he wonderful? The perfect gift. Are you surprised? I wanted to—"

"My birthday's in November," he said, staring with morbid fascination at the animal who was now in the process of off-loading fleas.

Whitney shot a glance at Dean. "Oh, well, I knew that of course, but I was hoping you wouldn't remember. How would you feel about an early Bastille Day gift? Please, Dean. Forget how he looks and try to see the inner dog. He's loaded with personality. I call him Oscar because he has kind of a wild look, and I thought something literary would give him a little dignity. Oscar Wilde... get it? I found him just wandering around by the stables. Uncle Ames would have told somebody to shoot him, and Mother would have had nineteen different kinds of fits if I had tried to keep him. So what do you think?" she said, ending on a hopeful note.

This wasn't the first stray Whitney had brought to Dean, and knowing her, it probably wouldn't be the last. He ran his gaze over her beautiful face, intending to tell her to remove the offensive animal from the premises. But as usual he found himself caught, trapped by the charm that surrounded her like a bright haze.

"Pete Watkins down the street has been talking about getting his boy a dog," he said slowly. "I'm pretty sure Pete had a spaniel or collie in mind-something recognizably canine—but I'll show them this... this thing. There's not a boy alive who could resist a dog that ugly." Dean frowned and sniffed the air. "Have you been feeding him pepperoni?"

With a tiny squeal of pleasure, she threw her arms around Dean's neck. "I knew you'd help me. You can tell he hasn't had a home for a while, poor thing."

Dean untangled himself from her arms. "He doesn't deserve a home. He doesn't deserve a life. And if he lifts his leg by my desk, he won't have one. Now get out and take that thing with you. I have work to do."

Dean watched her leave, pulling the obstinate animal behind her, then he turned back to his work. But concentrating on his work wasn't that easy. His mind kept wandering. Whitney always had this effect on him, damn her.

In Dean's backyard, Whitney tied Oscar to a tree, and filled a plastic bucket with water, placing it close enough for the dog to reach it when he was thirsty. Then she sneaked back into the kitchen and began looking through the contents of Dean's pantry. After a moment she pulled out a large can of beef stew and opened it, using a manual can opener instead of the electric one so Dean wouldn't hear.

She had written an IOU on the pad by the telephone and was tiptoeing out the back door, when she heard, "You better not be feeding my T-bone to that mutt!"

Laughing, she closed the door behind her.

As Oscar ate, Whitney looked around Dean's backyard. It was a small yard, and Dean made sure it was kept neat and clean, like his house. But like his house, it was just a bit utilitarian: precisely trimmed grass, symmetrically clipped hedge. There was nothing in the yard that was just for the sake of aesthetics.

The dog was lapping up the last bit of gravy when Dean walked out the back door and sat down on the stoop. His dark brown hair was slightly tousled, as though he had been running his fingers through it, and his brown eyes looked tired.

There was a French grandfather somewhere in Dean's family tree, and he had inherited the dark complexion, the compelling features. Although it was only April, he was already tanned, but Dean always tanned early. It was as though any available sunlight waited for this particular body to land on, which was perfectly understandable to Whitney. If a sunbeam had any discrimination at all it would want to touch Dean.

He wasn't the most handsome man Whitney had ever met. At least, he wasn't pretty in the way most of the men she knew tried to be. But he was far and away the most attractive. There was something about his strong features, something about his dark Gallic eyes, that made a woman profoundly aware that she was a woman.

After disposing of the empty stew can, she joined the object of her thoughts on the stoop and tilted her head to examine his features. There was something in his expression—worry or disillusionment-—that made her want to put her arms around him and comfort him. But she knew she wouldn't. It wasn't allowed. Dean had some kind of industrial-strength masculine gene that kept him from admitting to any kind of weakness. Even the need for human companionship. After a while he turned and met her eyes. "Why are you so quiet?" he asked suspiciously.

She laughed. "You looked like you were doing some heavy-duty thinking. I didn't want to interrupt the genius at work." She paused. "The Gutierrez case not going well?"

"Not going, period. The boy won't talk. He admits he attacked his stepfather and that he knew what he was doing at the time." He shook his head. "But something's wrong with the whole setup. I can feel it. There was no trace of drugs in his system. No indication at all that he's the heavy user Jackson—that's his stepfather—says he is. If Alvo were desperate for a fix, so desperate that he'd beat a man's brains out to get them, there would be signs, Whitney. Withdrawal isn't something you can hide that easily."

"So the stepfather's lying," she said. "And if he lied about that, he could have lied about other things, as well. What does the mother say?"

"Nothing that helps. She says she was at the supermarket when Alvo attacked her husband, but the woman is barely functional. She's seated, or in shock, or mentally disturbed, I don't know which. She can't seem to concentrate. And she's more concerned for her husband than her son. She keeps saying she needs her husband home. Over and over again—she needs her husband home. She has a tea-year-old daughter, Alvo's little half sister, but the girl might as well be invisible for all the notice her mother pays her."

"What about the neighbors?"

"The Jacksons kept pretty much to themselves. They never made the slightest push to get to know their neighbors. The people next door said they've heard a lot of loud arguments coming from the Jackson apartment, but that's about it. None of them like Alvo, and you can't really blame them. He has an attitude guaranteed to put your back up." He leaned his head back against the door. "The boy's scared, Whit. I can see it in his eyes. But I can't get him to tell me what the hell is going on."

After a moment he straightened his back. "That's enough of that. I know I'm becoming obsessed with this case, but I didn't mean to pass it on to you."

She shrugged. "If you can't dump on your friends, what good are they?"

Whitney knew what she had to do now. She had done it often enough. It was her job to entertain him, to distract him so that he could distance himself from his work, if only for a little while.

"Oh my goodness. I forgot to tell you about last night's charity gala," she said with a small laugh. "I can't believe I forgot. I even made notes so I would remember the good parts."

He smiled. "What did you do? You haven't been disgracing the Harcourt name again, have you?"

"It wasn't me this time. It was Baby."

Whitney's cousin, Baby, was full-figured, empty-headed and too close to thirty for comfort. According to Baby, when one reached thirty, it was time to throw out the A list and grab what was available.

"Uncle Ames took one look at the latest and, like Jack's giant, smelled the blood of a commoner," Whitney explained. "He sent Baby on an errand, backed the poor man into a corner and grilled him unmercifully. It turns out that Baby's new man hasn't always been rich. Apparently he made his fortune—a very large fortune by the way—in portable toilets. There's gold in them there privies."

When Dean started to grin, Whitney relaxed and really got into the story, giving the reactions of various members of the Harcourt family to the distressing news. Baby's mother, a woman who prided herself on her control, had almost lost it, right in the middle of the creme de la creme.

"Aunt Jocelyn's face turned purple. I swear, Dean, purple, and with that yellow dress, too." She shook her head ruefully. "She was holding onto Uncle Ames like he was a piece of driftwood and she was about to go down for the third time."

It was when her aunt Jocelyn's velvet bowl began to slip down on her forehead that Whitney had noticed a gossip columnist from a local paper standing behind a potted palm, frantically taking notes.

BOOK: That Boy From Trash Town
13.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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