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When prosecutor Stephanie Carson returns to her rural home town, she doesn’t expect to become the target of a shooter--or to be saved by Jason, the man who once shattered her heart. Soon, memories emerge and flames rekindle. But is a killer about to strike again?
Stephanie’s office was so small she thought it must have started out life as a closet. She barely had room for her desk and a filing cabinet, let alone the two extra chairs stuffed into the corner. The space felt even more cramped with Jason in it. Stepping behind the desk, she said, “Have a seat.”
He reached for the door. “Mind if I close this?”
Her stomach clenched. The one way to make this room even more claustrophobic, and he had hit on it.
“No, go ahead.” She laid her briefcase on the desktop between them. “So what’s this case about?”
He dropped the file onto her blotter. “A rape.”
A rape? She sat down hard. Could he find a more uncomfortable subject?
Oh, right. He could.
She swallowed the lump in her throat and pushed her shoulder-length hair behind her ear. “Who’s the accuser?”
“A high school student. Eighteen years old.” He sat and tossed his coat onto the extra chair. “Name’s Kiley Windsor.”
“And the accused?”
“Martin Schult,” he said, “Junior.”
She raised her eyebrows a notch. “Martin Schult, as in Martin Schult Motors?”
“And Schult Implement, Schult Homes--the list goes on.”
She sat forward. “The richest kid in town raped someone?”
“You think he did it.”
“Oh, I know he did it.” Jason leaned forward, too, his forearms on his thighs. “There is no doubt in my mind.”
“But you said yourself the victim is reluctant to testify. What makes you so sure she’s telling the truth?”
“Well, for starters,” he said, tapping the folder, “I put three more like that in the closed file last year.”
“You mean he raped three other girls?”
“Three that came forward. All of them dropped the charges about the same time their parents came into some money.”
He nodded. “There’s more. The Schult kid--Marty--he’s a real punk. I don’t mean the spiked-blue-hair kind. I’m talking the drug-taking, drag-racing, vandalizing kind. You name it, his daddy’s bought his way out of it. Never got anything worse than probation or community service. Then comes the first rape case. The girl, she’s kind of a wild child, herself. He claims it was just rough sex, that she’s crying rape so her boyfriend won’t beat her up. Naturally, Daddy accepts this scenario.”
“His son can do no wrong.”
“Exactly. They pay her off and a few months later here comes the next rape victim. Now this kid’s story is that she tricked him so she could get the same kind of money the other girl got. Third girl, same way. Both of them are wild like the first. They don’t want their pasts coming out in court. Their folks figure they’ve been hurt enough. So...”
“So they take the money and let it end there.”
“Right. Then comes this girl,” he went on, pointing to the folder, “Kiley. She’s different from the others. She’s very shy. Painfully so. Since this happened, she’s withdrawn from almost everyone. She was a straight-A student, and now she refuses to go to school. She was also a virgin.”
Stephanie frowned. “So... what? That makes her rape more valid?”
He shook his head. “That’s not what I’m saying. But I do think it’ll keep Schult’s lawyers from arguing consent.”
“Why? Because virginity and consent are mutually exclusive?” She picked up a pen and tapped it on the desk. “Come on, Jason. You know better than that.”
“You know I do.” His gaze remained steady. “But it’s different in this case... because of how the rape happened.”
She shook her head. “I don’t follow.”
“Well, I mean, I know I’m a guy and my sisters are always telling me I don’t get it. But it seems to me that a teenage girl who’s the shy, bookworm sort is going to have certain... expectations for her first time.”
What he was basing this assumption on, she wasn’t about to ask. She didn’t have to. “All right. Go on.”
“I find it hard to believe that...” He looked away. “I don’t know how to say this.”
“Just say it. This is me you’re talking to.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Christy Cameron writes romance because she can’t resist a happy ending. A once-and-future college English instructor, she lives on a farm in Illinois with her husband and their three kids. Over Yesterday is her second published novel.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 337
Paper Weight (lb): 14.0
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