She Wanted Her Child Back Daniel Keller never should have handled that homicide case. Still grieving over the accident that had stolen his wife and son, the dazed policeman had nevertheless testified - and unwittingly convicted - an innocent woman of murder. Megan Anderson had spent three years in prison, learning to hate Daniel Keller.Because of him, she'd lost the only thing that mattered: her beloved child. Now she was free, but her battle had just begun. Megan would see that Daniel got her son back for her. And she would fight her own forbidden desire… for the man who had destroyed her life.
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“Megan Elizabeth Anderson, you have been found guilty of the shocking crime of murder. Have you anything to say before sentence is passed?”
The woman in the dock lifted her head. After three months in prison she was still beautiful. If anything, the way her hair was pulled back accentuated her fine bone structure with its high cheekbones and the hollows beneath. Even without makeup, it was still a lovely face, although the dark shadows under her eyes hinted at sleepless nights.
Some of the public who’d crowded in on this last day of her trial had heard of her. Once she’d been a top model, but she’d given it up when she’d become a mother, and settled into a life of domesticity with her son and her businessman husband. She’d seemed the woman with everything—money, a delightful child and a perfect marriage. But the marriage had broken up a year ago, and now she was on trial for murder.
Some of them noticed that Brian Anderson wasn’t there now. Despite their separation, he’d sat through every day of the trial as the evidence piled up against his estranged wife, but he obviously hadn’t been able to face this last day with its inevitable verdict. The onlookers wondered what she felt about his desertion, but no one could tell. After the first glance at his empty place, she’d averted her gaze and never looked again. A cool customer, they said.
One man who’d made sure of being present was Detective Inspector Daniel Keller, the policeman who’d made the case against her. He’d given his evidence in a hard, expressionless voice, and taken his place in the body of the court. He was here now for the verdict. He was in his early thirties, with a face that might have been handsome, except that something had happened to it. It was as though he’d fitted a cage over his features, a cage made of harshness and grim determination that had subtly reshaped every line, crushing out human vulnerability. He didn’t look at Megan Anderson, but stared into the distance. He was deathly pale and seemed strung up with tension, as though only an almighty effort of nerves kept him going. Eerily, the prisoner wore exactly the same expression.
“Have you anything to say?” the judge repeated.
Megan Anderson took a step forward and gripped the edge of the dock. “I’ve only one thing to say,” she declared in a voice that rang around the courtroom. “And that’s what I’ve said from the start, and what I’ll say until my dying day. I am innocent of murder. As for those who falsely put me here, may God forgive them, because I never will!”
At last something seemed to reach Detective Inspector Keller. He looked at her sharply, as though his head had been wrenched around by force. No one doubted that her words were meant for him. She was looking at him with hate, and now the spectators had no doubt that she was a murderess, because if she could have struck him dead she would have done so. He returned her gaze with harsh stoicism. For a moment, the bitter, jagged atmosphere between them was stronger than anything else in the courtroom.
Even the judge was taken aback, but he recovered himself and addressed the prisoner again. “You will do yourself no good by these outbursts,” he told her severely. “You’ve made your allegations and the jury has rejected them and found you guilty of murder—rightly, in my opinion. I have no choice but to sentence you to imprisonment for the rest of your life.”
An hour later Megan Anderson was sitting in a van with black sides and high barred windows, on her way to start a life sentence in prison. At the same moment Detective Inspector Keller was locked in his bedroom with a bottle of whiskey, determinedly seeking oblivion.
“Frankly, I think you’ve been very lucky,” the policewoman said.
Megan stared at her. “Lucky? I was imprisoned for a murder I didn’t commit, and after stealing three years of my life they finally admit they were wrong, and you say I’m lucky?”
The policewoman gave her a hard look. “If you listened carefully to what the appeal court judges said, they didn’t actually admit they were wrong. You got off on a technicality.”
“Oh, yes, a technicality.” Megan seethed. “They discovered that there was a witness to my alibi all the time, but a corrupt policeman had suppressed it. You call that a technicality?”
Before her tormentor could answer, the door opened and Janice Baines, Megan’s lawyer, came in. They were in an anteroom of the court, where three appeal judges had just ordered Megan’s release. She’d arrived in a prison van, but she would leave in Janice’s car a free woman—whatever that might mean.
“There’s a crowd outside,” Janice observed. “A lot of them are journalists.”
“I’m not talking to journalists,” Megan insisted. “I just want to be left alone.”
“That’s a good line,” the policewoman said cynically. “You can sell your story for twice the price if you play hard to get.”