Without You

Without You
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Gaining back trust is hard enough…Jackson Cole is shocked when he hears a troubled friend has been found murdered in a New Orleans hotel room–and he's the prime suspect in her death. Jackson realizes he has to fight for his life, but the one person he can count on is the last person he should call: Hallie Hunter, the most gifted attorney he knows…and his ex-fiancée.Especially when you're being set up for murderDivorce attorney Hallie Hunter can hardly keep her composure when Jackson walks through her door, begging her to represent him. It can mean only one thing–she will have to spend time alone with the man who once violated her trust…the only man she has ever loved. And to make matters more complicated, the murder victim was at the root of their final split. But as the case steers her toward a dangerous underworld, Hallie must help Jackson confront a devastating truth–and must decide for herself if she can ever live without him again.

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“Why are you calling me at home, Jackson?”

“I take it that’s a no-no.”

“I’d rather you didn’t.”

He hesitated several beats, then said, “Okay, I’m sorry. But I couldn’t remember if I thanked you for taking my case.”

“I haven’t taken your case exactly, but yes, you thanked me.”


“It was good to see you, Hallie, after all this time.” His voice had grown low and husky.

She crossed her legs and tried to control her labored breathing. Would she ever get over the hots for this man? Even through the phone lines the heat fizzed. She suspected he felt it, too. Yet she was loath to end the conversation.

“It was good to see you, too.” And it had been, though she was loath to admit that, as well.

“I know I shouldn’t say this—”

“You probably shouldn’t,” she responded in a weak voice.

“If you don’t want to hear it, then you’ll have to hang up.”

She stayed on the line.

“I’ve missed you like hell.”

Without You

Mary Lynn




My sincere appreciation to Lance McFaddin for

his assistance with the information on private clubs that I used in this novel.


The wheels on the cleaning carts squeaked as they lumbered along the otherwise silent hallway. Once the carts touched noses, the two housekeepers grinned at each other.

“How many more rooms you got to clean today?” Myrtle Tittle, short and plump, reached up and straightened her askew blond wig.

Clara Means, equally plump but taller in stature to Myrtle, pursed her thin lips, deepening the Howdy Doody lines around her mouth. “A lot. How ’bout you?”

“I’m in the same boat.”

“Me and my old man are supposed to go dancing tonight,” Clara said, “but it don’t look like that’s gonna happen. After today, I’ll be ready to drop. I’d sure like to know where all these folks come from.”

Myrtle scratched under the wig. “Me, too. This hotel ain’t ever been this crowded. Something going on we don’t know about?”

“Probably something to do with Elvis and that great big old house of his.” Clara gritted her teeth. “I just wish they’d let him rest in peace.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Myrtle replied with a sigh. “The poor man’s been dug up and replanted so many times, he’ll never get no peace.”

“Good thing it’s not our problem. Guess we’d best get to work before we get caught visiting. You know how Connie hates for us to stop and talk.”

“Maybe if she had a man, she wouldn’t be so uptight.”

Clara chuckled, then sobered. “She can have mine. He’ll whip her into shape real quick-like.”

“So would mine. Look, I’ll check you later.”

Clara nodded, then shoved her cart on down the hallway. “See ya,” she threw back over her shoulder.

The blonde turned and knocked on the door, then called out, “Housekeeping.”

No answer. She pecked again. When another silence greeted her, Myrtle breathed a sigh of relief. There was no Do Not Disturb sign visible, so at least she wouldn’t have to return. Not only was the hotel full, but the visitors were plumb lazy.

Once she had propped the door open and walked inside, she pulled up short, her feathers wilting. The woman occupant was sitting at the table with the side of her face resting on the top. Must’ve tied one on last night, the maid thought to herself, disgust charging through her.

“Ma’am,” she said in a soft tone. When she received no answer, Myrtle upped her volume.

Not only didn’t the woman answer, but she didn’t so much as twitch a muscle. The maid stepped closer. “Ma’am, it’s housekeeping.”

Still no reaction. Frowning, Myrtle did something she’d never done to a guest. She touched her on the arm, then watched in horror as the woman slid off the chair onto the floor.

Stumbling backward, Myrtle muttered, “Oh sweet Lord.” Then turning, she ran back out into the hall. “Help! Someone help!”


Jackson Cole started his day off with a five-mile run. He’d need the stamina the run provided to get him through the grueling hours that lay ahead. More than anything, he enjoyed his morning ritual.

Fall in Memphis was glorious, and he made every effort to take advantage of it. Mother Nature usually chose the last few weeks of October to start painting the leaves their brilliant colors. This year was no exception.

He jogged in a park near his home, where the trees had exploded into fiery colors; his favorites were the huge red oaks. A cool front had blown in last night, and his shoes slapped the fallen leaves. He guessed he could run all day. Only because his desk at the club had been piled high with work did he quit.

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