Love Irresistibly

By: Julie James

FBI & US Attorney 4



Acknowledgements


As with all my books, I owe thanks to several people who, out of the kindness of their hearts, continue to answer every pesky e-mail from me bearing the words “Quick question” in the subject line. I’m particularly grateful to Kevin Kavanaugh for all his expertise and anecdotes that helped me create the world of Sterling Restaurants, and also to Andy Lansing, who graciously took the time to chat with me about life as a general counsel in the restaurant industry.

Continuing gratitude goes to John, assistant U.S.

attorney extraordinaire, whose advice has been invaluable to the FBI/US Attorney series. I also owe a special mention to Diana Phung for getting me hooked on Friday Night Lights—which, in turn, inspired me to add a story line about a former football player to this book. Thanks as well to Chris Ernst and, particularly, Tom Fleming, for sharing their knowledge of the game.



I am truly fortunate to work with a fantastic editor, Wendy McCurdy, who understood what I wanted to do with this book and knew exactly how to push me to get there. Thanks to Erin Galloway, my fabulous publicist, and the entire team at Berkley, and to Elyssa Papa and Kati Brown, my awesome beta readers, who roll up their sleeves and do what they do even when working under some very tight deadlines.

Thanks to my friends and family for all their support, and to my husband, son, and daughter for putting a smile on my face every day.

Finally, thanks to you, dear readers, for the e-mails, the tweets, the Facebook posts, and the readers’ choice nominations and awards. You guys are awesome, and I wish I could thank every one of you.

Oh, wait—I just did.

One

BROOKE PARKER STEPPED up to the bar at The Shore restaurant, ready to place her lunch order.

The

bartender, however, beat her to the punch.

“Hey, it’s my favorite customer—Chicken Tacos, Extra Pico.” He flashed her a grin. “That’s my nickname for you.”

Yes, she got that. “I suppose I’ve been called worse,” Brooke said as the bartender moved to the cash register to ring her up. She was indeed a regular, and she took pride in that. The restaurant was

only two blocks from her office, right on Oak Street Beach, which made it the perfect midday escape.

And it had the best chicken tacos in the city. Not that she was biased.

Okay, maybe she was a little biased.

She handed over a twenty-dollar bill. “I’ll take a strawberry-mango smoothie, too.”

“Ooh, a smoothie. Getting a little crazy today, are we?” In his early twenties, with blond hair and a tanned face, the bartender had the look of a recent college grad who planned to spend a lot of time playing beach volleyball this summer.

He called Brooke’s order back to the kitchen, and then looked her over. “I’m starting to feel like I should know more about you, Chicken Tacos, Extra Pico.” He winked. “Since we’ve been seeing each other on a weekly basis for nearly a month now.” He took in the tailored gray suit she wore.

“I’m thinking that you are a . . . lawyer.”

“Good guess.”

“I knew it. I bet you’re one of those ballbuster types in court.”

Brooke fought back a smile. Really, she should just spare the poor guy the embarrassment, but this was kind of fun. “Actually, I’m not a trial lawyer.” She decided to give him a hint. “I’m general counsel for a company based here in Chicago.” He made a big show of being impressed. “Look at you, Ms. Thing. What kind of company?”

“Restaurants and bars.”

“What a coincidence. We’re both in the restaurant business.” He leaned his elbows on the bar, giving her a smoldering, sexy look that likely helped him rake in big tips with the female clientele.

“It’s Kismet.”

Or . . . maybe not so much. Brooke raised an eyebrow. “Are you supposed to be flirting with the customers?”

He brushed this off with an oh-so-cool smile.

“Probably not. But for you, Chicken Tacos, Extra Pico, I’ll break the rules. Just don’t tell any of those stiffs in corporate.”

Brooke had to bite her lip to hold back a smile at that one. Aw, she definitely couldn’t clue the poor guy in now. Then a voice called her name.

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