#Read An #Excerpt From After The Rain By Karen-Anne Stewart
Evan only looks surprised for a second when Raina reenters the room. His cool façade returns, and he leans against the table, his elbows resting casually on the hard metal. “This is the second time you’ve interrupted my day, dragging me down here trying to pin something on me, but you still don’t have any damning evidence. Since you seem so hell-bent on my being guilty, I’ve been thinking about contacting another lawyer. The one I’ve been considering is notorious for putting up a helluva fight, always mercilessly beating the opponent,” he leers, a cruel smile curving his lips. His green eyes gleam with amusement as he slides his fingertips just millimeters from Raina’s, “What do you say? Do you think I should call William Waterford?”
Kas watches his wife stiffen but not lose her composure. His regret of allowing her near the evil trafficker again reaches monumental heights as he closely watches through the mirror, his back rigid and his hands clenched into tight fists.
“You can call any lawyer you want, that’s your right,” Raina replies calmly, forcing herself to show no emotion.
Evan leans back, a twisted appreciation joining his amusement. “Then again, I heard his partner was arrested for child pornography. There are also rumors that he covered up the rape of his own daughter, who I heard he recently beat the hell out of. Maybe that’s not such a good image for someone who represents me, especially since his daughter was a minor at the time of the sexual assault. Yeah, on second thought, due to you accusing me of the same heinous crimes, maybe I don’t need a lawyer with such a tainted history.”
Kas leaps to his feet; the force of his movement knocks his chair back several feet. Chase steps in front of the door, “She’s handling it, Kas.”
Lawson’s confused gaze darts between the two men and the interrogation room.
Kas glares through the two-way, “He’s passed a line that I’m not willing to let Raina cross.”
“She’s holding her own, if you pull her out, you will be crossing a line, and she’s already made it clear that she doesn’t like her lines messed with.”
The flaming look in Kas’ eyes is unmistakable and is now directed at his best friend, “He’s taunting her.”
“Of course he is, and he would be doing the same thing to anyone else. Let her handle this.”
Lawson’s trying to catch up to where everyone else seems to be. Shifting his gaze to Raina, Kas considers Chase’s advice. It takes less than two seconds to discard it. Yanking open the door, he storms towards interrogation.
Chase steps into the hall behind him, “You’re going to do her more harm by pulling her out of there!”
Kas stops, his shoulders stiff and fists clenched. Chase knows he’s trying to calm down before turning around. “You know I’m right,” he offers calmly, “give her a chance, she’s strong enough.”
Spinning around, his eyes burn with scorching intensity, “You don’t have to tell me how strong Raina is, I know her strength better than anyone!” Hanging his head, he presses his hands against the wall, desperately trying to tame his fury, “He’s looking for her weakness.”
“She won’t give it to him, not after earlier.”
Lawson steps into the hall, fed up with being left in the dark, “You going to fill me in here?”
The agonizing look on Kas’ face is clue enough when Lawson meets his gaze. Dropping his head, he lets out a long breath, the pieces finally fitting together. “Pierce, I’m sorry,” he mumbles, not knowing anything else to say. He makes his way back into the viewing room and steps next to Frank.
“She’s had a taste of hell,” Frank begins, never taking his eyes off the infuriating banter in the next room, “she’ll do whatever it takes to keep others from experiencing the same inferno.”
Lawson remains silent, his eyes glued to the woman in the next room. He watches how she stands her ground, never flinching when Parker throws all he’s got at her. His respect just multiplied.
It’s been almost an hour. Raina’s emotional exhaustion fuels Evan’s degenerate temperament. He wants to dance, laugh out loud with pure glee, at the tenacious determination from the extraordinary woman in front of him. She’s good, remarkable even, matching his wit closer than anyone ever has, and he’s never enjoyed himself more.
“Do you like Chess, Raina?” Evan inquires casually, leaning back in his chair and folding one ankle over the other.
Raina softly nods.
“I do as well, it’s such an intriguing game, don’t you think?”
“Yes, I do,” she replies as a small smile tilts the corners of her mouth, “and it’s a game I never lose.”
“Never,” she affirms, leaning a little closer, some of the snuffed light shining brightly in her eyes again now that the daunting conversation has turned to a topic in which she can hold her own.
“I’m impressed. I’ve never lost, myself. What’re the odds of having two Grandmaster’s in the same room?” he licks his lips again, leaning towards her, “I have so many moves that I love, it’s hard to say which is my favorite, but do you know what really gets me every time?”
Not wanting to know, Raina asks what it is anyway.
“Going after the king. When I lay that piece down at the end, it fills me with the greatest satisfaction.” His eyes sparkle as he looks at her, studying her reaction, “Man, I absolutely love that part!”
Raina leans close to Parker, and Jake steps towards her.
Returning his chilling smile, her jade eyes glint dangerously, fully aware of his intended meaning, “There’s something you need to know. I’m a very good, very aggressive player. If someone threatens my king, I take out their pathetic ass, one by one, until there’s nothing left on the board. I turn into one extremely determined opponent, relentless to the end, and viciously ruthless, I don’t hesitate to go for the kill by whatever means necessary.”
Evan’s aroused laugh fills the room, “I like how you play.” His need to touch her is unbearable; he would kill for just one minute to feel her in his hands. He wants to tame her, break her to his will so badly he can taste the potent desire bursting on his tongue. Forcing himself to regain control, he lets out a commending chuckle, “The way the queen protects her king, there’s just something hopelessly poetic about that.”
Kas’ grip on the windowsill tightens furiously until all of his knuckles turn white. He’s a toxic mix of pride and rage as he watches his wife throw Parker’s threat to harm him back in his pretentious face. Sheer terror joins the poison seeping through his veins at the thought of what Parker will try to do to Raina if he thinks he might actually lose.
Evan slides his fingertips to where they make the slightest brush against hers, his dark eyes brimming with the savagery of untold sins.
“You love to hate me don’t you? It’s a very complicated thing we have here isn’t it, Raina? I would enjoy playing with you very much,” he whispers, “there are so many moves I could introduce you to.”
Jake grabs the back of Parker’s chair and roughly jerks it backwards as Kas uses all his willpower to not shatter the mirror and rip Parker to shreds. Evan throws his head back in pleased laughter.
Taking his time to compose himself, his salacious smile penetrates Raina to the core, “It seems like the queen is carefully protected as well.” Raising his cruel eyes to the mirror, his lips curve as he winks.
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Finally able to put her harrowing past to rest, Raina looks forward to her future with Kas, but the Ghost has other plans. As the FBI team gets closer to taking down the largest human trafficking ring in the modern world, the Ghost begins a wicked game, making Raina the pawn and the target. Never before encountering a worthy adversary, he’s fascinated by Raina and is enjoying the refreshing challenge of her intellect.
The danger ignites to a blazing new level, and Kas struggles between the need to finally exorcise the Ghost and his need to protect his wife. Tension mounts as an internal battle wages, tormenting Kas as he watches Raina put her all into taking down the man responsible for horrific sex slavery and gruesome deaths. When a new player takes control, Jefferson orders the end of the Ghost’s game with Raina, which results in one final, devastating act, leaving Kas desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to save her…by whatever means necessary.
About The Author:
Karen-Anne Stewart has always adored reading and has now fallen in love with writing. Her written works are The Rain Trilogy: Saving Rain, Healing Rain, and After the Rain. Her debut novel, Saving Rain: The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy, was a nominee for the Book Junkie’s Choice Awards and is a nominee for the 2013 RONE Awards.
When Karen-Anne isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and visiting new places. She fuels her addiction of creating new stories by her only other addiction, caffeine, and listening to a myriad of musical genres. Tucked away near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Karen-Anne lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and their cat. She plans on writing new adult romance as long as her fingers maintain dexterity.
The Rain Trilogy is a powerful story of abuse, human trafficking, and beautiful, redeeming love (intended for readers 18+).
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