“In The Best Interest of the Child” by Felicia Denise #Excerpt


*Unedited and subject to revisions.

Olivia frowned. If Margot thought something couldn’t wait until Monday morning, it must be important. She was about to respond to the text, when she heard the office door open. Putting the file and phone aside, she stood and turned towards the door. “I have to admit, I’m curious about your secret rec-…” Expecting to see Marissa or Courtney, Olivia was totally caught off guard to see Bruce Bellamy standing in the doorway…with a glass of lemonade.

Quickly rebounding, she found her voice. “Hi Bruce. What are you doing here?” Closing the door behind him, Bruce slowly walked towards her.

“You’re here. Where else would I be?” Olivia didn’t even try to stop the smile from forming on her lips.

“Do you always know the right thing to say?” He stopped when they were nearly touching, holding the drink out to her.

“Marissa said you needed a cool beverage.” Taking the glass from him, she took two large sips.

“Thank you, Bruce.” She turned to sit the glass down on the accent table, but Bruce had grabbed her other hand. She froze. “Is something wrong?” He ducked his head sheepishly, but held on to her hand.

“No. I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed our lunch date yesterday.” She could see…and feel the open, honest look in his eyes all the way down to her knees.

“I enjoyed it too…very much! A fantastic meal and great conversation with an extremely handsome man. It made my day.” Seemingly dumbfounded, he released her hand. Olivia took the opportunity to sit her glass down.

“You think I’m…extremely handsome?”

“Oh Bruce, please! You know you’re good-looking!”

“We’re not talking about MY opinion of me. Now, what was that YOU said…ah, yes! An extremely handsome man!” She giggled at his wiggling eyebrows.

Oh my god, I’m giggling! Slow down, Olivia!

“Fine! Yes! That’s what I said! You are an extremely handsome man.” Smiling warmly, he touched her cheek.

“I know I’m not, but it means more than you know that you think so.” Olivia narrowed her eyes at him.

“Are you calling me a liar?”

“Of course n-…”

“Saying I have bad taste?”

“No, that’s n-…”

“Okay, then. If I say you’re an extremely handsome man, then you’re an extremely handsome man, got it?”

“You must be something else in the courtroom.”

“Do not try and change the subject!” She punctuated each word with a finger jab to his chest.

“Yes, ma’am! Whatever you say, ma’am! I am an extremely handsome man, ma’am! Think I’ll get that on a t-shirt, and wear it the next time we go out.” His grin got bigger. “Which will be…?” A momentary wave of sadness washed over her. She placed her hands on his chest.

Olivia Chandler, stop pawing the man!

“Bruce, I would love to go out with you again. But Rena…this case. I just can’t afford any distractions right now.” She instantly regretted her choice of words as the smile faded from his face.

“Is that what I am for you, Olivia? A distraction?” He stepped away from her, and Olivia’s hands fell to her sides.

“I didn’t mean that the way it sounded, Bruce. I’m sorry.” He took another step backwards, then turned for the door.

“I’ll send my cousins back in.” She had hurt him…and he was walking away. Not sure what was propelling her forward, Olivia reached him in three steps, and took his hand.
“Bruce, please! Let me explain. That came out wrong. You are not just a distraction.” He looked at her, but said nothing. “I meant it when I said I enjoyed our lunch, and I do want to go out with you again.”

What are you doing, Olivia? Let the man walk away while you’re still safe.

“But this case. “She gripped his hand tighter. “No two cases are ever alike, and none are typical, but Rena’s case…every time I sort through a layer, I find another layer! There are people involved who shouldn’t be anywhere near this case, and there’s something going on under the surface that someone is trying to keep hidden. The clock is working against me, and if I screw this up, Rena pays for it…not me. I have to stay focused so I can figure this puzzle out. Foster care is not an option for her that I’ll accept. I can’t allow that to happen to her.”

Bruce could see the commitment and intensity in her eyes. He also saw something else…fear. Not just the fear of Rena going into foster care, something else, but he wouldn’t push her…for now. “That little angel has had enough clouds in her life. I believe you’re her silver lining, and I would never do anything to interfere. Sort this thing out and give Rena and Duncan a shot at being happy again. I’m a patient man, and I’m not going anywhere.” He relaxed when he saw the look of relief on her face.

“Thank you, Bruce. It’s not fair to you or Rena for me to try and divide my time. Her case needs my full attention, and when I’m with you, you deserve my full attention.” His face went blank, and she couldn’t tell if he was still upset. Her shoulders sagged as she tried to release his hand. He held on tighter. Olivia looked at their joined hands, then looked up into his face. Gently, Bruce’s other hand slipped around the nape of her neck, pulling her into a kiss. A kiss, feathery light, with lips barely touching. Olivia relaxed and leaned into the kiss, slipping her hand up and around Bruce’s neck. As if their movements were choreographed, they each grabbed a handful of the other’s hair…and pulled, it was like flipping a switch. A simple kiss with a promise of tomorrow exploded into heated passion that screamed, here…now. Tightly wrapping his arms around her, Bruce pulled Olivia closer. To his surprise, Olivia gently pulled on Bruce’s lower lip, then slipped her tongue into his mouth. The vibration of his deep moans rocked Olivia to her very core. She felt everything…his fingers pressing into her side; wonderfully hardened nipples pressing into his chest; his hand caressing her hair at the nape of her neck. As a torrid heat grew between her thighs, a shared moan startled them both and they pulled apart abruptly. Breathing rapidly, they stared at each other for a long moment. Bent at the waist, hands resting on his knees, Bruce was the first to speak.

“You should probably, um…get back to work. I’ll get Court and Marissa so you can get back to…focusing.” Olivia backed away slowly, a faint smile ghosting her lips. When her legs hit the table, she blindly reached down and grabbed a file folder.

“Yes! I’m going to focus.” She opened the file folder. “See?” The deep rumble started in Bruce’s chest and as he straightened and stood to his full height, it turned into a roar as he laughed out loud. Hesitantly, he took a step backwards.

“I guess that means I’ll go-“

“Be patient!” Olivia said quickly, cutting him off. For the first time since he’d met her, Bruce saw a deep sparkle in Olivia’s honey brown eyes. For a brief moment, he allowed himself to believe it was because of him. His next step, which should have been towards the office down, landed in Olivia’s direction. Her eyes widened with her smile. She pointed at the door.

“Okay, okay! I’m going.” He reached for the door knob. “But, please know that I will pop up. Here and there. From time to time…you know…just to check on you.” Smirking, Olivia cocked her head to the side.

“Oh really? I can hardly wait, Mr. Bellamy.”

“Neither can I, Counselor.” With a slow, seductive wink, he was gone.

Realizing she was standing in an otherwise empty room, staring at a closed door…and grinning, Olivia gave herself a mental shake and abruptly plopped down into her seat.

What was that, Chandler?



5 thoughts on ““In The Best Interest of the Child” by Felicia Denise #Excerpt

  1. OMG you need to hurry up and get the ARC’s out for this! 😀 I love that she wouldn’t let him walk out while his feelings were hurt, and then Wham – chemistry sparks flying everywhere – Can I get a glass of that lemonade?


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