„Reasonable doubt” is an awesome romance thriller with twists and turns and two marvelous characters. As the author, Carsen Tate,has already made me love criminal law and all the world involved in it, this novel makes no exceptions.
It is the story of Ellery and Sarah, caught in the middle of their life changing jobs and searching for a new life, concetrated on their passions turned into work and especially for a private life that they’ve didn’t payed so much attention all this time. You notice I talk of them together from the start, because that was the way I saw them from the begining of the story.
Sarah Flores is a FBI Behavioral Analyst that is haunted by awful dreams generated by the daily crime scenes she has to face and need a change of job, place and heart. She moves to Dallas and enters a fraud unit and although she believes it will be dull, she’s enchanted by a 9 to 5 daylight job and to spare her freetime in the search of the love of her life.
„Sarah watched the door close behind Ellery, still fixated by the exchange. When she’d first walked into the room, she’d been captivated by Ellery’s good looks—short, stylish, dark brown hair, a strong jaw, and gray-blue eyes so deep you could drown in them. Happily. Her suit jacket hugged her lean torso, and Sarah had quickly determined she definitely wasn’t carrying and therefore, probably wasn’t a cop. Attorney, she’d concluded. She noticed the leather briefcase by her chair. Most likely defense counsel. Ellery’s pose had been confident, like she belonged here, but the expression in her eyes signaled reluctance of some kind. She was entirely at ease bantering with Danny, but she didn’t want to be here. What had she told Danny about why the case wasn’t hers? Who was she doing the favor for? The details didn’t matter, but Sarah couldn’t shut down the questions, especially since everything about Ellery Durant, from her striking appearance to her feisty defense of her client was irresistible.”
Ellery Durant has spent most of her adult life as a criminal defense attorney following her father’s footsteps, she always did her job at it’s highest best, together with Meg, partner at their firm. She is fed up with death cases or drug addicts or minimal thieves and criminals and she’s followed her passion into repurposing furniture. Like Sarah, she hasn’t paie enough attention to her love live and now, she hopes to find the woman of her dreams.
„Ellery took longer than necessary to consider the simple request. Her first impression had been so clouded by Sarah’s forceful cop attitude that she hadn’t let the full depth of her stunning beauty seep in. This woman was every bit as captivating as she was aggravating, and Ellery was held in place by the magnetic pull of inexplicable attraction. She clicked her bottle against Sarah’s glass. “I can stay for a bit. Are you here just to keep Danny company or to support one of the candidates?”Sarah leaned close. “I don’t know any of these people. I heard there would be an open bar and lots of beautiful women. I wasn’t wrong, apparently.”
“Cool it, Special Agent Hotshot,” Danny said. “Ellery, I must apologize for my friend here. She’s a bit of a cad.”
“I am not. I just believe in taking life by the horns. Enjoying every moment. Even when I find myself at a stuffy event, I’m bound and determined to have a little fun. Besides, I was paying a compliment. Nothing wrong with that, is there?””
They met at Dani’s office, Sarah’s friend, while Ellery asked the state porsecutor to teach a lesson to one of her customers, when Meg asked her for a last favor as this customer asked for Elery’s services. They are like oil and water and continue like that besides the attraction for each other. One night they were at a reception when hell broke lose.
„Sarah looked up, a far away expression in her eyes, as if she’d forgotten Ellery or anyone else was in the room. “I’m sorry. I have to go.” She’d only taken a few steps before a voice cried out.
“Someone’s bombed the arena!”
Deciding she didn’t give a damn about Ellery’s date, she leaned in close, so close her lips grazed Ellery’s ear, and whispered, “Sometimes you do need a change to make you feel more alive. Let’s hope we all get a chance to find out what makes us happy.”
As they made their way through the crowd to the site of the explosion, Sarah took a moment to look back at the W. The windows of the bar where she’d been less than an hour ago overlooked this scene and she wondered if Ellery was still there. As if on cue, she heard a familiar voice call her name and she saw Ellery headed her way. She told Liz she’d meet her in a moment and stepped aside to wait for Ellery to catch up to her. When she did, Sarah touched her arm.
The moments before the explosion she’d shared with Sarah Flores made it clear she was done dating women like April, but apparently, it had taken a monumental tragedy to get her to act on her impulse.
Sarah Flores. Special Agent Sarah Flores. She’d lost track of Sarah in the crowd that night. Had she saved lives? Had she been hurt doing so? In what distinct ways had the bomb changed her life? If she’d had her number, she liked to think she would call her to ask these questions, but the truth was solitude seemed to be her best friend right now. Still, a lingering desire to know more about Sarah edged closer into her consciousness with every passing day.”
Ellery’s last client was involved in the break into a building that belonged to the construction firm that build the arena were the bombing was and she finds herself with her reputation distroyed and her accounts blocked, her father in doubt after giving in to a customer a blank document where Elery’s name was used and more than that, with the shadow of the doubt facing Sarah that probably thought she was some terrorist, Ellery needed to clear her name.
Yet, Sarah had her doubts, but didn’t believed what was happening and she’s working with her former Chief to solve the mistery.
“I think there’s a lot more to Ellery Durant than meets the eye, but I don’t think she knowingly did anything to support the group behind the bombing.” What she didn’t say was that Ellery might well have inadvertently helped a terrorist group, which might make a difference in the investigation against her, but could still have serious consequences. It was pretty unlikely that HSI would care to parse out which was which, and she’d only been tapped with the task of giving the director an assessment of Ellery as a person, not determining whether she should be charged and with what. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t going to dig a little deeper.
Sarah sank into a chair and put her head in her hands. She’d worked with Trip for years and trusted him completely. He wouldn’t be passing along these accusations if he didn’t have solid evidence to back them up, but she’d sat across from Ellery, looked her in the eyes, and hadn’t detected a single signal of deception despite her years of training in behavioral analysis. Either Ellery was wrongly accused or she was such a cold-blooded criminal that she could fool even the best.
“If you ever had any doubt, this is your true passion. That law gig was nothing more than a J-O-B.”
They are caught in between their attraction, the things they know off the record, weather to tell each other beyond reasonable doubt or not and the benefit of innocence.
„Ellery shouldn’t care about the identity of the buyer. She should just be grateful to sell the piece and turn her attention back to the group currently admiring her work, but she locked her gaze on the group across the room because she knew them. She watched while Danny and Ellen each took a glass of champagne from a passing waiter and toasted each other, but it wasn’t them that held her gaze. No, it was Sarah Flores, looking both elegant and delicious in a deep red dress, cut to show off her long, toned, gorgeous legs. Ellery sucked in a breath, unable to look away, but sure she should run as fast as she could in the other direction. Torn between desire and danger, she could only watch as Sarah lifted her glass in the air and stared directly into her eyes.Her gaze swept the room, looking for something to catch her interest, but it was someone, not something that stopped her cold.”
I love the way the turns of facts are coming to the reader, they are so well exposed and I felt the rush of events, the temptations, the devouring passions, the hatred so close, like a 3d book story.
„She’d expected to see Ellery here. She’d counted on it, but she hadn’t expected the sudden, visceral reaction that shuddered its way through her body. Ellery was standing next to a credenza, running her hand over the surface, slowly and deliberately. Her mouth was moving, and it appeared she was talking to the women standing next to her, but her eyes were focused on the piece of furniture and all her energy went into the caress.
Ellery’s laugh with mirthless. “Now that is the understatement of the year. My home was ransacked, my former firm was invaded, my bank accounts, credit cards, all shut down. If I sell anything tonight, I’m going to have to get Karen to pay me in cash if I’m going to be able to afford to eat tomorrow. But you feds don’t care about the very real effects of your actions on those of us who are supposedly innocent until proven guilty, do you?”
Despite the angry tenor of her words, Ellery delivered them with measured calm. Sarah wondered if she had been as controlled in the courtroom before she made the decision to retire from her practice. Her careful manner suggested genuine thought and reflection, and if she’d projected this same demeanor during trial, she’d probably been an unstoppable force, respected by juries and her opponents alike. Sarah respected her too, but she wasn’t going to rise to the bait.
Ellery smiled for the first time since the show last night, and the action provoked the memory of Sarah smiling at her from across the showroom floor, a smile that had almost allowed her to forget the horrible day she’d had leading up to the show. A smile that almost made her forget that she and Sarah were adversaries. She wondered what Sarah had thought when she hadn’t shown up at the bar last night. Had she waited long? When she figured out she’d been stood up, had she found someone there to occupy her time? In that sexy red dress she’d probably had to fight off candidates for that position.
Sarah didn’t have the answer to his question, but she knew without a doubt she was one step closer to figuring out who was responsible for the bombing. Naveed Khan’s cousin Akbar, Sadeem Jafari’s son, had worked for the architect who had designed the arena. The boys, along with two brothers whose terrorist leanings had drawn the attention of the CIA, had broken into a building where the plans for the arena were kept about six months prior to the bombing, plenty of time to plan and execute their fatal plan. „
The end is breathtaking, they fall in love from earlier in the book and they make love before Sarah knows the truth about Ellery’s innocence, yet her gut is telling the truth when Ellery tells her why she had left practising in the court of law : one of her customer’s killed a witness that proved him guilty and showed Ellery the ditch he was thrown into, after Ellery has done him a great defence and saved him from jail.
„I don’t want you to stop until we’re both screaming so loud your nosey neighbor knows exactly how many orgasms we’ve had, but the words faded at the tentative look in Ellery’s eyes, her tender kisses, and the incredible heat stoked by even her lightest touch. In the face of Ellery’s vulnerability, the most precious gift she could give was control, and surprisingly, she realized she didn’t want to be in charge. She knew exactly what she wanted. “I want you to make love to me.””