The Deveraux Family: wealthy, glamorous, powerful… and in a lot of trouble. Senator Eleanor Deveraux lost her children in a plane crash, but she has a second chance to get her family right with her four grandchildren – Evan, Jackson, Aiden and Dominique. But second chances are hard to seize when politics, mercenaries, and the dark legacy of the Deveraux family keep getting in the way. Read the first chapters of Deveraux Legacy Series below.
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Olivia Rose West
“Are you sure?” asked the doctor, perusing Olivia’s test results.
Olivia West looked up at him from her spot on the crinkly paper. It had seemed safe to leave her purse, phone, and jacket in Glen’s apartment while they went to his neighbor’s Halloween party. If they left her purse in the possession of Glen, what would she do? Glen had tried to rape her. And the cops thought that she should just, what? Leave the keys to her entire life with him?
“Am I sure about what?” she asked the doctor. She knew her Georgia accent made people here think she was stupid, but the doctor’s aura of condescension seemed beyond even what she was used to.
“Well, I mean, it is easy to be mistaken about these kinds of things. Maybe you saw something, you didn’t really see?”
“I’m just saying the results from your blood test are so minimal that it could be a false positive.”
“Yes,” said the nurse, looking as though she was barely holding her temper, “because she made herself puke on the instruction of the 911 operator. The test of the glass showed it was enough to knock out someone three times her weight. See?” The nurse flipped the page in the doctor’s chart and pointed forcefully.
“Oh. Right. Well. As I said, the results are minimal, so you’re going to be fine and there shouldn’t be any after-effects.”
“The cops said I need to submit the test results,” said Olivia. “Can I have two copies please?”
“Sure,” said the doctor. “The nurses at the desk can take care of that.”
He turned and left without saying goodbye.
Olivia stared at the nurse. “I’ll make sure they’re waiting for you at the desk,” said the nurse. “You go ahead and get dressed. I love your costume, by the way.”
“Thanks,” said Olivia, already beginning to pull off the medical gown.
Being a comic book character for Halloween had seemed like such a good idea. She knew she looked amazing in her Dark Phoenix costume, but she hadn’t counted on having to get her arm out of the lycra bodysuit for blood tests to prove that her date had tried to put a roofie in her drink.
She pulled the top half of her suit back on and zipped herself up, trying to figure out how to handle the cops. Her only ally was the nice guy who’d come sprinting across the party to yank the drink out of her hand. Evan, last name not specified, had dialed 911. He’d gotten her into the bathroom and when Glen had tried to put up a fuss, Evan had called him a fucking rapist and punched him in the face. Something she would have appreciated more if she hadn’t been trying to force herself to puke up half a cocktail. Then, Evan had gotten the glass and cocktail put into a plastic bag for testing. He’d even driven her to the hospital when she didn’t want to ride in the ambulance. But while Evan might be the bright spot in her evening, what could he do about the cops?
Taking a deep breath, she went out to the lobby. There was now only one cop, and Evan was staring at him, arms folded across his chest. Evan was wearing a suit. If it was a costume, then he was dressed as an investment banker. A good-looking, six-foot-two investment banker in an expensive suit. She didn’t think it was a costume.
“Hi,” said Olivia, approaching the pair.
“Hi,” said Evan, his face stretching into a smile that even she could tell was fake. “Good news. Officer James has gone to collect the warrant. Officer Sanchez is going to go wait for it outside Glen’s apartment.”
“Oh, thank God,” said Olivia, relief sweeping over her. “Thank you so much,” she said. She reached out and touched Officer Sanchez on the arm. Officer Sanchez’s face flashed with expression Olivia didn’t quite catch, but then he seemed to straighten up.
“Of course. Just doing my job. You can wait at the police station while we collect your things.”
“At the police station?” repeated Olivia, doubtful. This was going down as the worst night of her life, or at minimum the worst night she’d had since arriving in this city.
“No,” said Evan, his voice hard. “She is not a criminal. She will wait at my place. I’m in the same building, number 803.”
“OK,” agreed the cop, barely looking up at Evan. “I’ll go now.”
“Great,” said Evan.
Olivia considered herself socially slow. Not stupid. Just slow. She could never recognize things in the moment they happened, so it wasn’t until Officer Sanchez was walking away that she realized his look had been the same expression as the hound dog who stole her grandmother’s pie off a windowsill. Hangdog didn’t begin to express the amount of guilt on Officer Sanchez’s face. But why? What had he done?
“I’ll go get the car,” said Evan. “You wait here.”
Olivia found herself nodding out of habit, but paused to question the decision as Evan left the lobby. Did she want to wait here? She decided that she did want to wait. She wanted someone to bring her a car and take care of her. She was feeling particularly genteel and not at all interested in doing things for herself at the moment.
So Olivia pretended that she was a princess and stood right where she was and waited for Evan to come back and do all the appropriate pampering things that befit a princess. The TV screen in the waiting room was playing CNN. The woman senator her grandfather hated was making a speech.
“The scourge of white nationalism must be pushed back. We cannot allow those who push for hatred to rule us. But neither can we turn to hate ourselves. I believe that the best way to fight nationalism, misogyny, and violence is to raise the standard of living for all, to make sure that the opportunities available to the rich are also available to the poor. Science and education are not dirty words. It’s what brought us success after World War II. They are what make America great. If we want to bring back the good old days, then let’s start with the things we know that worked—education, taxation of the one percent, and refutation of all that those Nazi scum stand for.”
Olivia didn’t follow politics—mostly on purpose. All she knew about the woman speaking was that her grandfather hated her. It was the first time she’d actually heard “Evil Eleanor” speak. Now that she had, it was crystal clear where the hate was coming from. Inclusion, science, taxation, and using the word misogyny in all seriousness were all forbidden in her grandfather’s house. Hell, words with more than one syllable were apt to get someone a talking to. At any other time, Olivia probably would have whipped out her phone, figured out Evil Eleanor’s campaign website, and made a five-dollar donation. Since leaving Georgia, she’d made dozens of five-dollar donations to anyone and everything that promised to fight everything that she had left behind. But at the moment, she just wanted Evan to come back with the car and drive her home, even if it wasn’t her home.
The nurse from the desk came around and handed her a clipboard and a pile of papers.
“This is your discharge form,” she said pointing out where to sign. “And these are your reports. We already gave one to the cops.” She glanced out the sliding glass doors at Evan. “How well do you know your friend there?”
Olivia looked after Evan, his red-gold hair glinting in the street lights as he crossed into the parking garage.
“I just met him tonight. Why?”
“Well, while you were in getting your blood drawn, he tore those two cops a new one, and then he called up their boss and did it again. I haven’t heard anything that feminist since I listened to the Gloria Steinem biography audiobook. The only reason they’re going to get that warrant and get your stuff is that he made them. If I were you, I’d keep that guy around.”
Olivia didn’t know how to respond to that. At the moment, Evan was indeed the only person she wanted to keep around. This evening had been a nightmare.
The nurse put all the papers into an envelope for her and then Evan returned for her and held open her door and put her in the car. Olivia felt pleased to be pampered but found herself trying to sort through the events of the evening in a coherent manner.
Evan drove in silence and Olivia wasn’t sure what to make of that. She should probably thank him. But he so clearly hadn’t wanted her to know about what he’d said to the cops.
“I know I did the right thing,” she said at last. “Right? It’s what everyone said we should do.”
“Yeah,” he agreed, glancing over at her.
“Then I’m not sure why I feel so… embarrassed. Those cops, that doctor… It was like they thought I’d made it all up. Even with what you said, and the damn evidence right in front of them, they were still skeptical. They were supposed to be the ones helping me.”
“That’s why I hate hospitals,” he said. “The doctors take one look at you, make a decision, and then write it down for the next doctor to say the same damn thing. Getting them to write down anything different is like trying to turn a train. And even when they’re nice, they steal every little bit of control you ever had and reduce you down to an idiot.”
“Yes! Yes. It’s humiliating.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “Sorry you had to go through that.”
She pondered that for another moment. Or at least she tried to ponder it.
“I suppose tomorrow I’ll wake up and I will be pissed as hell.”
“You’ll have a right to be.”
“But right now all I can think is how damn hungry I am and how much I want a drink.”
“Well, that I can help you with,” said Evan glancing away from the road, a smile flitting across his face.
“Oh, well there’s a shocker, said no one,” she blurted out.
“What does that mean?” He looked halfway annoyed. She wanted to palm her own forehead. She had just meant it to be funny.
“Evan, you held my hair while I puked. If that didn’t polish up your official Knight in Shining Armor plaque then punching my would-be rapist in the face certainly did. The fact that you can also offer me sustenance and an alcoholic beverage is really, at this point, simply showing off.” She added a smile to show she was joking.
He laughed and relaxed, but shook his head. “No. I’m not that guy. I’m not the knight guy.”
“Really?” She looked at him in surprise. How could he not think he’d ridden to the rescue? “You’re going to try and argue with me on this?”
“It’s not arguing,” he said. “I’m just trying to point out the truth. I’m not that guy. Those guys don’t argue about it, for one thing.”
He parked the car in the garage under the building. The condo building was ridiculously expensive. She guessed that the parking space alone cost about as much as the annual rent on her apartment. Olivia looked at him across the emergency brake. He really was breathtakingly good-looking. She usually wasn’t attracted to those of her own kind. It was her general belief that gingers should not get together with other gingers, but his hair was on the gold side of red, and those pale gray eyes over a square jaw and lips that looked made for kissing, made her re-think the theory.
“And how many of those guys have you met?” she demanded.
“None. Maybe one,” he amended.
“Then how would you know? Maybe all you knights are extremely argumentative.”
“No,” he said firmly and got out of the car.