On Thin Ice

On Thin Ice
Eve Gaddy

$11.95 August 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61194-049-7

*Winner of the 1998 Kiss of Death Contest for Best Short Contemporary Romantic Suspense

*Eve is an RT Series Storyteller of the Year

Our PriceUS$11.95
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Synopsis | Reviews | Excerpt

His voice promised midnight sin and passion.

Attorney Gabrielle Rousseau lives her life by simple rules: Never let a man stand in the way of your ambition and never drop expensive lingerie at the feet of a charming Texas rogue.

As sinfully gorgeous Devlin Sinclair helps her retrieve her most intimate purchases, Gabrielle knows she's in trouble. His suggestive smile and dark smoldering gaze leave no doubt that he'd be happy to deliver on her long-resisted fantasies. None of which she can afford to indulge.

Not now. Not with him.

Devlin Sinclair is an attorney with ambition to match her own, and the new obstacle in her path to partner. Avoiding him is not an option, but sharing a case-at the insistence of her boss-is flirting with danger. Devlin makes her forget everything except the feel of his hands on her.

Devlin knows the lady doesn't believe in forever, but he's never walked away from anything he's wanted. He's determined to share the pain that shadows her and find a way to teach her that what they have is forever.

ON THIN ICE is sensual, sultry romance at its best as only Eve Gaddy can deliver.



"Ms. Gaddy creates a sizzling sensual tension guaranteed to please the most exacting of romance fans. 4 Stars"--Romantic Times, Melinda Helfer

"This writer's characters come to life and leave the reader breathless. She is wonderful. Outstanding! 5 BELLS!" --Bell Book & Candle, Lorraine Stephens

"...a thoroughly satisfying reading experience that will appeal to those who love a blazing romance wrapped inside a heart throbbing story line...one of the best category writers on the market today." -- Painted Rock, Harriet Klausner

"A master of romantic suspense, Ms. Gaddy gifts us with an unforgettable novel. Highly Recommended" --Under the Covers Book Reviews, Kathee S. Card

"Passion, danger, love, honor--all abound in this wonderful offering of Ms. Gaddy's. ...What a humdinger of a book!" --Compuserve, Jo Riemer





It was obscenely expensive, totally impractical, and the most gorgeous thing Gabrielle Rousseau had ever seen. Soft and silky, it flowed over her skin like a caress, whispering, "You know you want me.”

With a wicked smile Gabrielle slipped out of the emerald-green nightgown and redressed, layering her sensible tan suit over her frivolous lace bra and panties. Placing the pièce de résistance on top of the rainbow offering of underthings, she abandoned the dressing room before practicality set in.

She was worth it, Gabrielle reminded herself. After the fight she’d been through, she deserved a perk. Winning a case was an incredible, though fleeting, high. Lingerie lasted longer.

Partner.She tossed up her head seeing the title in her mind’s eye. Each victory brought her dream closer. And this particular triumph, the seemingly impossible task of proving Mike McDermott innocent of murder, had given her an adrenaline rush that could only be compared to—So far, she hadn’t found anything to compare it to.Fast track, choke on my dust, she thought. She was on the warp-speed track now, phasers on stun.

The emerald nightgown slid from the top of the heap of clothing in her arms. Gabrielle grabbed for it, missed, and tripped over a display, landing amongst the kaleidoscope of lingerie that pooled at a man’s feet.

Cursing her clumsiness under her breath, she didn’t look up but scrambled to retrieve her haul. Hopefully he’d go away and leave her alone, not try to help and make her feel like even more of a klutz. No such luck. He dropped down beside her, and she found herself gazing at richly black kid leather Italian loafers. Exactly the type of shoes a prosperous businessman would wear.

Or a successful attorney.

Lord, please don’t let it be anyone I know, she prayed. Not that there was anything wrong with going to a lingerie shop on her lunch hour. But as one of Christian, Gilmer & Simmons’s hottest and, she hoped, fastest rising trial lawyers, she took pains to present an entirely professional image. A weakness for fancy lingerie wasn’t something she wanted printed on her resume.

Gabrielle raised her head and stared into gray eyes fringed with thick brown lashes. Straight gold-blond hair fell to the collar of his navy pinstriped suit. A patented knock-your-socks-off smile kicked up at one corner of his mouth and a skimpy black lace bra dangled from his long, graceful fingers.

"Excuse me. I believe this is yours.” His deep voice held laughter in check, though amusement glimmered in his eyes.

Warmth flooded her face, spreading over her neck and chest. Paralyzed, she stared at the blond god in front of her and wanted to sink into the floor. "No, I—you—Oh, never mind.”

So much for her famed ability to think on her feet. She snatched at the bra, catching the lace on the clasp of his watchband. Yanking on the elastic strap, she tried to untangle them but only managed to create a snarl, much like the effect she had on a fishing line whenever she touched one.

"It won’t—I can’t—” Increasingly frustrated, she fought with the bra, which by now had taken on a life of its own and wrapped itself around his arm like an amorous python. "Oh, damn, I give up,” she finally muttered.

His smile melted her into a quivering puddle. Heat shot through her veins, pooled in her stomach, and spread lower. Her dazed gaze remained on his face until he disentangled himself with an easy flick of his wrist, hinting at an intimate acquaintance with women’s underwear. As he handed her the bra, his fingers brushed against hers. She could have sworn her skin tingled from the shock.

Her humiliation complete, she murmured, "Thank you,” and prayed he’d leave. He didn’t.

"Here, let me help.” He began to gather up other bits of satin and lace.

"Thank you,” she repeated, "but I can get the rest myself.” Go away, go away, go away, she chanted silently, adding an emphatic expletive.

He ignored her, picking up a minuscule pair of hot-pink panties, a peach-colored lace nightgown, and another bra that should have been banned as an incitement to riot. The scents of satin and rose-petaled sin intensified in the air, assaulting her senses and firing images of those dexterous fingers dancing over—

Ruthlessly squelching her wayward thoughts, Gabrielle gritted her teeth, gathered the remainder to her bosom, and rose at the same time he did. Cheeks flaming, her chin angled in challenge, she thrust out an imperious hand.

"You have excellent taste,” he told her, placing a few of the items in her outstretched hand. "No, that’s mine,” he added when she tried to take a silky black teddy from him.

"It doesn’t look like your size,” she snapped before she could help it.

He laughed, more heartily than she thought the comment deserved. "It’s for a friend,” he said, his voice rich with enjoyment. Another knee-weakening smile tugged at his lips.

Friend? Right. "So are these,” Gabrielle said with an ironic smile.

He walked to the checkout counter with her, politely waiting his turn as she laid out her things. Rhonda, the clerk, greeted Gabrielle by name and asked if she’d received the latest sale circular.

"Haven’t seen you in a month of Sundays,” Rhonda continued, chatting as she rang up the sale. "Where you been hidin’ yourself, honey?”

Her face heating anew, Gabrielle mumbled, "Work, mostly. I haven’t had much time for shopping lately.” She glared at the man, daring him to comment. His lips quivered, but he remained silent.

Spreading out powder-blue and white scented tissue paper, Rhonda wrapped each individual piece of lingerie with the care a jeweler gave to a perfect gemstone. "Oh, for God’s sake, Rhonda, just put the damn things in a bag,” Gabrielle finally said, her patience snapping like the last link in a trace chain.

She heard a choked-off laugh and turned her head, slicing the blond god with a razored glance. Rhonda grinned knowingly as she finished and handed her the striped paper shopping bag. Lighten up, Gabrielle, she told herself. You’ll never see him again.

And a good thing too. He was obviously involved with someone. Even if he hadn’t been, her performance had to be the Kodak moment of embarrassing incidents. She should be glad she’d never see him again.

Unable to resist a last glance, she looked over her shoulder at him as she left. Their eyes met. He gave her another one of his bone-melting smiles and winked.

She should be glad... but she wasn’t.

Gabrielle made it to the weekly meeting of the criminal defense litigation section with minutes to spare. She took a seat at the huge conference table, sinking into the chair beside Nina Abbot, a junior attorney she’d struck up a friendship with and who often assisted Gabrielle with her caseload. Nina didn’t stand on ceremony with Gabrielle, and Gabrielle liked it that way. There was already too much pomp and circumstance at CG&S.

"Okay, let’s hear the rest of it,” Gabrielle said, referring to a conversation she and Nina had begun earlier that day.

"Surely you’ve seen him,” Nina said. "He transferred here weeks ago. Where have you been, girl? What have you been doing?”

Gabrielle figured she was the only person in the Dallas office who hadn’t yet met Devlin Sinclair. The hotshot defense attorney who’d just transferred from the Houston branch was rumored to have come to Dallas at a senior partner’s urging. She knew Sinclair’s reputation, of course, just as she knew the reputations of all of the competitive defense attorneys within the large firm. However, since the firm maintained offices all over the Southwest, she had never met the majority of them.

"I’ve been buried under the legal avalanche of the century, remember?” she said to Nina. "I didn’t think I’d ever wade through the paperwork. Besides, I know you. You think any male between the ages of twenty-five and sixty has potential.”

"Not just potential.” Nina shook her head and sighed. "No, this guy is absolutely—Oh, God, there he is.” She brushed her blond bangs away from her face and patted at the cascade of curls falling to her shoulders. "He’s coming over here. Maybe my horoscope was right, maybe—Gabrielle.” This was accompanied by an elbow digging sharply into Gabrielle’s ribs. "He’s staring at you.”

Smiling at her friend’s sotto-voce discourse, Gabrielle turned her head. No. Tell me no, she thought, her blood congealing as she watched a man walk toward her with a swift, confident stride. Blond hair. Gray eyes. A long, lean, cool drink of water. Heaven help her, she needed a drink.

"You bum!” Nina whispered in her ear. "You have met him. How could you not tell me?”

He stood before her smiling, a heart attack just waiting to happen. "Devlin Sinclair.” He held out his hand. "I don’t believe we’ve been formally introduced.”

Gabrielle extended a limp hand and said faintly, "Gabrielle Rousseau.” She could only thank God that her mouth hadn’t dropped open.

Taking the chair beside her, he said, "Rousseau? The McDermott case, right? Heard about that this morning.” He looked at her with approval—and not a trace of jealousy. "Congratulations. Tough case.”

Get a grip, you fool, she lectured herself. You face rabid DA’s daily. Take control here.

"Thank you,” she said.

Brilliant response, Counselor.

There wasn’t time for more, thank heavens. Just then the section chief, Sid Norris, entered, and the meeting began.

An hour later, Gabrielle felt much better. Terminal boredom had helped settle her nerves. Sid had actually complimented her on the McDermott case, an act that was unheard of for the chief attorney.

She risked a surreptitious glance at Devlin Sinclair. So what if he thought of her as that klutz who’d fallen at his feet in the Midnight and Lace lingerie shop? She consoled herself with the certainty that he’d remember her courtroom victories a lot longer than her clumsiness. Her successes were the bottom line.

The meeting over, Sid called out to her as she started to leave the room. "Rousseau, I want to see you in my office. A private matter. It won’t take long.”

Gabrielle groaned silently. Sid’s "not long” could mean anywhere from ten minutes to two hours, not including the time spent waiting for him to appear. Gathering her papers, she exchanged a wry glance with Nina before she left the room.

The familiar sizzle of ambition hit her the moment she stepped inside Sid’s office. Settling comfortably into a leather side chair and closing her eyes, she let her imagination take wing. The siren call of achievement beckoned her. Partner. What a seductive sound the word made, even if only spoken in her mind. It meant dark, gleaming tones of a richly polished mahogany desk. Clear, sparkling crystal water goblets. A staff of people to do the drudge work, her own parking space instead of the half-mile hike in the Texas heat or freezing drizzle. A beautifully appointed, spacious office instead of the dreary cracker box she now inhabited. The scent of cool leather surrounded her in a cushion of hopeful affluence, success in shades of burgundy.

Success would mean that she’d been right to leave her past behind. Failure would mean she might as well have stayed where she was... stayed who she was.

Another scent tugged at her senses, growing stronger as the seconds stretched by. A heady, masculine scent of... power.

"I seem to be interrupting. Again.” The deep male voice came from the doorway of Sid’s office.

Already, she knew that voice. Its smoky bass tone made her think of sex and midnight sin. Gabrielle opened her eyes and gazed at Devlin Sinclair. The man had no right to look that good. Or to look so totally at ease. So... right, dammit. As if the office was his, instead of his boss’s. His success rate was, in her opinion, advantage enough.

"This is a private meeting, Sinclair. I’ll tell Sid you’re looking for him.”

"He knows,” Sinclair said, stepping inside and crossing to the window. "He told me to meet him here. Something about a confidential matter. I assume he wants to see both of us. Some view,” he added admiringly, looking out at the Dallas skyline. "You lived here long?”

See them both? "Why?” Gabrielle demanded, rising and striding to the window to stand beside him.

Sinclair’s eyebrows lifted as he turned to look at her. "Curiosity. Your accent isn’t from these parts.”

What the devil did her accent have to do with anything? she wondered, before she realized they were talking about two different things. "Not that,” she said impatiently. "Why did Sid ask you to meet with him privately?”

His lips quirked, nearly a smile. "I have no idea. Do you?”

She didn’t, dammit. And she didn’t like it. Gabrielle had never liked surprises, even as a child. Not since she was six years old and her mother died unexpectedly. It would be just like Sid to have brought Devlin Sinclair to Dallas expressly to ruin her chances of advancement. Sid, the chauvinistic creep, couldn’t stand the fact that Gabrielle—a mere female—had the best record and billed the most hours in their section. Considering her reputation, Sid couldn’t afford to ignore her, but he loved seeing her nose bent out of joint. And if the rumors were true and Sid was really thinking of retiring... voilà, Devlin Sinclair. Sid’s replacement?

Over her dead body!

"You have very expressive eyes,” he said, with that damnable smile tickling at his mouth. "You’re glaring at me like you’d like to spit roast me over a slow fire. Why is that? I didn’t put that display in the middle of the walkway, you know.”

"I knew it! I knew you’d bring that up.” Her forefinger jabbed him in the chest, squarely in the middle of the geometric design adorning his silk tie. "Listen, Sinclair, just because we met in a lingerie shop—” Abruptly, she halted, removing her finger from his chest. None of this was his fault. Maybe. She didn’t trust him, though. Not one inch. She suspected his ambitions were on par with hers or he’d never have reached his current level in the firm’s hierarchy.

"Absolutely right,” he agreed, nodding. "A beautiful woman should feel no need to apologize for buying expensive lingerie.”

Her eyes narrowed. In her experience, flattery hid ulterior motives. She crossed her arms over her chest and strove not to stamp her foot. "I’m not apologizing. And I’m not beautiful. Don’t try that line with me.”

He put a finger under her chin and tilted up her head. Examining her solemnly, he said, "No, I suppose not. Not classically beautiful, anyway. Your mouth is too wide, for one thing. And your nose turns up. But beauty is subjective. Your face is unusual. I like it.”

She knew how he won over juries, or at least the women jurors. He hypnotized them with his eyes and that damnably deep, sexy voice. His almost smile was the clincher. Well, she was too shrewd to fall for Counselor Smooth. "I’m so thrilled,” she said through her teeth, "that my face meets with your approval, Mr. Sinclair. You can’t imagine what that means to me.”

He laughed and dropped his hand just as Sid Norris entered the office. Sid’s beady-eyed gaze scrutinized her for a second longer than his usual dismissive glances. Gabrielle damned the flush Sinclair’s touch had provoked. Lord only knew what Sid was imagining.

Her own imagination had started working overtime the moment she saw Devlin Sinclair. And the fact that she’d met him in a lingerie shop, for heaven’s sake, didn’t help matters any. Lord, why did he have to look, not to mention sound, like every woman’s fantasy?

Hold it right there, she told herself, cutting off the thoughts. Tripping over that display had scrambled her mind as well as bruised her dignity.

"Have a seat,” Sid said, looking them both over with what Gabrielle thought of as his ferret-faced expression. "I’ll get right to it. I’ve just been handed a case that I’d ordinarily take care of myself. However, my current commitments won’t allow me to devote the time and attention needed. So the two of you are going to take it on.”

Sid paused and let that hang in the air, playing for maximum effect. Pregnant pauses were one of his specialties, and his pompous air never failed to irritate Gabrielle. This time there was an underlying note of challenge to his words as well. What was Sid up to?

"What case is this, Norris?” Sinclair asked.

"A high profile one.” Sid picked up his half-glasses and propped them on his nose. "So it won’t be easy, needless to say. You’ll need to pull in some more help along with your regular teams. I don’t care who you use, just make sure they can keep their mouths shut.”

Why the emphasis on keeping quiet? Gabrielle wondered, gazing at her boss. Anybody too mouthy didn’t last long at CG&S. Just what kind of case was he dumping on them? She couldn’t believe he was pairing her with Sinclair, but for a chance at promotion she’d work with the devil himself. Glancing at her soon-to-be partner, she thought she just might be doing that. After all, they called him Devil Sinclair. His courtroom reputation was as good as hers. Or better.

Though he looked prune-faced as ever, she knew Sid was enjoying his power. After another lengthy pause, he added, "Did I mention this case is important? Winning is a priority. Do anything necessary to achieve that. Anything at all. We can’t afford to let this one go down.”

Give me a break, Sid. Can you get any more melodramatic? she thought, grimacing. Who in the world was this client who rated two top trial lawyers? They’d probably be working on this case from dawn to well past midnight, six days a week.

"Has the client been charged?” Sinclair asked.

"Yes. In fact, you need to get bail set as soon as possible.” Sid tapped his finger on the file on his desk and continued, "The charge is racketeering—protection extortion. Also gambling, running an illegal operation. Bail will likely be sky-high, but that won’t matter. Just get him out as quickly as you can.”

"Racketeering and gambling?” Gabrielle repeated. "What is he, some kind of organized crime lord?”

Sid’s sour smile said it all. "As organized as it gets. Mafia.”

Mafia. The word steamrolled through Gabrielle’s mind as a double load of cinder blocks fell on her chest. "Who is the client?” Her heart beginning to race, her breathing shallow and fast, she waited. The Mafia was everywhere. Coincidence, she told herself desperately. No reason to panic.

"The feds think the Mafia is trying to set up a whole new operation here in Dallas. First I’ve heard of it, but that’s what they’re saying. If this man falls, so do a lot of others. The feds want the dons, so they busted Franco Sabatino, hoping he’ll talk. I doubt the charges are trumped up. Make damned sure no one knows what your defense will be. You two are in for a hell of a fight. But winning will be one hell of a victory.”

Blood roared in Gabrielle’s ears, drowning out anything else Sid said. Her stomach churned with violent nausea. Her skin turned clammy and hot at once.

Franco Sabatino. The case that could make her career.

The man who could ruin it.


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