When Devlin"s parents cut him off for choosing to pursue his dream of becoming an artist, that only made him more determined to prove them wrong. His only goal is to keep his head down, work on his art and make enough money on the side to try and keep that dream alive.
But when he is arrested for pushing drugs, Devlin"s seemingly perfect life is turned upside down and he realizes that he might have to choose" his art or his freedom. It is an impossible choice, made even harder by the complicated feelings Devlin feels for the beautiful stranger he meets along the way.
Zoey has worked hard for everything she"s ever got in her life. Then she meets a gorgeous man at the fire station where her brother works and she starts realizing what she"s missing. He"s beautiful, funny and interesting but he has secrets and Zoey must decide if she loves him enough to accept that or walk away once and for all.Books by Author:Claire Adams Books
"How old are you, Mr. Danvers"" Judge Forrester asked.
He was an impressive man with patriarchal features, a sharp nose and dark hair that was graying at the sides. He looked distinguished and extremely intimidating, but despite my increased pulse rate, I kept my expression calm.
"Twenty-three, Your Honor," I replied.
Judge Forrester nodded. "I have a son that"s twenty-three," he said, and I saw him soften towards me.
Perhaps paternal love was what would save me here. It was ironic, really, that I should receive some small amount of empathy from a total stranger who had been called upon to sentence me when my own father didn"t have one shred of understanding for me.
"I know this question is irrelevant," Judge Forrester said. "But I"m curious. I see countless young men go through this courtroom, most of them are even younger than you are. They"re all selling some kind of narcotic. Usually, I can guess at the reason, but with you, I find myself a little stumped."
I could only take that as a compliment, but I knew enough about judges and people in law enforcement to know not to try to be funny or cute. I needed to be straight, I needed to speak with respect, and I need to take the whole thing seriously.
"I don"t do drugs, Your Honor," I told him. "I only sell. And I only sell marijuana" nothing hard."
"It"s still illegal in this state, Mr. Danvers."
"I understand, Your Honor," I nodded. "But" I suppose that is the way I justify my actions."
"You don"t do drugs""
"No, Your Honor."
"I find that hard to believe."
"I know my word might be a difficult thing for you to take at this moment, but I do not deny selling pot. I do deny using pot."
"And why is that""
"It"s counter-productive," I replied immediately. "It interferes with my work."
Judge Forrester looked intensely intrigued, and I could sense that he liked me. I hoped that that would last until he sentenced me. I was hoping for a lenient one. Especially considering my parents were sitting in the back rows of the courtroom, listening intently. They had slipped in surreptitiously, but I had still noticed. Dad was actually wearing a blazer. Of course he was; this was quite the occasion for him.
"Your work"" Judge Forrester repeated. "And what work might that be""
"I"m an artist, Your Honor," I replied, and despite the distance between us, I could almost feel the disappointment and disapproval wafting towards me from where my parents sat. "At least" I like to think of myself as one."
"An artist"" Judge Forrester said, with interest. "What kind of art do you create""
"All kinds, Your Honor," I replied. "I love street art, and I use that as inspiration for my paintings. But I incorporate lots of different mediums" whatever I need to bring to life my subject matter."
"Did you go to school to study art""
"I did, Your Honor," I nodded. "I graduated almost a year ago with a degree in fine arts from New York University."
I saw Judge Forrester"s eyebrows rise and I knew I had impressed him. I hoped that my parents would notice the same thing, but I knew they would never interpret his reaction that way. They were too small-minded" and far too proud to admit that their opinions might be backward.
"I see," Judge Forrester nodded. "And you decided to compromise your future as an artist by selling drugs""
"No, Your Honor," I said. "I was trying to secure my future as an artist by selling drugs. The truth is I worked very hard to get into a university in the first place. I even qualified for a ten-percent scholarship for my senior year. But it still wasn"t enough, I had expenses and by the time I had graduated, I was drowning in student loans and my day job wasn"t even enough to be able to afford rent.
"I didn"t want to stop creating my art. So I chose to sell drugs so that I could continue my work, pay off my student loans and attempt to make ends meet somehow."
Judge Forrester looked at me through narrowed eyes. "And did you have no one you could turn to for support"" he asked.
I suppressed a sigh, but I spoke a little louder to make sure that my parents would hear. "No," I said. "I had no support."
"You don"t have parents""
"Not ones that support what I do," I told the judge. "When I told them I was not going into medicine like my father, they cut me off. They made it clear that I would get no backing from them. They effectively disowned me."
Judge Forrester"s expression was passive but thoughtful. I wondered if he would be less inclined to give me a hefty sentence in light of my sorry family situation. I also wondered if he would want to speak to my parents to corroborate my story.