Tess Bailey will never forget the day that Eli Flint burst into her life. He's a hard man, tempered by a life lived on the edge - but Tess sees something in his intense blue eyes; something that grabs her and just won't let go.
Eli's an ex-con; he served three years for selling guns as a member of the notorious Sons of Flame MC. Now he's out, and he wants to put his past behind him and move on.
But it's not that easy. It's never that easy.
Tess is Eli's probation officer. Young and idealistic, she's determined not to become as jaded as her coworkers. She deals with some of the most difficult and dangerous men - men who have always lived a life of crime, men for whom that life is all they know, and ever will know.
But Eli's different.
Underneath his tough, spiky exterior, Tess senses a man who wants to improve himself, who wants something better from life.
However, when Tex, the cruel and bitter leader of the Sons of Flame, blackmails Eli into working for him once more, Eli is forced back into the life he's trying to leave behind. And Tess, the woman Eli is falling for, is unwittingly drawn into this dangerous world with him...
Redemption is a standalone romance novel, with a HEA ending, some scenes of violence and swearing, and some steamy scenes too!
Eli Flint was a half hour late for his appointment, and Tess was about to record him as a no-show when he nonchalantly wandered into the little interview room she used for her appointments with the parolees.
Tess was immediately struck by his good looks - strong jaw, short dark cropped hair, intense blue eyes that sized her up immediately upon seeing her. Tess had often noticed this about the guys she worked with. It wasn’t always a sexual thing (although that did happen), but they would take stock of her the moment they met. She’d asked Melody about it once, shortly after she started the job.
“It’s a prison thing, hon,” her boss had said. “To survive in there, you gotta know where you stand. You gotta know who you can mess with, and who you can’t. It becomes an instinct with these guys.”
Melody had leaned in and put a friendly hand on Tess’ shoulder.
“My advice? Don’t show any weakness, ‘cos these assholes are gonna take advantage of that in whatever way they can. Always remember that you’re in a position of power. You have the power to take away their freedom, so don’t let them forget it.”
Tess had taken Melody’s words to heart. She was naturally quite quiet and averse to conflict, but to survive in this job she’d had to toughen up, and fast.
“Take a seat, Mr Flint.”
He pulled out the chair on the other side of the desk and sat facing her. He hadn’t spoken a word yet, and didn’t look like he was about to start either. In fact, he looked downright unfriendly, but this, too, Tess was used to.
She placed his file on the table between them and flipped it open. He glanced at it, and then studiously ignored it, looking around the room, anywhere but at her or the file.
“How have you found things since you were released, Mr Flint? Have you had any trouble adjusting?”
No response. Just a shrug. Tess took a breath. He was going to be one of these. Great.
“If you are, there are some programs I can sign you up -”
“No. No programs.”
They were the first words he had spoken, and he practically snarled the word. Tess was a little taken aback, but she pressed on.
“Well, that’s your choice for now Mr Flint, but as your probation officer I’ll have to make a call going forward, depending on how well you integrate back into society.”
He rolled his eyes and leaned forward, resting his elbows on the desk.
“Look, Miss Bailey, I came here because I have to. I need you to approve my job so I can start work. That’s all I want. I ain’t gonna commit any crimes. Promise.”
A hint of a smile playing around his lips.
“So can you just sign whatever you gotta sign, or do what you gotta do so I can start working and put all this shit behind me?”
Tess smiled at him, taken aback by his candor.
“Well, I do have to say that I’m impressed you got a job offer so quickly. Most parolees don’t manage it so fast.”
“Yeah, I’m lucky. So, what do I need to do?”
Tess flipped open her notebook and grabbed a pen.
“Well, I’ll need to pay a visit to your employer and check out the workplace first. If you give me the address and contact details, I’ll head over there in the next couple of days and you can start work once I’m done.”
He leaned back and let out a sigh of frustration, running his fingers through his coarse hair.
“Really? The place is legit, I guarantee you. Mike, the owner, wants me to start ASAP, and to tell you the truth, I really need the cash.”
Tess sympathised with him. Most parolees were completely broke once they got out of prison, but regulations were regulations, and she had to follow them.
“You can’t start until I approve the job. I’m sorry, but that’s just how things are. However, I’ll free up a slot in my schedule tomorrow afternoon so that you can start quickly. Would that be acceptable?”
Tess was surprised at herself for making the offer. She was already completely snowed under, and keeping the promise she’d just made would only make things worse, but there was something about Eli Flint that made her want to help him out.
He was brusque to the point of being rude, but that smile he’d shot her seemed genuine and he really did seem as if he truly wanted to put his past behind him.
He studied her with those intense eyes of his, not saying anything for a short while. Tess started to feel a little bit uncomfortable under his scrutiny. Damn if he wasn’t good-looking, though.
“OK,” he eventually said. “Thanks. I appreciate it.”
He reached over and took the notepad, scribbling a name and address in untidy, scrawled handwriting.
“It’s called Mike’s, in Joshuaville, around an hour’s drive from here.”
He slid the notebook back over to her and leaned back in his chair once more.
“So, is there anything else you need from me? I got stuff to do, Miss Bailey.”
Tess checked over her notes. This being the preliminary meeting, they were pretty much done for now.
“No, that’s everything Mr Flint. I’ll contact you once I’ve paid a visit to your workplace tomorrow and let you know my decision.”
“Thanks,” he said gruffly. “And, well, I guess we’ll be seeing a little bit of each other, so why don’t you call me Eli? Mr Flint sounds too weird for me.”
Tess smiled at him.
“Sure thing, Eli. See you soon.”
He stood to leave, and Tess couldn’t help but notice his toned physique, his sun-bronzed skin, his long, muscular legs. He looked around and caught her looking, and it was all Tess could do to stop herself from blushing, immediately cursing herself for acting like a little schoolgirl, with one of her parolees no less.
He grinned knowingly at her.
“See ya around Miss Bailey.”
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