Bayou Beloved – Butterfly Bayou Read Online Lexi Blake

Categories Genre: Contemporary, Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 115
Estimated words: 108531 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 543(@200wpm)___ 434(@250wpm)___ 362(@300wpm)

When a woman returns home to Louisiana’s Butterfly Bayou, her high school crush finally notices she exists, in a small-town contemporary romance from bestselling author Lexi Blake.

Quaid Havery always planned to follow in his father’s footsteps. He went to law school and then came home to take over his dad’s legal practice. Being the only lawyer in small-town Papillon, Quaid is pretty sure he’s seen everything. After all, he was once asked to sue an alligator for defamation of character. He’s prepared for anything the town can throw at him, until he encounters Jayna Cardet. She’s gorgeous, smart, funny, and unlike any woman he’s met before….Except he has.
Jayna never thought she’d return to Papillon, but when her life gets turned around she must learn to live in the close-knit community again. She certainly never dreamed she would practice law in her little town, but she finds herself in the courtroom, and the opposing counsel is her former high school crush, Quaid. It wouldn’t be so bad if the man had developed a beer belly, but Quaid is more handsome than ever. And instead of ignoring her like he did in high school, he’s made it plain that he wants to get to know her.

Thus begins a courtship destined to end in a wedding or a war. Either way, the locals are popping some corn and eagerly awaiting the outcome.

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chapter one

Jayna Cardet glanced down at the watch her grandmother had given her the day she’d graduated from law school and frowned. “Your Honor, it’s ten twenty. The trial was supposed to start at ten. I move for you to make a decision based on the fact that the defense didn’t bother to show up.”

“I’m right here.” A thin man in his mid-forties stood, holding up a hand. He was the owner of the gas station and the man who’d made her client’s life a living hell.

At least that was the way she was going to argue the case. She firmly intended to make the world understand that taking down that tree on the land that ran up against her client’s home had been not only rude but negligent. And she would make that case as soon as the defense counsel bothered to show up. Or perhaps Mr. Abbot could be convinced to defend himself. She could eviscerate the man’s argument in five minutes or less and then she would be free to make a whole bunch of calls that would likely lead to nowhere. Certainly not to a job. “Excellent, then we should get started.”

“But Quaid’s not here.” Abbot looked at her like she was some kind of idiot.

Yeah, she got that a lot these days. Once she’d been the up-and-coming queen of the New Orleans legal scene. She’d been justice in high heels, wielding a designer bag like a shield.

This morning her momma had shoved a PB&J, an apple, and two tiny chocolate chip cookies in a plastic bag from the Fast Mart, and handed her a thermos of instant coffee because only rich people had coffeemakers, and hot water and off-brand caffeine crystals had been good enough for her momma, so they were good enough for her.

How the mighty had fallen.

“Yes, Your Honor, that’s my point.” She gestured to her client, eighty-four-year-old Geraldine Oliver. “If Mr. Havery can’t be bothered to show up on time, then we should either move forward with the trial or you could simply hand down a judgment in favor of my client.”

“Whoa,” Abbot said with a frown. “That doesn’t seem fair. We didn’t even get a chance to tell you what happened. Shouldn’t we have that chance? Quaid’s just running late, like always.”

“Mr. Havery is taking up the judge’s valuable time,” she pointed out. If they’d been in New Orleans, she would already have her judgment and be off to the next client. She would have billed another couple of hours before heading to some fabulous restaurant for lunch where she would schmooze with the bigwigs and bring in even more money.

“My time is not that valuable right now,” Judge Brewer said with a yawn. “Can’t fish today. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, and if I have to cancel that because Quaid’s late, it’s fine with me. Why a man can’t be left to die in peace, I have no idea. Besides, it looks like Geraldine is having a nice nap. Wouldn’t want to wake her.”

Sure enough, her client was snoring quietly in the chair beside her. “Your Honor, you can’t mean to sit here and wait for defense counsel.”

“What else would you have me do, young lady?” The judge’s brow had furrowed. Judge Andy Brewer had been the only judge in the parish for over thirty years. He was a thin man with a head of silver hair and thick glasses. “Besides that unfair judgment thing. I’m not going to penalize Mr. Abbot here because Quaid lost track of time. That might fly in New Orleans, but we are different here in Papillon, and you would do well to remember it. Now, if you’re bored, we could play a game of some kind.”

The court reporter was maybe twelve years old and so shiny it hurt to look at her. She clapped her hands together. “How about Hangman? I could go get the white board, PawPaw.”

Okay, so she might be in her twenties, but Jayna still stood by her assessment. She was too cheery. And apparently, she was the judge’s granddaughter. The nepotism shouldn’t surprise her. Papillon hadn’t changed at all.

“Oh, that sounds like fun.” The owner of the Last Chance Gas Stop looked enthusiastic.

She should sue him for the name of that business alone. It wasn’t the last chance at gas. Not even close. The Fillin’ Station was two miles down the road, and they served chicken-fried steak, too. The only last chance one got at Abbot’s station was the chance to get overcharged for a bag of chips. She’d heard Abbot had selected the name to scare the tourists into buying from him since the chicken-fried steak brought the locals into the other station. “Your Honor, you can’t mean to take up the court’s time with word games.”

“In my opinion, that’s all lawyers do. Take up time playing word games,” the judge said with a sigh. “We might as well have some fun with it. Wally, would you help Britney grab that white board?”