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Falling for Rachel / Convincing Alex (Stanislaski, Books 3 & 4) Paperback – March 18, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

With a briefcase in one hand and a half-eaten bagel in the other, Rachel raced up the courthouse steps. She hated to be late. Detested it. Knowing she'd drawn Judge Hatchet-Face Snyder for the morning hearing only made her more determined to be inside and at the defense table by 8:59. She had three minutes to spare, and would have had twice that if she hadn't stopped by the office first.

How could she have known that her boss would be lying in wait with another case file?

Two years of working as a public defender, she reminded herself as she hit the doors at a run. That was how she should have known.

She scanned the elevators, gauged the waiting crowd and opted for the stairs. Cursing her heels, she took them two at a time and swallowed the rest of the bagel. There was no use fantasizing about the coffee she craved to wash it down with.

She screeched to a halt at the courtroom doors and took a precious ten seconds to straighten her blue serge jacket and smooth down her tousled, chin-length black hair. A quick check showed her that her earrings were still in place. She looked at her watch and let out a deep breath.

Right on time, Stanislaski, she told herself as she moved sedately through the doors and into the courtroom. Her client, a twenty-three-year-old hooker with a heart of flint, was being escorted in as Rachel took her place. The solicitation charges would probably have earned her no more than a light fine and time served, but stealing the john's wallet had upped the ante.

As Rachel had explained to her bitter client, not all customers were too embarrassed to squawk when they lost two hundred in cash and a gold card.

"All rise!"

Hatchet-Face strode in, black robes flapping around all six-foot-three and two hundred and eighty pounds of him.He had skin the color of a good cappuccino and a face as round and unfriendly as the pumpkins Rachel remembered carving with her siblings every Halloween.

Judge Snyder tolerated no tardiness, no sass and no excuses in his courtroom. Rachel glanced over at the assistant district attorney who would be the opposing counsel. They exchanged looks of sympathy and got to work.

Rachel got the hooker off with ninety days. Her client was hardly brimming with gratitude as the bailiff led her away. She had better luck with an assault case…. After all,Your Honor, my client paid for a hot meal in good faith. When the pizza arrived cold, he pointed out the problem by offering some to the delivery boy. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm had him offering it a bit too heartily, and during the ensuing scuffle said pizza was inadvertently dumped on the delivery boy's head….

"Very amusing, Counselor. Fifty dollars, time served."

Rachel wrangled her way through the morning session. A pick-pocket, a drunk-and-disorderly, two more assaults and a petty larceny. They rounded things off at noon with a shoplifter, a two-time loser. It took all of Rachel's skill and determination to convince the judge to agree to a psychiatric evaluation and counseling.

"Not too shabby." The ADA was only a couple of years older than Rachel's twenty-six, but he considered himself an old hand."I figure we broke even."

She smiled and shut her briefcase."No way, Spelding. I edged you out with the shoplifter."

"Maybe." Spelding, who had been trying to wheedle his way into a date for weeks, walked out beside her. "Could be his psych will come back clean."

"Sure. The guy's seventy-two years old and steals disposable razors and greeting cards with flowers on them. Obviously he's perfectly rational."

"You PDs are such bleeding hearts." But he said it lightly, because he greatly admired Rachel's courtroom style. As well as her legs."Tell you what, I'll buy you lunch, and you can try to convince me why society should turn the other cheek."

"Sorry." She shot him a quick smile and opted for the stairs again.

"I've got a client waiting for me."

"In jail?"

She shrugged. "That's where I find them. Better luck next time, Spelding."

The precinct house was noisy and smelled strongly of stale coffee. Rachel entered with a little shiver. The weatherman had been a little off that day with his promise of Indian summer. A thick, nasty-looking cloud cover was moving in over Manhattan. Rachel was already regretting the fact that she'd grabbed neither coat nor umbrella on her dash out of her apartment that morning.

With any luck, she figured, she'd be back in her office within the hour, and out of the coming rain. She exchanged a few greetings with some of the cops she knew and picked up her visitor's badge at the desk.

"Nicholas LeBeck,"she told the desk sergeant."Attempted burglary."

"Yeah, yeah…" The sergeant flipped through his papers. "Your brother brought him in."

Rachel sighed. Having a brother who was a cop didn't always make life easier. "So I hear. Did he make his phone call?"


"Anyone come looking for him?"


"Great." Rachel shifted her briefcase. "I'd like him brought up."

"You got it. Looks like they've given you another loser, Ray. Take conference room A."

"Thanks." She turned, dodging a swarthy-looking man in handcuffs and the uniformed cop behind him. She managed to snag a cup of coffee, and took it with her into a small room that boasted one barred window, a single long table and four scarred chairs. Taking a seat, she flipped open her briefcase and dug out the paperwork on Nicholas LeBeck.

It seemed her client was nineteen and unemployed and rented a room on the Lower East Side. She let out a little sigh at his list of priors. Nothing cataclysmic, she mused, but certainly enough to show a bent for trouble. The attempted burglary had taken him up a step, and it left her little hope of having him treated as a minor. There had been several thousand dollars' worth of electronic goodies in his sack when Detective Alexi Stanislaski collared him.

She'd be hearing from Alex, no doubt, Rachel thought. There was nothing her brother liked better than to rub her nose in it.

When the door of the conference room opened, she continued to sip her coffee as she took stock of the man being led in by a bored-looking policeman.

Five-ten, she estimated. A hundred and forty. Needed some weight. Dark blond hair, shaggy and nearly shoulder-length. His lips were quirked in what looked like a permanent smirk. It might have been an attractive mouth otherwise. A tiny peridot stud that nearly matched his eyes gleamed in his earlobe. The eyes, too, would have been attractive if not for the bitter anger she read there.

"Thank you, Officer." At her slight nod, the cop uncuffed her client and left them alone."Mr. LeBeck, I'm Rachel Stanislaski, your lawyer."

"Yeah?" He dropped into a chair, then tipped it back. "Last PD I had was short and skinny and had a bald spot. Looks like I got lucky this time."

"On the contrary.You were apprehended crawling out of a broken window of a storeroom of a locked store, with an estimated six thousand dollars' worth of merchandise in your possession."

"The markup on that crap is incredible." It wasn't easy to keep the sneer in place after a miserable night in jail, but Nick had his pride.

"Hey, you got a cigarette on you?"

"No. Mr. LeBeck, I'd like to get your hearing set as soon as possible so that we can arrange for bail. Unless, of course, you prefer to spend your nights in jail."

He shrugged his thin shoulders and tried to look unconcerned. "I'd just as soon not, sweetcakes. I'll leave that to you."

"Fine. And it's Stanislaski," she said mildly. "Ms. Stanislaski. I'm afraid I was only given your file this morning on my way to court, and had time for no more than a brief conversation with the DA assigned to your case. Because of your previous record, and the type of crime involved here, the state had decided to try you as an adult. The arrest was clean, so you won't get a break there."

"Hey, I don't expect breaks."

"People rarely get them." She folded her hands over his file."Let's cut to the chase, Mr. LeBeck.You were caught, and unless you want to weave some fairy tale about seeing the broken window and going in to make a citizen's arrest…"

He had to grin. "Not bad."

"It stinks.You're guilty, and since the arresting officer didn't make any mistakes, and you have an unfortunate list of priors, you're going to pay. How much you pay is going to depend on you."

He continued to rock in his chair, but a fresh line of sweat was sneaking down his spine. A cell. This time they were going to lock him in a cell—not just for a few hours, but for months, maybe years.

"I hear the jails are overcrowded—costs the tax-payers a lot of money. I figure the DA would spring for a deal."

"It was mentioned." Not just bitterness, Rachel realized. Not just anger. She saw fear in his eyes now, as well. He was young and afraid, and she didn't know how much she would be able to help him.

"About fifteen thousand in merchandise was taken out of the store, over and above what was in your possession.You weren't alone in that store, LeBeck.You know it, I know it, the cops know it. And so does the DA.You give them some names, a lead on where that merchandise might be sitting right now, and I can cut you a deal."

His chair banged against the floor."The hell with that. I never said anybody was with me. Nobody can prove it, just like nobody can prove I took more than what I had in my hands when the cop took me."

Rachel leaned forward.It was a subtle move,but one that had Nick's eyes locking on hers. "I'm your lawyer, LeBeck, and the one thing you're not going to do is lie to me.You do, and I'll leave you twisting in the wind, just like your buddies did last night." Her voice was flat, passionless,but he heard the anger simmering beneath.He had to fight to keep from squirming in his chair."You don't want to cut a deal," she continued, "that's your choice. So you'll serve three to five instead of the six months in and two years probation I can get you. Either way, I'll do my job. But don't sit there and insult me by saying you pulled this alone.You're penny-ante, LeBeck." It pleased her to see the anger back in his face.The fear had begun to softe...


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Silhouette; Original edition (March 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373285671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373285679
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #619,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paper or Kindle TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 2, 2008
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I've been a fan of the Stanislaski clan since 1990, when the first volume appeared. But those old mass market issues are yellowed and cracking with age and re-readings, so I was thrilled when they were just released in a larger, easier-to-read format.

If you haven't met the Stanislaskis yet, you're in for a treat. The warm, loving clan enfolds all newcomers to its Ukrainian heart, and who can resist? This volume contains the 3rd and 4th installments of the family saga, though they can be read as stand-alones. "Falling for Rachel" has that crisp Public Defender giving her Ukrainian best to Nick LeBeck, a troubled teenager, and his fabulously sexy older step-brother, Zack Muldoon, a former sailor who runs a classy bar on the Lower East Side. Wanting what's best for the boy inevitably leads to what's best for these two stormy lovers. "Convincing Alex" has NYC's sexiest detective up against one of Nora Roberts's most wonderfully quirky heroines, a soap opera writer with a knack for trouble.

Once you meet a Stanislaski, you're going to want to meet them all - and you'll be well rewarded for doing so. These books are among Roberts's best, and since she's written almost 200 by now, that's saying a lot!
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The Stanislaski series follows the mold of family loyalty and honor. This series shows the trials and supports of the family. I always recommend starting with the first of any series. This time it starts with Natasha...I suggest you buy the whole series. Yes, the series joins the "favorite" label in the Nora Roberts grading scale. The family and those they love excel in their niches.

" Falling for Rachel" is a quick read that, unfortunately, is not a magical journey book. You want to know her life and where she fits in the "family" but it doesn't grab your attention the way most Nora Roberts books do. The second book, "Convincing Alex" turns the need to associate with the "book" back on and is delightful.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on June 9, 2008
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I've read them all I'm a big fan. Once you've read one book you have to read the rest, they feel like family and you will want to know what happen to them. Nora Roberts is number one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ROSE TORR on August 28, 2010
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Nora Roberts is my favorite author and no matter how bad her day may be she always delivers something worth reading. A bad day for her is probably someone else's best. As J.D. Robb she has given me a wonderful dreamscape and deep personalities that take me away from the mundane. Overall, she's great. Thank you Ms. Roberts.
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Falling for Rachel

Zack Muldoon has returned home and is now running the neighborhood bar “Lower the Boom”. Hoping to have a second chance with his kid brother, Nick, is willing to do anything to make things work. Meanwhile Nick, who has felt betrayed and abandoned by his older brother, has turned to a local gang (the Cobras) to find acceptance and a sense of family. But when Nick finds himself in a little bit of trouble, Zack feels compelled to do whatever it takes to give him another chance. Enters Rachel Stanislaski, the sexy Public Defender who becomes Nick’s temporary guardian at the request of the Judge. The Court is giving him two months to get his act together. During this time, Rachel and Zack must work together to make sure that Nick doesn’t break any laws, start running with his gang again or lose his freedom. Perhaps Rachel’s big, messy, wonderful family (that includes Alexi, her cop big brother who busted Nick) will show them both what unconditional love and acceptance means.

Convincing Alex

Alexi Stanislaski is a hard-nosed cop but when he encounters Bess McKnee, an eccentric soap opera writer, he is bedazzled, bewildered and amused. For the life of him, Alexi doesn’t understand why Bess would continue to put herself in danger to write a story for a soap opera. Arresting Bess for solicitation is only the first step in his discovering love. As the two learn to trust each other, they must also identify a serial killer who is hunting prostitutes, before he strikes again.
I enjoyed both stories. They were entertaining and romantic. And I would highly recommend this book to any Nora Roberts’ fans.
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By K. Groves on December 4, 2011
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Once again Nora demonstrates why she has remained at the top of her game as arguably the female version of "Elton John' of romance novels with palpable characters you fall hard for along with plenty of humor. There's also the added backdrop of challenges and dangers that work for the professions of her characters - Alex as a cop facing down criminals and Rachel having to deal with them once they get inside the justice system. Yet there's a softness along for a love of fierce debate among this family. You may be reminded of your own as you read of them and imagine them uniting against an outside foe no matter what the nature of their disagreements. Rachel's an interesting character as she is the only one of the Stanislaskis born on American soil yet you still feel the fire of her heritage through her personality. Totally an enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Kelly on June 29, 2009
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Nora Roberts is my favorite author. There is no book of hers that is not really good!
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Another win for Nora Roberts. She is such a good writer, and what an understatement. The Stanislaski family is such a passionate family a hunble family and apprecitive and yet tipical of siblings who so love and respect each other and protect each other. The romantic link between characters is beyond words, it makes you want to know that kind of love and yet understand your own self and what you need and deserve out of a relationship. You won't be disappointed.
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