The last thing Candelario “Candy” Gonzalez wants is to go back to his roots in the barrio. At sixteen, he grabs a one-way ticket to luxury and comfort as the lover and protégé of powerful drug lord, Teirso Flores.
Flores molds beautiful Candy for his own agenda—to become his exclusive attorney, and Candy’s prowess brings the term criminal defense to a new level.
But life in the very dark, very fast lane comes to a screeching halt when a child is killed by one of Flores’s thugs during a drive-by shooting. Candy walks away from his law practice and away from Flores, determined to live honestly.
Carlos Alvarez stirs both desire and confusion in Candy, because young Carlos symbolizes everything Candy left behind. Inching from his universe of opulence and power and into Carlos’s world, Candy realizes the only happiness he ever knew was in his past. Crossing the boundary isn’t easy, though, and Candy’s newfound hope draws out the demons he thought he’d escaped.
And when Flores returns to reconstruct his empire, past and present collide and lovers and friends are forced to examine their bonds in a fight for their lives.
San Antonio, 2011
SHE PIERCED me with her stare. She willed me dead.
Who could blame her for wishing a bullet would find me, kill me, and send me straight to hell? I couldn’t. I was, after all, the attorney for the man who’d caused the death of her baby. In her eyes and in the eyes of her community, I might as well have killed the child myself.
Still, even though her hatred tried so damn hard to annihilate me through the dense forest of bodies in the courtroom, I wasn’t fazed. I had no conscience. I wasn’t paid to have one of those things—consciences, that is. I was only paid to defend the man who… caused the death of her baby.
Baby. Caused the death of.
Why now, after all these years, had this alien intrusion—this fucking thing called conscience—begun to creep up?
Because deep in her brown eyes—the eyes of this mother whose child had been murdered—I saw something else besides her hate for me. I saw something I recognized and knew intimately. Something that ripped through me and knocked me to my knees.
I saw pain. And helplessness. And I knew, I knew so damn well, what an ungodly hell it was when pain, anger, and hate mingled to create helplessness.
I saw a proud, proud woman whose world had been gunned down. A proud woman who’d surely been the strength of her family, who would now—by my hands, by my legal prowess—be stripped of her pride and confidence.
I saw a woman who had done absolutely nothing to have deserved the hell my client had brought down on her. Nor had she done anything to deserve the even worse hell I was about to send her to.
Right then, as though some ungodly tight mainspring had broken inside me, my soul shattered.
I leaned close to whisper in my smug client’s ear, “I quit.”