One of America’s most reclusive rockers, Ryder Vaughn, gets an unusual sentence handed down to him. The judge, hoping to teach him the value of human life, sentences him to ten months of community service at Reach Within Centre for individuals with special needs. Ryder is convinced that, if he isn’t crazy already, he will be by the time his sentence ends. However, his only other option forfeits his band’s livelihood.
Five minutes after stepping into the centre, his entire life changes when he meets a gorgeous, little spitfire who will challenge everything he has ever believed about himself and the world around him.
Francesca's devotion has always been to her family, friends, and the job she is passionate about. Her life hasn’t been easy. She sacrifices a lot for the ones she loves and for her dream to visit Italy. Then Francesca finds herself in a desperate situation, and the tattooed beast who is serving his debt to society must save the headstrong woman from a secret that could destroy her. In turn, Francesca teaches Ryder, if you love something enough, it’s worth fighting for.
Ryder knows he isn’t worthy of love, but this incredible beauty makes him want it.
Ryder can save Francesca from her secrets, but can she save him from his? Is Ryder strong enough to endure the kids she loves and her crazy Italian family?
Ten months can fly by or it can last an eternity.
“The bailiff asks everyone in the courtroom to stand. The court of the Second Judicial Circuit Traffic/Criminal Division is now in session. The Honourable Judge Linda Belmore will preside.”
The judge finished walking up to her podium and took her seat. “Thank you, bailiff. I assume all parties are present and ready to hear my sentence?”
“Yes, Your Honour,” replied the Crown, Matthew Fairchild.
“Yes, Your Honour,” replied the criminal defence lawyer, James Quinn.
“Then I will proceed. Let me start by saying I have closed this court to the public for obvious reasons. The accused would usually remain standing throughout sentencing, but I am going to ask all parties to sit. I have a few things I would like to say to Mr. Vaughn.”
Ryder Vaughn looked at his lawyer in surprise as he sat. He knew his fame wouldn’t help in sentencing. He had a feeling it might work against him this time. What was the worst they could do to him? Throw him in jail for a year or two?
“Mr. Vaughn, you have been charged a second time within a year with racing/stunt driving and dangerous driving. One is under the traffic code section 168 racing/stunt driving, and the other is under the criminal code offence 117 of dangerous driving.
“Sir, these are serious offences, and you obviously have not learned your lesson after just acquiring your licence back three months ago. Therefore, I had to think long and hard on what type of sentencing would make an impact on you. Mr. Quinn has argued that, because of your fame, it would be unadvisable to place you in the prison system, and regrettably, I agree. However, if you don’t agree to my terms, you will in fact find yourself incarcerated.”
She busied herself with looking over papers as she continued, “Your financial situation is so immense that a substantial fine under the laws I must abide will be no punishment. Taking away your licence has no bearing—you just hire drivers. So, sir, I have a very unconventional sentence to hand down to you.” To this statement, she finally looked up at him.
“I have researched the letter of the law on this sentence, and consulted appellate court findings on the chance you could appeal my sentence. I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that it would be impossible to overturn. If you choose to go the other route, that is a criminal charge of ten years. Of course, you might get parole after serving one-third of your sentence. But with a criminal conviction, you would be unable to enter the United States ever again, which would not be good for your career or fans.
“Please keep in mind, if you choose that, I would have to place you in protective confinement because of your fame. You would only have access to the outdoors for thirty minutes a day, and no access to the gym. A third of your sentence will feel like thirty years. Or, you will take the sentence I have been working on and hopefully gain some insight.
“Mr. Vaughn, you have a blatant disregard for your life, and lack of judgment which, in turn, makes you a danger to yourself and possibly others. I came about my decision after reading the letters submitted for your character reference. The one that impacted me the most was from Sick Kids Hospital.” Now she flashed him a look that could only be described as regret or disappointment with a flicker of hope.
“I was shocked and instantly moved by the fact that you donated a million dollars a year for the last nine years of your career. Although that wasn’t what touched me the most—anyone with any wealth can donate to a hospital, if for no other reason than to get a tax break. It wasn’t until I read further and discovered that you donate your time—two weeks in the winter and summer—to teach sick children how to play the drums. I was also impressed you had a soundproof music room built for the hospital and furnished it with instruments.
“All of your donations of time, money, and equipment to the hospital has been strictly anonymous. I came to realize you have a deep connection with this hospital and its patients. I don’t know the reason, but I do applaud it. You help children you have never met, but you still have no respect for the life you were given.
“Therefore, my sentence is as follows. You are to report to Reach Within Centre for individuals with special needs for a term of ten months where you will volunteer and shadow a CYW—a child and youth worker.
“I understand you have a police check from the volunteer work at the hospital. It will start in September and will continue until June. You will not be teaching music; you will be in the classroom, working under the direction of Frankie Moratti, assisting students with life skills.
“I am very familiar with this facility and the work they do with exceptional children and adults. It’s a wonderful organization, and I believe they will teach you the value of life in every capacity.
“You will retain your anonymity since people don’t know your real name. You will work eight-thirty to three-thirty, five days a week. If you renege on this agreement, you will be incarcerated with the time you have spent deducted from your sentence and a criminal record will be instated. I will give you fifteen minutes to make your decision. Choose wisely.”
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lyrics-heart-soul-anne-marie-citro/1125281150?ean=9781540409942
About the Author:
Anne Marie Citro grew born and raised in the greater Toronto area of Ontario, Canada. She grew up in a large, loving family. Anne Marie is married to a very patient man. He is the love of her life. They have four very cool sons, and the girls they brought into their family that have become daughters of her heart. She has been blessed enough to finally have a beautiful granddaughter after four sons. She has her own personal gaggle of girlfriends, who enrich her life on a daily basis and make her laugh. Caesar Friday is her favourite day of the week. Caesars with the girls and date night with her hubby. She works with special-needs teenagers, that have taught her how to appreciate life and see it through gentler eyes. Anne Marie was encouraged by her husband to follow her life long dream to write. She loves the characters that take over imagination and haunts her dreams. She loves the arts and she has tried her hand at painting, wood sculpting, chainsaw carving, wood burning, metal and wire sculptures. Yes, her husband is a very patient man! Anne Marie is an avid reader and enjoys about three books per week. But nothing makes her happier then riding on the back of her husband's Harley and throwing her arms out and feeling the wind race by. Anne Marie and her husband take a few weeks every year to travel to spectacular destination around the world. Anne Marie is excited and can't wait to see what the next chapter holds for her life and enjoys about three books per week.