Tina Leonard, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

His Valentine Triplets

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“Rafe is too smart for his own good.”

—Molly Callahan, recognizing the seeds of mayhem in her too-bright toddler

As Augusts in New Mexico went, it was a hot one. Rafe Callahan stared at Judge Julie Jenkins in her black robe in the Diablo courtroom and felt a bit of an itch. Was it the heat, or was he just thinking about what they’d done in July when his steer had gotten tangled in her fence?

“Counsel,” Julie snapped to his brother, Sam. “Why should I recuse myself from hearing State v. Callahan? Have you any substantive reason to assume that I could not hear proceedings in this matter fairly?”

“Judge Jenkins,” Sam said deferentially, “as you know, your father, Bode Jenkins, has brought suit against our ranch, invoking the law of eminent domain.”

“Not my father,” Julie said, her tone stiff. “The State handles matters of eminent domain.”

Yeah, Rafe thought, and everyone but Julie seems to understand that her father is in it up to his neck with every government official and thief in the local and state governments. Good ol’ Dad can never do anything wrong in his little girl’s eyes, and vice versa.

Julie’s gaze flashed to him, then away. Guilt. It was written all over her beautiful face. He knew what was under that prim black robe, and it was the stuff of dreams, a body made for the gods. He’d been lucky enough to find the chink in her sturdy armor—a testament to the fact that she couldn’t resist him, Rafe thought smugly.

He’d made her guilty. Julie knew very well that their night together meant she should step down from this case.

“Mr. Callahan,” Julie said to Sam, after sending another defensive glare Rafe’s way, “it seems to me that you have no good reason why I shouldn’t hear State v. Rancho Diablo?”

Sam, the crack-the-whip attorney assigned to saving the Callahan family fortunes, looked down at his notes, marshaling his thoughts. It was important that Julie not be the judge hearing this case, Rafe knew—as did all six Callahan brothers—because she was completely partial to her father. What good daughter would not be? But Julie seemed to have it in her mind that the case was purely New Mexico versus the Callahans, not Jenkins versus Callahans, Hatfield and McCoy style.

Ah, but he knew how to bring little Miss Straitlaced to heel. He hated to do it. She’d been a sweet love that one night, and a virgin, which wasn’t so much a shock as it had been a pleasure he’d remember forever. He got warm all over, and stiff where he shouldn’t be at the moment. There was something about those brown eyes and midnight hair that just undid him, never mind that she had enough sass in her to send up fireworks.

But this was war, unfortunately, and the Callahans needed all the help they could get to draw level with Bode Jenkins and his bag of crafty tricks. Rafe stood, and with Julie’s gaze clapped on him warily, leaned over to whisper to Sam. He could feel her eyes on him, as well as those of his brothers, his aunt Fiona and uncle Burke’s, and half the town, who’d come to hear today’s proceedings. Julie wouldn’t want to be embarrassed in front of the people who’d helped raise her after her mother died. But it had to be done.

So he whispered some nonsense in Sam’s ear about the price of pork bellies, all the while knowing that Julie thought he was telling Sam about their passion-filled sexcapade.

“Now act surprised,” he said to Sam, and his brother pasted a dramatic and appropriately shocked expression on his face.

Julie said quickly, “Would counsel step up, please?”

Sam went to Julie, as did the…