Outside the Lines - Lisa Desrochers


The On the Run series was the collaborative brainchild of some of the many amazing publishing professionals I’ve been so privileged and honored to work with over the last several years. When we were pulling together the bones of the series, all I had to hear was “mafia” and “witness protection” and I was totally on board. I want to thank everyone who had a part in shaping the Delgado family’s journey.

To my omnipotent uber-agent Suzie Townsend, thank you for your enduring support of everything I write. No one could ask for a better champion in their corner. Thanks also to the entire New Leaf crew, who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep us all afloat.

My most heartfelt thanks goes to Leis Pederson, editor extraordinaire, and the entire team at InterMix. I truly appreciate your faith in my hot Mafioso and his siblings, and all your hard work to bring his story to life.

Huge hugs to my family, who have supported me in all aspects of my life. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people behind me. Especially huge hugs to my daughters, Michelle and Nicole, for providing constant inspiration, and to my husband, Steven, for the ear to bend and for providing sustenance to my starving children while I obsessed over my imaginary friends.

Thanks to my writing bud Katy Evans for your enthusiasm and encouragement. Nothing makes me happier than to get swoony emails after a beta read.

Writing can be tumultuous, with as many lows as highs, but there’s no greater high than hearing from readers who’ve read and loved your work. It’s because of you that people like me get to do what we love for a living, so there aren’t words big enough to express my gratitude to each and every one of you for picking up this book.

And because my muse is a wannabe rockstar, I need to send a very special thank-you to the band that inspired Rob’s story. I actually wrote this book in early 2014, just after Pearl Jam released their first CD in four years. “Sirens” was all over the radio, and when Rob crawled into my head and I began to understand that I had a true bad boy—as in a seriously bad person—who suddenly found himself in love with a woman who made him question everything he’d been raised to believe, I knew that was his song. So a huge thanks to Mike McCready and Eddie Vedder for writing the song that poured onto the page as Rob.

Chapter 1


Beyond the bluff, the ocean churns under roiling storm clouds, shades of gray blending sky into sea, teaming up like they have some kind of vendetta against us. The lanky palms dotting the bluff thrash against the sky as it begins its aerial assault, hurling vicious gusts of salt air off the endless, angry sea.

The scene rivals the war I left behind in Chicago. It seems even Mother Nature wants a piece of me.

A single black shutter, loose from its hook, thwacks back and forth against the timeworn gray shingles of the battered old house standing on the bluff in front of us, defiant against the onslaught.

My family’s new home.

“This blows,” my younger brother, Grant, grumbles as he drags his long frame out of the backseat of the crappy Chevy we arrived in.

Guess it was too much to hope that the Feds would spring for a replacement for my Maserati.

“We’ll get used to it,” I lie. I will never get used to this. Somewhere during the flight from DC to Tampa we obviously left orbit and touched down on an entirely different planet.

There’s no question Grant blames me for this when he huffs out a derisive laugh and his hazel eyes narrow at me over the roof of the car. He’s right, so there’s really nothing I can say. I needed a major show of force right out of the gate to keep Pop’s men in line and show the other side I’m not weak. Hits on one or two key guys would have done it. Now it’s going to take a bloodbath to get back what’s mine. I just need a few weeks to regroup—sort out who I can trust and who I need to make an example of—then we can all go home and pretend this little detour to hell never happened.

Grant’s gaze stretches down the shore to our nearest neighbor, at least a hundred yards away. “What is this place anyway, someone’s excuse for a fucking joke?