A Man of Distinction

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Press: Harlequin (September 4, 2012)
Publication Date:2012-9
Author Name:Anderson, Sarah M.

About the Author

Award-winning author Sarah M. 
Anderson loves to put characters from different worlds into new situations and see how their backgrounds and cultures take them places they never thought they’d go.
When not helping out at her son’s school or walking her two rescue dogs, Sarah spends her days having conversations with imaginary cowboys and American Indians, which is surprisingly well-tolerated by her wonderful husband and son.
Find out more about Sarah at www.sarahmanderson.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Nick Longhair got out of his Jaguar, his Italian loafers crunching on the white rock that made up the parking lot at tribal headquarters for the Red Creek Lakota. 
The building might have had a fresh coat of paint in the past two years, but otherwise, it was as he remembered it.
Narrow little windows, low ceilings and an overall depressing vibe.For the past two years, he'd worked out of a corner office on South Dearborn, one of the priciest blocks in Chicago.
Marble floors, custom furnishings and floor-to-ceiling views of Lake Michigan.
It had been the height of luxury, and a true measure of how far he'd come.He looked around his current surroundings.
A three-legged dog hopped across the lot a few feet away from him.
The other vehicles weren't Bentleys or Audis or even Mercedes, but rusty pickup trucks and cars with mismatched hoods and plastic sheeting for windows.
This wasn't a measure of how far he'd come.
It was a measure of how far he'd fallen.All he had ever wanted was to get off this rez.
He could still remember seeing The Cosby Show on the working TV at a friend's house and discovering that other folks lived in great big houses where kids had their own rooms, water came out of the sink and lights turned on with the flip of a switch.
The shock of realizing that some people had those things—and that those people weren't always white—had made him look at his childhood with brand-new eyes.
The discarded trailer with cardboard patched over the windows and the holes in the roof? Not normal.
Having to share a bed with his brother and mom? Not normal.
Having to haul buckets of water from the stream and then hope he didn't get sick drinking it? Not normal.
Not even acceptable.Yeah, it sounded stupid to say that a sitcom had changed his life for the better.
But at the age of eight, he'd realized there was a different life off the rez, and he wanted the big house, the fancy cars, the nice clothes.
He wanted it all.
And he'd spent his entire life earning it.So being forced to come back to the rez felt worse than any demotion.
If he hadn't been ordered to take this case—and if his future promotions didn't rest upon a clean victory—he wouldn't be here.
Maybe he should have quit instead of taking this assignment.
He didn't want to feel the stink of poverty on his skin again.
It had taken years to clean the poor out of his pores.
But he was the best at what he did, and what Nick did was lead lawsuits against energy companies.
This was the kind of case he couldn't walk away from.
This was the kind of case that made a person's career.Nick shook his head, forcing himself to focus on what he was here to accomplish.As the youngest junior partner in the history of the law firm of Sutcliffe, Watkins and Monroe, he'd won judgments for clients against BP for the oil spill in the Gulf, coal mines for the toxic runoff they dumped into the groundwater and even nuclear power plants with lax security.
In the past five years, he'd gotten very good—and very rich—being environmentally friendly.
He'd earned his place at the table.Then his tribe, the Red Creek Lakota, had hired Sutcliffe, Watkins and Monroe to sue Midwest Energy Company for polluting the Dakota River when they used hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to drill for natural gas.
The tribe claimed the chemicals used in the drilling had seeped into the groundwater and contaminated the Dakota.
They wanted Midwest Energy to clean up the water and pay for any health problems that resulted from the pollution.
But this kind of case was beyond the scope of general counsel.
The tribe's lawyer, Rosebud Armstrong, had needed someone who specialized in this kind of case.
And that someone was Nick.Nick had been surprised the tribe could afford the Sutcliffe, Watkins and Monroe price tag, but they'd recently built a dam and the funds from the sale of hydro-electricity had actually put the tribe in the black for the first time ever.
Of course they'd picked Nick's firm.
He supposed he shouldn't have been surprised that Rosebud had gone looking for him, but it still irked him.
He'd always felt his tribe didn't want a damn thing to do with him when he was a dirt-poor nobody.Now that he was a somebody who'd made something of himself, though, the tune had changed.
No one had missed him when he'd left—not even Tanya Rattling Blanket, his high school sweetheart.
But now that they needed him and his uncanny ability to win in the courtroom, they wanted him to come home.
Nick had been informed that the tribal council wanted him to lead the legal battle on-site.
It wasn't enough that he had to work for people who'd rejected him.
Now he had to go back and live with them.Marcus Sutcliffe, the founder of the firm, had never been one to turn down a paying client.
In no uncertain terms, Marcus had told Nick to pack his bags.
And he did it in such a way that made it clear "no" was not an option.
"Those are your people," Marcus had said, a look of distaste flitting across his face as he waved Nick away.
"You handle them."The hackles on Nick's neck still stood up just thinking about Marcus's dismissive tone.
With a wave of his hand, Marcus had reduced Nick to the token Indian.
His legal victories, top-notch law degree, his years of experience and dedication to the firm—meaningless, if Nick only earned them in the name of affirmative action.
He'd fought for years to be recognized for what he could do, not what he'd been born.
Apparently, he still had a long way to go.The question Nick hadn't been able to answer was if Rissa Sutcliffe, Marcus's daughter, felt the same way.
Nick didn't think so.
He and Rissa had been dating for almost two years—exclusively dating for the last year.
He knew she was attracted to what she called his "tall, dark and very mysterious" appearance, but that had never bothered him until Marcus had thrown "those people" onto the table.But the fact was, if Nick won this case, he'd be first in line to succeed Marcus when he retired—an event that was only a few years off.
So Nick nodded and smiled and acted like he was thrilled to be handling "those" people and their case.
Better than giving the case to Jenkins, Nick's rival in the office.So Nick wasn't here for the rez.
He was here for his career.
The sooner he won this case, the sooner he could get back to Chicago.Then he took a deep breath, the smell of last night's rain and the grass surrounding him.
No, this wasn't the Magnificent Mile.
But that smell—the scent of wide-open spaces—was something he couldn't find in Chicago.
Last night, he'd sat on his new front porch and done something he hadn't been able to do in two years.
He'd watched the stars.Maybe some time away from Sutcliffe, Watkins and Monroe would be a good thing.
The interoffice sniping had reached new levels of Machiavellian backstab-bing—so much so that Nick spent more time fending off sideway attacks from the likes of Jenkins than he did building cases.
Some days, he felt less like a lawyer and more like a pawn struggling to be a knight.If that had been all he'd been dealing with, Nick could have sucked it up and dealt with it.
But it wasn't.
For the last few months, Rissa had been buying bridal magazines and discussing an outdoor summer wedding versus a Christmas-themed wedding.
Even Marcus had been calling him "son" more and more.
On paper, that had been the plan—marry the boss's daughter and take over the family business.
No doubt about it, Nick would have arrived.
No one would have been able to take that success away from him.Nick should have proposed to Rissa before he left to seal the deal.
Should have, but didn't.
He had always enjoyed Rissa's company, but he couldn't wrap his head around Rissa and the Red Creek Reservation in the same thought.
Rissa wasn't exactly high-maintenance, but she required a certain amount of upkeep—shopping, spas, servants.
Nick had enjoyed the hell out of being on the receiving end of that upkeep, but the moment the tribe had barged back into his life, his expensive lifestyle had suddenly felt forced.
Almost unreal.
Untrue, at the very least.
Up until that exact moment, he'd been so certain of his plan, but now…he didn't know if he loved who Rissa was or the fact that she had been born a Sutcliffe.
Which meant he was in real danger of being the world's biggest living hypocrite.So he'd taken the job.
He'd given Rissa a little talk about how some time apart would be good for them, help them know for sure if they were meant to be together.
She'd taken it well enough, he supposed.
"So you won't mind if Jenkins takes me to the Parade of Sails, then," she had said, her voice needle-sharp and her words just as pointed.But Nick had already made up his mind.
He was a big fan of clean breaks anyway.
He'd reassured Rissa that she was free to see whoever she wanted, and when Nick's case was over, they'd "catch up" and "reevaluate" where their relationship stood.
He needed a break from the whole lot of them—Jenkins, Rissa and Marcus.
As much as he told himself he was back on the rez involuntarily, a small, hidden part of him was relieved to be here.
Even though he was no longer the same man who'd left this rez behind, he still felt more like himself just being here.The case would probably take a year, maybe two, before all the dust settled.
That left him plenty of time to catch up with his family.
He could look up Tanya Rattling Blanket for starters.
True, he hadn't seen her in—man, it had to be almost two years—but he knew she was still here.
She was one of those idealistic people who was determined to make a difference.
She had made her preference for the rez over the real world clear back when they were dating.
But if she was here and Nick was here, he didn't s...


Romance,Contemporary,Literature & Fiction,United States

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Comment List (Total:8)

  •     I really enjoyed this book. It had two things that I like in romance novels: heat and tenderness. It's not a story about two strangers who are discovering each other for the...
  •     Although Nick has left the reservation to become a successful environmental lawyer and leave the life of a dirt-poor Indian behind, he must go back to gather evidence against a fracking operation that may be polluting the water and harming the people of the reservation. He is also drawn back to Tanya, his former girlfriend, who refused to come with him when he left. She wanted to stay and make a difference, while he wanted to get as far away as possible.Now, Nick discovers that his last encounter with Tanya produced a son. The idea of having a family with Tanya feels right, but he doesn't think she will come to live in his world in Chicago. He also doesn't think he can fit in on the reservation anymore. The attraction between them is as steamy as ever, but can they make it work?This one will tug at your heartstrings, as little Bear battles health problems that may be caused by the pollution. But you'll be rooting for Nick and Tanya to find a way to keep their family together.
  •     *I received this book as a gift in a Goodreads contest. I wrote the review of my own volition and all opinions are my own.
  •     The plot and characters started out well but then I dare to say became a little "slow" the book almost took on a "the story drags" kind of feeling.
  •     This is Four and a Half stars. I do wish we had the capacity to do partial stars.I won this book in a blog contest and after reading the last two books in the series I had it opened seconds after it hit my inbox. And that was it for the next two hours. Sarah M Anderson grabs your interest and never lets up the whole way through the story. Her characters are amazing. You can't help loving them right from the first moment. Sure they are stubborn and feisty and made mistakes but they are people you want to know.Tanya is the girl who stayed at home, never sure enough of Nick's love to take the risk of leaving 'the rez'. Especially as she believes that the way to improve things for her Lakota people is to stay and fight for them.Nick is the boy who left to make something of himself, to make sure he had the good things of the world he saw only on TV as a child. He thinks you can take the Indian out of the boy but even at the top of his game as a lawyer he starts to realise that for some people changing your name and cutting your hair still doesn't change what and who you are.Now Nick is back home he might get a chance to see that isn't such a bad thing. Especially when he sees a wary Tanya again and discovers that when he said goodbye after their last meeting, he left her with more than a bad taste in her mouth.And speaking of a bad taste in the mouth. There could be a whole lot of that going on with suspicions that a Gas company has contaminated the tribes water supply.How Nick is going to handle the case and the vital part Tracy and her son play in the resolution put a whole lot of strain on the developing relationship between Nick and Tracy, culminating in a crisis that shows Tracy exactly what Nick has in his high powered life.The story and the relationship between Nick and Tracy develops beautifully and naturally in what is essentially a reunion tale. The ending is very satisfying emotionally.The only thing that stopped me giving this the full five stars was a minor ick factor for the creepy ex-girlfriend. Though she is an excellent warning of how close Nick came to selling out in his quest to become a man of power and money rather than a man of distinction. <shudders>
  •     This book was all over the place and the Hero was unlikable. Nothing drew me to him. Arrogance and cockiness abounded. He thought he was it.
  •     4 STARSA Man of Distinction is hot book. Thier are a lot of sex scenes that I skimmed over.This book has a lot of layers to it. Enviroment theme,poor medical coverage for those in need,wealth & power,possesions,poverty.Nick Longhair is now a rich enviromental lawyer that lives in a high rise condo inChicago. He dates the owner's daughter. Has made it in the world. Then he gets a case that deals with a case of poisoning the water of a certain area on the reservation. He is told its your people go take care of it. Realizes is boss is predjuce.Nick walks into the reservation office and is greeted coolly and professional by the receptionist.Tanya Rattling Blanket.Tanya is his old girl friend they last saw each other 2 years ago. They had one more night together and then he went back home to Chicago. He does not know why she is acting like they are strangers or hurt.Nick family was really poor when he was growing up and did not have the best care of him. Nick always talked about leaving and getting rich one day. Tanya is the one who wanted to stay on the reservation.Tanya is now a single mother of a little boy who does not talk and hear so well. They call him bear. No one realizes and know that Nick is the father because of how small he was when born.When Nick realized that he was the father he fell in love with Bear. Wanted to give him everything that he wanted when he was young. But first he wanted to get him into see a doctor. The one Tanya had been referred too but could not get in because of lack of money.Nick Threw his power and money at the doctor and got in that week. With all the tests he wanted done that day. Nick knew what the law suit was claiming and he was afraid that his son might be his best evidence for proving damage. He also saw Tanya's motherhaving problems too. He knew She lived in the zone that covered the lawsuit. Tanya showed no signs but she did not live in the hot zone. So he also ordered tests of her water and got her into see a doctor right away.Nick and Tanya had a lot of issues to work out before they could have a future. The main one was not communicating in the past and keeping secrets now from each other.I would read more books by Sarah in the future because I did enjoy reading it.I was given this ebook to read in exchange of honest review from Netgalley.09/03/2012 PUB Harlequin Harlequin Desire imprint 192 pages
  •     A Man Of Distinction by Sarah M. Anderson is a well written story with fantastic characters. This story is fast paced and full of drama, humor and sizzle.

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