New York Times bestselling author Chantal Fernando is back with a brand new series about a brigade of lawyers who, despite being bad boys at heart, always end up just on the right side of the law. RT Book Reviews says the “engaging characters, witty dialogue and a smoothly plotted storyline made this a fast and enjoyable read.” So keep reading for an exclusive sneak peek of BREACHING THE CONTRACT and be sure to download today!
I’m walking back from grabbing something quick to eat at my desk, hand resting on my bag, when I notice a man in a black suit drop something. He’s on his phone, seemingly having a serious conversation, judging by the scowl on his face, and has no idea that something has just slid out of his pocket. As I walk past him, I stop and pick up what I can now see is his wallet. His back is to me, so I gently tap his shoulder, but he ignores me.
“You’re supposed to give me at least two weeks’ notice,” I hear him growl into the line.
I tap him again, more forcefully this time, and he turns and flashes me a scowl like I’m interrupting him to ask for change or something. He’s handsome. That’s for sure. His eyes are crystal blue—beautiful and mesmerizing, even when filled with annoyance. His brown hair is blowing in the wind, slightly longer on top than the sides, and I can’t help but notice the enticing shape of his full lips. He glances at me, but it’s like he sees through me or something, because he turns back away and says, “Yes, that sounds fair. I’ll be home tonight at seven, so we can discuss everything then. Bye, Amy.”
Did he just get dumped or something? Although that wouldn’t explain the two-weeks’-notice part. Still, he said he will see this Amy person at home tonight, so I wonder what the story is.
“Excuse me, sir,” I say, my tone impatient. Here I am trying to do my good deed for the day, and he’s being rude. I feel like hitting him in the face with his wallet, or simply taking any cash while he’s watching—anything to make him pay attention. He’s clearly so lost in his head, in his problems, or in this Amy chick, that he doesn’t realize I’m about to walk away with his wallet and buy myself that Givenchy handbag I’ve been eyeing.
He turns back to me, and must actually see me this time, because he asks, “Yes?” as he slides his phone into his pocket. It’s not a friendly yes, rather a What do you want? yes.
The man is rude.
I hand him his wallet. “You dropped this.”
He takes it from me, then pats down his pockets as if making sure it’s really his. What, does he think he’s incapable of losing something?
“You’re welcome,” I mutter, then turn to leave.
“Wait,” he says, so I turn around to face him once more.
“No problem,” I say, my anger lessening. Maybe he’s not so bad after all. Or at least not as rude as I thought he was, considering he has some basic manners.
“Today is not my day,” he explains, wincing, then holds out his hand. He shakes his head, as if to clear it, then offers me a small smile. “I’m Tristan.”
“Hello, Tristan,” I reply, warily shaking his big hand. Mine looks so tiny in comparison. I bring my gaze back to his, and the two of us just watch each other for a few short seconds. I don’t know what it is about his face, but I don’t want to look away.
“And what’s the name of the woman who saved me from calling up and canceling all my credit cards?” he asks, arching a brow.
“Kat,” I say, letting go of his hand. “My name is Kat.”
“Well, Kat,” he murmurs, glancing over me quickly. “I’m on a break, so how about I buy you a coffee to say thank you?”
“Oh,” I reply, glancing toward the road that my new office is on. As much as I’m tempted to say yes, I remind myself of the opportunity I’ve been given. “I’m actually just going back to work. But how about a rain check?”
Did I just go from wanting to punch him to saying yes to a date?
That pretty much sums up my dating history. I choose the worst kind of men—the ones who need to be fixed.
The broken ones.
The narcissists, or those who are emotionally unavailable.
The tortured souls.
And no, it never works out for me, and no, I’m never able to save them, so I’ve tried to stay away from men and concentrate on my career.
It’s a much simpler life.
“Sounds good,” he says, as I realize what I’m doing. Wanting to escape before he asks for my number, I take a step back and smile.
“How about tomorrow?” he calls out.
I turn and smile at him as I make my exit, waving slightly but saying nothing in return.
I don’t need to be having coffee with anyone. I don’t have time for it right now. I need to concentrate on work, on impressing Jaxon, and on other things in my life, such as paying my rent every month. I don’t need to go have coffee with an older, good-looking man—one who came across as rude and slightly lost, no less—and who probably has a whole list of other issues that I’ll try to take on as my own the closer I let him get. Because that is what I do.
No, I don’t need anything like that.
All I need is to focus.
“How’re you doing?” Jaxon asks as he steps into my office, two cups of coffee in his hands.
“Not sure how you take your coffee, so I took a gamble.”
I grin, pushing my chair away from the desk and standing, my hand out, greedy for the heavenly warmth in his hands.
“White with two sugars, but any coffee is good coffee right now.”
He chuckles and gives it to me.
“Thank you,” I tell him. “Pretty sure I’m the one who should be bringing you coffee.”
He grins and nods to the pile of paperwork on my desk. “We get our own coffee here. Besides, I think I gave you enough work that you can forgo any other duties. Do you need any help with anything?”
“No, I’m good,” I tell him, taking a sip. “I’m really excited about working on the case, actually. I already have a few good ideas and interview questions.”
“Good,” he says, tilting his head to the side and studying me. “I’m about to head out to the prison to talk to a client. Want to come along? Maybe next time I can let you go in my place.”
My eyes widen, excitement filling me. I’ve never been to the prison before, and I want to experience everything, soak up every opportunity, and learn all I can. Who knew a prison would make me feel giddy? “I’d love to.”
“Jaxon?” a familiar voice calls out from the corridor.
Jaxon stands in the doorframe and sticks his head out. “In here. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” the man says, his voice coming closer until he joins Jaxon just inside my office. “Just wondering if you know where the hell Yvonne is. The phone has been ringing nonstop. . . .”
He looks at me, eyes widening, and trails off . Face etched with shock, he soon masks it, looking almost annoyed. Why is he annoyed at me? I didn’t know he worked here. He’s a lawyer; no wonder he had a rude side. Us lawyers have a bit of a reputation, and unfortunately, the majority of the time the stereotype is true.
“Tristan this is Kat, the new associate we hired. Kat this is Tristan, my partner and another criminal lawyer.”
He’s another lawyer here.
And technically my boss.
I knew Jaxon had another partner, but I never did any research on him, since the position I was interviewing for was with Jaxon directly. This is Lawyering 101; always do your research.
Thank God I didn’t have that coffee with him, because things could’ve been much worse.
Play it cool, Kat.
I force a smile and nod. “Nice to meet you, sir.”
He doesn’t look impressed, if the dull expression on his face is anything to go by. So we had a moment, big deal. Would I have been interested in him? Sure. He’s good-looking. Compelling, for some reason. Intriguing. I don’t know what it is, but I was drawn to him in that brief moment we met. But that was before I knew who he was, and now that I do, I can forget about it, put it behind us. I am a professional after all.
“You too, Kat. You’re in good hands here with Jaxon.”
“I know,” I say boldly, making Jaxon laugh.
“We’re just off to visit a client in jail. I don’t know where Yvonne is. Maybe she’s on her break. I’ll put the voice mail on,” Jaxon says, then looks to me. “You ready?”
I nod, grabbing my bag, making sure my notepad and pen are inside, and follow him to the door, brushing past Tristan as I leave. I can’t help but glance at him, our eyes connecting and holding. His eyes give away nothing; they’re empty, lifeless.
The man should play poker.
I look away and follow Jaxon.
I mean, it could be a worse first day, right?