Authors: Chanta Rand
Cayson Sullivan thinks women are good for two things: Lovin’ and Leavin’. As the youngest attorney at one of St. Louis’s premier law firms, he plays to win both in and out of court.
Destiny Jackson has seen hard times all of her life. She’s survived by
using her wits and her sexuality.
own together by a spiteful judge, Cayson is appointed Destiny’s guardian for ninety days. Taking care of her proves no easy task, especially since she comes with a cast of characters that continually push his buttons.
The two soon find that despite their backgrounds being as different as night and day, their attraction to each other is the one thing they can agree upon. Can a week in the Maldive Islands convince Cayson that he’s
finally met his match? Or will he be too busy Resisting Destiny?
Copyright © 2014 Chanta Rand
All rights reserved
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Night court was a bitch. Especially when it interfered with his social life. If it weren’t for his responsibilities
to the firm, right now he would be entertaining a long-legged redhead with a weakness for foot rubs and cabernet sauvignon.
The partners at
JADE (short for Johnson, Andrews, Dystroka, and Ellison) Law Firm had the lofty notion that on occasion, their attorneys should practice pro bono work and help out the dregs of society. So, once a month, one of the firm’s attorneys took a break from defending their rich and scandalous clients to represent the rest of humanity at night court. As the youngest attorney at the firm, he was trying to do whatever he could to make partner. If playing the role of public defender was one of the ways to do it, he would gladly suffer through it.
He washed his hands, adjusted his
gold cufflinks, and exited the restroom across the hall from Courtroom Number 201. Only two more hours until midnight. Then, he’d be outta here. Back to the comfort of his warm bed and his 1,000-thread count, Egyptian cotton sheets.
Are you Heinrich Bird?”
curvaceous woman stuffed into a pair of tight jeans approached him. He tried not to focus on the thorny rose tattooed across the swell of one breast as it threatened to pop from the confines of her tank top. He averted his gaze only to come face-to-face with butterscotch skin and eyebrows that had been arched within an inch of their lives. Tweezed so thin and high, they looked like they were in perpetual ‘surprise’ mode.
No. Sorry, wrong guy,” he told her.
She flipped her
long, blonde cornrows over her shoulder. “Do you know Heinrich Bird?”
No, but with a name like that, I almost wish I did.” He smiled and tried to step past her.
Shit!” Her expletive came out more like a hiss than a cussword. The emphasis was on the ‘s’. Her heavily glossed lips puckered into a frown. “I can’t believe this fool didn’t show up. Are you a lawyer?”
...” He drew the word out into three syllables, hesitant to be a part of whatever plan she was concocting.
Maybe you can help. Our lawyer ain’t here, and Destiny’s case is about to be called any minute.”
“My best friend.” The woman’s dark eyes misted. Please, you gotta help her. She ain’t got nobody else. You can’t let her go down for some bullshit Porter did.”
This woman was talking
as if he knew all of the players. “Who’s Porter?”
rother. Listen, sir. Mister. Whoever you are–”
“Mr. Sullivan, please help her out. She’s innocent.”
at’s what they all say
. He’d been assigned three cases tonight, but he guessed one more wouldn’t hurt. “As long as it’s not a felony, I’ll step in and do what I can.”
” She shook his hand. “I’m La’Treece. Destiny is in Court Number 301. Judge Burroughs said I had ten minutes to find her a lawyer. We gotta hurry!”
felt like a vampire about to be dragged into sunlight. He shrank back. Judge ‘Barracuda’ Burroughs. Damn! Things had just gone from bad to worse.
Destiny Jackson’s heartbeat hadn’t slowed for the past thirty minutes. She was scared. Real scared. She’d started out the day thinking Porter was going to treat her to a shopping trip at Barney’s. He told her all she had to do was show up and look pretty. One minute, she was looking at gold rings. The next, three security guards were bearing down on her like a pack of hyenas. Now, hours later, she was in jail. This was the most humiliating day of her life. It was bad enough being fingerprinted and interrogated. But the worst part was she could still feel the prying eyes of the intake processor roaming her body during the strip-search. That shit should be illegal.
She was placed in a holding cell with six other women, who thank God, paid her no mind.
What was she gonna do? She didn’t have a lawyer. She just knew she was gonna get some court-appointed idiot. She had first-hand experience with those incompetent fools. In and out of the foster care system since age twelve, she was distrustful of overzealous judges and shysty lawyers.
Destiny Jackson!” the guard barked her name. When she stepped forward he told her, “Your lawyer’s here.”
hunk in a tailored suit approached one end of the cell and extended his hand through the steel bars. “I’m Cayson Sullivan, I’ll be representing you.”
chestnut eyes you could get lost in and a chiseled jaw that begged to be touched, the man looked like he should be gracing the cover of a magazine. “You’re a lawyer?”
“Yes. Your friend La’Treece told me you need
Her gazed drifted downward, following the perfect cut of his
dark suit to his expensive wing-tip shoes. She might not have a lot of book smarts, but she knew the real measure of a man started with polished shoes. Lawyer-man had swag!
His hand felt strong a
nd warm in her palm. Not cold and clammy like Porter’s.
You’ve been accused of theft of property,” he said. “How do you want to plead?”
Am I going to prison?” she asked.
” His smirk put her at ease. “First, you would need a trial, and then you’d have to be convicted by a jury. This is an arraignment. Trials determine guilt or innocence. Arraignments determine whether there is sufficient cause to charge someone with an offense.” He pulled a stack of paperwork from a sleek, leather briefcase. “If there is sufficient cause, the defendant–that’s you–must plead, guilty, not guilty, or no contest. You’d only be kept in custody for a major offense. For a minor offense, such as shoplifting an amount under five hundred dollars, you’d be assessed a fine and then you’d be free to go.”
She breathed a sigh of relief. Good. She was
n’t going to prison. “I’m not guilty.”
He glanced dubiously at the report. “Well, it says
they found a gold chain and three gold rings on your person. The report from Barney’s security cameras shows a guy putting the items in your purse. You two were working together?”
heart caught in her throat. Porter must have slipped those items into her purse when she wasn’t looking. She didn’t know whether to be mad or hurt. Why had Porter gotten her involved with this mess? If he’d only been honest and upfront with her, maybe she would have helped him out. Maybe. But he hadn’t given her a chance. He’d taken matters into his own hands and basically bum-rushed her. Porter had been good to her. She didn’t want to snitch on him, but she had to think of herself first. She had to clear her name. “I didn’t boost nuthin’.”
Cayson’s face showed he was unconvinced. “
So, who did?”
Porter must have done it.”
He nodded. “
La’Treece told me he’s your brother. Why would he do this to you?”
I want to know the same thing!
She didn’t answer right away. Why would La’Treece tell this dude that Porter was her brother? No matter. After today, she’d never see him again. She’d gotten a lawyer and he wasn’t some dumb public defender. The man’s shoes told her all she needed to know. Cayson Sullivan was her ‘get out of jail charm.’
Listen,” she said, her eyes capturing his. “I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of, but stealing is not one of them. I’ve hustled. I’ve tried to make a living. But I never stole. I can make my own money.”
That’s good.” He pulled a silver fountain pen from his coat pocket. “We can appeal to the judge based on your work history. What do you do for a living? “
She was working at
Barney’s, but Porter had screwed that up for her. “I’m in between jobs right now.”
What skills do you have?”
Retail. Customer service. I can type a little.”
her long acrylic tips. “With those nails? They look like claws.”
jaw dropped. “Hey, if you don’t want to be my lawyer, I’ll find someone else.”
shrugged. “Good luck with that.”
He knew damn well she didn’t have
any other options. Five minutes ago, his swagger made her feel reassured. Now, it was pissing her off. She clasped the steel bars in her fists and peered into his eyes. “Just because you think you’re better than me, don’t give you a reason to treat me like shit on your shoe, Mr. Sullivan. I don’t like being here anymore than you like defending me. But if you’re gonna offer your services, the least you can do is pretend you want to help me.”
The smirk slid from his face. “
I was rude. I apologize.”
“I don’t need your apology. I need
you to believe me. If you believe in my innocence you’ll fight harder for me.”
coffed. “Sorry to let you down, Miss Jackson, but I defend hardened criminals every day, and I get them off scot-free. And I know with ninety-percent certainty that they’re probably not innocent. So, my beliefs have nothing to do with my efforts.”
Then, treat me like those clients, Mr. Sullivan. Win my freedom for me.”
e Grace Burroughs sat perched high on the bench of Courtroom Number 301. The state seal and the words in
God we Trust
were etched on an over-sized, gold plaque behind her. God, he trusted, but this woman, not so much. He surreptitiously glanced at her from where he stood at the counselor’s table. Pointed chin. Stern mouth. Eyes resembling cold balls of steel. To the legal world, she was known as “Barracuda.” Beneath the black robes, Cayson knew her as Gracie. That was the name she’d insisted he call her in bed. He’d paid dearly for the one-night stand he’d had with her five years ago when she was a wily prosecutor and he was fresh out of law school.
Not his finest conquest, but hell, that’s what drinking a fifth of Johnnie Walker could do to a man.
He was fucked up the next day, but he wasn’t too drunk to remember Gracie’s performance in bed. She wasn’t his type. Too sterile. Too bossy. Too conservative for his tastes. Definitely not worth sampling seconds. He never contacted her again after that night. He permanently sealed his doom by sleeping with a friend of hers the next day. He was young and brash and stupid back then. But Gracie had never forgiven him.
er grey eyes bored into him as he stood in her courtroom. “Counselor, how does your client plead?”
Not guilty,” he answered.
One of her thick eyebrows tilted upward. “
Did you read the report? Stolen jewelry was found in her purse. I know you’re used to defending shady clients without asking for details, but this is an open and shut case.”
nodded. So far, so good. Gracie was being the ultimate professional. Could it be she’d finally forgiven his malefaction? “Your Honor,” he respectfully replied, “this is my client’s first offense. The items were placed there by another party without her knowledge or consent.”
as right about one thing: He’d represented plenty of criminals. He’d looked into their cold, calculating eyes when they professed to be innocent, knowing deep in his heart they were guilty as sin. When he’d looked into Destiny Jackson’s eyes, he saw fear. Whether it was fear from guilt or innocence, he wasn’t sure. But he knew he wasn’t going to let her hang out to dry. Nobody else had her back. He had to do something.
Can you vouch for her?” Gracie asked.
I believe in her, yes.”
She rolled her eyes.
“How touching. I should let a shoplifter walk away because the golden boy from JADE believes in her? That warped thinking might work with those old farts downtown, but it doesn’t fly in my courtroom.”
ugged on his collar to loosen the tie that was suddenly cutting off his airflow.
So, she hadn’t forgiven
. He wouldn’t let her rattle him. “I think a fine would be appropriate.”
She shuffled some papers in front of her. “I might be persuaded to let your client
off with a fine of twenty-five hundred dollars.”
iny yanked on the coat sleeve of Cayson’s designer suit. He was so caught up in his battle strategy with the Barracuda, he’d almost forgotten Destiny was sitting there. He peeled her fingers away and absently smoothed the fabric. She obviously had no idea how much this suit cost.
He leaned low,
and felt Destiny’s warm breath brush across his ear. “I don’t have that much money,” she whispered.
A subtle stirring in his pants let him know that under other circumstances, he’d definitely have taken the time to explore the welcome sensation further. But
Rule Number one was
Thou Shall Not Fuck the Client
. No matter how hot she was. He threw Destiny a sidelong glance before moving away from the table. It was a shame all those curves were off limits.