Home > The Spark(3)

The Spark(3)
Author: Vi Keeland

The barista behind the counter yelled my name. I was glad for an excuse to put some distance between this guy and me. I needed a moment to gather my wits. Though when I returned, I still felt a little off-kilter.

“Thank you for meeting me to swap suitcases,” I said. “I’m really sorry I took the wrong one.”

“No problem.”

I rolled his case forward and released the handle. But the Adonis didn’t do the same. In fact, he pulled my bag closer to his side.

“Before we switch...” He tilted his head and studied my face. “I’m curious to know if you kept your word.”

I mimicked his pose and tilted my head. “What if I say I didn’t?”

“Well, then you’d have to pay a penalty for violating the terms of our deal.”

I raised a brow, intrigued. “A penalty?”

He nodded. “That’s right. There’s a penalty.”

I laughed as I lifted my coffee for a sip. “I just got back from a girls’ weekend in Vegas. Pretty sure this overpriced drink just used up the last five dollars in my bank account.”

“I wasn’t referring to a monetary penalty.”

“What kind of a penalty, then?”

He stroked the stubble on his chin for a moment. “You’d have to have coffee with me.”

Did this guy really think that would be a hardship? I debated how to answer. If I told the truth, it would be embarrassing. I mean, I went through the man’s personal belongings. But the flipside was I’d get to check him out some more over coffee. Then again, I’d be agreeing to spend time with a complete stranger. Though…whenever I met a guy online, I usually met him at a coffeehouse, and I probably knew more about this guy after going through his suitcase than I would from an online chat. Not to mention, none of my online dates had looked like Donovan Decker lately. In fact, none had made it further than coffee in a while.

Adonis had been watching my face as I debated my answer. His smirk made me think he already knew I’d checked out his bag. So, what the hell?

I stood tall and met his stare. “Was the lady from housekeeping harmed in the robbery?”

His eyes narrowed for a heartbeat, but then a giant smile spread across his face. He held his hand out toward the seating area. “After you, Autumn W.”

 

 

CHAPTER 2

 

* * *

 

Donovan

 

Almost 10 months later

 

“This is ludicrous. They searched my home—turned it upside down and didn’t even clean up before they left. And they took my property with them. What are you doing about it?”

“I warned you I thought this was imminent,” I said. “Did you do what I instructed you to do last week?”

“Yes.”

My client’s right eyelid twitched. This fucker would never be able to take the stand. I’d met him three times before today, for the sum total of maybe six hours, and I already knew his right eyelid had a tic when he lied. Not to mention, he was about thirty seconds away from taking a dirty hanky out of his pocket and wiping the sweat beading up on his ruddy forehead.

I sighed and looked over at the woman sitting next to him. She smiled with a twinkle in her eye. What a joke. I bet I could tell Warren Alfred Bentley’s twenty-five-year-old fiancée that I needed to discuss my strategy with her in private and bend her over my desk. Not that I had any interest in that shit. Gold-diggers were definitely not my thing.

“Warren…” I glanced between the spoiled, sixty-year-old money manager and his platinum-haired princess once more and nodded toward the door. “Perhaps you and I should speak privately.”

“Anything you have to say to me, you can say in front of Ginger.”

“Actually, that’s not exactly the way it works. Ginger isn’t your wife, and—”

He interrupted me. “She’s my fiancée. What’s the difference?”

Didn’t he at least watch Law & Order, for fuck’s sake? “A fiancée can be compelled to testify; a wife cannot.”

He shook his head. “Ginger would never do that.”

Sure she wouldn’t. It would take the prosecutor ten minutes of threatening to charge her as an accomplice before she rolled on your saggy old ass. But I had to play along with the game—at least in front of this woman.

“I’m sure she wouldn’t. But attorney-client privilege not only protects you, it also protects Ginger. You want to make sure the DA can’t come sniffing around the future Mrs. Bentley, don’t you?”

“Of course.”

“Then why don’t I have my assistant make Ginger a cappuccino from the new machine we just put in the guest lounge. Everyone’s been raving about it.” For the dumb twenty-grand price tag I heard they paid for a machine that makes coffee with some frothed milk, the thing better make a decent cup of Joe.

Warren looked to Ginger, who nodded, and he grumbled, “Fine.”

“I’ll just be a minute.” I stood and walked around my desk, extending my hand for Ginger to go ahead of me. “Right this way.”

My assistant wasn’t at her desk, so I showed the trophy fiancée to the lounge and promised to send Amelia in as soon as she returned. As I turned away, Ginger grabbed my elbow. She wrapped her arms around my neck and moved in for a hug before I could stop her.

“Thank you very much, Mr. Decker. I’m so worried about Warren.”

Her hard tits pressed against my chest. They must’ve been a new purchase and hadn’t had time to soften.

I politely disentangled myself and backed away. “No thank you needed. I’m just doing what I’m paid to do.”

Back in my office, I figured it was time to get real with my client. I took off my suit jacket and tossed it on the guest chair next to Warren before settling back in at my desk and rolling up my shirtsleeves—something I rarely did because it exposed more ink on my forearms than most of my rich, hobnob clients were comfortable with.

“So…Mr. Bentley. We don’t know each other that well yet, but there are two things you should know about me. One, when you ask me for advice, you’re going to get it. Often that means you won’t like what I have to say, but I’m not paid to tell you what you want to hear. I’m not your friend or your lackey. I’m your lawyer—and the best one you’re going to find. Since you’re sitting on the other side of my desk and not somewhere else, I’m going to assume you already know that because you’ve asked around. So don’t ask me a question and expect a tiptoe answer. You pay me by the hour. Therefore, I won’t be wasting any of your time blowing smoke up your ass. You’ll get the answer you need—but like I said, it won’t always be the answer you want.”

I took a breath. I could see he was about to interrupt me, so I put my hand up. “Please excuse me, but I’m going to keep going here, so we can get on the same page. The second thing you need to know about me is that I’m very good at reading people. In fact, that’s the biggest reason I’m able to charge twelve-hundred dollars an hour. Often this skill I have works to your advantage. I know when a prosecutor is bluffing and when a jury is or isn’t working in my favor and it’s time to cut a deal. But often that same skill can be a disadvantage for you—because I also will usually know when you’re lying. And I won’t work with a client who isn’t truthful with me. If I can’t trust you, how do you expect me to get a jury to trust you? So if I catch you lying to me on a frequent basis, I will fire you as a client.”

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