Home > Appealed (The Legal Briefs #3)(12)

Appealed (The Legal Briefs #3)(12)
Author: Emma Chase

Music floats up from the band downstairs. “I wonder if Claire is dancing with your cousin Louis,” Kennedy tells me. “She said she’s going to kiss him at midnight.”

I feel my face scrunch. “Why?”

“She said that’s what you do at midnight. Kiss the boy you like.”

My face stays scrunched—because I can’t imagine anyone liking Louis—let alone kissing him.

Then a chorus of voices surge from the veranda below. “10, 9, 8 . . .”

A few seconds later, the band begins “Old Lang Syne” and the sky explodes with color. Bursts of reds and blues, slashes of silvery purples and swaths of sparkling greens light up the night and reflect on the river’s surface.

While I watch the fireworks, Kennedy turns under my arm. And then she kisses me on the cheek.

“Happy New Year, Brent,” she whispers.

I look at her and smile.

“Happy New Year, Kennedy.”

As I shake off the memory I scan the yard, searching for that red dress. But when I find her, it’s not just relief I feel—it’s something else. Something rougher, hotter, hungrier.

Because Kennedy is staring at me.

She doesn’t notice that I’ve noticed. Her gaze is too busy trailing over my chest, my arms, my ass. Her eyes are eager and her cheeks are flushed pink—and I don’t think it has anything to do with the afternoon sun. I turn her way, holding my arms out, so she can get the full viewing pleasure—and her eyes snap up to mine.

I smirk and lift an eyebrow.

Her lips part and her cheeks go from pink to red.

I lift my hand and wave.

She lifts her nose and turns away from me.

And you know something? I think this is going to be fun.

5

A week and a half later, I walk into court for the first day of the Longhorn trial, wearing my best navy suit and lucky silver cuff links. Ready to rumble.

Little Miss I-don’t-make-plea-deals-ever made it pretty clear she’s looking for a fight. And if that’s how she wants it, that’s how I’ll give it to her. But when I fight in court, I fight to win. If she’s not going to play nice—I’m down for playing dirty. That applies to outside the courtroom too.

I set my briefcase on the defense table. Justin is already here, looking very young and respectable in a gray jacket and burgundy tie. He was understandably freaked when I told him there’d been a change in plans—that he was going to be seeing the inside of a courtroom. His father’s here today, sitting behind his son in the front row of the galley, staring at his phone, barely sparing his kid a glance. We’ve worked out an attendance plan for his parents with alternating days. I just hope they stick to it, because the last thing I need to worry about is the two of them keeping their shit together.

Kennedy strolls in, dressed to kill.

Literally—she looks like a smoking-hot, badass businesswoman assassin straight out of one of my comic books. A black leather, knee-length pencil skirt, a shiny silk black blouse that clings to her torso in all the right ways, open at the neck, showing off an onyx necklace set in silver. Her hair is pulled back into a high bun and her makeup is subtle, accentuating the beauty of her features.

She takes her place at the prosecution table, turns deliberately my way—and smiles. And my cock reacts like she’s a snake charmer, stirring and thickening, rising in the presence of that breath-stealing smile.

It’s the perfect combination of sweet and evil. Delicious but deadly. A smile that says I’m going to destroy you—and you’re going to love every fucking second of it.

She’s still wearing the turquoise contact lenses, and I’m kind of relieved. Because her natural eyes would do me in—and I’d be drooling.

She turns slightly to place some files on the table and my eyes drift down over her exquisite form. Fuck me, she’s got that line up the back of her stockings—that sexy dark thread that glides over her calf, up the soft skin of her thighs, beneath her skirt to the promised land. I run my knuckle over my chin, just in case.

Nope, no drool. We’re good.

The bailiff instructs us to rise and the Honorable Judge Phillips enters the courtroom, taking his place behind his bench. He checks to make sure all the primary parties are here and accounted for. I expect him to call the jury in next, so we can begin our opening statements—and I admit, I’m looking forward to seeing Kennedy in action.

But that’s not what happens.

Because Kennedy stands up. “Your Honor, we’d like to submit a motion to disqualify the defense’s forensic computer expert from testifying.”

A forensic computer technician examines data left behind after cybercrimes. My expert is the best in the business and he’s going to testify that the evidence of the bank hack and theft that the prosecution says traces back to Justin’s computer is faulty. That, sure, Justin’s computer may have been used in the crimes—but there’s a slim chance it wasn’t. And slim is all you need for reasonable doubt.

If this were chess, my computer expert would be my rook—not the most powerful part of my defense, but still an essential piece in the grand strategy.

I stand up. “On what grounds?”

Kennedy’s eyes cut to me. “Because he’s not permitted to testify or be currently employed. A hearing will bear that out.”

The judge agrees to a hearing on the motion, and two hours later the judge disqualifies my witness. On a technicality. Because he’s based out of London and didn’t bother to update his work visa—which is now expired.

   
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