Home > Appealed (The Legal Briefs #3)(13)

Appealed (The Legal Briefs #3)(13)
Author: Emma Chase

Looks like Kennedy came ready to rumble too. And she’s damn good at it.

• • •

After the hearing, once our opening statements are given to the jury, Kennedy starts with a forensic computer expert of her own. Her questions are quick, to the point, and emit a heady scent of confidence. The tech’s answers are detailed and boring, as most technical aspects tend to be—but he’s polished. He breaks things down for the jury to a level they’ll understand.

Which doesn’t bode well for Justin.

In a short time, the judge calls me to pose my cross-examination questions. Which would be great except—Kennedy barely lets me ask one.

It goes something like this:

“Can you explain—”


And this:

“How can you be sure—”


And then:

“When you determined—”


Most of her objections are overruled, but that’s not the point. It’s a strategy. She wants to break my rhythm, keep me from finding the zone where I can bait the witness into saying what I want him to, and then throw his answer back in his face.

She’s trying to annoy the fuck out of me—and it’s working. Did I actually say this was going to be fun? I was wrong. I start envisioning what my hands would look like wrapped around her pretty little neck—and not even in a hot way.

So when I ask, “What are the odds—”

And Kennedy pops to her feet with, “Objection!”

I shout back, “Objection!”

The judge peers down at me through his glasses. “You’re objecting to your own question?”

“No . . . Judge.” I stammer. “I’m objecting to her objecting.”

He raises an eyebrow. “That’s new.”

“Am I going to be allowed to question the witness? At this rate, my client will be collecting social security by the time this trial is concluded.”

“If Mr. Mason framed his questions correctly, I wouldn’t be forced to object, Your Honor,” Kennedy says serenely.

“There’s nothing wrong with how my questions are framed,” I growl.

The judge chides us, “Let’s keep the arguments directed my way. And Miss Randolph, let’s refrain from any frivolous objections going forward.”

“Certainly, sir.”

“And on that note, let’s call it a day. Court will reconvene tomorrow, 9 a.m. Adjourned.”

After the judge exits, I reassure Justin with a back pat and a pep talk. Then I pack up my briefcase and turn to head out the door. And who should end up walking out at the exact same time, beside me, but the Hot Bitch herself.

“Certainly, sir,” I mimic in a high-pitched voice. Then lower, “Kiss-ass.”

“I’d rather be a kiss-ass than a dumbass. I didn’t realize you got your law degree from a Cracker Jack box Daddy paid for.”

“Hey.” I swing around in front of her, pointing to my chest. “I buy my own Cracker Jacks.”

She lifts one unimpressed shoulder. “If you say so.”

I let her go ahead of me, because that’s the gentlemanly thing to do—and so I can watch the sway of her tight ass as she walks. It makes me feel a little better.

Halfway down the hall, Tom Caldwell calls Kennedy’s name and she stops to talk to him. Tom’s a straight-laced prosecutor who has faced off against our firm before. He’s not a bad guy, just irksomely upstanding—like overly sweet apple pie. I heard he got engaged recently, to a pretty schoolteacher named Sally.

Stealthily, I crouch down to tie my shoe a few feet away from them—listening. Don’t judge me.

“A group of us are walking over to the Red Barron for happy hour,” Caldwell tells her. “You should come.”

“Sounds like fun! Thanks, Tom—I’m in.” Her voice is cheerful, friendly. She hasn’t spoken to me with that voice in years. Spiky jealousy claws at my gut like a horny porcupine. I watch them walk out together. Fucking Caldwell.

Then I take my cell phone out of my pocket. And call Stanton.

“Goose.” I tell him when he answers. “Suit up—I need a wingman. You, me—happy hour. Like the old days . . . last year.”

His voice is thick with sleep. “Sorry, man, I can’t. We’re nappin’.”

“Napping?” I check my watch. “It’s fucking five o’clock!”

“Sofia’s heavily pregnant if you haven’t noticed.”

“Yeah, but she’s not eighty! And she’s pregnant—what’s your excuse?”

He yawns. “We headed home early. She’ll only rest if I lie down with her, and then we both end up fallin’ asleep. Then I’m wide awake all goddamn night catching up on work. This kid is turning me into a vampire.”

I shake my head. “Feel ashamed, dude. You’re letting the team down.”

“Where’s Jake?”

“Regan’s ballet recital dress-rehearsal. He was bitching about it this morning. That’s punishment enough.”

“Sorry, Brent.”

“Yeah, yeah—go back to your nap, grandpa. Don’t forget to take your teeth out.”

He chuckles. “Fuck you.”

I hang up and blow out a breath. Looks like I’m flying solo on this mission.

• • •

I don’t go straight over to the Red Barron; that would be too obvious. I loiter for forty-five minutes or so—then I walk into the small, one-room bar. It’s old school—beer, wine, and whiskey. There’s a dartboard in the back corner, a small television behind the bar, and a couple of tables and chairs that have seen better days squeezed along the mirrored wall. Even though it’s run-down, the place is packed. I weave between a few patrons, and spot Tom Caldwell’s tall frame among a group of suit-clad men and women clustered at the bar.

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