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Downing Abbey - Chapter 2

One hot lawyer, one demanding brunette, one case that brings them together.


At some point in every woman’s life, a man’s personality becomes more important than his looks. Whether it’s by choice or by circumstance, it’s the concept that still makes life-long unions possible, and what some consider true love. It signifies the kind of maturity that you and your partner benefit from for the rest of your lives.

And Lucas Brimstone made it glaringly obvious that I was not at that point yet.

I sat down beneath a declining willow, unpacking a familiar lunch of turkey and tomato between cut French baguette. While successful meetings normally would have left me on a mannerly high, I left that building craving my drawer of toys and a hot lawyer calendar. Preferably a Lucas Brimstone edition.

Lust was not a feeling I was familiar with, but one look at those linebacker shoulders and square jaw, and I was lucky I didn’t need to go for a fresh panty run. He was one of those guys that I put into the shirt-optional category, and could definitely do with less of those pants.

He wasn’t the man I expected would show up. No peacock haircut or eight-syllable words – though that fifteen thousand dollar Brioni three-piece was nothing to scoff at. And he could afford a thousand custom suits looking at the firm’s latest quarterly report. Even by New York standards, they were killing it. An image of Luke in a speedo diving into a vault of gold coins popped into my head, and I was in the corner readying my judge’s card for a perfect ten.

He also wasn’t the domineering, my degree says Yale balloon-head most lawyers his age were either. Though he was decisive and direct, he also injected wit and humor into those deep tones, and I can’t remember the last time someone held so many doors for me. Professor Google revealed prodigy, justice warrior, and closer, but left out gentleman. And don’t forget that smile. And those lips. And those teeth. I’d love to play naughty dentist and have him leave marks all over me. And in some ways he did.

I noticed his compassion in the shallow wrinkles on his forehead as he reconsidered his refusal. His overturned decision was based on more than my tactical cleavage – he truly cared about doing the right thing. Definitely more Harvey Dent than Saul Goodman. And judging by the eighteen-inch biceps and mysterious twinkle behind those lashes, a little of Bruce Wayne as well.

Nearly ruining my limited edition Jimmy’s was never great, but that little escapade gave my hands the knowledge that Luke was all fit muscle – more than that modest suit led on. I could do a lot with that canvas. The confusing part was that I wasn’t sure if it happened because I had a momentary condition of goose feet, or if that close encounter with the floor was more deliberate than I wanted to believe.

Or maybe I was just daydreaming about the chest hair poking out from the neckline of his shirt that I wanted to run my fingers through. That peeking patch was such a tease, and all I could think about was unbuttoning another notch . . . or three.

But unarguable was the string of bullshit that spewed out of my mouth afterwards. Why did I lie to him? I was a master of heels. I could walk backwards or sideways. I could jog a mile in five-inchers. I could jump off a moving taxi in them, and have the scar on my thigh to back it up. Hell, I could probably trace the damn alphabet on the floor after half a dozen shots but for all Luke knew, I had the coordination of limp lettuce, all because I got flustered.

Again, not a familiar feeling.

Being a credible manager meant shouldering the blame for the mistakes of both myself and those working beneath me, and that sometimes meant taking customer shit with nods and smiles. Not a week went by without tissueing off spritzes of angry saliva or holding the phone two feet from my face to prevent blowing out an eardrum.

Phrases like “Fuck you bitch” and “You stupid cunt” that once required ten minutes in the bathroom and waterproof mascara were now water off a duck’s back. I had skin thicker than an African Rhino, but something about Lucas Brimstone easily penetrated that rough hide. My cheeks grew hot as I finished that last thought. Okay, let’s parking lot thoughts with both Luke and penetration.

I licked the misplaced sauce off my lower lip, but my mind was too busy reliving those green eyes to taste whether it was mayo or mustard. Hooded by strong brow lines, those emerald orbs flickered and were alive as they gave me the up-down.

I caught his gaze pawing my ass twice during the meeting, and felt it do worse behind my back when he hesitated to introduce himself. He didn’t know, but the windowpane glare caught all of the sudden freeze and raised brows. Giggling, I thought that maybe it was confirmation bias, but that look felt less carnal hunger and more sensual appreciation. Or maybe it’s just because my favorite color was green.

Given his quick reflexes in my damsel in distress moment, a thank you coffee came to mind. But as our eyes locked in that elevator, my mouth did as well, and this tongue that sweet-talked into so many wallets let the moment slip away. What didn’t go was the seed of regret that only blossomed higher as the floors got lower, and I had to give myself a mental backhand to not ride that metal box right back up.

A shake of my head prodded my hands to reach for my phone. I needed help from the maidens that I could always count on and a distraction from thoughts of Luke’s tapered V. While individual American dreams split us up geographically, that little blue box called Facebook messenger made sure the girls were never too far away.

Abigail: Stace! Jules! How are my favorite bitches doing?

Not eight seconds after reaching out, the phone vibrated in my pocket, a sensation that in that moment would be better received closer to my middle.

Stacey: I haven’t had a manicure in weeks and my eyebrows look like conjoined twins. Not to mention the passive-aggressive attitude half of these douchebags I work with seem to have. But otherwise, great!

How are you, Abbs? Any updates on the case?

Julia: Hey, y’all! I’m due for my third vomiting session of the day any minute now. I swear, the pregnant glow wears off fast and there aren’t any as-seen-on-TV paper towels absorbent enough for this shit. And it’s now been four months without sex. Four. Cockless. Months. This little girl better be worth it.

Stacey, take care of yourself. Just because Todd proposed doesn’t mean those caterpillars above your eyes won’t scare him away!

How are you, Abbs? Didn’t you have that meeting with that big-time lawyer today?

Stacey and Julia were the sisters I never had. My gateway into fashion. The gals I’d die for. Though we looked like girls who wouldn’t be caught dead in a house without an indoor jacuzzi, they were my Bunker-mates, and the peeling wallpaper and ant-colony in the kitchen corner never slowed us down. In those two years, we shared laughs and lessons while being each other’s emotional safety net for when those sky-is-falling moments reared their ugly heads. We did the big girl type of growing up together, but now we were growing apart.

Stacey was the bull in our group. The only things tighter than the ship she ran were the jeans she wore, and her stories of breaking male egos were priceless. But that alpha woman energy was hard for men to handle, and she burned through boys like July wildfire. That’s why I had to double take when she let it slip one drunken pub night that she was engaged to Todd, who I didn’t expect to last a month given his soft mannerisms and librarian bifocals. But that cloud nine of communal joy and dreams of being the next-door aunt were shattered when she accepted a human-resources position in Washington two weeks later. I was happy for her and knew that she would finally be among peers in that cutthroat environment, but it also meant two boxes of Kleenex and midnight Toblerones with Jules the night she moved out.

Unlike Stacey, Julia was the level-headed one. She was thoughtful and considerate – perfect mom material. And that was probably why Mathew snatched her up and the wedding in Cancun was just beautiful. I thought that marriage in six months was rushed, but in the words of Beyonce, if you like it, put a ring on it. Dating men five years older felt like soft-core pedophilia when we were uni girls, but Jules needed an older man to match her maturity. Though she never missed a sale at Nordstrom, she spent her free time hidden in classic literature – though you’d be fooled with the way she texts – and it was a matter of time before she outgrew the busy New York lifestyle. Pregnant and married at twenty-five, she decided to move back home and pursue her education degree while getting child care from her parents – it also helped that Mathew could run his e-commerce store anywhere with an internet connection.

Abigail: I hate to agree with bile-breath, Stace, but she’s right. Remember those un-waxed, unshaven forty-year-old moms with the triple-chin kids and a beer-gut husband? We used to judge them from our corner of the restaurant and promised each other we’d never become them. Well, I think you just took the first step. Turn around. Now.

How do you feel nowadays Jules? Can you finish a sentence without having to go pee? I can’t wait until she’s out of you so you can see just how worth it she will be. I’m getting jealous just thinking of her tiny little hand wrapped around your finger. Actually, the fact that it’s been only been four months for you makes me jealous too.

About the meeting today: I had to provoke the obliviously fragile male ego, but I got what I wanted. I hope. It was actually quite embarrassing. I kind of touched his chest. Like rubbed my face all over it. ☹

Stacey: Jeez, I feel like a gallon of condor turd just landed on my face. Don’t worry, I’m all too aware of that hairy, slippery slope. I’m going to make sure I have two distinctly separate brows by the end of the week.

Atta girl! I know you’re gonna deny it but I can tell you like him. Cough up the deats.

Julia: I feel like a walking beer tankard. Heavy and always on tap. August can’t come soon enough.

Stace, you’re so right. Abbey’s in trouble. How did your face meet his chest? I thought this was a business meeting. What’s hotshot’s name anyways?

Stacey: Who cares what he’s called, what does he look like?

I felt highways of blood warm my cheeks. Tucking a loose strand behind my ear, I wondered how they could both tell I was failing miserably on mission stop picturing Luke naked with strawberries in his mouth. Call it some best friend ESP shit.

Abigail: His name is Lucas Brimstone. But I’m sure he wouldn’t mind hotshot. Emphasis on the hot. I won't deny it. He looks like, well, a walking hunk of man-candy. I didn’t know my ovaries could sing before today.

I tripped and fell into him and almost broke the zebra Jimmy’s in the process.

Julia: First of all, there aren’t any guys who are worth losing a pair of those darlings for. Second, I think you should tell your ovaries to shut up because this guy’s your only shot of giving that bastard Brett his just desserts.

Stacey: Holy crap I just Googled him. Hubba bubba. And he’s running a law firm? If you don’t jump on him, I’m hopping on the next plane back to NYC to smack some sense into you!

And Brett is the most bastardly of bastards.

Julia: Don’t listen that crap, Abbs. If you screw this up, it’ll be the most expensive dick you’ve ever had. No matter how much of an Adonis he is.

Stacey: Judging by his height and his size thirteen shoes, that cock would be a bargain on a per-inch basis.

Stacey: Facebook status says single. Just saying.

Julia: Abbs. . .

I sighed, not knowing how to feel about Stacey cyber-stalking my new lawyer and twice as confused as ten minutes ago. On my left shoulder, daddy’s little girl knew that Julia was right. Brett deserved the modern-equivalent of a public whipping for what he did to me. In fact, put me in a cage with that fucker for five rounds and bench the ref. But then there was that siren with the cherry black lips and uneven pigtails looking over my other shoulder. She whispered into my ear, pulling me in and cutting off all thought except ones of doing laundry on Luke’s washboard abs.

He certainly had my attention, but the more exciting part was that I had his as well. For as long as I could remember, I never attracted the right guys.

In high school, muscles were necessary for those moments when you needed to bite down and swing, but the only guys who gave me attention either saw me as high-five material or were disingenuous chasers who wanted to score on the fighting chick. Though I succeeded at college, I continued to fail on relationships and doubled down by blocking out everything that didn’t have a price tag on it. Add that to my OCD-level pickiness and a habit to always swipe left and I could count the number of guys I’ve been with on the fingers of one hand. Not including the thumb.

All things considered, hunky lawyer was a nice change of pace from bar creep. I stopped counting at six, but it’s been too many months since I’ve started going to bed alone. After I walked in on Sam’s cock playing speed bag with some whore’s uvula, I swore off men. I was going play house with my job, and bought this sapphire on my finger and called it a purity ring. Pretty soon, photos from Stacey and Julia with their boos made me miss that warm body, and I ended up crawling around a few bars. Instead of sexy strangers who knew how to fill a suit, bars seemed to be breeding grounds for tight shirt bros with ironic beards – with about as much charisma as the slack in their tops. When has the standard hello been officially replaced by ‘sup’?

But just because I was bad at love didn’t mean I was unhappy. Single life suited me. I didn’t need to feel ashamed of slipping into yoga pants and out of my bra the moment my apartment door closed or consider someone else’s preference during a Friends rerun marathon. I could take an entire afternoon hunting for that silky little number on the cover of Vogue or take a stupid amount of time deciding which flavor of gelato I was taking home. I could have carrots and ranch for dinner five nights in a row without hearing a complaint. There was no one I needed to report to if I was staying late nights at the store, no one telling me to start worrying about the leaning tower of Pisa in my sink, and no one else’s bullshit I had to handle when I barely had my own act together. I valued my freedom, and I didn’t like following orders.

Don’t get me wrong, I was by-the-book for as long as I could remember. I inherited the keener genes from my mom and my grades showed it. I was the car that you changed lanes to pass and shook your head at when you saw it was a girl in her twenties instead of a white-haired lady. I set two alarm clocks every night, and I showed up ten minutes early to every eight AM class in college. I treated one-night-stands like myths and made boyfriends roll on a rubber even though I was on the pill. I guess I liked following rules . . . and also breaking them.

Contemplating if I could combine the two concepts, a thought struck of being propped on my knees in front of Luke, following every order to the T. The idea made me squeeze my thighs together and groan audibly, drawing confused looks from the couple next to me, but an innocent smile and the lunch bag between my legs kept my dignity intact. A quick glance at the Michael Kors on my wrist abbreviated the fantasy and I began pounding pavement back to the store. The barely-touched sandwich found a home in the garbage bin, and I felt like the cool head I was known for was right there with it.

I knew what I should do and but also what I wanted to do. Normally, those two were in sync, but not today. And while I usually did what was necessary, that bitch over my shoulder was not shutting her mouth.



Eight long hours after a hurried lunch of a Subway BMT, the pile of Simco files seemed taller than when I began. I rubbed my temples and grunted. Steve finally brought me my cup of joe – though two months in and he still doesn’t know I don’t take cream – but it didn’t look promising for my plan to get home before sunset. Dropping my man-pride, I fumbled with my phone to send out an SOS, which didn’t get through the first ring before Chris picked up. ‘I have one minute. What is it?’

We nicknamed Chris “Captain America” because of his ability to lead and inability to stop working. He made sure that every task on the agenda got cleared, even if that meant running Jacob, Jillian, and I into the ground to do so. While Jacob brought amazing publicity for the firm and Jillian made sure everyone was on schedule, Chris was the right Brimstone at the helm.

‘I’m literally drowning here in Simco. Do you have anyone capable I could borrow?’ I moaned into the dead air.

‘First of all, everyone that works here is capable, because I personally interview all of them,’ he diverged. ‘Second, no, every extra hand I’ve got is covering for Garrett’s hand-outs right now. Did you hear about that?’

‘Yeah. I can’t fucking believe him. He’s the reason why we’re both going to get gray hairs before forty,’ I said, holding my forehead in my palm. ‘But seriously. I need someone over here.’

‘What about . . . Steve?’ he said nonchalantly, but I could tell he was holding back a laugh.

‘No. Just. No. I don’t care if he’s technically a lawyer – I don’t believe he passed the bar no matter what Aunt Marge says,’ I muttered. ‘Speaking of Steve, he puts a hole in your theory of “only capable people work here”.’

‘We owe Margery this – after all she’s done for us I’d give her both kidneys. I got to go, but give Steve a chance. After all, we share blood,’ he said, more serious than before.

‘I wish you’d loosen your hiring –’ but the call cut off. Muttering under my breath about rude phone etiquette, I contemplated whether I should ask Steve.

I didn’t want to work with Steve. It’s not that I didn’t like my cousin, it’s just that his entire persona screamed underachiever. He’s the only person in this firm that clocked in wearing mandals and eclectic button-downs that he never buttoned. Don’t even get me started on the zipper that may as well just be an open flap and the untrimmed facial hair that announced to the world he’s either homeless or a refugee.

He had a degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, which is like saying he had a gold sticker from winning a bingo competition. One look at him and I assigned him to be the beverage boy – and he’s probably doing worse than if we hired a chimp. It took him an hour to get a damn coffee, probably in part due to him spilling it on himself half the time, and there’s an average of three exchanges before we got the correct order from a Starbucks run.

Swearing under my breath about Chris’ overtly strict hiring process leaving us under-staffed, I downed the dairy-infused fluid and leaned back in my chair. It wasn’t late enough for complete silence, but enough people have left already to where the background noise was minimal. Though I should be focused on work, I needed a distraction.

I decided to check my voicemails and other than a few needy hands, there were three from none other than Abigail May. A smile tugged my lips wider and wider as I listened.

‘Hey, Luke! It’s Abigail from earlier today. Just wondering if there were any developments yet in the case. Please contact me if you need anything!’

‘Hi, Luke. Abigail again. I think that it’s important for me to tell you that I haven’t spoken with Brett since that day. So. Yeah. Anything else, call me!’

‘It’s me again. Just an update: I’ll be working late tonight, so please, don’t hesitate if you need any information! I’ll have my phone strapped to me all night.’

All night. I’d like to strap myself to her all night. And also be inside her all night. Whoa, that escalated quickly.

I spent the better part of my lunch break thinking about if I should have said anything to Abigail before she left. Something that could be interpreted as both a gesture of kindness but also an invitation for much more. 'Operation: Get Into Hot Client’s Pants' perfused throughout the afternoon, and I was basically working at half capacity – hence the pickle I was in.

I brought out her case files and looked over guiltily at the mound of documents I should be going through instead. Hoping I wouldn’t end up regretting the decision with little conviction, I called Steve over the intercom, and surprisingly, he showed up immediately. ‘Steve, I need you to assess these documents for me. Look for any irregularities with employee payment. Especially for their female staff,’ I mumbled through clenched teeth.

‘Wait, is this for real? You’re letting me do actual work?’ The surprise in his voice only furthered my uncertainty and the open fly didn’t add any confidence either.

‘Yes, I’m swamped at the moment and you never shut up about how you’re a lawyer just like the rest of us, so can you do this or not?’ I said with more force than necessary.

‘Chill out bro. I’ve got you,’ he said, but I couldn’t take him seriously over the dog-bone pattern and mystery stain on his shirt.

‘What the hell is that? Mayonnaise?’ I said as I pointed to his left shoulder.

He grabbed at his collar and angled his shirt to view the stain. ‘Oh, how’d that get there?’ he laughed. ‘It’s ranch dip. Goes great with chicken wings.’ He began licking his fingers, and I almost wanted to throw him out the window and blame it on a mandal-tripping fiasco.

‘Stop – Stop licking yourself!’ I snarled, and he maintained eye contact as he gave himself two more provoking licks before wiping his fingers on his pre-ripped jeans, but that dumb grin stayed. ‘Damn it kid! I – you – you know what, never mind. Listen, I need a list of anything that doesn’t match last year’s salary distributions and pay special attention to the females. Also, give me a comparison of the profits in their last twelve months to the reported earnings of the executive staff.’ The words raced out of my mouth, and that grin slowly crept even further across Steve’s freckled face.

‘You made a great decision,’ he grinned. Pulling up a chair next to me, he grabbed a handful of files and swung his feet a little too familiarly atop my desk.

‘First of all, if I catch you using my desk as a footrest again, you’re leaving with broken ankles,’ I said as I brushed his flip-flops off my veneer countertop. ‘Second, you better wash your hands before touching any more files, this isn’t Aunt Marge’s basement.’ He scowled at me, but I continued. ‘Third, I need my space. We have three conference rooms that are collecting dust – why don’t you make yourself at home in one of them?’

‘Hey you’re asking for the help here so a little appreciation would be nice,’ he grumbled as he jumped up and took two boxes with him, mandals slapping against the granite floor. As he walked out, I heard him shout, ‘Not a coffee-boy anymore!’

‘For now. If you’re better at reading than getting drinks,’ I muttered under my breath. My stomach growled but I wanted to get to Abigail’s case, so I tempted my appetite with a handful of almonds from the stash I kept in my drawer and began pouring over the notes.

An hour in, it didn’t look promising. At face value, it was a situation that was impossible to prove because everything happened behind closed doors. Sure, a sales associate saw Abigail leave Brett’s office that day distraught but otherwise, the well of witnesses ran dry.

There was also a natural angle that Brett’s defense team would look to exploit: Abigail was spreading slander for a promotion, or to take over Brett’s position. I stood up and walked over to the iPod system in the corner of my office, putting on “Youth” by Daughter, a track that always inspired creativity.

I sat back with my hands on my knees, allowing thoughts to find me.

From my years in poker competitions, I learned that when the game looked dire, you played the man. If you could get the other person to think you’ve got a home run in your hands, then they’ll fold. But to get to that point, you need to know everything about your opponent.

Brett Saunders was a man who was as clean as they came. No prior DUIs, no petty theft, and no criminal record. The damn guy didn’t even have a parking ticket to his name, but that was intriguing to me. I didn’t know anyone with as spotless of a record as him and that was entirely fishy. You know what they say about things that seem too good.

I decided to call a friend from Social Security, and boom. Brett Saunders used to live in Los Angeles under the name of Anthony Smith. And while Brett Saunders didn’t have any prior assault charges, Anthony Smith did. A workplace-related charge was filed against him, although it didn’t stick – the judge rendered the evidence insufficient for trial. A clerical error during the conversion process cleared his name and it looked like that degenerate was thinking with his cock again.

This was it. If we could get that woman to testify in court, then we’d have a real chance of winning. Butterflies in my stomach at the good news, I quickly dialed Abigail’s number, gazing outside at the dark evening, impressed that she was working so late.

‘Hi, Luke!’ her voiced popped. ‘Did you get my voicemails?’

‘Hello, Abigail. Yes, yes I did. You were hard to miss,’ I chuckled. ‘There’s good news and bad news. Which would you like first?’

‘After the day I had, I need some good news right now,’ she moaned. Fuck, I could listen to that sound all night.

‘The good news is that I found someone else who was also assaulted by Brett, and if we can get her on board as a witness, we have a real chance of winning,’ I said, words tumbling out of my mouth faster than normal.

‘Oh, my – Luke! That’s fantastic!’ her voice changed from tired to spunky in a second, and I wondered if she had enough energy for what I had in mind. ‘What’s the bad news?’

‘The bad news is that she lives in Los Angeles, and the charge was six years ago. In short, it’ll be hard to get her to re-open that can of worms.’

‘Oh. So what should we do? We need her on board.’

I had eight possibilities ready to go, but I wanted to see her again. Soon.

‘Give me the night to think of options. Let’s discuss more tomorrow. Do you have any time to swing by, say, at five in the afternoon?’ I asked, with a plan in mind.

‘No, but I’ll make time for you,’ she said quietly, forcing me to take a deep, centering breath.

‘Great. I’ll see you here. Tomorrow. Good night,’ I said gingerly into the phone.

‘Good night Lucas,’ she said, voice brushed with hints of fatigue. We both stayed on for a few seconds longer than necessary, and the game was on.

The next day blew by fast, as Steve and I got through all of Simco’s files, which I couldn’t have done on my own. Though his handwriting looked like dog slobber, the kid had a sharp eye. He spotted the irregularities that I asked him to and worked fast. Who knew the kryptonite to this billion-dollar corporation was Steve? He had good instincts, and with some more training, we might actually find a use for him. Go fucking figure.

‘Cousin, sixty percent of people are lactose-intolerant. There isn’t any shame in admitting you’re one of them,’ Steve said after I told him to bring me another coffee without cream.

‘I’m not lactose-intolerant. I just prefer the taste without cream,’ I sighed.

‘Well, that’s kind of picky of you. It’s just a little cow lactate.’

‘Yeah, not selling it. Another coffee. Now,’ I said agitatedly.

About half an hour later, I heard a knock at my door.

‘Steve, you know the door is unlocked!’ I snarled as I traipsed across the room for the door. ‘And why does it take you so –’ I stopped myself as I swung the door open and heard it crash into the wall, Abigail’s petite frame drawing the air out of my lungs.

‘Hi Mr. Brimstone. Is this a bad time…?’ she murmured.

I checked my watch and noticed that it was two minutes to five. ‘Shit. No, it’s the perfect time. Please, come in Abigail,’ I said as I motioned to the chairs. ‘And just Luke, please,’ I said as I pulled out a chair for her.

‘Then call me Abbey. I know “Abigail” can be a mouthful,’ she said.

Oh, I bet you are, I thought as I stole a down-blouse of her full breasts as she sat. Abigail removed her summer jacket, and instead of a business suit like yesterday, she revealed a tight little black dress. There was no room for error in that top, as her rack was taking up all of the slack.

Instead of taking her extended hand, I was staring at those decadent brunette locks that looked cinnamon in the late afternoon light. I’ve never paid much attention to hair before, but these fibers warranted to be held in the hammer of my fist while I hammered deep inside her.

‘Luke?’ she asked quizzically. Shit. A familiar bulge warned, as I had to bend at the waist to shake her hand before quickly taking my seat behind the desk.

‘So, Luke. I hope you have some options for me,’ she said, setting down her handbag.

I nodded in acknowledgment, lacing my fingers together on my desk. ‘I do, and all of them involve first making contact with this woman. Cheryl. Cheryl Wynn.’

‘And how do we plan on doing that?’ she asked, placing on leg over the other and granting me a view of the flavor of heels for today. Red and ready, I never cared about heels but I sure did now.

I wondered how flexible that little package was. I bet those heels would look fantastic bent up behind those brunette locks or split with one foot on the floor and the other on this desk. Though my desk was off limits for Steve’s beach footwear, I’d make an exception for Abigail. In more ways than one.

‘I think we start by understanding her version of the story of what happened that day, and I think we get there by calling her directly, even meeting her in-person if necessary. Yes, I could just read the case files, but we want her to know that we heard the story directly from her,’ I said, mind half-absent. ‘Then we go from there and see if she’s willing to cooperate.’

She scrunched her lips up into that pouty frown, a telltale sign she was deep in that little head of hers. Her mouth was small, and I couldn’t look away from those lips the same shade of red as her heels, wondering how deep down my shaft she could leave a ring of lipstick.

‘And you’re going to handle that yourself?’ she asked.

‘Yes, I think I have the relevant experience to handle something like this,’ I said, slightly interested in her line of questioning.

‘Hmm… how would you feel if I spoke to her first?’ she asked, grinning as she adjusted her other leg on top. ‘You may be better at lawyer-talk, but I can be extremely convincing.’

Then convince me why I shouldn’t rip that little dress right off of you right now, I thought.

Dammit, I was too old for boners on demand, but there was no doubt that a shot of Abigail’s mid-thigh was more effective than two doses of Viagra.

Reign yourself in.

I leaned back in my chair. Having a client negotiate with key witnesses was unheard of, unprofessional. There was a reason why I was the best closer in this firm – no, in the damn city. I made sure I did my homework before the conversation even happened and I had plans A through Z on standby.

This meeting was no exception.

While my priority was to win this case, spending as much time with Abigail was also a secondary incentive. A bonus that made this much more worthwhile. Allowing her in would mean sharing information with her about Cheryl. It was certainly a potential strategy, and having a reason for late lights with Miss May didn’t hurt either. I clenched my jaw, excited at the potential for more there, but I had to know if she had doubts.

‘Abigail –’

‘Just Abbey is fine,’ she smiled.

I breathed out a chuckle from my nose. She wasn’t afraid to be heard, but I guess I already figured that out from the eight voicemails she left me since last night.

‘Abbey,’ I restarted. ‘What you’re asking for is very unconventional. And I have to question if it’s because you see me as unfit for the task myself.’

She dragged her eyes across my chest and said, ‘Luke, I don’t think “unfit” is a fair word to describe you. Not at all. I just think that Cheryl may be more willing to open up to someone who went through a similar experience she did.’

I nodded. She had a point. But whether she had the ability to keep up was a potential issue. Another issue was whether she could take all eight and a half inches of me, but one problem at a time.

‘Fair enough,’ I said, processing the logistics of the arrangement. ‘If you’re serious about this, however, there are contingencies involved.’

‘Oh, is this where you sell me?’ she winked. She fucking winked at me during a case meeting. ‘Please, what did you have in mind?’

‘One, I’m going to be present at every conversation. You don’t see her without me. You don’t speak to her without me. Understood?’

‘Yes, Luke,’ she said without hesitation. ‘Anything else?’

Mmm. Say “Yes Luke” again while my cock is thrusting inside you. In fact, scream my name again and again while you’re an inch away from exploding all over me.

‘Two, you’re going to have to know everything I know about Cheryl. Everything from her favorite color to the reason her husband left her, which by the way, happened.’

‘That makes sense,’ she nodded. ‘Prepare the shit out of me.’

I started laughing immediately, she joined in on the fun, and that sound, that sweet bubbly sound was something I could listen to forever. ‘Oh Abigail, no one’s ever said that to me during a meeting before,’ I said while taking in a leveling breath. ‘Prepare the shit out of you? I can do that.’

‘Fantastic! I’m a quick learner, Luke,’ she said, smiling with both lips and tits. Call me crazy, but trust me, those tits were smiling.

It was clear I wanted her, and all of her. I desired her in a way that was unfamiliar to me, and while that was scary in its own right, what scared me more was never getting the opportunity to find out.

‘Yes, but that leads me to my next point: we’ll have to go over notes together. Sometimes, that could be time-consuming,’ I warned.

This is where I throw out the bait.

‘I have a lot on my plate with other projects, so we may have to meet outside of work hours,’ I said with feigned consideration.

Now the ball is in her court.

She frowned at me as if I said something that was impossibly stupid. It was slightly aggravating, but a hard spanking would wipe that look right off. ‘Luke . . . I hope you don’t think of me as someone who’s afraid of hard work. I’m a very hard worker. Mondays through Friday, I don’t do much else except work and sleep. I’m game for anything.’

Oh, that’s a bold declaration.

To be honest, that statement took me by surprise. Not to belittle her choice of career, but I didn’t expect a sales manager – executive sales manager, woops – to have such long hours. Perhaps she could be convinced of the type of arrangement I was used to: Something with very few strings and even fewer clothing. Excitement flared in my belly. ‘Well, then you wouldn’t have a problem meeting me at a bar tomorrow evening to discuss more?’

Her eyebrows lifted. ‘A bar? Isn’t that kind of… rowdy to talk strategy?’

Smiling at her skeptical face, I said in my most captivating tone, ‘You clearly haven’t been to the type of bars I go to, Abbey.’


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