Home > Sustained (The Legal Briefs #2)

Sustained (The Legal Briefs #2)
Author: Emma Chase

Prologue

I don’t use an alarm clock. I’m one of those people with an internal timepiece that wakes me up at the same time every morning, regardless of how tired I am or how late I was up the night before. I was that kid—you mothers know the type I mean. The kind who makes you beg for just a few more minutes of rest before you eventually lay down the law that no one’s allowed out of bed before the sun shows up.

Which explains why, even though it’s Sunday, my eyelids crack open at five a.m. sharp. I stretch out the sore stiffness in my complaining muscles, caused by lack of sleep . . . and from the strenuous workout after we got home from the bar.

I kick back the covers and climb out of bed, still naked, and walk past the head of soft blond hair that peeks out from under the blankets, to the bathroom. After a satisfying piss, I brush the foul residue from my teeth and splash cold water on my face, slicking back my unruly black hair. With a groan, I crack my neck and stretch my arms.

I’m getting too old for this shit.

But then I remember the finer details of the evening’s second act. The thrill of a new hookup, the verbal gamesmanship—saying just the right thing in just the right way. The sweaty foreplay, the hot, tight fucking, the long legs over my shoulders . . . and I grin.

There’s no such thing as too old.

I walk to my closet for a T-shirt and sweatpants, then silently head out to the kitchen. I press the button on the ready coffeemaker—forget dogs; a good coffeemaker is man’s real best friend. While it brews, I switch on the small flat-screen perched on the counter; the early-morning anchors drone on about the latest world horrors, sports stats, and weather.

Stanton, my roommate from law school, moved out last year to live with Sofia—a fellow attorney at my firm. Stanton’s a hell of a guy, Sofia’s a kick-ass woman, and though they started out as banging buddies only, I could see them going domesticated from a mile away. Having the apartment to myself has been fantastic. Not that Stanton was a slob, but he’s a former frat boy. I’m an organized guy; I like things a certain way—my way. Routine. Discipline. Neat and easy are words to live by. My mother always said I’d make a great military man, if it wasn’t for the authority factor. The only orders I follow are my own.

Steam wafts from my cup of black coffee as I step out onto the balcony, sipping it slowly, while the silent DC street comes alive around me.

The anchor’s nasal voice seeps out from the open balcony door. “I-495 was closed yesterday for several hours due to a collision that claimed the life of noted environmental lobbyist Robert McQuaid and his wife. The cause of the deadly crash is still under investigation. In other local news . . .”

Delicate arms wrap around my waist from behind as small hands fold together over my abs. A soft cheek presses against my back. “Come back to bed,” she whines sweetly. “It’s sooo early.”

Sorry, Cinderella, but the clock struck twelve. The coach has turned back into a pumpkin and it’s time to collect your glass slipper. I never pretended to be Prince Charming.

Some women can handle a nameless one-night stand or a casual hookup. But honestly, most can’t. As long as they understand sex is the only thing I have to offer, the only thing I want in return, I’m up for a repeat. The minute their eyes get that soft, sentimental—or worse—wounded look, I’m out. I don’t have time for games, don’t have any interest in talking about “where this could go.”

I twist out of the blonde’s arms. She follows as I walk back into the kitchen and put my empty cup in the sink. “I’m going for a run. There’s coffee in the pot and cab money on the front table. You don’t need to be here when I get back.”

Plump lips—that were delightfully stretched around my cock last night—now form an unhappy pout. “You don’t have to be an asshole.”

I shrug. “I don’t have to be . . . it’s just easier that way.”

I slip into my running shoes and walk out the front door.

1

Four weeks later

They treated me like a common criminal! It was humiliating.”

Milton Cooper Carrington Bradley. Heir to a renowned international luxury hotel empire . . . and a perpetual client of mine. Chronological age? Twenty. Mental age? Four.

“Stupid peasants didn’t know who they were dealing with! I told them I’d have their jobs.”

Yes—his name is actually Milton Bradley. Obviously his parents are dipshits.

“Especially the head stewardess—she was a rude bitch. You play racquetball with the president of that airline, don’t you, Dad? I want her gone.”

And this particular apple sure stuck close to the tree.

I lean back in my chair as he continues to whine to his father about the unfair rules of the flight crew and all he wants done in retribution. I’m a criminal defense attorney at Adams & Williamson—one of an elite group of rising stars at this firm. But this is the year that counts. It’s time to pull away from the pack—to demonstrate to the partners that I’m one of their own. The stud in the stable. The best.

Unlike my coworkers, who also happen to be my closest friends, I’m not hindered by time suckers like family, girlfriends, marriage, and kids—the ultimate third rail for any career-driven adult. My lack of outside distractions makes proving my commitment to the firm, displaying my skill, just a little bit easier. I like my job. Wouldn’t say I love it—but I’m really fucking good at it. It’s interesting. Challenging. Keeps me on my toes. Because criminal defense isn’t about defending the weak or protecting the innocent—it’s a game. Taking the hand you’re dealt, the facts of the case, and spinning them to your advantage. Outsmarting, outmaneuvering the prosecution. Winning when all the odds say you can’t.

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