Love Irresistibly(6)

By: Julie James



criminal cases he’d prosecuted. Although, not infrequently, people still remembered him for his other claim to fame.

The guard pointed. “Cade Morgan. Quarterback at Northwestern, right?”

Bingo.

“That’s right,” he said.

“What was that, twelve years ago?” the guard asked.

“I remember watching your last game.” He grinned. “It’s not like Northwestern goes to the Rose Bowl every year, right? You carried those guys there.”

Cade brushed this off modestly. “It was a good team. We ran a really strong spread offense that year.”



The guard gestured excitedly. “That last play was beautiful. Probably one of the best moments I’ve seen in college football. Really a shame about your shoulder, though. They said you would’ve gone pro.”

This was true. Cade very well may have gone on to play professional football, if a two-hundredand-thirty-pound linebacker hadn’t taken him down hard in an attempted sack just a half second after he’d released the ball. When they’d hit the ground, the linebacker’s full weight had come down on Cade’s right shoulder, his throwing arm, and he’d known immediately that the situation was bad. A couple of hours later, after being rushed to the emergency room, X-rays had confirmed he’d suffered

both a broken collarbone and a torn rotator cuff.

A career-ending injury, as it turned out.

Cade nodded in the direction of the elevators.

“Which floor for Sterling?” he asked the guard.

“Oh. Right. Third floor. Offices are on the north side of the building, at the end of the hall.” After thanking the guard, Cade and the two FBI agents made their way to the elevators. Agent Roberts waited until the elevator doors closed. “How old does that get?”

Cade shrugged. “It’s one of those sports moments people like to talk about.” He eyed the Starbucks cup that Vaughn carried, deliberately changing the subject. “Did you get another chance to flash your badge at the cute barista?”

He and Vaughn had known each other for seven years, ever since they’d worked on their first case together, a simple single-defendant bank robbery trial. It’d been the first time both of them had been in front of a jury—Cade as the prosecutor and Vaughn as the testifying agent—and for the most part, neither of them had any clue what they were doing.

Still, they’d somehow managed to get a guilty verdict, and afterward they’d gone out for celebratory drinks and had spent most of the time making

fun of each other’s courtroom screwups. They’d been good friends ever since.

In response to Cade’s question, Vaughn shot a look at Agent Huxley, who’d been his partner in the white-collar crime division for the past year. “You told him about that?”

“Of course I told him about that. It was one of the least suave pickup moves I’ve ever seen.” Huxley pulled out his badge, pretending to be Vaughn. “‘I’ll pay for that skinny vanilla latte with my Starbucks card, which—well, look at that—just so happens to be right here next to my FBI badge.’”

“That’s not how it went down. I told you, she asked to see the badge.”



“How’d she know that you’re an agent?” Cade asked.

“I may have mentioned it at some point.” Vaughn grinned innocently. “What? The job impresses the ladies.”

The elevator arrived at the third floor. “Right. I’m sure she thought you were a real badass with your skinny vanilla latte.” Cade stepped out of the elevator, leading the other two men as they headed down the hallway. Quickly, the dynamic between them turned more businesslike as they approached Sterling’s offices.

“How do you think Brooke Parker is going to react?” Huxley asked Cade.

Well, if Cade were a betting man, he’d hazard a guess that the general counsel of Sterling was going to be a wee bit ticked off at the sudden and unexpected appearance of an assistant U.S.

attorney

and two FBI agents on her office doorstep.

Actually, this was probably something that most people would not enjoy.

But unfortunately, time was of the essence. They had barely more than forty-eight hours to pull everything together, and he needed to speak with Brooke Parker before she left work for the weekend.

He’d had no choice but to take things up a notch.

“Once I explain the situation, I’m sure that Ms.



Parker will see the value in cooperating with us.” Huxley raised an eyebrow. “And if she doesn’t?”

“Then I’ll explain it again.”

Granted, Cade knew that what they were asking of Ms. Parker was a bit . . . unusual. For that reason, he had every intention of being gracious and polite during this meeting. At the end of the day, however, he harbored little doubt that she would agree to play ball with them. Some of this confidence stemmed from the fact that he generally believed—and maybe this was simply the idealistic prosecutor in him—that reasonable, law-abiding citizens understood the value of doing their civic duty when called to action.

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