Total D*ck (Bad Bitch #3)(6)

By: Christina Saunders



He wrinkled his nose at my scab reference and watched as I sat down in a huff. “That bad, huh?”

“And worse.” I spun so I could see the river shining two blocks away. Stone & Porter wasn’t much for firm culture, but you couldn’t beat the view.

“But you hired him?” He took a swig of his coffee and sank into one of my visitors’ chairs.

“Yes.” I took a deep breath and spun back to my desk. “He’ll be here at one. Or, more likely, he’ll be late and throw everything off.”

I put my head down on my desk. Why did he have to be such a prick? I’d gotten a taste of his reputation—skirt chaser and showboat—when Mr. Porter told me we needed a real asshole plaintiff’s attorney on this case. Even with the advance warning, I wasn’t prepared for the man I’d met this morning.

“Everything’s going to be okay.” Graham shifted in his seat. “To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this . . . upset.”

God, was I coming apart in front of the staff? I raised my head and Graham gave me a kind smile. He was a good twenty years older than me, thin wrinkles lining the brown skin around his eyes. He’d probably seen more than his fair share of frazzled associates.

I straightened, determined to prevent Kennedy Granade from ruining my day. “Call Mr. Rhone. Tell him Mr. Granade and I will arrive at his corporate headquarters no later than two o’clock and that we’ll need to speak with Eric.”

“Sure thing, boss. Anything else?” Graham stood and walked toward my door. One thing about him, he was never in a hurry. Even though his work was quick, smart, and impeccably done, he was still type B to the core. I envied him sometimes.

“No, that’s all for now. I may have more later, but I’ll buzz you.”

“All right. Just let me know.” He walked into the hall at a soothing pace and turned right toward his cubicle. I opened my desk drawer. Pulling out my mirror, I smoothed my hair, making sure my bun was tight. Then I powdered my nose. Little things like that always made me feel that I had some semblance of control, that the world wasn’t a series of small disasters like Kennedy Granade.

I spent the rest of the morning organizing the evidence we’d collected so far and working with IT to get two laptops with special access to Rhone’s mainframe set up. The misappropriation of trade secrets by Greenwood seemed to have gone deeper than simple theft. They’d hacked into the securest parts of Rhone’s system, downloading numerous proprietary items of a very sensitive nature—algorithms that took years and the work of the foremost mathematicians in the world.

The morning passed as I worked, the tasks helping me feel in control again. Kennedy had thrown me off for a moment, but nothing more. That moment was over, and I would bring him to heel in short order.

Right after lunch, the receptionist rang in on my phone. “Ms. Carmichael?”

“Yes.”

“Mr. Carey Fellowes is here for you.”

“All right. I’ll be right up.” I stowed what remained of my half-eaten sandwich and brushed the crumbs from my ruby sweater and black skirt as I stood. My kitten heels completed my outfit. Modest and impeccable.

I strode through the office, passing secretaries and other attorneys going about their busy days. Entering the foyer, I found a man who looked to be about twenty-one, if that, with visible tattoos and multiple piercings. His jeans were neat, and he wore a plaid button-down shirt with a skinny black tie.

When I’d called other firms requesting information on the best computer analyst and corporate security expert, Carey Fellowes’s name came up again and again. He wasn’t what I’d expected, but by all accounts, he was brilliant and just what I needed to track down whoever broke into Rhone’s systems.

The receptionist stole glances at him every few moments, the dragon scales snaking up the right side of his neck a particular draw. I hid my own surprise and walked to him, holding out my hand. He smiled and rose, shaking my hand with a firm grip.

“Ms. Carmichael?” He grabbed his laptop bag.

“Yes, but call me Scarlett. Thanks for coming on such short notice.” I dropped his hand and led him through the bright lobby, my heels clicking on the marble floors.

“Sure. From what little you told me on the phone, it seems like an interesting case.”

“It’s the first of this sort I’ve had. We’re in here.” I showed him to the glass conference room, one wall just a wide, clear window to downtown with a good river view. The inner walls were also made of glass, with plush curtains that could be drawn for privacy. “I’ve set up everything on this SSD server.” I pointed to what looked like the usual desktop tower, but was actually a high-powered server linked to our network and hooked into Rhone’s. The laptops I’d had prepared sat at the end of the table. “If you need a laptop, let me know.”

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