Exclusive Excerpt: Balancing the Scales
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BALANCING THE SCALES.
Your first look at hotshot Manhattan attorney, Drew Harrington.
EXTRACT - BALANCING THE SCALES
Not for reproduction.
(c) LBM Media Limited
We pull up outside a high-rise in the middle of bustling Midtown Manhattan. The modern glass building is home to Statham Turner, one of the top three law firms in New York and one of the best law firms in the world. That isn’t just because I happen to be a partner at the firm—that is coincidence, mostly.
I tug the cuffs of my suit jacket to straighten the arms as I step onto the sidewalk. Once I’ve closed the door, I pat the roof of the car twice. Dipping my head in acknowledgement to a familiar suited colleague, who definitely works at the firm but whose name I can’t remember, I stride past the revolving door of Lexington Tower.
At the end of the block, I find my destination. Fabio’s bagel truck. There’s only one thing for it, pre-court. Jarlsberg. A bagel crammed full of copious amounts of melted Jarlsberg.
Fabio leans out of the truck to hand a customer a foil-wrapped bagel. He clocks me when he lifts his head and flashes me a toothy welcome. “Drew. My main man.” His Italian accent always makes that sound peculiar to me.
I’m just yards from my breakfast. I open my mouth to say hey but some blond woman moves into my path and steals Fabio’s attention.
I’m going to line up for a bagel? Seriously?
Fabio shrugs when I shake my head but serves Blondie. I check her out from behind, and I check out her behind.
If she’s going to make me wait it’s not like I have anything better to do. It’s either ogling or foot tapping, and I don’t feel like tapping my foot today.
She’s petite. Slim shoulders and waist. My guess is she’s about five-four, maybe five-five, in her flat shoes. Small though she is, that ass could wreak havoc on a man. Perfectly sculpted in tight jeans. Her T-shirt sits just below the waistline of her pants and lets me see those two cupable globes.
“Erm, what do you have?” she asks Fabio. Her accent is British. Like the kind of British in movies. The kind of British my wealthy clients from that side of the pond speak.
“Bagels, lady. I got bagels.”
“Erm, right. I guess I’ll take cheese?”
I can’t help but roll my eyes, already knowing what Fabio’s next words will be.
“What kind of cheese, lady?”
“I’m not sure. What kind do you have?”
I hang my head back and look to the clouds for the strength I need to get me through this painful experience. This is why only New Yorkers should eat from New York food trucks. The growl of frustration inside my mind must actually come out loud because Blondie turns her head across her shoulder to look at me. There’s no mistaking her expression for anything other than a wicked scowl. She tuts and turns back to Fabio. Annoying as she is, she’s hot. Fully hot.
As I’m having that thought, she throws me a second glance. It’s fleeting but long enough for me to see her big, beautiful, alluring, blue eyes. The blue is dark, like the deep sea, but they seem to sparkle like diamonds catching the morning sunlight.
As pretty as she is, this is not a bar at midnight, and I have places to be. I raise my arm, unsubtly, and stare at the minute hand of my Omega. I receive another tut in response. Maybe I do want to tap my foot after all.
“Whatever cheese you have that melts. And tomatoes, please.”
Fabio sets about making her food and I give myself another moment to indulge in that fine body.
“You want coffee?” Fabio asks.
Christ, don’t ask her another question.
My thoughts must have left my mouth because Blondie says, “Yes, please,” to the coffee, then “Are you always such a dick, arsehole?” to me.
I’m not sure if it’s the level of feistiness coming from such a small thing, the hands on her hips, or the insult itself, that makes me smirk. “Which is it, dick or asshole?”
She huffs her next breath as Fabio tells her she owes him four bucks. She takes the small satchel she’s carrying from her shoulder and starts rummaging around.
And she rummages.
For the love of God.
I take a ten-dollar bill from my wallet and hand it to Fabio. “Here, it’s on me.” I step around her and tell Fabio, “I’ll take my usual for court day.”
“Sure thing, Drew.”
He’s already made my bagel, knowing from yesterday that I’m in court today, and knowing how I like my Jarlsberg on court days. He pours me a black coffee and tells me the ten will cover both Blondie’s breakfast and mine.
I strip back the foil wrapper around my bagel. I’m taking my first, sensational bite as I turn from the cart, only to find my path blocked by Blondie.
“I didn’t ask you to do that.”
“I know,” I manage through my full mouth as I walk past her.
“You’re so bloody rude, do you know that? People in this city, damn it.”
Riled, I turn back to face her. She hasn’t moved. Her lips are pressed tightly together. “People in this city know how to get shit done. You tourists shouldn’t come out to play during work hours. I have to be in court in an hour.”
That scowl is back. Her brows are furrowed. And damn, the woman looks fine when she pouts. Especially with that chest puffed out and those two, magnetic mounds drawing me in.
“For your information, I’m not a tourist. This is actually my lunch break. While you New Yorkers are sleeping, I’m killing myself in a patisserie kitchen from four a.m. So, shove that in your bagel and eat it.”
I never laugh on the morning of a trial. In fact, I don’t laugh all that often. But a laugh comes from so low in my gut, it rocks my body. “Shove that in my bagel and eat it?”
Her frown is broken by a smile that I can tell she’s trying to fight. Dimples form at the sides of her pink lips. Sweet, charming dimples. She forces them away. “Whatever. Thanks for breakfast.”
She turns on her heel and I could let her go. Instead, I call out, “I thought you said it was lunch.”
“Whatever, smart arse. I thought you said you had to be in court, like, yesterday.” She shouts her words down the sidewalk as she comes to a stop by a crossing.
“I do have to be in court. I guess you have to go back to making cupcakes, Blondie.”
She shouts something that’s lost in the sound of cab horns and the subway running beneath my feet. I’m pretty sure she used at least one expletive and I’m almost certain she doesn’t make cupcakes for a living. There’s a good chance she also likes birds.
I head to my office but not without casting one last glance at the curvy, stubborn woman with the sweetest damn smile I’ve ever seen. She has crossed the road but turns to look right back at me. I raise my coffee and shake my head.
Crazy, indecisive Brit. Manhattan is going to eat her alive.
END OF EXTRACT
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