Love The Way You Kiss Me - Willow Winters Page 0,1

doors to correct myself. I’m not taking the news from the phone call, and the memories that come with it, into work with me. I can’t. That cursed entity needs to go back in the locked box where it lives most of the time. Calm focus. Eyes on the client. Don’t fuck it up.

The door to the courtroom opens beneath my hand with a muffled squeak. Although adrenaline courses through my veins at knowing I’m surely disturbing the ongoing hearing, I keep my outward appearance unperturbed. It’s one of the smaller courtrooms, which makes it even more obvious that I’m late. Nothing I can do about it now except stride in and take my place.

Damon’s the only one to turn his head and watch me walk up the center aisle, even though the rest of the team’s scattered along the last two benches too. Cade has a front-row seat to the proceedings. He’s angled forward in his chair, breathing down the neck of the client’s lawyer. Silas sits next to him, dark eyes trained on the judge, silent as usual. Dane’s on his other side, with Damon behind him. Just as Damon and I make up a pair when it comes to relying on someone from the team, Silas and Dane have each other.

As silently as possible, I tuck in my tie and take the seat next to Damon, arguably my closest friend after the shit we’ve been through. He doesn’t waste any time to lean over, pitching his voice low. “What did they say?”

My voice is deathly quiet when I respond, “I don’t want to talk about it.” My blood chills at the recollection and the back of my throat dries up. I don’t want to think about a damn thing that involves that call. Sure as hell not right now.

Damon knew the call was this morning. I’ll tell him the details later. For now, I need all my attention on the back-and-forth between the judge and the lawyer. This conversation is why we all need to be here. Our presence is proof we can handle this particular case and client. It’s a deal that will set this company down a path my brother has been after for years.

I scan the judge’s face. He’s familiar and I know him by name. The wrinkles around Judge Martel’s eyes and his thinning, combed-over white hair are proof of his experience on the bench. Ever self-possessed, with his lips pressed in a thin line, it’s impossible to decipher which way he’s leaning. My gaze quickly moves to the back of our lawyer’s head, and then—

A pair of dark eyes.

Peeking at me from up front.

Instantly my body heats. The depths of their darkness stir something inside of me. The stunning stare is both intoxicating and pinning. As if I’ve been caught. But not by a predator, by prey.

It’s only a moment that our eyes meet and lock, but something thumps through my chest like a heavy book falling to the floor. Then she faces the judge again.

The client. She’s the client. Eleanor Bordeu. Born into wealth and a high-profile individual, but I hadn’t even seen a photo of her. The simple white blouse that drapes along her curves is obviously expensive, yet it doesn’t compare in the least to the woman who wears it. “Strikingly beautiful” would be putting it mildly. Her elegance is in the details; from the way she holds my gaze, to the manner in which she breaks it just as easily, squaring her shoulders to retake her place before I interrupted.

The moment is gone as quickly as it came and I surreptitiously clear my throat, adjusting in my seat.

Bringing me back to the present, Damon presses a thick folder into my hands. “Maybe you should read the file this time. The rest of the paperwork came in this morning.”

I accept the folder but keep it closed and lay it on the bench beside me. “You know I’m not going to do that.” I speak just above a murmur, as does he. Both of us are careful not to disrupt the hearing.

He noticeably shrugs. “I know. Cade wants you to have it anyway.”

My gaze instinctively moves back to the client and I rub a knuckle into my chest to try and dispel the lingering shock from … whatever the hell that was. A strange anomaly. Not something that ever happens with clients. Not something that ever will again. I drag my focus back to the hearing at hand.

“—client is only