Legal Briefs Page 2

“I’m not adorable,” I said, feeling unreasonably irritated. “Chipmunks are adorable. I’m empowered.” You keep telling yourself that, Lily, I thought.

The truth was that while Adam might be laughing at Bruce, he probably wasn’t laughing at me. Jason, who had put himself through college as a Chippendale’s dancer, had been teaching me all kinds of sexy moves, and I could seriously shake my pom-poms when I wanted to. At the moment, I was doing things with my h*ps that would have made Shakira jealous.

“Since you’re so liberated, I guess you don’t care that he’s seriously checking you out now!” Bruce the muppet yelled, while executing a move that looked kind of like those double axels that ice skaters did.

“What do you mean, seriously? Not that it matters!”

“I’ll give you ten to one that he’s picturing you na**d underneath him moving like that.”

“He probably pictures every woman that way,” I said dismissively, while my less-empowered, inner-girlie girl secretly beamed.

“Not if that other chick was any indication. She was practically jerking him off, but he looked like he was thinking about what socks to wear tomorrow. I think you’re making him hard from thirty feet away, though.”

“Maybe he’ll give the blonde a second chance to service him in the men’s room.”

I was starting to enjoy the idea that Adam was watching me move, and I began to let Bruce engage me more so that he could stop throwing himself all over the floor like a death scene in a silent movie. Seeing that I was loosening up, he changed tactics and began saying hilariously obscene things about the other patrons of the club around us. By the next song, I was a bit sweaty, but laughing and dancing in a fun flirtatious way with Bruce who, thank God, had finally started acting like a normal human being again.

“After this song, we’ll walk back to our table past him!” he shouted. “Stop and say ‘hi’ and try not to look like you’re having a colonoscopy.”

The song ended and Bruce started fanning himself like a Southern Belle and acting more effeminate than I had ever seen him act before. Ever. Give me a break! This performance deserved an Academy Award. He practically skipped off the dance floor. So much for normal. I sighed, steeled my nerves and walked in Adam’s direction.

“Lily, fancy meeting you here,” Adam shouted with a smile. I tried to figure out if there was an insult in there somewhere. Maybe I hadn’t heard him well enough.

“You’re not going to call me Lilith like you usually do?” I asked suspiciously. Adam was fond of calling by the name of the mythical queen of the demons.

“Feeling succubus-like this evening?”

“Perhaps some other time,” I yelled back and he actually laughed.

“Hello! We haven’t formally met but I’ve seen you in the library. I’m Bruce,” Bruce said, holding his hand out to Adam like he expected him to kiss it. “Lily is keeping me company while my partner, Jason, is on call at the hospital.”

“In case you didn’t catch that, Bruce was telling you that he’s gay. I wouldn’t get your hopes up, though, because he and Jason are a very happy couple.”

Bruce scowled at me and then rolled his eyes. “Would it kill you to be a little friendlier, Lil?” he demanded, putting his hands on his h*ps and giving me a pouty face. Suddenly he was Bette Davis. I had never seen him act like this before. Where was he getting this shit?

“What?” I sputtered, feeling appalled. “If you think that wasn’t friendly you should hear the things he’s said to me!”

“Well, he didn’t say any of them tonight. I think you should apologize.” My mouth literally popped open, but Bruce just continued to give me his most reproving look. I sighed.

“I’m sorry I was unfriendly,” I shouted. I mentioned how Bruce could compel me to do things, right? Sometimes I wondered if he had mind control powers.

“I accept your apology,” Adam answered, looking like he was trying not to laugh. I wondered if the busses were still running so I could throw myself under one. Bruce took his cell out of his pocket and read a text message.

“Oh shit! Jason got called in and I have his keys. I have to run. Let me call you a cab.”

“It’s okay. I can call one.”

“I’ll take you home,” Adam cut in. I looked at him in shock. Bruce looked at him with glee and beat it out of there so fast he practically left a dust cloud in his path. He was gone before he could say “beep beep.” Adam was taking me home. Oh God.

Chapter Two

I wasn’t really sure what to do next. Was I supposed to return to my table and track him down again later when I wanted to leave? Should I join him at his table? What if his blonde was just in the bathroom or something?

His eyes slid down my body and that same, not-so-liberated, inner part of me clapped with glee that I had decided to make an effort to look good that night. And I did look good, damn it, not at all like the mousy librarian Adam saw me as. I had on black form-fitting pants that flattered my figure, tucked into black high-heeled boots and paired with a scoop-necked knit top in a deep shade of purple that I liked. I didn’t shrink back at all under his gaze. In fact, I cocked an eyebrow and gave him my best smirk.

“See something you like?” I asked sarcastically.

“I don’t know. Your clothes are in the way. Why don’t you sit down and join me, or would you rather stand there all night?” he shouted. He was dressed in an olive button down and black trousers, looking much too sexy. I tried not to think about how much I wanted to run my tongue along the stubble on his jaw.

“I thought that maybe your companion would be returning,” I answered, hiding my desire behind an unfriendly look. Bruce wasn’t here to take his side anymore.

“Who?” he asked.

“Your friend, the blonde dairy state.”

“Oh, her? She wasn’t my companion. Although she would have liked to have been,” he replied and smiled smugly, looking back up to meet my eyes again. I wanted to kick him.

“Well, I don’t want to get in the way of whoever the lucky lady may be,” I retorted but I sat down next to him anyway.

“Be nice to me and maybe you’ll get lucky,” he shot back. The look of fury on my face must have amused him because he burst out laughing. Well, if I wanted someone who created a reaction in me, I certainly got my wish.

“You’re too good to me, Adam,” I said dryly.

He took me by surprise by leaning in close to me and speaking directly into my ear. As I inhaled deeply, I knew I would be buying some Acqua Di Gio to spray on my pillow for those moments of personal exploration with my big girl toys.

“Do you want me to be good to you, baby? Because I could make you feel really good.”

The bastard was obviously going to amuse himself by trying to get me all flustered. His breath felt warm against my neck, and it sent shivers down my spine, but I concentrated hard on keeping my breathing steady. He pulled back and I saw that he was watching me very closely. Even though I could feel the heat in my face, I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of seeing how he was affecting me, so I steadied my nerves and leaned in to answer him in exactly the same way.

“You’re such a player, Adam. I’ll bet that line works with all the little club girls, doesn’t it?” I taunted in a throaty voice.

I made sure that my lips grazed his ear as I pulled back, looking him directly in the eye. He wasn’t the only one who could break out some sexy. I knew it was probably a very unwise decision, but this was an example of his bad effect on my good judgment.

I could see desire in his expression and I knew that I had gotten to him. Our gazes locked for a moment or two, neither one of us willing to back down and look away. Then he leaned in again, and this time, he also placed his hand lightly on my thigh. I felt the warmth through the fabric of my pants, and my muscles immediately tensed up. By now, my heart was beating in time with the fast dance music.

“Maybe I should challenge myself more.” He didn’t pull back like he had before. Instead, he waited there for me to respond. I turned my head slightly so that I could oblige him.

“Why start now?” I was so close, I was sure that he could feel me smile. He moved his head slightly in response and the stubble on his jaw rubbed against my cheek, making me shiver again. Obviously, he noticed.

“Are you cold, Lily? I could warm you up,” he said seductively, brushing his soft lips over the skin that his beard had just made tingle. My breath caught and I swallowed hard as his fingers began gently stroking my thigh.

I was preparing a snarky comeback when I sensed movement beside me. I sat back and looked over at Mark Patterson from the Defender Association, who was at that moment sitting down next to us and placing a beer down on the table.

He was a very sexy guy too, with a little bit of edginess, a naughty boy charm and gorgeous gray eyes. Supposedly, he was a really good lawyer, one of those public defenders who really believed in what he was doing. If he weren’t one of Adam’s closest friends, I would be tempted to flirt with him myself. I certainly wouldn’t have kicked him out of bed.

“Don’t let me interrupt,” he said, looking absolutely cheerful as he leaned back in his chair and raked a hand through his light brown hair.

“But yet, there you sit interrupting,” Adam replied sarcastically. Mark laughed and took a swig of his beer. He didn’t look like he was planning to leave, which was fine by me.

“You’re not interrupting,” I replied as I removed Adam’s hand from my leg.

“So, Lily, how’s the writing been coming along?” Mark asked with a smile.

“It’s been great. I finished up another legal thriller and I recently published an erotic romance that’s been doing really well.”

“Well I’d be happy to help you with research.” Was he flirting with me?

“For the courtroom scenes, of course,” Adam said sarcastically.

“Of course,” Mark agreed.

I looked from one to the other suspiciously. I didn’t quite understand what was going on here, so I decided to take control of the conversation by changing the subject.

“The friend who gave me a ride here had to go take his partner to work, so Adam offered to drive me home, but I was about to tell him that I could take a cab. You wouldn’t want to be at my place at night,” I added, looking at Adam.

“Why not? Do you steal the covers?” It was Mark who responded, and there was no missing the flirtatious tone of his voice this time.

I sensed Adam tense up beside me. What in the hell was all of this about, I wondered? It felt like they were competing over me, but I couldn’t picture either one of them caring that much. After all, there were at least a dozen women there who would be willing to fall to their knees for them at a moment’s notice.

“I meant you wouldn’t want to be driving near my apartment. I live in Newbold, but close to Point Breeze,” I answered. “He’s probably put some of my neighbors in jail and you’ve probably gotten a few out.”

“I live in South Philly too, in Bella Vista,” Mark said. “I could give you a ride.” I watched as he gave Adam an almost wicked grin.

“You do?” I asked, surprised.

“So do I, in Queen Village,” Adam cut in, giving Mark a very unhappy look. “And I feel like getting out of here anyway, as opposed to Mark, who seems to be enjoying himself.”

“Adam’s obviously very concerned about me having fun,” Mark said with barely contained mirth. Adam glared back, clearly not amused.

“Uh, okay, then,” I said looking at them both strangely. “Thanks, I guess. My back is starting to hurt from dancing in these heels.”

I stood up to stretch, arched my back and rubbed my neck to try to get the kink out. I sighed and looked down to find Adam was watching me intently. Mark, in turn, was watching Adam with a highly amused grin.

“You know, Lily, I’ll even bet that Adam would be nice enough to rub your back for you if you wanted him to.”

“He’s already reached his quota of nice by giving me a ride. Why are you being so nice to me anyway?” I asked suspiciously.

“Our friends are married to each other now. We should try to be friendly.”

“Fine, you show me your friendly and I’ll show you mine,” I said cynically. “I’m ready to go whenever you are.” Adam stood up and threw some money down on the table.

“We’ll talk tomorrow,” he said, smiling at Mark.

“I’m sure we will.” Mark laughed. “Bye, Lily.” He gave me that cute naughty smile again. Funny how both of them were ladykillers but so different in their approaches. I just nodded and smiled back.

“Come on, let’s get your coat,” Adam said, throwing Mark one last irritable glance.

As we left and walked down the hallway toward the coat check, he placed his hand lightly on my lower back. It was a perfectly innocent gesture, but it sent a bolt of electricity coursing through me, making me jump and breathe in sharply as goose bumps formed on my arms.

“I’m sorry. My back is just sensitive,” I explained sheepishly.

“It’s that sore?” he asked, almost looking concerned.

“Not sensitive bad,” I explained, feeling even more embarrassed. “Sensitive good.” I looked away so that he wouldn’t see me blush. Why in the hell did I always blush so much with him? I wrote dirty books, for crying out loud. Nobody else made me blush.

“I see,” he said, and put his hand on my back again, this time trailing his fingers up and down my spine as we kept walking. I stared straight ahead, doing my best to hide the fact that he was getting me excited. Bastard.

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