Excerpt from Married by Christmas
He caught her stare and smiled. It wasn’t a smile that found humor in the situation. Or one to charm. It was the same smile he gave competitors when he was under center calling a play. It said, “I’ve got this.” It said, “Bring it on.” It said, “You have no idea what’s coming your way.”
Clinton Hadley didn’t have this. And an attitude like that was detrimental to Brenda’s success. Marbury Wilson had been clear on the phone this morning. Clinton had to make the game on Sunday, or she’d be fired. And considering the way she’d left her last job, only the most desperate firm would touch her if Marbury let her go.
Uncle John stared down at Brenda. The furrows he’d earned over years of serving on the bench deepened. He brushed back his peppery hair and reviewed Clinton’s file once more before reading the charges aloud. “I’ve seen you in my courtroom far too often lately, Mr. Hadley. How do you plead?”
“Not guilty,” Clinton said in a firm voice.
The district attorney’s grin found humor in Clinton’s plea and a back door into Brenda’s competitive streak. “Your Honor, I’d like to call the arresting officer to the stand.”
Clinton leaned down to whisper in her ear again. “He’s going to tell the truth.”
She noted Clinton’s smile, his intensity, his air of complete domination. In any other circumstance, she’d be happy to see a man with an ego like that go down. “Maybe you should try it sometime,” she whispered back. “The truth, that is. I hear it’ll set you free.”
His dark eyes glittered and she felt another stake of awareness.
“Not guilty. Not taking the stand either.” He shot a half-glance over his shoulder to the media in the peanut gallery.
He valued privacy over freedom? If he wanted to play on Sunday, he didn’t have the luxury.
“You leave me no choice,” Brenda whispered. “But to throw you on the mercy of the court.”