Breaching the Contract(3)

By: Chantal Fernando

“Hello, Tristan,” I reply, warily shaking his big hand. Mine looks so tiny in comparison. I bring my gaze back to his, and the two of us just watch each other for a few short seconds. I don’t know what it is about his face, but I don’t want to look away.

“And what’s the name of the woman who saved me from calling up and canceling all my credit cards?” he asks, arching a brow.

“Kat,” I say, letting go of his hand. “My name is Kat.”

“Well, Kat,” he murmurs, glancing over me quickly. “I’m on a break, so how about I buy you a coffee to say thank you?”

“Oh,” I reply, glancing toward the road that my new office is on. As much as I’m tempted to say yes, I remind myself of the opportunity I’ve been given. “I’m actually just going back to work. But how about a rain check?”

Did I just go from wanting to punch him to saying yes to a date?

That pretty much sums up my dating history. I choose the worst kind of men—the ones who need to be fixed.

The broken ones.

The narcissists, or those who are emotionally unavailable.

The tortured souls.

And no, it never works out for me, and no, I’m never able to save them, so I’ve tried to stay away from men and concentrate on my career.

It’s a much simpler life.

“Sounds good,” he says, as I realize what I’m doing. Wanting to escape before he asks for my number, I take a step back and smile.

“How about tomorrow?” he calls out.

I turn and smile at him as I make my exit, waving slightly but saying nothing in return.

I don’t need to be having coffee with anyone. I don’t have time for it right now. I need to concentrate on work, on impressing Jaxon, and on other things in my life, such as paying my rent every month. I don’t need to go have coffee with an older, good-looking man—one who came across as rude and slightly lost, no less—and who probably has a whole list of other issues that I’ll try to take on as my own the closer I let him get. Because that is what I do.

No, I don’t need anything like that.

All I need is to focus.

chapter 2

“HOW’RE YOU DOING?” JAXON asks as he steps into my office, two cups of coffee in his hands. “Not sure how you take your coffee, so I took a gamble.”

I grin, pushing my chair away from the desk and standing, my hand out, greedy for the heavenly warmth in his hands. “White with two sugars, but any coffee is good coffee right now.”

He chuckles and gives it to me.

“Thank you,” I tell him. “Pretty sure I’m the one who should be bringing you coffee.”

He grins and nods to the pile of paperwork on my desk. “We get our own coffee here. Besides, I think I gave you enough work that you can forgo any other duties. Do you need any help with anything?”

“No, I’m good,” I tell him, taking a sip. “I’m really excited about working on the case, actually. I already have a few good ideas and interview questions.”

“Good,” he says, tilting his head to the side and studying me. “I’m about to head out to the prison to talk to a client. Want to come along? Maybe next time I can let you go in my place.”

My eyes widen, excitement filling me. I’ve never been to the prison before, and I want to experience everything, soak up every opportunity, and learn all I can. Who knew a prison would make me feel giddy? “I’d love to.”

“Jaxon?” a familiar voice calls out from the corridor.

Jaxon stands in the doorframe and sticks his head out. “In here. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” the man says, his voice coming closer until he joins Jaxon just inside my office. “Just wondering if you know where the hell Yvonne is. The phone has been ringing nonstop. . . .”

He looks at me, eyes widening, and trails off. Face etched with shock, he soon masks it, looking almost annoyed. Why is he annoyed at me? I didn’t know he worked here. He’s a lawyer; no wonder he had a rude side. Us lawyers have a bit of a reputation, and unfortunately, the majority of the time the stereotype is true.

“Tristan this is Kat, the new associate we hired. Kat this is Tristan, my partner and another criminal lawyer.”