Vexed (Iron Bulls MC #4)(60)

By: Phoenyx Slaughter

She hesitated for a minute, and the judge covered the microphone with his hand. "Usually the attorney waives the reading, Miss Kendall."

"I know, your honor. Thank you. Yes, I'll waive the reading. May I have a copy of the charges for my file, though?"

"Yes, of course. Do you wish to be heard on bail?"

"Yes, your honor. My client assures me he can pay a reasonable sum. He's a hard-working family man, so it would be in society's best interest to allow him to continue to work and provide for his family while he waits to address these false charges."

I'm proud to say I kept a straight face during all of that. She impressed me with her quick thinking, though. Criminal attorney or not, she was clever. I had a fondness for clever. Clever kept you alive.

Cute and smart. I should get arrested more often.

"Very well. Bail is set in the amount of five hundred dollars cash. If your client is able to post it now, he can be processed downstairs instead of going back to county."

She looked up at me and arched an eyebrow. I nodded and motioned my crew forward.

"That's acceptable. Thank you, your honor."

"Off the record," the judge said to the court reporter. He looked back up at my attorney. "See, that wasn't so hard, Miss Kendall." The judge's face lit up in a wolfish smile I didn't take kindly to. Already in my head, I'd laid claim to this woman whose first name I didn't even know.

The sheriff came over and gripped my elbow.

"Can't you remove the restraints, now?" she asked the sheriff with wide, pleading eyes.

To say her request stunned me would be an understatement. No one had ever given a crap about my discomfort.

The sheriff did not look surprised. He answered her gently. "No counselor, not till he's posted the bail money. You can meet us downstairs." He nodded toward the guys standing behind the banister. "His posse can show you the way."

She hesitated, and I read the expression on her face loud and clear. She didn't want to follow my crew anywhere. In fact, she looked like she wanted to run away.

"Go ahead, I'll be fine." I appreciated that she'd given it a try. Sheriffs wouldn’t break protocol no matter how owl-eyed innocent she acted. It sure turned me on, though. Maybe that was the moment I fell in love with her.

I couldn't get my hands to stop shaking. It was just nerves from handling an on-the-spot arraignment for the first time. I could almost fool myself into believing it, but my hands betrayed me. The reaction I had to this guy was ridiculous—not to mention inappropriate.

A career criminal obviously. Smooth talker. Sexy in the most obscene and dangerous way. The hideous orange jumpsuit did little to conceal the powerful body inside. Still, when my eyes traveled farther up, my breath caught in my throat. I’m not sure I had ever met such an exquisite example of masculinity before.

Preoccupied with staring, I probably made a huge fool of myself. But I needed to take all of him in. Short, sandy blond hair, sharp cheekbones, a firm angular jaw, and perfectly straight nose. For some reason, I expected a man like him to have a crooked nose that had been broken once or twice in his life. He radiated power and barely controlled violence.

I was in way over my head here, and not just career-wise.

Our gazes collided, and I sucked in a deep breath. Deep, slate eyes bored into me. I had never seen anyone with gray eyes before, and I kept staring to see if the color would shift from a different angle. Tearing myself away from studying his unusual irises took some skill.

I wrapped my fingers around the handle of my briefcase and took a step back. The last thing I wanted to do was follow his scary-looking friends anywhere. Wasn't my job finished now anyway? Since I'd never done this before, I had no idea. I guessed if I wanted to get paid, I needed to follow.

Instead, Judge Dane signaled me to come with him as he left the bench.

"I’ll find my way down there in a minute," I told the guys who stood there waiting for me. A nervous smiled tugged at my lips.

"Ms. Kendall," the judge called.

I turned and scurried toward the ornate oak door that led to his private chambers. I’d been back here once or twice before for settlement conferences, but never by myself.

I left the door open.