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Chapter 1

It took me a long time to realize I didn’t get nervous before trials anymore. I kept telling Vicki that, in a vain effort to reassure my new fiancee that courtroom litigation would get easier over time. But, the morning of her first real trial, she spent it doing yoga on our front deck.

I finally poked my head out the door. Vicki Park was decked out in full Lulumon pink and black, and had her rear sticking straight in the air in that downward dog position. Her long dark hair fanned out on the pink mat in a neat ponytail.

“Vic,” I called out.

She didn’t hear me over her earbuds, so I motioned in her eye range. She sank down through the position and removed the pink pieces from her ears.

When did she get so pink? She wasn’t like that when I first met her.  Then again, when I met her, she was a sexy young woman trying to make it a man’s world. In the past year, we’d been living together in Sedona, and while she was definitely still a sexy young woman, I felt like she’d become more herself than she’d ever been. God, we were hot and in love.

“Henry,” she said as she slowly moved to a standing position. “I am centered and ready to do this. Let’s go kick some lying, cheating, stealing, scumbag ass.”

She grabbed her water bottle off the railing and chugged it.

“We have to be in Flagstaff in two hours,” I said. “The attitude turns me on though.”

She laughed and winked. “We’re going to war. And we’re going to win.”

Fuck. Hearing her talk like that was so damn sexy. She let the door slam behind her. As she sashayed off to the shower, I heard her humming that, Rachel Platten Fight Song.

“You know, I do know Rachel Platten’s manager,” I called out as I followed her into the bathroom. She turned on the spray and undressed.

“You’re such a showoff,” she smiled and rolled her eyes.

“I know,” I teased. “It’s why you love me.”

“Your massive ego?” she joked. “That’s why I love you?”

The pink and black yoga wear lay in a heap on the floor, and she wore a black sports bra and black silk thong. I caressed her creamy skin and ran my lips down her back.

“Well, that,” I said. “And my hot ass.”

“You’re delusional, Irving,” she laughed.

She unleashed her black hair from its ponytail and shook it out over her impeccably toned body. Then she winked and stepped into the running shower. “Flagstaff’s waiting.”

“Fuck Flagstaff,” I muttered as I slipped off my clothes and joined her. She laughed, and what should have been a quick rinse off after yoga, took much longer than expected. It was like there wasn’t a case or anything.

But eh, we owned a law firm. There was always a case.

Some time later, we were dressed to the nines and in my BMW for the forty five minute drive to the courthouse in Flagstaff. Vicki sat beside me in the passenger seat and applied make up.

“Did you text AJ?” Vicki asked as she meticulously balanced a compact mirror and an eyeliner pencil.

I guess if I broke it down for HR, I would say that AJ Castillo was our firm’s paralegal. But in reality, she was a vital piece of our happy little triumvirate that made our professional lives, and thus our personal lives, function properly.

Since both Vicki and I would be spending the morning in Flagstaff, and AJ wasn’t completely qualified to handle walk-in clients on her own, I told her she could spend the morning working from home.

“Yeah,” I said. “We’re on Phase II of the O’Brien liquidation plan. She’s putting together all the paperwork.”

“Ah, yes,” Vicki said. “Fun stuff. I remember the days.

I laughed. Vicki had started her legal career as a paralegal. When we founded our firm, she was none too happy to relinquish the role.

For her court appearance today, she wore a navy blue skirt suit and black Louboutins. She was Korean-American, and her dark features stood out like subtle accent pieces against her ivory skin, and her long silky legs seemed to go for ever.

“I still can’t get over this place sometimes,” she said.

I smiled faintly as the picturesque red and orange landscape whizzed by us. Sedona really was beautiful, and it took me a long time to appreciate this town. Vicki was a big part of that journey for me.

I had met Vicki Park at work. We were both working at this flashy entertainment law firm in Los Angeles. God, I was making so much money in those days. It was pouring in from every direction. We’re not exactly in the poorhouse these days either, but in those L.A. years, man, the money felt like it was growing on trees, just ripe for the picking.

It was easy work, toddler-esque squabbles over who wrote the song first, and going over contracts, and distribution deals and the like. I thought I couldn’t have been happier.

I had found success, which is exactly what I was looking for when I had moved to L.A. from my native Sedona.

Well, moved seems a bit of a delicate way to put it.

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