Overruled, p.7
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       Overruled, p.7

         Part #1 of The Legal Briefs series by Emma Chase
 
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  Before I can press my lips to the hollow of her throat, the rattle of keys in the door jars us both. We straighten up, like two teenagers in the beam of a policeman’s flashlight, and dash back to my bedroom. I close the door, both of us chuckling.

  With a yawn, I flop down onto the bed, pulling the remaining comforter over me. Sofia watches me for a moment, then drops her own blanket and reaches for her clothes.

  “I should get going.”

  This is how it works. We screw, we dress, we leave: have a good night, see you at the office.

  I glance at the clock showing 3 a.m. “It’s late,” I point out with another yawn. And the steady patter against the window pane registers. “And it’s rainin’. Why don’t you just stay?”

  We don’t have set rules—nothing we’ve ever agreed to out loud anyway. We’ve just gone with it, done whatever works, whatever feels good. If we have rules, unspoken ones, there’s a fair chance sleepovers break them.

  But I just can’t make myself give a shit.

  I rub my face against the cushiony pillow and crack open one eye. Sofia stands there—beautifully bare—holding her bra in her hand. Looking at me.

  Debating.

  I throw back the covers, revealing the empty space in front of me. “It’s cold out there, warm in here. Don’t overthink, Soph.”

  It doesn’t have to mean anything. And Sofia’s soft and smooth—having her to rub against is sure to bring on some sweet dreams.

  She drops the bra and crawls in beside me. Her back presses against my chest, her ass cradles my cock, giving me new perspective on the benefits of cuddling.

  My hand rests on her hip, the other under my pillow. After shifting around to get comfortable, Sofia whispers, “Did you know when you’re tired, your accent comes out more?”

  Her hair tickles my nose, making me sniff. “Does it?”

  “Yeah,” she says softly. “I . . . like it.”

  Just as I’m about to drift off, a pounding thud fills the room, like an unwelcome drummer boy.

  Bang, bang, bang. It’s the sound of wood meeting Sheetrock—headboard against wall. Accompanied by a whiny, feminine voice. “Yes, yes, yes!”

  I lift my head and yell at the wall. “Hey! Do you mind—some of us are tryin’ to sleep here.”

  Jake’s uncaring voice calls back. “Do you mind? Some of us are trying to fuck over here.”

  The banging resumes, but thankfully, not the whine of affirmation.

  Sofia giggles as I yank the blanket up over our heads, drowning out some of the sound.

  “Christ,” I grumble. “I really need to get my own place.”

  6

  Sofia

  At some point before morning, I’m awakened by the steady brush of Stanton’s pelvis against my backside. His large hand slides up my stomach, squeezing my breast then tracing my hardened nipple with the tip of his fingers, in a way that makes my back arch—press into his touch. His teeth scrape my shoulder, and it feels feral and dangerous.

  He’s not waiting for permission, but I moan it just the same.

  Then those magical fingers are between my legs, sliding and spreading the wetness already there. He takes my hand and presses my own fingers against my clit, rubbing delicate circles.

  His voice is gravelly with sleep as he directs, “Keep doin’ that.”

  The warmth of his chest disappears from my back, and the bed vibrates with his movement. The sound of ripping foil pierces the otherwise silent air and then he’s back—hot skin pressing, lips blazing a trail up my neck to the sensitive flesh behind my ear.

  My breath comes in quick gasps and my fingers press harder, spiking pleasure that tightens my stomach. Stanton’s panting breath tickles my shoulder blade as he grips my knee and lifts my leg.

  Yes. This. Now.

  Please now.

  I don’t realize I’ve spoken aloud until I feel his chuckle. “We must’ve been havin’ the same dream.”

  And then he fills me. Fully. Perfectly. Spearing my pussy with his hard, heavy thickness. My head tilts back, chin rising with an excited moan. Air escapes his lips in a long, whistling stream as he thrusts slowly.

  I feel his cock against my fingers and reach lower, caressing him where he strokes in and out in a steady rhythm. Jesus, God, I love how he moves—how he knows just the right angle, the right speed to drive me straight to the brink. I don’t have to say a word, do a thing. Unless I want to—unless he tells me to.

  His hand squeezes my leg harder and I reach around to the back of his thigh—the firm swell of his ass—pushing him into me deeper.

  Making him groan.

  Stanton sucks on my earlobe, his voice scraping. “Goddamn, Sofia, I love doin’ you like this. Being able to look at every inch of you. So fuckin’ beautiful.”

  He plunges harder, his pelvis slapping loudly against my ass.

  “You love it, too?” he pants.

  He releases my leg, but I keep it elevated—feeling too good to let it drop. Then his fingers pinch and tug on my nipples, torturously exquisite.

  “Show me,” he grunts. “Show me how good it feels. How much you love it.”

  With a cry I push back into his thrust, meeting his every move. I bend forward at the waist for leverage, grinding back as he surges forward. Faster. Building. More.

  “Fuck, that’s it, baby.”

  And we’ve become a pulsating, writhing mass of pleasure. Moans and gasps, clutching limbs and contracting muscles. My nails dig into the skin on his leg when I come, my mouth open against the crisp bed sheet, silently screaming.

  Stanton pushes me onto my stomach, stretching out over me. Three more powerful shoves of his hips and he’s grunting against my back in the sexiest way. I feel him swell inside me—pulsing hard and hot—as he comes. The sensation, his sounds, make me want to start all over again.

  We’re still for several moments, all panting breaths and pounding hearts. Even before his weight rolls from my back, I’m sinking—effortlessly sliding into that mindless exhaustion that comes after blissful exertion. Movement is the last thing that registers, being dragged into a strong embrace, surrounded by the spicy fragrance of after-sex mixed with the comforting scent of warm man.

  I sigh, snuggling closer to his chest. And one final thought floats through my brain before oblivion takes me:

  I could get used to this.

  • • •

  The sunlight streaming through Stanton’s bedroom window is what wakes me—bright and warm on my face. The smell of coffee is in the air and there’s an empty space beside me. I don’t sit up right away, but indulge in a few extra minutes of basking—in the softness of his bed, the masculine scent that still clings to the sheets, and the tantalizing memories that dance behind my eyes.

  Spending the night is a new development. A spontaneous choice that . . . probably wasn’t my smartest move.

  Because, guilty as charged, I liked it.

  I liked everything about it. His arms around me, his chest under my cheek, his late-night cock deep inside me. My internal muscles clench with remembrance and I flinch slightly with blessed soreness—the best kind of ache. I wonder if Stanton liked having me here too. He enjoys “having me,” that’s obvious, but I wonder if he’d want—

  No.

  Objection.

  Out of order.

  Cease and desist.

  We all know what happens when we play with matches—but I will not get burned. I’m like . . . the hand that passes through the flame of the candle without getting burned.

  I’m fireproof.

  Because I’m prepared. Voices that sound suspiciously like my brothers’ echo in my ears. Overheard conversations about “friends” who wanted more benefits than they were willing to give. Strategies for disentangling themselves from the needy tentacles of women who’d become too attached. Adjectives to describe those women that started with “cool” “awesome” “casual” but changed into “annoying” “clingy” “awkward.”

  Frien
dships that never recovered.

  Because boundaries were breached.

  Not me.

  I don’t need that kind of distraction. Don’t want that type of complication. My career is right where it’s supposed to be—the fast track—and come hell or high water, or orgasms that make me forget my social security number, that’s where it’s going to stay.

  Now I spring out of bed, purposefully, and start to dress. Until I get to my blouse. I didn’t get a good look at it last night, but it’s in tatters. Ripped at the buttons, with a hole big enough for my hand—or my boob—to fit through. It looks like a red flag that dared to tease a horny bull and took the punishment doled out by his long, thick horn.

  Which isn’t too far off the mark, I guess.

  Then I notice the T-shirt folded at the end of the bed, placed beside my clothes. Gray with bright yellow writing: Sunshine, Mississippi.

  Thoughtful.

  I pick it up and guiltily press the cotton against my face, inhaling deeply. It smells predominantly of fabric softener, but there’s the detectable trace of Stanton hidden in its threads.

  I shake my head. Eye on the prize, Sofia. And no matter what my clitoris might believe, the prize is not Stanton Shaw’s glorious, golden penis.

  I pull my hair up into a ponytail. I shove my ruined blouse and jacket into my purse, thanking the fashion gods that big bags are in style. Then I give myself the once-over in Stanton’s dresser mirror. Tired eyes, hair that even in a ponytail sticks out like wings on my head, a gray T-shirt that reaches to my hips with a tweed pencil skirt peeking out from beneath it.

  This is why they call it the walk of shame.

  Steeling myself, I open the door and step down the hall.

  He’s at the kitchen table, shirtless in navy-blue sweats, his tousled blond hair annoyingly sexy. He’s Skyping on his laptop. Judging from his almost empty coffee cup, it seems like he’s been Skyping for a while. He meets my eyes with a welcoming smile and points to the pot of coffee on the counter. A silent offering I eagerly accept.

  Though the screen is facing away from me, the young girl’s voice that emanates from the speakers tells me exactly whom he’s speaking to.

  “. . . and then Ethan Fortenbury said I had man hands.”

  Stanton looks at the screen, his brow wrinkled with consternation. “Man hands? Well that wasn’t very nice of Ethan Fortenbury.”

  Maybe it’s just because I know who he’s talking to, but his voice sounds lower, smoother—calm and protective. I could listen to him talk like this all day.

  I hear the crunch of cereal being chewed, and then she answers, “No, he’s not nice, Daddy. I’d like to call him a jackass, but Momma said that’s impolite, so instead I call him a horse’s anus—because he is.”

  Stanton laughs.

  And Jake walks into the kitchen, dressed for the day, wearing jeans and a blue button-down shirt. He passes behind Stanton’s chair, glancing into the screen.

  “Hey, Jake!” the happy voice squeals.

  He gives her a rare grin. “Good morning, Sunshine.” Stanton says Jake calls Presley Sunshine because that’s where she’s from . . . and because that’s what she is.

  Jake joins me at the counter, pouring himself a cup of black coffee and looking me up and down. “Nice outfit.”

  I stick my tongue out at him.

  A lithe, leggy blonde comes striding out of Jake’s room, looking better in a camel-colored dress and matching shoes than any woman has the right to after a late night of drinking and sex.

  Loud sex.

  She barely glances Jake’s way as she heads for the door. “Bye.”

  Jake appears equally invested. “See ya around.”

  I take another sip of my dark morning drug. “She seems pleasant.”

  He chuckles. “She showed herself out. Definitely pleasant in my book—I might even see her again.”

  With that, Jake takes his coffee mug and retreats back from whence he came.

  “So what happened next with Ethan Fortenbury?” Stanton asks his daughter.

  “Oh! I told him if he didn’t stop pickin’ on me, I was gonna wrap my man hands around his throat. He hasn’t bothered me since.”

  The rumble of laughter from Stanton is low and smooth and brimming with pride. “That’s my girl.”

  “I gotta go find my sneakers for practice, Daddy. Here’s Momma. Mwah! I love you!”

  Stanton blows a kiss to the screen. “I love you too, baby girl.”

  And it’s possible my panties just disintegrated. A not-unpleasant ache throbs in my womb—a sudden, passionate desire to procreate with this man. It’s purely instinctual, evolutionary, and thankfully I think with my brain, not my ovaries. But I have to admit . . . it’s not easy.

  I sip my coffee as the voice from the speakers changes—more mature but still heavily accented. “Mornin’, Stanton.”

  “Mornin’, darlin’. ”

  “So . . . there’s somethin’ . . .” There’s a nervous-sounding pause, and then she begins again. “Somethin’ I’ve been meanin’ to talk to you about . . .”

  With my thumb over my shoulder, I gesture to Stanton that I’m going to catch a cab home.

  He holds up a pausing finger. “Jenny, could you hold on for one second?”

  He closes the laptop. “Don’t take a taxi home, Soph, I’ll drive you.”

  I brush him off with the wave of my hand. “No, you’re busy—it’s not a big deal.”

  “It’s a big deal to me. Just wait—I’ll be done in two minutes.”

  Then he returns to Jenny. “Sorry. What were you saying?”

  She hesitates. “Is now a bad time, Stanton?”

  “No,” he reassures her. “Now’s fine—a friend just needs a ride home. Go ahead and tell me your news.”

  He waits. And I swear I hear her take a big breath . . . right before she chickens out.

  “You know what? It can wait . . . you have company . . . I have to get Presley to practice.”

  “You’re sure?”

  “Yeah, it’s all right,” she insists. “I’ll . . . um . . . I’ll call you later. It’s not . . . it’s nothin’ urgent.”

  His eyes darken with uncertainty. But he still replies, “All right. Have a good day, then.”

  “You too.”

  With a few taps of the keys he disconnects. And that devastating smile falls on me.

  “Morning.”

  Stanton and I have never done a morning-after. It doesn’t feel awkward, just . . . new. Different.

  I raise my cup of coffee in salute. “Morning.”

  “I’ll just grab a shirt and my keys and then I’ll get you home.”

  • • •

  We pull up outside my townhouse and Stanton leaves the car running—apparently not planning on coming in. Which suits me fine. I push a loose strand of hair out of my face.

  “Thanks for the ride.”

  He nods. “Sure. And you too—thanks for the ride.” He winks. “Last night.”

  I chuckle. “Ass.”

  As I exit the car and close the door behind me, he says, “Hey, don’t forget. Our game’s at three. At the Turkey Thickett Field on Michigan.”

  Almost every firm has a team in the DC Lawyers Coed Softball League, and ours has a shot at the championship this year. I’m good at sports—my brothers made sure I was—but I also work at it, because sports like golf, tennis, and racquetball can open career doors that might otherwise be closed. It’s all about the networking.

  With a wave, I step back. “I’ll be there.”

  As Stanton pulls away, I stand on the street, watching until his car disappears from sight. A twinge of . . . something blooms in my chest. And I find myself sniffing the T-shirt. Again.

  Not good.

  A run—that’s what I need. To sweat out the last drops of alcohol and get that addictive rush of endorphins surging through my brain. I text Brent, who lives down the block, to see if he wants to join me. Then I walk into my townhouse and am g
reeted by 150 pounds of black and caramel love—my Rottweiler, Sherman.

  Like the tank.

  My mother carried a fear of dogs with her her whole life, so we didn’t have any growing up. But when I got a place of my own, I fulfilled my childhood dream by getting the biggest, brawniest dog I could. Because of my late hours, I employ a dog walker who takes Sherman for his much-needed sprints three or four times a day, and staying out all night isn’t a problem. But he’s my baby and I’m his mommy—so even though his physical needs have been met, his heartbreakingly adorable brown eyes light up when he sees me.

  I spend a good while scratching his ears and rubbing his belly.

  Then I connect my phone to the speaker system and turn the volume up loud. Because I need something upbeat. Something snappy. “Still Standing,” by the great Elton John—on repeat. Unlike my mother’s fear of dogs, her taste in music was passed on to me. She heard “Tiny Dancer” for the first time as a teenager on her first day in the United States, and she’s loved Elton John’s music ever since. It played background while I grew up, the soundtrack of my childhood. I go to see him in concert any chance I get.

  By the time the first chorus is complete, I’m already feeling better, bouncing to the beat as I change into a sturdy pink sports bra and snug black running pants. I’m stretching in the living room when Brent walks in the unlocked door, suited up for a run himself—a blue Under Armour T-shirt that highlights the sharp swells of muscle that make up his upper body, black shorts, and the metal arc of the prosthetic leg he uses for jogging.

  Though I know about Brent’s accident and what it took from him, there’s always a moment of shock when I see the harsh metal below his left knee. It’s difficult to imagine the struggles he must’ve faced, all the challenges he had to overcome, and yet he still came out of it with such an awesome, dynamic personality.

  He appraises me for a beat, then tilts his head, lifting his ear. “ ‘Still Standing,’ huh? Someone needed a pick-me-up this morning.”

  Brent knows me well.

  “Get in late . . . or . . . not get in at all?” he says.

  I grab my keys and we head out the door to Memorial Park, the best spot to run in the city. After last night’s rain, the air is warm but dry—a gorgeous summer day.

  “I stayed at Stanton’s,” I tell him casually.

  His round eyes widen. “Really?”

  “It was late,” I explain.

  “Uh-huh.”

 
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