Home > Appealed (The Legal Briefs #3)

Appealed (The Legal Briefs #3)
Author: Emma Chase

Acknowledgments


I’ve always enjoyed fairy tales. Their timeless magic, their innocent simplicity, the soul-stirring idea that love can overcome any obstacle—vanquish the villain, save the princess, break all the evil spells.

The idea for Appealed began, for me, as a fairy tale. A simple story about a handsome prince, a good-hearted princess, and their sweet love. From there it evolved—and the evolution was really fun. Now it’s hilarious and passionate, a battle of wills—a story of how young love grows into something stronger, something unbreakable.

I love this story. I love these characters—their resilience, their wit, and most of all their laughter. I hope you come to love them too, that their story will leave you with that warm, satisfied feeling and the knowledge that true love really can conquer all, and the dream of happy ever after is within reach for all of us.

I’m so grateful to have been able to work with the best, most talented people on the Legal Briefs series. My editor, Micki Nuding—thank you for helping me see how to make the impossible totally doable. Brainstorming with you is the best! My agent, Amy Tannenbaum of the Jane Rotrosen Agency—thank you for always being in my corner. I’ve said it before, but I really would be lost without you!

My publicists, Kristin Dwyer and Nina Bocci—I adore you both forever—thank you for making work fun and for being so awesome at all you do. My assistant, Juliet Fowler—thank you for staying on top of everything, for your innovative ideas, and amazing energy. So much gratitude to Sullivan & Partners for their impeccable Sustained campaign. So much gratitude to Molly O’Brien for your tireless work and support.

My thanks to everyone at Gallery Books, including Sarah Leiberman, Liz Psaltis, Paul O’Halloran, my publishers Jennifer Bergstrom and Louise Burke—it’s a joy and honor to work with all of you.

I have so much admiration and love for Katy Evans, Jennifer Probst, Kyra Davis, Alice Clayton and Christina Lauren—thank you for your smiles and amazing support!

I’m so very grateful to all the blogs who read and review my work and who make the romance community vibrant and wonderful.

Again, to my lovely readers—thank you for staying on this journey with me, for loving, laughing, and enjoying these characters and their antics just as much as I do! I adore every one of you!

And to my family, thank you for your patience, your ridiculousness, your love—you are my own love story come to life. xoxo

 

 

1


“You rotten bastard!”

Kennedy sits up and stares at me like she doesn’t even recognize me. Which is pretty weird, considering we’re bare-ass naked in my bed. Every inch of us is intimately acquainted.

But it’s the tone of her voice that bothers me most—flat with tightly controlled anger and breathy with pain. Like I stole the air from her lungs—like I punched her in the stomach.

The words don’t worry me. Insults are our flirting. Arguing is our foreplay. One time, she was so worked up she hauled off and took a swing at me—and my reaction was a boner that wouldn’t be denied.

It’s not as twisted as it sounds. It works for us.

At least it did up until ten seconds ago.

“Wait. What?” I ask, genuinely surprised.

I thought she’d be grateful. Happy. Maybe offer me a blow job to demonstrate her supreme appreciation.

Her eyes glitter dangerously, and thoughts of letting her anywhere near my dick flee like tiny fish in a big aquarium. Because she’s not a woman to be taken lightly; she’s a force to be reckoned with. A breaker of hearts and a buster of balls.

“You planned this all along, didn’t you? Screwing me silly, lulling me into a false sense of security so I’ll drop my guard and you can win the case,” she hisses.

She moves to hop off the bed but I grab her arm. “You think my cock is powerful enough to turn you stupid? Aw, precious, that’s really flattering, but I don’t need to whore myself out to win my cases. You’re freaking out over nothing.”

“Fuck off!”

I used to have a way with women.

If the word fuck came out to play, it was always followed by me and then words like harder, please, and my friend, more.

Those were the days . . .

She jerks out of my grasp and scrambles off the bed, furiously gathering clothes that are strewn across the hardwood floor. And because she’s doing it naked, bending down, jiggling in all the best places, I have to watch. There are teeth marks on her ass—my teeth marks. No broken skin, just dark pink indentations. It’s possible I got a little carried away last night, but her ass is just so damn sweet and round and bitable.

I grab the prosthesis sleeve from the bedside table and slide it onto the stump on my left leg. Yes, part of my leg was amputated when I was a kid—a transtibial amputation if you want the technical term. I’ll get into that later, because she isn’t waiting. I actually like that about her—she doesn’t give an inch. Doesn’t even think about making special concessions or treating me any differently than the fully capable man I am.

Or the prick she apparently thinks I am at the moment.

I snap the pin of the sleeve into my prosthetic leg and stand up, just as she finds her shoe in the corner, adding it to the pile in her arms.

“Calm down, kitten,” I try, my voice level.

“Don’t call me that!” she snaps. “We said we wouldn’t discuss the case—that was our agreement.”

I move in closer, palms out, the universal sign of I come in peace. “We agreed to a lot of things that no longer apply, sweet-cheeks.”

Her nostrils flare at the trial nickname. Guess I can add “sweet-cheeks” to the no column, which is a damn shame. It suits her.

“I only brought it up because I’m trying to help you.”

It’s official: I’m a fucking idiot. Of all the wrong things I could’ve said, that’s the wrongest of them all.

“You think I need your help? Condescending cocksucker!”

She turns for the door, but I grab her arm again.

“Let go. I’m leaving.”

I want to respond with a good old Like hell you are or the more direct You’re not going anywhere. But they both have a psychotic, it-puts-the-lotion-in-the-basket-or-it-gets-the-hose kind of vibe. And that’s not what I’m going for.

Instead, I snatch the clothes from her arms and head to the window.

“What are you—? Don’t!”

Too late.

Her designer skirt, sleeveless silk blouse, and red lacy underthings float on the air for a fraction of a second, then fall to the sidewalk and street below us. Her bra gets snagged on the antenna of a passing car and waves majestically down the street like the flag on a diplomat’s vehicle from some awesome country named Titsland.

Feels like I should salute it.

I close the window, cross my arms, and smile. “If you try to leave now, poor Harrison may be scarred for life.” Harrison is my butler. Again—later.

“You son of a bitch!”

And her fists come flying at my face. All those years of ballet classes have made her quick, gracefully agile. But as fast as she is, and as mighty as her disposition is, she’s only five foot one at best. So before she can land a punch, or thinks to knee me in the balls, I easily toss her onto the bed. Then I straddle her waist, leaning over to press her wrists into the mattress above her head. My cock brushes hot and hard against the smooth skin just below her breasts, which gives him some fabulous ideas—but that’s gonna have to wait until later too.

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