Read Drift (Lengths) Online

Authors: Steph Campbell,Liz Reinhardt

Drift (Lengths)

BOOK: Drift (Lengths)
12.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub







Steph Campbell & Liz Reinhardt






If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or win it from an author sponsored giveaway, this book has been pirated. Please delete it from your device, and support the author(s) by purchasing a legal copy from one of its many distributors.


No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without prior written permission of the author except where permitted by law.


Published by Silver Strand Books

[email protected]

Cover design by: Todd Maloy


The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author.


Copyright © 2013 Steph Campbell & Liz Reinhardt

All rights reserved.



“Lydia, Mr. Sandberg would like to see you in his office.” Tanya, the tiny-waisted intern who needs to tone down her mascara and perfume regimen stands in my door trembling like a little mouse.

A big-breasted, size two mouse with long, curly hair and a deer-in-the-headlights look my boss seems to favor.

“Thank you, Tanya,” I say, barely glancing up at her. She’s made a point to tell everyone in the entire office how ‘intimidating’ she finds me with her earnest eyes all big and scared.

. Please.

Tanya loves drama, and she’s always looking for some excuse to stir the shit around here. If I’m at all intimidating to her, it’s only because I value hard work over batting lashes and ass-kissing, which pretty much stomps on her theory that being the queen of gossip and flattery will get her to the top at this office.

“Um, Ms. Rodriguez? I think he wants to see you, um,
.” She clutches her file folders tighter to her chest and gives such a stricken, melodramatic look, I check over my shoulder for a reality TV film crew.

This girl is too much.

“Fine, Tanya.” I save the documents as I close them out on my desktop, but I feel the insistent burn of her gaze on my neck. “Do you need something else?” I keep my voice level.

She jumps back like I raised my hand to slap her across the face. “Um. He said I should escort you.”

I freeze, mind reeling, fingers poised over my keyboard. My adrenaline spikes, but I don’t panic. I use it, the way I always do. I keep my head level and comb through the clients I’ve been assigned, trying to figure out what may have been overlooked in the rush of the last few weeks. A case so big and incredibly complicated it could put our little firm on the map
landed in our laps three weeks ago, and things have been crazy since then.

But I’ve been careful. Like I always am. I take pride in doing my job well. I rub my temples and give Tanya a cold smile. “You run along. I can walk down to the office all on my own.”

“But—” she squeaks.

Run. Along
” I snarl.

She scampers out of my doorway, and I take ten seconds to align myself, relax, open my mind, and prepare. Then I stand and walk down the hall to Mr. Sandberg’s office, ready to make amends for whatever I did or did not do.

Only it’s not just Mr. Sandberg.
the partners are sitting in the office. Leslie is perched on a low bookcase, John is leaned against the desk where Mr. Sandberg sits, lording over everything, and Richard is tucked into the far corner, staring at his hands.

Which is fine. If you want to keep an office romance quiet, you don’t go making sheep eyes whenever you’re in the room together.

Not that Richard
looks at me in a way that would suggest we’re more than business partners. Even when he’s sitting across from me at the most romantic restaurant in town. Even when he’s watching me let my black silk robe slip off my shoulders before I climb into the big king bed and on top of him.

“Tanya, shut the door on your way out,” Mr. Sandberg barks. “And order lunch. I want pastrami today.”

“Yes sir,” she murmurs, dropping the scared mouse look and reverting to a demure but sexy servant act that Mr. Sandberg eats up.

“What’s this all about?” I ask
as Tanya practically skips down the hall to get lunch for the boss man. One of the things I love about being a lawyer is that I can be direct and no one calls me “brusque” or “rude” or “bitch.” Not to my face anyway.

But today something is off. Instead of answering directly like they usually would, my partners glance away, contemplate the weather out the big gleaming windows of Mr. Sandberg’s corner office, examine the books on the shelves, do anything but look me in the eye and tell me what’s going on.

Finally Leslie clears her throat.


They’re doing the whole “woman-to-woman” tactic, which means something
bad is up. One thing I absolutely hate is not knowing what’s going on in any situation. It makes my skin crawl, and, right now, I want to claw someone’s eyes out.

What the hell is up

“Mrs. Gutzman’s paperwork was improperly notarized.”

“What?” The word clanks out of my mouth. My stomach ices over.

“The notary used expired stamps, Mr. Gutzman noticed, and it may have tanked Mrs. Gutzman’s case. We don’t have time to get it all remedied. We had to fly the former roommate in from Chicago to make sure we got his signature in time.” Leslie clears her throat, which is a sound that echoes from some distant corner of my brain. Then the other shoe drops. And it’s a steel-toed stiletto. “Mrs. Gutzman claims to have seen you the day the paperwork was filed. You were,
, embracing a dark haired man in a suit outside the Andaz. She saw you kiss him before he left in a blue Corvette.”

I ball my hand into a fist and press it into my mouth.
We were so careful.

“Thank God Richard was driving a rental that week, so she didn’t realize it was both of you. As it is, she’s contending that you were having an affair on the clock and that you were paying more attention to your date than her paperwork.”

I glare at Richard. Right now, Medusa herself would be scared of the face I’m making. But Richard still looks at his hands like a handsome, chisel-jawed lump of fucking shit I’m going to murder with my bare hands.

Because he’s slaughtered my career and he knows it. And he doesn’t give a shit. The only thing I can read on his face is the appropriate amount of shame that comes from getting caught with his pants down, and a huge amount of concealed relief because he knows me inside out. Which means he knows his secret is safe with me.

He knows I’m not about to tell them that it was Richard who forgot the papers in the hotel. That he was already across town, and I was closer, so he asked me to grab them and sign for the drop off. That I’d caught the notary—his alcoholic aunt—blundering paperwork twice before and saved his ass before I warned him not to use her again. Because I usually notice those things, but he doesn’t always, so I was willing to share my observation skills with him and never mention it to Mr. Sandberg.

But I was so love-stupid after our lunchtime fuck-a-thon, so happy he actually held me and looked into my eyes and told me how much he cared and
—maybe, just
—was on the cusp of telling me he loved me after a year of sneaking around. I was so busy panting after that bone (that never came, by the way) that I didn’t double check the paperwork. I trusted Richard to do his goddamn job like a professional. I just signed off, visions of Richard finally showing some passion dancing in my stupid head.

And here we are.

Correction: here
am. Richard is across the room doing just fine, thank you very much.

“So, how do we do this?” I swallow hard and smooth the skirt of the Gucci suit I splurged on after our first of the year bonus checks. “I’m willing to grovel, of course. Or lay low. Or pull extra hours. As many as needed. I’m not going to waste time apologizing. You all have to know how devastated I am, and I’m ashamed to have reflected poorly on Sandberg & Conway. But I know we need to bring all our big guns to this case, and if Mrs. Gutzman doesn’t want me front
running, I’ll go ahead and gopher in the back.”

Utter silence meets my speech, leaving me gasping for air.

Finally Mr. Sandberg talks to me. He talks for a long time. He brings up all my achievements, all the good things I’ve done for the firm. I swear he went back to my resume so he could recite every accolade I’ve racked up since college.

Then comes

And I realize why he’s being so nice. He’s reading the eulogy of my law career.

No one can look me in the eye when the final verdict is delivered, and I, Lydia Rodriguez, magna cum laude graduate of UCLA school of law, youngest junior partner in the firm’s history, with my notable score on the Bar Mr. Sandberg  never failed to mention at any business party, am suspended.

Not from the case.

From my position at the firm.

They’re going to investigate. Richard doesn’t even break a sweat. He knows I’m bleeding out like a sacrificial lamb, and he’s fine with it.

My own stupidity washes over me in crushing waves. What the
was I thinking, risking everything for him?

I guess I was thinking that an older guy would have his feet on the ground. That an older lawyer specifically would understand my crazy work hours, my obsessive drive straight for the top, my need to run, unfettered, at full speed. So what if he couldn’t last long enough to get me to orgasm? So what if he’d rather watch CNN and fall asleep than cuff me to the bed and peel my naughtiest lingerie off of me? You can’t have it all.

I always knew I couldn’t have it all.

I just never expected to wind up with nothing.


I say the right things to my co-
workers; I take deep breaths, smile and reassure them it will be fine,
will be fine.

Don’t worry
, I tell them all, even though no one looks worried. Because they know I can rebound from anything? Or because these people I’ve worked side by side with for years who don’t actually give a shit about me after all? As long as it isn’t them, it’s not something they’re going to lose sleep over.

I walk to my office and am extremely proud of myself for not punching Tanya in the face when she gives me a stricken look of mock sympathy. Then I grab my coat and briefcase, walk down to my car
—a Mercedes I’m not going to be able to afford if this suspension isn’t temporary—and bawl my eyes out, beating on the steering wheel and screaming in the parking lot of the building that has owned me, body and soul, for the last five years. No one comes down to check on me, because no one would have expected this.

I’m Lydia Rodriguez.

Stone Cold Lydia Pitbull Rodriguez.

I can handle

Betrayal, disloyalty, condescension...whatever.

I wipe my eyes with shaking fingers and feel the biggest, strongest swell of
fuck this
I’ve felt since I was a ball of raging hormones and frustration in high school. I gun the engine and peel out, racing away from the office.

I’ll get my damn job back. I’ll repair my bruised ego. I’ll make Richard beg me for forgiveness on his weasel
ly knees. But first, I’ll take my damn suspension.

I’ll take it and use it to recharge. And I’ll recharge by doing every goddamn bad thing I’ve ever wanted to do. Twice.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I’m about to become a goddess of vengeance.  

BOOK: Drift (Lengths)
12.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Seeker by William Nicholson
Darker Jewels by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Every Time I Think of You by Jim Provenzano
City of Refuge by Tom Piazza
The Black God's War by Moses Siregar III