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Authors: Stacy Hoff

Lawfully Yours

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Table of Contents

LAWFULLY YOURS

STACY HOFF

SOUL MATE PUBLISHING

New York

LAWFULLY YOURS

Copyright©2015

STACY HOFF

Cover Design by Leah Suttle.

This book is a work of fiction.  The names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events, business establishments, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher.  The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law.  Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.

Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

Published in the United States of America by

Soul Mate Publishing

P.O. Box 24

Macedon, New York, 14502

ISBN: 978-1-61935-
728-0

www.SoulMatePublishing.com

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

To my cherished husband, Eyal,

my treasured sons, Aaron and Ryan,

and my devoted parents, Marilyn & Michael.

Thank you for your endless encouragement.

You are the rocks I hold on to

when life gives me quicksand.

And in memory of my beloved grandparents,

Al and Rhea.

Thank you for helping raise me,

and sending me to law school.

I miss both of you every day.

Acknowledgements

A few heartfelt comments to some truly special people:

Deborah Gilbert—Founder and Senior Editor of Soul Mate Publishing—thank you for gambling on me a second time.

Dan Spiegel—my brother-in-law and website developer—thank you for building both me, and my website, up.

Judy Roth—my personal line editor—thank you for making this manuscript one worth reading.

Amina Connelly—my best friend—thank you for being my Leila.

CHAPTER 1

What on Earth was I thinking when I quit my job? That working in a place with nice lawyers is even possible?

At least I’m a nice lawyer
—ethical, caring, dedicated. And I hope people think I’m a good person, too. I always write checks to the local animal shelter despite being allergic to dogs. I volunteer at the poverty law clinic every week. I help out my co-workers. Just call me super-helpful Susan: that’s me. Financially suffering from an insane quest for pleasant employment.

Surely there are other attorneys like me out there. Will I ever be lucky enough to get a job with them? For that matter, will I ever be lucky enough to land another job? Who quits her job in the first place? Of all the pie-in-the-sky, unrealistic things to do.

But it’s not the time to self-flagellate, nor is it time to procrastinate. It’s time to concentrate, because finding the perfect book on how to interview will take time and effort. Hopefully, the poise and skills I’ll learn will make me appear confident. And I really do need to at least look the part during tomorrow’s interview because after quitting my last job I don’t feel confident at all.

Pushing myself through the revolving door of Barnes & Noble, I immediately head over to the “Career Advice” section. Having professionally shot myself in the foot, I’ve made my road to success a much harder journey.

The bookstore has a single restroom, lucky me, because I’ve just realized the zipper on my pants is down and I don’t want to yank it up in public. As I’m about to open the door, an elderly woman reaches for it, too.

“You take it,” I say, gesturing toward the door. My other hand covers my crotch.

“Thanks, honey. I won’t be long,” she says, smiling.

“No problem. Take your time.” It’s great to do something nice for someone. True to her word, the woman comes out shortly and I hurry in. After fixing my pants I ball up the tissue I had earlier sobbed in and aim for the trash can. It lands on the floor. Good thing I’m not seeking employment with the NBA.

I will do great tomorrow—I will land this job. My old office was terrible—catty office cliques, low pay, and lower morale. My new office will have professional, courteous people, decent pay, and high morale. I cringe at the sudden image of myself wearing a curly red wig, belting out “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.” My hair is brown, not red. But my mood is blue.

Time to wash up. Is something wrong with this mirror, or has something gone very, very wrong with the chignon I’d hoped was chic?

“I’ve taken on a life of my own,” my bun screams at me. “Look, I’m a snake hanging from a tree branch!”

Hey, Sue, PETA called. They said you’ve offended snakes with that metaphor. They’re going to serve you with a “cease and desist” order in the morning.

The bathroom door rattles from the outside. “Hey!” sounds a deep voice.

Can a voice that deep really belong to someone needing a ladies room?

The voice continues, louder now. “I said, is someone still in there? If you’re not dead, then get the fu—”

“I’m doing the best I can, okay?” Calm down. Maybe she just really has to go. Bracing my shoulders, I push open the door.

“Finally! What the hell?” a pig-tailed teenage girl bellows as she whizzes by, slamming the door behind her as hard as she can.

Heads turn to stare at me. My face goes hot. Breathe, Sue, you’re only having a bad moment in a bookstore. You’ll soon forget all about it.

Deciding to delay Interviewing 101 long enough to calm down, I head over to the in-store Starbucks. Instead of the latte I want, a chai-tea purchase saves me a dollar. But I’m still out $3.50 for my indulgence. Well, $3.50 is cheaper than paying for a stress-induced trip to the hospital. Especially since I just lost my health insurance. Stupid!

I carry the tea toward one of the tables. Almost there, my foot slips, and I sprawl before catching my balance on a chair arm. Scanning the floor, I spot the culprit of my near collapse—a perfume insert from a magazine. Bending down to pick it up, I notice a doll’s pink shoe next to it, a tiny little high heel. I glance down at my loafers, which are now soaked with chai-tea. So much for living my life with my best foot forward. Too embarrassed to sit down, I leave the shoe on a table for its owner to find. I hope I’ve made some sad little girl’s day brighter. I weave through the crowd with my tea.

I scrutinize my aisle’s books until I hear a commotion in the corridor. Like everyone else, I prairie-dog to watch. A girl in the next aisle, about five years old, is cradled in her father’s arms.

“Barbie lost her shoe!” she wails, holding her doll’s bare foot out for inspection. Barbie’s other foot dangles a pink pump. The man brushes the girl’s wet cheek with his hand and kisses the top of her head. “Sorry, Marty,” he murmurs affectionately. “Maybe Mattel has a Barbie shoe store. One that sells sneakers. I think Barbie was sick of wearing evening shoes all the time anyway.” The girl’s lips upturn slightly. The smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes.

Wait a minute, that’s the owner of the shoe I found! Me, her fairy shoe-mother. Without hesitation, I trot over to them, large smile on my face. “Marty? Is that your name?” The little girl stares at me before slowly nodding, tears still trickling. “I know where your doll’s shoe is.” I glance at the man to enjoy the moment with him and freeze. Oh my God, it’s Daniel Craig! I stare harder. No, of course not. Not James Bond. Duh.

Close enough though. Like his thespian doppelganger, this man is tall with light brown hair, a nice nose, and a strong jawline. Bright—almost sparking—blue eyes. He looks like he is in his late thirties or early forties. The guy’s well dressed in a casual but expensive style. His tan slacks are straight out of Brooks Brothers. His crimson sweater, which must be cashmere, shows off his muscular frame.

The girl tugs at my jacket, bringing my attention back to her. She’s looking at me with wide-open eyes and mouth, as if my fairy wings are showing. “Can you take me there?” she asks, words gushing out in excitement.

“I’ll do even better. Wait a sec and I’ll bring it to you.” I leave to retrieve the shoe I’d put on the Starbucks table.

“Here you go,” I say a minute later.

Marty hops up and down with delight. She stops hopping only long enough to grab my leg and give it a grateful squeeze. “Thankyouthankyouthankyou,” her words tumble out.

“You have my thanks as well,” Great Looking Guy says. He extends his hand for me to shake. Kind of an old-fashioned gesture, although sweet. I do the same, bump my other elbow against the bookcase, and spill the rest of my tea down the front of his pants. He jumps back, knocking Marty onto the floor. Whump!

I shriek, “Oh my—”

“Shit!” he exclaims.

It looks like he’s peed on himself. A lot.

“Owwww.” Marty starts to cry again. The man reaches down to help her up off the floor.

“Are you all right?” I ask her, apprehensively.

“Yes.” She sniffles. “I’m okay.”

“That’s good.” I exhale in a rush.

“I may not be suffering from something as serious as a butt bruise,” the man says to me, his voice cool, “but do you think instead of standing there, you could get me some napkins? The tea’s hot.” He grimaces in pain.

“I’ll get it,” Marty exclaims.

“I meant the woman, not you, Marty.” He sounds brusque.

“Sure I will,” I say, already running back to Starbucks. Grabbing enough napkins from the partially stuck dispenser takes forever. I return, running at full speed. “Sorry I took so long.”

“No problem. I was hoping you’d take your time. My stain, and the second-degree burns, will now set in nicely. Excellent.”

I feel the blood drain from my face. He takes no notice of my pallor while he dabs himself as best as he can. “This is no use,” he declares, voice tinged with disgust. “These pants were new, too.”

Is it my imagination, or does he then sneak a glance at what I’m wearing and smirk? Is it because of my splattered shoes? Or because this morning I slipped into my 1970’s-era red velour pants and jacket ensemble? I like to dress casually and comfortably when I’m not at work. Since I have no job, that’s pretty much all the time now. The outfit seemed like a good choice when I got up. Who knew my day would be busy ruining the life of a good-looking, well-groomed, impeccably dressed man? If I had known this, maybe I would have dressed up for the occasion. At least one of us could have looked good at the end of our disastrous meeting. “I’m so sorry—”

“It’s okay,” he responds slowly. “I’ll be fine. I apologize for being so brusque. I know you were trying to help. Anyway, thanks for finding the shoe. It was . . . interesting . . . meeting you, miss.” Without another word he walks away, tugging futilely at his pants with one hand and towing Marty with the other.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe at the guy’s jerky steps toward the bathroom. “Okay, pumpkin,” I hear him say in a voice that’s surprisingly calm considering he’s been scalded in a very delicate area. “You got Barbie’s shoe back. I’ll take you home to your mother as soon as I’m done with the bathroom’s hand dryer. She’ll be waiting for you.”

“Um, bye. Nice meeting you,” I call out feebly. If he hears me, he doesn’t answer.

BOOK: Lawfully Yours
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