Home > Seducing the Defendant (Conflict of Interest #2)

Seducing the Defendant (Conflict of Interest #2)
Author: Chantal Fernando

chapter 1




A BODY HAS BEEN FOUND, dumped in the river waterfront, said police. Dental records show that it’s the body of Officer Darren Melvin who has been missing for the last two years.

I lift my head from my book and watch as the camera zooms in on the river where the man’s body was found. I’ve been following this case ever since Officer Melvin went missing about two years ago, and now that they’ve found his body, the case can finally be classified as a homicide. I listen as the news reporter explains how Melvin had been shot in the head and how his body would’ve never been found if the city hadn’t decided to gentrify the waterfront park, something that has been a hot topic of late.

I think I’ve been so interested in this one because my best friend is a cop and he’s always given these crazy, dangerous assignments—Melvin’s death could have just as easily been his. My friend and I have worked on a few things together before, but it feels like a long-ass time since I’ve seen or even thought about him. I’ve taken some time off work, but I don’t think it’s what I need. I should be burying myself in work, taking case after case, not leaving any time for my mind to wander.

I glance at the marble-framed photograph on my bookshelf, studying the dark-haired beauty with green eyes. I’d give anything to see those green eyes again.

My attention is brought back to the TV screen. Yeah, an idle mind is the last thing I need.

I need to keep busy, distracted.

I don’t need to think about anything other than work. I don’t need to remember.

Melvin’s wife, heiress to Reyes Industries, Scarlett Reyes, has been charged with his murder, and was taken into custody after police found the same type of gun that killed Officer Melvin in her home. . . .

My phone rings, and I’m not surprised.

I’m one of the most sought-after criminal lawyers in town. I’m not bragging; it’s just a fact. So when my partner, Tristan, tells me that Scarlett Reyes has requested a meeting with me, it’s not a shock.

“Are you going to take it?” he asks, and I can just picture him in his office, leaning back in his chair, eyes gleaming at the prospect of this controversial case. Our firm is known for taking on high-profile cases, we usually don’t turn down opportunities like this. “I know you’re meant to be taking a break, but I thought since she requested you . . .”

“I want to speak with her first,” I tell him. “And consider me officially off my break.”

“Are you sure?” he asks. “What you’ve been though, Jaxon—”

“I know, Tristan, but sitting here isn’t helping. I need to keep busy,” I admit.

He takes a deep breath, then continues. “This case is going to be huge, Jaxon. It’s going to be all over the media, and it might get messy. But if you win this . . . fuck.”

If I win this case, my reputation as a criminal attorney will rise even higher. I’ll be sought after—more than I already am—and I’ll be paid whatever I want by those willing to do, and pay, whatever they need to escape prison time. But do I want this case? Normally I wouldn’t have a problem defending someone whether they were guilty or not. But this case is different. Do I want to defend a woman who has potentially killed a cop, one of my best friend’s brothers? I won’t be able to decide until I meet her and see what she has to say for herself. I want to hear her side of the story. I’ll be able to get a good read on her if I’m there in person. And if she admits that she did kill her husband . . . I don’t know what I’ll do.

“There’s no question it’ll get messy,” I tell him. “But it’s a challenge. . . .”

I know that shouldn’t be the basis on which I accept a case, but damn, I like to be kept on my toes. I like to push myself, test myself. I like seeing how far I can bend the law in my client’s favor.

“You do enjoy a good challenge,” Tristan murmurs, amusement lacing his tone. “I’ll handle the bail hearing. It’ll give you time to look at the case and see if you’re ready. I guess I’ll be seeing you soon then.”

“I guess you will,” I say, and then tell him good-bye.

I look back at the photo, my chest suddenly getting tight. I don’t have it in me to put the photo away or cover it, but every time I look at it, it hurts.

It physically hurts.

I absently rub my chest and stand, then head into my bathroom to have a quick shower, knowing I have to go to the office to do some reading. Once I’m ready, I glance around, looking for my keys. I keep my gaze down, making sure not to look in the direction of the photo. I find them next to my wallet on the kitchen counter, grab both of them and head outside to my car.

I don’t need any more time off.

I have a prospective client to meet.



chapter 2


“COME IN,” I SAY, lifting my gaze from what little information I have on Scarlett Reyes. A woman walks through the door, and I instantly stand, buttoning my suit jacket. She’s beautiful. That’s the first thing that enters my mind. Light hair and eyes, creamy skin, and a femininity I don’t see that often anymore. She’s dressed in a pale ice-blue loose blouse and denim jeans, her hazel eyes a striking contrast. This is Scarlett Reyes, the husband killer? Not what I was expecting. At all.

“Ms. Reyes?” I ask, walking toward her and offering her my hand. She looks so young, mid to late twenties maybe; I was expecting someone older.

“Yes,” she says, loosely shaking my hand, then quickly dropping it.

“Have a seat,” I tell her, pulling out the chair for her. I then walk to my own, opposite her, and we both sit down. “Can I get you something to drink? Tea or coffee?”

“No, thank you,” she replies, glancing around my office briefly before returning her gaze to me. Tristan got her out on bail, and now it’s up to me to decide if I want to be involved. If I don’t take on this case, he will, so I need to decide what to do with her. As good of a lawyer as Tristan is, he knows I’m better at the murder cases. Tristan’s more of a white-collar criminal lawyer.

“I’m just going to jump right into it,” I say, getting straight to the point. I open the file in front of me. “You’re being charged with the murder of your husband, based on the grounds that the gun used to kill him is the same kind of gun that was found in your home and that you were the last to see him alive.” I pause to skim the file, making sure I’m correct. “You fled the country around the time he went missing, and you started to withdraw money out of your joint account in the days leading up to your departure. All suspicious activity.” I put the file down and pick up my pen, ready to take notes. “Let’s start with the gun situation. A Glock 22 was found in your possession,” I say.

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