Fucking her had been inevitable, he reasoned. After all, Maggie was not unattractive with her thick red hair, bright green eyes shaded by long red lashes she darkened with mascara, the smattering of freckles across her nose. Beneath those inexpensive business suits she favored, her body wasn’t bad. Don’t think he hadn’t noticed.
It was an odd line of thought for a man on vacation. He stretched out his legs on the chaise and gazed past his tanned bare feet to the turquoise water of the Indian Ocean. His travel agent had assured him that he’d love the Maldives. He raised his glass of bourbon in a toast to Nancy at East Coast Travel, but his thoughts returned to Maggie.
He’d actually been surprised at the firm, full, round tits he’d unearthed beneath that conservative grey blouse. They were much larger than he’d realized, in a natural, homegrown sort of way.
Obviously, she wasn’t his usual taste. He preferred bottle blondes with tiny waists and store-bought tits, the bigger the better. In fact, if a woman resembled Barbie, it was a plus. Not that he’d turn down a hot brunette, either. He gravitated toward socialites, models, or occasionally actresses, the more successful the better. Less successful women tended to be needy, emotionally speaking. Flight attendants were his among his favorites. They could never stay.
He glanced to his right at Vivian, the chosen one accompanying him on this trip. She wore only the tiniest black bikini bottoms, having removed the top to avoid tan lines. Her white blonde hair was swept up in a knot on top of her head. Expensive designer sunglasses shaded eyes he knew were violet, albeit artificially so, thanks to purple contacts. Plumped pouting lips were precisely situated beneath her perfect designer nose. Had she told him that she’d had her lips done again just before they left New York? He couldn’t seem to remember. His gaze fell to her enormous tits. They really are her best quality, he thought. Later, he’d fuck those tits. She could always shower before dinner.
She noticed that he was looking her way. “Hey, baby,” she simpered, fingering her left nipple provocatively. He winked at her then looked away without answering.
As a fellow attorney, Maggie was much too bright for his liking as well. He wasn’t in it for the conversation, after all; he was never interested in what they had to say. And boning a colleague was usually a bad idea. But she’d liked him. She always had, since she first was hired at Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny.
There were those who called Michael Rannigan shallow. He shook his head. Fuck them, and the horse they rode in on, he thought.
Five years earlier...
Maggie Flynn checked her image in the mirror. Her thick red hair was styled in what she hoped projected ‘professional.’ Her charcoal grey suit was paired with a deep green silk blouse she’d borrowed from her best friend Casey and it accentuated her green eyes which sparkled with excitement. She wore basic black mid-heeled pumps, slightly elevating her five foot five stature.
It would have to do. And she didn’t think it was too bad, either. This was her opportunity, what her years in undergrad and in law school had all led up to. Law firms from around the country had sent representatives to interview newly minted lawyers at the annual job fair.
Unlike some, Maggie wasn’t worried about landing a position. She had a stellar GPA and glowing recommendations from her law professors and from the internships she’d done. She had an all-but-firm offer from the New York County District Attorney’s office, her most recent internship. There would be the formalities of an interview but Rance Stockwell, her immediate supervisor during her time there assured her that he wanted her working on his team. Truthfully, she liked the idea of working for the good guys. She wasn’t at all sure that being a defense attorney was her cup of tea. She was just idealistic enough to find distasteful the idea of helping possibly guilty clients avoid accountability.
She knew Casey thought she was crazy. “You’ll never get rich working for the DA’s office,” she’d cautioned Maggie. Which was ironic, really, coming from Casey. She herself planned to take her law degree back home to Rhode Island and slide right into place in her father’s law firm. She’d never had to worry about money because her father had paid for all her schooling. Maggie, however, had serious student loans that would come calling just as soon as she graduated.
She checked her reflection once more before gathering up her faux leather clipboard folio containing copies of her resume, and left the ladies room to join the others in the banquet hall of the law school’s main building, Vanderbilt Hall. She was surprised to see Casey standing with Ben Kauffman, a friend of theirs who would also be graduating next week, new law degree in hand.
“What are you doing here?” she asked Casey. “You already have a job.”
“I know. I’m just checking out the action,” Casey replied. “I don’t know what you’re doing here. You could just call Rance and tell him you accept.”
Maggie rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t work like that. I have to interview along with everybody else.”
“You could always change your mind, you know,” Ben added. “Nothing says you can’t look around and find something you’d rather do than work for the prosecutor’s office. Have you seen all the firms that showed up?”
Maggie glanced around the room. The perimeter of the large banquet hall was lined with white linen-covered tables. Occupying each table were teams of three or four interviewers seated behind banners identifying their firm. The guests were themselves scanning the room, laptops and spreadsheets open before them, searching for the newest additions to their respective teams. Only the best and brightest candidates would do. Some of the firms were familiar to her, many were not. She saw the table for the New York County District Attorney. She didn’t recognize the woman and two men seated there but Rance had said he wouldn’t be attending the interviews; the team would have his recommendation, she merely needed to mention her internship there. Maggie didn’t feel in a hurry. Still perusing the field, her eyes widened when she saw a name she recognized.
Murphy, Rannigan, and Metheny, Attorneys at Law. Maggie smiled to herself. This was a firm with which she was very familiar. One of the more prestigious in all of Manhattan, the firm had an incredibly high success rate with high-profile defense cases.
Casey saw them the same time she did. “Holy shit! Look who’s here,” she exclaimed. “Murphy, Rannigan. I should interview with them.”
“You have a job,” Maggie reminded her.
“Don’t look now,” Ben said. “Michael Rannigan himself is here. Flynn, didn’t you do one of his cases for Siegler’s class?”
Maggie smiled. “I did.” She followed Ben’s gaze and saw him. He was tall, like she remembered. His expensively tousled salt and pepper waves framed his handsomely tanned face, perfectly complementing his soulful brown eyes and seemingly permanent five-o’clock shadow.
Michael Rannigan. He was the public face of the firm, young, good-looking, a hotshot who never missed his sound bite on the evening news. He occasionally showed up in gossip items in the newspaper for hosting charity events or escorting society beauties to red carpet affairs. But he dazzled juries with his legal expertise and handsome smile. And he won acquittals for the firm’s very rich, very grateful clients.
Maggie had once heard him speak at a charity event. His obvious physical appeal had not been lost on her. But she’d been impressed by his intelligence, by his earnest words about the importance of providing clients with the best representation possible. She’d studied the firm in depth and had even chosen a case tried by Rannigan to use for a project she’d done the previous year.
An idea began to form in her mind. I could simply go over and give them a resume, talk to them for a moment. No reason I couldn’t test the waters a bit, she thought. Interviewing with Murphy, Rannigan would be more competitive than with other firms, to be sure, for several reasons. A job there would pay significantly more than the DA’s office. Oh, those loans, she thought. And... he was there.
“I’m going to talk to them,” Maggie said decisively, startling Casey and Ben.
“What?” Casey asked. “I thought you were dead set on New York County.”
“Nothing ventured...” Maggie called over her shoulder, heading toward the Murphy, Rannigan table before she lost her nerve.
Michael Rannigan dry gulped three ibuprofen tablets as the car from the service weaved its way through mid-day Manhattan traffic. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a hangover. The previous night had been exceptional. At an art gallery opening, he’d met twin flight attendants who matched him drink for drink before going home with him for an extended threesome adventure.
I’m getting too old for this shit. Should have called in sick today. As a partner at Murphy, Rannigan, there was no one to question his absence. But it was his turn representing the firm at the job fair at NYU. Brian Murphy was out of the country on vacation. And James Metheny was recovering from surgery. Tonsils or some shit, Michael mused. Didn’t everyone have their tonsils out when they were five?
Sure the firm needed new talent. But why did he need to be there? He knew exactly why. Without his presence, John Hemphill would be the senior man there, and that couldn’t happen. Hemphill’s an idiot, he thought.
The car dropped him at the entrance to Vanderbilt Hall. He knew it well. After all, NYU was his alma mater. He took a moment to straighten his tie before entering the building. As expected, the hall was full of fresh young faces, soon-to-graduate litigators who needed jobs. Unconsciously his eye roved, looking for nubile young female candidates. Not necessarily for the firm, mind you. He was always on the lookout for his next conquest. He passed a group of girls who giggled as he walked by.
“Ladies,” he greeted them, flashing his mega-watt smile. Just get this over with, he begged as he zeroed in on the Murphy, Rannigan table.
Already seated at the table were John Hemphill, Stan Hodges, and Ellen Standifer. The trio were associates from the elite 50th floor of Murphy, Rannigan. They were good enough at what they did, which was mostly research and legwork, with the occasional foray into the courtroom when necessity called. Each had a laptop and on the table was a spreadsheet they’d worked out back at the office. Of course, they’d vetted possible candidates before they ever set foot at the university. Preparation saves time in the long run, they knew.
Michael took a bottled water from the table and sipped, standing behind the three and continuing to scan the room. “What’ve we got?” he asked.
Hemphill gave him a brief rundown. “We’ve interviewed five candidates so far, five of the ones we were interested in. We’ve turned away about a dozen others that didn’t meet our standards,” he related in his adenoidal drone that so grated on Michael.
“You’re turning away interviewees who aren’t on your candidate list?” Michael snapped. “How sure are you that your list is accurate? Paper and data don’t always tell the story.”
Hemphill reddened a bit. “Well, I...” the man floundered.
Michael grinned to himself. It’s the little pleasures in life that make it all worthwhile, he thought. He watched as a young woman crossed the floor, seeming to make a beeline for their table. She was petite, with red hair, and she was wearing a grey suit paired with a green silk blouse. What have we here, he wondered.
“Hello,” said the young woman. “I’d like to interview with your firm.” She reached across the table to shake hands with the attorneys seated there.
“And you are?” Michael asked, still standing behind the others.
“Oh, sorry,” she said, clearly flustered. She opened her folio to remove copies of her resume and several slipped out, sailing across the floor. Michael watched in amusement as she scrambled to gather them up again. “Sorry,” she repeated, as she handed a document to each of them.
“Mary Margaret Flynn,” Michael read from the top line of the resume.
“Um, Maggie, actually,” the young woman corrected.
“Have a seat, Ms. Flynn,” Hemphill directed as they read over her resume.
Standifer pulled up Mary Margaret Flynn on their database and Hodges located her name on their spreadsheet. There were two stars beside her name. How have we not spoken with this one yet?
Michael took a seat directly across from her. He was impressed with the resume, and he’d found her name on the spreadsheet before Hodges had. He looked from the document back up to her face. Her green eyes were wide and as she sat, she fidgeted nervously with the atrocious vinyl folio containing her resumes.
“So Ms. Flynn, your resume is impressive. It says that you interned with Rance Stockwell at the DA’s office. I’m surprised he hasn’t offered you a job.”
“Oh, he has,” Maggie replied. “I just haven’t accepted yet.”
“Looking for better offers, are you?” Michael asked, arching an eyebrow.
“I have a great deal of student loan debt,” she confessed. “It makes sense to me to look around and find my best options.”
Michael leaned back in his chair. “Are you familiar with our firm?” he asked.
“Yes, actually,” Maggie answered. “I heard you speak once at a charity luncheon. You said that everyone is entitled to the best defense possible, regardless of the circumstances of their charges.”
Michael tried to suppress a smile. “I said that, did I?” The others at the table snickered.
Maggie’s face reddened a bit as she glanced down the line of lawyers. “It really resonated with me,” she said quietly. “I also tried one of your cases as a mock trial project.”
“Which case did you choose?” asked Michael.
“People v. Lawson.”
The other three snickered louder and Michael looked down at his notes, suppressing another grin.
“Well, Ms. Flynn, if you were going to try one of my cases, you might have chosen one I actually won.”
Maggie glared indignantly at the panel. “I, well, I tweaked it a little. I uncovered evidence that you overlooked.” Michael sat up straight; she had his undivided attention. “Testimony in the deposition was contradicted on the witness stand. The victim stated in the deposition that she’d met the defendant two weeks prior to the incident. On the stand she said she’d just met him that night. It was enough doubt for the mock jury. I won your case.”
Michael looked at the other three. If someone had dropped the ball on the case, he or she was currently seated at the table. They all looked down, suddenly intensely interested in their notes.
He cleared his throat. “It seems, Ms. Flynn, we have everything we need. We’ll make a decision by the end of the week and let you know.”
Maggie stood and reached out her hand. “Thank you for your time.”
“Thank you,” Michael nodded, shaking her hand. He watched her walk back across the room and disappear in the crowd.
She felt her face burning as she walked away from the Murphy, Rannigan table. What couldn’t possibly have gone any worse, she thought. Well, if I’d thrown up on them. That would have been worse.
Casey and Ben were still standing where she’d left them, and they were anxiously awaiting a report. “Well?!” Casey begged as soon as Maggie was close enough. “How did it go?”
Maggie rolled her eyes. “It was bad. Did you see me drop my papers? And they actually laughed at me when I talked about trying Rannigan’s case for my project.” She shook her head sheepishly. “Oh, well, I’m glad I have an in with Rance and the DA’s office.”
Ben clapped his large hand on her shoulder. “I’d stay here and help you feel sorry for yourself but I have an interview, bitches,” he grinned. “Hey, buck up, Flynn. At least we’re still going out for your birthday.”
Maggie had almost forgotten. Her birthday wasn’t until tomorrow but Ben, Casey, and their whole group of friends were taking her to the Blue Note tonight to celebrate. “Well, there’s that,” she sighed.
By nine o’clock that evening, Maggie was seated at a large round table at the Blue Note along with some of her closest friends with whom she’d scaled the mountain they called law school. Casey was there, of course, as was Ben, who’d brought his new boyfriend, Alex. Des Oliver and Jacob Hoechner, Marcus Jensen and his date, Catherine somebody, and Kevin Alverez rounded out their group. Kevin played drums in a jazz band and they were playing later that night.
Over the last couple of years, the friends had bonded over classes, assignments, exams, reviews, relationship woes, successes, and failures. Des and Jacob had been a couple since the first week they’d all arrived as new graduate students and they were engaged, planning a summer wedding.
Maggie watched the two of them and felt a little envious. It must be nice to have someone, she thought. Des had Jacob. Ben had Alex. Even Casey had a boyfriend, John, a journalist who worked for the Providence Journal back home. The month before, Maggie had been dumped by Steve, her boyfriend of about six months. If she was honest with herself, she’d have to admit that she hadn’t been that torn up about the breakup. Although she liked him, she knew she didn’t love him, certainly didn’t want to spend the rest of her life with him. But it was nice to have a standing date, nice to have guaranteed sex. She sighed to herself.
Casey broke into her brief moment of self-pity. “Tell them about your interview, Maggie.”
Maggie glared at her. “Seriously? I’m supposed to be the birthday girl. Don’t I get to be Queen for a Day or something?”
“Oh, queen, schmeen,” Casey said, rolling her eyes. “Tell them about your face off with the Michael Rannigan.”
“That man is hot,” Marcus’s date Catherine commented.
“I’d do him,” Alex said and everyone laughed.
“Shh, you guys, let Maggie tell the story,” Casey said.
Maggie realized that the laughter and banter at the table had quieted down as everyone waited to hear about the interview. “Shit!” she swore, embarrassed. “It’s not that big of a deal. They were assholes, mostly. I suppose it didn’t help that I dropped my crap everywhere. But they laughed when they found out that I used one of Rannigan’s cases for that project.”
“Why did they laugh?” Des asked.
“Because I chose a case he lost,” Maggie answered. “But you’d better believe I made sure I told them that he missed evidence on that case, evidence I used to win the case and ace the project.”
“You’ve got mad balls, sweetheart,” said Alex.
“Cheers to Maggie’s mad balls,” Jacob said, raising his glass. Everyone, including Maggie, laughed and raised their glasses in a toast.
“They just pissed me off,” Maggie said.
Ben winked at her. “Your glass is empty, Flynn. We can’t have the birthday girl getting thirsty!” He left the table and made his way to the bar. The place was fairly empty for a Thursday night and he had no trouble moving through the sparse crowd.
Maggie was watching Ben order her beer when she heard Casey from across the table. “Holy fucking shit! Look who just walked in.”
Maggie turned to see Michael Rannigan strolling into the bar, a drop dead gorgeous blonde woman on his arm. Her heart stopped.
“Here you go, Flynn,” Ben said, returning with her Guinness. “Hey, check it out, it’s Rannigan!”
Maggie ducked down a little hoping he’d pass by without seeing her. “Don’t you want to say hi to your new buddy?” Casey teased.
It was a quarter to ten when Michael walked into the Blue Note with Gwen Channing. Being back in the Village earlier that day had made him feel nostalgic, so he’d called Gwen, who was in town on a two-day layover.
Back in the day, he thought, smiling to himself. Back in the day he’d spent many an evening drinking too much, debating the finer points of the law, and listening to great music.
As he’d expected, the crowd was fairly thin. Had it been the weekend the place would have been packed; people would have needed reservations. Well, most people. There was always a table for Michael Rannigan. And not only at the Blue Note. He’d charmed hosts and maitre ds all over town.
Michael scanned the room as they were shown to their table and he noted a large group occupying a table not far from the bar. Probably law students, he thought, blowing off steam before finals. On closer inspection, he realized there was a face he recognized. That girl from the interview today. The one who’d let him know he’d fucked up. Or that Hemphill had fucked up, more likely, he thought. Now what was her name?
As Gwen settled in at their table he strode across the room toward the group. “Mary Margaret Flynn!” he greeted her, giving her the full wattage of his best smile. “How are you this fine evening?” He watched as the blush crept up her neck to color her face nearly as red as her hair.
“Um, it’s Maggie, actually,” she managed. “I’m well, and you?”
“I was in the mood for a little music tonight so I figured, what the hell? Head on down to the Village, see what’s going on,” Michael said.
Another young woman at the table spoke up. “We’re here celebrating Maggie’s birthday.”
He watched the blush deepen. “Really? I didn’t know, my apologies for interrupting your celebration,” Michael offered, privately amused at Maggie’s discomfort. “Happy Birthday, Maggie.”
“Um, actually, my birthday isn’t until tomorrow, but...” she stammered. “Anyway, thank you.”
She looked up and met his gaze. And that’s when he knew. She was attracted to him. He could always tell when a woman wanted him. There was something in her eyes. He gave his dazzling smile again. “I’ll just leave you to your celebration. It was good to see you again. Have a very happy birthday.”
“Nice to see you, too. And thank you,” Maggie managed. With that, Michael turned and walked back to Gwen and his own table.
“Oh. My. Effing. God.” Casey stared open-mouthed as Michael returned to his own table. “That man is sex on legs.”
“Stop,” Maggie protested, embarrassed.
“Somebody made an impression today,” Ben observed.
To Maggie’s immense relief, Kevin’s band took the stage and further conversation was averted. Throughout their set, Maggie’s attention kept wandering to the table in the corner. She saw him chatting and laughing with the beauty queen. He seemed to enjoy the music, too. Once, their eyes met and she felt a jolt of electricity as he gave her a small private smile. She immediately looked away, his gaze too intense and intimate for her comfort.
Shortly before the end of Kevin’s first set, a server approached the table with three bottles of wine. “Compliments of the gentleman at the corner table,” she said. To Maggie, she handed a business card. It was his, of course. S. Michael Rannigan, Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny. It listed the office number and his email. Turning over the card she discovered a handwritten note.
We’d like you offer you a job at Murphy, Rannigan. Call my assistant tomorrow to set up a meeting next week. Happy Birthday, Maggie. M.R.
Pandora Spocks is a sassy ginger and hopeless romantic, living her happily ever after in South Florida. She enjoys reading and writing literary erotic romance. She is the author of the three-novel epic romance Rannigan’s Redemption, and a naughty little romantic novella, Just One Night. The Dream Dominant Collection, a series of light BDSM stand-alone novels, includes Luke & Bella, Lost & Bound, and For Sparrow.
Pandora is currently at work on her next spicy romance. In the meantime, you can find more of her work through Amazon and Goodreads.