Instantaneous heat flooded her cheeks.
Brad quietly closed the door and ran a hand through his hair. “Cassandra, look—”
She gave him an adamant shake of her head. “Oh, no. Don’t say a word.” Rising to her feet so she didn’t feel so powerless beneath his intimidating size, she gripped the edge of her desk. “Don’t say a damned thing.”
No, no, a thousand times no. The woman he had roused throughout the night, who he hungered for so badly he couldn’t stop, was not Cassandra Blaire. What a cruel trick for the fates to play. She was opposing counsel; he could get fired for fucking his client’s wife’s attorney. Hell, they could both be disbarred. Standards of conduct for family law litigants specifically forbade sexual involvement with opposing counsel.
This was wrong on so many levels. There were piles of state regulations on involvements like this. All of which spelled disaster for both of them, even if it had been an honest mistake. Why the hell hadn’t he pushed for her name?
Brad set his briefcase by his feet and held up both hands in acquiescence. “Listen, Cassandra—”
“Cassie,” she snapped, “and you told me you were on vacation. Checking out the slopes sound familiar?”
He flinched. Precisely why he didn’t make it a habit to lie. One way or the other, falsehoods always came back to bite him in the ass. How could he have been so stupid?
“Cassie, obviously, we didn’t make good decisions.”
Cassie. The inappropriate thought smacked into his awareness. Her name was Cassie. It certainly fit the woman he’d met last night better than Cassandra.
Brad grimaced inwardly. This wasn’t the time to be analyzing names. If he didn’t handle this carefully, if she were as furious as she sounded, this could go from bad to devastating, fast. But damned if he wasn’t having a devil of a time putting the two women together in his head.
“Good decisions,” she echoed with a wry smirk. “No, we sure didn’t. But at least one of us might have figured out the coincidence if the other hadn’t claimed to be in town for skiing.”
Talk about unfair. No way was he swallowing that accusation and accepting the entire blame. He took a challenging step toward her. “If one of us hadn’t suggested we keep our names silent, we wouldn’t be in this position at all!”
She tossed her hands into the air. “Well, how was I supposed to know?”
“How was I supposed to know?”
As his voice boomed through the room and bounced off tall shelves of legal references, the door squeaked open behind him. He whirled around at the same time Cassie’s head snapped toward the intruder. Her secretary poked her head inside. “Um, everything okay in here? You need a referee? I can hear you at my desk.”
Son of a bitch. Brad clenched a fist and dropped into an overstuffed leather chair. He propped his elbow on the arm and braced his forehead against his palm, shielding his face. Just what he needed—someone else discovering his colossal fuck-up.
“I think we’ve got it covered,” Cassie answered, her voice returning to its normal tone of cool reserve. “Just a misunderstanding. We’re ah…working through it.”
He peeked over the back of his hand. That was certainly one way to put it. When her secretary glanced between them, he nodded, confirming Cassie’s declaration. Thankfully, she backed out of the room, though she didn’t look at all like she believed Cassie’s words.
Brad lowered his hand to his lap and lifted his gaze to Cassie. She regarded him coldly, the light in her wide eyes hard and brittle. He huffed out a sigh, bent forward to lean his elbows on his knees, and ran his hands down his face. “Look, I’m sorry. An hour ago, we were both going to put this behind us. So let’s leave it there. That’s all we can do.”
Her back as stiff as a board, she lowered herself into her chair. “Clearly, I didn’t exercise the best judgment.” She looked at where her hands rested atop a deep red blotter, not at him, and her words came out clipped. As if she still held him accountable, despite her attempt at accepting half the blame.
Brad frowned. They’d made a monumental error in reason, but her anger didn’t make sense. He wasn’t solely to blame here. “What are you so pissed about?”