After a long morning dealing with jury selection for a murder case, I finally arrive at the office. I have a couple of hours of work to do.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Brandon,” Erica, the receptionist, greets me with a cheerful grin as I step off the elevator. She’d been hired a year ago to help manage most of the office tasks that aren’t fulfilled by our paralegals.
“Good morning, Ms. Forrester. Is Francisco in?” My paralegal does his job well, and it’s the only reason that he still has this job. He annoys the fuck out of me on a daily basis with his squirrely and nervous movements. He should be down the hall, doing research in our personal library.
“Thank you. Please make sure I’m not disturbed for the next hour.”
“Yes, Mr. Brandon.”
When I enter my spacious office, I see the files and reference books with tabs marking the pages that I’ve requested have been added to my desk. There are three attorneys in this office, so the caseloads get sorted by seniority and priority. I’m a district attorney for Ellis County, which covers Steeleville and several other cities and towns. Most of the time I have a small caseload, but lately, with more cartel violence and hardcore drug busts, my load has increased. As soon as I prosecute and file away a case, another is slapped onto my desk. We weren’t nowhere near as busy as Dallas County, but we had a much smaller team to handle the growing cases.
After scanning the complaints listed for each case, I run my hands through my short, freshly cut hair, hoping to get these cases to trial or settled soon. A knock at my door only increases my frustration because my ass wants to go home, but I know whoever is here to interrupt me will drag my day on. I check my watch, ready to ream Erica a new one, but it’s been over an hour.
“Enter,” I command, knowing it’s my squirrely little assistant who is scared of his own shadow. Why he was given to me is confusing as fuck. I don’t waste time, and having served in the Special Forces, I didn’t have time for those who dilly-dallied when it was important.
“What do you need, Francisco?” I questioned, looking up at the sensitive young man. He stands there, rocking from one foot to the other.
“Um. Detective Spencer from Dallas is here to see you.” We’re not supposed to be meeting yet. He’s lending a hand with information on the Cortes Cartel. I wonder if he has another lead for me.
“Send him in.” Now he’s someone I’d gladly kill time with.
“Hello, Charles,” I stand, walk around my desk, and shake his hand.
“Hello, Will.” He pulls me in for a one-armed hug. We’ve known each other for the past two years after teaming up on a major sex trafficking case. He’s been an ally when it comes to the cartels.
Francisco lingers, knowing that I like to offer my guests a drink. “Take a seat. Would you like some coffee?” I take my seat.
“Sure, cream and sugar, please.” I nod to my assistant, making sure he heard Spencer’s preference.
“Same for you, sir?” my assistant asks, stammering in his words.
“Yes. Thank you, Francisco.” He leaves, closing the door behind him. I’m glad to see him go. Why the hell is he so skittish around me?
“Damn, you have him shaking in his boots.” He shakes his head and chuckles.
“I didn’t do shit to him. It irks me that he seems afraid.” I tap my pen on my desk and sigh. “Anyways, what brings you to see me? Anything I need to inform Steele about?” He knows that Boomer does what he has to do to keep his town safe and secure, even if it’s skirting the law.
“No, um…” He doesn’t seem nervous, but whatever brought him here, it’s important.
Wrinkling my brow, I lean in with my elbows on my desk, and ask, “What’s up, Charles?”
Looking to make sure the door is closed, he says, “I need to call in that favor already.” Wow, that’s quick.
“Yeah?” I question, wondering how big the favor is. He gave me some basic information that wasn’t anything I couldn’t get without a lot of leg work, but the fact that he showed up instead of calling tells me he needs something much bigger.
He opens his suit jacket and makes himself more comfortable, then continues, “I have a witness I need to put into protective custody, but she’s as stubborn as a mule. She doesn’t want to be alone where she knows no one.”
“And you want me to do what?” I have a feeling where this is going.
“I want you to find her a lowkey job and place to stay in Steeleville. The population is small, and they won’t know to look for her there.”