Shame on Him
Author:Tara Sivec

Kennedy lifts her head from the table. “Forget about the beer and the cursing for right now. The first part of this plan will be a piece of cake for you—research. Find everything and anything you can on the life and times of Richard Covington. And not just the typical stuff like who he was friends with and who had grudges against him. Even information like who he banged in high school and what his favorite foods were could be helpful. Dig up everything you can find and then start asking questions.”

“Are you forgetting the fact that we’re not being paid for this? And if Ted or Dallas finds out what I’m doing, I could get into serious trouble.”

Not that I really care what Dallas thinks, but I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot at the very beginning.

“Ted is too busy right now to worry about what you’re doing. And seeing you go against your good-little-lawyer role will throw Dallas off his game. You’ll be able to swoop in and save the day while he’s sitting there with his dick in his hand.”

I wince. I really didn’t need that mental image in my brain.

“You could even negotiate with him that if you solve the case, you get the fee,” Kennedy adds.

She makes it sound so easy. Being able to pay the electric bill next month relies on my solving a crime before Dallas.

“So, now that that’s settled, can we move on to something vitally important?” Kennedy asks. “Griffin wants to take me away for the weekend in a few weeks. And I’m pretty sure he’s going to propose.”

An earsplitting scream leaves Paige’s lips and she starts bouncing up and down in her chair.

Kennedy and I cringe until she finally calms down.

“Oh, my God! Are you serious? We have to go shopping!” Paige exclaims.

“How did I know you were going to say that?” Kennedy complains.

Paige pulls her cell phone out of her purse and clicks on the Internet icon. “We have to get you some sexy lingerie. I think there’s a sale at Victoria’s Secret tomorrow. How do you feel about spray tans?”

Kennedy’s eyes widen in horror.

“Nothing drastic, just a dusting of color. We should also get your roots touched up. Are you thinking dress or skirt for the actual proposal? I’m thinking skirt with a nice pair of Gucci snakeskin knee boots,” Paige continues, ignoring Kennedy’s disgusted expression as she searches the Internet.

“If she forces me to go shopping, you’re coming with me,” Kennedy demands.

A few hours later, I’m curled up on my couch with a fire in the fireplace, the file for this case and my laptop resting on the arm of the couch next to me.

I’ve always loved my home. My parents looked down their noses at it when I bought it, which probably convinced me even more that it was the perfect place for me. It’s a small Cape Cod in a development full of nice middle-class families.

When I graduated from law school, it was assumed I would take a position at my father’s firm in Indianapolis and continue living close to them. After being on my own for so many years at Harvard and finally being able to breathe without their constant interference in my life, I knew as soon as I received my degree that I couldn’t go back there. It was my one and only form of rebellion. Much to my parents’ dismay, I accepted an offer with a firm in South Bend, almost an hour and a half from where they live.

Unfortunately, it still wasn’t far enough away to avoid their judgment and the hold they continue to have on my life.

I want them to finally understand that I am my own person and I need to do what makes me happy, not what makes them look good. The idea of taking on a murder case and actually solving it thrills and scares me all at the same time.

Settling back into the couch, I begin searching the Internet for more information on Richard. I’m going to need to find out a lot more about this man than what I’ve read in magazines. Not only do I need to look deeper into Richard’s background, but also into everyone’s background associated with him. From the articles I’ve read in the past, I know he was married to Stephanie, a woman thirty years his junior (eew). The spouse—especially a soon-to-be ex—is always the first suspect.

Thinking back over what Kennedy told me, I realize it’s inevitable that I’m going to need to get into Dallas’s head. What would Dallas do in this instance? He would probably do something illegal like search through sealed court documents or break into the ex-wife’s home.

I’m not ready to go to extremes like that. I’m smart and resourceful and I have tons of legal knowledge at my disposal. I can do this without stooping to his level. Pulling up PACER, the public-access website for court records, I type in Stephanie’s name to see if she’s ever had any trouble with the law or if Richard ever filed any complaints against her.

The ringing of my cell phone on the cushion next to me pulls my focus away from the screen of my laptop. Glancing at the display, I see that it’s an unknown number. Figuring I need to answer it in case it’s one of my clients calling from a different line, I grab the phone and bring it up to my ear.

“Lorelei Warner.”

There’s a snort on the other end of the line. “Wow, you even answer the phone all pretentious.”

Clenching my teeth, I take a deep breath before answering. “What do you want, Dallas, and how did you get my number?”

“Awww, don’t be like that, Lawyer. You know you’ve been waiting by the phone for my call,” he tells me with a clear effort to sound sexy.

No. There is nothing about Dallas Osborne that’s sexy.

“Sorry to bother you. I’m sure you’re quite busy sitting at home on a Monday night, thinking about how much you hate the male species,” he adds with a laugh.

“I’m hanging up now.”

Pulling the phone away, I hear him shout through the line and I slowly bring it back up to my ear.

“Look, I don’t like you and you don’t like me. Can we call a truce for just one second?” Dallas asks with a sigh.

Waiting for him to continue, I don’t say a word.

“I’m going over Ted’s notes from your statement and I can’t read a damn word of his chicken-scratch handwriting. I just need to know whether or not you noticed the front door had been tampered with when you entered Richard Covington’s house,” he explains.