Home>>read Hardass (Bad Bitch) free online

Hardass (Bad Bitch)

By:Christina Saunders

Chapter One


I snort-laughed. The sort of laugh that catches in the back of your throat and then ricochets out in an awkward sound. The conference room quieted. Every pair of eyes turned toward me. I kicked Terrell in the shin with my pump for telling me a dirty joke before the morning meeting.

He shrugged and began doodling on his yellow legal pad.

The other associates were still looking at me, some with puzzlement, others with open dislike.

I settled back into my leather conference chair and rolled my eyes. “What? You idiots wouldn’t know a joke if it bit you on your smarmy backsides.”

“I thought all lawyers had to take a professionalism class before being admitted to the bar, even lawyers from backwoods no-name law schools like yours, Caroline.” Yvonne smiled, her perfect face begging for the back of my hand.

I leaned over the table toward her. “Talk shit, get hit, Yvonne. I guess they didn’t teach that at your charm school.”

“Ladies, take it down a notch.” Terrell knocked his knee into mine.

“If Caroline takes it down any further, she’ll be back in the trailer park she came from.”

“You fucking cunt.” I tried to stand, but Terrell gripped my elbow and shoved me back down.

“Caroline!” His sharp tone cut through my pissed-off haze. “Get it together. Don’t listen to her.”

“I’m not listening to her. I’m imagining pummeling her face. There’s a difference.”

“Even so. Calm down.” He gave my elbow a hard squeeze and went back to doodling. He seemed confident the situation was defused. One look at Yvonne’s smirk left me unconvinced. I flipped her off and gave a shit-eating grin.

“Stop,” Terrell hissed.

“Fine.” I sat back in my chair and eyed the rest of the associates, who shifted and refused to meet my gaze, discomfort in every awkward move. “Jesus, it’s not like Mr. Hardass Granade is even here yet. Get your panties out of a wad.”

Then the worst thing that could have happened occurred. Every associate lifted their gaze to a point above and behind me. If they’d looked uncomfortable before, they looked like they were getting a sriracha enema now. It could only mean one thing.

“Is he standing behind me? He’s standing behind me, isn’t he?” I whispered to Terrell, who continued doodling unawares.

“If you’re done with your assessment of my demeanor, Ms. Montreat, I’d like to get the meeting started. Unless, of course, you have any more fascinating commentary?” His voice, the deep baritone that rumbled through the office on an angry roar at times, settled over me like a funeral shroud. Fuck.

I straightened my back, trying not to telegraph the panic that was engulfing me. I needed this job. Pink warmed my cheeks as Mr. Granade stalked past me to the head of the table. He was tall, well over six feet, with a broad chest, trim waist, and piercing blue eyes that happened to be turned on me. At this point, piercing was an understatement. I wanted to crawl under the conference table and hide.

Instead, I sat taller and tried to salvage it. “Mr. Granade, I . . . I would like to apologize—”

“Save it, Ms. Montreat. I’ve already had enough of your mouth today.” He gave me a look that could melt lead, his angular face stony and his dark brows drawn down.

I swallowed. Hard. It wasn’t just that he was my boss or that he was scary or that he was known to fire associates for far less than what I’d just done. No. It was more that I had been lusting after him for the six months that I’d been working at Palmer & Granade. He was, simply put, the god of my idolatry.

Washington Granade was one of the most sought-after criminal defense attorneys in New Orleans. He could get a jury of twelve in the palm of his hand and work them any which way he pleased. I’d seen him do it when I was a law student, watching him defend a white-collar criminal from charges of cooking his company’s books. Wash Granade was charismatic and, I had no problem admitting, handsome as the devil.

I was so happy I’d landed the job working at his firm right out of law school. I would meet my idol and learn from him, not to mention I would get to be around one of the greatest trial lawyers in the state—and did I mention he was smoking hot? But it didn’t take long for me to realize the charm was something he turned on and off like a spigot. Sadly for me, the spigot seemed to be permanently in the “off” position.

“Now that Ms. Montreat is done with her morning antics, I need to know which of you has time to take on a particularly complex murder case. You’ll get second-chair trial experience if I think you can handle yourself. But I warn you”—he undid the top button on his charcoal gray suit and sat, placing his large hands on the table—“this is not going to be a cakewalk. I’m going to need someone who can work nights, weekends, and who isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Who wants it?”