Home > Elastic Hearts (Hearts #3)(2)

Elastic Hearts (Hearts #3)(2)
Claire Contreras

I parked my car and waved at the lot attendee on my way in, and in those seconds where I was looking back as I walked in, I bumped into the person walking out.

“I am so sorry,” he drawled, a slight southern accent I hadn’t heard anywhere aside from movies. My eyes made their way up his body slowly until they landed on his face and caught on striking blue eyes. Holy wow. He was the definition of Hollywood.

“It’s okay. I wasn’t paying attention.” We tried to sidestep each other three times, failed, and laughed. “Sorry,” I said again, my cheeks blazing.

“The universe must really want to throw us together,” he said, turning up his charming smile. “I’m Gabriel,” he said, now blocking the door completely.

“Nicole,” I responded, heart pitter-pattering.

“Are you an actress?” he asked. I shook my head.

“Costume design.”

He nodded slowly, his eyes still on mine. “New?”

“First day.”

“Nervous?”

“Very,” I said, but smiled. He opened the door wider.

“I promise we don’t bite,” he said, his grin widening. “Well, some of us don’t.”

I laughed as I stepped inside. For the remainder of the day and week, Gabriel looked for ways to find me all around set, and just like that all thoughts of Victor began to vanish. As they should. Victor and Nicole were done. I needed to accept that, and Gabriel’s charm was just enough to make me.

NICOLE ALESSI RARELY visited the law firm these days. I could count on two hands the amount of times she’d come, and six of those were before she’d gotten engaged. One of the last few times was after the ring graced her finger. I saw her in passing and she made sure to steer clear of me. As if I was going to pull her into my office and have my way with her while that thing was glaring at me, reminding me she belonged to somebody else. It was fine by me. It wasn’t like I felt hurt by the engagement, I was more caught off guard. One day we were talking about how crazy people were to want to get married, and the next she’d become one of those crazy people. She’d given me no inkling, no sign that she’d wanted more, out of me, out of life . . . out of anything.

Even though that ship had sailed five years ago, or more accurately had never taken off to begin with, the buzz of her name around the office put me on alert. Everybody from my secretary to the receptionist was whispering about the beautiful Nicole, wife to the handsome Gabriel Lane, coming for a visit as if she herself were Hollywood royalty. Maybe she was. I made it my job not to keep up with her whereabouts. What was the point, anyway? And because I knew she was coming in, I busied myself in researching Sam Weaver, a star running back I was representing in a high-profile divorce. I’d asked him more questions than the SAT, and the guy still hadn’t been one hundred percent honest with me.

How people expected me to represent them in court without all the information I asked for and win was beyond my understanding. My focus was cut by the loud knock on my office door. It was pushed open before I gave permission, and I didn’t have to look away from my screen to know it was William. He was the only one with enough balls to do that. It also helped that he was my boss and owned the building.

“What can I do for you?” I asked as my eyes scanned the latest TMZ post about Sam and his encounter with not one, but two prostitutes. I looked away from the screen when I heard Will walk toward me without saying a word. He had the look on his face, the one that told me he was about to ask me to do something he knew I didn’t want any part of. Like the time he asked me to take on the case of a porn-star divorce, which my sixteen-year-old self would have literally come all over, but the thirty-one-year-old me was too busy using disinfectant every time I went near any of my client’s “work spaces.”

“Fuck. Just spit it out.”

Will chuckled, unbuttoning his suit with one hand as he took a seat across from me. The fact he didn’t just come out with it and actually sat down to discuss it made me develop a little ringing noise in my ears. I gave him my full attention.

“You know you’re the best damn attorney on my team,” he said. I stayed quiet. I knew he wasn’t going to fire me, but starting a conversation out like that could only mean . . . my heart skipped a beat at the mere suggestion in my thoughts. “Your worth ethic is enviable. You’re driven, you’re a cocky son of a bitch, but somehow you maintain a level of humanity with clients.”

“Unless you’re about to drop down on one knee and propose to me, I think you should just ask for what will clearly be a massive, Victor-please-don’t-leave-my-firm-after-I-say-these-words favor,” I said, mainly because I was starting to feel uncomfortable with the way his blue eyes leveled on mine. He smiled.

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