If he ever retires, historical reenactment companies will be tearing each other to pieces to have him.
Jonas has lectured at the finest legal institutions and is considered one of the most brilliant minds in our field. But like many gifted intellectuals, he exhibits a busy, scatterbrained temperament that makes you think he’s forever losing his car keys.
“Come in, come in,” he calls as he pats his pockets, relieved to discover the items he was obviously hoping were still there. “I’m leaving momentarily for a conference in Hawaii, but I wanted to congratulate you both on the Montgomery case.”
He shuffles out from behind his desk and shakes our hands. “Excellent work—not an easy win, that one. But Senator Montgomery is sure to be grateful.”
“Thank you, sir,” Stanton replies.
“What’s that for you now, Mr. Shaw? Eight wins under the proverbial belt?”
Stanton shrugs, immodestly. “Nine, actually.”
Jonas nods as he removes his glasses and cleans them with a monogrammed handkerchief. “Impressive.”
“It’s all about the jury, Mr. Adams,” Stanton crows. “Never met one that didn’t like me.”
“Yes, very good, very good. And you, Miss Santos? Still undefeated, eh?”
With a smile, I lift my chin proudly. “Yes, sir—six for six.”
Professional women have come a long way—our feet are now firmly in the door of the previously dominated boy’s club of political, legal, and business fields. But we still have a long way to go. The fact remains that more often than not, when it comes to promotions and professional opportunities, we’re the afterthought, not the first consideration. In order to get to the forefront of our bosses’ regard, it’s not enough to be as good as our male counterparts—we have to be better. We have to stand out.
It’s an unfair truth, but a truth all the same.
Which is why when Jonas’s driver enters the room to retrieve his luggage, wheeling out a luxury brand golf bag whose contents are worth more than Stanton’s Porsche, I comment, “I didn’t know you were a golfer, Mr. Adams.”
That’s not true—I totally knew.
“Yes, I’m an avid player. Relaxing, you know, helps with the stress. I’m looking forward to a few rounds during the conference. Do you play?”
I smile like the Cheshire Cat. “I do, as a matter of fact. Just shot a seventy-seven at East Potomac.”
He replaces his glasses over widened eyes. “That’s remarkable.” He wags his finger. “When I return from Hawaii, you’ll be my guest at my club, Trump National, for a few rounds.”
“That would be lovely. Thank you.”
Jonas’s jowls jiggle hypnotically as he nods. “My secretary will have your assistant add it to your calendar.” Then he turns his attention back to Stanton. “Do you play, Shaw?”
Because I know him, I notice the nanosecond of hesitation. But then his face splits into a wide grin. “Of course. Golf is my life.”
Jonas claps his hands. “Excellent. Then you’ll join us for the day.”
Stanton swallows hard. “Super.”
After Jonas takes his leave, Stanton and I are back in the elevator heading to our own respective offices on the fourth floor.
“ ‘Golf is my life’ ?” I quote, watching the lighted numbers descend.
His amused eyes turn to me. “What the hell was I supposed to say?”
“Ah, you could have said what you said to me three months ago: ‘Golf is not a real sport.’ ”
“It’s not,” he insists. “If you don’t sweat, it’s not a sport.”
To which I respond, “Golf requires a tremendous amount of skill . . .”
“So does Ping-Pong. And that’s not a fucking sport either.”
Stubborn, stupid man perspective. Having grown up with brothers I’m familiar with it, yet I still laugh at the absurdity.
“So what are you going to do? Jonas returns from Hawaii in two weeks.”
“Plenty of time for you to teach me to play,” he answers, elbowing me softly.
“Me?” I sputter.
“Sure, Ms. Seventy-Seven at East Potomac. Who better?”
I shake my head. This is how Stanton operates. Like my niece uses her quivering lip against my oldest brother, Stanton uses his damnable charm.
It’s impossible to resist—especially when you don’t really want to.
“Two weeks isn’t much time.”
He puts his hand on my shoulder, rubbing his thumb against the bare skin at the nape of my neck. The action scorches a path down my spine, making all the muscles below my waist clench.