NOOK Book. Large Print. Audio Other. Through her office door, Nina Reilly heard the gentle guitar and coaxing voice of Carlos Botelho, singing that love is a paradox that disappears the moment you find it. Sandy Whitefeather, her secretary, had developed a fixation on this particular recording and had been playing it over and over for two weeks.
In the outer office, Sandy hummed along with the tune, if that rasping monotone could be called a hum.
After a long morning in court, Nina had just had lunch, a spicy quesadilla from Margarita's Mexican Restaurant across Lake Tahoe Boulevard from the office. Her yellow silk blouse now sported a salsa stain on the front, right where it stuck out the most. Men didn't have this structural difficulty. Also, sometimes they had the advantage of those patterned ties, so useful for catching drips. Naturally, the prospective client who had come to consult her was an attractive male, tieless but stainless, who had immediately noticed the blouse.
He had noticed all of her very thoroughly before he sat down, and now he was looking around the office, getting his bearings. A, amor. Love takes its rhythm from the sea Seeking and leaving eternally Outside her window a light, dry snow fell, shot through with sunlight as the squall moved on across the Sierra into the high desert of the Carson Valley.
It was only the beginning of November, and snow already capped the giant peaks that surrounded South Lake Tahoe. At over six thousand feet, Tahoe caught the cold currents of winter long before the valleys of the San Joaquin and the Pacific Coast. Stretching out her legs under the desk to relieve the pressure on her stomach, she gazed past him toward that calming fall of snow, thinking, here it comes again, the change of weather, the new case, the trouble that falls endlessly through the door.
This could mean anything; that Sandy approved of the client's political beliefs, family ties, or bank account. He had taken off his red, white, and black Tommy Hilfiger parka and seated himself in one of the client chairs, but he didn't seem ready to talk yet. She watched him check out the office with its fiddle-leaf fig in the sunny corner, the picture on her desk of Bob, looking not-too-thrilled at being caught on film by the school photographer, and the framed certificates on the walls.
Nina Reilly, attorney-at-large. Graduate, Monterey College of Law. Admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the State of California. Hard-earned certificates. So hard earned, it had taken five years to pay off the student loans. The low-key surroundings seemed to reassure him.
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Some prospective clients preferred ostentation. They went elsewhere. The Law Offices of Nina Reilly consisted of the front office where Sandy reigned and clients waited, the library and conference room next door where coffee was made and depositions were held, and Nina's small office in back, just big enough for the oversized desk and a couple of orange chairs given to her by her sister-in-law. While Jim Strong looked around, she formed her own impression of him: blue eyes burning out of his face; brown hair, cropped close; powerful neck, finely honed features; a jock with brains.
Skiing as a lifestyle had tanned his skin, beefed up his shoulders, and narrowed the rest of his profile. He was younger than Nina by a few years, in his late twenties. He wore a red sweater and jeans. His physical presence was blinding. The ski bunnies must love him. But it was his expression that her eyes lingered upon, the compressed lips that held things in, the furrow of skin between the thick brown eyebrows, the jaw that clenched and unclenched, working the muscles of his cheeks. A man in the worst trouble of his life, she diagnosed, getting up to close the door that Sandy had left cracked open.
Slowly my love changes and becomes beautiful Sending out sparks, and I catch fire-- She knew the Strong name from constant references in the Tahoe Mirror. Straddling Nevada and California, with runs in each state, Paradise was one of the oldest local businesses, a major employer at Tahoe, and one of the few ski resorts that was still run by a family and not a distant corporate conglomerate. Philip Strong, father and owner, also sat on the City Council, got loads of kudos for his philanthropy, and his fair share of respectful reverence for being among the area's founding fathers.
Also favoring the steady stream of publicity was the family's extraordinary athletic skill. Various members competed in world-class ski and snowboarding events that led to awards and exciting close races. It didn't hurt either that their physical good looks cried out for a Sunday photo spread. Nina suspected that they encouraged the coverage, which could only be good for a small resort struggling to wrestle patrons from the behemoths of Squaw and Heavenly.
But the most recent coverage, she remembered now, had been because of a tragedy. She sat back down and swung her chair around to face him better. He focused on her face and she smiled. I have to come here every day.
An Act of Malice
Running a lodge at a ski resort, he must need to use a lot of it. His wide hands were like mallets, so hard used they were cracked and earth colored. He obviously spent more time outdoors than in the lodge. He pushed himself back in his chair, compacting himself, as if trying to contain his energy. It sounds like such a bad joke. Kill my brother?
Can you believe it? I read about his death in the paper. I'm very sorry. First he dies on me, then all this. It's the worst week in my whole life. I'm licked. I can't handle it.
I need help. Read An Excerpt.
Acts of Malice (Nina Reilly #5) by Perri O'Shaughnessy
Paperback —. Add to Cart. About Acts of Malice The New York Times bestselling Nina Reilly novels have dazzled both readers and critics with their crackling blend of legal suspense and taut human drama. Also in Nina Reilly. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Praise "Will keep you turning the pages into the night…. Related Articles. Looking for More Great Reads? Download Hi Res. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices. Read it Forward Read it first.
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