(This is the third excerpt from my upcoming book, The Gods Defense.)
I grabbed my file and spread it over the coffee table. I’d be doing research for such a big change in trial plan usually, except there was no research to do. The Gods Defense was completely new. What was I even going to ask Dionysus if I could get him to show up?
Brrrrring. Brinnnnnng. Bah-Ring, my phone trilled, vibrating on the desk next to my soda and what was left of my chicken sandwich dinner.
Speak of the devil? Maybe.
I grabbed the phone. The caller ID said unavailable. Of course it did.
“Here we go,” I whispered, hitting talk. “Cassandra Berry.”
“I have Apollo calling for you, Ms. Berry,” a professional sounding male voice said.
“Will you please hold?”
“Sure.” I snorted. Geez. He couldn’t even call me himself. Nope, had to have the secretary call.
A lot of snotty lawyers did that, too.
Tinkling lute music came over the line and I took another sip of my soda. What would the secretary have done if I said I wouldn’t hold?
Huh, the sounded just fun enough to try next time I called someone who put me on hold. Maybe I’d-
The music switched off.
I resisted the urge to shiver. Apollo was the god who was the epitome of youth, health and strength, and his voice reflected it. Just deep enough to be truly masculine but not bone rattling, smoky, silkier than snake oil, and always sounded like whatever he was saying was vaguely dirty. The Greek accent gave it an exotic edge.
Yes, I was into voices.
There was a reason I was avoiding the pain in the ass.
“Hi Apollo. I need a favor.”
He was silent for a few seconds.
I was about to say, ‘Can you hear me now?’ when he said, “No small talk, no buttering me up, just straight down to business? Cassandra, you shock me.”
“A man who actually wants foreplay? Trust me, Apollo, I’m more shocked than you.” I slapped my forehead. The joke just came to me. With a normal guy it’d be funny. With Apollo it was an invitation.
“Oh, Cassandra,” he said, voice dropping deeper, “you should know by now how much I enjoy foreplay. We’ve been having it for two years.”
I blushed. Dammit! This was so not a good idea. Even talking on the phone with him was dangerous.
“Cute.” My voice went sharper than those paper splitting quills. Oh well, better than breathy. “Seriously, I need a favor. But”–I held up a finger even though he couldn’t see… at least, not that I knew of–“I will give you something in return.”
His, “I’m listening,” brushed over my skin like a heavy breath, calling the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck to attention.
I rubbed my arm with my free hand. The hairs didn’t go down. And I wanted to risk being in a room with him?
On a scale from one to ten, how stupid am I?
“I’m on an assault case right now and the Defense is using what we’re calling the Gods Defense. He’s saying Dionysus made him attack a guy in a bar. The defense lawyer and I both subpoenaed Dionysus and I think he’ll ignore it.” I took a deep breath and Apollo stayed silent. “Should I keep explaining while you pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, or can I cut to the chase?”
“By all means, Cassandra.”
I really wished he’d stop saying my name like that.
“You talk to Dionysus, get him to agree to obey the subpoena, come to the office to be interviewed, show up in trial, the whole shebang, and I’ll meet with you in person.”
“So you can establish a precedent for such an action?”
“So you can show the country you really do intend to work within our system and not try to take it over. Like you guys have been claiming.”
I didn’t know why I felt the need to add the last part. Maybe because I didn’t get exactly why they were trying to integrate into society. They were gods after all. They could just tell us to take our system and shove it.
“Consider it done.”
Huh? My brow pinched up and my jawbone went jelly. “Excuse me?”
“I have already spoken to Dionysus. He will call your office Monday to set up a time for his interview and I’m assuming the court will tell him when to appear.”
Actually the trial started Monday and the subpoena said that, but I had more important things to worry about than correcting him.
“But… you…” My hand flew out and Webber jumped off my lap. “He was already planning on answering it?”
“No. This was a joint decision by all of us. We told you to plead it out. If you could not, you would have to come to me.”
My stomach twisted up and I felt the blood drop from my face. The mirror across my room shot my image back at me. I’d always been teased about looking like Snow White with my black hair and pale skin. Now I looked like her after she ate the apple.
He didn’t… he wouldn’t… yeah, yeah he would.
“Apollo, is there a basis for Reily’s client’s defense? Did a god make him attack someone?”
“Why would you think that, Cassandra?”
Horror hit me like a punch and I closed my eyes, trying to take deep breaths.
“You planned this!”
His voice was oh so calm as he said, “You now get what you want and so do I. Meet me in my theater in an hour. Use the employee parking. I know how you loathe paying for parking. I will tell the guards to be expecting you.”
“What… no… you slimy son of a bitch!”
He’d already hung up.