Lawyer Jory Dartmore runs across some confusing points in a case file. He calls the ex-employee who’d been working on the file, Attain Walsh, but his phone is picked up by the man’s lover, Ssimeas. When Ssimeas tells Jory that Attain is unavailable for a while, he invites Jory to the ranch for dinner and to speak with Attain afterward. Jory accepts, curious about the man who’d won the heart of Attain, a confirmed bachelor.
Jory enjoys the meal and the company before slipping into an office to speak privately with Attain. When he opens the door to leave, he comes face to face with…something other. To Jory’s eternal embarrassment, he faints.
Biscane would forever feel horrible for freaking out his mate, even though he wasn’t trying to. He was just heading upstairs with his breakfast when a scent catches his attention. He can’t resist pausing to sniff around the door. While growling with delight at the delicious aroma...the door opens, and Jory appears. Fortunately, Biscane’s gargoyle reflexes and strength make it easy to catch him.
Upon finding out that Jory is a high-profile lawyer working at a firm with at least one homophobe, can Biscane figure out a way to bring his human round to the idea of sharing a life with him?
Setting his reading glasses on his desk, Jory Dartmore sighed deeply. He leaned back in his chair, resting his head against the cushion behind him. Rubbing his eyes gently, he tried to make sense of what he was reading.
Except, the more Jory thought about it, the more he knew he was missing something.
The first meeting between the divorcing couple—Karl and Susan Riddle—had gone as expected. Susan had insisted on a larger cut of their estate than what their prenuptial agreement had outlined. Naturally, she’d claimed that was because Karl had cheated on her.
According to the notes made by Attain Walsh, the attorney who’d been handling the case at the time, he’d pointed out the three clauses that made that impossible without Karl’s agreement. Of course, Karl had been adamant that he would never agree to that. Then the man had revealed that he had proof that Susan was having an affair, too.
God, why would anyone want to try for a committed relationship these days? There’s just no way people can be trusted anymore.
Jory’s thoughts returned him to Attain. The man had worked for their firm for years, following in his father’s footsteps—George Walsh, one of their company’s two other partners. Then Attain had hooked up with a guy at his best friend’s ranch, George had revealed he was a homophobe, and Attain had quit the firm.
A confirmed bachelor choosing love over his job. Never thought I’d see that day.
Lowering his hands to his thighs, Jory refocused on Attain’s notes. According to the data, the pair stopped squabbling, and the meeting ended fairly quickly after that. Jory didn’t understand why, two weeks later, the woman was demanding the prenuptial agreement be voided.
What the hell happened?
Jory could think of only one person who would know, outside of the couple and Susan’s lawyer, of course. No way in hell did he want to call the wife’s lawyer to ask for his notes. Seeing as Jory didn’t want to look ill-prepared or inept to Karl, his own client, asking the other lawyer would be a last resort. That meant he needed to find another way to verify his information.
With a frustrated growl, Jory picked up his cell phone. He found the contact he wanted and initiated the call. The line rang once, twice, three times. Just when Jory figured he would have to leave a message, a deep voice answered.
“Attain’s phone. This is Ssimeas.”
Arching one brow, Jory recovered quickly. “Hello, Ssimeas,” he greeted. “This is Jory Dartmore. I used to work with Attain. Is he about?”
“Jory Dartmore,” Ssimeas repeated slowly. “I recognize the name. Attain speaks highly of you and your abilities.” After a second, he added, “And sorry, no. Attain isn’t here right now. He’s out moving cattle with Nicholas.”
“Moving cattle?” Jory couldn’t help but repeat that news. “Seriously?”
Ssimeas’s deep chuckle sounded through the line. “Probably not what most people think of as fun, but it’s Saturday afternoon, and my man gets a kick out of it.”
Jory thought about that for a moment. “Huh,” he murmured. “To each his own.”
“Yup,” Ssimeas immediately responded. From the sound of it, he was grinning. “Sounds like you could use a little down time, Jory.”
“And why do you say that, Ssimeas?” Jory asked immediately, curious as to what made the man speak so brazenly. He couldn’t remember the last time someone had done that. Normally, his high-powered lawyer persona caused people to defer to him. Attain’s man obviously didn’t react as most others.
Maybe that’s how he snagged Attain’s attention.
To Jory’s amusement, Ssimeas laughed. “Well, it’s pretty obvious,” he claimed around his chuckles. “You’re calling about work on a Saturday afternoon.”
Jory scoffed softly, nodding even though he knew Ssimeas couldn’t see it. Still, he felt compelled to ask, “How do you know I’m calling about work?”
After all, Jory hadn’t told Ssimeas why he wanted to talk to Attain.
Ssimeas snorted, still sounding amused. “Have you ever called Attain before, Jory?”
“Fair enough,” Jory replied with a grin of his own. “Will you tell Attain that I called, please? I have some questions about a case of his that I took over.”
“I can do that,” Ssimeas assured. Just as Jory was about to thank him and hang up, the man added, “Except, why don’t you come here for dinner? It’ll get you out of the house and away from work for a while. Then you can chat with Attain afterward.”
Jory couldn’t remember the last time someone had shocked him, but Attain’s man just had.
Ssimeas’s warm chuckle came through the line. “Yup, you definitely need to get out more if that’s your response to a simple dinner invitation.”
Still too surprised to speak, Jory didn’t respond to Ssimeas’s teasing.
“Attain used to be that uptight, too,” Ssimeas continued, completely disregarding any propriety. “That’s one of the reasons he would come out here to ride and play with the cows. Physical activity is a good stress relief.” The sound of footsteps on wood came faintly through the line, telling Jory that Ssimeas was moving through his home. “So, come out tonight, Jory,” he encouraged once more. “Fresh mountain air. Laid-back company. A couple of the guys are butchering a cow today, so the steaks will be fresh. Relax for the evening.”
“Okay.” The word was out of Jory’s mouth before he could think better of it. Unwilling to second-guess himself—after all, it wasn’t as if he had anything better planned for the evening—he asked, “Time and dress?”
With another low chuckle, Ssimeas told him, “The dress would be clothes, and the time is anytime after five but no later than seven or you might not get your favorite cut.”
Smirking, Jory replied, “Then I better get there early. Can I bring anything?”
“Nope. Can’t wait to meet ya, Jory.”
To Jory’s continued surprise, Ssimeas hung up without another word or waiting for him to respond. He shook his head as he placed his phone back on the desk. While he stared at the file open on his desk, he wasn’t really seeing the words.
“What an interesting man,” Jory commented as he thought about Ssimeas. Then he grinned and shook his head as he pulled up a different file. “Looking forward to meeting him, too.”