Time for another monthly edition of Promptly Penned. And I love this month’s prompt. The only problem is… so many possibilities!
“Wow. Can we just pretend, for one second, that you’r not a complete douchebag?”
And here is the resulting story…
“Don’t worry, Mr. Hayward, I’ll keep—”
“What the hell is he doing here?”
Samuel Montgomery paused mid-sentence, twisting to gaze at the woman standing partway down the broad staircase. He didn’t miss the tight press of her lips, or the hint of colour high on her cheeks. She glared at him as she continued down the last of the steps, her boots sounding loud across the old hardware floors as she walked halfway into the parlour.
Her father gave her a wide smile, extending his hand toward Sam. “Ah, Bridgette, just the person I needed to see. This is—”
“Sam Montgomery. Yeah, I know who the jerk is. What I don’t know is why he’s standing in my house.”
Her father frowned. “You two know each other?”
She leered at Sam, crossing her arms over her chest. “Hard to forget the guy who took you to prom, then slept with your best friend instead of driving you home. So, yeah…we’ve met before.”
“Oh. Well, then I suppose I don’t need to introduce you.”
“No. You need to answer my question.”
The man sighed. “He’s here because it’s been three weeks since you promised you’d hire a suitable security detail and you’re still walking around on your own as if nothing ever happened.”
Her jaw hinged open, her gaze sliding to Sam’s. It swept the length of his body, openly assessing him before settling on his face. Stunning blue eyes stared back at him, the corners creased in irritation. Though Sam noticed the flash of fear before she broke eye contact, glancing at her father.
“Dad. While I appreciate you’re only trying to help, I’m not a kid anymore. I can take care of myself.”
George Hayward arched his brow. “You’ve been getting death threats for six weeks. Someone smashed in your windshield and slashed your tires. Then, just last week, someone sent you a bunch of photos in the mail of you jaunting about town by big red Xs over your image.”
“It’s just posturing. One of Stevens’ underlings flexing their muscles. Trying to unnerve me. It’s not the first time a defendant has tried to intimidate me. But I don’t scare easily. Besides, all of that happened at work. That’s why I came back to stay here until the court date.” She snorted. “Trust me, no one’s following me to this blip on the map.”
George frowned, turning to Sam as he pointed to his daughter. “Samuel. Please talk to her. Tell her I’m not being some overprotective, helicopter parent. That she should take these threats seriously.”
Sam glanced at Bridgette. God, she was stunning. Not in a New York model sort of way, but more of a homegrown, girl-next-door kind of beauty. Long, golden hair, smooth, symmetrical features, with a hint of natural blush on her cheeks, and curves that put any backroad in the country to shame, she didn’t strike him as a hot-shot attorney. But then, he’d learned not to judge people by how they looked—it usually came back to bite him in the ass.
He braced his feet apart, copying her stance. “Your father’s right. You need to stop being so stubborn.”
Her left eye twitched as she stared at him. “Stubborn? You think this is me throwing a tantrum?”
He shrugged. “Your words, not mine, Bridg. But since you brought it up—I’ve seen the photographs. Read the letters. They aren’t idle threats. And denying help because you don’t want to choke on your pride isn’t a wise choice.”
Her eyes rounded, then narrowed, as she took a calculated step forward. “Choke on my pride? Who the hell are you to judge me?”
“The guy who deals with this kind of situation on a regular basis. Who might just be able to keep your ass in one piece. That’s if you stop whining long enough to actually listen to what I have to say.”
“Okay. Wow. Can we just pretend, for one second, that you’re not a complete douchebag? Or is that impossible? First, I never said I wasn’t taking it seriously. That’s why I’m here. I’m distancing myself from the case—from my life—to let things cool down a bit. Second…” She uncrossed her arms, shaking a finger at him. “If I hired a bodyguard every time a defendant threatened me, I’d have a harem by now. It comes with the job.”
A loud ringing sounded in Sam’s head before he closed the distance, purposely invading her personal space. “Am I hearing things, or did you just say this wasn’t the first time you’ve been threatened?”
She palmed his chest, trying to shove him back, but he answered her by walking them backwards until she was trapped between him and the wall. “Damn it, Sam—”
“Answer the question.”
She huffed, fluttering some strands of hair against her cheek. “I’m a prosecutor for the DA’s office. I try murderers and mafia henchmen and drug dealers. People who aren’t worried about breaking the law to send me a message. So yes, I’ve been threatened before. Sometimes it’s photos. Sometimes vandalism. Or a creepy ass message on my work cell. And every time I increase my vigilance. Make sure I lock my doors, don’t wander down dark alleys at night.” She quirked her lips. “Don’t pick up strange men at bars, or go for a run in the park after sunset.” She poked his chest with one delicate finger. “Not a damsel. Don’t need some alpha male to ride to the rescue.”
Sam placed his palm over her finger, pressing her entire hand against him. “Oh, sweetheart. If only I had a dollar for every time a client has assured me they didn’t need my services, I’d be one rich son of a bitch.” He eased away just enough to reach into his pocket and remove an envelope. “Your dad didn’t want to upset you, but these were waiting on your doorstep when he arrived this morning. It’s the reason he called me. Because what’s in here—it’s so much more than some pissed off lackie throwing smoke bombs your way. This—it’s serious.”
She frowned as she took the envelope, staring at it as if it might suddenly burst into flames. “Someone sent this here? To Montana? As in, my actual address?”
“Looks like your little hideout isn’t quite as secret as you thought it was.”
She swallowed with effort, worrying her bottom lip before tilting her head and staring at him. “Why are you even here? I thought you joined the military? Became some special ops soldier or something.”
Memories flashed through his mind, but he managed to shove them aside. Avoid the gut-wrenching episode that generally followed. Now wasn’t the time to show any weakness, not when he needed Bridgette to understand this wasn’t some token prank.
He nodded as he stepped back. “I did. I’m not anymore.” He glanced at her father, then motioned to the door. “I’m leaving for exactly five minutes to get my equipment out of my truck. I suggest you jump on board in the time I’m gone because whether you like it or not, I’m going to be shadowing your ass until you head back to Seattle for the trial. And before you lose your shit—I’ve already cleared it with your office. They agree. And for the record, I never called you a damsel. But I’m fairly certain those kick-boxing classes you’ve been taking don’t compare to my level of training.”
Sam turned and marched out, smiling when something hit the door just after he closed it. While running into Bridgette hadn’t been something he’d ever expected to happen—especially with how they’d broken things off—he was having a hard time being as upset as he’d originally thought he’d be. Maybe it was her feisty personality, or her obvious intelligence. Either way, he needed to find a way to work with her, because if the people who sent those threats turned up, things were going to get ugly.
Okay, that’s it for me. Go check out the other ladies…