A guilty client who had been caught on TV. Perfect. "And you want me to handle the case for you."
"I wouldn't ask . . . but Nancy and I are leaving for Mexico in two weeks."
"Of course," Michael said. "No problem."
Bill's gaze moved around the room. "I still expect to find him in here," he said softly.
"Yeah," Michael said.
They looked at each other for a moment, both remembering the man who had made such an impact on their lives. Then Bill stood, thanked Michael again, and left.
After that, Michael dove into his work, letting it consume him. He spent hours buried in depositions and police reports and briefs. He had always had a strong work ethic and an even stronger sense of duty. In the rising tide of grief, work had become his life ring.
At three o'clock, Ann buzzed him on the intercom. "Michael? Jolene is on line one."
"You did remember that it's her 40th birthday today, right?"
He pushed back from his desk and grabbed the phone. "Hey, Jo. Happy birthday."
She didn't scold him for forgetting, although she knew he had. Jolene had the tightest grip on her emotions of anyone he'd ever seen, and she never ever let herself get mad. He sometimes wondered if a good fight would help their marriage, but it took two to fight. "I'll make it up to you. How about dinner at that place above the marina? The new place?"
Before she could offer some resistance (which she always did if something wasn't her idea), he said, "Betsy is old enough to watch Lulu for two hours. We'll only be a mile away from home."
It was an argument that had been going on for almost a year now. Michael thought a twelve-year-old could babysit; Jolene disagreed. As with everything in their life, Jolene's vote was the one that counted. He was used to it...and sick of it.
"I know how busy you are with the Woerner case," she said. "How about if I feed the girls early and settle them upstairs with a movie and then make us a nice dinner? Or I could pick up takeout from the bistro; we love their food."
"Are you sure?"
"What matters is that we're together," she said easily.
"Okay," Michael said. "I'll be home by eight."
Before he hung up the phone, he was thinking of something else.
Excerpted from Home Front by Sarah Hannah. Copyright © 2012 by Sarah Hannah. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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