I am moore all that and.., p.1

I Am Moore (All That & Moore Book 1), page 1

 

I Am Moore (All That & Moore Book 1)
 


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I Am Moore (All That & Moore Book 1)


  Note from the Publisher: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead or references to locations, persons, events or locations is purely coincidental. The characters, circumstances and events are imaginative and not intended to reflect real events.

  I Am Moore: All That & Moore Series Book 1

  Copyright 2018 Celeste Granger

  www.celestegranger.com

  All Rights Reserved and Proprietary.

  No part of this book may be reproduced, in any form or format without written permission from Publisher. Send all requests via email to celestegranger@gmail.com

  Printed in the United States of America

  Acknowledgments

  This is truly a dream come true. Finally finding my voice and telling stories that have been in my heart is all a girl could ever hope for; all she could dream of. And alas, it is that moment; penning my first contemporary romance novel. Absolutely exciting! I want to thank my support team for all their hard work. Although my name is on the cover, there are a few people behind the scenes who help make this all possible. Thank you. You know who you are. I also must thank the Creator from whom all blessings flow. If it had not been for Him, giving me this gift and the desire to express it in this way, none of this would be possible.

  I hope you enjoy the “I am Moore Series” as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

  Dedication

  This book is dedicated to all those who recognize or need to be reminded that you are more…

  Chapter One

  “I object, your honor,” Attorney Emery Moore demanded; standing to her feet and shooting a harsh look towards her opponent’s table. “His objection is baseless, factless and immaterial to this case.” Emery stood firm in her conviction, showing no sign of weakness.

  Damn she fine, was Attorney Evan Stanton’s only thought as he watched Emery Moore work. The navy pinstripe pantsuit she wore, graced Emery’s curves in all the right places. The satin steel-gray blouse with the high collar, accentuated Emery’s elegant neck. She was a commanding, sexy presence and Evan couldn’t keep his eyes off her no matter how hard he tried. And he did try. This wasn’t the first time the legal-duo sat at opposing tables fighting for different causes they both wholeheartedly believed in. That first time, he was victorious. Emery was gracious in defeat. That was the first time he touched her, when they shook hands. There was a moment, neither of them could deny; an electric magnetism that piqued his masculinity and made Emery quickly draw her hand back. She smiled to cover her movement, but Evan knew she felt it, too. Yet even through her smoldering smile, Evan could see she detested losing. She’d been gunning for him ever since. He liked it, a lot.

  “Sustained,” Judge Marlon Beckham replied. A smile eased across Emery’s lips as even a small victory against Attorney Stanton was worth celebrating. His reputation as a skilled and stealthy attorney preceded him. Emery returned to her seat, but this time when she glanced over at the prosecutor’s table, she still wore a slight smile. When Evan turned in response to her gaze, their eyes connected for the briefest moment before Emery felt heat rising in her cheeks and turned away. Attorney Moore’s second chair assistant Deneen Simmons saw the exchange between the two but didn’t comment as Judge Beckham addressed the court.

  “I have heard arguments from counsel and the jury has been instructed. The jury will now be excused for deliberation. Court is adjourned.”

  Both attorneys stood as the jury members filed out. Deneen gathered Emery’s notes from the table and prepared their team to leave. Emery watched the jurors, attempting to make eye contact with as many of them as she could. Emery hoped that her closing argument had been powerful enough to sway those who might be on the fence. This was a precedent-setting case for her clients, worth millions of dollars in civil and punitive damages. She did not want to lose this one. Emery felt a rushing in her cheeks again, stemming from the fluttering in her heart. She felt his eyes on her and tried not to respond overtly. But the quiver that trailed up her spine was undeniable. No sooner than the door to the judge’s chamber closed, Emery turned sharply, moving into the center aisle and headed toward the exit.

  He’s watching my ass. She dared not turn around to catch Evan in the act. That would give him too much credit. Emery wasn’t willing to do that. Deneen fell in line behind her boss and momentarily interrupted Evan’s penetrating stare. Just as Emery approached the exit door, she turned her cell phone on. This judge was notorious for making an example out of anyone who didn’t honor the silence your phone rule in his courtroom. Immediately a text message came through.

  Don’t forget about dinner this evening and don’t be late. Love ya.

  Simultaneously, Emery smiled and rolled her eyes. She hadn’t forgotten. Their family dinners were legendary, and she didn’t need her mom to remind her like she was still a school girl. Maybe she did because Emery had been gone so long. Or at least that’s the way her mother, Felicia described Emery’s five-year stint in Washington D. C.

  “Let me get that for you.”

  Emery didn’t have to look up to recognize the timbre of his baritone voice. She’d been so focused on her phone and mom’s text, she hadn’t noticed Evan gliding up beside her. If nothing more, Emery should have recognized the quickening of her heartbeat and the sensation of heat she felt around her. Deneen smiled and made no bones about looking up into the handsome face of Attorney Stanton. He was six feet of chocolate deliciousness that no woman willingly resisted. Well, with the exception of her boss apparently.

  Evan opened the door and stepped slightly aside to allow the women to pass in front of him. Instantly, there was an onslaught of flashing lights and high-beam lights from the media who lurked outside the courtroom door. The assaulting lights were matched by a barrage of questions hurled at the lawyers.

  “Attorney Moore!”

  Attorney Stanton!”

  The questions were coming so fast, there was no way a single question could be deciphered. Emery fully expected Evan to stand there, in his glory, and field whatever questions were pointed in his direction. Some called him a media whore because he loved the spotlight, or the spotlight loved him. The crowd started to close in on those trying to leave the courtroom. Attorney Moore, which her much slighter frame, was getting boxed in and tussled. Then, Emery felt a firm hand to the middle of her back that damn-near buckled her knees. Again, it wasn’t necessary to turn around to identify that touch. It was Evan. Emery flushed internally and heard her heart pounding in her ears. She shook her head slightly and hopefully undetectably, trying to stave off the sensation. One touch Emery, really? Her inner chastisement rang out. She would like to deny how a touch from Evan made her body feel; rule it out as the crowd pressing in on her or anything other than what it was, but Emery couldn’t. She couldn’t deny it no matter how hard she tried.

  Even with the pushing and shoving of the people around them, Evan looked down to the small of Emery’s back. His hand fit perfectly there. It felt familiar and right. With his other arm, Evan put up a muscular block to keep the crowd from impeding Emery’s space even more. His natural instinct was to protect her, even though she was the opposition. Evan took charge, ushering Emery and her assistant to the back of the courthouse where the press was prohibited.

  Once they were safely inside, Evan’s touch remained. When Emery turned to face him, they were but a lean in away.

  “Thank you,” she uttered; her eyes pulled upwards into his dark-brown eyes set against even darker, smooth chocolate skin.

  The two lingered there; entrapped in a gaze that set their souls on fire. It was only when Deneen loudly cleared her throat did the entrancement end.

 
You’re welcome.” A titillating smiled eased across Evan’s full lips. Emery found herself mimicking the smile. His hand was still solidly planted on her back; holding her steady. When Emery stepped back, Evan relinquished the physical hold he had on Emery, and after she walked away a few steps and looked back over her shoulder, their eyes connected once again. Shoving his hands into his pockets, Evan made it no secret that he was staring, and watched until she disappeared behind an office door.

  “Mmhmm,” Deneen teased as Emery leaned against the closed door. “Your mouth says he is enemy number one, but a…”

  “Hush,” Emery shot back. “He is.”

  “Mmhmm,” Deneen taunted.

  Emery threw her hand dismissively at her assistant and sauntered over to one of the office chairs. She lingered before sitting as she could still feel his presence around her. Where initially, Emery would have been repulsed by the self-absorbed, arrogant alpha-male, she found herself flirting with the idea that he might not be so bad after all. Rumors preceded her personal introduction to the infamous Evan Stanton. There were certain parts of the rumors Emery knew to be true. Attorney Evan Stanton was very successful; but not just in the courtroom. His investment portfolio was estimated to be worth millions. His intelligence was unquestionable and his thirst for beautiful women seemed unquenchable. Evan had been photographed with some of the most beautiful women in the city and didn’t flinch when accused of being hoeish. That part made Emery smile. But that smile quickly evaporated when she thought back to the first time she encountered Evan in the courtroom. He’d successfully handed Emery her first defeat in nearly a year, and that stung, badly.

  Feeling Deneen’s judgmental eyes on her, Emery deflected by sitting down and pulling out her cell phone.

  I will be there, she typed. The jury just went out for deliberation, so I may be late.

  “What,” Emery challenged.

  “Just accept it, Emery” Deneen offered unsolicited. “You like him, despite what you say. And, he likes you. Make it happen.”

  Deneen’s matter-of-fact tone rubbed Emery the wrong way. Emery’s turned up lip let Deneen know what she thought of her commentary. Although they were co-worker’s Deneen, was like one of Emery’s annoying younger sisters whose filter was faulty. Not giving voice to her assistant’s assessment, Emery returned to her phone, reading emails and returning missed calls. The wait for a verdict could take a while. Emery just hoped, this time, the jury ruled in her favor.

  Evan slipped out of the courthouse, down the back stairs and away from the press. This was the part of the legal process he hated the most, waiting. Evan couldn’t be confined to an office, waiting for the phone to ring announcing the jury was back. Instead, he preferred keeping busy, moving, if it was only a slow stroll around the courthouse grounds. Most would assume Evan lived for the high-profile, “all eyes on me” life. And there was a part of him that loved that. He’d worked hard for every bit of success he had and wasn’t ashamed of it. Neither was he ashamed of the humble beginnings that kept him grounded in a way most people never saw or understood.

  The breeze gently blowing through the courtyard was refreshing. Reaching up, Evan loosened the French-knot of his tie and unbuttoned the top button of his crisply-pressed shirt. The custom Italian suit Evan wore in smoky gray with pale gray pinstripes hung perfectly off his tall muscular frame. Evan’s loafers made a distinctive clicking sound as he meandered. Ordinarily, Evan would review the high and low points of the trial; always seeking to improve his argument and courtroom presentation. That’s the mental path he started down, but it was soon derailed. Thoughts and visions of Emery Moore crept into his mind and before long, Evan openly fantasized about her. Emery was beautiful; café latte skin, kissable lips that Evan’s eyes were constantly drawn too, and a figure that could stop traffic. Evan didn’t like a woman that was too thin. He much preferred a woman who had curves, and Emery’s curves were voluptuous in all the right places. But a beautiful woman wasn’t hard to come by, especially for Evan. He never really struggled in the female department; except when he was a gangly teenager with an acne problem. But that was years ago. Evan grew into his height, bulked up and his skin was as smooth as a baby’s butt. That thought made him laugh.

  Emery was not only physically attractive and mentally stimulating, but Emery was also a diamond. She was more than just intelligent. She was cunning, quick-witted and had a fiery tongue that turned Evan on. Emery was definitely a challenge. But he didn’t want to conquer her like a man on a quest to get another notch in his belt. Evan was passed that phase in his life even though many thought he was perpetually stuck there. He understood how people could be easily misinformed about him. He was constantly surrounded by and in the company of incredible women. Yet, none of them were special. None of them was the one.’ As Evan made his way back to the courthouse, he couldn’t stop thinking about her. There was intrigue that he couldn’t quite put his finger on.

  A quick decision by the jury could be really good or really bad. When the call came, after only three hours of deliberation, both attorneys were nervous as they re-entered the courtroom. The tete a tete between Emery and Evan was left at the door as the attorney’s positioned themselves behind their respective tables. The jury filed in. Emery scanned their faces to see if they would make eye contact with her. Eye contact was a good sign; the lack of it meant she lost. Emery didn’t want to ever lose, but she certainly didn’t want to be 0-2 against Evan. That would not bode well for her confidence.

  “All rise!”

  Everyone followed the bailiff’s instruction as Judge Beckham entered the room. Emery didn’t want her nervousness to show, especially not to Evan. Against her better judgment, she tried to steal a look to see if he was nervous. As she sat down, casting a tentative eye in his direction, Evan looked cool; suaver than he normally looked. His confidence made Emery’s stomach knot up.

  “Has the jury reached a decision,” Judge Beckham asked authoritatively.

  “We have your honor,” the jury foreman replied as she stood respectfully.

  The bailiff moved to the juror’s box and retrieved the single, folded piece of paper that sealed the defendant’s fate. The quiet in the courtroom was eerie. Emery knew her clients were waiting with baited breath just like she was. Sure, this would be an incredible win for her, but more than that, her clients would be vindicated and awarded for their pain and suffering. That’s what was most important to Emery, despite her personal challenge with Evan. Emery desperately wanted this win for her clients.

  It felt like a lifetime for Judge Beckham to read the singular line that was on the juror’s statement. Underneath the table, Deneen touched Emery on the leg. It was shaking so fast Deneen could feel the vibration from it. Shocked by the touch, Emery realized what Deneen was trying to do and forced her leg to be still.

  When the judge finally handed the verdict to the bailiff, Emery felt a wave of nausea. This was different than any other physical reaction preceding a verdict. She had never had such a visceral response. Now, she just wanted the whole thing over before she embarrassed herself by getting sick in the middle of court.

  The bailiff cleared his throat. The tension in the courtroom was palatable. The expression on Evan’s face hadn’t changed since he entered the courtroom. There was a slight, knowing smile like he knew he had this one in the bag. On the other side, Emery did her best to keep it together. Her stomach was doing somersaults and her nerves were frayed.

  “The jury finds in favor of…”

  Why was he pausing? For dramatic effect! Emery closed her eyes and opened them slowly. She did her best to level her breathing as the bailiff continued.

  “…the defendant.”

  There was an audible gasp that permeated the courtroom. None sighed heavier than Emery; who quickly pulled it back. She didn’t want to appear unprofessional; nor did she ever want Evan to think that she wasn’t as confident as he appeared. A smile eased across her lips and Emery glanced over her shoulder were her
clients sat, shooting them a quick smile. But, the case was not over. The courtroom once again braced itself for the remainder of the decision.

  “And in the matter of damages,” Judge Beckham asked.

  Once again, everyone in the galley braced themselves. This was about the money. A victory was impressive, but the mark of a true victory was the dollar amount attached to the settlement. Deneen, just like Emery, found herself nervous for this part as well. The duo worked incredibly hard on this case. Fighting against a pharmaceutical powerhouse like the company Evan represented was never easy. The Moore team wanted a clear message sent to the corporate giants that they couldn’t do anything they wanted to people without costly repercussions. Below the table, Emery and Deneen held hands tightly as the jury foreman stood to present the damages statement.

  “The jury has awarded five million dollars in civil damages, and thirty-five million dollars in punitive damages.”

  The courtroom erupted. There were cheers that echoed around the galley, despite Judge Beckham’s call for order in his courtroom. Emery turned to Deneen and the two women embraced; both exhaling. This was good. This was really good and all the cartwheels and somersaults that invaded Emery’s stomach began to subside. The pump of adrenaline replaced the sickening nervousness she felt as Emery stood to her feet to approach opposing counsel.

  Evan stood to receive her. As Emery walked the short distance to his table, all the noise and celebration in the galley faded into nothingness. Their eyes locked in a way they had done before and for the briefest moment, they were the only two people in the room. The ease of the smile on Evan’s face was disarming, considering he just lost a monumental case. Yet, he was smooth and extended his hand first to her.

  “Congratulations, Attorney Moore,” he crooned.

  Emery slid her hand into his and immediately felt the strength of him. Evan’s other hand completely covered hers and he held her there. Again, Emery felt weak in the knees. The fluttering in her heart made her breathing jagged.

 
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