Chapter 1

14 4 3

Original title: Affinità d'intenti

© 2015 Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

Translation by: Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli (© 2016)

Translation revised by: Autumn Barlow and Julia Gibbs

Cover: © 2016 Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

Important note to the reader: This book is written in British English.


She saw Mike's head turn, before hearing the muffled sound of a gunshot. A moment later his hand had already grabbed her arm and was dragging her onto the floor, while a bullet was brushing against her head and lodging in the couch where she had sat down just five minutes earlier.

Yet that day should've been a pretty calm one.

Amelia had gone to Goldberg & Associates to have a job interview. The position as investigator at the law firm was already hers; it was just a formality. That was what she had been told by the person in charge from the Human Resources office who had selected her. Only the approval of their chief was missing. But she'd had the feeling that things wouldn't go exactly as she had expected, when she'd found a rival in front of her: Mike Connor.

He was seated on that couch in the waiting room where Amelia herself had been addressed by the assistant of Mr Goldberg. At first, she supposed he was a client, but as his gaze rose to meet hers, in a moment ice seemed to form in the room. He was there for that position, too. It was just intuition, little more than an impression, yet she immediately understood that her simple plan was doomed to failure. She didn't fear being outclassed by that man. It was his very presence, so unforeseen, which made her nervous. And Amelia Jennings knew that in such situations any variation could be a bad omen.

She took a seat on the other side of the couch, offering him a polite smile and an equally polite, "Hello."

Mike gestured with his head. Perhaps he said something, nothing more than an inarticulate sound. His eyes lent him an attitude halfway between annoyance and indifference, as if she was a tiny insect to shoo away, not a real person.

"Are you here for the investigator position, too?" she asked, trying to appear cordial. She smiled, tense. She was thinking that in little more than an hour her team would find itself back to the drawing board, looking for a new strategy. Meanwhile, however, she had no intention of giving in. She thought hard about studying her adversary. Maybe he was there for another reason and she was fussing over nothing.

Mike nodded.

Okay, never mind, he was there for the job interview, but that didn't imply he was on the ball like her or that his CV was better than the one she had submitted, or that he would give a better impression to Goldberg.

For a split second she started wondering whether the latter would hire him because he was a man. No, the lawyer would never show a gender bias. Or perhaps he would?

She grumbled under her breath. They should've spoken openly to him, without all those subterfuges. After all it was in his best interest. But the truth was that the law firm was bound to safeguard the interests of its clients, including their not so crystal clear business, and the associates would never willingly have agreed to be subjected to such an intrusion in the scope of their work.

Amelia reached out, offering her hand. "I'm Amelia Jennings."

The man gazed at the gesture with scant interest, then focused his attention on her face. And for a moment she had the impression that something had clicked inside him, that he had understood everything about the situation.

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