Connor Matthews has it all: good looks, money, charm… Not to mention an incredibly lucrative career as an attorney. The public and the press both adore him—so much so that the tabloids have dubbed him Casanova At Law. Karina Monroe is a law student working three jobs to support herself and her sick mother; she doesn’t have time for nonsense or fun. The two of them should never get along, let alone like each other, but Connor doesn’t take no for an answer, and he’s set his sights on Karina.
Age Rating: 18+
Casanova at Law by C.B. Rose is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.
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I slowly open my eyes and look at my alarm clock.
Who the hell is calling me at 4:30 in the morning? I look at my phone and see my best friend’s name on the caller ID. When I’m fully awake I’m going to kill her.
“Nitti?” I ask as I yawn at the same time. “Whas wong?”
“What? Nothing’s wrong?” She says calmly.
“Then why the hell are you calling me at 4:30 in the morning? My alarm clock isn’t even awake yet.” I say to her.
“Do you know how sexy your voice sounds when you first wake up?” She giggles.
“Shut up!” I groan.
“It’s even sexier when you groan like that. I don’t understand how you’re still single.” She laughs.
“Nikki, if you love me and value your life you’ll stop telling me how sexy my voice is and tell me why you’re waking me up this early in the morning.” I tell her.
“Uh…we have to go to work today…duh!” She says sarcastically.
“We don’t need to be at work for another three and half hours!” I say as I sit up in bed and let out another yawn.
“Don’t you remember what’s happening this morning?” She asks. I can practically hear her bouncing up and down on her bed with excitement.
“Nothing that warrants you being this perky at 4:30am and expecting me to be as well.” I say before I yawn for the umpteenth time.
“Mr. Matthews is officially welcoming Connor and Zack to the firm this morning remember?!” She beams.
“And we need to be there early.”
“So we can talk to them before the piranhas do.” She sighs.
“They’ve been here for two weeks. Haven’t you had a chance to talk to them already? Besides, this is my last day remember? I’ve talked enough with them.”
“Pleeeeeeease Karina?” She begs. “You may have talked with them but I haven’t. And yes, this may be your last day here but it’s not mine and I want to make an impression on them before anyone else has a chance to.”
She’s right. This is my last day as an intern here then it’s back to school and focusing on finals, graduation, and passing the bar exam for me.
She’s still going to be working here and if getting some extra time with Connor and Zack will help her career, then what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t help her?
“Alright! Alright!” I relent. “What time are you coming to pick me up?”
“I’ll be there in two hours.” She says triumphantly.
“With coffee.” I command.
“Of course.” She says. “I love you!”
“I love you too you nut!” I giggle. “I’ll see you soon.” I hang up my phone and slowly drag myself to the bathroom and start my shower. This is going to be a long day.
Nicole and I have been friends since high school. She was my rock when my parents divorced during our Junior year and my mom moved to Chicago.
I stayed back in Los Angeles with my not so loving dad to finish out my last two years. But, after we graduated, Nicole and I moved to Chicago to attend college.
While she was able to finish right away, I had to take a break after my third year to care for my mother after her car accident, which left her paralyzed from the neck down.
That year was rough for me. I had to work a multiple jobs to help pay for her medical care at the nursing facility where she’s at, as well as support myself.
I had fallen into a really bad relationship with someone who liked to talk more with his fists than his mouth. I eventually broke free from him, although I don’t think he got the message.
In addition to school and this paid internship, I also work full-time in the evenings as one of the chefs at DeLeon’s, an Italian restaurant not too far from the law firm.
Juggling the internship, school, and a full-time job doesn’t leave a lot of time for dating. But after my last relationship, I’m ok with taking a long break from men.
I finish getting ready for work and wait for Nicole outside of my apartment building. I live above DeLeon’s in a small studio apartment, which is perfect for me since I don’t own a car.
The owner of the restaurant also owns my apartment and they were nice enough to give me a good deal on the rent. Thank goodness for small favors.
Nicole finally pulls up and she hands me my coffee as soon as I get in her car.
“One hazelnut latte for my very best friend who loves me with all her heart no matter what silly thing I ask her to do for me at 4:30 in the morning.” She says in one breath smiling at me. I roll my eyes at her and giggle.
“You’re so lucky I love you.” I tell her as I take in a sip of heaven. “Ahhhhhh! Caffeine! Just what the doctor ordered.” We both laugh as we head in to work. Nicole parks her car in the parking garage and we head towards the elevator.
“I’m going to miss working with you.” Nicole says pouting. I giggle at her sad face and put my arm around her.
“I’m going to miss working with you too.” I tell her.
“Why are you two going to miss working each other? Are one of you going somewhere?” A voice comes from behind us. We were so engrossed in our conversation we didn’t even hear anyone walk up. We turn around and there stands a smiling Connor and Zack staring at us.
I’ve spoken with Connor maybe three times since he and Zack started at the firm. Well, it was more him flirting and me making small talk.
I can see why people refer to him as the Casanova of the Courtroom. He’s tall, quite muscular, and he has a smile that just radiates and brightens a room.
That coupled with his smooth voice and captivating eyes would make any woman wet her panties just being near him.
“Today is my last day at your father’s firm.” I tell him casually. His smile fades a little and he looks genuinely…sad?
“It is?” He says. “I didn’t realize this was your last day.” I start to say something but the elevator bell rings and the doors open. I politely smile and then yank Nicole towards the back of the elevator.
I had hoped Connor and Zack would stay more in the front of the elevator and not want to continue our conversation but no such luck. Connor steps in and stands next to me leaning sideways against the wall to look at me.
“Did my father not offer you a position at the firm?” He asks.
“He did but with finals and graduation coming up, I really need time to focus on that over the next few weeks.” I tell him flatly. The elevator doors open and the four of us walk out into the lobby of our floor to a sea of inappropriately dressed legal secretaries waiting for Connor and Zack.
I shouldn’t be surprised though. They both redefine the term eye candy and are very unattached at the moment, which naturally translates to fresh meat for the single women in the office.
“Looks like you weren’t the only one in a hurry to get here early.” I whisper to Nicole.
“At least I have the decency to not dress like I’m auditioning for a porn movie.” She whispers as takes in their very low-cut blouses and borderline-inappropriate-for-the-office skirts.
I giggle as we watch them flock around Connor and Zack as they get off the elevator. “Ugh! They’re not even subtle about wanting to get in their pants!” She scoffs.
“C’mon. Let’s go before we both gag.” As Nicole and I continue to walk towards our desks, I feel someone grab my hand.
“Karina, wait.” Connor says as he pulls me to a stop. He steps in front of me and smiles. “Can we talk later about you not taking the job my dad offered you?” I look past him at Nicole, who is standing behind him wide-eyed.
I bite my lip trying to figure out if I should agree or not. I had already made my decision so there really wasn’t anything more to discuss. When I look up at Connor I can see his eyes focused on my mouth. And did I just hear him catch his breath?
“Um…sure.” I tell him. “But there’s not much to talk about.”
“We’ll see.” He smirks. He takes a step closer to me and leans down to whisper in my ear. “I’ll come find you later.” He takes a step back and winks at me before walking away. It was my turn to catch my breath.
“What?” I say as Nicole gives me a mischievous look.
“What was that?” Nicole asks as she looks in Connor’s direction.
“Nothing. He’s a flirt remember? It’s what he does.” I tell her as I start walking towards my desk.
“Mmhmm.” She says. I swat her arm and shake my head at her as we continue towards our desks. As I’m putting my things away, I try my hardest not to think about how his hand sent a jolt through my body and how much I didn’t want him to let go.
Stop that Karina! This is your last day here. The last thing you need is to get wrapped up in Connor’s Hugh Heffner lifestyle.
I shake off my thoughts and head towards the conference room for the meeting.
I finally get past that sea of sharks/legal secretaries waiting for me and Zack in the lobby and make it to my office. I shut the door and sit down on the couch.
Why didn’t she take the job my father offered her? I lean my head back on the couch and stare up at the ceiling thinking back to the day I first met Karina.
It was about two months ago. Zack and I were sitting in the conference room talking to my father about taking over his firm when he retires.
I happened to look up through the glass windows of the conference room and saw the most beautiful woman walking past us towards the elevators.
Ever since then, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her.
I asked my dad about her but all he would tell me is that Karina is smart, has a good heart, and is really focused on finishing school and getting her life together.
A knock on my door brings me out of my thoughts. I look up as Zack lets himself into my office and closes the door behind him. He takes a seat in the chair across from me and gives me a sly grin.
“So.” He says. “I guess this puts a little wrinkle in your plans to get closer to Karina.”
“No shit, Sherlock!” I snap.
“Look Connor the Grouch, if she’s as focused on school and her future as your dad says, she’s definitely not going to waste her time on someone she thinks is only interested in hookups.
You’re going to have to convince her to take the job your dad offered her to give her time to warm up to you. Or you know, actually court her outside of the office, if she’ll let you.”
I flip him off as I continue to stare at the ceiling. He’s right though. Fucking tabloids! I’m not the playboy they make me out to be.
Yes, I go out with a lot of different women, but nothing happens past a good-night kiss on the cheek. But they won’t mention that part.
Being one of the wealthiest, and well-known, men in the city, you learn to be wary of people who want to go out with you.
The last thing I need is to get involved with someone who only cares about what I can do for their social status and nothing else. I’ve been there, done that, and I won’t do it again.
I was hoping when I came to work at my dad’s firm I would be able to get to know Karina better and hopefully show her that I’m not this womanizer she thinks I am.
I was hoping that she and I could build a friendship that would grow into something more. Except now she’s leaving…at the end of the day…for good!
There’s no way I can convince her that I’m not the person she thinks I am and get her open to the idea of being with me in eight hours. Or is there?
Zack and I head to the conference room for the meet and greet with all the employees in my dad’s firm. When we walk into the room, all heads turn in our direction.
I look around the room and spot my girl talking with Nicole and Marisa, another attorney that works for my dad. Yes, that’s right. I called her ‘my girl’.
I just have to figure out how to make it happen.
As my dad introduces us to everyone and talks about what our plans were for the future of the firm, my eyes stay fixed on Karina.
She listens intently to my dad as he speaks, not looking my way even for a second. After my dad’s announcement, everyone gets up to welcome us. Everyone, except Karina.
She stands in the back of the room talking with Nicole and Marisa. I make my way over to them and she finally turns and looks at me. Suddenly I feel someone’s arms loop through mine.
I turn and see Brooke, one of the legal secretaries, leaning up against me smiling.
“A few of us were thinking we should really celebrate your joining the firm tonight, right girls?” Brooke says as she turns to the group of women standing behind me.
They all nod and express their agreement. She then turns to Karina and puts on the most plastic smile. “You could come too, Karina.”
“I could…but I won’t.” She says politely. I can feel Brooke tensing next to me as she glares back at Karina.
“Aw, c’mon Karina. I know it’s your last day but hanging out with us could help with your image, especially since we’ll be out with two of the most popular, and sought after, attorneys in the city.”
She says in a condescending tone. I look at Karina and she looks unphased by Brooke’s comments. She then looks at Brooke with a smile.
“If my image was that of a fuckboy’s dick ornament, maybe. But since it’s not, I’ll pass.” She says calmly. Nicole and Marisa both clasp their mouths to hide their “Oh shit!” remark and Zack muffles his “Damn!” I look at her wide-eyed and Brooke is scowling at her with her mouth open.
Karina then turns to Marisa. “I’m going to my desk to get my files. I’ll meet you in your office in a few minutes.” She then walks out of the conference room without giving me another glance.
That was surprisingly sexy and upsetting. She definitely thinks I’m a player. Urgh! I going to have my work cut out for me trying to convince her otherwise.
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I followed Karina to her desk after she left the conference room. She was gathering some files and had her back to me. As I walked up behind her, she turned around and bumped right into me.
I reached out with both hands and grabbed her by her waist to steady her. How does she feel so good to hold? I look down at her and she’s looking up at me, her cheeks are completely flushed.
“Oof!” She yelps. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t know you were behind me.”
“No. It’s my fault.” I tell her, still holding on to her waist. “I should have called out your name or something to let you know I was standing here.” I look deep into her eyes and I lose myself in its beauty. She clears her throat and steps out of my arms.
“Um. Did you need something?” She says as she turns to grab a pen from her desk. I step up close behind her and wrap my arms around her waist. She tenses at first, but then I feel her relaxing against my chest. I dip my head down to speak into her ear.
“You’re wrong.” I tell her softly.
“About?” She asks not turning to look at me.
“I’m not a fuckboy and I don’t want, or need, any dick ornaments hanging around me.” She giggles and winces. I nuzzle a little into her hair as she leans into my body. God!
She feels good in my arms! And her hair smells heavenly. She turns around slowly and takes a small step away from me and I instantly miss her.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t necessarily directing that statement at you.” She smiles.
“What time is your meeting over with Marisa? I’d like to talk to you about that job offer.” I tell her. Her smile quickly fades and she starts biting her lip again. How do I tell her to stop doing that? It makes me want to pull her face to mine and kiss her until our lips go numb.
“Um…about that.” She says hesitantly. “Like I said before, I don’t think there’s anything more to talk about. I’ve made my decision.” She looks up at me shyly and it takes all of my strength not to pull her back in my arms and hold her.
“I disagree.” I tell her with a smile. “Just hear me out, please?” She goes back to biting her lip and my eyes are instantly drawn to her mouth. I want to kiss her so badly right now.
“My meeting ends in an hour.” She tells me.
“Ok. I have a couple of meetings this morning as well. How about over lunch?” I smile at her.
“Um…I’m actually leaving at lunch.”
What the hell?! She’s not even working a full day today?! Now I’m really going to have to think fast.
“Oh. Ok.” I say trying my hardest not to sound disappointed. “How about at 11 o’clock then?”
“I can do that.” She says with a smile.
“Great. I’ll see you then.” I tell her. She nods and leaves for her meeting with Marisa. I quickly head back to my office to get everything ready for our lunch date…I mean meeting. I hope this works.
I’m putting the finishing touches on the table in my office where I’ve set up lunch for my meeting with Karina. It’s nothing romantic or anything but it’s her favorite foods, according to Marisa.
I’m hoping this helps sway her into staying on at the firm, and in my life. A few minutes later, there’s a soft knock at my door. I walk over to the door and let out a long breath before opening it.
I move aside to let her in. She stops in her tracks when she sees the food on the table.
“Connor, what is this?” She asks still looking at the food. I come up behind her and place a hand on her lower back.
“Lunch.” I give her a little nudge and lead her to the table. “I thought we could eat while we talked.” I walk around her to pull her chair out for her. When I look at her, she’s biting her lip again.
“It’s just food Karina. It won’t bite you.” She walks over to the chair and sits down. I sit in the chair next to her and look at her expectantly. She looks up at me and smiles.
“Thank you, but you really didn’t have to do this.”
“If it puts a smile on your face, I’d do it again.” She lets out a giggle and blushes. We both start eating our food while having small talk about how our morning meetings went.
“So, about this job offer. I don’t…” I hold my hand up to stop her from continuing.
“Before you tell me your decision is made and that I can’t change your mind, please hear me out.” I sit back in my chair as she puts her fork down and leans on her arms on the table.
“Zack and I are going to be bringing in some big cases. We’ll need a good team to work with us on them. I’m planning on hiring another attorney and I’d like that person to be you.” The shock on her face is adorable.
“You can continue working here as a Paralegal until you pass the bar exam. Once you’re fully licensed to practice law, we’ll change your position to Attorney.
You can work part-time in the mornings and take the afternoon to study. If you bring your books with you to work, I can help you prepare for your finals and the bar exam. I’m sure I can get Zack and Marisa to help as well.”
“I can’t ask you to do that.” She says shaking her head. I move my chair closer to hers and put my arm on the back of her chair. As I lean in a little to talk to her, she turns her head to face me. Our lips are inches apart and it takes everything in me not to move forward to capture them in mine.
“You don’t have to ask. I’m offering.”
“Why? Why would you do that for me?” She bites her lip again and I feel myself getting hard. I hope she doesn’t look down.
“Well, for starters, you are incredibly smart and a great asset to our team. I’d be stupid to let you go so some other firm can snatch you up.” She smiles at my compliment and it makes me feel warm inside. “And secondly, I want to see you succeed. I want to help you succeed.”
“Connor.” She says softly. God I love hearing her say my name. “What if I don’t pass the bar exam? You’d be holding that attorney position open for nothing. You could be passing on some really talented attorneys while waiting for me. I can’t let you take that chance on me.”
“Karina.” I tell her as I lean in closer. “I believe in you. You are going to pass that exam and we get to boast that our firm employs an amazing attorney.” Her eyes start to get misty as she processes my words.
“Let’s see how this goes for a week or so and if you need more time to study, we’ll rethink your schedule. But I want you to stay on as an employee.” She leans back in her seat and looks down at her hands contemplating her answer. After an excruciating ten seconds she looks up and smiles.
“Ok.” I let out the breath I was holding and try to contain my excitement.
“Great! I’ll let everyone know and I’ll have an office ready for you to use on Monday so you can have some privacy while you study.”
“Oh…um…about…that.” Ugh! Now what? “Can we start this arrangement on Tuesday? I’m participating in a mock trial Monday.” She says looking at me with a worried look on her face.
“You’re participating in a mock trial at school?” She nods hesitantly as if preparing for me to scold her. I give her my best smile which seems to relax her a little. “That’s great! What’s your role in it?”
“That’s amazing! Are your parents going to attend?” She quickly turns back to looking at her plate and biting her lip again. Shit! “Karina? I’m sorry. Did I say something wrong?”
“No.” She says as she shakes her head. She reaches for her drink and takes a sip before turning to me with a small smile. “Um, my parents won’t be there.” I look at her in silence waiting for her to continue. “My mom was in a car accident two years ago and is in a medical care facility.
She won’t be able to attend. And my dad…he…um…I didn’t tell him about it.” I reach over to holder her hand but she flinches so I stop. I look at her confused. “Sorry.” She says as she shakes her head. I slowly continue and when I finally have her hand in mine, I can feel her tremble a little.
“I’m sorry. You don’t have to talk about it.” She nods as I squeeze her hand. “What time does it start?” Now it’s her turn to look at me confused.
“The trial?” I nod at her and smile, trying to make her feel at ease. “Um, at 9. Why?
“Perfect.” I tell her as I release her hand to pull out my phone and add a reminder on my calendar for the trial.
“The time of the trial. I have nothing going on that day so I’ll be able to attend.” Her eyes go wide as she opens her mouth to say something, but I interject quickly. “What are you doing afterwards?”
“Um…nothing right after but I’m working that night.”
“Working?” I ask her.
“Yes. I work at DeLeon’s in the evenings.” Hold up! She has another job?
“Oh. Well, I was hoping to take you out to lunch or dinner or something to celebrate your win at your mock trial.” I tell her.
“And what if I don’t win?” She giggles.
“Then I was going to take you out for a consolation meal to lift your spirits.” I tell her with a grin. She shakes her head at me and laughs.
“Well, the trial only lasts a few hours so there’s time to celebrate or sulk before my shift starts.” She says with a smile.
“That works for me.” I then remember that she’s leaving early today. “So, is that why you’re leaving at lunch? To go work at DeLeon’s?”
“No. I’m meeting with my team for some last-minute prep before the trial on Monday. Then I have to work.”
“Oh. Makes sense.” We finish the rest of our lunch with some light conversation. She’s really funny and sweet. Once we’re done with our lunch, she helps me clean up.
As I’m watching her I can’t help but think about her working at DeLeon’s…at night…in a waitress uniform…with all those men looking at her…and having the same thoughts I’ve been having about her every day for the past few months.
I start feeling a mix of anger and jealousy as I follow her to my door.
“Thanks for lunch Connor.” She says with a smile. God I love her smile! “And for the job offer.” She turns and reaches for the doorknob. I put my hand over hers and feel her tense a little at my touch. When she looks up at me I smile and lean down closer to her face.
“I told you lunch wouldn’t bite you.” She giggles and I lean down even closer to her ear. “I won’t either.” I give her a kiss on her cheek and open the door for her.
When she walks out I stand in the doorframe to watch her walk to her desk and then to the elevator. As the elevator doors close, I feel a pang in my heart. I miss her already.
As I’m walking into the campus library to meet my team for the mock trial, my mind wanders back to my lunch with Connor. It was really sweet of him to set that up. Why does he have to be so charming?
And why the hell does it feel so good to be near him?
I can’t fall for his charms no matter how much I want to. He’s got women falling over him wherever he goes…beautiful women without as much baggage as I have. I need to stay focused on my goals.
Connor is a distraction. A sweet and sexy distraction, but a distraction, nonetheless. And after Alex, I don’t think I’m ready to be anyone like that. Not yet.
I try to concentrate on the trial prep as much as I can but thoughts of Connor’s smile and his touch invade my mind. I get through the hour meeting and head home to get ready for my shift at DeLeon’s.
At least I know I won’t be thinking of Connor there. It gets too busy in the evenings for me to think of anything but cooking.
After I change my clothes, I head down to DeLeon’s. The restaurant is owned by Armando and Lucia DeLeon and their sons Max and Evan do most of the cooking.
I started working here as a waitress but then one night, Max’s wife went into labor and they needed another person to help Evan in the kitchen.
I’m no chef but I do know my way around a stove so I offered to help out. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The DeLeon’s have been like a second family to me. I don’t have any siblings and my parents were never really the affectionate type.
My dad practically ignored me when he wasn’t abusing me, and my mom, well, she tried her best. She was fighting her own demons but she still tried to be there for me.
Even after the divorce, she tried to stay in contact with me as much as she could but she was working two jobs and trying to build a new life for herself away from my dad.
The evening goes by pretty quickly. Friday nights are usually pretty busy but for some reason tonight it was just crazy.
At the end of the night, I was so exhausted I was ready to just lay on the floor and go to sleep. I had just started putting things away in the refrigerator when Lucia walked into the kitchen.
“Karina.” She calls to me from the door. “Why don’t you let us finish up in here and go on home?” I close the refrigerator and smile at her.
“It’s ok. I can help with the cleanup. I don’t mind.”
“Yes, but it’s not polite to leave your guest waiting.” She says coyly. I look at her confused.
“Yes, and he’s been here for quite some time already.” She steps back from the door and signals for me to look into the dining area. I walk over to her and look through the window in the door. My eyes go wide when I see who is sitting in the booth talking with a scowling Max and Evan.
“What is he doing here?”
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