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He was the image of composure as she entered the crowded courtroom and started toward the prosecutor's table. Her gray suit, straight-skirted and seasonally chic for January in New England, made its intended understatement. Her sleek black hair was drawn into a sedate coil at the nape of the neck. She wore a minimum of makeup, highlighted by the deep burgundy tone on her lips, which matched that on the tips of her tapered fingers. The briefcase which swung by her side as her slim legs carried her forward, past row after row of hardwood benches, spoke of the efficiency for which she had become known. Yet the slight hush which Laura Grandine's appearance caused reminded her that as a woman, no less lawyer, she was as much on trial as the accused.
"Some crowd for a simple arraignment," she observed under her breath to Sandy Chatfield, as she slid into a chair beside him. Darkly blond as his name suggested, the good-looking state trooper, assigned to the case from the start, was an invaluable assistant as well as a friend. Now Laura cast him a questioning glance, her blue eyes reflecting surprise at the turnout of students, family, press, and others to witness the brief proceeding.
Sandy looked at Laura with unabashed admiration "They've braved the ice and wind just to see you in action, Laura." He grinned, winking in his boyish way then growing more serious as he leaned closer. "Actually, there is word going around that the boy has retained a new lawyer."
Immediately, Laura gave him her full attention, ignoring the notes which she had begun to remove from her briefcase. "Are you serious? You mean, Fritz MacKenziewon't be representing him?"
"Looks that way."
In a spontaneous gesture she put a hand on he friend's sleeve. "But why? MacKenzie is one of the more capable lawyers in western Massachusetts What happened?" Amazed as she was by the turn of events, Laura's face remained calm.
The trooper arched an eyebrow in echo of hi shrug, his voice hardening. "Who knows! Rumor has it that the family has turned to some high-powered guy from Boston—"
"Excuse me." A deep voice interrupted the inter change. "Assistant District Attorney Grandine?" The velvet-smooth sound brought Laura's head up with a start, her eyes riveted to the chocolate-brown orb which were studying her.
Sheer force of habit drew her out of her chair, impelling her to offer her right hand to the stranger. Instinctively, she knew that the figure before her towering over her in spite of her three-inch heels, was something other than the traditional court officer, visiting observer, or press representative. The attitude of self-command, conveyed by the firm set of his square jaw and the studied relaxation of his features held a special significance, as did the vague familiarity of the ruggedly handsome face itself. As Laura struggled to make the identification, she was unaware that her brow had furrowed lightly. In response, the man before her broke into an open smile, his hand retaining its warm grip long after the handshake ha stilled.
"I'm Maxwell Kraig. I'll be representing Jonathan Stallway." Dazzled by the even whiteness of his powerful smile, Laura steadied herself to cope with this revelation of his identity.
Denying the pulsing knot that had suddenly formed in her stomach, she returned his smile with her own equally as open and conveying a self-confidence she was far from feeling. "This is an honor, Mr. Kraig," she said softly and evenly, as she had willed. "Your reputation precedes you. I look forward to working with you." Then, abruptly remembering that they were no alone, and momentarily disturbed to have forgotten it in the first place . . .Sensuous Burgundy. Copyright © by Barbara Delinsky. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.