Authors: MJ Doherty
Copyright © 2014 Hullabaloo Ink.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or used in any way without the publisher’s written permission.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, events and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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Praise for the author
Can’t Wait for More!
By darsword “Dar” on April 9, 2015
This was MJ Doherty's first book? AMAZING! I loved this book! It pulled me in from the first erotic dreams of the beginning on into the crimes and drama and suspense that continued to the end of the book.
Ms. Doherty built believable characters, so much so that I didn't want to leave them behind. I do hope there will be a sequel!
There is romance and love and relationships to live through and figure out. That is the lower drama. But the stuff that keeps a person turning pages is how to come out of this story alive. Gripping tale! What I found most interesting is how often the point of view changes. It isn't just the main characters, but some of the lesser characters can be part of the story telling. Well done! And it is done in such a way that the reader doesn't get lost trying to figure whose head she is in now.
I look forward to reading more by this author. Thank you, Kindle Unlimited for letting me read it for free! I think I will buy it soon as it is that good a read!
The Charlton Affair
By Rev. Dr. Carol Cusack-McClintock “revdrq” on June 11, 2015
A compelling mystery with a cleaver plot surprise at the final climax. This is an enjoyable read certainly not dull or boring containing believable plot twists. Well written with only a few spelling and grammatical errors. M J Doherty is a writer at the top of her genre.
By Dee Collins on January 5, 2015
This was well written and had some awesome twists in it. The last 30% definitely had me on my toes.
Keep up the good work!
By tcbeachbum on September 4, 2014
Very entertaining mystery. I didn't figure out who the bad guy was until almost the end. The suspense developed at a nice pace and didn't seem forced.
I enjoyed the passionate attraction between Phoebe and Charlie, especially. All of the characters were developed well without being overdone.
Perfect blend of a good mystery and a sexy lesbian romance.
Soo appreciate a good story and mystery and of course a bit of…
By joy on September 10, 2014
I soo appreciate a good story and mystery and of course a bit of love story. I have read more than a hundred books just on amazon and this is a good read.
By ANISE VALURE on October 4, 2014
This is a well written, fast paced book; it is hard to put down. Great mystery! I hope there are more.
This work is lovingly dedicated to the most beautiful Lottie.
One finds that love is not a state a feeling a disposition, but an exchange, uneven, fraught with history, with ghosts, with longings that are more or less legible to those who try to see one another with their own faulty vision
.” Judith Butler, 2007
Leaning back against the woman’s naked form, Phoebe’s head arched in tormented ecstasy. The woman held her securely as they rocked together, a single creature. The woman’s fingers urgently pressed Phoebe’s rigid nipple. Her other hand insistently stroked Phoebe’s silky wetness. As the woman’s perfect skin, firm breasts and hips pressed rhythmically against her back, Phoebe rose higher and higher, a dam about to burst. Soft lips and hard teeth grazed Phoebe’s shoulder as she began to moan and cry out in surrender.
Phoebe Rawlins awoke in a sweat. Again. With her heart pounding and her skin on fire, she glanced over at the bedside table. The clock said 3 AM. Her husband snored lightly on his side of their large comfortable bed. A light breeze teased the filmy curtains over the bay windows. After her breathing had calmed, she stole quietly out of their bedroom.
As she stood at her kitchen window, a swathe of bright moonlight danced across her mussed auburn tresses. Oblivious to the beauty of the warm antipodean early morning, Phoebe clutched the kitchen bench, staring outwards, unseeing. Upset, frustrated and confused, she felt like having a stiff drink, but couldn’t, as she had to go to work in a few hours.
She thought of her husband. He often went away for work these days and they had grown apart, but still, she loved him.
Or do I? What’s wrong with me? Who is that woman?
Why do I keep dreaming of her?
It had never occurred to Phoebe that she could be attracted to another woman. Even in high school she had never had a crush on another girl.
, she thought bitterly,
I never had a crush on anyone in high school.
A bookworm, with no interest in sport, she had never really engaged in the social aspects of school life. Her father would have forbidden it even if she had tried. She had studied accountancy at university, later becoming an actuary. She reflected that she was far more comfortable with numbers than people. Confused, she wondered,
maybe I don’t really know myself
A searing heat gripped her lower abdomen as she remembered the dream, more exciting to Phoebe than sex with her husband had ever been. She had never understood all the hype around sex. It was something her husband needed, something that she found pleasant and occasionally fulfilling. It had never before driven her or consumed her.
It was an entirely different story in her dreams. There, she was wanton. In her dreams, she ached with a hunger she had never known for another. Her whole being turned on that woman’s hands, on her mouth, completely aflame.
Defeated and mystified, she stared out of her kitchen window, trying to divert her thoughts to something practical. There would be no more sleep for her. Finally at the end of her tether, she resolved to speak to someone about the dreams that had been plaguing her for months. After making tea, she sat down at the kitchen table. She opened her little Mac laptop and started googling therapists in Brisbane.
She booted it again, swearing at it once more.
Amanda came running into the stationary room. Interposing herself between her boss and the defenseless office machine, she held her hands out, firmly commanding, “Stop! I’ll fix it.”
“I have to be in court in fifteen minutes,” Charlie complained, stressed.
Giving the photocopier an evil glare, she said, “I need that document.”
“Just go. It’s only a paper jam. I’ll bring you the documents.” Amanda said, her calming influence settling Charlie down.
“Thanks. I need three copies…”
“I know. One for you, one for the prosecutor, and one for the Judge. I’ll be there soon.”
“I’ll be in court twenty-seven,” Charlie sang out over her shoulder as she rushed off to grab her court bag and check her hair and make-up one last time. Striding out of her inner city chambers on the short walk to the courts complex, she focused her thoughts on the upcoming hearing.
After entering the courts building, Amanda went up to District Court twenty-seven. She opened the heavy wooden door and bowed toward the presiding Judge before approaching the bar table. She quietly placed the documents next to where Charlie stood. Deciding to take a moment to watch her boss in action, Amanda sat down in the public gallery at the rear of the courtroom.
As usual, Charlie had one hand on the lectern as she stood addressing the court. Her other arm was bent at the elbow with her hand on her waist. This was Charlie’s way of controlling her nervous fidgets, making sure she did not wave her hands around when she was addressing the bench. Amanda knew that such excesses were frowned upon in Australian courts. It wasn’t really anything like those television shows from the United States where the attorneys all stood and walked around gesticulating.
Charlie was just beginning, announcing her appearance, “If it pleases this honorable court, Your Honor, my name is Moss, initial, C. I’m instructed by Lutton Lawyers, for Mr. Crimpton, seated at the bar table.”
His Honor nodded and turned to the prosecutor expectantly.
“Um…yes, Your Honor, Markel, initial J, legal officer for the Director of Public Prosecutions, instructed by the Queensland Police Service Solicitor.”
“Please proceed, Miss Moss,” His Honor requested.
Charlie was exciting to watch. An extremely attractive, delicately featured, petite woman with white-blond cropped hair, she was almost five feet two. She looked even tinier in the extremely formal courtroom setting. The heavy wooden benches and high ceiling dwarfed everyone except the Judge.
That all changed when Charlie spoke. Her voice filled the entire room, making her seem larger than she actually was. Speaking in rich measured tones, she made each point logically, persuasively. Importantly, she was precise and direct, not wasting the court’s time with unnecessary embellishments. Charlie paused only to tender various documents and cases to the court in support of her client’s application. The flow of her arguments painted a picture that made her client appear almost saintly. He sat beside her instructing solicitor at the bar table. The pimply-faced young man, uncomfortable in his ill-fitting suit, did his best to look innocent.
Amanda noticed the elderly Judge nodding as Charlie spoke. It looked as though he agreed with her. Amanda hoped she would win the appeal, even though Charlie had told her Crimpton’s chances of getting a reduced sentence were not great.
“If it please the court, those are my submissions, Your Honor,” Charlie finished speaking.
The Judge said sonorously, “Yes, thank you Miss Moss. Mr. Markel?”
Charlie sat down.
The prosecutor got to his feet to refute Charlie’s arguments, urging the Judge to uphold the decision of the magistrate in the court below. His tone was almost desperate and he repeated himself frequently. Amanda knew that the Crown legal officers tasked with appeals from the Magistrates Court were often inexperienced, the sign of an overburdened legal system. She watched, rapt, as the Judge interrupted him frequently, putting questions to him based upon Charlie’s arguments.
Maybe she’ll win it after all
, Amanda thought hopefully.
Eventually the Judge stopped torturing the young prosecutor and asked a few questions of Charlie. Amanda watched proudly as Charlie answered confidently, her hand still gripping the lectern.
Amanda was unsurprised when the Judge made his decision in Crimpton’s favor, reducing the sentence from probation to a fine, with no conviction recorded. Not wanting to stay for the application for costs, Amanda slipped out of the courtroom and headed back to Charlie’s chambers. She had lots of work waiting for her and she needed to organize some food for her boss. Charlie was always starving after court.
Phoebe was becoming increasingly nervous as she sat in the small clinic waiting room. She didn’t know if she could go through with telling a stranger about her dreams, even a qualified therapist. She tried to persuade herself to stay, reasoning that she had waited a week for the appointment so she may as well go through with it. Her logic lost ground against her anxiety and she grabbed her bag, deciding to go.
Just before she could get up and walk out, her name was called out and she was directed to enter a counseling room. Feeling like a fly caught in a spider’s web, she followed the receptionist to her appointed room. The few moments she spent waiting in the room were even more anxiety provoking than the waiting area had been. Just before her panic became unbearable, a large, solid man in a baggy sweater entered and sat down opposite Phoebe. His face was extremely gentle looking. She was surprised, as she had been told she would be seeing a female therapist.
“You look like you’re about to bolt off,” the man said sympathetically, “don’t worry. We don’t have to speak about anything too difficult today.”
His soothing voice and gentle face gave Phoebe some much-needed relief. Letting out a breath, Phoebe stared at him, not knowing what to say.
“I’m Doctor Martin Briggs, and before we start, I’ll explain how this works…”
Amanda laughingly complied.
“You were great!” Amanda said, grinning.
Charlie, still on a high from her win, said happily, “Crimpton’s parents were ecstatic. Now the boy doesn’t have a criminal conviction against his name. He can get a decent job.”
Amanda replied, “He’d better not play up again, or that won’t last long.” She always enjoyed chatting about the clients. Their stories intrigued her.
“Silly kid! Hopefully he’ll never buy his drugs from an undercover cop again! I really didn’t think I’d win that one.”
“I got you some chicken and salad and there’s a new brief from Darren sitting on your desk.”
“Remind me to get you some flowers,” Charlie replied fondly, smiling at Amanda, grateful for lunch.
Entering her office, she sat at her desk and started eating as she read the new brief. Darren Franks was a solicitor who regularly briefed her. They went to law school together and had been fast friends ever since.
She reflected that eating as she worked was a bad habit. Then again, her profession had never lent itself to good habits. Most of the lawyers she knew drank far too much. A lot of them were smokers and pretty much all of them were workaholics. Their marriages and relationships were constantly breaking down. Many of them ignored their families in favor of work. Long hours at work often meant spending more time with colleagues than wives or husbands, resulting in affairs and inappropriate liaisons. She still giggled when she remembered the time a Crown Prosecutor got caught in an intimate situation with a Judge’s Associate in an empty courtroom.
Unlike many of her colleagues, Charlie never drank, didn’t smoke and made a point of keeping fit. She tried to get some running or gym work in most days, despite her long hours. Often, her clearest thinking came when she was exercising.
Sadly, like many of her colleagues, she ate on the run, worked too much and could never seem to make a relationship last longer than a couple of years. Her social life was a shambles, especially lately. She often had little time to keep up with friends. At thirty-three, she was single and the one person she spent the most time with in her life was her personal assistant.
At least Amanda Jessop was worthy of spending time with, unlike some of her previous employees. In her late twenties, generous of heart, Amanda was as lovely as she was efficient. Her physically robust frame matched her character. Amanda was strong, calm and capable. Charlie never took her for granted and frequently gave her small gifts and sometimes a bonus when she had a big win. She also indulged Amanda with days off as a reward for the long hours, aware that Amanda’s husband sometimes got upset with her absences, even though Amanda herself never complained.
Deciding not to dwell on her dismal personal life, she focused on the new brief. Becoming absorbed, she read it from cover to cover before she finished her salad.
After calling out to Amanda, she asked her to come into the office and sit for a moment. Amanda diverted the phone at reception and sat down with her boss.
“Have you spoken to Darren about this one?” Charlie asked, pointing at the new brief.
“No, I haven’t. His PA called this morning and said a clerk was dropping it off and would you look at it as a favor? He didn’t call so I assumed you’d already spoken to him.” Amanda replied. Looking concerned, she added, “Is there a problem?”
“No problem.” Charlie reassured her, “There are a lot of gaps in it and I wanted to know what Darren had to say. I know you usually chat with him about the clients, terrible gossip that he is.”
Amanda smiled as she replied, “Sometimes I struggle not to laugh when I finally meet the clients. Darren’s impressions of them are so spot on, and so wicked…”
“I’ll call him,” Charlie said.
Amanda’s sweet-natured face took on a curious mien. She looked at Charlie and raised an eyebrow. Charlie knew how much Amanda loved to hear the intricacies of the cases. She would learn all about it from typing the dictation anyway. Caving in, Charlie started telling her about it.