Book two excerpt from the Kristen Kerry Series
The judge reentered the picture and sat. A different ADA, and not Jack Off, appeared. This one was older, more cocksure. They’d obviously kicked me up the ladder. I’d get the real- deal DA if I went to trial.
Judge Redhead glanced at a file, then spoke forcefully, “Kristen Kerry, you are charged with first-degree murder. How do you plead?”
I think every woman views her man differently at different times—friend, lover, companion, or frustrating, narrow-minded male who doesn’t unload the dishwasher, but that day Michael was my knight errant. He towered over the ADA. Michael’s silver-tinged hair was razored straight in back. Strong nose and jaw aimed straight at the prosecutor, as if challenging the guy to a duel. After a second, Michael turned back to the judge.
“Not guilty, your honor.” Michael’s deep voice filled the room.
“We request the court deny bail,” the ADA bloviated like a carny barker. Step right up, folks, and see the world’s most dangerous woman. Only a dollar!
The judge’s eyebrows floated up, in apparent surprise. She looked down quizzically at Michael.
Michael drew a breath. I’d seen him argue a point many times, always pausing to insure he had everyone’s attention while carefully choosing his words.
He spoke slowly: “Your honor, the purpose of bail is to guarantee the defendant’s appearance, not to punish before a conviction.” He sped his pace, “I will personally promise she will be in court for any trial, any time.”
The ADA scoffed. “The law does not allow attorneys special privileges.”
The judge tugged her chin. “This court remembers Ms. Kerry’s exploits on the Layne case and her subsequent heroism.”
Junior prosecutor’s voice rose. “Your honor, there is evidence of premeditation for the worst motives. Money and the potential loss of Ms. Kerry’s Bar card. We will seek the death penalty.”
I squeezed my Kegels to keep from wetting myself. They really do execute people in Texas. About forty a year. One or two might have been innocent. Cameron Willingham, the guy who supposedly burned his kids probably was.
An image of all I would lose flashed through my vision—Michael, children, marriage, my siblings. Standing became a struggle. I fought to breathe. My diaphragm felt paralyzed.
Michael allowed a stare of derision to settle over his face. I’d seen him toss it at opponents with weak arguments. Only I wasn’t confident their case was all that thin.
“Y’all can file whatever charges you think you can prove. My client can surrender her passport. But there is no reason to keep her stewing for months at the state’s whim, when everyone knows she will be back for a trial anytime, anywhere.”
The judge studied my file. I could tell my chances were a coin flip. Michael must have sensed her indecision and jumped in again, dominating the scene. “How ’bout five million dollars?”
The judge rocked back in surprise. I may have just set a record. There may have been higher bails set, but not likely any that size had been met.
A low murmur rose from the gallery. It sounded like dozens of people whispering, Can you fucking believe that?
The ADA curled his nose but said nothing. What could he say? Make it six and we got a deal?
“I’ll personally deposit a cashier’s check within the hour.”
Michael had tossed out a number so stunningly large, so casually, and offered cash, he could hardly be denied. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. One of the reasons I love him so much.
The judge smiled. “Very well, Mr. Stern, so ruled.”
A wave of gratitude and relief crested over me.
Hail Mary, full of grace.
Although the tears rolled down my grubby cheeks, I felt the tiniest glimmer of hope, like I clung to a life raft on a dark ocean and had seen a cigarette lit miles away.
Steve E. Clark is a New York Times best selling author and attorney at Clark + Mitchell. Steve's first novel Justice Is for the Lonely, is book one in the Kristen Kerry Novels of Suspense series. Pick up Justice Is for the Lonely at Amazon or off his website here. Then get ready for book two Justice Is for the Deserving, a Suspense/Thriller with a romance twist unlike any you have read.
If you would like Steve to review your book, or for book readings, please reach out to him on the contact page.