Irreparable Harm (Sasha McCandless #1)

By Melissa F. Miller; Published In 2011
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
2   Bethesda, Maryland   Jerry Irwin sat in his dark office, the only light the glow of his computer monitor. He tapped out a quick message:  Demo completed successfully, as we are sure you’ve heard. Second display to occur on Friday. Interested parties to submit confidential bids by midnight Friday. Irwin read it over twice to make sure it struck the right tone: succinct and confident, but not brash or boastful. Satisfied, he ran the concealment program and sent it out to a select list. He powered off the computer and rose from his ergonomic desk chair, whistling tunelessly. It wouldn’t be

against hope that the e-mail would reveal no emergency motions, no ranting clients, no last-minute calls to substitute for a deposition in Omaha, or Detroit, or New Orleans. She needed a steak, a bottle of overpriced red wine, and candlelight. She did not need another night

Almost afraid to look, she clicked on the envelope icon and breathed out, smiling. It was just a Google news alert about a client. She had set up news alerts for all the clients she worked for. It always impressed the partners when she knew what was going on with their clients before they did. Scared them a little, too.

Angelo Calvaruso sat back, closed his eyes, and relaxed—completely relaxed—for the first time in weeks. Two minutes later, Hemisphere Air Flight No. 1667, a Boeing 737 en route from Washington National to Dallas-Fort Worth International, slammed into the side of a mountain at full speed and exploded in a fiery wave of metal and burning flesh.   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~   The offices of Prescott & Talbott Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

CHAPTER 3

Damage control wasn’t his responsibility.

domain. Both sat on his bedside table. Noah didn’t lift his head from his magazine. Laura waited a minute to see if he would move. He didn’t, so she sighed deeply, placed a bookmark in her novel, and reached over to shake his arm. Noah had developed a habit of dozing off while reading in bed. Laura had no idea how he found that position comfortable enough for sleeping, and she didn’t understand why he was so tired all the time lately. He’d always kept long hours at the office, but the pace seemed to be getting to him more these days. “Noah, phone. Phones, actually.” She shook his forearm harder. Noah started and pushed his reading glasses, which had slid down his nose, back up to the bridge. He

He hacked again and dug a handkerchief out of his pocket to wipe his mouth. After folding the white cloth back into a careful square, he checked his watch again, fumbled with the smartphone on his lap, squinted at it to confirm the coordinates were correct, and hit SEND. Then Angelo Calvaruso sat back, closed his eyes, and relaxed—completely relaxed—for the first time in weeks.

Irwin hung up on him. The minivan nosed out into the travel lane and joined the flow of cars crossing the bridge. There was a break in

Irwin read it over twice to make sure it struck the right tone: succinct and confident, but not brash or boastful. Satisfied, he ran the concealment program and sent it out to a select list. He powered off the computer

lane

Mac, only a moron could lose this argument. Just don’t be a moron and you’ll be fine.

No. 1667, a Boeing 737 en route from Washington National to Dallas-Fort Worth International, slammed into the side of a mountain at full speed and exploded in a fiery wave of metal and burning flesh.

offices of international law

Peterson

planespotters,

princely sum for that attractive lighting, but it was rarely used for its intended purpose. In hindsight, reading light would have been more useful. She scooted over to claim the center of the king bed with its high-thread count sheets and cashmere blankets; it sounded like she would have the luxury all to herself tonight. Again.

Sasha McCandless blew the eyeshadow residue off the tiny mirror of the makeup palette she kept in the top left drawer of her desk and checked her reflection. The drawer was her home away from home. It held a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, a tin of mints, an unopened box of condoms, makeup, a spare pair of contact lenses, a pair of glasses, and a brush. She smiled at herself and opened the drawer again, tore open the box, and popped a condom into her beaded handbag.

Sasha swallowed her initial response, which was to laugh in his face. She’d love to tell him what he could do with his settlement demand, but the sad truth was VitaMight would probably still pay him to go away. There were two types of corporate clients: those that made litigation decisions based on business factors and those that would not settle ever, no matter what. Almost all clients claimed to fall in the second category. Almost none did.

She nodded. Prescott & Talbott had dealt with the trying economic times by creating a caste system of lawyers. Contract attorneys—deemed unfit for true employment on the basis of academic achievement or social standing—were brought in to staff the largest of the document reviews and paid an insulting hourly rate for their efforts. Not only would they miss out on the prestige of partnership, but the salaries they earned wouldn’t make a dent in the tens (or, more likely, hundreds) of thousands of dollars of law school loans they’d accumulated.

Somewhere in the air over Blacksburg, Virginia The old man checked his new gold watch, given in appreciation for his fifty years of service to the City of Pittsburgh. He lifted the window screen and pressed his head against the oval window in the side of the plane. The glass was cold

So, Sasha took charge of the meeting and set for herself the same goal she had every time she babysat her nieces and nephews: no blood; no property damage in excess of a hundred dollars; and everybody eats something.

Squinting at the display, he recognized Sasha McCandless’ office number. “Mac, slow down,” he said over the torrent of words pouring out of his senior associate. Then he sat, silent, listening, his shoulders sagging under the weight of what Sasha was saying. Laura tugged on his sleeve, covering the mouthpiece with her hand, and stage whispered, “It’s Bob Metz.” Noah nodded. Metz was the general counsel of Hemisphere Air. “Mac, Metz is on my home line. Stay put. Make some coffee. I’ll see you soon.” He flipped the phone shut. Laura handed him the house phone and he headed into his closet to dress while he placated the troubled man on the other end of the line. Soft warm light puddled down from the brass-armed

they’d swooped over the monuments

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~   Noah

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~   Noah

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~   The offices

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~   The offices of Prescott & Talbott

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~   The offices of Prescott & Talbott Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~   The offices of Prescott & Talbott Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania