Suspicion of Innocence

Free Suspicion of Innocence by Barbara Parker

Book: Suspicion of Innocence by Barbara Parker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Barbara Parker
Tags: thriller, Suspense, Mystery
there out of curiosity. It was managed by people with Italian names, and the staff wore black vests and ruffled shirts. Not an Indian in sight, except the occasional one at a bingo table, marking the numbers off just like the tourists or the older people bussed in from their retirement communities.
    The idea of Renee on an airboat, or hobnobbing with a Miccosukee Indian, was incredible.
    Gail sat down again with her cassette recorder and a stack of correspondence to answer. She had almost finished when the intercom buzzed. She marked her place and picked up the phone.
    "Yes, Miriam."
    "Anthony Quintana said you called him?"
    "Indeed I did." Gail lifted papers to find the motion for recusal. "By the way, if you've got the Darden file out there, bring it in, will you?"
    Before lunch—before Jack Warner looked at her over his prime rib and Caesar salad—this had to be straightened out. Gail hit the button and leaned back in her chair. "Mr. Quintana. Guess what I found on my desk this morning."
    "Hmm. I don't know. What?"
    "A motion for recusal."
    "Ah. George told me he mailed it Monday. Apparently he didn't call you." The soft voice had a tone of surprise that Gail didn't buy for a second.
    "No, he didn't. Who's handling this case, you or George?"
    Quintana let a couple seconds go by. "You asked to speak to me, and here I am."
    Miriam came in with the file and left again.
    Gail spoke slowly. "Mr. Quintana, I'm going to assume this is your case, all right? I don't know how they do things over in criminal court, but I can tell you this: Judge Coakley doesn't like attorneys playing around with the system. Fair warning. Don't make me bring this up on an emergency basis."
    "Are you asking that I withdraw the motion? Until there is a settlement, the case proceeds. We both know how this works."
    "If you prefer." Gail twisted the phone cord around her fist, imagining it was his silk tie. "You've no doubt had a chance to review the order I drafted. A courier can take the original to the judge this afternoon. And as long as we're on the subject, we may as well discuss a date and time for me to depose Ernesto and Carlos Pedrosa."
    She thought she heard him sigh. "Listen, Ms. Connor — No, I won't be formal with you. Listen, Gail. We could drown ourselves in paper and procedure. But now we are speaking to each other—not face to face, but speaking nonetheless. I had hoped we could leave the adversarial relationship for the courtroom."  
    The man was smooth, she had to give him that much. "I'm not hard to get along with," she said. "But motions out of nowhere set my teeth on edge."
    "As I can understand. All right, then. Let's talk about it this afternoon. Allow me to buy you that cup of coffee you declined before. I have a deposition to attend in your building, so it would be convenient."
    Gail noticed the way he pronounced deposition: with a soft s , not the hard English z . She ran her thumb down the plastic index tabs sticking out of the Darden file. "I'll be honest with you. My clients aren't in a mood to be generous."
    Anthony Quintana chuckled. "We must both beware our clients. What time?"
    "I need to speak to the Dardens first. May I call you early next week?"
    "Of course. Until then."
    Gail hung up, then frowned at the thick file on her desk, with the motion on top still creased from mailing. She knew when she was being pushed. Most attorneys who tried it went for a full tackle. Nothing personal, of course, and afterward everybody shook hands and had a drink together. Those were the rules. But Quintana was playing another game: Get her unbalanced. Smile. Try charm instead of cold demands. If she doesn't play along, then get tough.
    Just try it, amigo, Gail muttered to herself. She reached for her time log. Point-four. If she could only send a bill in this case, the Dardens would be on their knees to settle.
    She opened a foreclosure file, then swore softly when the intercom buzzed. She picked it up.
    Miriam said, "It's that

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