The challenge: Write 1000 words from a given prompt. This week's prompt was:
"...or the trial cannot proceed."
"...or the trial cannot proceed."
The prompt reminded me of an older work in progress. I dusted it off, and as you will soon see, it will have to be an ongoing series. Is 1000 word enough to get you hooked on the Stone Brother's story? Let's find out:
How To Handle Hailey, Pt. 1
“I'm counting on you to handle this problem with Hailey, or the trial cannot proceed.”
Jason Stone handed the former three-time governor of North Carolina a stiff shot of bourbon. Kent Logan hired Stone Security three days ago, the day his daughter went missing. Logan’s former son-in-law Paul Lyons was on trial for espionage. Hailey was the defense’s star witness.
Since Logan had used his influence to get help Lyons Communications land a metric ton of government contracts, Logan’s reputation was at stake. Jase didn’t know whether the politician was more worried about his daughter or his political standing, and that bugged him.
Jase was too exhausted to be anything except blunt. “The divorce wasn’t as bloodless as she’s told you. Banks has a mistress. He’s currently paying her obstetric bills. Hell, for that matter, he’s paying all her bills. Hailey knows.” A lot of things didn’t add up for the former Delta Force operative. Hailey Logan married Paul Lyons while both had been college undergrads, forking over her trust fund to give her husband his start. Lyons Communications was now worth billions. Why walk away with less than she was entitled to when she had Paul’s cheating ass dead to rights? Hailey hadn’t gone for Lyon’s financial jugular, which made absolutely no sense. She’d given up the fancy mansion in the Hollywood Hills, walked away with only her clothes, according to her maid.
Powell knocked back the booze before speaking. “How long has Hailey known?”
“At least two years. Her lawyer’s practically suicidal. He demanded she ask for more, but your daughter didn’t take his advice.” Jase had lost a lot of sleep trying to make the puzzle pieces fit.
The silver-haired former governor helped himself another drink, looking a decade older than he had three days ago. Jase probably didn’t look so hot himself. He’d only just returned from his fact-finding mission to the West Coast, but you didn’t keep a man like Kent Powell waiting while you slept.
He’d had a hell of a time finding anyone who knew much of anything about Hailey Powell Lyon’s private life, finally resorting to hacking into files he didn’t like to think about.
Paul Lyons had told his lawyer a lot more than Hailey told had hers.
Kent’s grey eyes grew steely. “Lyons used my daughter’s money to build Lyons Communications,” Powell rasped. “Did she have competent representation, goddamn it?”
“She had a real shark, sir,” Jase assured his client. “Your daughter got exactly what she asked for, which was enough cash to cover what she originally gave Lyons, plus reasonable interest for the time he’s used it, plus a quarterly stipend based on company performance until the day she dies. He can’t screw her without hurting his own company, if that’s any consolation. If he sells it, or takes it public, she makes the same killing he would.”
Assuming Lyons wasn’t convicted of treason first.
As much thought as he’d put into the situation, Jase still couldn’t figure out what Hailey Lyons did care about, other than her privacy.
Powell stood. “She has to be found before Monday, when the trial resumes. Hailey must know if Paul’s convicted, the little bit she took will be worthless.”
And she must know if she screws her ex, she screws you in the bargain. Jason kept that thought to himself.
“Also, my wife’s planning a little reception tomorrow night. I’ll need your company to handle the security.”
Although Stone Security Consultants worked mostly for industrial and corporate clients, a recommendation from a man like Kent Powell opened a lot of doors. “Of course. Fax my secretary the details.”
Powell paused by the door to straighten his tie. “My son’s going to run for Lieutenant Governor. I’ll need your services a great deal from now on.”
Long after Kent Powell left his office, Jason Stone was still thinking about Hailey. Pulling up his files, he stared at her photo.
She looked like the sort of woman a man like Paul Lyons would have married the second time around, not the first. Hailey Lyons was a guy’s wet dream, a trophy wife of staggering proportions. She was attractive, and she had money. All Lyons could boast when they’d met was a pocket protector and an IQ said to be off the charts.
Why in the hell would a woman like her stand around while Lyons banged somebody else? According to the files Jason had hacked, Lyons swore to his attorney Hailey had known about Lyon’s mistress for over two years.
Jase knew he was bordering on obsession as he stared at her hazel eyes and light brown hair. The connecting door between his and his brother’s office opened. He didn’t bother to close the file; no doubt Jackson knew what he was doing. Twins had unique methods of communication.
“She’s just a job, Jase,” Jackson growled when he saw Jason staring at Hailey’s photo again.
“No, she’s more than that.”
“Go home and get some sleep. Quit this nonsense. You’ve never met the woman, so what the fuck’s wrong with you? Okay, she’s cute enough, but she just got divorced. She’s probably bitter as hell. Not to mention spoiled rotten.”
Jase did need sleep, but he argued with his twin as he headed for the door. “Hailey took a big loss to get her divorce. That’s not all I learned, bro. Paul Lyons likes to be tied up and spanked. Hailey didn’t wanna do that for him. What does that tell you?”
Jax snorted. “She needs a few nights with a real man?”
“Exactly, brother. Maybe even two. She allowed Banks to take a mistress years ago but didn’t take a lover of her own. Think about that and I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Jason smirked as his brother took his vacated seat. Jackson’s blue eyes now held more interest as he scrutinized the image of the woman Jason had put everything on hold to find. Not necessarily because her daddy was paying them to find her.
Guess you'll have to wait for the next installment to get the steamy parts. <grin>
Please take the time to check out what the same prompt inspired my fellow writers to create:
Sara York m/m
Elyzabeth VaLey m/f
Scarlett Knight m/f