Paul Levine Solomon Vs. Lord

ISBN 13: 9781597225113

Solomon Vs. Lord

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9781597225113: Solomon Vs. Lord

Victoria Lord follows all the rules...
Steve Solomon makes up his own...
When they defend an accused murderer, they'll either end up in ruin, in jail...or in bed.


Steve Solomon is the sharpest lawyer ever to barely graduate from Key West School of Law. Victoria Lord is fresh from Yale, toiling for an ambitious D.A., before Solomon gets her fired. And Katrina Barksdale is a sexy former figure skater charged with killing her very wealthy, very kinky husband. With all three tangled in Miami's steamiest trial of the century, the case is sure to make sparks fly, headlines scream - and opposites attract.

(Note: The "Solomon vs. Lord" series has been nominated for the Edgar, International Thriller, Macavity and James Thurber awards).

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About the Author:

The author of 16 novels, Paul Levine won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and was nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, International Thriller, and James Thurber prizes.  A former trial lawyer, he also wrote more than 20 episodes of the CBS military drama "JAG" and co-created the Supreme Court drama "First Monday" starring James Garner and Joe Mantegna.  The critically acclaimed international bestseller "To Speak for the Dead" was his first novel.  He is also the author of the "Solomon vs. Lord" series and the thrillers "Illegal," "Ballistic," and "Paydirt."  His most recent novel is "Lassiter."  More information at paul-levine.com

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

Cell Mates

The man in the holding cell loosened his tie, tossed his rumpled suit coat into a corner, and stretched out on the hard plastic bench. The woman in the facing cell slipped out of her glen plaid jacket, folded it carefully across an arm, and began pacing.

"Relax, Vickie. We're gonna be here a while," the man said.

"Victoria," the woman corrected. Her angry footsteps echoed off the bare concrete floor.

"Wild guess. You've never been held in contempt before."

"You treat it like a badge of honor."

"A lawyer who's afraid of jail is like a surgeon who's afraid of blood," Steve Solomon said.

"From what I hear, you spend more time behind bars than your clients," Victoria Lord said.

"Hey, thanks. Great tag line for my radio spots. 'You do the crime, Steve does the time.' "

"You're the most unethical lawyer I know."

"You're new at this. Give it time."

"Sleazy son-of-a-bitch," she muttered, turning away.

"I heard that," he said.

Nice profile, he thought. Attractive in that polished, cool-as-a-daiquiri way. Long legs, small bust, sculpted jaw, an angular, athletic look. Green eyes spiked with gray and a tousled, honey-blond bird's nest of hair. Ballsy and sexy, too. He'd never heard "sleazy son-of-a-bitch" sound so seductive.

"If you weren't so arrogant," he said, "I could teach you a few courtroom tricks."

"Save your breath for your inflatable doll."

"Cheap shot. That was a trial exhibit."

"Really? People have seen the doll in your car. Fully inflated."

"It rides shotgun so I can use the car-pool lane."

She walked toward the cell door. Shadows of the bars pin-striped her face. "I know your record, Solomon. I know all about you."

"If you've been stalking me, I'm gonna get a restraining order."

"You make a mockery of the law."

"I make up my own. Solomon's Laws. Rule Number One: 'When the law doesn't work, work the law.' "

"They should lock you up."

"Actually, they already have."

"You're a disgrace to the profession."

"Aw, c'mon. Where's your heart, Vickie?"

"Victoria! And I don't have one. I'm a prosecutor."

"I'll bet you think Jean Valjean belonged in prison."

"He stole the bread, didn't he?"

"You'd burn witches at the stake."

"Not until they exhausted all their appeals." She laughed, a sparkle of electricity.

Damn, she's good at this.

Fending off his mishegoss, trumping his insults with her own. Something else appealed to him, too. No wedding band and no engagement ring. Ms. Victoria Lord, rookie prosecutor, seemed to be unattached as well as argumentative. Maybe twenty-eight. Seven years younger than him.

"If you need any help around the courthouse," he said, "I'd be willing to mentor you."

"Is that what they're calling it these days?"

Touche. But she'd said it with a smile. Maybe this wasn't so much combat as foreplay. Another parry, another thrust, who knows? The more he thought about it, the more confident he became.

She likes me. She really likes me.
I hate him.

I really hate him, Victoria decided.

Dammit, she'd been warned about Solomon. He always tested new prosecutors, baited them into losing their cool, lured them into mistrials. And she wasn't totally "new." She'd handled arraignments and preliminary hearings for eight months. And hadn't she won her first two felony trials? Of course, neither one had involved Steve Slash-and-Burn Solomon.

"You gotta know, the contempt citation is all your fault," he said from the facing cell.

She wouldn't give him the pleasure of saying, Why?

Or, How?

Or, Go screw yourself.

"You should never call opposing counsel a 'total fucking shark' in open court," he continued. "Save it for recess."

"You called me a 'persecutor.' "

"A slip of the tongue."

"You're incorrigible."

"Lose the big words. You'll confuse the jurors. Judges, too."

Victoria stopped pacing. It was stifling in the cell, and her feet were killing her. She wanted to pry off her ankle-strapped Prada pumps, but if she stood on this disgustingly sticky floor, she'd have to burn her panty hose. The plaid pencil skirt was uncomfortable, a tad too tight. Now she wished she'd taken the time to let it out before coming to court. Especially after catching Solomon, the pig, staring at her ass.

She saw him now, sprawled on the bench, hands behind his head, like a beach bum in a hammock. He had a dark shock of unruly hair, eyes filled with mischief, and a self-satisfied grin, like he'd just pinned a "Kick Me" note on her fanny. God, he was infuriating.

She couldn't wait to get back into the courtroom and convict his lowlife client. But just now, she felt exhausted. The adrenaline rush was ebbing, the lack of sleep was fogging her mind. All those hours practicing in front of the mirror.

"Ladies and gentlemen, you will hear the testimony of Customs and Wildlife Officers . . ."

Maybe she was going about this the wrong way. How many times had she had researched the legal issues, prepped her witnesses, rehearsed her opening statement?

". . . who will testify that the defendant, Amancio Pedrosa, did unlawfully smuggle contraband, to wit, four parakeets, three parrots, two cockatoos . . ."

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Maybe she'd burned herself out. Maybe that's why she'd cracked today. Had she looked ridiculous pushing a grocery cart overflowing with boxes to the prosecution table? There was Solomon, holding a single yellow pad, and there she was, weighted down with books, research folders, and color-coded index cards bristling with notes.

Even though she despised Solomon, she did envy his brash confidence. The way he glided across the courtroom, skating to the clerk's table, flashing an easy smile at the jurors. He was lean and wiry and graceful, comfortable in his own skin. When she rose to speak, she felt stiff and mechanical. All those eyes staring at her, judging her. Would she ever have his self-assurance?

An hour earlier, she hadn't even realized she was being held in contempt. Judge Gridley never used the word. He just formed a T with his hands and drawled, "Time-out, y'all. This ain't gonna look good on the instant replay." It was only then that she remembered that the judge was a part-time college football official.

"Mr. Solomon, you oughta know better," Judge Gridley continued. "Miss Lord, you're gonna have to learn. When I say that's enough bickering, that's by-God enough. No hitting after the whistle in my courtroom. Bailiff, show these two squabblers to our finest accommodations."

How humiliating. What would she say to her boss? She remembered Ray Pincher's "two strikes" orientation lecture: "If you're held in contempt, you'll feel blue. If it happens again, you'll be through."
But she wouldn't let it happen again. When they got back into the courtroom, she'd . . .

Shit!

Something was stuck on the velvet toe of her pump.

A sheet of toilet paper!

Grimacing, she scraped it off with the bottom of her other shoe. What else could go wrong?

"Hey, Lord, we're gonna be in here a while." That aggravating voice from the other cell. "So here are the ground rules. When one person has to pee, the other turns around."

She shot a look at the seatless, metal toilet bowl.

Right. As if I'd squat over that fondue pot of festering bacteria.

When she didn't respond, he said: "You still there or you bust out?" Somewhere, deep inside the walls, the plumbing groaned and water gurgled. "Suit yourself, but I gotta take a leak."

What a jerk.

Solomon was one of those men you run into in bars and gyms, she thought, so clueless as to believe they're both witty and charming.

"No peeking," he said.

There was a plague of these men, with a sizable percentage becoming lawyers.

"Unzipping now . . ."

Dear God, scrunch his scrotum, zipper his balls.

"Ahhh," he sighed, the tinkle-tinkle sounding like hailstones on a tin roof. "Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall," he sang out. "Ninety-nine bottles of beer . . ."

"I didn't realize they still made men like you," Victoria Lord said.
I'm getting through to her, Steve thought. Sure, she was still playing that old I am strong, I am invincible, I am wo-man shtick, but he sensed a shift in her mood.

There seemed to be something different about the feisty Ms. Lord. Nothing like the court stenographers he usually dated. Quiet, rather submissive women who transcribed whatever they heard. And nothing like the SoBe models, whose brains must have been fried by exposure to so many strobe lights.

He remembered looking around the courtroom when Victoria rose to address the judge. All the players--from his shifty client to the sleepy bailiff--had been riveted. Jurors, witnesses, cops, probation officers, jailers, clerks, public defenders. Hell, everybody watched her, even when he was talking. Yeah, she was a natural, with the kind of pizzazz they can't teach in law school.

Maybe the best rookie I've ever seen.

Of course, she had a rigid prosecutorial mentality, but he could work on that, once she forg...

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