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Chapter 1

Grunting amiably Zeke Hunter turned toward the window seat where his boss Lucinda Mann, all six feet two inches of malevolent bone and gristle, was pounding out hasty revisions on her laptop to some pricey legal document. It was for the Mexican client they were flying to Cancun to meet, part of some complicated real estate deal Lucinda had told him about just before they took off. He suspected that the deal was crooked. Tax lawyers like Zeke typically do their financial scheming in the back office well out of view. Rainmakers like Lucinda were the ones out front schmoozing the clients and grabbing the glory. Only when things turned especially dicey did Zeke get to tag along.

Zeke's unkempt sandy hair, pug nose, chunky jowls, and the brown Sears suit exquisitely water-stained and frayed around the cuffs, lent the thirty year old an engagingly discombobulated quality seldom observed at the austere Philadelphia law firm of Short and Gray. Despite his informal ways Zeke was uncomfortable kissing up to partners, especially some junior ball-buster like Lucinda. But he had heard that she liked pliable male associates and thought he'd give team work at least a half hearted try. He would be up for partner himself in a few years. Although his prospects weren't good, a lamentable happenstance which he ascribed not to any failings of his own but to the mean arbitrariness of office politics, he hadn't quite given up altogether.

"Drudge work is my specialty,” Zeke said, grinning meekly at her and in the process displaying a healthy set of teeth, though the bottom incisors were noticeably out of line and slightly yellowed at the base. "Let me give you a hand with that."

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