We meet again, humans.
I come bearing some news and things of that nature. The female has been a bit under the weather today, so I’ve had time to rampage through her computer and things.
First, my human female has listened to those who wanted Burn, Baby, Burn. You can join in some kickstarter shenanigans to get autographed paperback OR hardback copies of Hypnos & Burn, Baby, Burn. She also has an option for a complete collection of all her paperbacks in print and some other tiers. (If a tier you want isn’t shipping to your country, please comment with your country and which tier you want. The female will add shipping to the tier so you can order.) It’s just a lot of work to figure out how much the shipping will be, and it’s very expensive.
It has just occurred to us we did not include Shammed as an option on the Kickstarter. Oops. Well, rats. Maybe a stretch goal? I shall discuss this with the female. I will use my claws during this discussion.
Second, I come bearing snippets for your enjoyment. Well, snippet. I’ll give you one today. If you’re good, I’ll come back and give you another one tomorrow.
I’m being really nice and giving you an entire scene worth of snippet. I could have been cruel and started giving you the first scene of a book in one to two paragraph chunks. That would’ve taught you a thing or two!
Shammed is the second Bernadette Franklin book, and it follows the story of Alice Relin. Those of you who have had Claustrophobic might remember her as one of Chloe’s co-workers. She’s back, and she’s getting her Happily Ever After! (I’d say she deserves one! The Wenchasaurus Rex is mean.)
~About the Book~
At R.K. Legal & Associates, office hours are between ten to six, pranks happen after hours, and evidence of all shenanigans are removed before doors open to clients.
When Alice’s boss, Mr. Kenton, starts a prank war with Lance McCarthy, an up-and-coming attorney from a rival firm, she thinks it’s just business as usual.
She’s never been so wrong in her life.
Chosen to be Mr. Kenton’s accomplice, Alice must face off against Lance in what quickly becomes a winner-takes-all game of hearts.
This snippet has been stolen from the female’s computer and has not had any editorial love yet. If you find a mistake, pat yourself on the back, congratulate yourself, but keep it to yourself, please. (These are supposed to be fun sneak peeks at a book prepublication.)
~From Chapter One~
Stuffed spiders hung from the ceiling of my boss’s office, brushing against the heads of the unwary entering the room. Mr. Kenton’s shriek had brought everyone in the office running. As his newest secretary, I’d had the dubious honor of arriving first.
I’d only been working for him for a month, and I ran a high risk of losing my job from laughing so hard at the childish prank. Tears pricked my eyes, and wiping them away did no good. They kept coming back.
I was probably the only person in the office who actually liked spiders and kept several as pets.
“It’s not that funny, Alice,” the attorney complained.
Yes, it was. “I’m sorry, sir.”
Despite my best effort, I couldn’t stop from laughing.
Several other attorneys crowded into the doorway behind me along with their secretaries and the paralegals working on the floor. Like me, they laughed at the partner’s expense.
Unlike every other legal firm I’d worked for, Mr. Kenton handled the situation with grace—and a few laughs of his own. “To whomever helped with this one, well played. As soon as I figure out which one of you rascals did this, I will have my revenge.”
At R.K. Legal & Associates, office hours were between ten to six, pranks could only be performed after hours and needed to be cleaned up before ten every business day, and all legal representatives were to show up by nine to ensure all shenanigans were removed or cleverly hidden.
As Mr. Kenton’s internal secretary, I needed to make the spiders disappear before ten, but I’d enjoy the work compared to the general monotony of filing paperwork, doing research, making certain Mr. Kenton made it to his appointments on time, and otherwise serving as a well-paid office gopher.
Fighting to regain my composure, I straightened, cleared my throat, and dabbed my eyes, careful to avoid the tender skin of my healing cheek. I’d been promised the injury would stop hurting one day, but the latest surgery to fix my face had left me with a new like of stitches which would result in a second thin scar near my eye.
In eight weeks, I’d be free from all my stitches and be able to get on with my life—and wear makeup without inflicting pain on myself to hide my scars and bruises.
I couldn’t wait.
Once I could speak without giggling, I asked, “What would you like me to do with the spiders, Mr. Kenton?”
The attorney counted stuffed spiders. “It seems there’s enough cute, fluffy spiders for everyone, so do deliver one to every attorney first, and then distribute them as you see fit. Keep the one you like best for yourself. I think I’ll see about getting them little hats with shamrocks on them. We’ll call them holiday decorations for St. Patrick’s Day.”
I lifted my hand and bit my knuckle so I wouldn’t burst into laughter at the thought of stuffed spiders wearing shamrock-themed bowlers. Unable to speak without giggling like a fool, I nodded.
Those behind me didn’t even bother to hide their mirth over the situation—or Mr. Kenton’s reaction to the prank. Fetching a chair, one without troublesome wheels, I went to work retrieving stuffed spiders from the ceiling. They came in bright colors, and upon closer inspection, I discovered some of them came with power switches. Puzzled, I turned one on and set it on the floor.
Mr. Kenton dodged hanging spiders, circled his desk, and yelped and something he found on his chair, likely more spiders.
The bright blue and pink spider took off across the floor right towards the attorney.
His yelp grew into a full-fledged screech.
The toy sped up, spun in a circle, and darted off in another direction.
“What the hell is that?” Mr. Kenton pointed at the spider, which reacted to his voice, spun in another circle, and ran into the wall.
“It seems to be sound activated.” I caught the rogue toy, flipped it over, and turned it off. “Do you know who would leave a bunch of spiders in your office, sir?”
When Mr. Kenton didn’t elaborate, I assumed he was doing what he always did when someone got the jump on him: he plotted revenge. I got a storage box from the hallway closet and began packing away the toys so I could get back onto the chair and remove the monofilament lines and remove the evidence my boss had been pranked before the first of his clients for the day came.
“Tell me, Alice. You’re Irish, aren’t you?”
Before my former boss had smashed my face, I’d dyed my red hair blond to avoid extra scrutiny and the jokes. A careful application of makeup had hid most of my freckles, and I’d considered colored contacts to hide that my eyes were green. Since my operations to reconstruct my eye socket and minimize scarring, I’d gone without a lot of the little things I’d done to draw attention away from my heritage. “Only part, sir. I’ve never been to Ireland in my life. My father’s Irish, and he returned to Ireland after he divorced my mother. My mother’s part Irish; a quarter, I think? Why, sir?”
“St. Patrick’s Day is coming up soon, and the instigator of today’s prank deserves a healthy dose of shenanigans.”
A healthy dose of what? “Shenanigans, sir?”
“You know, trickery, mayhem, fun at his expense? Shenanigans. Of course, he’ll expect it coming from me. But from you? My quiet, reserved secretary he’s only caught a few glimpses of? He’ll never expect it coming from you. You’re perfect. Our firms are dealing with a divorce case, so we’re sharing an unfortunate amount of space lately. His client requested the divorce. My client would like to try to resolve the issues in their marriage. His client is considering it. As such, the case is being drawn out much longer than anticipated.”
“Ah. The Randel case, sir?” With millions in assets to be divided, I could understand why our client, Mrs. Randel, would want to preserve her marriage. She’d earned a decent hunk of the assets to be split and was in a good position to enjoy a comfortable life without her husband, but everything I’d seen of the file indicated she wasn’t in the relationship for the money.
Mr. Kenton liked the cases where a divorce might be dodged, and it often cost him hours because he opted to not charge extra when the case became complicated as a result of his mediation efforts. His ten to six often became ten to ten because of his desire to do more than the minimum, something I respected about the man.
I needed to pay Chloe a visit and thank her for putting me in touch with her head hunter. Between her and her future in-laws, I’d been able to press charges against our former employer and come away with a fortune. A lot would go into hiding my new scars and medical bills, but there’d be enough left over I could live in comfort. Add in my higher pay with R.K. Legal & Associates, and my ex-boss’s assault had become a rather painful blessing in disguise.
I never wanted to have my face bashed in again, but I’d make the most of my new circumstances.
Mr. Kenton sighed. “Yes, the Randel case. Mr. Randel wants to hear a proposal for mediation with the condition of having all paperwork drawn up and awaiting signature in case it doesn’t work out. So, we’re still doing the complete asset split, which will need judge approval, but they’re going to attempt to resolve their differences. Should it not resolve, they’ll move forward with the divorce.”
“That seems like a reasonable compromise,” I said, wondering what the catch was—if there was a catch. Who was I kidding? There was always a catch.
“It’s reasonable until you have a good look at the assets they need to split, work I have to bill them for. I was hoping to save them the investment, but it’s going to be a lot of hours. You’ll be fielding a lot of paperwork in this case and preparing it for my review.”
I wasn’t a paralegal and couldn’t prepare any legal documentation, but the work I did would become the foundation for what everyone else did. Best of all, I didn’t need to deal with the clients often.
It was enough to make me want to sing and dance in my boss’s office.
“And it’ll be a lot of consulting with Mr. Randel’s attorney.” My boss rubbed his hands together. “Lance’ll never see it coming. If you play your cool professional as usual, he won’t even notice you’re setting him up.”
“What am I setting him up for, exactly?”
“That’s a very good question. I don’t suppose you’re interested in pulling some pranks on a rival firm? Costs will be on me, and I’ll have a budget for you to work with. For the record, their firm is the reason why our firm has rules on appropriate pranking.”
Some stories needed to be told, and if I couldn’t get Mr. Kenton to tell me, I’d ask around the office until I learned the truth. “What happened, sir?”
“One of the partners of the firm decided to send us a rather large shipment of toilet paper during office hours, much to the confusion of our clients, who wondered what we could possibly need with thousands of rolls of toilet paper.”
Well, that was different. “What did you need with thousands of rolls of toilet paper, sir?”
“To this day, I don’t really know, but I think we still have some in the supply closets. We donated the excess to the local shelters and schools. Are you game, Alice?”
Was my boss kidding? When else was I going to get to toy with someone on his dime? “I’m going to need a full list of rules, a budget, and a timeline, sir.”
“Save the best prank for last, and do it on St. Patrick’s Day. Start small and work your way up. When you’re done with him, I want our firms to be talking about it for years.”
I’d learned I had a new favorite word, and it was shenanigans. “I’ll get to work on this immediately, sir.”
“Good. And Alice?”
“The only good prank is the one where everyone has fun. I’ll send you everything I have on Lance so you can cater your pranks to him and his staff. And do feel free to involve the entirety of his firm. They’ve had it coming.”
I had no idea what sort of budget he was going to give me, but I had the feeling my professional life was about to become a great deal more interesting.
For my last order of business, the female wasn’t feeling well, so the male brought her an offering.
Here is a picture.
We’re thinking the bone belonged to an alien cow, perfect for feeding a hungry and ill Wenchasaurus Rex.
Have a good day, humans!