My Enemy Next Door Page 1

Author: Whitney G.

Genres: Romance


Jace: Present Day


JACE KENNEDY NAMED Lawyer of the Year, Helps $15B CEO Beat False Charges

Seattle’s Youngest Senior Lawyer—Jace Kennedy, Helps Clear Troubled Tech President

Top Executive of Harper Inc. Acquitted in Securities Fraud Case, Another Kennedy Win

George Swann Found Not Guilty, Thanks “Kick-Ass Kennedy” in Press Conference

The headlines that were currently staring at me were only telling half the story. If an unsuspecting reader ever glanced at them, he might assume that I actually gave a damn about my work as a lawyer. Or that the people I was forced to represent were innocent all along, but that was far from the truth.

Every single one of my clients was guilty. Every. Single. One.

Over the past few years, I’d given up all optimism of representing someone who hadn’t blatantly broken the law. I’d started looking for a way to get the hell out of my cesspool of a firm.

It was called Stanton and Benson, the number one firm on the West Coast—winner of numerous awards and “Best of” accolades. But it’d taken me far too long to realize that the partners were just as crooked as the clients, and that with every “not guilty” verdict, my sleepless nights only increased.

I dropped the latest newspapers under the boardroom table and faced my current client.

“I’m going to ask you this one more time, Mr. Donovan,” I said.

“It’s Gary.” He smiled. “I’ve told you that all my best friends can call me Gary.”

“I’ll stick to Mr. Donovan.” I looked him straight in the eye. “Did you, or did you not follow your wife on the night of April fourth?”

“I’m paying you five hundred dollars an hour, so the jury will believe that I didn’t.”

“That’s not what I asked you.” I narrowed my eyes at him. “I’m your lawyer, so whatever you say to me stays between us via attorney-client privilege, but I can’t properly defend you unless I know the truth.”

“Your boss said the truth never matters.”

“My boss is a fucking idiot.”

“He also said that the law doesn’t apply to men like me.” He adjusted his thousand dollar cufflinks. “And since you, Mr. Kennedy, have yet to lose a case in the years you’ve worked here, I know you feel the same.”

“I don’t. Answer my question.”

“I forgot what it was.”

“Did you, or did you not follow your wife the night of April fourth?”

“Since a prison sentence is on the line, I need to know if this is off the record or not first.”

“Did you, or did you—”

“Yes.” He hissed. “Yes, I followed her that night. Happy?”

“Almost. After you found out that she was having an affair, did you remove her from your company holdings and draft a petition for divorce?”


“Did you have anything to do with her lover being brutally beaten the night of April fifteenth?”

“No.” He smiled. “Of course not.”

“You were caught on camera beating him with a crowbar.”

“I was also wearing a ski-mask.”

“Should I assume that you had nothing to do with the sudden termination of your wife’s family members from your parent company, Gary Holdings, Inc.?”

“Like I told you last time, Mr. Kennedy,” he said, still smiling. “That was a simple glitch in my Human Resources computer system. As of two weeks ago, they have all been restored as employees.”

“That’s a pretty convenient glitch.”

“It is, isn’t it?”

I stared at him, unsure of why he wasn’t taking this seriously. “You’re being sued for insider trading, assault, and your wife is considering pressing additional charges for domestic intimidation.”

“Not anymore.” He pulled out his cell phone and tapped the screen.

Within seconds, the boardroom door opened. His wife, a blonde who was ten years his junior, walked into the room and smiled. She extended her hand to me before sitting next to him.

“Mrs. Donovan, you’re not supposed to be here since you’re pressing charges against your husband,” I said. “Surely your lawyer has told you that.”

“I’m dropping all the charges.” Her smile widened, and I spotted a new, six carat-ring on her finger. “I don’t even know why I filed them in the first place. My husband was simply protecting me.”

“Protecting you from what?”

“Why, rape of course,” Mr. Donovan said, looking dead-ass serious. “I’ve seen your work with making insider trading charges look faulty, so now that only leaves the aggravated assault charges that we need to deal with. I’m sure the jury will understand why I would be upset about our contractor raping my wife the day I was out of town, and I’m sure they’ll understand I was in a blind rage that evening after she called me crying about it.”

I dropped my pen onto the table and looked at his wife. “You’re willing to falsely accuse a man of rape to protect your husband and your lifestyle, Mrs. Donovan? Why the hell would you let him talk you into this?”

“She talked me into it.” He smiled. “We’ve discussed her infidelities, decided to work on our marriage, and we have our own private arrangement. I personally think this plan is brilliant, but I’m still open to hearing how you’re going to prep my defense. Just in case it may be better.”

I stared at him long and hard, then I shut my folder. “I need you to excuse me for five minutes, please.” I didn’t wait for a response. I left the room and headed straight for my office.

Opening the closet, I took out the box I’d been secretly filling with my things for months, along with the sealed envelope that held my one day notice. (Two weeks’ notice gave me too much time to reconsider, and every time I voiced my frustration about “guilty-ass clients,” the partners gave me a bonus check.)

I set the envelope on my desk, made sure nothing was left in my drawers, and headed down to the lobby.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Kennedy!” The secretary blushed as I stepped in front of her desk. “Are you leaving early today?”

“I’m leaving forever.”

“Oh, you always say that.”

“Today, I finally mean it.” I placed the key to my office on her desk. “Tell Stanton and Benson that I still expect a check for the hours I’ve logged on Mr. Donovan’s case. They can also find my defense plan in the envelope I left.”

“Wait, what? Are you being serious right now? You’re like leaving, leaving?”

I didn’t answer her.

I walked down the side steps and headed to the parking garage. I took one last look at the painted white cement that bore my name and title: Mr. Jace Kennedy, Senior Associate.

Sliding behind the wheel of my Jaguar, I set my box of belongings on the passenger seat and sighed.

I needed to come up with a plan, and I needed to think of one before the partners could guilt me into coming back with offers only their firm could provide. I had enough money in the bank to take off for a few years if I wanted—enough to travel the world and grow a conscience about all the guilty men I’d helped evade justice, but I was incapable of vacationing. I lived, breathed, and ate the law, and it’d been that way for as long as I could remember.

I pulled out my phone and opened my inbox, pulling up my “Exit Ideas” folder. There was only one email, a message I’d drafted to myself: New York?

Fuck no.

When I graduated from law school, I vowed that I would never go to New York City. It was cliché for any ambitious new lawyer to go there, and I thought I’d meet the worst of clients. Even though I had offer letters from every top firm in the country—most of them in the very city I wanted to avoid, there was one firm’s short, succinct letter that still stood out to me to this day: Dear Jace, You’re too good to work anywhere other than here in New York, and you know it. 100k to start. Benefits. Period.

Even after I sent that strange firm a ‘Thanks but no thanks’ letter, they tracked me down and continued to send me postcards every six months. Each one was always a variation of, “You belong in New York City, Jace,” “Tired of playing the law in Seattle yet?”  and “We’re impressed. We’d be even more impressed if you were where you belonged.”

Weighing my options, I scrolled down to the name of the firm in my phone—unsure of why the hell I’d ever saved it.  

I hesitated a few seconds before hitting call.

“Walton and Associates, how may I direct your call?” a woman answered on the first ring.

“I’m not sure,” I said. “I’m looking for whoever sends me the postcards.”

“Postcards?” she asked. “We don’t send anyone post-cards, sir.”

“What’s your name?”

“Jace Kennedy.”

“Jace Kennedy?” She gasped. “Give me one second.”

Soft elevator music sifted over the line, and within seconds there was a series of rings.

“So, you’ve finally come to your senses and want to join a real firm.” A deep male voice came over the line, laughing. “What took you so long, Mr. Kennedy?”

“I’m not calling to join your firm, Mr. Walton.” I assumed I was talking to him. “I’m calling to tell you to stop sending me the goddamn post-cards.”

“Oh.” He laughed again. “I haven’t put the one for this month in the mail yet. You’re not calling me for a new job right now?”

“I have no reason to. I just won my latest case and earned a fifty-thousand-dollar bonus.”

“Then you have every reason to.” The smile still lingered in his voice. “Some things in this career are worth more than money, Mr. Kennedy. Things like sleep and a clear conscience.”


“If I was interested in your firm—which I’m not, what’s your current salary offer for a senior associate?”

“For a regular senior associate, it’s about two hundred thousand with benefits. But for you, Mr. Jace Kennedy, I’m more than willing to double that.”

I shook my head. It sounded too good to be true, and I’d had enough bullshit from my current firm to buy into another one.

“There is no catch, Mr. Kennedy,” he said before I could say anything else. “My firm is number one in New York for a reason, and the main reason is that I’m always willing to pay the best salaries so I can hire the best lawyers. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but you already know this.”

“If I knew it I wouldn’t have asked.”

“So, the man who’s been calling all of my top lawyers for the past month and a half with questions about how things work around here wasn’t you?”

“I’ll get back to you on your offer.” I ended the call and cranked the engine, speeding out of the garage and onto the sleek streets. The adrenaline from quitting was now rushing through my veins, and although I was beyond ready to leave this city tonight and start over, there was still one person that tied me here. Barely.

I parked my car in front of my condo and took the elevator to the penthouse suite. I pulled out two glasses and a bottle of scotch, and headed to my bedroom.

I started to call my current pseudo-girlfriend’s name, but I stopped once I heard her breathy moans floating down the hallway.

“Oh...Oh goddd...Don’t stop! Don’t stop!” Don’t stop fucking me!”

Confused as hell, I set the glasses and the alcohol down on the hallway table. I stepped closer to my bedroom—refusing to believe that she was fucking someone else in my bed, but my mind went blank when I stepped in the doorway.

Bare ass naked, she was bent over a chair near the window and my boss, Stanton, was pulling her hair back as she moaned his name. My blood ran cold, and I mentally calculated how much time I would serve for two murders. If I could get away with the “self-defense” excuse.

“Oh, god... Stanton...”

Realizing I wouldn’t get away with it, I stepped back and noticed Stanton’s jacket hanging on the doorknob. His phone was peeking from the pocket, so I took it out and hit Facebook Live. Then I set it on the hallway table—giving all of his friends and his wife a perfect view of him fucking my girlfriend.

Then I left my condo and headed for the airport. There was no use confronting people I no longer gave a fuck about anymore, and the sooner I left for New York, the better.

There was only one woman in the world I would actually want to see again, but since I’d failed to run into her in over ten years, it was time to just focus on myself.

I’ll send for all my shit later...