Thursday, September 30, 2021

A Very Hero Wedding - Chapter 6

Oops! I was so busy writing and proofing a paperback, I totally forgot to post Chapter 6 of A Very Hero Wedding.


Harri carried Mitch down with her on the elevator. She didn’t think the Owl’s Nest was the best place for either Mitch or Grace to hang out, anymore than it had been for Francisco, but a year later, Miguel’s youngest was attending one of the top STEM universities on a full scholarship. Arthur and Tim kept a playpen down there with an array of toys for the kids, along with diapers, bottles, and snacks. However, taking Mitch down to the Nest also meant she’d have to apologize to Tim even if she hadn’t done anything wrong.

She entered the reception area as Aisha walked out of her office.

“What are you doing with my son?” her partner demanded.

“I fed him since the guy who was supposed to do it stormed out of my loft.” Harri held out Mitch to Aisha. “I also burped him and changed his diaper.”

Aisha frowned and didn’t take her baby. “Molly’s not back yet?”

“Does it look like she’s back?”

Instead of taking Mitch, Aisha pulled out her phone and started scrolling with her thumb. “Well, crap. It looks like one of the cables holding the shipping containers in place either wasn’t secured properly or snapped. Nix is using ultrasonics to keep the ship stable while Black Falcon and Captain Mojave are retrieving the containers.”

She looked up at Harri. “You know the shipping company is going to try to blame the supers. I guess I need some more coffee and have Arthur pulling surveillance footage for me when he gets back.” She pivoted and headed back toward her office.

“Hey, what about your son?” Harri snapped.

“Well, you weren’t bringing him to me, were you?” Aisha pointedly looked at her office door, then at the door to the basement. “If I were you, I’d do some serious sucking up to my man.”

“I didn’t do anything!” Harri glared at her partner.

Aisha slid her phone back into her slacks pocket. “Taking your anger at me out on Tim isn’t helping your relationship. He said he’d watch Mitch until Molly gets back. Since you chased him down to the Nest, you need to be the one to take Mitch down and apologize.”

Harri gritted her teeth, but she wasn’t going to win this one. Aisha could be more stubborn than Captain Mojave. Maybe that we why their friendship survived when all Harri’s other relationships bit the dust.

Aisha took two steps toward the break room before she pivoted on her stilettos to face Harri again. “By the way, I do not want to hear anymore bitching from you about me going to Paris if you are going behind my back to recruit more clients.” She flew to the break room, probably to keep from breaking her precious designer shoes by stomping on the antique floor tiles.

Or breaking the irreplaceable art deco tiles with her superstrength.

Blood roared in Harri’s ears. Dammit! Tim narced on her! She didn’t need this crap from either her boyfriend or her law partner. She was definitely collecting on one of Jeremy’s dinners tonight.


None of the Owl’s Nest security measures were active when Harri and Mitch reached the bottom of the basement stairs. Technically, the superhero lair belonged to Tim as the original Ghost Owl, but Rey and Aisha had sort of inherited it. Or rather, their superhero personas Black Falcon and Ghost Owl II had inherited the hideout.

Actually, a good chunk of the superheroes in Canyon Pointe used the Owl’s Nest. All of them happened to be Winters and Franklin clients, too. Like Molly Reinhold AKA Nix.

Lights flickered on as the motion sensors picked up Harri’s strides. Mitch nestled against her shoulder and chest. He was about ready to pass out for his post-lunch nap. She prayed Tim wasn’t running any heavy machinery. Mitch without his nap could be as cranky as his mom without pixie barf first thing in the morning.

When she entered the lab, Tim quietly clicked away on his ergonomic keyboard. Yet another concession he’d made for her, she realized with a pang of guilt. They’d both gotten the same model when they’d spent one evening icing their wrists after a particularly intense round of video games with the Esperanza boys over the summer.

He looked up at her, and the cold anger from earlier still sparked from his dark blue eyes.

“I came down to apologize. I’m sorry for taking my anger with Aisha out on you. It wasn’t fair.” She forced the words between her teeth. “Can you please still watch Mitch while she and I meet with Jeremy’s potential client?”

Tim’s face softened a bit. “Thank you for apologizing. And yes, I’ll watch our godson and pick up your bridesmaid dress.”

“You don’t have to—”

“I said I would, and I will,” he stated firmly. “I’m not that petty.” He stood and held out his hands for the baby. “Though I will wait until after his nap.”

Mitch barely opened his eyes at the trade-off. He made sucking noises with his pacifier, and his eyes drifted shut again. Tim laid Mitch in the portable bassinet next to his computer desk. The pacifier fell out of the baby’s mouth, and he was softly snoring before Tim could lay the Black Falcon baby blanket over Mitch.

Yep, Aisha definitely had more of a clue of marketing and licensing superhero merchandise than Harri did.

“What are you working on?” Harri asked.

“Finishing up the background check on your afternoon appointment,” Tim murmured.

“But Arthur—”

“Had to run an errand, and he took Grace with him.” Tim straightened.

“Does this have anything to do with a ring?” Harri raised an eyebrow.

A funny look came over Tim.

“Oh, my god!” Harri resorted to waving her hands excitedly to keep herself from yelling and waking Mitch. “When’s he going to ask her?”

“I’m staying out of Arthur and Patty’s business.” Tim crossed his arms over his chest. “And you are, too.”

“You’re no fun.” Harri wrapped her arms around his waist. “But I could convince you to tell me.”

“You can try, but don’t you have a client intake interview in an hour?”

“Getting too old for a lunchtime quickie?” she mocked.

“I prefer to take my time and make sure things are done right.” Tim cupped her head and lowered his lips to hers.

Their kiss was slow. And sweet. Really sweet. She detected hints of chocolate, caramel, coconut and vanilla cookie in his taste.

Harri broke the kiss and glared at Tim. “Where did you get the Samoas?”

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

A Very Hero Wedding - Chapter 5

Here's the unedited version of Chapter 5!


Aisha walked out of her office to grab a soda as Tim charged into the reception area, carrying a sandwich on a plate and a dark scowl on his face. She didn’t have to ask who caused the latter.

“What did she do this time?” she asked.

Patty twirled around on her chair to watch the fireworks.

“It’s nothing,” he muttered. But he stopped in front of the door to the basement and turned back to Aisha. “Why does she think she can run everyone’s life?”

Aisha and Patty exchanged looks before they both looked at Tim again.

“I’ll get the stash.” Patty jumped up from her chair and headed for Arthur’s office.

“What do you want to drink?” Aisha asked.

Tim blinked. “Drink?”

“You know…” She waved her hand in the direction of their breakroom. “Coffee, tea, soda, water, milk, juice?”

His shoulders sagged. “Can I have water without anyone bitching at me about it?”

“Sure.” She grinned. “Go have a seat in my office. We’ll be there in a minute.”

Aisha strode into the breakroom and collected a bottle of diet cola for herself and a bottle of water for Tim before she heated milk for Patty’s hot chocolate. She carried all three drinks to her office. Patty ran in behind her and quietly closed the door.

“The phones?” Aisha asked.

“Aren’t you the one who keeps telling me to let calls roll over to voicemail during my lunch hour?” Patty arched her right brow.

“Just don’t let her catch you,” Aisha muttered.

Tim’s eyebrows rose when he caught sight of the boxes in Patty’s hands. “Where’d you get Girl Scout Samoas this time of year?”

“You know the subzero freezer you have downstairs?” Patty grinned.

“I keep medical samples in that freezer!” Tim leaned away from the boxes she sat on the coffee table.

“Chill, Canyon.” Aisha set Patty’s mug on the table before she handed the bottle of water to Tim. “She’s messing with you. We have a small chest freezer in Arthur’s first floor workshop. It’s the only cookie hiding place Harri hasn’t found.”

“Yet,” Patty grumbled.

“So we’ll share as long as you can keep your mouth shut,” Aisha said. “Otherwise—”

“I’ll chip in when you restock,” Tim offered. “I didn’t even get one cookie out of the three boxes I bought last spring.”

“Exactly.” Patty nodded as she ripped open the first package. “I learned my lesson back in our City Hall days. I made the mistake of sharing my Thin Mints. I started charging her. She’d pay me and inhale them just the same. But will she order them for herself?”

“No,” Aisha said in sync with Tim.

“She did the same thing with me and Jeremy when we were undergrads,” Aisha continued. “I thought it was some weirdness about not being able to afford them back then. Nope, she still did it when she interned for Judge Reeves. I thought his bailiff was going to kill her after she ate his four boxes of Tagalongs he stashed in his bottom desk drawer.”

“I was hoping it was some crazy relationship thing.” Tim took a couple of cookies out of the package Patty held out to him. “She does her best to drive me away, but when I accede to her wishes, she comes up with some new demand. I thought her weird push-pull behavior was why she ate all my cookies.” He took a bite of one of the treats, ignoring the ham and Swiss sandwich on the plate in front of him.

“Don’t take it personally.” Aisha grabbed two cookies from the package Patty held out to her. “I think Jeremy and me are the only people in her life she hasn’t driven away.”

“That’s not for lack of trying.” Patty shoved a whole Samoa into her mouth and chewed loudly.

“Unfortunately, my life choices are probably what’s driving her little trip to Crazytown today,” Aisha admitted.

“There’s no probably about it,” Patty grumbled around her mouthful of cookie.

“Wait a minute.” Tim cocked his head. “Where’s Grace?”

Patty swallowed her cookie. “Arthur took her to the electronics supply warehouse with him. It’s not the park, but it gets her out of the building. And nice try in changing the subject.”

Someone knocked, and they all froze with guilty expressions on their faces.

“I didn’t lock the door,” Patty whispered.

The knob turned, and the door swung open. Susan wore a puzzled expression until she spotted the two boxes on Aisha’s coffee table.

“You bitches,” Susan hissed before she closed and locked the office door. “I can’t believe you dug into the stash without me.” She laid the paperwork she carried on Aisha’s office chair and grabbed the seat on the couch next to Tim. “Gimme.”

Patty slid the open package across the table.

“Are we dishing about the battle royale this morning?” Susan grabbed a cookie and took a bite.

“Sort of,” Aisha admitted. “Now she’s taking her pissy mood out on Tim.”

“This is getting ridiculous,” Susan mumbled around the chocolate, caramel, and coconut. “She can’t force you to stay in the United States while your husband is in France.”

Tim shook his head. “I’m still trying to figure out why you agreed to taking on a new client when you’re overloaded already.”

“What new client?” Aisha’s back and neck tensed. Not even her superpowers kept her muscles from contracting due to stress. Unfortunately, she could no longer go to her regular masseuse for any relief.

“Shit.” Tim closed his eyes. “I didn’t mean to spring this on you.”

Susan stared at Aisha. “Is she deliberately trying to tank the firm?”

“The sad part is I don’t think it’s deliberate.” Aisha shook her head. “Damn, every time I think she’d gotten this insecurity crap out of her system, it blows up in my face.”

“I can’t be looking for a new job right now,” Patty wailed. “Grace isn’t ready for preschool yet.”

“That’s assuming you can ever send her.” Aisha sank back in her couch and rubbed her forehead. “This is getting freakin’ ridiculous.”

“Can I amend my statement, counselor?” Tim wore a rueful grin. “In all fairness, she only agreed to talk to this person because Jeremy begged her.”

She groaned. “No, it does not make me feel better. Jeremy knows how overwhelmed we are. At least, Patty and I are handling the daycare. I don’t think she’s made one damn call to find us an associate we can train.”

“Why don’t I stay in Canyon Pointe?” Susan said. “I’m not related to Martin like you and Harri are. I can start the associate search and weed out the unacceptable candidates before you guys get back from Atlanta.”

“Maybe I should stay here with Susan. It’s not like I’m family either.” Patty nibbled on her lower lip.

“That’s just exchanging one crabby woman for another.” Aisha smiled. “I’ll never hear the end of it from Aunt Queenie if you, Arthur, and Grace don’t come.”

“You mean, if Grace doesn’t attend the wedding.” Patty made a face.

“She’s looking forward to spoiling both of our babies along with LaShun’s kids. And she can throw a hissy fit to rival one of Harri’s. Please don’t make me suffer through both of them at the same time.” Aisha popped the Samoa she’d been holding in her mouth and licked the melted chocolate smears from her fingers. She was definitely going to need to raid the stash of cookies in order to survive this entire damn wedding trip.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

New Short Story - The Trickster Priestess and the Demon

Instead of a new chapter of my current work-in-progress, there's a new short story under the Free Short Story tab. (Or you can click this link.)

The Trickster Priestess and the Demon is set in the Justice universe. I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

A Very Hero Wedding - Chapter 4

Here's the unedited version of chapter 4 of A Very Hero Wedding.


Harri’s cell phone warbled and broke her concentration on the doll licensing contract she was reviewing. She checked the caller. Jeremy. Now, why wasn’t he calling Aisha? She was the one interviewing the kid he recommended. She thumbed the answer icon.

“Hola! Que pasa?”

“Do you realize you have a British accent when you speak Spanish?” There was none of the salon chatter in the background. Either Jeremy was at home, or he was working at his unofficial side hustle.

“You just heard my entire Spanish vocabulary.” Harri pulled off her reading glasses and leaned back in her office chair.

“That’s not true, sweetie. You know how to say margarita,” he shot back.

Harri laughed. “Look, if you’re just calling to chat, can it wait until after work hours. I’ve a shit ton of stuff to get done before we leave for Atlanta.”

“Actually, this is work related.” When Jeremy turned serious, it meant superhero business. “I know you guys haven’t been taking too many new clients—”

“Try not any, Jaye,” Harri interjected. “Did you not hear what I said about a shit ton of work before Martin and Renata’s wedding?”

“I think you guys need to meet my client.” Jeremy sighed. “Great potential, but he needs a kick in the backside. Huge chip on his shoulder.”

She groaned. “Look, I get you want to save the world, but I don’t have—”

“Just talk to him, sweetie,” Jeremy pleaded. “That’s all I’m asking.”

“You owe me dinner at La Churro’s—”

“Done!” Jeremy yelled.

“—for the next year,” Harri finished.

“Bitch,” he growled.

“Takes one to know one.” Harri would have stuck out her tongue if he could see her.

“When can you see my guy?” Jeremy persisted.

She tapped the keys on her laptop to bring up her calendar. “Can he come in this afternoon at two? That’s the only time I’ve got open until we get back from the wedding.”

“What about Aisha and Susan?” Jeremy just had to push.

“They are just as swamped as I am,” Harri snapped. “What part of we’re not taking new clients do you not understand? I’ve already got my partners breathing down my neck because I haven’t had two minutes to pee much less interview potential associates.”

“Thanks, Harri,” Jeremy said. “Let me know when you’re ready to start collecting on La Churro’s.” The line abruptly went dead.

Probably because whoever Jeremy wanted to send to her was sitting with him.

Crap. Why did she agree to this? She’d planned to pick up her bridesmaid dress from the alterations shop this afternoon. And if she brought home work for the twentieth night the last thirty days, Tim would have a conniption fit.


Around ten minutes after noon, the antique elevator creaked and groaned as it rose to the fifth floor of the Lechuza Building. Harri hated asking her boyfriend for favors, but the dress was a necessity. Even though she wasn’t quite sure why Renata asked her to be a bridesmaid. If Tim agreed to pick up the dress while she talked to Jeremy’s potential client and she got up an extra half hour early for the next two weeks, then, and only then, she might be able to safely go to Atlanta for the wedding.

Whistling floated down the hallway from the open doorway of her loft as the car ground to a halt. Harri pulled both gates open and exited the elevator. Super conscious of the infant living on the same floor, she pushed the gates closed.

Even though she expected Mitch to start flying any day now.

The whistling mixed with baby gurgling and cooing. She entered her loft to find Tim dancing around the kitchen with Mitch on his hip while making lunch. He looked much younger than his forty-nine years, even though silver highlighted his auburn hair. The cargo shorts, vintage hair band t-shirt, and bare feet helped.

For the first time, regret infiltrated her heart. Regret that she’d strung her ex-husband Eddie along over his desire to have kids. Regret she hadn’t encountered adult Tim sooner in her life. A red-headed baby with Tim’s sense of humor might have made her change her mind about having her own children. However, spoiling her godchildren would have to do. Wallowing over what could have been was never her style. She leaned against the wall and watched the joy exhibited by her boyfriend and her godson.

Tim abruptly halted his whistling and dancing in mid-squirt of mustard on her ham and cheese sandwich. Mitch gently patted Tim’s face in an effort to restart his entertainment.

“How long have you been standing there?” Tim said.

“Long enough you should have tased and hogtied me if I were a supervillain.” Harri sauntered over and took Mitch from Tim. “The original Ghost Owl is slipping in his old age,” she said in a sing-song voice to the baby. “You’d better develop your powers soon, kiddo. Your uncle Tim is going to need you.” She looked up at your boyfriend. “By the way, why do you have him?”

Tim shrugged. “Molly got an emergency call. I told her I’d watch the kids until she got back. When Patty poked her head in to collect Grace, she said you’ve interviewed the first potential nanny.”

“Not me.” Harri grinned. “I’m leaving that to the professional moms.”

Mitch clapped his hands and laughed. She blew a raspberry on his round tummy, and he shrieked at the sensation.

“I’m assuming you and/or Arthur did background checks on all the applicants,” she added.

“Arthur did, and Rey promised to pound the crap out of whoever takes the job if they screw up. So I’m leaving everything to the professional dads.” For the first time in a long time, grief over the loss Tim’s own son didn’t shadow his face.

“Crap, I was going to ask you for a favor.” Harri grimaced.

“Something for the wedding?” Tim cocked his right eyebrow. “I think Mitch and I can handle it if you don’t mind losing Arthur or Patty to Grace until we get back.”

“Are you sure?”

He nodded.

“Can you pick up my bridesmaid dress from Hernandez Alterations?” she said. “They’re on 10th Street.”

“I can pick it up.” Tim grinned. “And I know where it is. I think both our families have used them for a couple of generations.”

“Thank you so much-ow!” She tried to gently pry Mitch’s little fist from her ponytail.

“Ri-ri-ri!” he shrieked.

“I think he wants you to fly him around.” Tim smirked as he turned to put away the condiments.

“Sorry, Mitch. Aunt Harri can’t do it the same way as Mommy and Daddy.” She winced at the kid’s other hand latched onto her hair. He didn’t need superstrength. His ability to yank on hair longer than Aisha’s short afro could being anyone to tears. No wonder Rey broke down and let Jeremy trim his hair in a much shorter ’do. “Uh, Tim, I need a little help here.”

Tim set aside the baby food jars he’d pulled from their cupboard and grabbed the baby around his waist. “Wanna fly, little guy?”

Mitch shrieked again and released Harri’s tresses. She blinked the tears out of her eyes while Tim made engine noises and zoomed their godson around the living room. After the second circuit, Tim landed Mitch in the spare high chair they kept in their loft. The baby giggled and clapped his hands some more. “Can I ask why didn’t you pick up your dress during lunch?” Tim asked as he buckled Mitch into his seat.

“First, I was hungry.” Harri grabbed the jars of pureed lamb and green beans from the counter along with a baby spoon from the utensil drawer. “Second, it won’t be ready until two. Third—” She steeled herself. “I’ve got a new client intake interview this afternoon.”

Tim straightened. “Does this have anything to do with the huge fight you were having with Aisha and Susan first thing the morning?”

“You heard that?” Harri popped the seal on the jar of lamb.

“Trust me, it didn’t take superhearing.” Tim grabbed their plates and brought them to the table. He returned to the kitchen to grab a couple of flavored seltzer waters from the refrigerator.

Harri tried to hide her grimace. Tim was determined to change her eating habits, not to mention her drinking ones, too. It was a good thing Jeremy owed her multiple trips to La Churro’s. It would be the only way for her to get her weekly dose of cheese dip and margaritas.

“If you keep making that face when I make lunch for you, Mitch will pick up your habits when his parents feed him,” Tim chided.

“What face?” Harri dipped the baby spoon into the jar and offered a bite to Mitch. He gave the pureed lamb a suspicious look and clamped his mouth shut.

“You know the face,” Tim lowered himself onto the chair on the other side of Mitch’s high chair. “It’s the same one you make when we go down to the gym first thing in the morning.”

“Couldn’t be the same expression. I hate exercising and love food.” Harri crossed her eyes and stuck out her tongue. Mitch laughed, and she took the opportunity to insert the spoon between his lips. An expression of annoyance at her betrayal crossed his tiny features until the taste of lamb registered. He banged his tiny fists on the tray and opened his mouth wide, demanding more.

“But the seltzer water is better for you than soda,” Tim said.

“You take away my coffee, and you won’t have to worry about the faces I make.” Harri smiled brightly at the baby as she spooned another bite of lamb between his tiny teeth.

“I’m not suicidal,” Tim said dryly. “So, what made you change your mind about accepting a new client?”

“We haven’t accept them yet.” She pushed the green beans in Tim’s direction. “Would you open this?”

“What made you even want to talk to this person?” Tim twisted the lid, and the seal popped. “You swore you guys couldn’t handle one more client until you hired an associate.”

“Jeremy begged me.” Harri dipped the spoon into the jar Tim slid back to her.

Tim snorted. “Since when has that started working?”

“It didn’t.” She inserted the spoon of pureed green beans in Mitch’s open maw. If the kid ended up being the size of his dad, Aisha would need the extra income to feed her son. “The bribe is what made me change my mind.”

“The bribe?” Tim groaned. “Let me guess. A dinner at La Churro’s?”

“No.” She dipped the spoon for another bite of lamb before she grinned at Tim. “It was dinners for a whole year.”

“The plan was to get you healthy before you ended up like me,” he growled.

“The plan was to keep supervillains from beating the crap out of you before the doctors have to do more than rebuild your leg and replace your knees.” She scowled back at him. “And you’re way too young for artificial joints.”

“Do you really want to turn this into a fight, too?” he said quietly.

“I don’t want to fight with anyone,” she snapped back. “If you all would listen to reason—”

Tim abruptly stood. Even Mitch looked up at him with a perplexed look on his round face. “I’ll eat in the lab. Bring Mitch down when he’s done with his lunch.” Tim grabbed his plate and stomped out of the loft.

Well, crap. She resisted the urge to run after him. She couldn’t leave Mitch alone. Why the hell was everyone on edge when it was only Monday? It wasn’t like anyone at the Lechuza building was getting married in two weeks.

Harri turned back to her godson. “Well, Mitch, I hope you’re free for your uncle Martin’s wedding. I may need a date.”

Mitch stared at her with his big brown eyes before he belched.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

A Very Hero Wedding - Chapter 3

Yeah, I'm running a little late today. I was trying to get as many paperback reviewed as I could before today when I needed to buckle down and get writing down. At least, we have hot water and heat again! I'll take that as a win for the month of August!


Aisha gestured for her interviewee to sit down, and she settled on the couch opposite from him. Her foster brother Jeremy had obviously coached the young man. He was dressed in a navy suit, white dress shirt, and a matching navy and gold striped tie. His haircut would have cost more than the kid’s rent, but she knew Jeremy or his husband Leonardo had styled it for free. The young man was nervous, but not to the point his palms were super sweaty when he shook her hand.

She smiled. “So, Mr. Keeler, tell me about yourself while we wait for Ms. Ames.”

“Please, call me Dajon,” he said.

“All right, Dajon.”

“Well—” He cleared his throat. Maybe he should have taken Steve’s offer for something to drink. “I have a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. I worked for Early Bird Daycare while I was in school—”

Aisha waved a hand for him to stop. “No, I’ve read your resume. Tell me something else. Like what you do for fun.”

“Um…” Dajon’s skin was just light enough to turn a deep rose.

She laughed. “I grew up with Jeremy Harkness. If you met him through Lady Jaye’s Review, that’s actually a point in your favor.”

“Oh.” Dajon released a deep breath. “Did he tell you about my last job?”

“If you mean the crazy mom who got you fired, yes, he did.” She shook her head. “Parents can overreact when it comes to their kids.”

“I swear I’d never endanger any child in my care.” Dajon signed a cross over his heart.

Aisha’s office door opened, and Patty slipped inside. She had a soda in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. After setting the water in front of Dajon, she plopped onto the couch next to Aisha.

“It’s not the kids’ safety we’re worried about here, it’s yours,” Patty announced before she twisted the cap off her bottle.

“I beg your pardon?” His attention flipped from Patty to Aisha and back again.

Aisha glared at Patty. Sure, she needed to be involved in this decision because the nanny they hired would be watching both of their children. But she didn’t need to scare any potential hire right out of the gate.

Patty shrugged. “He needs to understand what he’s getting into.” She turned back to Dajon. “Did Jeremy tell you what type of law firm we are?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Dajon nodded. “He said you represented superheroes.” He licked his lips. “But from what I’ve seen in the news, your firm has been doing a lot of criminal defense work.”

Aisha resisted the urge to groan. However, Patty giggled.

“It’s not by choice,” Aisha said. “There were extenuating circumstances.”

“I understand Ultramegaperson.” Dajon cocked his head. “She’s already a superhero client of yours who was wrongly accused. I’m talking about Miss Purrception and that attorney who tried to kill your partner, Ms. Winters.”

“You don’t have any say in the clients we represent,” Aisha said coolly. She’d told Harri representing the supervillain was a big mistake even though Aisha owed Miss Purrception for helping out Aisha’s husband Rey when Professor Paranoia kidnapped him and whisked him to Indonesia.

And the incident with Carol Inunza still left a bad taste in her mouth. Not just from representing her after she helped Miss Purrception escape from prison, but putting her in the position that she had to save her previous employer from plummeting to his death.

Patty laid a hand on Aisha’s forearm. “He has a right to ask about situations he might face.” She turned back to Dajon. “Those aren’t even the people you need to worry about, though it’s good you did your homework about a potential employer.”

“They aren’t?” Both of Dajon’s perfectly plucked eyebrows rose.

“Nope.” Patty shook her head, her blond curls flying. “Actually, it’s the kids who live in the building.”

“I’m surprised you didn’t say it was the attorneys,” Aisha said dryly.

Patty ignored her. “You’ll be taking care of my daughter Grace, and Aisha’s son Mitch, except during college breaks when you’ll have Francisco to watch, too.”

“Why would I be watching a guy old enough to go to college?” Poor Dajon looked totally perplexed.

“Francisco is only eight,” Aisha clarified. “He’s our building manager’s son and a certified genius. He finished high school last year.”

“Oh.” Relief passed across Dajon’s face. “That makes a lot more sense.”

“You will also be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement,” Aisha added.

Dajon waved both of his hands. “I’d never post anything regarding your children on social media. I’m all too aware of the pervs out there.”

Aisha tilted her head. “Actually, it’s because you may accidentally run into clients, but it’s good to know you’ll protect our babies.”

“You’ll also need to take some weapons training,” Patty said.

Aisha looked over at their assistant’s notepad. She really should have gone over Patty’s interview questions with her prior to their first potential candidate. Patty was usually so practical, but some of her statements would sound crazy to a person who’d never been involved in real super culture, and not the crap they saw on videos and entertainment programs.

“Weapons training?” Once again, Dajon’s eyebrows rose.

“Just in case a supervillain shows up when no one else is in the building,” Patty chirped. “We’ll totally brief you on all the building’s security measures.”

“Supervillains waltz right into your office?” A tremor filled Dajon’s voice.

“They’ve tried,” Aisha bit out. “Your priority if security is breached will be to get the kids to safety. Just like if there was a fire, an earthquake, or any other emergency situation.”

The young man leaned back against the couch. “Jeremy said you all would have some crazy requirements, but I thought he was yanking my leg.”

A sinking feeling dragged at Aisha. They were losing this kid though he was the best candidate she’d talked to on the phone.

“They’re not that unusual,” she said smoothly.

“Unless Grace’s biological father shows up,” Patty said.

“Is it a joint custody arrangement?” he asked.

Patty snorted. “Not after he killed my boyfriend Arthur and tried to Harri. The judge gave me a restraining order after that.”

“Your ex killed your boyfriend?” Fear rolled off Dajon. Aisha wished she could ditched her heightened sense of smell. It was bad enough she knew when Mitch soiled his diaper before he even woke up.

“There’s a little more to the story than that,” she said calmly.

“I’m sure there is,” he said with an air of doubt.

“I know how crazy this all sounds.” Patty leaned forward, her elbows on her knees. “I didn’t really understand what superheroes go through until Harri and Aisha started this firm. But they’re dedicated to both their clients and their jobs, and they do right by both.”

“So…” Dajon drawled. “My real job is to give my charges a sense of normalcy out of their parents’ crazy lives.”

Aisha and Patty looked at each other before they both turned back to their candidate and nodded.

“That pretty much sums it up,” Aisha added.

“I can do that.” Dajon grinned.

“Did you have any other questions for us?” Aisha said.

He turned solemn. “I do, but it comes from a safety concern. Are either of the babies supers themselves?” He held up both of his palms when Aisha opened her mouth. “I’m not being nosey for the sake of gossip. I just don’t want one of the babies to set fire to the other one.” He shrugged. “Or if there’s the potential, we make sure there’s plenty of fire extinguishers in the daycare room.”

Aisha could feel Patty staring at her. She swallowed hard before she said. “Yes, they both are.”

Dajon nodded. “I swear that information will not leave this building, ma’am. Jeremy also mentioned you may be expanding the daycare down the road?”

Aisha nodded. “We’re looking for an associate or two. We want to make the daycare an option to any potential employees.”

“Even me?” Dajon said tentatively.

“Of course,” Patty volunteered. “But just to warn you, everyone at Winters and Franklin is a little too involved in each others’ lives. How’s your parents going to handle spending holidays with us?”

“Uh, my parents kicked me to the curb when I came out of the closet,” he said stiffly.

Aisha stifled the urge to hug Dajon. No wonder Jeremy took the kid under his wing. Her parents had taken in Jeremy after his parents did the same thing to him when they caught him kissing his boyfriend their freshmen year in high school.

“Then we’ll be the insufferably family you wish had,” Patty said brightly.

That seemed to lighten his mood. “Did you have any other questions for me?”

“You never said what you do for fun,” Aisha said.

He lifted his chin as if daring her to make a nasty comment. “I crochet while I watch TV.”

“That’s awesome! Me, too!” Patty said. “I’m still learning the shell stitch. I’ve been working on blankets for all the kids, but I want to stretch…”

Aisha’s mind glazed over as Patty and Dajon compared lemons and primroses and puffs. Then they switched to the different types of yarns. Natural fiber versus artificial fiber. Plant versus animal. The different types of hooks. Metal versus wooden versus plastic.

“If you two want to continue your conversation, why don’t you adjourn to the conference room?” Aisha cocked her head. “I’ve got a lot of work to do.” A horrified look appeared on Dajon’s face. “I, um, I—”

Patty winced. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent. It’s not like any of you gals here are into the same things I am.”

Aisha smiled. “I didn’t say you couldn’t continue talking. Don’t worry, Dajon. If I held people’s hobbies against them, I would never be partners with Harri and Susan.” She leaned forward and mock whispered, “They like golf.”

He laughed. “Well, it is a white thing.”

Patty stood. “Come on, Dajon. You and I are going to continue talking. She does have to make the money to pay our salaries.”

He stood and held out his hand to Aisha. “If you decide I’m the right one for this job, I’d be honored to work your firm, Ms. Franklin.”

She rose and shook his hand. “Thank you for coming in, Mr. Keeler.”

He followed Patty out of Aisha’s office, the pair animatedly talking about a local craft shop.

Aisha shook her head while she crossed to her desk. She plopped on the office chair and reached for the file at the top of her to-do file. Hopefully, Patty wouldn’t make the kid an offer before talking with the partners. They still had three more people to interview.

On the other hand, Patty and Arthur may end up adopting Dajon, even though he was only a year younger than her from Patty’s animated conversation with their potential nanny.