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The Law Partners | Michael Gresham, book 3

Arrested for a murder you didn’t commit?

Michael Gresham is a criminal attorney who defends his clients with an iron will. They know that when he takes their case they are probably going to leave the courthouse a free man or free woman. But what happens when the defender becomes the defendant himself? A law partner will have to step up and do for him what he can’t do for himself. Isn’t that how it should work?

Who defends the defense lawyer?

Watch up close as a tried and proven criminal defense lawyer is forced to face the most important case of his career. If he wins, he’s a free man. If he loses, he will die in prison. A lawyer named Harley Sturgis comes on the scene just in time—if she’s not too late already. It’s her chance to shine in a career that has all but crashed and burned around her. But here comes her last chance, a chance to redeem herself and win the case that can restore both her and Michael Gresham’s careers.

Read an Excerpt

Johnny Washington hit the pipe and the crack bugs went crazy. He caught a glimpse of ragged fingernails flying to the skin on his arms. The nails flailed at the imaginary devils. He then shook like a wet dog. But the crack bugs were persistent. He set to raking his arms harder from his perch on the upturned milk crate. The day was bright and sunny on the streets of South Chicago, but here, in the alley behind the Quik Stop, time stood still and heavy shadows came tumbling from the clouds that seemed to hang everywhere. He didn’t know it was all a crack dream–the bugs, the clouds, the feelings of pure heaven. He just took another hit.

50 Cent’s syllables pounded up over the Quik Stop, floating in the air over Johnny’s head, begging to be injected into the veins of the empty black teenager whose inner life was composed solely of feelings, rhyme without meaning.

He moaned as the euphoria trailed off. Then his anger at the world returned and he looked around for something or someone to attack. The glass tube fell from his fingers into the dirt behind the Quik Stop. The pipe didn’t shatter, and that would be a win for the crime scene techs who would be sweeping the area in about an hour. 

Johnny climbed to his feet from the milk crate. He stumbled into the Quik Stop and immediately seized a quart of Budweiser from the cooler and unscrewed the cap. In one long slug he drained off half the bottle and belched. Joseph Arnold, the proprietor, watched Johnny saunter through his store up to the linoleum countertop where he placed his elbows, the beer bottle trapped between his hands like a squirming bird. Johnny saw it with a twist: everything he touched just wanted away from him.

Arnold looked at him with a look of intense hatred. Johnny wore his pants so low the belt loops underhung his white T-shirt, and the do-rag identified him as a Crip, a gangbanger, rhyme-sprung flesh on bones that sought nothing and gave the same in kind. He held out the beer bottle to Arnold and said, “See this?”

Arnold nodded. He didn’t want any trouble with Johnny Washington. No one in his right mind did. The young man had a laundry list of criminal convictions attached to his name on his CPD juvie record. When he turned eighteen two weeks ago, he was released from juvie with one hundred dollars and told to go home. Except Johnny couldn’t go home because there was no home to go to. His mother was dead and his father was long gone. He had two siblings, a brother and sister, but they were both in state lockup. There were some aunts but they had their own problems. With no place to turn, Johnny took the only job available to him in South Chicago: he joined the Crips. A famous gang of black youth with nothing to live for and everything to gain by a life of crime.

So when Johnny asked Quik Stop owner Joseph Arnold, “See this?” Arnold knew better than to respond. He only smiled at Johnny and the youth muttered an obscenity and banged though the screen door and out onto the sidewalk along Ballantine Street.

Traffic was light. It was mid-morning and everyone was at work. The only vehicles were delivery trucks, taxis, and the occasional white person driving a nice car who had blundered into this part of Chicago purely by mistake. They always fled once they realized where they were.

But Johnny wasn’t thinking about all that as he stepped from the sidewalk into the street. He was thinking only about finding a certain girl. Crack always did that to him, made him crazy for female flesh. He began crossing the street. An eighteen-wheeler approached and laid on its air horn. Johnny returned from his somnambulant stroll. Jamming his fists into his hips he whirled around and dared the trucker to run him over. The trucker stopped and Johnny stepped out of the lane onto the centerline. He then proceeded to walk along the middle of Ballantine Street for half a block, causing traffic to swerve and honk in frustration. Rage begat rage, Johnny heard a voice say, and he looked around. “Who said dat?” he asked. 

Which was when Officer Tory Stormont approached the minor traffic snarl. He pulled his squad car to the center of the road, facing Johnny head-on. He activated his emergency lights. He exited his vehicle and walked around front, where he shouted to Johnny, still fifty feet away but approaching, “Son, you need to get out of my street.”

Johnny ignored the man. The truth of the matter was that Johnny couldn’t tell head voices from real voices. Words floated by like handles; he grabbed at them when he could. When the officer called out to him again, Johnny heard yet another voice; it was about the street. So he proceeded toward the police car to investigate.

“Halt!” cried Officer Stormont. “Stop right there!”

Johnny ignored the command. He continued to close the distance between them.

“Freeze!” cried the officer.

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