Black & White
By Nicki Lynn Justice
73,000 words (approx.)
Jillian Kendall, Centurotech’s corporate attorney, hopes that the strange events that have been turning her formerly peaceful life upside-down since she arrived in Calgary, Alberta, are a product of her over-active imagination. But as she implements the merger between Centurotech and Hunter Electronics, she is drawn into the web of deceit that has been spun around her. There is only one way out, and it involves asking Code Hunter, founder of Hunter Electronics and childhood friend, for help. The problem is that Jillian is not certain that he can be trusted. And he is just as wary of her!
Jillian was about to push her chair back and follow suit when a pile of paper was unceremoniously dumped in front of her. She glanced at the first page. It was entitled “Release and Waiver”. At least this was something she was familiar with. She didn’t even bother to skim it. She just picked up the pen handed to her by the administrative assistant and signed. She knew exactly what it said.
“Just a minute,” said Code.
Jillian noticed that he was reading the fine print. “Don’t bother,” she advised, stifling a yawn. “It just says that no matter what happens, you won’t sue any of them.”
“Happens?” he echoed. “What do you mean?”
“Oh, you know,” she said airily, “if you’re found cut-up, grossly mutilated, stuffed in a box, at the bottom of the ocean. Or found riddled with bullet holes in a dark alley, or…”
“You’d be lucky to be found at all.” He followed her advice and signed at the bottom of the second page. “I’ve always wondered how someone can give permission to have their life ripped out from under them.”
She was startled, both by the bitterness in his voice, and by the fact that she had often wondered the same thing. “Well, it’s kind of complicated. I personally think that you can’t consent, not really.” Jillian tried to quell the quiver in her voice and sound nonchalant. She knew she failed when Code looked up from the pile of paper in front of him.
She immediately made a show of rifling through the papers in front of her. “When we get through this, I’m going to research that very question. It’s really complicated, and hinges on the definitions of negligence and gross negligence.” She’d show him that she did far more exciting things with her life than drafting contracts and hassling people like him.
“Okay. Fascinating as it may be, I’m just going to sign this stuff. If I’m going to end up dead, I’d rather not be bored to death. Stuffed in a box at the bottom of the ocean sounds good right about now!” He flipped to the next form in his pile.
So much for demonstrating that she was a worthy and experienced crime-fighting partner. She had just made herself sound like a real geek.
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