Drakethron Legal Book 1: A Witch’s Legacy


Stacy is a hard-hitting quick-thinking lawyer in the big city. Sharks in the courtroom aren’t the only monsters she will face


A Witch’s Legacy


Anastasia was tempted to knock out the other attorney’s teeth every time she saw him, but never more than she was now. Her hands itched with restraint, and she couldn’t have bitten her tongue harder if she tried to. 

The only thing holding her back? The judge’s keen stare flashed between her and the opposing lawyer as the pretrial motions unfolded. Anastasia barely had it in her to listen to what Leonard Dolos was saying and to jot it down on a notepad so she could come back at him later. 

 “We will take a brief lunch recess,” the judge announced at the end of Leonard’s current argument. Anastasia had barely jotted it down before the judge spoke up. “Come back in half an hour.” 

Thank God, Anastasia thought. A headache had been building behind her eyes for the past few hours, and the cup of black coffee she’d gulped down before the trial began that morning had done barely anything to keep her awake and alert. She needed more coffee and sustenance if she was to defeat Lenny today. Leonard was his full name, but no one in New York City ever called him that. He was Lenny, or Shark Lenny among the law firm people. 

Anastasia Drakethorn would have preferred to contend with the Devil himself over Leonard Dolos, who was renowned for his legal shrewdness and general assholery. She felt his burning, predatory interest pinned at the back of her head and turned, eyeing him with an equal amount of ire. He collected his papers, shuffling them neatly into a folder before moving from his seat.

A cunning smile split his lips apart. “Careful, Drake. This isn’t a game for amateurs.” Ever confident in his arsenal of legal tactics, Lenny smirked. In the legal world, Anastasia went by Stacy Drake. 

Lenny was of average height with a slight paunch that suggested a comfortable lifestyle. His thinning hair was meticulously combed over, and he carried a constant punchable look of, “Iv’m better than everyone.” His cold gray eyes appraised everyone as potential assets or liabilities. If he considered you an asset, he’d use you. If he considered you a liability, better stand out of the way before he barreled through. Stacy wasn’t sure which was worse.

He preferred his suits flashy enough to hint at his wealth without drawing too much attention. It was a trick, really. He wanted everyone’s attention but not to look desperate for it. His ties were always silk, and he had a penchant for shiny, ostentatious cufflinks that served as his trademark. 

Stacy knew these things well from all the times of meeting him in the courthouse. 

She liked to think she had a trademark appearance, too, though less showy than Lenny’s. She usually kept her long, dark, auburn hair in a sleek bun or ponytail while working, and she wore high-collared shirts to hide an irritating birthmark on the back of her neck. Her striking green eyes were her favorite asset. The staredown with those green eyes had become one of her favorite methods. Most opposing attorneys and witnesses couldn’t deal with them.

She was athletic and tall. Taller than Lenny, which was a bonus. While he preferred silk ties and flashy cufflinks, she dressed in an array of dark colors with subtle touches of reds or metallic accessories. Not enough people considered the power of being well-dressed while in the courtroom. 

“Cat got your tongue, Drake?” Lenny quipped, grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

Stacy stared him down with fire building in her belly. She felt like a dragon about to burst. If only spewing flames and smoke could bring Lenny down. She doubted it could. Her striking green eyes did little to affect him. That, or he didn’t let her see.

She offered him a thin smile. “Injustice has no place to hide, Mr. Dolos, not even behind procedural smokescreens.” The judge had left the room, and the two attorneys were free to snipe at one another with no consequence. 

Lenny shook his head, grinning as if a child had stated something they knew nothing about. She was hardly a child. Twenty-six, though she probably seemed young since he was in his early forties. He turned on his heel and was out of the courtroom in seconds, leaving Anastasia behind to grind her teeth. 

She turned to her client, a pale-faced woman who looked like she needed as much coffee and food as her lawyer. “Ready, Mrs. Denninson?” Stacy asked. 

Lora Denninson, a weary but determined single mother, nodded and barely showed a smile. “Can we stay in here, Ms. Drake? I prefer the quiet to collect myself.” 

Stacy offered a genuine smile to her client. “Of course, and don’t call me that. I’m Stacy to you and anyone else with a sense of decency.” In other words, people who were not Lenny Dolos.

They sat at the table and unpacked their lunches. Whenever Stacy went against other lawyers, she could count on getting out on time. Not with Lenny. They’d be here for a few more hours if the past had taught her anything. She was glad to have packed two sandwiches today. 

Ever the multi-tasker, Stacy sat about examining her notes while she chugged a coffee and gobbled down her sandwiches. Lora sat opposite her, keeping quiet as she nibbled on her lunch. 

The deposition sitting in front of Stacy was pivotal. The testimony revealed the inconsistencies in the property boundary descriptions used by the plaintiff, Lenny’s client, suggesting a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the lines in order to encroach on Lora and her family. If Lora didn’t get the house, she’d be stuck on the streets. It was a house! Why couldn’t the greedy businessman who’d bought the surrounding lots let it go? 

Stacy had heard one sentence of Lora’s story—that she was a single mother of four children whose husband had died several years ago—and knew she had to take the case, no matter who she faced in the process. 

She glanced across the table to find Lora’s drawn face focused on her phone. Lines of worry appeared between her eyes. “Don’t worry, Mrs. Denninson. I’m going to figure this out.”

“It’s not that.” Lora shook her head. “Bills are streaming in. I’m overdue.” She pressed a thin smile to her lips despite herself. “But we have to get through today first.”

The drab and worn appearance of Lora’s nicest clothes told Stacy enough about her financial situation. They had figured out a way for Lora to pay off the attorney fees over time, releasing the pressure to come up with the funds all at once. If Stacy couldn’t help people like Lora, what the hell was she a lawyer for? She wasn’t like Lenny, wanting the job for the pure satisfaction of seeing people’s lives ruined, for money, or whatever the hell else he was doing. 

Sometimes, Stacy understood the appeal of fame. But fame by being an asshole of a lawyer? That she did not understand. 

I have Lora’s future in my hands, Stacy thought. I should get back to this damn deposition. 

Seconds after this crossed her mind, the doors to the room opened, and the judge shuffled in. The sight of him told Stacy that Lenny and his client were not far behind. Was that break thirty minutes or thirty seconds?

Lora returned to her seat beside her, and the pretrial continued. 

While the judge, Stacy, Lora, and Lenny’s client sat, Lenny decided it was better to stand. “I urge you, your honor, to dismiss Attorney Drake’s deposition evidence. It violates the hearsay rule and lacks the proper foundation for admissibility. I further contend that the witness, a surveyor of all people, isn’t qualified to interpret the historical property records.”

Stacy maintained her cool, leaning forward with fingers intertwined. She kept her attention on the judge, ignoring Lenny despite his shark-like eyes in her peripheral. “I’d like to motion for a strike against Attorney Dolos’ dismissal. The exception to the hearsay rule under Federal Rule of Evidence 803(6)—Records of Regularly Conducted Activity should be enough.” She fixed her stare on Lenny. “As Attorney Dolos is quite aware, I am sure.”

He had better be, anyway. He had gone to law school, too, and was part of one of New York City’s best firms. 

“Besides, the surveyor’s credentials show exactly how qualified he is,” Stacy continued. “His insight into the land records is essential to establishing true property boundaries.”

Lenny finally sat, sighing. “My client and I file for a continuance, then. We need more time to analyze this new evidence Attorney Drake has thrown at us today. Where was this before?”

Stacy’s reply was quicker than the judge’s. “I oppose your motion, Attorney Dolos, on the grounds of Rule 403, Unfair Prejudice.”

“Prejudice?” he exclaimed. 

“Yes. These continued delays, of which you have made many, are prejudicial to my client, who is at risk of losing her home.”

Lenny looked like he was about to burst. Maybe he finally would. Stacy had seen his face turn red before and hoped he would throw up his hands and storm out in a rage, leaving her to clean up the mess. A mess it may be, but she’d take it if it meant good favor for her client. 

It wasn’t the first time they had faced one another. They were nothing short of workplace rivals. While in law school, Stacy had expected to come up against other tough lawyers and even to want to strangle one or two. She had never dreamed of a nightmare like Lenny or that she would have to face him time and time again.

He had gone up against many lawyers at her particular law firm, but no one had done as good of a job against him as her. As a result, she was often assigned to go against him. 

If not for the needs of her clients, she would have quit a long time ago. 

I can’t do that, she reminded herself. Without a shark like me in the water, he’ll take up the whole fucking ocean. The ocean being New York City, and the other wildlife being the poor, victimized people on the streets. People like Lora. 

On the inside, Stacy boiled with fury. Outwardly, she remained calm, going so far as to give Lenny a light smile. “In addition to the deposition, we have recently uncovered the property’s historical deed, which I am sure can clear up this whole mess today before we have to bother going to trial.” 

The judge always liked to hear that. This was the goal, anyway. If Stacy could avoid entering an actual courtroom with Lenny, she’d consider her life a good one. She slid the deed toward the judge, saying, “You will see here the deed clearly delineates the property boundaries in favor of my client.”

Silence fell over the room, the impact of her revelation palpable. Stacy refrained from wearing a winning smile. She hadn’t gained victory yet. Almost, but not quite there

The judge noted the deed with reserved intrigue. “This would help your client, that is true,” he amended. “However, the legal implications of this deed are yet to be fully explored.”

Stacy could have sworn a higher voltage of electricity thrummed through the room. She didn’t bother looking at Lenny. She knew exactly how purple with fury his face was turning, and it wasn’t much different than the expression his client wore.

“No other deed has been produced in this time,” she added. “Unless Attorney Dolos can present one, this is what we have to go by. You will also find my witnesses’ testimony lines up with what is in the deed. My witness has never seen the deed, so he can’t know that it confirms what he’s said.”

With each word, she felt like she was tightening the noose around Lenny’s neck. A little more now…

Though Lenny was momentarily taken aback, he quickly regained his composure. He scrutinized a copy of the deed, then met the judge’s eye with a calculated smile. “Your Honor, while intriguing, this document’s authenticity is highly questionable. We request a forensic examination to verify its age and legitimacy.”

“No need, Your Honor,” Stacy inserted lightly. She had anticipated this move. “We have already conducted a preliminary forensic analysis consistent with the standards outlined in Federal Rule of Evidence 901(b)(3), confirming the deed’s authenticity. I have the report right here.” She presented the third document.

Each one felt like a new bomb dropped on Lenny’s head. Sure, she could have presented all three to the judge at once, but it was far more satisfying to watch Lenny work his jaw back and forth as he contained his rage with each new hit. She had to have fun at work every now and then. 

He had taken her down plenty of times before and would no doubt succeed in doing so in the future. This time, however, the win was for Stacy. 

Undeterred, Lenny shifted his strategy. “Furthermore, Your Honor, we move to exclude the deed under Rule 403.” Of course he was using Unfair Prejudice against her! “Its probative value is substantially outweighed by the risk of confusing issues and misleading the jury should this come to trial.” Was he really using Unfair Prejudice to spare a jury that wasn’t put together yet?

Stacy was quick to counter. “The deed directly addresses the primary issues at hand. The true property boundaries. Its exclusion would only serve to deprive the jury of critical factual information.”

The judge nodded at Stacy. “I will admit the deed into evidence as you have moved to do so, Attorney Drake, but its weight will depend on further expert testimony. Don’t forget it.”

Lenny seized the opportunity as if the judge had slapped Stacy on the wrist instead of giving her a customary word of warning that could have gone to either of them. “I have a property law expert on hand to contest the deed’s interpretation. This expert will argue that the subsequent zoning changes and property divisions have rendered the historical boundaries irrelevant.” Lenny’s smug smile after this statement said he thought he’d gained the upper hand. Well, she still had tricks up her sleeve. 

Stacy was close to seething outwardly. The satisfied look on Lenny’s face, paired with his quick comebacks and the convenience of having a property law expert on hand, suggested he knew about the deed and might have already seen it. So much for “throwing it at him.” She had no idea how he’d seen it already. Stacy’s hands clenched on the arms of her chair. Lora had her head down. The client across from Stacy seemed pleased with having chosen Lenny as his lawyer. 

“Good thing my witness isn’t the only expert on hand,” Stacy stepped in coolly. She had hoped not to have to bring her in, but with every countermove Lenny made, she had to keep pulling out the big guns. “She is a seasoned historian specializing in property law who will effectively discredit whatever expert analysis Attorney Dolos seems to think he has ready.

“There is rigorous and continuous recognition of the original boundaries in subsequent property transactions, and all zoning laws have fallen in line with it. You will see this recorded in historical municipal documents.”

The titans’ clash couldn’t have been more riveting. Stacy half wished they were at the real trial already so she could feel the intensity from viewers and jurors, not only the furious attorney sitting across the table from her. The tension mounted from there. They went back and forth, maneuvering through complex property law and evidentiary rules stirring enough to rival the New York City shows that would play that night. 

The longer they went on, the less sure Stacy remained that she would come out on top. Her headache returned, and the coffee…

Well, it had done nothing. 

Lora Denninson’s fate hung in the balance. 



Stacy is close to outwitting Lenny on this one. Find out what happens next on April 15th when Drakethorn Legal Book 1: A Witch’s Legacy is released. Until then head over to Amazon and pre-order it today.