Excerpt from “Terminal Ambition” by Kate McGuinness

A partner at a Wall Street law firm, Maggie Mahoney fights to stop sexual harassment and discrimination at her firm, but her campaign threatens the chairman’s ambition to be named Attorney General.

EXCERPT:

Not every specimen would yield DNA but surely some of them would. Returning the brushes and comb to the drawer, Maggie heard a soft, muffled thump from the office. Her hand stopped in mid-air. It was probably just —

A faint grating noise followed.

A key.

Someone was coming in.

The thunk of the sliding deadbolt.

Slattery. It must be Slattery. And she was trapped in the bathroom. Maybe he’d stay in the outer office by his desk. But the bathroom door was open, the light was on. Reflexively, she clicked the switch and hoped she’d been quick enough he didn’t notice.

She had to hide. Inside the shower or behind the door separating the bathroom from the office? She chose the shower. Its frosted glass door would at least blur her outline.

She grabbed her briefcase and took a step toward the shower but her arm jerked backward. What?

The briefcase strap was hung up on one of the faucets. She tugged it free.

Despite the urgency, she forced herself to walk lightly, avoiding the clatter of her stilettos. In two quick strides she was at the shower enclosure. She tried to ease the door open, but the latch clicked softly. A pulse pounded in her neck. She tiptoed to the corner away from the showerhead and laid her briefcase, buckle down, on the tile floor. No good. If he turned the light on, its chestnut leather would contrast with the tan tile.

She pressed it against the black fabric on her torso. Better but still too exposed. She was too exposed.

She turned to face the corner. With her black hair brushing the shoulders of her black outfit, she was a void. A human-shaped void but still

indistinct behind the cloudy glass. At least she hoped so.

She’d been so intent on hiding that she’d lost track of Slattery’s movements. Where was he? He had opened the door, hit the light switch and then what? She tried to soften her breathing so she could concentrate on noise from the office.

Nothing.

Then approaching footsteps. Not loud. Leather soles on thick wool. But each footfall was more distinct as he came closer. Then the flash of the overhead lights. The clatter of leather soles on tiles.

Her mind wailed, No, no, no. Go away.

She heard the crack of the toilet seat flipped against the lid. A zipper being lowered. The splash of urine against water.

He muttered, “What the hell?”

 

***

Terminal Ambition, A Maggie Mahoney Novel is available at Amazon in paperback for $14,99 and in Kindle format for $4.99.

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