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In Her Defense was lucky enough to be reviewed on Dear Author!
Check out the full review here.
Want to try before you buy? Click the button to check out a longer excerpt to whet your appetite. (It's safe to read at work!)
Caitlin Dufresne has never loved anyone as much as she loves winning. A ruthless fifth-year associate at an elite Chicago law firm, she’s on the fast track to partner...until a stupid, serious error enrages her bosses. Caitlin’s continued refusal to share work—or credit—lands her a forced two-week vacation. She needs to regroup and learn to be part of a team, not just the star.
When she meets Eli Grant, head of the firm’s IT department, Caitlin knows the overgrown frat boy isn’t her type. But too much alcohol and a very public game of Truth or Dare turn into a dirty, breathless one-night stand. Which turns into a (mostly naked) two-week fling. Which turns into something that makes Caitlin incredibly nervous, despite the great sex.
Eli shows her the many upsides to sleeping in, and for the first time ever, Caitlin has more than the law waiting for her at home. But when she returns to the office and the relentless demands of a high-profile case, Caitlin must decide if winning this one is worth losing Eli forever.
Book Two in the Time Served Series.
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Short Excerpt from "In Her Defense"
I suck up my pride and look over my shoulder in the direction of Winona’s vehicle, and find Eli walking back to his truck alone, watching me. He inclines his head slightly to indicate that I should approach, and despite my better judgment, I tell Dorrie I’ll be right back, and walk the short distance to his truck.
“What is it?” I ask.
“Who are you?”
I cock my head, unimpressed. “Guess.”
He taps his temple. “You’ve got Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, and about half a dozen other people living up there.”
I look around the empty lot. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“So far I’ve met the banshee that attacked Todd on Monday, then the lonely woman at the pub, the very hot woman in the front seat of my truck, and the nice lady who took her niece to a softball game. Then the banshee returned when you took the call back there. If I ask you out, who’s going to show up?”
Despite the banshee comment, my heart does a flattered little pirouette. Still, he did call me a banshee. “Why would you assume I’d say yes?”
His mouth quirks. “You want to see a baseball game on Friday? Red Sox at White Sox.”
“I don’t go to baseball games.”
“You don’t go to dingy old pubs or children’s sporting events, either. Or so you say.”
“I—” I suppose that’s true. “Well, fine.”
I lift a shoulder. “Did you want me to say no?”
“I thought you might. With the one-time thing. And your banshee psychosis.”
“Stop saying banshee. And it’s just a baseball game.”
“It’s a date,” he informs me.
“It might be if you buy me a hotdog.”
“I’ll get you a hotdog. Don’t you dare wear a Red Sox hat.”
“Red’s my color, if you haven’t noticed.”
“I’ve noticed.” He digs his truck keys from his pocket. “I’ll meet you in front of the stadium. If you’re wearing something inappropriate, I’m not going to give you your ticket.”
“Just be grateful I show up.”
For those who are not already familiar with the story, In Her Defense was not my idea. Well, scratch that, technically it is my idea. When I wrote Time Served, however, that was the end of the story. Or so I thought.
When I sold Time Served to Carina Press, they said they preferred to offer two-book deals, and asked for a follow-up. I had not given this any consideration whatsoever, but I was not about to turn down an offer for a second book, so I agreed. And then I panicked. Never before had I written a story I had to tell. I'd always written something then submitted it at my leisure. This time, however, I had to write a story. It had to feature Caitlin, villainess extraordinaire, and it had to be done by a certain point. (Which was really quite a long ways away. I had loads of time. I just stress out because I like to make things hard on myself.)
I immediately started brainstorming, came up with an idea I liked, tried and failed to write it, scrapped most of it, started again, and struggled again. It took five false starts before In Her Defense finally began to take shape, albeit a lumpy, largely unappealing form. When I had a (very) rough draft in hand, I began the lengthy process of editing, which I liken to trying to make a perfect sphere from a lump of clay. At first it's a clump of dirt, then it's vaguely round, then it's a little smoother, then you get mud in your eye and cry for hours, then you keep working until you have something you're not completely horrified by.
I put the manuscript away for a while, read it again the month before it was due, shaved off a few more rough edges, then pressed send. And waited. Now, months later, I'm back to editing, albeit this time with a lovely, professional editor, and remembering why I stuck with this story in the first place. Because not to toot my own horn, but it's pretty great. It features the best heroine character arc I've ever written, and the only hero who could possibly handle her.
Here's a brief snippet to give you an idea of what's in store for September. Enjoy!