by Julianna Keyes
Series: Time Served #2
Published by Harlequin Audio on September 22, 2015
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Erotic
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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.
When I finished reading In Her Defense, I had an actual goofy grin on my face. This book is simultaneously sweet and super sexy. I liked it so much.
This is book #2 in the Time Served series. (See my review for book #1 here.) In Her Defense has a different feel from Time Served, which had a lot of darker moments. While it’s probably not necessary to read book #1 first, the reading experience is better if you read both books together.
Caitlin Dufresne is the villain from Time Served. I hated her character because she was the nemesis of Rachel, the heroine from that book. So when I learned that this book is about Caitlin, I was hesitant to read it at first. I thought there was no way I’d end up liking this character. To my surprise, after finishing In Her Defense, I’d say that Caitlin has definitely been redeemed.
When the story opens, we see the intensely driven, obsessed workaholic that is Caitlin. For five years, she has achieved a huge amount of success at the Chicago law firm where she works–at the expense of having a notorious reputation for being ruthless and cutthroat.
However, things come to a head when Caitlin–overworked, exhausted, and sleep-deprived–makes a careless mistake at work. Although she does not lose her job, the partners at the firm inform Caitlin that she’ll be taking a temporary leave of absence to rest up and regroup. Caitlin doesn’t know what to do with herself when she’s not working. She doesn’t have a clue how to have fun or let loose. Then she happens to meet Eli, head of IT for the firm.
Eli is not like the other men Caitlin has dated. She’s used to being with high-profile, successful men. Eli is no slouch, but he’s not a politician or attorney, either. He’s described as being a frat boy type, which I didn’t agree with at first since he’s generally not an insufferable jerk (although he does have his moments later on in the story). Overall, he’s actually pretty sweet and I loved his dynamic with Caitlin.
Not long after meeting, several drinks and a risqué game of truth or dare later, Caitlin and Eli hook up. It’s completely out of character for Caitlin, but it’s just the start of her transformation. And transform she does. Throughout the course of the story, Caitlin goes from being a rigid, crazed workaholic to someone who’s open to stepping outside her comfort zone, having new experiences, and maybe learning not to obsess over work quite so much.
Although Eli isn’t perfect, he has many good qualities. He also causes Caitlin to feel things that she’s never felt before, sexually and otherwise. Their relationship starts out just being physical, but over time it becomes much more. For Caitlin, sex in the past has always been rather perfunctory and not terribly emotional. But Eli won’t accept this. He’s determined to get under her skin. As Caitlin learns to trust Eli, she begins to discover her sexuality in ways she never knew existed.
Not everything goes perfectly, of course. There are some misunderstandings and arguments that occur, but I never felt that the book ventured into overly dramatic territory. There was just enough conflict to keep the pace moving along nicely. And as I mentioned, there’s that great ending that left me with a smile on my face.
I liked this book so much because Caitlin really does change for the better. She goes from being someone it’s easy to hate, to someone who has redeeming qualities and wants to be different. As Caitlin finds herself falling in love for the first time, she actually becomes a better version of herself.
I highly recommend In Her Defense and look forward to the next book in the series.
Note: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my review. I’m going through my NetGalley backlog and this book has since been published. My review is for the published version of the book, specifically the audio edition.
Rating: 4 stars