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In Her Defense
In Her Defense

Erotic Romantic Suspense

Heart of Justice, Book 2

February 2009

Best of 2010

Published by and available from Liquid Silver Books

Available on Barnes & Noble Nook!

Available at Amazon

Click to view the Heart of Justice Heroes Profile page!

Celeste Rice's life has been shattered by terrible violence more than once. Violence threatens to creep back into Celeste's world when her ex-boyfriend stalks her. When Celeste inherits her aunt's home, she decides to move back into her childhood neighborhood after long years away. Upon her prodigal return, she encounters old friend and long-time object of her desire, Mick MacGilvary at a charity event and knows that she is finally ready to pursue that heart-stopping attraction. She believes she'll stop craving him if she has sex with him once and gets it out of her system. She decides to test the wildfire attraction, even though Mick's violent past and his SWAT position frighten her.

Mick will do anything in her defense…

SWAT cop Mick MacGilvary's instincts tell him Celeste's ex-boyfriend has something evil up his sleeve. Mick's uneasy past with Celeste makes him gun-shy around her. His protective feelings for Celeste have never abandoned him. Ten years ago, Celeste rejected his advances, and he hasn't forgotten. The heavy-duty attraction he's always had for her ramps up now that she's near. Better yet, she's obviously interested in bedding him.

Danger lurks around the corner…

Caught up in a passion neither of them can deny, Mick and Celeste's strengths and weaknesses are tested when her ex-boyfriend decides if he can't have her, no one will.

  • "...this is a well-written story with smooth and compelling pacing. Even better, the characters are so adorable... These two characters have good chemistry and I can definitely believe in their romance... that makes In Her Defense a pretty good cozy read, all things considered."
  • "This is a steamy hot read, full of sexual tensions and growing passions. Celeste and Mick learn to overcome their past traumatic experiences and live in the now. The couple interacts extremely well, you can see the closeness they shared growing up. You can feel the tension as their friendship turns into love. I also liked the interaction between Mick and his adopted brothers. Darrell's sociopath tendencies are very well portrayed, giving you a sense of sliding deeper into madness... a very good, suspenseful read."
  • "IN HER DEFENSE is the second very hot and steamy novel in the HEART OF JUSTICE series. This is a story that deals with some very heavy emotional issues; sexual assault, gun violence and stalking, but in author Denise Agnew's deft hands the end result is a soul-stirring and deeply satisfying romance that left me craving the next SWAT team member's story. I highly recommend IN HER DEFENSE to anyone else who loves a suspenseful, well-crafted tale with characters who make you truly care about them."
  • "Ms. Agnew has outdone herself with this story. The combination of a scorching hot romance and edge of your seat suspense story is an unbeatable combination and no one writes this type of story better... The author has a good feel for the law enforcement profession and is very good at building the suspense throughout the story... The chemistry between Celeste and Mick is incredibly strong and the love scenes are very sensual..."
  • "In Her Defense is a suave, suspenseful, seduction...In Her Defense is suspenseful through its entirety without becoming trite. This is the first book of the Heart of Justice series I have had the chance to read, but now I am anxious to go back and read the first...Celeste and Mick are absolutely smoking hot... I loved the way Ms. Agnew played these two; they had so many issues. I applaud the fact that she didn't have them consummate the relationship immediately...I would definitely recommend In Her Defense. It's a classic love story not to be missed."

    Joyfully Recommended
  • "A fast paced novel with tummy churning suspense and steamy sex makes this novel a must read for anyone who loves a really excellent Romantic Suspense novel."

Sitting in the gym's bleachers, watching Mick perform, she experienced undeniable, jaw-dropping, full-throttle lust. She couldn't squelch her reaction to the magnificent primal male display.

She recognized Mick's opponent as his brother, Trey. Trey had a lean, corded strength not unlike Mick's, but Celeste's eyes were drawn to how Mick's physique flexed, his body a weapon as he jumped high into a kick. Trey dodged, then went on the offensive, attacking with force. Mick blocked the blow, his face filled with ruthless determination.

As applause rose, she joined with others in showing her appreciation. Soon Mick and Trey changed to another form of martial arts. Keysi, the announcer called it, and the sheer brutality and harsh determination showed in both Mick and Trey's faces. Her focus stayed on Mick as he performed each move.

From her position at the bottom of the bleachers, she heard their harsh breathing, the slap of bare feet on the mat, grunts of exertion. As Mick feinted to the right, his muscles rippled. Caught up in the excitement, she leaned forward until her elbows rested on her knees. She could almost feel the energy, their breathing coming hard, hearts pumping strongly, sweat beading.

Quick and graceful, Mick's moves showed a raw masculine power she felt down to her bones and through every fiber.

His black hair, cut short, curled the slightest bit with moisture. His expression was hardened with purpose. As his navy blue t-shirt strained over his wide shoulders, broad chest, and strong arms, her mouth dried up and her throat constricted. Blue shorts allowed a full view of tan, sturdy leg muscles that surged and bunched. Even from a distance, he was one of the most compelling men she'd ever seen. God he's fantastic.

Yet ten years ago, she'd turned down a chance to discover ecstasy in his arms.

Now she craved him with no-holds-barred desire. She hadn't understood how much she wanted him until she saw him tonight. Now she hoped to rectify her past mistake.

She pulled air into her lungs on a slow inhalation. He was dangerous and she'd always known it. The idea should repulse her. After all, violence had taken away everything she loved. Not that she believed Mick would ever hurt her, but his job was hazardous. Frightening.

She glanced around at the other women watching Mick and Trey. Were some of them wives and sweethearts of the cops participating in this exhibition? How did they do it? How did they accept the danger these men lived with every day?

Even as she wondered how these women coped with the possibility of violence tearing apart their lives, she couldn't deny the appeal of these oh-so-physical men. They were strong, protective, powerful. Energy seemed to pulse around them, drawing her attention to their potency.

Once again, her gaze swung back to Mick. If she could have sex with him once, maybe it would vaccinate her against any deeper feelings, from thinking she'd thrown away a chance at true happiness.

Just once I'd like toe-curling, bone-melting sex.

She could search for raw sex with another man, but her obsession with Mick wouldn't retreat. She'd tried to beat it into submission more than once, and failed.

I'll flush him out of my system once and for all.

Even as she sat among hundreds of people with the lights blazing, sounds of the fight echoing in the huge room, she couldn't deny her arousal. She knew if Mick touched her intimately he'd find her swollen and hot with need. She licked her lips. Oh, God. Yes. Just the thought of such an intimate touch made her close her eyes and visualize. His fingers would slide with a tender touch, taunting her as he stroked ultra-sensitive surfaces and listened to her moan. She'd imagined, night after night, how a heart-stirring intimacy with him would feel. She wanted to be close to him again, to understand his thoughts, his feelings--

No. Intimacy had nothing to do with this. She needed to discover the sexuality she'd denied for so long. She needed to get over the frigidity that threatened every relationship she'd attempted with a man. She trusted Mick to help her find that sexuality and bring it into the light. She knew he would make the experience one for a lifetime.

She heard one of the men groan with effort, and her eyes flew open. With another lightning maneuver, Mick avoided one of Trey's strikes.

Trey backed off the fight. "Uncle."

Mick and Trey patted each other on the back, shook hands and bowed. Bystanders clapped and cheered. The master of ceremonies for the event thanked everyone and the gathering broke up.

Now's the time, Celeste. Though she'd come here hoping Mick would agree to a date, he might also help her with a niggling problem she'd encountered the last couple of weeks. She chewed her lip just thinking about the situation.

As a cop, and member of SWAT, no less, he could tell her how to jettison an ex who didn't understand the meaning of the word no. She would approach him and ask. Simple.

Right. Her stomach did a nervous flip. After the way they'd parted ten years ago, he might reject her. Buck up. She drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly, cloaking herself in a mantle of confidence she sometimes didn't feel. Not lately anyway.

As Mick left the mat, her gaze riveted on him. She would know Mick's familiar walk anywhere--commanding, self-assured, and with the slightest swagger. Mick laughed at something Trey said, and she noticed two other women not far from her staring at the men with clear interest.

She remembered his no-nonsense, see-through-to-the-heart gaze. He always had the most beautiful, burning eyes. Mick swung his attention toward her. For a minute, he looked shell-shocked, and her surprise kept her from moving forward to greet him. Seconds later, his face transformed into a soul-stirring gorgeous smile. Oh, yeah. A full-fledged, you're-the-only-one-for-me grin. She sucked in a breath as he walked toward her and Trey followed.

I'm in such trouble. Such trouble.

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