Series: University Square, Book Two
Author: Brenda Murphy
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: October 12, 2020
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, romance, family-drama, interracial, lesbian, locksmith, lawyer, father/daughter conflict, dog, funeral, arson, family secrets, infidelity
After a string of failed relationships, brilliant litigator Eunice Park is determined to stay single. Who needs distractions when you’re trying to make partner at Chicago’s most prestigious law firm? A Sunday afternoon visit from the police is the beginning of a series of events that turn Eun’s life upside down, and she’s forced to return to her hometown and confront her estranged family.
Morgan Wright, locksmith and part-time animal shelter volunteer, is convinced the perfect woman exists, just not for her. After a chance encounter with Eun, Morgan becomes embroiled in Eun’s family drama.
Charmed by Morgan’s easy swagger, Eun invites her back to her hotel room. Bone-melting sex and a surprisingly soulful connection leaves Eun questioning her return to Chicago. But not everyone in Sikesville is happy Eun has returned.
Lockset, Brenda Murphy © 2020, All Rights Reserved
Eunice Park glared at the ringing phone on her desk. On the third ring she picked it up. “What is it?”
“Sorry to bother you, Eunice, but your father’s on the line. He insisted I connect him.”
Eunice leaned forward and straightened her posture. “What?”
“Your father. Says it’s urgent. Want me to take a message? Or leave him on hold till he hangs up?”
Eunice swept her hair back with one hand and closed her fist around it, barely resisting the urge to tear it out. “No. I’ll talk to him.” She took her reading glasses off and tossed them on the top of the stack of trial transcripts and depositions on her desk.
“Eun?” James Park’s rich baritone filled her ear. Her Korean name, spoken in the way it was meant to be said, made her heart squeeze. She detested Eunice and still cursed the day she had chosen to use it instead of her true name.
“Yes.” She pinched the bridge of her nose. “It’s me.”
Silence stretched out between them, harsh and violent. Eun settled back into her chair. Her father’s silence and its power over Eun had weakened over the years. Eun knew his trick. Wait for the other to become so uncomfortable they spilled their secrets and told you everything you wanted to know. For once, Eun would not give in. She set her gaze on the clock on her computer screen. One minute. Two minutes. Eun fiddled with the edge of her blotter.
At three and one-half minutes her father cleared his throat and spoke. “Come home. I need to see you.”
“Nothing’s changed.” Eun chewed her lip.
“I need to see you.”
“Why now? I’m not coming home to be berated again. You made yourself clear five years ago. I’m not backing down. Not this time.”
“I’m not asking you to. I have something to discuss with you. I can’t do it over the phone. Please. This weekend?”
Eun rubbed her forehead. “I can’t. I’m buried. I have dog of a case, my cocounsel is an idiot, and I’ve got closing arguments next week. The weekend after?”
“If that’s the best you can do.”
“What?” Eun’s voice rose as anger she had managed to contain bubbled up. “Oh hell no. You can’t call me up out of the blue, demand I see you, and then act all pissy if I can’t drop what I’m doing and run home. Not after what you pulled last time. I’m lesbian, Dad. I’ve been lesbian, I’m going to be lesbian. Nothing is going to change that.”
“I know.” The defeated tone in his voice scraped against Eun’s battered heart.
“I have to go.”
“Will you come?”
Her father disconnected the call. Eun fell back into her chair. Late afternoon sun raked the tops of the high-rise buildings surrounding the office building. Red-and-orange light, reflected off the glass, shone through the floor to ceiling window and glinted off the framed print on the wall opposite her desk.
Her stomach rumbled, an audible reminder of her neglecting to eat breakfast and lunch. She tapped her pen on the desk and glowered at the stack of transcripts on her desk as she rang her assistant. “Order us some food, please.’
“Have a hankering for anything?” Sally’s soft drawl spilled through the phone.
“Whatever you want.”
“I will be.” Eun spun her pen in a circle, a wave of guilt for keeping her assistant after hours swept over her. “You don’t have to stay. John must miss you.”
“He does. But he also knows how important this case is. Faizal’s okay?”
“Sounds wonderful. That gyro salad they do.”
Eun’s mouth watered at the thought of the sticky honey-sweet dessert. “Of course.”
Eun hung up and spun in her chair to face her bookshelf. The black-framed photo of Eun and her father at her law school graduation was opposite a photo of Eun and her mother at Eun’s kindergarten graduation. She closed her eyes as the memory of the last fight she’d had with her father surfaced. Anger and humiliation over his demand she go to conversion therapy surged through her as strong and as raw as that evening. Memories of other interventions, his relentless set-ups with eligible young men, and the shocked expressions of his church friends when she told them all the only thing she was sure of was they were all going to hell bubbled to the surface.
Her stomach ached: too much coffee, and not enough food. She reached into her drawer for the ginger chews she kept at hand. She unwrapped one and popped it into her mouth to quell her stomachache and glanced at the clock on the computer screen. It would be at least forty-five minutes before Sally was back with their food.
Her phone vibrated with a message. The glowing read notification sent a rill of excitement down her spine. Maybe a quick fuck would be the ticket to a good night’s sleep. A glorious, no-real-names hotel-room sex fest would be delightful. She thumbed open the Hit Me Up app and opened the message.
Disappointment washed over her. The message was from her most recent date. A bold butch who had given Eun several mind-bending orgasms that had made her strongly reconsider her self-imposed no-more-than-one-date rule. Until she stalked the woman on social media and found out she was not single as her profile claimed. Eun detested cheaters. She deleted the woman’s message without reading it and tossed her phone on to her desk.
Meet the Author
Brenda Murphy (she/her) writes erotic romance. Her most recent novel, Double Six, is the 2020 Golden Crown Literary Society winner for Erotic Novels, and Knotted Legacy, the third book in the Rowan House series, made the 2018 The Lesbian Review’s Top 100 Vacation Reads list. You can catch her musings on writing, books, and living with wicked ADHD on her blog Writing While Distracted. She loves sideshows and tattoos and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering at her local library, she wrangles twins, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. For a free short story, information on book signings, appearances, work in progress snippets, previews and sneak-peeks, sign up for my email list at: www.brendalmurphy.com