Defender's Duty (Love Inspired Suspense Series) [NOOK Book]


All that New York City cop Jude Sinclair wants is to get back on his feet, fighting crime. And as long as he's stuck recuperating in Virginia, he's going to make everyone as miserable as he is. But health aide Lacey Carmichael refuses to run away. Sweet, optimistic and beautiful, she's everything Jude won't allow himself to need. Because danger has followed Jude all the way from New York. And with everyone ...
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Defender's Duty (Love Inspired Suspense Series)

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All that New York City cop Jude Sinclair wants is to get back on his feet, fighting crime. And as long as he's stuck recuperating in Virginia, he's going to make everyone as miserable as he is. But health aide Lacey Carmichael refuses to run away. Sweet, optimistic and beautiful, she's everything Jude won't allow himself to need. Because danger has followed Jude all the way from New York. And with everyone around him at risk, it'll take everything Jude's got to do his duty, and to keep Lacey safe.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426833144
  • Publisher: Steeple Hill Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Series: Sinclair Brothers, #397
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 121,178
  • File size: 216 KB

Meet the Author


began writing her first novel when she was a teenager. A busy mother of five, Shirlee is a homeschooling mom by day and an inspirational author by night. She and her husband and children live in the Pacific Northwest and share their house with a dog, two cats and a bird. You can visit her website,, or email her at

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Read an Excerpt

The Defender's Duty

By Shirlee McCoy
Steeple Hill
Copyright © 2009

Shirlee McCoy
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780373443376

The person breaking into Jude Sinclair's house wasn't being quiet about it. That suited Jude just fine. He might not be able to move as quickly as he used to, but his NYPD service weapon was in his hand, lightweight, and deadly. An old friend. A comforting one. As far as Jude was concerned that more than evened the odds.

He pressed close to the living-room wall, his view of the front door unobstructed, his heart beating slow and steady as he waited in the darkness. Anticipated. Even prayed. Let it be the guy who'd run him down. The one who had ended his career, taken the life he'd had in New York. Who had stalked him for the past two months, waiting for an opportunity to finish what he'd started—murder.

The doorknob rattled, and a soft thud carried through the thick wood. Jude frowned. The guy might have murder on his mind, but he seemed to be having trouble following through on it. Come on. How hard was it to break into a house?

Pain shot up Jude's left leg, and he shifted his weight, irritated by his weakness but refusing to be distracted by it. Just another minute and he'd finally be able to put a face to the person who'd almost killed him. He wouldn't let anything get in the way of that. Not pain or impatience or any of the hot emotions that swelled up and threatened to spill out as he waited.

One minute.


The doorknob rattled again, the lock slid openand the door creaked. Cold, crisp air blew into the house, filling the darkness with the scent of spring rain and flowers. Definitely not something he should be smelling in the winter. Jude frowned, his hand tightening on the gun as a shadow moved into the foyer. Short. Maybe five foot two.

A woman?

Or a very short man.

The light went on, and Jude lifted the gun, aiming it at the head of a very young, very scrawny woman. Pale-blond hair, creamy skin, delicate features.

A murderer?

Maybe, but she looked like a fairy-tale princess come to life. The kind that danced around forests with singing animals, completely oblivious to danger. The fact that she was humming under her breath and tapping a beat against her thigh while he pointed a gun in her direction only added to the impression.

Could she have cold-bloodedly run him down when he'd stopped to help a stranded motorist two months ago?

Jude wasn't sure, but he was about to find out. "Next time you decide to break into someone's house, you might want to be quieter about it."

She screamed, her eyes going wide and dark with terror as she finally caught sight of Jude. She screamed again when she noticed the gun, jumping back and nearly tumbling out the front door.

Jude raced after her, his left leg howling a protest, his right throbbing with pain. He grimaced, but kept running. Recovering from almost losing his legs stunk. Actually losing them would have been a whole lot worse, so he figured he couldn't complain. He also figured he wasn't going to let the blond-haired woman get away before he found out why she'd broken into his house.

She was fast, but even with pins and rods in both legs, Jude was faster. He snagged the back of her coat as she pulled open the door of a beat-up Mustang convertible.

"Let me go." She rounded on him, slamming her open palm toward his nose.

He just missed getting a face full of pain, and that irritated him. It used to be he could take down a three-hundred-pound man with ease. Now he was barely managing to restrain a hundred-pound woman.

He grabbed the woman's arm, tugging it behind her back but not exerting pressure. He didn't want to hurt her. He wanted answers. "Sorry, lady. You can't go anywhere until you tell me why you were in my house tonight."

"Your house? But…" Her voice trailed off, and she glanced over her shoulder, frowning. "You're Jude Sinclair."

"Were you expecting someone else?" He kept his grip light as he urged the woman back to the house.

"I wasn't expecting anyone. I must have mixed up the house numbers somehow. I'm sure the key had my name on it." She seemed to be talking to herself and used her free arm to reach into her coat pocket. To get keys? Or something a lot more deadly?

Jude pressed his gun lightly into her back. "Don't."

She froze. "I heard you were difficult, but nobody told me you were crazy."

"Not crazy. Cautious. Who are you?"

"Lacey Carmichael."

"That's your name. I want to know who you are." He nudged her up the porch stairs, past a suitcase he hadn't noticed when he'd run out the door.

A suitcase?

Was the woman planning to kill him and then move in?

"I'm a home-care aide. Your brother hired me—"

"My brother?" He stopped in the brightly lit foyer, lowering his gun and letting the woman turn to face him.

Her features were delicate, her jaw sharply angled, but it was her eyes that held Jude's attention. Deep-green and flecked with brown and gold, they begged a second look and a third.

He scowled.

The woman could be plotting his death, and he was gazing into her eyes?

Smart. Really smart.

"Grayson Sinclair. He contacted my employer. Helping Hands, Incorporated. They provide full-time caregivers to people who are recovering from trauma or illness. The company was founded twenty years ago by—"

"No need to give me an oral report on the company's history. Just tell me how you ended up in my house tonight."

"My company sent me keys to both sides of the duplex when I signed the contract. I'm sure they said I was going to be staying in two-fourteen. Let me just get the case file out of my suitcase and take a look." She tried to scoot past Jude, but he shifted so that he was blocking her exit.

"Have a seat in the living room. I'm going to call my brother and see if your story checks out."

"You mean he didn't tell you I was coming?" She cocked her head to the side, studying him, her gaze touching the scar on his temple and dropping to his bare feet before moving up to his face again.

"No. He didn't. My brother knows how I feel about having another home-care aide." But that wouldn't have stopped Grayson from hiring one. When they were kids, Grayson had always thought he knew best. Time hadn't changed things.

"He told me you wouldn't be happy. He just didn't tell me you wouldn't know." She smiled, a dimple in her cheek there and gone so fast Jude almost missed it.

He ground his teeth and raked a hand over his hair, acknowledging a truth that didn't make him happy—Lacey Carmichael wasn't the one who'd attacked him, which meant that he was right back where he'd been before she'd walked through his door. Empty-handed and waiting while his would-be murderer walked free. "Now that you know, you can grab your suitcase and head out. Thanks for coming. I'm sure my brother will compensate you for your time."

"I thought you wanted to call Grayson and check on my story?"

"I'll do it after you're gone."

"Great." She moved to the door. "It's been a long drive. I guess I'll head next door and be over first thing in the morning to work out the details of our business relationship."

He grabbed her arm before she could slide past. "I don't think so, lady. You're going to get your suitcase, get back in your car and go home."

"This is home for the next thirty days. I'm staying in the rental unit next door while I help you recuperate from your accident. It's in the contract." She flashed her dimple again.

"And I guess that was Grayson's idea, too."

"He wanted to sweeten the pot. Helping Hands wasn't eager to send someone out here, seeing as how you've been through four home-care aides in the past six weeks."

"Five if I count you."

"You can't. I'm still here."

"Not for long. Stay put for now. I'm going to see what my brother has to say for himself." Jude limped into the kitchen, irritated with his brother, with the woman in his living room, but mostly with himself.

He lifted the phone, punching in his brother's number, his throbbing legs making him more aggravated by the minute. He'd been hoping and praying he would finally have a chance to confront his attacker face-to-face. Instead, he was dealing with another of Grayson's attempts to take charge. Not to mention the pretty young woman who'd just walked into his life.

How old was Lacey, anyway? Seventeen or eighteen? It wouldn't surprise him to find out she was still in high school. Way too young to be wandering around by herself in the wee hours of the morning.

"You'd better have a good reason for calling me at two in the morning." Grayson's harsh greeting pulled Jude away from thoughts of Lacey Carmichael and back where they should have been—on his brother's frustrating need to stick his nose in Jude's life.

"I do. She's about five-two and a hundred pounds."

"A hundred and three." Lacey had the nerve to walk into his kitchen and butt into the conversation, her cheerful announcement doing nothing to ease Jude's irritation.

He turned to face her, ready to let her know exactly how he felt about the intrusion, but she'd grabbed the coffee grounds he'd left out on the counter and was starting a fresh pot, so he decided it wouldn't do any harm to let her finish.

"You've got woman trouble and you want to talk to me about it? That's a first." Grayson still sounded annoyed, but Jude didn't miss the hint of amusement in his voice.

"I've got another home-care aide standing in my kitchen. She says you had something to do with that."

"She's there now? She wasn't supposed to arrive until tomorrow night. I figured I'd ring you in the morning to let you know she was coming."

Jude tensed at the words, and he studied Lacey more carefully. Arriving a day early was suspicious enough. Add in the way she'd shown up in the middle of the night and gone to his door instead of her own… She didn't look like a threat, but that didn't mean she wasn't one. "What's her name?"

"The home-care aide?"

"Who else?"

"Lacey Carmichael."

That matched. "And her description?"

"I've never met her in person. I interviewed her over the phone. Why? What's going on?"

"I'm just wondering why a professional would show up for a job a day early." His fingers tightened on the gun, and he half expected Lacey to turn, a weapon in her hand. If she even was Lacey Carmichael.

"Because she decided to drive straight through instead of staying in a hotel. Why waste money when there was an empty house waiting for me?" She cut in again, digging through the cupboards until she found two mugs. She filled one and held it out to him, meeting his stare squarely.

He took it, looking into her eyes, looking for a lie, and finding himself caught again in their deep-green depth. If she was lying, she was good at it. Better than some hardened criminals Jude had met.

"Jude? You still there?" Grayson pulled Jude's attention back where it needed to be.

"Yeah. And I'm still teed off. I told you no more home-care aides after the last one left. I don't need one."

"Tell that to the dirty laundry piled up on your bedroom floor and the dishes that are stacked ten high in your sink."

"There's nothing on my bedroom floor." Except a layer or two of dust. Hardwood tended to collect it, and Jude hadn't gotten around to dry mopping. He would, though. Eventually. And eventually he'd also tackle the dishes and the pile of laundry sitting near the washing machine. Right now, though, his focus was on more important things. Like finding his attacker. And making sure no one else was in the line of fire when the final confrontation came. Especially not a little blond princess with fearless green eyes.

"Doesn't matter whether there is stuff on your floors or not. I hired the home-care aide. I signed the contract three days ago."

"That wasn't your decision to make, as I told you the last four times you hired home-care aides." Jude ground the words out, not even trying to rein in his anger.

"I didn't make it. The family did."

"As in you and Tristan?"

"No. As in the family. We all talked about it, and we all decided it was for the best."

"You're all wrong."

"I don't think so. You haven't been the same since your accident. We think having 'round-the-clock help will get you back to your old self more quickly. Come on, Jude. This isn't something new. We've been over it before."

"And I've told you every time that I don't need help around the house."

"Tell that to Mom and Piper. They've been cooking your meals and cleaning your house once or twice a week for almost a month."

"I didn't ask them to." Jude sounded like a spoiled kid and knew it. He took a deep breath, pushing aside his frustration. Nearly dying had taught him what was important. His family. He wouldn't risk them, couldn't risk them being hurt. "Look, Gray, I appreciate everyone's concern. I appreciate their help, but recovering is something I have to do myself."


"Because…" Someone is trying to kill me, and I don't want anyone I love getting hurt because of it. That was the reason he'd tried to keep his family at a distance since he'd arrived in Lynchburg. It was the only way he could keep them safe. But knowing Grayson, Jude was sure that bringing up that argument would only make his stubborn, overprotective brother more determined to help.

"Never mind. We've had this conversation before, too," Grayson growled, and Jude could picture his brother pacing the floor of his house, scowling.

"Look, Grayson—"

"You look, Jude. You pretty much cut the family out of your life for years because you wanted to prove you could go it alone. You proved it, but you also put a distance between us that I don't like and never wanted. I'd hoped that having you close by would give us a chance to be friends again."

"We've always been friends."

"Friends are people you let into your life. That's not something you've done with anyone in the family for a long time." Grayson spoke without heat, but the words were a direct blow to the heart, and Jude stalked outside, away from Lacey's curious gaze. Cold pavement numbed the soles of his feet. Too bad it wasn't cold enough to do the same to the insistent ache in his legs or the throbbing guilt in his stomach. He wanted his family far away when the killer struck again, but he didn't want to hurt them anymore than he already had. "If that's the way everyone feels, I owe you all an apology."

"What you owe us is a promise that you'll take care of yourself. We love you, Jude. And we're worried."

"Don't be. I'm fine."


Excerpted from The Defender's Duty by Shirlee McCoy Copyright © 2009 by Shirlee McCoy. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 8 of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    A two day read

    This book is a wonderful book and i couldn' t put it down

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  • Posted May 10, 2011


    This book was the first of the sinclair series i read, but it shouldve been the last. The reason is because there are 2 more ahead of it and you'll understand what happened to Jude better and it wont reveal as many secrets. The first is The Guardians Mission, then The Protectors Promise and then this one. They're all excellent, very good reads. You WONT be disappointed!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

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    Posted April 28, 2011

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    Posted September 7, 2010

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    Posted July 9, 2010

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    Posted December 12, 2009

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    Posted July 6, 2011

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