Desperate Girls

Desperate Girls

by Laura Griffin

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“I love a strong, smart heroine, and defense attorney Brynn Holloran is exactly that. Desperate Girls is a nail-biting read from the very first page to the final, shocking twist. I could not put this book down.” —Melinda Leigh, Wall Street Journal bestselling author

New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin’s Desperate Girls is a tightly wound, fast-paced romantic thriller that follows a desperate woman on the run as she hides from a killer’s symbolic revenge spree.

Defense attorney Brynn Holloran is right at home among cops, criminals, and tough-as-nails prosecutors. With her sharp wit and pointed words, she has a tendency to intimidate, and she likes it that way. She’s a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom, but in her personal life, she’s a mess.

When a vicious murderer she once helped prosecute resurfaces and starts a killing spree to wipeout those who put him behind bars, one thing becomes clear: Brynn needs to run for her life.

When the police come up empty-handed, Brynn turns to a private security firm for protection. But when she defies advice and gets involved in the investigation, even the former Secret Service agent assigned to protect her may not be able to keep her safe. With every new clue she discovers, Brynn is pulled back into the vortex of a disturbing case from her past.

As the clock ticks down on a manhunt, Brynn’s desperate search for the truth unearths long-buried secrets and reignites a killer’s fury.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501162428
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 08/07/2018
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 297
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Laura Griffin is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tracers series, the Wolfe Sec series, the Alpha Crew series, and several other novels. A two-time RITA Award winner and the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award, Laura lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book. Visit her at, and on Facebook at

Read an Excerpt

Desperate Girls

  • JEN BALLARD planned to get lucky tonight.

    The thought made her heart do a little hopscotch as she slid her Volvo sedan into the driveway and checked her surroundings. No news vans. No beat-up hatchbacks belonging to reporters. She skimmed the street in both directions but saw only familiar cars in familiar driveways. She glanced in the rearview mirror at the driveway across the street, but it was empty—which might or might not be a good sign.

    Jen pulled into her spacious garage. She gathered her groceries off the passenger seat as her phone pinged with an incoming text. David.

    Running late. ETA 20 min.

    She breathed a sigh of relief. Now she’d have time to shower and change into something more alluring than the charcoal pantsuit she’d worn to work.

    She slid from the car and hurried into the house. Even laden with groceries, she felt empty-handed this evening. She had no briefs to read, no pretrial motions to consider. She’d left everything at the office, including her laptop, which felt good for a change.

    Jen stashed the steaks and the salad ingredients in the fridge, then washed the potatoes and put them in the oven. She checked the clock. Fifteen minutes. She uncorked the merlot. It needed to breathe anyway. Really. She poured half a glass, then made her way to her bedroom as she sipped a little liquid courage.

    David liked merlot. And he was allergic to bees. Funny the things you learned about your neighbors over the years. She also knew he was divorced, no kids, and he was one of the top cardiologists in Dallas.

    Jen set her glass on the bathroom counter and turned on the shower, twisting her thick hair into a bun because she didn’t have time to dry it. She stripped off her clothes and stepped under the hot spray.

    A date. Tonight. Her stomach fluttered with nerves, and she wished she hadn’t sampled the wine.

    She’d bumped into David at Home Depot last week, and he’d asked her out right there in the lightbulb aisle.

    We should have dinner sometime, he’d said with his easygoing smile.

    She’d been so shocked that she stood there staring at him for a full five seconds until I’d love to! popped out of her mouth.

    It was impulsive. And ill timed. But once the words were out, there was no going back.

    She’d told him they should probably wait until her trial was over, but his blank expression made her realize he might not even know about it. How could he not, though? Didn’t he read the papers? Maybe he was too busy saving lives to take notice of the media circus that had been going on in her courtroom for the past four weeks.

    His utter obliviousness to her professional life appealed to her. A lot. She liked the prospect of seeing someone who didn’t think of her as Judge Ballard or Your Honor. Most men were intimidated by the robe, and she hadn’t had a single date in the two years since she’d been elected to the bench.

    Jen stepped out of the shower and wrapped herself in a towel. Nerves fluttered again as she opened her closet and skimmed the endless rack of suits.

    “Crap,” she mumbled, combing through the hangers. Everything was drab, even her weekend clothes.

    Very few women could exude sex appeal in the courtroom and still be taken seriously. Brynn Holloran came to mind. The auburn-haired defense attorney wore low-cut blouses and spike heels, and everyone knew she was a force to be reckoned with. Jen had always dressed down, in muted colors and sensible shoes, even during her prosecutor days. She wanted people to focus on her brain, not her boobs, but lately she’d felt sick to death of the whole conservative-jurist shtick.

    Her gaze landed on the coral sheath dress she’d worn to her niece’s graduation. It was pretty. Feminine. She remembered feeling confident in it. She grabbed the hanger and, before she could change her mind, slipped into a lace thong and pulled the dress over her head. She tugged up the zipper and rearranged her breasts because the tight fit didn’t leave room for a bra.

    Jen checked herself out in the mirror. Not bad. She freshened her makeup and fluffed her hair into a breezy style to match the dress. She slid her feet into sandals and downed a last sip of wine.

    Her phone chimed from the bedroom, and she rushed to check it. Maybe another update from David. But instead it was Nate Levinson, a former colleague. What would he want? She’d missed two calls from him while she’d been in the shower, as well as a call from a Beaumont area code. She let Nate’s call go to voice mail. It was business, no doubt, and she was taking the night off.

    She glanced at the mirror one more time before heading into the kitchen. The house felt warm, and she stopped at the thermostat to turn up the AC. The clock read 7:25. David would be here any minute, and she still needed to season the steaks and throw the salad together. She walked into the kitchen and felt a crunch under her feet.

    She looked down. What the . . . ?

    Glass. All over the floor. She looked toward the patio, and a warm waft of air turned her blood to ice.

    “Hello, Jennifer.”

    She whirled around to see a black pistol inches from her face. Her heart leaped as she looked at the man holding the gun. Dear God, no.

    The calls from Nate, from Beaumont, all made sense now.

    The man stepped forward. “On your knees.”

    “Don’t hurt me.”


    Her legs folded, and she was on the floor, chunks of glass biting into her skin. This can’t be happening. How can this be happening? Her heart hammered wildly in her chest.

    “Don’t hurt me.” She gazed up at him, and the utter calm on his face made her stomach quiver.

    He brought the muzzle of the gun to her forehead. It felt cool and hard, and bile rose in the back of her throat.

    “Please,” she croaked. “I’ll do whatever you want, just—”

    “That’s right.” His eyes were flat and soulless. “You will.”

    Brynn Holloran dipped her fingertips in the warm water and eyed the clock.

    “What’s your mood today?” Chrissy spun the nail-polish carousel and glanced at Brynn’s ivory blouse. “Nude? Blushing bride?”

    “Oh, no.” Brynn picked a bottle and plunked it on the table.

    “Cha-Ching Cherry.” Chrissy smiled. “You must have a trial today.”


    Chrissy nodded. “You’ll win,” she said, snipping away at Brynn’s cuticles. “Red’s your lucky color.”

    Brynn darted another look at the clock as nervous energy buzzed through her. She appreciated Chrissy’s confidence, but it did little to quell her stress. Nothing would until she stepped into that courtroom.

    “Big case?” Chrissy asked.

    “Yes.” Big was an understatement. “It’s a murder trial, and I haven’t gone up against this prosecutor before.”

    Chrissy swiveled in her chair and took out some hot towels. Wrapping Brynn’s hands, she studied her face through the steam. “You’ll do great. He won’t know what hit him.”

    Chrissy had been a fierce supporter ever since Brynn repped her in a dispute with her toad of a landlord, who was jerking her around over the rent. Brynn hadn’t even represented her officially, just sent a nasty letter on firm stationery. The toad had backed down, and Chrissy had offered Brynn a lifetime of free manicures—which she wouldn’t take, of course. Brynn would never hit Chrissy up for freebies, but she wasn’t above coming in on a busy Friday and asking to be squeezed in.

    Chrissy unwrapped the towels. She pumped lotion into her hand—eucalyptus mint—and started massaging Brynn’s forearms. It felt so good she wanted to drop her head on the table and weep.

    The massage was over way too soon, and Chrissy thwacked the bottle of polish against her palm before twisting off the top.

    “The trial’s in Dallas,” Brynn said. “I have a thousand things to do, but I couldn’t leave town without stopping in.”

    Chrissy raised a sculpted eyebrow. “Not if you’re going to Dallas,” she said, expertly stroking red over a nail.

    She understood the importance of appearances. She was in the image business. Thanks to skin treatments and relentless workouts, the sixty-two-year-old salon owner didn’t look a day over fifty, and Brynn hoped to be as lucky someday.

    If she didn’t work herself into an early grave first.

    A text landed on Brynn’s phone from Ross, her law partner. She swiped the screen with her free pinkie.

    Perez is missing.

    “Damn it.” She looked up. “I have to make a call, sorry,” she said, tapping Ross’s number.

    He picked up on the first ring. “Where are you?” he demanded.

    “In a meeting. What do you mean, ‘missing’?”

    “We were supposed to have a video conference at nine to practice his testimony, but he blew it off, and he’s not answering his phone.”

    “Try his girlfriend.”

    “I did. That’s what worries me. She hasn’t seen or heard from him since Tuesday, and she has no idea where he is.”

    Brynn bit back a curse. “Did you tell Reggie?”

    “I’m headed to the office.”

    “I’ll meet you there,” she said. “We’ll figure out what to do.”

    As soon as the phone was down, Chrissy took Brynn’s hand and swiftly finished the first coat. She examined her work and did a quick second coat before switching on the drying lamp.

    “I have to run. I—”

    “Five minutes.” Chrissy’s stern look shut down any objections. She borrowed another lamp from a neighboring table and arranged Brynn’s other hand beneath the heat before walking into the back room.

    Brynn gazed longingly at her phone. She wanted to call Reggie. And check her e-mail. Shit. How could Perez be missing? Maybe he wasn’t. Maybe he was sleeping off a hangover somewhere. But a tight ball of dread formed in Brynn’s stomach as she thought about all the implications. Her eighteen-year-old client was going on trial for his life, and their star witness was MIA.

    She took a deep breath and tried to relax, letting the lingering eucalyptus scent calm her. That worked for about a minute, and then she cast a furtive look over her shoulder. Chrissy had disappeared, and Brynn made a break for the cash register. She pulled out the credit card she’d left on top of her purse so she wouldn’t have to rummage with wet nails. After leaving an extra-big tip and signing the bill, she stepped from the cool salon into the sweltering summer heat.

    Brynn slid into her black SUV and headed across town, which wasn’t a long drive. Pine Rock was a sleepy bedroom community just north of Houston—six stoplights and two churches.

    Her sister’s Wonder Woman ring tone emanated from the speakers, and Brynn answered.

    “Have you left yet?” Liz asked.

    “We leave Sunday.”


    “What is it?”

    “Mike’s got a college friend in from out of town. We’re taking him out for Tex-Mex tomorrow night, and we want you to come.”

    “I wish I could, but I’m slammed,” Brynn said.

    “You’re just saying that because you think it’s a setup.”

    “Well, isn’t it?”

    “It’s Tex-Mex and margaritas. Totally casual. And this guy’s cute. I know you’ll hit it off.”

    Liz and Brynn had a special language when it came to men. “Hot” meant drool-worthy alpha. “Cute” meant a teddy bear, and the last “cute” guy her sister had set her up with had been three inches shorter than Brynn.

    Not that it should matter. Who cared what he looked like if he was decent and smart and managed to get through the evening without burping or bad-mouthing his ex? Brynn was the problem.

    “I really have to work,” Brynn said. “I have a whole new fire drill, as of ten minutes ago. Our star witness is missing.”

    “Damn. Really?”

    “Really.” She turned into the parking lot beside her building and whipped into her usual space.

    “Well, call me if you catch a break and want to go out tomorrow.”

    “I will. Love you.”

    Brynn strode across the lot, careful not to catch her Jimmy Choo sandals in any of the potholes. She dropped her phone into her purse as she mounted the steps to the converted Victorian that housed the offices of Blythe and Gunn.

    Reggie had bought the property three years ago when he moved his law practice from Dallas to Pine Rock. From the street, the place looked charming. But years of dealing with leaky windows and temperamental plumbing had dampened Brynn’s enthusiasm for the architecture. The building was originally a boardinghouse, but Reggie had renovated it to accommodate six lawyers, two paralegals, an administrative assistant, and a receptionist—not to mention the steady flow of clients who drifted in and out seven days a week. Big trials were the firm’s gravy, but Saturday-night arrests were its bread and butter.

    The waiting room was empty of tearful mothers and hand-wringing spouses this morning. The receptionist’s chair was empty, too, and Brynn followed the smell of fresh coffee to Reggie’s office.

    Faith sat behind her mahogany desk, dabbing her eyes with a tissue. Brynn stopped short. Reggie’s assistant never cried. The mother hen of the law firm was unflappable, no matter how crazy things got.

    Brynn stepped over. “Faith?”

    She glanced up, startled, and her usually perfect mascara was streaked down her cheeks.

    It was Faith’s boys. Had to be. Her two teenage sons were constantly getting into trouble, and Faith had started to worry that the older one was on drugs.

    Brynn knelt beside her. “Faith, what happened?”

    Faith squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head.

    “Brynn!” Reggie boomed from his office. The door jerked open, and her silver-haired boss stepped out. “Brynn, get in here.”

    She shot him a glare and returned her attention to Faith. “Are you all right?”

    She dabbed her nose. “Yes, just . . . go on.”

    Brynn stood and followed Reginald H. Gunn, managing partner, past the nameplate bearing his title. Shelves crammed with law books lined the walls, and towers of file boxes crowded every corner. Reggie walked behind his cluttered desk, and Brynn noted the pin-striped suit jacket hanging on the back of his chair. The pink silk handkerchief in the front pocket told her he planned to be in court later.

    “Close the door, would you?”

    She followed his gruff command, taking one last peek at Faith as she eased shut the door.

    “Sit down,” he said.

    “I’ll stand. What’s up?”

    Reggie’s leather chair creaked as he sank into it. He ran a hand through his thick hair.

    “Nate called me. Jen Ballard was killed last night.”

    Brynn sagged back against the wall. “What—”

    “I don’t have all the details yet, but she was murdered sometime yesterday evening in her home.”


    Brynn’s blood turned cold. Beautiful, witty Jen Ballard murdered. The words didn’t belong in the same sentence.

    She stepped closer to Reggie’s desk. “How?”

    “I don’t know, okay? I haven’t even had time to call the police up there. And there’s something else—”

    A sharp knock came at the door. Ross leaned his head in and immediately zeroed in on Brynn. “You tell him yet?”

    “Tell me what?” Reggie asked.

    Ross stepped into the office, oblivious to the tension hovering in the room. “Perez is missing. We were supposed to run through his testimony at nine, but he blew off the appointment.”

    “Try his girlfriend.”

    “She hasn’t seen or heard from him in days.” Ross looked at Brynn and frowned. “What’s wrong?”

    She cleared her throat. “Jen Ballard.”

    “What about her?”

    “She was murdered,” Reggie said.

    Ross’s face went slack. “What?”

    “She was killed in her home last night. Up in Sheridan Heights, right outside of Dallas,” Reggie told him. “I just got off the phone with Nate Levinson twenty minutes ago.”

    Ross shot Brynn a look, as if she might somehow make sense of what he was hearing, but she couldn’t. The forty-two-year-old woman who’d once been their boss, their mentor, and their friend was dead.

    “What’s the other thing?” Brynn asked Reggie. “You said there was something else?”

    Reggie stared at Brynn. A veteran trial attorney, he had a talent for creating drama, but the solemn look on his face was all too real.

    “What is it?” Ross asked.

    “James Corby is out.”

    Brynn’s eyebrows shot up. “Out?”

    Beside her, Ross made a strangled sound.

    “He escaped.”

    “Are you fucking kidding me?” Ross clutched his head with his hands. “How do you escape a fucking maximum-security prison?”

    Reggie’s gaze locked with Brynn’s. “I don’t know.”

    But he did know. And so did Brynn. As an assistant prosecutor, Brynn had tried James Corby’s case alongside then lead prosecutor Jen Ballard. Brynn had learned that James Corby was not only violent and sadistic but also smart. Frighteningly smart. And the prospect of him slipping out of prison had lurked in the darkest corners of Brynn’s mind for years.

    Her chest felt tight. She placed her hand on her sternum and tried to breathe. But it was Ross who bent at the waist and looked like he was going to puke.


    “Hey,” Reggie snapped. “Don’t throw up in here.”

    Ross straightened and shook his head. “This is insane. Where the hell are the marshals?”

    “They’re on it,” Reggie replied. “That I do know. Nate tells me they’ve been working this thing from the beginning.”

    “And when was that?” Brynn asked.


    “He escaped Wednesday, and we’re just now hearing about it?”

    Beside her, Ross let out a blistering string of curses.

    “What does this mean for us?” Ross asked. “Our trial begins in Dallas in three days, right down the goddamn road from Jen’s murder—”

    “It means we have to take action,” Reggie said. “I’ve already started.”

    “What do you mean?” Brynn couldn’t keep the skepticism out of her voice. She’d dealt with plenty of criminals and considered herself fairly streetwise. But what kind of “action” did Reggie think they were going to take here? Was he planning to jump into his Mercedes and hunt down an escaped convict?

    “I’m hiring protection,” Reggie said. “The best money can buy.”

    “Bodyguards?” She blinked at him. “You can’t be serious.”

    “I am.” He checked his watch and picked up the phone.

    “Wait, stop.” Brynn held up her hand. “Before you rush off and hire anyone, we need to talk to the sheriffs up there about protection. This falls on them, doesn’t it? Our courthouse is in their jurisdiction.”

    Reggie gave her a dark look. “This law firm doesn’t exactly have a lot of friends up there. As you well know.”

    “Reggie, they hate us up there,” Ross said.

    “Exactly my point. We can’t count on the locals to do anything for us.”

    “Yes, but it’s their job,” Brynn said.

    “Yeah, and it’s our job to win this trial. I won’t have my two top attorneys worried and distracted.”

    Brynn was still in shock. But not so much that she couldn’t imagine the major pain in the butt having a bodyguard trailing her around was going to be. This was the biggest case of her career. Reggie had put her in charge of everything, from jury selection to the closing statement. She’d spent countless hours preparing and still had work to do.

    “Yes, but . . . bodyguards? As in plural?” She played the money card. “That sounds expensive.”

    “It is.”

    “Listen, Reggie, I appreciate the thought.” She glanced at Ross. “We both do, but—”

    “No buts. And it’s not a thought. I already made the call.” He looked at Ross. “Now, about this Perez thing, did you get Bulldog on it?”

    Ross shook his head, and Reggie jabbed at his desk phone.

    Bulldog, aka Bull, aka John Kopek, was the private investigator Reggie kept on speed dial. Brynn shook her head. She felt like she’d been sucker punched, and her boss was already back to business.

    “Bull, it’s Reggie. I need a locate.” He muffled the receiver against his shirt and gave Brynn a sharp look. “You’ve got a trial to prep for. Better get to it.”

    Erik Morgan was almost out when everything went sideways.

    An earsplitting boom.

    A billow of smoke.

    He halted in the narrow corridor and adjusted the body slung over his shoulder. The air around him swirled with grit. Sweat seeped into his eyes. But he pushed the distractions out of his mind as he and his teammates moved into position.

    Weapon raised, Erik darted around the corner, instantly spotting two silhouettes. To his right, a man holding a pistol. To his left, a teenage girl holding a cell phone. Erik fired two rounds at the man, hitting him square in the chest.


    He ran for the door, stopping at the threshold to scan for hostiles.

    “Clear!” he repeated, then took off down the stairs.

    One flight. Two. A door slapped open above him.


    Dust rained down as Erik adjusted his load and kept moving. They were running out of time. He could feel it. More smoke, more shouting. He heard his teammates’ footsteps behind him.

    “Go, go, go!” someone yelled.

    Boots thundered as four men carrying more than eight hundred pounds of dead weight bounded down the stairwell. At ground level, Erik stopped at the plywood door. His teammate kicked it open and peered out to scan the area.

    “All clear!” Hayes yelled.

    Erik followed him through the door, exiting the kill house with a cloud of smoke and dust. He sprinted the last fifty yards to a concrete barricade, then dropped to a knee in the dirt and lowered his load to the ground.

    “Two minutes, forty-six seconds.”

    Erik glanced up to see Jeremy Owen looming over him with a stopwatch. The former Marine sharpshooter did not look happy.

    The man playing the role of Erik’s protectee groaned and sat up. “What the fuck happened back there?”

    Hayes shook his head. “I couldn’t see.” He glanced back at the kill house, a building made up of rooms, hallways, and stairwells where they practiced closed-quarters battle and rescue scenarios. Flash-bangs and smoke grenades were tossed into the mix to ramp up the chaos.

    Erik had watched Hayes work, and visibility wasn’t his only problem. Hayes’s protectee had a paint splatter on his shirt the size of a soccer ball. If they’d been facing live rounds, the man would be dead.

    “Okay, everybody up,” Jeremy ordered. “Hit the hoses, and we’ll reconvene on the south range at fifteen hundred.”

    Erik got up and helped his teammate to his feet. He wiped the sweat from his face with the back of his arm and glanced at the sun. It was ninety-eight today—hotter inside the kill house—and his clothes were saturated.

    Everyone grabbed the gear and moved out. Jeremy caught Erik’s eye and signaled for him to walk back with him on the trail.

    “How’d it go with Becker?” Jeremy asked when they were deep in the woods.

    Hayes Becker, twenty-six, of Roanoke, Virginia. As a team leader, it was Erik’s job to help evaluate candidates who wanted to join the elite ranks of Wolfe Security, and Hayes had made it to the final round.

    “He’s not ready yet,” Erik said. “But he’s getting there.”

    “What’s your take on his skills?”

    “His tactical driving’s good. PT scores are off the charts. It’s his shooting that needs work.”

    Jeremy grunted. “That’s the problem with these FBI hires.”

    “So we’re keeping him?”

    Jeremy nodded.

    They made their way along the running trail and O-course. Set among the towering East Texas pines, the course had been modeled after the SEAL obstacle course at Coronado. The pinnacle in terms of height and effort was a seventy-foot cargo net, which a couple of new recruits were clawing their way up right now. They wore olive-green BDUs to differentiate themselves from real Wolfe agents, who wore all black.

    Erik reviewed this afternoon’s session, making a mental list of the areas where Hayes needed work. Any team they deployed on a job was only as good as its weakest member, and new hires either had to get up to speed or get out.

    “I’ll spend some time with him,” Erik said. “We can burn through some mags on the range, see if I can pinpoint his problem.”

    “Good. I’ll give Liam the heads-up.”

    Erik walked into the clearing as a silver 5-series BMW sped by, leaving a cloud of red dust in its wake. It curved along the dirt road and pulled up to the sprawling log cabin that served as their business headquarters. A man climbed out from behind the wheel. Average height, medium build. From his Ray-Bans and his suit, Erik pegged him for a corporate executive. Then the passenger door opened, and a woman slid from the car.

    Erik halted. Her long red hair caught the sunlight as she turned around. She wore tight black jeans and a silky white shirt, and she had a big leather purse slung over her shoulder. She was several inches taller than the guy with her, partly because of her mile-high heels.

    “Who is that?” Erik looked at Jeremy.

    “No idea.”

    They got all kinds of VIPs at the compound. Pop stars, politicians, athletes. Some of their clients were just ordinary rich people who’d picked up an enemy along the way and decided they needed protection. Judging from their looks, this couple fell into the last category. They mounted the steps to the building, peeling off their shades as they went inside.

    “Yo, Erik.”

    He turned to see Tony Lopez jogging up the trail. In a black T-shirt and tactical pants, he was dressed just like Erik, only he wasn’t sporting a layer of dirt and soot.

    “The chief wants you in his office,” Tony said.


    “Yeah, ASAP.”

    Erik’s gaze narrowed. “This have to do with the five-series that just pulled in?”

    “You got it.”

    “Know who they are?”

    He smiled. “I hear they’re a couple of hotshots from Dallas.”


    “Think they’re attorneys,” he added.


    Tony grinned and slapped him on the shoulder. “Better you than me, bro.”

  • Customer Reviews

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    Desperate Girls 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
    Ejaygirl 7 months ago
    Brynn Holloran is a successful defense attorney working for a high-powered law firm, getting ready to begin a high-profile trial in Dallas when a case from her past resurrects in the worst of ways. A serial killer she helped put away when she was a prosecutor has escaped from prison and appears to be seeking retribution from those associated with his incarceration. Wolfe Security is engaged to provide her and her partner protection until the killer’s recapture. Erik Morgan is the security team leader and he’s immediately taken with this brash and talented woman who doesn’t suffer fools nor is she willing to let security dictate her life. This story had a chilling start that set an expectation for the tension and suspense that didn’t really materialize. However, it was always in the background, so I felt tension. Brynn was a marvelous character, making this story work as we watch her in action in the courtroom and at night as she worked her strategy. She’s unconventional, striking in appearance and great at what she does. It was no wonder that Erik was taken in by her large persona as she was someone who could hold her own with his strong presence. While their romance didn’t light any fires, I sensed that they were well matched and filled in each other’s vacuums. In that sense, their relationship worked. I enjoyed the story, even though it lacked the high tension I felt it promised as the search for the killer involved too many people in a fragmented investigation led by someone with whom everyone lacked confidence. I did like that twist near the end, seemingly coming out of nowhere but in retrospect it made sense (those are the best kind). It’s a good start to the series and I plan to continue. 3.5 stars (I received an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review)
    bookloverfl12 More than 1 year ago
    WOW! This book was amazing from the beginning! I didn't want to stop reading as I needed to know if they were going to find the escaped convict before anybody else was killed. I enjoyed the romantic twist in the story as well. The writing made it so easy to relate to the story that I felt I was right there in the mix of everything. A great beach read for your next vacation!
    LEH0644 More than 1 year ago
    Brynn Holloran was one of the prosecutors in the James Corby trial. Incarcerated in a maximum security prison, Corby has escaped and is seeking revenge. He has murdered the woman who was the lead prosecutor and was now a judge. His next victim was the lead homicide detective on the case. Brynn is now an attorney with a private law firm and her boss has called in Wolfe Security to provide bodyguards for Brynn and fellow attorney Ross Foley. Brynn meets Erik Morgan, the lead man on the team assigned to her. Sparks fly between them and Erik is determined to keep her safe.
    lhill82125 More than 1 year ago
    It is’nt often that a book can grab my interest from the very beginning and hold it to the very last page but that is exactly what this book did. It has everything you want to read in a book. Excitement, danger, romance deceit. What more could you ask for. I will definitely be reading the next book when it comes out. Great job Laura, Thanks,
    lhill82125 More than 1 year ago
    It is’nt often that a book can grab my interest from the very beginning and hold it to the very last page but that is exactly what this book did. It has everything you want to read in a book. Excitement, danger, romance deceit. What more could you ask for. I will definitely be reading the next book when it comes out. Great job Laura, Thanks,
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Great read. Couldn't put it down !
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Great characters all the way around. Strong storyline, and the secondary characters could least to excellent sequels. Definitely worth the read. It was fun to read who the author worked in one of the characters from the Delphi Center.
    Lost-N-Love-N-Hopeless More than 1 year ago
    Twist, turns, suspense, mystery, intrigue, danger, romance. All this coupled with a sexy, hot, protective ex-secret serviceman and an intelligent, feisty, determined defense attorney. Brynn was tough, sexy, smart, determined, tough, and in need of protection. Life and its circumstances have caught up with her and she finds that she needs help protecting her life. I say help because Brynn was one of those women that wouldn’t give up her life even when it was in danger. With each step she took in the case, she was putting her life in more danger and more opportunities for her life to end. She was stupid smart, but seemed to lack general common sense. This may have been due to her job. She soon realizes that she needs to give up something to get more. Erik finds that he becomes tasked with the one job that he could have done without. He also learns that sometimes work is not all there is. Erik was strong, stern, sexy, intense, calm, calculating. He could think clearly when needed and had those moments that allowed you to see the human/male in him. Wolfe Security is the new series from Laura Griffin and it comes out with the action, drama, suspense, tension, intensity all turned up a few notches. Two hard working, work obsessed people learn a valuable lesson this time around. They learn that there is more to life than the job. The find something more to value. Laura Griffin for me has always been the one of the authors to go to when you are leaning more to the suspense, intensity, mystery of a romance. There is and for me has always been less of the romance and more of the intrigue of the danger, action, murder. The tones and notes of the broader picture. When I want a romance but one that is not the dominant character of the read. The Wolfe Security series seems to be picking up the gauglant from the Tracer series. Looking for suspense, intrigue, mystery, murder with added hints of romance. You need not look further.
    ledLD More than 1 year ago
    Enjoyable read. The story has a few bland spots but picks up and recovers. There are some plot twists, intrigue, a little mystery, the saving grace of this story. The romance is kind of redundant, has been done many times before, not a bad thing, just same ol’, same ol’. One of my questions is where did the title come from? Sure murder of girls/women, however this is a book about one woman. All in all a decent read.
    SugarNSpice1 More than 1 year ago
    A new series kicks off with a manhunt for an escaped vicious murderer turned vigilante killer who is on the quest for revenge against those in the legal world who he feels did him wrong. Fans of the Tracer series will remember Liam Wolfe and his wife Tara from Shadow Fall. Liam runs Wolfe Security and this new series will be about the men and women that work for him and the clients they are tasked with protecting. Clients – Defense attorney Brynn Holloran and her co-counsel Ross Foley. They were part of the prosecution team team that put James Corby away. Now people that were part of convicting him are being murdered and Brynn and Ross know they are on his list.. Their boss wanting to take no chances hires Wolfe Security to protect them. Wolfe Security – Erik Morgan is tasked with running the security detail for Brynn and Ross. He is a former marine who then become a secret service agent that resigned after an op went bad. That mistake from the past makes him even more dedicated to protecting the clients. Along with Erik we meet the rest of the team that make up Wolfe security who I assume will be getting future stories. There are multiple plots going on at the same time. The hunt for Corby which involves a task force of cops and US Marshals. The current trial Brynn is head defense lawyer for trying to prove her client innocent all while being protected by Wolfe Security. I have to say that it took me a while to warm up to Brynn – she was not the most likable character at the start of the book. She is a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom but outside of it she was a bit of a pushy witch. With a great cast of secondary characters and a surprising twist at the end this was an enjoyable read and start to a new series. Look forward to more.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Loved the book. Great suspense, well-drawn characters, strong heroine, and a hero that melted my heart.
    besu More than 1 year ago
    A defense attorney, Brynn Holloran, is working on defending a wrongly accused young man when a dangerous escaped convict out for revenge, targets all those involved in his conviction. Brynn and her co-worker worked on his case so her firm hires an elite security firm as bodyguards. Brynn isn't thrilled but as murders pile up, the manhunt is unsuccessful and the danger increases she begins to accept that there is a real danger. It also doesn't hurt that Erik, an attractive former military and ex-secret serviceman, is her bodyguard. This story has plenty of intrigue, suspense and romance. I enjoyed the mix of crime, police procedure, and courtroom drama. There is a big twist at the end and it is a doozy but it was believable and I liked it. Overall this was a light refreshing romance that was suspenseful and well written. The characters were well developed and there was plenty of action. I look forward to more from this author. The only criticism I have of the book is the title, Desperate Girls, does not fit this story at all. I received ARC from NetGalley (Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books) in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.
    TarrahMarie More than 1 year ago
    This was my first experience with this author and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a great Sunday afternoon read. Griffin had excellent character development and did a superb job creating that “spark” between people. The plot was fluid in shifting between the different aspects of the story, so much so you are blindsided by the twist. Love to be surprised like that! The story follows defense attorney, Brynn Holloran, who does not like people telling her what to do. She is one of her firms top defenders and is strong willed both inside and outside of the courtroom. She works long hours and lets her work consume her, which may be why relationships in her personal life are such a struggle. But everything changes for Brynn when she is forced to accept the protection of a private security firm after circumstances surrounding an old case start to present danger to her and those involved in the case. A ruthless killer that she helped prosecute and convict has escaped from prison and those intimately related to his trial are being murdered. Former Marine and Secret Service Agent, Erik Morgan, is put in charge of Brynn’s security detail but she is not making it easy on him. Brynn refuses to listen, follow his rules, and questions everything about her protection. Her constant talking and her lingering stares are making him crazy - in more ways than one. Brynn will have to learn to trust Erik and his team of muscle if she wants to survive. She will have to change her outlook on life and come to terms with under estimating the truth about those we’re closest to. The book does not go into gruesome detail on crimes and did not get too explicit during the romantic scenes. It would be a good read for someone just getting into Romance/Crime/Mystery. Overall, a good read - I look forward to read more from this author.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Loved it!! Has suspense and romance. Fantastic until the very last page.
    Monnie777 More than 1 year ago
    I loved this book. Once I started reading this book I could not put this down. The whole thriller part of this book was interesting to follow. Brynn is a fierce, independent, powerful woman and Erik is her perfect match. She fights him tooth and nail through this whole book and he loves and hates it.It was such fun to read about these two and watch them try and fight their attraction. I hope there are more books with Wolf Security cause I loved reading about all the guys there and think it would be great to have more from them. *I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review.*
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I received a netgalley of Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin, in exchange for an honest review. This book has romance and is a full of suspense, murder and passion. Defense attorney Brynn is involved in a trial when she hears that her former colleague has been murdered. The main suspect is a man she helped put in jail, who’s now free and looking for revenge. Reluctantly she is being protected by Erik, They both search for the killer in this thriller. There are many twists in this book and it was enjoyable.
    BooksAndSpoons More than 1 year ago
    A gripping, breathtaking, increasing tension in a story that blew me away with the brilliant twists in the plot, where no one is safe, with memorable characters who make an impression, as they are fighting for truth, justice, happiness, and love. Defense attorney Brynn Holloran is a woman easy to admire. She is smart, capable, and bright. She knows what she wants and she is not afraid to go after it. She has guts and she is brave, but she does recognize that she needs help, that she needs protection, and that the team handling it knows more about their expertise than she does. She is no doormat and giving up control is not easy for her, but sometimes it is necessary. I loved the chemistry between Eric and Brynn. Eric is protective, professional, smart, commanding, even intimidating, and more than capable to handle the demanding job. I loved the mutual respect and admiration Eric and Brynn have for each other, they are equal in the other’s eyes, and so well suited for each other. The story has three major components that are cleverly twined together, each component bringing its own intensity to the tale. There is the case Brynn is defending in the courtroom where a young man’s life is on line. There is the mad killer on the lose who escaped from the prison and is hunting for his own kind of justice, the burning need to find the killer, and to learn the truth of what happened during his trial. And then there is the love story developing between Eric and Brynn, a romance that is ardent, tender, and adorable at the same time, bringing in the swoon factor on a high level, with the hero who lives to protect, and with the heroine who is not afraid to ask what she wants. Laura Griffin writes stories that capture my mind and heart while I’m completely immersed in the destinies of the characters. The images are vivid and sharp, the cases twisted and complicated, the emotions deep and wide, and the fear, tension, and suspense as palpable as the tangible passion sizzling between the protagonists. Desperate Girls was an absolutely riveting story, and I can’t wait to read more about the intriguing and powerful men and women working at the Wolf Security. ~ Five Spoons
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book was as good as all the others I have read by this author. A tion packed, with a twisty plot that kept me reading.
    RobinLovesReading More than 1 year ago
    My rating: 4.5 Stars After friend and judge Jen Ballard is murdered, defense attorney Brynn Holloran and her partner need protection as the suspected killer of the judge may be after them. The suspect in question is a recently escaped murder convict with a mission to go after everyone responsible for his conviction. Erik Morgan is her primary protection from the recently hired security agency. He is a former Marine and Secret Service Agent and takes his job very seriously. The team includes three agents for each lawyer as the threat is intensely real, especially when another attorney connected with the murder case has been murdered. Brynn doesn't take being guarded so closely very easily. She is strong woman, primarily when it comes to her job, but her personal life is quite off the rails. Brynn is quite stubborn about having three bodyguards. Meanwhile, there is a powerful and undeniable attraction between her and Erik. Desperate Girls is a fast-paced romantic thriller. I was gripped from the first page and was engaged to the very end. This was a very quick read, and while I am quite pleased that I was able to read this book cover to cover in two sittings, I hated to have to take the interruption that I did. I was enthralled with the exciting suspense. Since this is also a romance, I expected and enjoyed the happy ending, but I was shocked at the conclusion. This is the first book in a new series by Laura Griffin. The security agency is full of hunky heroes which leads to the potential of fantastic books to follow. I look forward to reading every one. Thank you Gallery Books and NetGalley for this ARC to review; this is my honest opinion.
    Boohimdanno More than 1 year ago
    Stars: 4 1/2 stars Review: I have read many book by Laura Griffin and while each one if different and unique she has the ability bring readers into her world of action, romance, mystery and suspense. The characters are human with their abilities to bring their lives front and center where readers began to care about what happens to them. Desperate Girls is a mix of legal dialogue and police procedural that readers will drown in but than the action starts to pick up once again keeping readers hooked needing to know who and why. The story is told from different points of view which doesn't pull away from the story and only adds to the mystery and action that will pack a punch. Filling readers of suspense with what they have been missing and romance readers enough to keep them wanting more. Readers will want to yell at Brynn Holloran several times in the book trust me I did. The lack of emotions from the male lead characters don't detract from the book but readers might have a hard time connecting with him. This might sound funny but this story I think would be a solid 5 if there had been a little humor added into the story. The story has a large cast of characters that are introduced and the author did a great job of keeping everyone in a line and I can't wait to see where this series goes from here. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher Gallery Books for the advance copy of Laura Griffin Desperate Girls
    blonde_betty More than 1 year ago
    I have been a fan of Laura Griffin Delphi Series since the beginning. In the first book in her new series, Desperate Girls, Laura pulls in the Wolfe Security team to protect a team of attorneys. It’s a compellingly good read with great characters. I can hardly wait to see where she takes this new series. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this novel.
    Caljane More than 1 year ago
    Successful defense lawyer Brynn needs a bodyguard when it gets apparent that a felon she helped prosecute is on a revenge trip after he escaped prison. Eric, former military and CIA, works for Liam Wolfe’s Security Company (readers of Laura Griffins’ Tracer novels will remember Liam from “Shadow Fall”) as a team leader. With his five colleagues he protects Brynn and her co-worker as well as helps solving a mystery and, of course, falls in love. While the story was, as usually, well written, action filled and in general a page turner, I did not connect with it very well. The bodyguard-ward love-connection is too clichéd for my taste and the problems implicated with it are very predictable. And in this case, I could not even feel any sexual or emotional tension between the two protagonists, it felled somewhat forced to me. I also can not feel for a heroine in criminal defense. Call me prejudiced. But someone who puts his/her whole heart into bringing felons back on the streets – not my thing (sorry to all you defense lawyers reading this!). I assume the author saw this coming, thus the book dealt a lot with the current case Brynn was working on, with snappy and very entertaining courtroom dialogs and a second mystery, because it was sometimes not clear if her client was really as innocent as she claimed. Ironically, due to this side trip in Brynn’s work I enjoyed the story more, as I always cheer for smart dialogs! Narration: 3rd person female protagonist’s POV, sometimes also some insight into male POV Sexual content: couple of scenes fairly descriptive Main Location: contemporary Dallas, Texas
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Another great Read,
    Jnnlbrd More than 1 year ago
    Have you ever gone to the grocery store and not sure of what you want for dinner? You grab a cart and go up and down the aisles looking for something that hits you and say "now this looks good, I think I'll try it!" After what seems like an eternity, suddenly something that you've never had before catches your eye and you eagerly go home now excited for dinner. Unfortunately, the reality of the meal isn't quite what you hoped for but it still turns out to be ok and you keep eating. Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin was that meal for me. The cover and book description gave me the thought that this was going to be a super spicy thriller. But what I got was something milder and not sure what flavor wanted to dominate more, the legal aspect, the case from the past or the relationship drama between the two main characters, Brynn and Erik. The book kept me interested enough to keep reading and finish it but not love it. This "spicy-lite" book will leave you full but not completely satisfied. I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley. #netgalley #desperategirls
    TropicalDelusions More than 1 year ago
    Desperate Girls – Laura Griffin I was fortunate to receive this novel as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review. Brynn Holloran is a top-notch attorney, who, once a prosecutor, now makes her living as a defense attorney. She is busy preparing the defense of a young man who is accused of murder, when she learns of the death of a judge and former colleague of hers, Jen Ballard. Coincidentally, she learns of the escape of a serial rapist and killer that she and Jen had once worked hard to convict. And another police officer who worked the case is found dead. Alarmed by the escape of James Corby, Brynn’s boss hires the security services of the elite Wolfe Security Services to keep his team safe. Brynn feels the around-the-clock protection is intrusive and unnecessary; yet finds herself unwillingly attracted to one of her body guards, Eric Morgan. Then another team member is ambushed and severely injured and the security team goes on high alert. Tensions and passions run high as Brynn and Eric are forced to spend even more time together. As they review the case against James Colby, the question arises of planted evidence… Is Colby avenging a set up? And can Wolfe Security keep Brynn safe? I first discovered Laura Griffin a few years ago, when I read several novels of her Tracers series. But with so many authors to read and so little time, she somehow fell off my ‘reading radar’. Thanks to Netgalley, she is right back on top, and well within my sights again! A great read!! I’m looking forward to more of the Wolfe Security series!!