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When attorneys Vernetta Henderson and Neddy McClain are tapped to take on the biggest case of their careers, they are less than thrilled about working together. Their strained relationship, however, is the least of their problems. Their socialite client—charged with the brutal murder of her husband—is demanding an immediate dismissal of the case. But a ruthless prosecutor is determined to make sure that doesn’t happen. Forced to fight a common enemy, the two women close ranks and, in the process, develop a bond that sees them through the uncertainties of trial, the pain of betrayal and pressures neither could have imagined.

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Prologue

If Max Montgomery ever had to commit to monogamy to save his wife’s life, she would just have to come back and haunt him from the afterlife.

Max rested his forearm on the registration desk as his eyes anxiously crisscrossed the lobby of the Beverly Hills Ritz-Carlton. He watched as people milled about, dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns. He made eye contact with a short, brown-skinned cutie who sashayed by in a dress so tight he could see the faint outline of her thong. Max smiled. She smiled back. Too bad he was already about to get laid. Otherwise, he definitely would’ve taken the time to follow up on that.

“Here’s your key, Mr. Montgomery,” said a cherub-faced girl with a shrill voice. “You’ll be in room 502. One of our most elegant suites.”

When he reached for the key, his fingertips accidentally brushed her hand and she nervously looked away. She wants me, Max thought. But she was way too young for his taste.

He thanked her and headed for the bank of elevators in the rear of the lobby. Max tapped the elevator button and the car to his left instantly glided open. Some of the tension eased from his body once he was safely inside. He had waited nearly a week for this night and his wait was almost over.

The anonymous invitation to a “private evening of intimacy” had intrigued him and he had immediately decided to accept. No questions asked. A man like Max didn’t make hasty decisions very often. On the rare occasion that he did, it was only because he was banking on a huge payoff.

Max stepped off the elevator, studied the sign directly in front of him, then turned left down a long hallway. He walked with a distinctive, self-assured stride, like a male model taking a slow stroll down the catwalk. He stopped in front of a door near the end of the hallway and fished the plastic card key from his breast pocket.

A huge smile of anticipation spread across his face as he entered the lavish suite. The place was a classy ensemble of muted colors, luxurious fabrics, and calming scents. From the flowing silk curtains to the massive mahogany sleigh bed to the sleek suede comforter, everything in the room spelled class with a capital C. And that pleased him.

Max made his way over to a nightstand near the window, his feet sinking into the plush, caramel-colored carpet with every step. He examined a champagne bottle sitting near an antique lamp. Dom Pérignon, vintage 1995. Definitely his style. He only hoped his host was familiar with some of his more erotic personal preferences.

The sight of a red teddy hanging from the corner of the headboard triggered a twinge of arousal that warmed him inside. He rubbed the soft fabric between his fingers, smiled again, then tossed it onto the bed. On the floor near the nightstand was a large wicker basket with three packages of rose petals, twelve scented candles, two champagne glasses, and a book of matches. He set the basket on the bed and read the fancy gold card inside. It provided additional instructions for the evening.

Max glanced at his watch. He didn’t have much time. He scooped up the basket with one hand, began undoing his tie with the other and proceeded into the bathroom. It was just as dazzling as the rest of the suite. The marble floor, the shiny granite countertop, the extravagant gold fixtures were all symbols of an affluent lifestyle Max knew well.

As the card commanded, Max filled the oversized Jacuzzi tub with water, sprinkled it with the rose petals and positioned the candles about the room. He lit each one, then turned off the lights to admire his handiwork. Yes, yes, yes. He was about to have himself one big ball.

Max ripped up both the invitation and the card and flushed them down the toilet. A married man could never be too careful. Just as he was about to head back into the bedroom, the enormous mirror on the wall directly across from the tub stopped him in his tracks. Max grinned. He would get to watch.

Marching into the bedroom, he stripped off his Hugo Boss suit and draped it over the back of an armchair near the bed, making sure his pants were carefully folded along the crease line. After removing the rest of his clothes, he grabbed the champagne bottle and strutted naked into the bathroom, where he eased into the steaming hot water and waited.

All day long he had tried to figure out who his freaky little hostess might be. He had instantly ruled out Janice. A single parent with three kids didn’t have the time, not to mention the energy, to plan something this elaborate. She could barely escape from her solo law practice for their once-a-week lunchtime romps. That left Paula, a stewardess who had served him on a flight to New York three months earlier, and Natasha, the big-breasted Swede who was temping as a receptionist at his firm’s Newport Beach office. She had straight out boned him with her eyes when he walked up to the reception desk to find out her name. Yeah, both Paula and Natasha were kinky enough to plan something like this.

Max poured himself a glass of champagne and took a slow, satisfying sip. The air jets pelting his back with spurts of water felt great. He closed his eyes and slowly twisted his head to the left as far as it would go, then repeated the move on the opposite side. The muscles along the base of his neck felt like dense, knotted fists. Maybe she would give him a massage afterward.

At the sound of the hotel room door opening, Max bolted forward, causing rose petals to splash onto the floor. He could feel his pulse racing as he waited for his mystery date to appear, and when she did not, he settled back into the tub and tried to calm himself down. She was probably just slipping into that sexy little teddy. He was so hard now he had to fight the urge to jack himself off.

Max reached for the champagne bottle to refill his glass just as a sharp, searing pain attacked his left temple. He hoped it wasn’t another migraine. There was a time when he could almost will them away if he concentrated hard enough. But that wasn’t working anymore. He sat the bottle back down. He would wait and share the rest with her.

Max leaned back, sucked in a long, deep breath, and closed his eyes for several seconds. When he reopened them, he could not focus. A thick curtain of haze had suddenly filled the room. He tried to sit up, but his head felt heavier than a bowling ball and fell backward, slamming hard against the tiled wall. He was now blind, dizzy, and in excruciating pain.

By the time the bathroom door opened, Max could feel the presence of someone else in the room. He could even hear a voice. A voice he was too dazed to place, speaking words he could not quite make out. Max had never had a migraine like this one before. He tried to speak, but his lips spewed nothing but gibberish. Had the champagne been spiked?

Without warning, a powerful jolt of pain pierced the right side of Max’s chest at the same time that his head seemed to explode.

His visitor, hovering over him now, plunged a knife deep into Max’s chest, then repeated the motion. A second time, a third time, a fourth time. The stabbing continued until the rose petals disappeared into a pool of deep, dark red.

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Award-winning author and attorney Pamela Samuels Young writes mysteries that matter. Dubbed “John Grisham with a sister’s twist” by one reviewer, Pamela’s fast-paced novels often tackle important social issues.

Her most recent legal thriller, Failure to Protect, takes on the bullying epidemic and its devastating aftermath. Pamela won the prestigious NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction for her thriller Anybody’s Daughter, which provides a realistic look inside the world of child sex trafficking. Her courtroom drama Abuse of Discretion centers around a troubling teen sexting case. #Anybody’s Daughter and #Abuse of Discretion are young adult editions of the two books. A young adult version of Failure to Protect goes on sale in December 2019.

Pamela also writes dangerously sassy romantic suspense under the pen name Sassy Sinclair. Her first foray into the romance genre, Unlawful Desires (2017), was awarded Best Erotic Romance by Romance Slam Jam. Her second book, Unlawful Seduction (2018), was honored as a finalist in Romance Writers of America/Passionate Ink’s Passionate Plume contest in the Best Contemporary Erotica category.

The prolific writer is a frequent speaker on the topics of sex trafficking, bullying, online safety, fiction writing, self-empowerment, and pursuing your passion. To invite Pamela to your book club meeting or to read excerpts of her books, visit www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com and www.sassysinclair.com .

website & Social links

Website: www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/authorpsy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPamelaSamuelsYoung/

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Pamela Samuels Young has always abided by the philosophy that you create the change you want to see. She set giant-sized goals and used her talent, tenacity and positive outlook to accomplish them. Pamela consequently achieved success in both the corporate arena and literary world simultaneously.

An author, attorney and motivational speaker, Pamela spent fifteen years as Managing Counsel for Toyota, specializing in labor and employment law. While still practicing law, Pamela began moonlighting as a mystery writer because of the absence of women and people of color depicted in the legal thrillers she read. She is now an award-winning author of multiple legal thrillers, including Anybody’s Daughter, which won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction, and her new release, Abuse of Discretion, a shocking look at the juvenile justice system in the context of a troubling teen sexting case.

Prior to her legal career, spent several years as a television news writer and associate producer. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and earned a master’s degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University and a law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of teen sexting, child sex trafficking, self-empowerment and fiction writing.

Would you call yourself a born writer?

A born writer, but not a born fiction writer. I was a journalism major in college and worked as a TV news writer before becoming a lawyer. I published my first book, Every Reasonable Doubt, a month before my 48th birthday. So I was definitely a late bloomer when it came to becoming a novelist.

What was your inspiration for Abuse of Discretion?

I was talking to a law school classmate who was lamenting the fact that he had yet another teenage client facing life-altering consequences as a result of sexting. He’s a criminal defense attorney and he explained to me that children as young as 13 and 14 were being prosecuted for distributing child pornography after taking naked selfies and sending them to a classmates. I was floored when he told me that these children faced the possibility of having to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives if convicted. I immediately knew this was a topic I wanted to address in a legal thriller and Abuse of Discretion was the result.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I don’t explore themes as much as social issues. My books have discussed sexual harassment in the workplace (In Firm Pursuit), gender discrimination (Attorney-Client Privilege), the HIV epidemic among women (Murder on the Down Low), paternity issues (Lawful Deception) and child-sex trafficking (Anybody’s Daughter).

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

It took me about a year to complete Abuse of Discretion, which is typical for me for a full-length novel. I just released my first erotic romance novella, Unlawful Desires, under the pen name Sassy Sinclair, which took me three months to write.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I’m pretty disciplined in the home stretch of the novel. Once I have a first draft and I’m three months or so away from my publication date, I’m pretty consistent.  The real writing is in the rewriting and I need about three months to tinker with the book. I’m a morning writer, so I like to get to the computer by 7 a.m. I typically write until about noon, then break for lunch. If the writing vibe is strong, I’ll start up again around 2 p.m. and write until about six or seven.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

The research for sure. I’m a lawyer, but I’ve never practiced in juvenile court. It’s a totally different world from civil court and employment law, which is my expertise. Luckily, I had several juvenile criminal attorneys and a juvenile judge who helped me out quite a bit.

What do you love most about being an author?

The freedom to educate as well as entertain through my books. After reading Abuse of Discretion, I hope parents sit down and talk to their teens about sexting. Education and frank conversation are key to saving our children from very devastating legal consequences.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

My first two books were traditionally published. My third book, Murder on the Down Low, was rejected by nine publishing houses, which forced me to self-publish. I’m now a successful indie author with ten books to my credit. When two major publishers who rejected my earlier books later solicited me, it truly validated my decision to take charge of my own writing career. It was also quite validating when Anybody’s Daughter won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction against four traditionally published authors, including New York Times bestselling authors Walter Mosley and Terry McMillan. In the words of Tyler Perry, “We don’t have to wait for someone to green light our projects. We can create our own intersections.”

Where can we find you on the web?

Website: www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pamelasamuelsyoung and

Twitter: www.twitter.com/pamsamuelsyoung

 

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Title: ABUSE OF DISCRETION
Author: Pamela Samuels Young
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Pages: 352
Genre: Mystery

BOOK BLURB:
A Kid’s Curiosity … A Parent’s Nightmare

The award-winning author of “Anybody’s Daughter” is back with an addictive courtroom drama that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile criminal justice system.

Graylin Alexander is a model fourteen-year-old. When his adolescent curiosity gets the best of him, Graylin finds himself embroiled in a sexting scandal that threatens to ruin his life. Jenny Ungerman, the attorney hired to defend Graylin, is smart, confident and committed. She isn’t thrilled, however, when ex-prosecutor Angela Evans joins Graylin’s defense team. The two women instantly butt heads. Can they put aside their differences long enough to ensure Graylin gets justice?

Unbeknownst to Angela, her boyfriend Dre is wrestling with his own drama. Someone from his past wants him dead. For Dre, his response is simple—kill or be killed.

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Chapter 1

Graylin
“What’s the matter, Mrs. Singletary? Why do I have to go to the principal’s office?”
I’m walking side-by-side down the hallway with my second-period teacher. Students are huddled together staring and pointing at us like we’re zoo animals. When a teacher at Marcus Preparatory Academy escorts you to the principal’s office, it’s a big deal. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I’m a good student. I never get in trouble.
Mrs. Singletary won’t answer my questions or even look at me. I hope she knows she’s only making me more nervous.
“Mrs. Singletary, please tell me what’s wrong?”
“Just follow me. You’ll find out in a minute.”
I’m about to ask her another question when it hits me. Something happened to my mama!
My mama has been on and off drugs for as long as I can remember. I haven’t seen her in months and I don’t even know where she lives. No one does. I act like it doesn’t bother me, but it does. I’ve prayed to God a million times to get her off drugs. Even though my granny says God answers prayers, He hasn’t answered mine, so I stopped asking.
I jump in front of my teacher, forcing her to stop. “Was there a death in my family, Mrs. Singletary? Did something happen to my mama?”
“No, there wasn’t a death.”
She swerves around me and keeps going. I have to take giant steps to keep up with her.
Once we’re inside the main office, Mrs. Singletary points at a wooden chair outside Principal Keller’s office. “Have a seat and don’t move.”
She goes into the principal’s office and closes the door. My head begins to throb like somebody’s banging on it from the inside. I close my eyes and try to calm down. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s probably just—Oh snap! The picture!
I slide down in the chair and pull my iPhone from my right pocket. My hands are trembling so bad I have to concentrate to keep from dropping it. I open the photos app and delete the last picture on my camera roll. If anyone saw that picture, I’d be screwed.
Loud voices seep through the closed door. I lean forward, straining to hear. It almost sounds like Mrs. Singletary and Principal Keller are arguing.

“It’s only an allegation. We don’t even know if it’s true.”
“I don’t care. We have to follow protocol.”
“Can’t you at least check his phone first?”
“I’m not putting myself in the middle of this mess. I’ve already made the call.”

The call? I can’t believe Principal Keller called my dad without even giving me a chance to defend myself. How’d she even find out about the picture?
The door swings open and I almost jump out of my skin. The principal crooks her finger at me. “Come in here, son.”
Trudging into her office, I sit down on a red cloth chair that’s way more comfortable than the hard one outside. My heart is beating so fast it feels like it might jump out of my chest.
The only time I’ve ever been in Principal Keller’s office was the day my dad enrolled me in school. Mrs. Singletary is standing in front of the principal’s desk with her arms folded. I hope she’s going to stay here with me, but a second later, she walks out and closes the door.
Principal Keller sits on the edge of her desk, looking down at me. “Graylin, do you have any inappropriate pictures on your cell phone?”
“Huh?” I try to keep a straight face. “No, ma’am.”
“It’s been brought to my attention that you have an inappropriate picture—a naked picture—of Kennedy Carlyle on your phone. Is that true?”
“No…uh…No, ma’am.” Thank God I deleted it!
“This is a very serious matter, young man. So, I need you to tell me the truth.”
“No, ma’am.” I shake my head so hard my cheeks vibrate. “I don’t have anything like that on my phone.”
“I pray to God you’re telling me the truth.”
I don’t want to ask this next question, but I have to know. “Um, so you called my dad?”
“Yes, I did. He’s on his way down here now.”
I hug myself and start rocking back and forth. Even though I deleted the picture, my dad is still going to kill me for having to leave work in the middle of the day.
“I also made another call.”
At first I’m confused. Then I realize Mrs. Keller must’ve called my granny too. At least she’ll keep my dad from going ballistic.
“So you called my granny?”
“No.” The principal’s cheeks puff up like she’s about to blow something away. “I called the police.”

About the Author

Pamela Samuels Young has always abided by the philosophy that you create the change you want to see. She set giant-sized goals and used her talent, tenacity and positive outlook to accomplish them. Pamela consequently achieved success in both the corporate arena and literary world simultaneously.

An author, attorney and motivational speaker, Pamela spent fifteen years as Managing Counsel for Toyota, specializing in labor and employment law. While still practicing law, Pamela began moonlighting as a mystery writer because of the absence of women and people of color depicted in the legal thrillers she read. She is now an award-winning author of multiple legal thrillers, including Anybody’s Daughter, which won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction, and her new release, Abuse of Discretion, a shocking look at the juvenile justice system in the context of a troubling teen sexting case.

Prior to her legal career, spent several years as a television news writer and associate producer. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and earned a master’s degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University and a law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of teen sexting, child sex trafficking, self-empowerment and fiction writing.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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You’ve been working on your novel for months, maybe even years, and lately you feel more discouraged than ever. Perhaps it’s the disappointment of not having finished the book yet. Maybe you don’t know where to go next with your story. Or it’s possible that you’re just physically and emotional drained from all the time and effort you’ve poured into this dream. I’ve been there!

Each time I fall into the writing dumps, I wonder if I’ll ever dig myself out. Fortunately, I always do. You’ve put too much time into this venture. Now is not the time to give up.

Here are my top five tips for re-energizing yourself when you feel like giving up.

Read Inspirational Stories About Writing and Writers

Take a writing break and read about other successful writers who weathered the storm. Here are two excellent books to get you started:

Knit Together: Discovery God’s Pattern for Your Life by Debbie Macomber.

This book was such an inspiration to me. Macomber, a best selling writer with more than 100 million books in print, openly shares her story of writing rejection. Once you read about her writing journey, you’ll close the book anxious to get back to your own novel.

Rotten Reviews & Rejections, edited by Bill Henderson and Andre Bernard. This book shares the rejection letters and stinging reviews received by many successful and prolific writers, from Stephen King to Upton Sinclair to James Joyce and more. You’ll scratch your head at the discouraging rejection letters these wonderful writers received. They didn’t give up, and you shouldn’t either.

Don’t Strive for Perfect Prose

Many new writers think that everything that flows from their computer must be golden. Hence, if they write a few pages which doesn’t sound worthy of a Pulitzer, they’re disappointed. Forget about writing a perfect first draft. The most important part of writing is rewriting. Just concentrate on finishing a first draft. Then revise until you’re pleased with the final product.

Set a Writing Goal

Make a commitment to write a set number of pages per week. Can you commit to writing 10 or 15 pages per week? Or maybe committing to write three hours a day or three days a week works better for you. Whatever goal you set, make sure it’s realistic. Start out small and once you get into the flow of things, increase the goal. And if you fall short one week, don’t beat yourself up. There’s always next week.

Start a Writer’s Group

Put the word out that you’re looking to start a writer’s group. Tell friends, family members and colleagues that you’re looking for three or four serious writers who would like to build a supportive writing environment for themselves and other writers. You’ll probably have a lot of interest in the beginning, but only the serious writers will be around for the long haul. Establish a regular meeting time (at least once a month) and require at least two members to produce work for the group to critique each month.

Think About Your Story

Most people assume that if you’re not putting words on paper, then you’re not “writing.” I don’t feel that way. The next time you’re taking a long walk, standing in a grocery store line, or stuck in traffic, use the time to mull over your story. Think about your characters or your plot. Imagine your protagonist having a conversation. Think about how you might describe a room. Challenge yourself to invent a predicament that creates conflict for your character. If you come up with some great ideas, don’t forget to write them down.

Hang in there!

Pamela Samuels Young is a practicing attorney and author of the legal thrillers, Murder on the Down Low, Every Reasonable Doubt and In Firm Pursuit. You can find Pamela’s articles on writing at BizyMoms.com, where she is a featured fiction writing expert.

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