Karen Whiddon's Latest Heroine

In Profile for Seduction, author Karen Whiddon’s newest heroine, Lea, is on the hunt of the vicious serial killer who once held her captive. Learn what inspired this policewoman who refuses to give up, even in the face of unimaginable odds.

In my October Silhouette Romantic Suspense Profile For Seduction, my heroine Lea Cordasic is a police officer who was on the trail of a serial killer when the tables turned and he captured her. The huntress became a captive. Instead of being killed, she was forced to watch unspeakable acts of brutality. This experience shook her to the core and shaped her in ways unimaginable to the confident officer she’d once been.

I’ve been asked who was my inspiration for her. I’ve thought about that and I can’t really name one single person. Maybe a composite? I simply started thinking about what it would be like to be in her shoes. What it would do to a woman. You’d have a choice, actually. You could crumble, take medication, and live in a numb cocoon. Any time the memories reared their ugly heads, you could pop another pill. You could accept and try to forget. Or... you could be angry. Furious in fact. 

Think about it. Lea Cordasic was a more than competent policewoman. Her capture and torture stripped that from her and more. Doubting herself, haunted by the magnitude of what you viewed as your failure. And hating the one man who’d saved you, because he’d seen you at your worst.

A compelling story. And interesting to write. I didn’t know Lea’s story when I wrote the first two Cordasic Legacy books. Seb Cordasic and Dominic Cordasic were so compelling, their sister’s story always waited in the wings. And when I learned what it was, I was blown away.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Instinctively, she supposed she knew what Feiney wanted from her, but her mind shied away from the idea. “He’s given me enough hints,” she said, cursing her halting hesitation. “I think he wants some sort of... relationship.”

The word, once said, made her want to gag.

Marc said nothing, just continuing to watch her.

“He’s made several comments along those lines. He’s been watching me, we belong together, I belong to him. Stuff like that.”

“How do you feel about that?” he asked, his voice gentle.

She laughed, a bitter hollow sound that was its own answer. “You sound just like my shrink. Look, Kenyon. I’d really like for you to quit asking me how I feel about things and help me concentrate on getting the job done. I’m done hanging back. He’s already killed one girl, maybe two. That’s got to stop. Since he wants me, I need to make myself available.” 

She took a deep breath. “Next time he calls, I’m going to be the one doing the taunting. Maybe you’re right. We’ve got to figure out what will set him off. If he wants me, he’s going to have to come and get me. 

“Lea.” Crossing the room, he sat down beside her again. His hand on her shoulder startled her, the heat of his touch burning her skin through the lightweight fabric of her t-shirt. To her surprise and consternation, again she had the oddest urge to curl into that touch. She bit her lip to keep from groaning. 

“What?” she managed.

“You need to understand, the reason I ask you how you feel about things is because I need to make sure I can count on you. If you freeze up, you could endanger both of us. Feiney has one goal. He’s made that crystal clear. Sure, he’s going to enjoy his little hobby – raping and dismembering his victims – but his main focus is drawing you to him so he can finish what he started. This isn’t going to be pretty.”

This time, she couldn’t suppress a shudder. “I know.” Her voice sounded flat, dispassionate and emotionless, professional. Not at all as if her entire being wasn’t silently quaking at the thought of encountering the evil cloaked in human skin that was Feiney. What he’d done to her...

She pushed the thought away.

“I need to be sure you can handle this,” Marc continued. “Tell me. Can you?”

Staring at him, she realized she wanted to put her fist through a wall. Yet his question had validity. He was certainly within his rights to ask if she could handle a confrontation with Feiney. 

Worse, she definitely owed him the stark truth, no matter how much she might not like facing it.

Instead of automatically answering with vague reassurances, she thought long and hard. The truth? Everything inside her screamed a warning to run as fast and as far away as she could. As a woman, she never wanted to see Feiney’s deceptively pleasant face again. 

Except for one part of her. Her career had once defined her, meant everything. The woman with a proud family history of law enforcement, the crack shot, black belt in martial arts, special agent part of her demanded she finish what she’d begun. A large amount of professional pride was at stake. She couldn’t allow one bad guy, even if he was the mother of all bad guys, to send her running for the hills, whipped and beaten. She’d have to count on the very thing she’d been told she must shed – her strong negative emotions – to carry her through.

If she couldn’t do this, she didn’t see how she could ever look herself in the mirror again. 

Karen Whiddon

You can read more about Lea’s adventure in Profile for Seduction, on shelves now!