Madeline Ridley had all she’d ever dreamed of: a handsome, successful husband, a place at the top of Santa Barbara society, every luxury money could buy. In all respects, her world was perfect…until she awoke in the early morning hours in a hotel room, alone, unclothed, with a splitting headache and no clue how she had gotten there.
When Steven Ridley comes home in the middle of a weekday and throws a sheaf of damning photos at her, Madeline’s comfortable world collapses in a swirl of blackmail, sabotage and deceit. Hoping to convince Steven of her innocence, Madeline drives to his office and unwittingly stumbles onto a scene that makes her realize who the real enemy is.
From that point on, Madeline Ridley deconstructs herself, reverting back to Madeline Dawkins in order to salvage what’s left of her life. In the process, she discovers where her true strengths lay, and with those, she steels herself for the battle of a lifetime.
Spouse Trap is the prequel to the Madeline Dawkins series.
Backstory for Spouse Trap
I was in the middle of doing research for a sequel to Alligators in the Trees when I had an epiphany of sorts. Actually, what I had was a snit in front of the bathroom mirror. My gripe had to do with the realization of how difficult it is for an indie writer to reach the reading public. My internal rant went something like this:
“If I wrote some piece of garbage called The Slutty Detective, I’d be a gazillionaire.” I cringed at that thought.
“That’s disgusting!” I said to my reflection.
Then I thought again. Now, wait a second… she’s not really slutty…it’s just a bad rap she got because of…her rotten ex-husband…!
The longer the debate continued, the more excited I became by this tragic protagonist. Far from loose and trashy,she was the shining example of what wealth combined with grace and generosity can produce. As proof, her female peers didn’t hate her in spite of her stunning looks and charming husband. She had tread that narrow path of acceptability by not being catty or looking down her nose at anyone. Aside from being fashion-obsessed, she was practically perfect.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I found my thoughts drifting back to that intriguing muse more and more. Gradually, I felt my attention pulling away from the Alligators sequel. I finally made the decision to abandon three months’ worth of research to go with Madeline. I had decided she would be referred to as Mad Dog at some point, which led me to naming her Madeline Dawkins, the name she reverts back to after her perfect life implodes.
Because I had flashed on the idea of a female detective with a sketchy past, I immediately envisioned a no-nonsense woman in her early-forties with a high-society background, who’d been tarnished when her life took a downward spiral. To create this character, I needed something fairly dramatic to alter the course of her life. And this is where the concept became really fun.
Spouse Trap was a real departure for me because I had never destroyed the life of any of my characters before. But I did this only to give her a baptism by fire, to allow her to leave the life she knew and loved for a complete overhaul of her personality. Though what I put her through is something no woman should ever have to endure, the metamorphosis does her credit. In the end, she is my kind of heroine, one who grows stronger the more she is challenged.
I hope you enjoy her journey as much as I have. Now, back to the third installment in the series…