When I originally got the idea to write a version of Candidate Four told from Audra’s perspective the plan was to wrap it into the Bidden Short series, along with The First Candidate and later The Honeymoon. It grew for two very distinct reasons.
First, I wanted to write more than just what Audra saw that night at The Golden Palm. Which then expanded it into the next two books as well. But it wasn’t enough just to rewrite the same thing from another character’s perspective with maybe a few new bits of dialogue thrown in. I also felt it was necessary (in the pursuit of discovering Audra’s character) to expand on her relationships with people we already know. The First Candidate was fun to write because I got to explore James and Audra’s relationship (and if you’ve read Unbidden Love you know I’ve taken that relationship to the next preposterous level). It also felt like a good opportunity to bring Celine into the history of these people a bit more. She has been a presence since the very first book but is the character we know the least about. She needed to come out of the shadows a bit more and really remind the reader that she’s still there and has played a very important role in James Fitzgerald’s life.
Sigh. I did not intend for this to turn into a dissertation on my own work but in my defense I’m pretty baked right now. Let’s just see where this goes, yeah?
The second reason is because I knew I had not properly transitioned from the end of Secret Desires where Natalie is pregnant and she and James are taking a time out and she’s starting up Harlow Gallo with Joe… to the start of Beyond Ruin where Natalie and Audra are literally making out, James and Natalie aren’t speaking and a lot of other crazy stuff, too.
Beyond Ruin was called as such because it referred to Natalie telling James that she wanted him to ruin her. And she was, in her own way. She did a complete 180 and I think that without much in the way of explanation save for a bit of backstory is perhaps off-putting to readers.
So expanding The Other Woman to be that bridge seemed like the best idea. And when it grew to more than just 10k words like its predecessors I decided to stick it right after Unbidden Love and before Contested Heart.
I actually wanted to reorder the entire series with the shorts included, plus also Faded Dusk, but is a story for another day.
If anything it very much serves as both a re-telling and a prequel to the seventh book.
If you are a reader of the series I hope you like it and honestly do hope it helps to bridge the gap between the third and fourth books if you felt that it came out of nowhere. I promise I’ll try not to do that again.
Read The Other Woman now, available exclusively on Amazon Kindle.