News & Politics

DC Is Actually a Very Sexy City, Says Romance Writer Who Sets Her Books Here

Spoiler alert: They star lawyers.

Emma Chase is a New York Times bestselling author who writes white-hot tales of love and lust, except that she sets them in Washington, DC, and all her Romeos are lawyers.

The Legal Briefs series–comprised of 4 books titled Overruled, Sustained, Appealed and Sidebarred–are standalone stories of litigious romance, set against a backdrop of uplit monuments and judicial subpoenas. Washingtonian just had to know what Chase–who lives and writes in New Jersey–finds so sultry about our city, so we asked her 5 Questions about it.

DC isn’t exactly a city synonymous with romance. What made you set your series here?

I came up with the idea while visiting for a weekend. I noticed a lot of young, attractive people—some in suits meeting for drinks after work, many jogging and biking. And I commented to my husband that DC seemed like such a vibrant city, and he mentioned that many of the men and women I’d noticed were probably lawyers, because DC has the highest rate of lawyers per capita. Just like that—the Legal Briefs series was born.

That vibrancy, the energy is really what I think is the sexiest aspect about DC. It’s about power and ambition. All of my characters are smart, confident, sharp, and career-driven. Setting their stories at the seat of political power enhances those qualities.

What are some of the most romantic spots in the city?

The Tidal Basin is super romantic—the lighting at night, the water, the cherry blossoms. The beauty of the monuments and the quiet atmosphere around them can also be very romantic. There’s a sweet, tender scene in Overruled  that takes place during an evening concert at the National Mall. And in my new book Royally Screwed there’s a black-tie charity gala at the Smithsonian Institute, which is also a very romantic DC spot. I love its grandeur.

Where’s the most audacious place in DC you’ve set a sex scene?

In Appealed, there’s a steamy scene set in a federal prosecutor’s office in the US Attorney’s Building. On its face, it might not seem like a sexy place—but there’s a desk, a reclining office chair and a locked door—so, it’s hot.

Other steamy scenes take place in a courtroom, during a trial. They’re not sex scenes, but there’s flirting, banter and simmering sexual tension, so…also very hot.

What was your inspiration for writing these racy stories about the otherwise mundane legal world?

I love the idea of these really ambitious, career-oriented guys who are at the top of their game professionally, being brought to their knees by love. In the end, they’re still themselves, but their priorities are shifted. They realize there is more to life than winning the next case or making partner. Watching a man change in that way, sacrifice some of his ambition because his relationship with the woman he’s fallen for is more vital to him than anything else, makes for a terrific romance novel.

Any recs for over-achieving, over-scheduled DC types on how to spice up their love lives?

Really, it’s about passion and spontaneity, putting the schedule aside once in a while and just going with the moment. Playing hooky, sneaking out early, coming in late—being bad every now and then can feel pretty good.

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Contributing Editor

Amanda has contributed to Washingtonian since 2016. She has written about the right-wing media personality Britt McHenry, chronicled her night with Stormy Daniels, and come clean about owning too much stuff. She lives on H Street. She can be reached at [email protected]