Do This for Me

A Novel
Trade Paperback

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A high-powered attorney dives into the politics of sex, the perils of desire, and why men and women treat each other the way they do. 

Raney Moore has it all figured out. An ambitious young partner at a prestigious Manhattan law firm, she’s got a dream job, a loving (and famous) husband, and amazing twin daughters. Her world is full, busy, perfectly scripted. Or so she thinks.

One sunny fall day, a bombshell phone call throws Raney’s well-ordered existence into chaos, and in a fit of rage, she diabolically, hilariously burns everything down. Once the flames subside, she finds herself asking some difficult questions: Who am I? What just happened? Am I ever going to find my way back to normal?  Assisted by enterprising paralegals, flirtatious clientele, one dear friend and an unforgettable therapist, Raney thinks the answers are close at hand, only to find life spiraling utterly out of control.

Uproarious, incisive and poignant, Do This For Me introduces a brilliant, off-kilter heroine on a quest to understand sex, fight workplace inequality, and solve the mystery of herself.


Praise for Do This For Me:

"Fun... Kennedy has a gift for snappy dialogue."
— New York Times Book Review

“[A] deliciously over-the-top divorce tale.”

"Do This For Me is so alive and so boisterous that the characters just about bounce off the page."

“A fast-paced, outrageously fun pleasure of a book. Bring it to the beach this Memorial Day.”

"Do This for Me is the juicy summer read you need in your beach bag.” 

“A delicious, new beach read... add this bitterly funny novel to the growing stack of summer reads.”

"An amusing tale of love and revenge."
— Toronto Star

“In this new novel, Raney Moore thinks she has reached the pinnacle of her life—but one upsetting phone call will throw her entire world into chaos. Burning everything down in the wake of disaster, she is forced to rethink what she’s always thought was a successful existence.”

“A sharp take on sexual politics, Do This for Me is about an ambitious NYC lawyer whose seemingly perfect life abruptly crumbles when she discovers her husband’s infidelity.”
— PureWow

"Amusing, clever and thoughtful, Do This for Me is an excellent novel."
— Shelf Awareness

“Kennedy tackles gender relations at home and in the workplace in this frank, compulsively readable examination of how one woman balances her exploration of her sexual identity with her career and motherhood.”
“An uproarious, sometimes salacious, and always entertaining quick summer read.”
Library Journal

"Raney Moore is living her dream life. That is, until she finds out her famous husband, Aaron, cheated on her. After she gets her ruthless revenge, the couple gives the relationship another go—leading to a whirlwind of confusing questions and emotions. Raney is a formidable female character who defies norms and illuminatestimely women's issue." 

Select Praise for I Take You by Eliza Kennedy:

"A salty, lively first novel... crackling, bawdy, and modern."
— New York Times Book Review 

"This debut novel's take on modern gender roles is aggressively provocative... It's also funny and, eventually, wise."

"It's the smartest, sexiest, funniest (like, hilarious) beach read on the shelves right now."
Huffington Post 

"Saucy, sexy and funny as hell…Eliza Kennedy’s debut novel will have you blushing, laughing and loving the lavish antics of our new favorite protagonist." 
—USA Today

“[Kennedy's] snappy comedy of mis-manners delights in subverting expectation... I Take You, as salty-sweet as a margarita, will appeal to fans of Seating Arrangements, Where’d You Go, Bernadette.”






The second-worst day of my life started like most days did, back then: with a dream of my own bizarre and improbable death.


This time, I’d traveled to Antarctica to take a deposition. I was ready with my questions. The stenographer was in place. But the curtains in the conference room wouldn’t close. The glare off the snow was blinding. The witness was refusing to testify.


The clock was ticking!


I rushed out and began searching for the reception desk. The hallway turned into a tunnel carved in snow. As I clutched my bathrobe tightly around myself (bathrobe?), I passed a polar bear. But polar bears live in the Arctic, not the Antarctic.


“You’re not supposed to be here,” I told the bear. It snarled and lunged at me.


I ran and ran. I could see reception up ahead. The bear was right behind me, but I was getting closer. I was almost there. I was . . .


Tumbling into an ice crevasse.


I gasped awake, blinked, calmed my pounding heart. Soon, the outlines of dresser and nightstand and lamp emerged from the gloom. Bathroom door. Window.


I was home. I was safe.


I reached for Aaron, but he wasn’t there. I felt a fresh burst of panic, until I remembered: he was on tour. The paperback of Glow Worms had just been released. My hand swept the smooth, empty space beside me where he should have been. Morning was when I missed him most. I missed watching him sleep, one arm flung over his head like a boy’s. Watching his eyes open. Watching him turn toward me and smile.


He’d been away three weeks. Three weeks without the smell of his coffee drifting up the stairs. Without the sound of his laughter. Without his dark eyes, looking up from a book to greet me after a long day.


But he was coming home tonight. Tour over, show on hiatus--he was done traveling for a while. I only had to wait one more day. Then . . .


One more day.


That meant today was . . . the Day.


The clock blinked to 5:02. I sat up.


I had, what? Six hours until 11 a.m.


The call. The case. My moment of truth.


I launched myself out of bed to pace the carpet. What if we lost? Was it possible we’d lost? I grabbed my phone from the nightstand. I needed to talk to Aaron.


I hesitated.


He was in San Francisco. Did I really need to wake him? We’d spoken last night, before his reading. He was loving and reassuring, as always.


“You killed it, Raney. Those executives fell apart on the stand. The judge was nodding along during your closing argument--remember? You have nothing to worry about.”


I had nothing to worry about. Nothing. I climbed back into bed and forced myself to spend half an hour editing a brief my senior associate, Stephen, had sent me the night before. Then I showered, brushed my teeth and brushed my hair. Got dressed: suit, blouse, flats. Knuckles on the bathroom counter, I leaned close to the mirror.


“You killed it,” I told my reflection.


My reflection didn’t look convinced.


Before heading downstairs I cracked the door to the twins’ room, peering through the darkness at their huddled forms. I took a step inside. It was all right: they were breathing. They were fifteen--of course they were breathing.


Still, I’m their mother. I worry.


Maisie’s bed was closer to the door. I bent down, brushing a swoop of light brown hair from her warm cheek.


“I love you more than anything in the world,” I whispered.


“Then stop being creepy,” she said.


From the far side of the room, Kate said, “Seriously, Mom. We’ve talked about this.”


I straightened and stepped back. “I’m so sorry!”


“It’s okay.” Maisie plumped her pillow. “Just let us sleep.”


“No, really. It must be awful,” I said. “To be so loved.”


Kate flopped onto her back. “Here we go.”


“To be the center of someone’s existence,” I continued. “Showered with affection. Lavished with care. How you must suffer.”


Maisie reached for her phone. “Most parents encourage their teenagers to rest, Mom. Just FYI.”


“It could be worse,” I pointed out. “Instead of lolling in these clean, comfortable beds, you could be toiling away in some sweatshop.”


She was texting now, her face reflecting the glow of the screen. “Bed or sweatshop,” she remarked. “These are always our only options.”


“Hold up.” Kate raised her head. “Today’s the day.”


“That’s why she’s on edge,” Maisie said.


“I’m not on edge!”


“LOL,” Kate said drily.


“Relax, Mama.” Maisie smiled up at me. “You’re totally going to win.”


“Your oppressed waitresses are going to kick some serious corporate ass,” Kate agreed.


“The plaintiffs are management trainees,” Maisie informed her. “Don’t you pay any attention?”


“That’s how I know most of them started as waitresses, moron.”


“You’re the moron! You--”


“Well!” I clapped my hands. “My work here is done.”


They stopped squabbling long enough to wish me luck. I blew them a kiss and backed out of the room.


A car came for me at 6:15. The driver was new.


“Where’s Kurt?” I said.


“Good morning,” the driver said.


Greetings. Right. Very important. “Good morning,” I said. “Where’s Kurt?”


“Kurt?” The driver steered the car to the end of our driveway. “He got reassigned.”


I fell back against the seat. “Are you serious?”


Brown eyes glanced at me in the rearview, then away. The town car floated down the street. Dawn was breaking over the wooded hills. In massive homes, behind gates and circular drives and meticulously curated lawns, my neighbors were waking. Bankers. Hedge fund managers. Doctors. Stretching, yawning, showering, shaving. Buttoning and knotting. Brewing, scrambling and toasting.


The world--my world--was getting ready for work.


But I didn’t care about any of that at the moment.


“Tell me,” I said to the driver. “I can take it.”


He hesitated. Finally:


“I heard it was the yelling.”


“What?” I cried, before I could catch myself. More calmly: “That’s outrageous.”


“Would you mind buckling your seat belt, Miz Moore?”


I reached for the belt, not taking my eyes off the mirror. “I never yelled at Kurt.”


“I think it was more a proximity-type situation.”


“I yelled near him?”


“He’s a sensitive guy, what can I say? You want me to take the Sprain Brook?”


“Take the Sawmill.” We passed the country club, the shopping center, the nature preserve. I tried to let it go. I couldn’t let it go.


I have a hard time, in general, letting things go.


“I’m extremely careful about raising my voice,” I said. “I’m strategic.”


I caught the hint of a smile. “You ask Kurt, there’s an awful lot of strategy going on back there at six thirty in the morning.”


I pulled Stephen’s brief out of my bag and found my place. I uncapped my pen. I looked up. “What’s your name?”




“Are you going to have a problem with the yelling, Jorge?”


He pursed his lips. “Nah. I’m tough.”


“Excellent.” I turned a page and circled a typo.


Looking back on that time--that car trip, that morning, that strange, enraging autumn--I can’t help but think: forget death in Antarctica--I was the real nightmare. Pestering my children, haranguing my driver . . . who does that?


Funny, though: from the inside, life was good. I was happy. My stresses and challenges seemed to me proof of a full, hectic modern existence--the kind we’re all supposed to strive for. Sure, I was headstrong and obsessive and maybe a little prickly sometimes, but I had plenty of good qualities, too. The people and things I cared about, I cared about deeply. I worked hard--always had. I’d gone to the best high school in the country, the best university, the best law school, all on my own. I never drank. Never smoked. Never cheated. Never lied. I never even swore.


I sound so impressed with myself, don’t I? Swaggering around with my intensity, my work ethic, my litany of bests and nevers. In truth, I was pretty pleased to be me back then. I had a wonderful husband and two great kids. I had good friends and satisfied clients. I was young (thirty-seven), healthy, wealthy and (I thought) wise.


My life was a story I’d written myself, and it hit all the registers. Early loss, long struggle, triumph over adversity. Sacrifices rewarded, love earned and cherished. I was proud of what I’d accomplished.


It was all going very much according to plan.


I finished editing the brief and glanced at my calendar. The entry at 11 a.m. looked so innocuous. “Clerk call.” Two little words.


Tiny assassins.


A lot of what I do is pretty dry stuff. Securities fraud, contract disputes, one faceless corporate entity suing another over a big pile of cash. The case tormenting me that particular morning was different. My clients were a group of women suing a restaurant chain called Gaia Café. It was a ubiquitous, supertrendy lunch spot beloved by vegetarians, vegans and people on the Paleo diet.


Turns out the company’s employment practices were straight out of the Stone Age, too. My plaintiffs suffered pay discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, promotion discrimination and persistent, unwanted sexual advances.


All at a place called the Gaia Cafe.


I’d taken the case pro bono and filed a nationwide class action. The defendant fought us for three years. Their lawyers were weasels and their executives were boors. They offered a joke of a settlement on the eve of trial, which I advised my clients to reject. The trial was a four-month ordeal, widely reported in the press. Our evidence was good, but not great. The judge was sympathetic, but skeptical. We submitted our final papers weeks ago. The previous Friday, I’d received an e‑mail announcing that the court would issue its ruling at 11 a.m. on Monday, at which time the clerk would call both sides and inform us of the judgment.


So yes. I was a little on edge.


My phone rang. When I answered, a voice said, “Thanks for asking me about my date last night.”


It was Sarah, my best friend. We met in the first class on the first day of our first year of law school (Criminal Law, Prof. Raeling, Room 127, third row center). She stopped practicing a few years ago to stay home and raise her kids. Last spring she divorced her husband, the devious and disappointing Tad. Now she was dating again, fiercely and with great determination.


“My apologies,” I said. “How was your date?”


“I got LAID!!!”


Jorge’s eyes flickered to the rearview, then away. I relaxed into my seat. “Congratulations.”


“He was Latvian.” Sarah had a weakness for foreign men. “I’ve finally invaded the Balkans.”


“The Baltics.”


“Whatever, nerd. It was superhot. He was like this hairy, sexy wild boar. Snuffling and growling. Rooting away at me.”


“Sounds dreamy.”


“Right?” I heard dishes rattling. “So are you a mass of jangling nerves right now or what?”


Sarah had followed the Gaia Cafe case from the beginning. She knew the judgment was coming down today. “I’m fine,” I said.


“Liar. How did you die in your dream last night?”


I told her.


“You’re a perv,” she said.


“I’m not a perv!”


“Of course you are. The ice crack represents your--”


Sarah is wonderful. I hadn’t said a word about how nervous I was--she just knew. She also knew that I wasn’t going to be cheered by empty phrases and vague promises that everything was going to be okay. I needed to be bantered with. Teased. Distracted.


“You’re profoundly disturbed,” she said. “This is why you need a therapist.”


The car slowed. Traffic was getting heavier as we approached the city. “I don’t need a therapist.”


“Of course you do.” I heard more dishes rattle and, in the distance, a child’s shout. “The only reason you took this case is because you’re an orphan.”


According to Sarah, the only reason I do anything is because I’m an orphan.


“Those waitresses are stand-ins for your lost mother,” she continued.


“There are fourteen hundred plaintiffs, Sarah.”


“Exactly. You have serious mommy issues.”


I laughed. She kept going. “You’re a wounded bird.”


“I thought I was a piece of hard candy with a gooey center.” Her usual metaphor.


She didn’t miss a beat. “You’re a bird-shaped piece of candy. With a broken candy wing.”


I heard a crash, then wailing. “Is that the wild boar?”


“If only. It’s Mercer. Raney.”


We were passing under the George Washington Bridge. “Yes?”


“No matter what happens today? You did a phenomenal job.”




“My pleasure. Now get to work, ya deadbeat!” She hung up.


I glanced at my calendar for the rest of the day. I had (a) a meeting at 12:30 with the ACLU, (b) a partner lunch at 1:30 and (c) conference calls at 2:15, 3:30, 4:15 and 5:00. In addition, I needed to (d) draft a letter to the court in one of my securities cases and (e) speak with a client about settlement.


I also had a new associate joining my team. Amanda something or other. Fresh out of law school, she would need to be welcomed and inspired. Subtly judged. Intellectually challenged and motivated to begin working the insane hours necessary to justify her exorbitant salary. I hoped she was good.


We left the West Side Highway at Fifty-Fourth Street. I checked my e‑mail. I had seven new messages, including one from Aaron.





From: Aaron Moore


To: Raney Moore


Date: Monday, September 18, 6:41 AM


Subject: Missing You


Hey hon. It’s the middle of the night here, and I can’t sleep. The reading last night was great--lots of kids. This is such a beautiful city. We should come here, maybe after the first of the year? Just the two of us.


This trip has been too long. Can you tell how much I miss you? I miss our daily life. I miss the girls. I miss making love to you. I can’t wait to see you.





Poor Aaron. He hated life on the road. He had trouble sleeping, trouble eating. His homesickness was palpable in every e‑mail, text and phone call.




Are you nervous? What a question--of course you’re nervous. I’m not. We’ll be celebrating tonight. I’m so proud of you.




My phone vibrated twice. High-priority messages. I skipped to the end.




I can see a sliver of the Golden Gate Bridge from my window. It’s beautiful, all lit up in the darkness. I’m going back to bed. Call me when you hear from the court!


Love, Aaron




As we pulled up to my building, Seventh Avenue was coming to life. Swerving taxis, rumbling trucks. Honking horns and the charred reek of nuts from the vendor on the corner. I took a deep breath of city air, then walked inside.


I read e‑mails through the lobby. Past security. Into the elevator. As the doors closed I put my phone away and closed my eyes and did my thing.

Q & A

A conversation with Eliza Kennedy, author of
(Crown, May 15, 2018)

Q) In DO THIS FOR ME, your main character, Raney Moore, is an ambitious attorney at a hallowed New York law firm, a wife to a famous writer, and a loving mother of twin girls. Her world is perfect . . . until she finds out her husband cheated on her while on a book tour. What was Raney like before she found out about the affair?
A) Raney is a woman who’s convinced she’s got it all figured out. Career, marriage, family, friends—she’s won at life and happily takes the credit. There’s a lot more going on under the surface, of course: insecurity, fear, memories of a difficult childhood, the suppression of uncomfortable emotions and desires. Raney locks all that away, choosing instead to focus on her success. Then a big part of that success vanishes with a phone call.

Q) In your first novel, I Take You, your heroine, Lily Wilder, has no qualms about sleeping with other men, even though she is engaged to a man she cares deeply about. In many ways, Raney is the opposite of Lily. Though she’s also funny and bold and (seemingly) fearless, her life is about prohibitions: no drinking, no swearing, and not a lot of interest in sex. What inspired this new novel, and what were the challenges in creating Raney?

A) This book nearly killed me. I wanted to write another novel about infidelity—specifically, to show how a marriage could survive an affair. I was approaching it like a lawyer, intent on presenting an argument. And that was deadly. I’d created this complex, vibrant character in Raney, but instead of following her, I was forcing her to stick to my agenda. It wasn’t ringing true. We fought constantly. We probably could have used couples therapy. Eventually, I realized that a novel isn’t a legal brief—you can’t intend to persuade. So I let go, and the book became what it should have been all along: the story of a woman who has been putting up protective barriers all her life, a woman profoundly (and often comically) alienated from herself, and what happens when she embarks on a quest to figure her shit out.
Q) As a former lawyer, you draw a picture of firm life that isn’t always flattering. In addition to the long work hours, one theme that unfolds is the workplace culture and how women are treated. In light of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, many women stepped out to confirm they have been harassed or assaulted in the workplace, igniting #MeToo on social media. Why did you feel it was important to touch on that theme?
A) I started the novel over two years ago, well before we started having this (long, long) overdue conversation about men and women in the workplace. Nevertheless, I knew I had to give Raney an experience of workplace sexism, since, sadly, no woman could have attained her level of success without having to deal with it. Still, I didn’t want to be didactic or simplistic about it.  That’s why, at first, Raney is pretty unenlightened. Sticks and stones won’t break my bones, et cetera. Only gradually does she realize that her self-protective strategy is harmful to other women, and probably to herself. I liked the idea of a woman having to be educated about sexism as part of her discovery of all the other things she’s ignored in order to succeed.

More recently, I’ve been reflecting on how sexism might manifest itself differently in other fields. The law is a contentious place, full of people who argue for a living. More than once, I

experienced harassment as a litigation strategy: an opponent would say or do something awful not only because he believed that as a woman I was a lesser being, but also because he wanted to rattle me and he thought boorish behavior might do the trick. (Surprised I’m not still a lawyer?) Sexism is, at its base, a power relation, and the power structures in place in the legal world are different than those in, say, entertainment. But they’re there, and for all our progress they still work against women. I’ll be interested to see whether the legal world experiences the kind of onslaught of allegations that creative fields are now confronting.
Q) The novel begins with Raney’s discovery of Aaron’s betrayal. She reacts by methodically and hilariously taking his life apart—all while approving briefings and taking client calls (some of the best scenes in the novel!). What drives Raney, a very organized and careful person, to this outlandish and impulsive behavior?
A) Rage. She is purely, utterly enraged. She thought she had it all, she thought she knew everything, and upon being presented with solid evidence that, ha-ha, sorry, he was playing you for a fool, she lashes out, using all the tools at her disposal.
Q) There are so many laugh-out-loud moments during Raney’s takedown of Aaron—from canceling his credit cards and hacking his Twitter feed to putting their house on the market and moving their belongings out—all while he’s en route back from his book tour to try and explain himself. Did you draw from any . . . ahem . . . personal revenge experiences? What were some of your favorite scenes to pen?
A) I’ve never been angry enough with anyone to commit identity theft—though who knows what the future may bring? But in terms of the overall feel of those scenes, I was definitely drawing on my memories of work emergencies. When something big and urgent happened at the law firm where I worked, there would be this sudden maelstrom of activity: paralegals and associates rushing around, phones ringing, paper flying—and at the center of it all, a partner, directing the troops, delegating tasks, and otherwise curating the madness. Even though Raney is attempting to destroy her husband rather than an opposing litigant, I thought she would do so in lawyer mode, and I had a lot of fun interspersing her diabolical attacks with the ordinary events of the workday—signing expense reports, talking to clients, and so forth. My favorite part to write was the Twitter stuff. That’s some supervillain-level revenge.
Q) Raney has managed to create a name for herself among the men in her firm in large part by ignoring a lot of bad behavior. Her game plan has always been to work hard, prove to them you’re the best, and ignore the rest. But as the novel unfolds, we see that Raney is complicit in several ways, including some naughty behavior of her own. Tell us about that!
A) After her rage subsides, Raney takes a very Raney-ish approach to Aaron’s infidelity: she sees it as a problem to solve. So she embarks on a quest to gather information, find answers, and return to the status quo. But the more she learns—about infidelity, about desire, about herself—the farther she seems to be getting from any concrete result. There comes a point at which the floodgates open, and without giving too much away, let’s just say Raney learns a lot about desire. And while that should be the tidy conclusion to her story, it actually makes things more complicated. I didn’t want this to be a story about good women and bad men—I wanted it to be messy, and human, and to demonstrate that we’re all susceptible to making mistakes. Which is very much what Raney does.
Q) The peripheral characters in this novel are equally charming and entertaining—Raney’s loyal assistant Renfield; her best friend Sarah; Marty, her mentor and champion at the firm; her newest associate Amanda; and the enthusiastic and very resourceful paralegal, Cameron. Tell us a bit about each of them.

A) Renfield is an old-school legal secretary, a New Yawk kind of broad. She uses shorthand, hates her computer, and is supremely unimpressed with great legal minds all around her. Sarah is recently divorced, worldly-wise, and a loving confederate always willing to tell Raney when she’s being an idiot. Amanda is a young lawyer who forces Raney to rethink her beliefs about sexism at the firm and in the wider legal world. There are others, but my favorite supporting characters are Wally and Jonathan, two of Raney’s law partners and friends, who wander in and out of her office providing comical (and often wildly incorrect) advice about men, infidelity, and dating.
Q) While DO THIS FOR ME is incredibly entertaining, it is more than just a fun beach read (though it’s definitely that!). Raney’s experiences touch on larger issues, such as fidelity, a topic many people believe is black and white, but it is actually incredibly complicated. What’s your take on monogamy?
A) Swans seem good at it?

Q) DO THIS FOR ME goes in directions that many readers might not expect. Raney spends a good deal of time trying to understand her marriage and her sex life. Along the way, she discovers parts of herself she never knew about, as well as another love interest, Mickey Singer. Did the novel end the way you originally anticipated?
A)  Not at all. Even after I tore up my misguided agenda, I was unsure where to leave things. As a result, there have been three entirely different endings to the book. The first was abandoned somewhere around the copyedited stage. I came up with the second shortly thereafter, only to realize it wasn’t right after the galleys had been created. The third (and best!) ending will be printed in the final book itself. Unless I change my mind again. (Kidding! Only kidding, lovely and patient editors!)  
Q) I Take You is currently being developed into a film, and you’re writing the screenplay! Is there any news you’re able to share? Have they cast any of the leads yet? Have you thought at all about who would play Raney if film rights for DO THIS FOR ME are also picked up?
A) I did write the screenplay and had a great time translating Lily’s voice from the page to the visual world of the screen. I believe the producers are on the hunt for a director right now. I’d love for the same thing to happen with the next book, although I have intentionally avoided thinking about the perfect Raney. I’m too superstitious.
Q) In addition to your new novel, you’re also doing some TV writing. You were recently tapped to adapt Mary Roach’s book Bonk, a bestselling science book all about sex, for TV. How has that project been to work on?
A) So much fun. I love writing novels, but I miss working with other people—screenwriting is far less lonely, and I feel very lucky to be able to do both. Bonk is such a witty and thought-provoking book, and I’ve had a fantastic time devising a fictional story around its stranger-than-fictional facts. Though I’ll never be able to capture Mary’s voice. She’s just too good.
Q) What are you working on next?
A) I have an idea for another novel, but I’m going to hold off for a few months—this one was a torment, and I want to make sure my pesky agendas don’t get in the way again. In the meantime, I’m working on an original screenplay and Bonk-ing away (sorry—the jokes are too easy).