Much like the Not Ready for Primetime Players, there is a group of amazingly talented authors on the cusp of stardom. They gather here at the Not so Famous Author's Blog to tell you all about writing and smashing your head on a desk. No just the writing part. .

Enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spotlight for the amazing LaQuette - Author of My Beginning

BLURB
Genesis Lawrence left her home and family in Brooklyn, New York ten years ago and never looked back. When you've spent your entire life protecting yourself from the ones that are supposed to love you, running to the other side of the country seems like the best idea ever. Emotionally bankrupt, she begins rebuilding her life after failed familial connections and a broken marriage leave her too raw to ever believe happiness exists for her. Work as a Physical Therapist in her rehab clinic is all she knows and all she wants.   Drew Marrack has spent the last year of his life trying to end the soul-searing pain of losing his mother by any means necessary, even if that means ending him—literally. After a tragic accident and a resulting disability that devastates the tattered remnants of his world, only one name can give him a brand-new start: Genesis.   Pain, heartache, secrets, and tragedy from the past bring them together, and then fight to tear them apart. Is new love strong enough to give them the fresh beginning they both need, or is this simply the beginning of their end?



AUTHOR BIO
A native of Brooklyn, New York, LaQuette spends her time catering to her three distinct personalities: Wife, Mother, and Healthcare Provider. Writing: her escape from the everyday, has always been a friend and comforter. She loves writing and devouring romance novels. Although she possesses a Masters degree in English Lit, she'd forego Shakespeare any day to read something hot, lusty, and romantic.



LINKS
Facebook.com/LaQuetteTheAuthor
Twitter: @LaQuetteLikes
Goodreads.com/LaQuette
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 3, 2014

PREPARE FOR THE SECOND COMING! (Or at least the coming of the second book in this series...)

I am so proud to announce that my new release, Jude: The Fallen is now available!
Let's take a moment and properly appreciate those feathers, shall we?


The Fallen Series continues with 'Jude', a paranormal romance/urban fantasy that fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood will enjoy. When the big angel meets the intrepid archaeologist, Coriander, more than just sparks fly. But even struggling to get closer to the fiery redhead will be easy compared to the danger that strikes at the heart of the angels. Will he be able to overcome it? Or will he be forever...fallen?

EXCERPT

 
Jude followed behind Coriander, the glow of her flashlight adding more light to their path as it mixed with the interspersed torches on the walls. She ducked into a side alcove and pulled him inside, her breath catching as the beam of the flashlight hit the edge of a large object in the center of the room.
“Is that what I think it is?” he asked.
“Don’t tell me this creeps you out?” she snorted as her eyes scanned the hieroglyphics on the walls. “But yes, this is a tomb.”
“Wonderful. Anybody I know?” he quipped.
“I don’t think so,” Coriander snapped. “Unless you’re long lost pen pals with Setepenre.”
“Who?”
He heard the eye roll in her huff of escaped breath as she examined the wall further. “Setepenre. One of Akhenaten’s daughters, sister to Meketaten.” Coriander turned to face him. “She died before her sister, so most likely we need to go further in.”
Jude glanced at the object. “And is that, you know, her?” He gestured at the sarcophagus.
“Doubtful,” she replied. “The body is probably long gone, but yeah,” she squinted at the rectangular stone tomb, “that looks like it could be hers.”
“Think there’s anything useful inside?” Jude curled his hands on the edge of the sarcophagus, ready to push it open.
"Don't!" Coriander cried. "Don't open it! You'll-"
"What?" he shot back, crossing his arms over his chest. "Please don't tell me you were going to use the word 'desecrate' in reference to me." The big angel smirked. "Please."
Her face scrunched up, disgruntled. "Fine. But can't you bless it first or something?"
"I'm not the Pope, Coriander. Water is the extent of my purview." Jude glanced down at the hieroglyphics carved into the lid. "And I don't think this chick is Catholic." Ignoring the squeak of protest from Coriander, Jude pushed against the lid, and it groaned with the friction of stone on stone as it moved.
“Jude,” she warned. “This is not a good idea.”
He grunted and put his back into it, shoving harder. “What do you mean? I thought this would be right up your alley.” Sweat beaded on his forehead and he grinned at her. “Isn’t this what you do?”
Her hands planted on her hips and she frowned. “No!” she shouted. “I mean, yes, but not like this! You don’t know what could happen when you touch-“
A louder creak of moving stone made her head snap up and her face go white. Jude paid no attention to the fluttering of her hands as she tried to stop him, and pushed the lid off the top by a few inches, enough for a smattering of dust to waft up from the interior.
“Jude,” she said again, her voice more insistent.
“Hang on, I’ve almost got it off.”
Jude.
“What?” he snapped, straightening.
“Oh, you idiot!” she cried, grabbing at him and running for the opening, which was swiftly closing behind the appearance of a hidden door.
Coriander pulled her fingers back just in time before it shut with a loud thud, trapping them inside. She whirled around on him with a murderous glare. “You feather-brained moron! Look what you’ve done!”
He swallowed sheepishly. “Sorry.”
She closed her eyes for a second and drew in a calming breath.
“I really am sorry.”
“I know. It’s fine,” she said, tapping her finger on her cheek. “Give me a second. I need to think.”
The horror of the situation finally dawned on him, and a tiny flutter of panic settled in his throat. Coriander, on the other hand, had relaxed, all traces of her earlier ire gone, her features set in concentration.
“Oh, God,” he groaned as his eyes darted around the room. “Oh, shit. Shit, shit, shit.”
“Unclench, sunshine.”
“We're trapped in a tomb, Coriander! How can you be this calm?” Jude bellowed.
She gave him a bright smile and knelt down, digging though her bag. “Happens to me all the time. No big deal, we'll just...work around it. I'm sure you've been in worse scrapes before.” She waved her hand, blowing him off. “Fiery demons and the whole twelve circles of hell are a lot more complicated than the tomb of a lesser known Egyptian princess, I'm sure.”
“Nine,” he frowned. “It's nine, and I would rather be taking tea in any of them than sitting here on my ass while you try to MacGyver us out of this with a roll of duct tape and some incense!” Jude rubbed a defeated hand over his face and rolled his eyes skyward. “Why do you do this to me?”
Coriander's bright smile widened. “Because, big guy, some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue. And with a butt like that,” she said, smirking at his rear, “expect some shit. Besides, I told you not to touch it.”


Monday, April 28, 2014

What's In My Writing Mind


My first objective in writing is to tell a compelling story. My second, third, and forth objectives are to make readers laugh, think, and cry. And though all four are highly subjective, my goal in writing and in relentlessly editing is to accomplish all four.

Perhaps the reason why I’m such a demanding writer is because I’m an exacting reader. It may just be my ADD, but for every twenty books I start, I might finish one. Reading takes serious time and I (like most adults) no longer have the time to spend hours with a mediocre book. It must be a spellbinding story with an amazing voice. Otherwise, I’ll wait for the movie, reach for another book, or (to you I will confess) start playing Candy Crush or even pick up my remote. Tisk tisk!

So my goal is to deliver a riveting story with a captivating voice. And as much as I know my stories and voice are not for everyone, know that with each page I’m laying down my heart and my soul. I owe as much to you the reader and hopefully to myself.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Interview with Jeff Hennelly - Writer of The Power!

The Interview

Tell us the story behind that cover!

I wanted a hand! I must have looked at a thousand pictures of hands, and the one I chose seemed the most eye-catching—plus it captured the mix between medical and metaphysical that I was searching for.  

What can we learn from your main character?

That when things go wrong we need to first look within ourselves for the power to overcome. That we all have a little of God, and the Devil within us, and though the two are often intermingled, it is ours to proffer which one.   

What has been your greatest compliment as an author, your worst criticism?

Best: when people tell me that they couldn’t put the book down, that they were late for work or stayed up in bed in order to finish THE POWER. Also those readers who actually “get” what the book is truly about. 
Worst: I had someone write a scathing criticism for including sex scenes and dirty words. And they were right, if you don’t want to see sex or dirty words in in your book, this book is not for you.  

What part of the story was the hardest to write, the beginning, the middle, the climax?

I literally rewrote the beginning over 50 times, maybe one hundred. Starting with the ER scene didn’t come until late in the process. But I wanted to start with a bang, and a statement.

Is your main character based on anyone in particular? Did you have a muse for this book?

Austin MacLean is based on a conglomeration of people. But all of them are people that I have admired. As for his flaws, most of those came from me.
Fast Round
Names of your pets: Buster (Cocker Spaniel)

Favorite ice cream, color, book, and television show

Ice cream: Chocolate Chip
Color: Green
Book: Sophie’s Choice
Television Show: The Office or Sopranos
Fame: First Eagles Quarterback to win the Superbowl
Grapes or Raisins: Grapes, naturally
 



The Power 





Blurb

What would you do if you had the power to heal but it only brought you personal destruction and ruin? Would you still use it?

When a street shaman meets a horrific demise on Dr. Austin MacLean’s ER table, Austin soon discovers a raw and irrepressible power. But when this power inflicts traumatic effects on three chronically ill children, families rush to accuse him, his colleagues condemn him, and the police begin to investigate in this affluent New Jersey beach town....and so do others when the children begin to show inconceivable progress.
Dara Kleows, a local reporter, is the first to connect the children’s gradual healings back to Austin. The two develop a deep bond but Austin remains uncertain as to what this beautiful woman wants. Is she just after a story, or more? There are those who covet Austin’s “power” and at any cost, while Dara is more concerned by Austin’s headlong march toward his own perdition.  




Excerpt

When Austin looked up, he thought he saw a faint corona flicker around DJ. It started growing ever-brighter, and he tried to step back but was pulled closer by some indelible force—an atmospheric hollow drawing his humming body into the eye of an invisible storm. An ear-popping decompression was followed by an overpowering energy surge, his brain and muscle masses engorging with a metamorphic euphoria. Experiencing that spine-chilling “conduit” feeling, he swore as if he were about to be struck by some unseen force. And when DJ looked up, Austin sensed the imminent electrical surge was meant for the boy.

Author Bio



Jeff Hennelly now lives in Chester Springs, Philadelphia, PA. He’s been in the medical device business for over 20 years and has worked with hospitals, clinics, and alternate care facilities from Palo Alto to Prague. His articles and short stories have appeared in numerous trade magazines and journals. He is represented by Eric Myers of the Spielman Agency in New York. His novel, THE POWER was published on Amazon in June, 2013. Look for his new novel, THE 95 PERCENT in 2014.  


BUY LINK


Giveaway


In order to enter to win one of two $5.00 giftcards or a copy of The Power put in the blog comments what you would want your super power to be if you could have one. If you tweet the Amazon link you get an extra entry. Make sure you post your Twitter username in your comment if you do!

                         

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Interview with Elaine Calloway


Interview with Elaine Calloway




 

BLURB:

Some say history repeats itself, but for Terran, an Earth Elemental, history has returned and slapped him in the face. Along the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, the Acobi Fallen Angels have decided to go underground–literally. They are resurrecting an old legend, shanghaiing innocent people into slavery. Underage girls are trapped and kept in holding cells, ready to be sold into the sex trade. Terran must stop the Acobi and keep the public away from the Shanghai tunnels, all while keeping his supernatural powers hidden.

Kelly Habersham, overachieving real estate developer, has finally convinced her father and brothers to give her the Portland condo project, which would require extensive construction near the tunnels. Determined to impress her father and make a name for herself in the family business, she is not about to let a Save-the-Earth guy get in her way.

Terran and Kelly must work together and come to a truce--or they may be the next shanghai victims.

Elaine Calloway

Crafting Stories of the Living, the Dead, and the Eerie In Between.

Elaine Calloway grew up in New Orleans with a love of cemeteries, gothic architecture, and all things paranormal. She is currently writing The Elemental Clan Series, a good vs. evil set of tales involving Elementals and Fallen Angels. For more information and to connect with Elaine online, visit her website at http://www.elainecalloway.com.

Follow Her!

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/writerscanvas

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/authorelainecalloway

My Pinterest Pagehttp://pinterest.com/elainecalloway/

Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13256243-elaine-calloway

GIVEAWAY!!

ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN EBOOK OR A PAPERBACK FROM ELAINE!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What inspired your new release? Earthbound is Book 3 in my Elemental Clan Series. This is Terran’s story, the Earth Elemental, and his journeys in Portland, Oregon. The series idea came about from a number of factors. I figured it would be interesting to pair Elementals and Fallen Angels together.

Tell us about any WIPs you have I am in the midst of writing Book 4 (Wind Elemental) to conclude the main series, then I plan to write a few offshoot books with similar themes, in addition to a ghost story trilogy.

How many people ask you to read their books? (unsure of question? - people don’t ask me to read *their* books - but I do get readers wanting to read mine) Now that there are several books in the series available, I have more readers asking when the next book will be released. Maybe twenty people asking these days? It was a thrilling feeling to get my first fan email, asking when I would release Earthbound because he enjoyed the first 2 books so much!

In a word sum up your writing style Descriptive

Do you have a character you enjoyed writing the most? I tend to fall in love with one character per book. In this Elemental series, I enjoyed writing the villains the most, particularly a Fallen Angel named Cristos, who will eventually get his own book. Readers seem to respond to him, too.

Is there a genre you would like to try? I think doing New Adult would be interesting. I already write paranormal, fantasy, and women’s fiction, but I’ve never tried New Adult.

Could you live without coffee? Yes, but never without Diet Coke over ice!


What's your favorite thing about the writing process? I get excited over the planning stage, when I’m gathering information and the characters are beginning to take shape. But my favorite part is when I’m almost done with the first draft. By then, I can see everything clearly and it gets me excited to know it will eventually be edited and turned into a readable manuscript.

Three facts about you - I’m from New Orleans, I live in the Southeast USA, I love Twix bars!

Do you believe in UFOs? - Yes. I don’t wear tinfoil on my head and act paranoid, but I do think that we are a small planet in a big galaxy, with an even bigger universe. To think we are the only ones in our tiny region is not true, in my opinion. I also don’t think mankind had the engineering capability around 3000 BC to build and make some of the feats done in that time (pyramids in alignment, for example). I think mankind had help.

What was your favorite snack growing up? - I can’t remember who made it, but there were these mini-snack cheesecakes in stores in back then. Small enough for one person, but delicious! I miss those. I love love cheesecake :)

Would you rather have fame or fortune? Fame, but not in the typical sense of the word. I want readers to identify with my stories, to enjoy my stories and characters. I’m not looking for the spotlight, just a means of bringing some sunshine into readers’ lives.

What are some of your favorite books and/or series? I like the Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor and the other books in that series. I also like the detective series by Dennis Lehane. He is one of my favorite authors; his words make music on the page.    




Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review of Earthbound by Elaine Calloway

 A REVIEW FROM

I just finished Earthbound. I really really liked it! I didn't read anything about it before I started to read it. I only knew it was science fiction. It was a very unique story line. I haven't come across anything like it. I liked how Terren didn't go right for Kelly. He chose someone else first so that made it different. Usually girl meets guy they fall in love, but won't admit it and will go through stupid stuff to hurt each other, but this was so different. I liked how Kelly grew up in the book and didn't go running around... poor me. Between the Elementals and Fallen Angels it was a great story. 

I admit I got a little bored at some points, but I think it was because I was waiting so anxiously to see what happened and how everything would come to a head in the end. All in all a great story. I will definitely be buying the rest of the series. I want to know each of the Elementals stories. This was really a great read!!! Thanks for letting me read and review it for you. If I can do anything else let me know. I can post a review on Goodreads if you want. Just let me know. Thanks again for this opportunity! 


         Genice Cassidy

 

 

 

BLURB:

Some say history repeats itself, but for Terran, an Earth Elemental, history has returned and slapped him in the face. Along the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, the Acobi Fallen Angels have decided to go underground–literally. They are resurrecting an old legend, shanghaiing innocent people into slavery. Underage girls are trapped and kept in holding cells, ready to be sold into the sex trade. Terran must stop the Acobi and keep the public away from the Shanghai tunnels, all while keeping his supernatural powers hidden.

Kelly Habersham, overachieving real estate developer, has finally convinced her father and brothers to give her the Portland condo project, which would require extensive construction near the tunnels. Determined to impress her father and make a name for herself in the family business, she is not about to let a Save-the-Earth guy get in her way.

Terran and Kelly must work together and come to a truce--or they may be the next shanghai victims.

Elaine Calloway

Crafting Stories of the Living, the Dead, and the Eerie In Between.

Elaine Calloway grew up in New Orleans with a love of cemeteries, gothic architecture, and all things paranormal. She is currently writing The Elemental Clan Series, a good vs. evil set of tales involving Elementals and Fallen Angels. For more information and to connect with Elaine online, visit her website at http://www.elainecalloway.com.

Follow Her!

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/writerscanvas

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/authorelainecalloway

My Pinterest Pagehttp://pinterest.com/elainecalloway/

Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13256243-elaine-calloway

GIVEAWAY!!

ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN EBOOK OR A PAPERBACK FROM ELAINE!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lean on Me - Chapter Reveal by Candy Crum!!

Title: Lean On Me
Author: Candy Crum          
Genre: YA Romance Expected Release Date: March 16, 2014
Reveal Host: Lady Amber's Tours
Book Description: Sixteen year old Bri comes from a wealthy family, allowing her an expensive pass into the popular crowd, though it never much mattered to her. She's on the basketball team and track and is the top in both. 
Bri has everything a girl could want, but she longs for a traditional family that loves one another deeply and would do anything for one another instead of the one she was gifted - cold and very distant. Growing up this way has left Bri alone and forced to raise herself. Bri's parents pressure her to be the best at everything instead of just being the best that she can be. As a result of trying for the perfect life for her parents, hoping that it will one day impress them, Bri finds herself in an abusive relationship for title rather than love with the high school football star and pressured into doing what a lot of teenagers are pressured into doing.  When Bri becomes pregnant, her entire world is turned upside down and she has no idea who she can trust anymore. Bri struggles to find a place in this world for herself and for her baby - the baby that she is desperate to have and watch grow. Along the way, Bri is given an opportunity to completely change her life and the life of her child - but it may hinder the life of someone incredibly important to her ... binding him to a future he was never meant to have, just for her. Bri is forced to grow and grow stronger as she fights for her baby and learns how to be a good mother. Facebook Release Party: https://www.facebook.com/events/281081868715512/
Candy Crum lives in Indiana and is the Author of “The Eternal Series” and other short stories. She published her first novel, The Eternal Gift, in May of 2011 and has been publishing ever since. Candy is an avid lover of the paranormal genre, stemming from years of reading the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice when she was a teenager. Later, she developed a deep love of the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead and the House of Night Series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, furthering her love of the genre and pushing her to really push to finish and publish her novel.
Since then, Candy has released three other books in The Eternal Series and will release another later in 2014. Now, Candy is trying her hand at more contemporary pieces of work, like that of Lean on Me and other books she will release in 2014.
Some of Candy’s interests include the usual reading and writing, music (of most types), movies (action and comedy or any combination of the two), cartoons (she loves to say that her children watch cartoons because she does), and drawing. She loves talking with her fans and loves reading the reviews that her fans are kind enough to leave for her. Always feel free to find Candy on Facebook and send her a message!
Lean on Me by Candy Crum
Chapter 4
Bri struggled to breathe as the wind hissed from her lungs with the awkward landing. Her vision was blurry and her head throbbed. She wanted to scream, but was silenced with something being strapped across her mouth – duct tape. Her attacker grabbed her by the hair and dragged her backward, behind the store. She screamed from behind the tape and kicked her legs, struggling to get free.
Tears streamed down her face as she immediately worried for the condition of her baby. She’d landed hard on her belly. She had no idea what it would take to end a pregnancy by blunt force. The attacker used her hair to pull her up to her feet before slamming her hard into a wall. As soon as her vision cleared, fear coursed through her, adrenaline threatening to make her pass out.
Before, she’d worried that her attacker may hurt her baby (even by accident, not knowing she was with child) in the process of robbing her. Now, she knew the object of this attack was solely for the purpose of harming her baby. She stared into Mike’s cold, hard eyes. She heard the chuckles of four of his friends surrounding him.
“Your mom called,” Mike said, gently running his fingertips down the side of her face. “She said that she was sorry her daughter was so confused. She begged me to take you back. Even told me where you’d be so I could come and talk to you. That was nice of her, wasn’t it?”
Bri sobbed as she tried to push him away, knowing that even if she managed to fight him off, there were four more to subdue her.
“I know we had our little chat just today, but I got to thinking about it and it’s been quite a long time since you and I fooled around. You know what that means? Docs around here won’t do an abortion without parental consent because of the increased risks.”
Bri felt disgusted that he stated that so casually. He was a stupid boy. He didn’t know a lot about anything that wasn’t sports related. She imagined that he’d learned it from other experiences like this, either his own or his friends.
“But you won’t talk to your parents, will you, Bri?” he asked, pushing himself closer. She was terrified, too terrified to move. She wished that she could get to her phone. She wished that she could call for Matt’s help. “I didn’t think so.”
She realized then that she’d been too scared to answer, too scared to lie her way out of it – even from behind tape. Bri was about to answer by way of nodding when the first blow to her face came. She was hit hard, several smaller bones in her face crushing under the blow. She landed hard on the ground, blackness seeping in as she felt the first painful kick to her abdomen. Please, God, was the last thing to enter her mind as she lost consciousness.
“Her pulse is weak,” she heard a man say from above her. She looked up to see an attractive young man hovering above her. “My name is Gerome and I’m the EMT that responded to the call. You were attacked, ma’am. We are about halfway to the hospital. Do you have any allergies?”
Bri shook her head, but remembered that she had one. “Ery… Ery…” As hard as she tried the name wouldn’t come.
“Erythromycin?” he asked.
She nodded. “That’s it.” Her eyes bolted open as she tried to sit up, but she was strapped down. “My baby!”
“Your baby? Are you pregnant, ma’am?”
“Yes! Almost four months. They were kicking me in the stomach! Is the baby still alive? Can you tell?” She was frantic as tears started rolling down her face. She could feel the scrapes on her face as the salty tears stung them on the way down her cheeks.
“Jo!” he called to the front of the ambulance. “Is the fetal Doppler working yet?”
It was a woman that called back. “Oh, God. She’s pregnant? They took it out. It was smashed after the rookie dropped it and stepped on it. They’re supposed to be replacing it tomorrow.”
“What’s a fetal Doppler?” Bri asked.
“It’s a wand that I could place against your lower abdomen and listen for the heartbeat. Unfortunately, we don’t have one.”
“That’s the only way that you can check on her?”
“I’m sorry. That’s the only way that I can tell in here. A stethoscope can’t really pick anything up through the uterine wall. Not in here for sure, though in a quiet room it’s probably possible. You’re having a little girl?” he asked, a sad smile breaking through as he worried for both of them.
“It’s just a hunch,” she said. Her entire body was shaking from shock and fear. Her eyes were growing heavy again, but she wanted to stay awake. She needed to know everything that was going on. “Do you think she will be okay?”
Gerome sighed and placed his hand over hers. “Bad things happen to good people every day. I know. I see a lot of it around here. But one thing I know for sure is that as bad as some of those things are, I have seen some of the most miraculous recoveries. People that never should have lived that were able to go home to their families and live their lives. People think that babies are fragile, and they are, but not nearly as fragile as we assume. That baby wasn’t outside exposed to the attack. She was cradled inside your body. You’re alive. So it’s okay to hold out hope that she is too. But…”
“But it’s best to know that I’m young and this is still really early in the pregnancy,” she said, interrupting him.
He nodded. “That’s right. Listen, you’re not looking too good yourself. Worrying and stressing puts you both in danger. Your vitals are slow, so you need to relax and let me worry about both of you. We will be at the hospital in about five minutes. Focus on staying alive. If you go, so does she. She’s too young to survive outside the womb.”
His words hit her hard. She forced a nod and relaxed. Her ribs ached with every breath, but she forced herself to steady her breathing and try to will the pain away. When she was twelve, she’d fallen during a gymnastics practice and broke her ankle. She’d begged her mother for a week to take her to the hospital, but she wouldn’t, saying that Bri had only twisted her ankle and to stop worrying over nothing. It was finally her father that took her, learning that she’d broken it quite badly and would require surgery.
For that incredibly painful week before seeking treatment, Bri had to learn how to will the pain away. She practiced breathing techniques and focused on something in whatever room she was in as she imagined “pushing” the pain away from herself. She later learned that was a legitimate meditation technique and even taught to some pregnant women to use during labor.
Bri now called on her past experience to help her through the excruciating pain. Being unable to take deep breaths made her work difficult, but she was able to relax as she closed her eyes and focused on what it would be like to be a mother. She imagined herself holding her baby for the first time and being surrounded by the people that she loved. Soon, her mind completely overtook her as she disappeared into unconsciousness once again with only dreams of her baby to sooth her.
Bri’s eyes slowly fluttered open, well – one of Bri’s eyes fluttered open. The other was completely swollen shut. As she realized she now only had use of one of her eyes, she began to panic. She tried to move, but her hands were bound, as were her feet. She tried to scream for help, but her throat was too sore to make such a loud noise.
The sound of frantic beeping entered her ears just before she heard multiple footsteps stampeding into the room. She began to come around as she realized that she was in a hospital. A doctor came into view, a face that was familiar to her. He was her childhood doctor. Another familiar face stepped into view; she was Matt’s mother’s OB/GYN, Maree Metcalf. She’d met her once when she accompanied them to a well-mother prenatal appointment.
“Briana,” Doctor Conway, her pediatrician spoke. “Try to calm down. You’re safe and in the hospital. You were brutally attacked. You can speak, but try to keep quiet. It appears that you were choked. There was some damage done to the trachea, but nothing permanent or needing surgery. It should heal on its own as long as you’re gentle with it.”
She nodded. “Bri.” Another familiar voice. She looked off to the right to see her parents sitting there, holding her hand.
They weren’t there a moment ago, she thought. They must have come in with the doctors.
“How are you feeling?” her father asked.
Bri began to speak a couple of times, only managing a cough as she tried to clear her throat. “Like I was just beaten half to death by Michael Rhodes and his minions.”
Her mother sighed, her eyes closing as she rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Briana Grace. He would never do such a thing. It was he that called us and called 911! Why would he do that if he was the one that hurt you? You owe him an apology.”
Bri laughed again, painfully, just as she had before. That was the final straw. She realized then that her parents didn’t love her. If they did, they did a terrible job showing it. They only loved the idea of having the perfect offspring, the daughter that excelled at everything, and she refused to be that anymore. She was a woman now, a woman that had just been attacked for the purpose of killing her unborn child.
She turned to Doctor Metcalf, now understanding why she’d been there with her. “How am I?” she asked, hoping the doctor would get her meaning.
“You will be just fine. You have a few broken bones in your face, a broken finger, two broken ribs, swollen but otherwise healthy ankle, damage to your trachea, and lots of bumps, bruises, and cuts. But you’ll be just fine.” She smiled softly, reaching out and placing her hand on Bri’s leg. “And the baby is just fine as well. We were fully prepared not to find a heartbeat. Most of the attack was directed at your abdomen. But we did. Your baby is just fine, for now. We will need to keep you for a few days to monitor you both.”
“Wait a minute,” Bri’s father said. “Baby?”
For a moment, Bri thought she saw something that momentarily looked like a very faint, almost too-terrified-to-come-out-of-hiding smile cross her father’s face, but that was over and gone as soon as her mother opened her mouth. She briefly wondered, before her mother started in, how he could have been so disgusted with a co-worker’s daughter being with child, but be momentarily happy with his own. Or had she only imagined the smile?
“You’re pregnant? That’s why you’ve been acting so strangely?” She stood and began pacing back and forth from the head of the bed to the foot and back again. “This is terrible. How could you do such a stupid thing? Is it Mike’s? He just didn’t seem like that kind of boy!”
Bri focused her rage, trying not to have an outburst, knowing that it will hurt her far more than it would her parents. “This stupid thing was because I had an abusive boyfriend that I was petrified of. No one believed me when I said that I was scared of him. Not even you! Everyone said that I was being foolish. That he was a great guy. That I was reading things wrong. Then one night he pressured me into having sex with him. Mom, the way he grabbed me, I knew that if I didn’t, he’d hurt me. One time – that’s all I’ve done it, and I didn’t even want to then. This is not my fault. I was trying to find a way out of the relationship, away from him to prevent being pressured into anything or being physically injured.”
“Well it seems to me that you moved a little slow. This is just awful. What will everyone say? Oh dear, is that why you quit the team? This is awful. Just awful.”
Her mother was a mess, just pacing and rambling.
“Mom, it’s going to be fine. Why should we care what anyone else thinks? I’m finishing school. I’m excited to show this baby exactly what you can do – no matter how hard the circumstances are – and still succeed. I’m going to go to college. I’m still going to do everything that I wanted to before, minus trying for a sports scholarship. That was more your dream than mine. I just love the game.”
Tears ran down her mother’s cheeks as their eyes locked. “Briana, you can’t have this baby. Please, you’re too young. You’ll regret it the rest of your life.”
Bri shook her head and smiled. “No, Mom. If I give up this baby – by any means – I’ll regret that for the rest of my life. Even if I hated and had no desire to take part in the circumstances that led up to this baby, he or she is still all of the best parts of me. How can I abandon that? Don’t make me do this. I’ll never forgive you and I’ll never forgive myself. I’ll always wonder what could have been and it will destroy me.”
“I just don’t think you understand just how hard your life is about to become if you keep that baby,” her mother said, voice quivering a little as she spoke. Something about the way Ellen chose her words sent chills down Bri’s spine. She wasn’t exactly sure what to make of them.
Shaking it off, Bri smiled again. “Yes I do, and that’s okay. I don’t care if the world hates me. It’s not their life. It’s mine. Everything will be just fine.”
Her mother squeezed her hand once. “You should rest. You’ve been through a lot today. We are going to go get some coffee and think about everything.”
Bri nodded, the motion immediately regrettable. Her throat was beginning to feel a little better, though she was incredibly thirsty. Talking so much had both helped and hurt. “Can I get these off now?” Bri asked, referring to her restraints.
“Yes. Sorry about that,” Doctor Conway said. “You pulled out three IVs and punched two of the nurses. We had no choice. Sedation wasn’t a great option because of the baby’s slowed heart rate and you were already unconscious anyway.”
“I am – so – sorry,” Bri said. She felt terrible for having hurt the people that had only tried to help her.
“It’s quite normal in victims of violent crimes.” Doctor Conway released her of the restraints. “I’d like for you to get some more rest. I’m going to give you a pain medication that will help prevent breakthrough pain as well as allow you to sleep. Until the baby’s heart rate comes back up, we will have to be pickier than normal with your pain meds.”
Bri nodded. She didn’t like the idea of being loaded up on drugs, especially while pregnant, but she didn’t want to feel the pain of all of her broken bones and she trusted the doctors to care for both of them. The words of the paramedic came back to her. That fighting and straining could hurt her and hurt the baby. Rest seemed best for now. “Thank you, Doctor.”
Hours passed before Bri woke again. Her sleep was dreamless, and for that she was grateful. Her ribs screamed at her when she tried to sit. She needed to go to the bathroom, but knew it was impossible to go alone. Within moments, the nurse was in her room, responding to her call. By the time the nurse helped her out, Matt was sitting in a bedside chair, smiling at her.
“Aren’t you just so cute in your ball gown,” he said, giving her a wink. He stood and came to her unoccupied side to help the nurse get her back into bed. Bri slowly sat on the edge of the bed, taking a moment to adjust to the pain. Matt placed his hands on her shoulders to stabilize and support her. “I’ve got her from here,” he said softly to the nurse.
“Okay,” the nurse responded, smiling. “If you need anything else, call me. I’m going to change your trash while I’m in here.” She walked across the room and began the task of switching bags.
“You don’t have help me, ya know,” Bri told Matt, still sitting upright. “I really hoped you wouldn’t find out. I didn’t want you to see me like this.”
Matt moved his hands from her shoulders to gently hold her face. He tilted her head upward and he looked into the eye that was open. “I don’t care how bruised, how broken, or how immobile you are now or will ever be in the future. You’re beautiful. Don’t let that asshole tear you down from the pedestal you belong on.” He placed a soft kiss on her forehead.
Out of her periphery, Bri saw the nurse stop at his words, placing a hand over her chest as a smile crossed her face. She was clearly moved by his words, as was Bri. No one had ever spoken to her like that, though he was always sweet and gentle with her.
“Well, that was awfully sweet for a barbarian like yourself,” Bri joked.
Matt shrugged. “I have my moments. Actually I wanted to get you in a headlock and screw up your hair – though I don’t think it’s possible to get it more amazing than it is right now. But – I figured there’d be some rule against abusing the patients.” He winked and helped her lie down before taking the seat next to her bed that he’d previously been occupying. Bri raised the head of her bed so she could sit at a wide angle, allowing her to sit and speak comfortably, but not so tightly as to squeeze her broken ribs.
“Can I get anything else for you?” the nurse asked, still smiling.
“Some ice chips maybe?” Bri said. “My throat is still a little sore.”
The nurse nodded. “Not a problem.”
Matt stood as the nurse made her way out the door. “I’ll go grab them from her so she doesn’t have to come back in.”
“Thank you,” Bri said. “I hate asking them for anything. I know they’ve got other patients who need more than I do.”
Matt laughed. “Wow. Woman, do you realize you’re more than likely one of the more serious patients on the floor? Most of these people probably have shortness of breath or respiratory infections of some kind.”
Bri shrugged, immediately regretting the action. “Still, I feel bad.” Matt shook his head at his friend and smiled before turning to leave the room. “Oh! Sorry, but could you see how my parents are doing? They were out there getting coffee somewhere.”
“Sure, no problem.”
Bri slowly reached for the call light/TV remote control and turned on the flat screen hanging from her wall. She began flipping through channels until she found something that made her happy. It was a rerun of The Vampire Diaries. She nestled in as comfortably as she could before placing the remote at her side and watching.
Twenty minutes or so passed before Matt came back. “Did you have to wait for the ice to freeze?” Bri asked, forcing a pained half-smile. Her face felt more swollen all the time, though she imagined if it actually was, the nurses would have noticed. She imagined it was just her pain tolerance lowering, possibly the pain medication wearing off.
Matt didn’t smile as he walked over to the bed, handing her a small Styrofoam cup with a plastic spoon. He looked behind him to the large closet in the room with double doors meant for patients to store their personal items. He opened it and his eyes momentarily closed before he reached inside.
“What? What’s wrong?” Bri asked. She watched as he pulled an envelope from the closet. He brought it over and sat it next to her on the bed. “What’s wrong? It’s just an envelope.”
He sighed. “It’s not just an envelope. It’s your envelope.”
“Why was it in the closet?”
Matt lightly shook his head as he tore it open, studying the contents. Bri’s heart began to speed up as she saw a flash of color of what was inside. Money.
“That’s for ordering food while I’m stuck in here. They work all the time and know hospital food sucks,” she said, trying to stop the tears from escaping her eyes. Even saying it, she didn’t believe it. “Where’s my phone?” she asked, wanting to call her parents.
Matt sighed again as he pulled her phone from his pocket. “The nurses had it in a bag of your belongings that you came in with. It survived the attack, thanks to the case. But you’re wasting your time, Bri. I tried to make a call from it. It’s been disconnected.”
Her jaw dropped open as a harsh breath escaped her. “What? What’s going on?”
Matt quickly put the money back in the envelope, having counted one hundred dollars, and sat it on the bedside table. He took a seat at Bri’s side and gently held her injured hand. “When I asked the nurses where I could possibly find your parents, the charge nurse stepped forward. I knew right then when they turned to her to answer my questions that it wasn’t good. She said that she overheard them discussing what to do. That your mom was insistent that she wouldn’t raise another baby and that you needed to learn your lesson. She told me your parents slipped the money into the cabinet and told the charge nurse to inform me if I came in. They knew I would.”
Bri shook her head, ignoring the physical pain for her emotional pain and confusion. “What are you saying, Matt?”
His eyes momentarily closed again as he searched for the words. “They gave you that money to give you a start on your own. They’ve kicked you out of the house, Bri. They shut off your phone, too. I called my sister and she drove by and saw a couple of boxes sat out on the curb. She recognized a few of your things piled on top. I’m so sorry. I’m honestly shocked. I knew they were cold, but this…”
That’s what she meant by saying that I had no idea how hard that my life was about to become if I decided to have this baby. Oh my God, Matt. What am I going to do?” she asked, staring off at nothing in particular. She began rubbing her sore abdomen, not caring about the pain, just wanting to feel close to her baby. She was in shock. She thought her parents would hate her, punish her, ban her from anything remotely pleasurable, but she never imagined this.
“You’re going to focus on getting better. When you get out, you can come stay a few days with me, longer if you need.”
“Matt – I can’t stay with you. If your mother finds out that I’m pregnant she will think it’s yours. She’ll kill you.”
He shrugged. “Maybe not. My mom loves you. She loves me, too. The real kind, not that fake crap your parents tried to push off to their friends to look like great parents.”
Bri was silent for a few minutes as so many thoughts flooded her mind that she found herself not thinking about anything at all. Her pain was back tenfold and she knew it was partly because she’d lost concentration on it with the news and partly because she’d been sitting a long while and now her body was tense with stress. Not to mention the meds had more than likely worn off.
“I need to sleep. I can’t handle this right now. My body is starting to hurt again and my head feels like it’s going to explode.”
Matt reached for the call light and pushed it. “She’s in a lot of pain. Is it time for her to have meds yet?” he asked when they answered.
“Of course, we will be right in,” she answered.
“I’ll leave so you can get some rest,” Matt said, gently stroking the back of her hand.
“No – please. I hate to ask, but I just can’t bear being alone right now.”
He gave a soft smile and nodded, pulling the padded chair next to her bed closer. Matt sat down next to her and held her hand. He leaned over to kiss the sensitive back, just along her knuckles. “I’m not going anywhere, babe.”