Hey, welcome back! I’m excited this week because Book #5 in my Fab Five series is coming out in just a few days, on the 22nd! This is the book that will stay with you long after you turn that last page. It was difficult for me to write, and several times I had to get up and walk away and return to it later. It will literally rock you to the core.
The story is about a girl in an abusive relationship. Having never lived it, I had to find a way to put myself into the victim’s head. And when I did, I became emotionally attached. I cried a lot while writing and editing this story. My heart went out to my heroine. I know women who have been in similar situations and it made me appreciate them even more after finishing this book.
The Advanced Review copies went out Friday night to a few people and I’ve heard back from some of them already. The general consensus was that it was well portrayed and a book that will long be remembered. I hope they are right because this book tells a story…one of survival…and one of the power of love…and of course, the most important quality in the Fab Five books…friendship.
Here is the blurb for A Rocky Road To Romance:
More Fab Five drama and this time it’s the O’Gradys facing turmoil at every turn.
Chloe’s high-risk pregnancy has her homebound as she and Shane anxiously await the arrival of twins. Shane is busy between home and the office, so when Katy’s son, Alex, moves to Dallas, taking a job in the offices of O’Grady Enterprises, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Alex is attracted to the hostess at Chloe’s Place, Chelsea Wyatt. But Chelsea has a boyfriend…and a secret. When it becomes apparent to all around her she is in an abusive relationship, Alex is more determined than ever to convince her that he is the guy for her.
As Chelsea comes to the realization she is falling in love with Alex, he gives her a small glimpse of what life with him could be like. But a bombshell is dropped on Alex when he is told someone is stealing from the restaurant and Chelsea is one of the prime suspects. Determined to prove her innocence, Alex discovers just how devious Chelsea’s boyfriend, Dante, is. And when Chelsea learns the truth and attempts to break free of Dante’s hold on her, he viciously attacks her, leaving her for dead.
As Chelsea attempts to recover from the physical and emotional trauma, Alex is by her side. The Fab Five rally around her and Alex, offering help and support. Can the young couple get back to the plans they made for a life together or is Chelsea too emotionally damaged after the attack to even consider it?
And here’s a little snippet for you:
Chelsea Wyatt parked her car in the employee parking lot of the upscale Dallas restaurant, Chloe’s Place, and looked in the mirror. As she brushed her hand gently across the bruise on her cheek, she decided it was hidden as well as it could be with the makeup she had carefully applied before leaving her apartment. Dante didn’t mean to do it, I know he didn’t, she told herself for the twentieth time. She sighed, picked up her purse and got out of the car. Walking in the back door of the restaurant to begin her shift as hostess for the evening, she hoped no one would notice. She wished she could confide in Alex, her friend at work, but he was the boss’s son. It was probably better not to go there.
Marcos, the restaurant’s head waiter, greeted her, “Hi, Chelsea, how are you this afternoon?”
“I’m good. How’s everything here?”
“Busy night ahead of us, lots of reservations,” Marcos replied, smiling.
“Business is good. The O’Gradys must be happy.”
Chloe O’Grady walked into the employee area to the right of the kitchen and laughed. “Yes, Chelsea, we are very happy.”
“Chloe, what are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be taking it easy?” Chelsea asked. Chloe was in the beginning stages of a high-risk pregnancy. She was expecting twins and had been told to rest by her doctor.
“I’m feeling better and the doctor said I can stop in from time to time to say hello, but I’m still supposed to do the bulk of my work from home.”
“I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better. When Katy told all of us what was going on, we didn’t know whether to be happy for you or concerned.”
“Oh, that’s so sweet, but it’s a happy thing. Shane and I’ve wanted a baby for a long time. And now we’re getting two, so all’s good! Now that the morning sickness is better, hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here on out,” Chloe replied with a smile.
Chloe’s husband, Shane, walked in. “Honey, are you ready to go yet? I thought you were picking up work and going back home.”
“I’m just chatting. I’ll be ready soon.”
“Okay, let me know when you’re finished, and I’ll drive you home.” Shane leaned down and kissed his young wife on the forehead. Turning to Chelsea he said, “Hi, Chelsea. How are you tonight?”
“I’m good, Shane, thanks for asking. Congrats on the twins. I haven’t had a chance to tell you yet.”
“Thanks. I’ll see you later. I’m working tonight. I think Alex is going to stay and help out, too, since it’s going to be so busy. Ryan gave him the afternoon off in exchange for helping out in here tonight.”
“I guess I’ll see you later.” Chelsea smiled at the younger O’Grady brother as he left the room.
“I’d better leave. He’s not going to stand for me hanging around here for long. It’s going to be a long seven months.” Chloe laughed as she left for the corporate office to retrieve her work.
“Bye, Chloe, take care of yourself.”
Chelsea prepared to take her station at the desk in the lobby. Whew, made it through so far without anyone noticing my cheek. Maybe it’ll be okay.
But what Chelsea didn’t realize was that it had been noticed, by both Chloe and Shane. And when Chloe entered her husband’s office, which was in the corporate building next door to the restaurant, she sat down with tears in her eyes.
“You saw the bruise didn’t you, honey?” Shane asked, kneeling beside her. He put his strong arms around her. “Don’t cry, baby.”
“Why does she stay with that monster?”
“I don’t know, Chloe. I only hope Alex doesn’t go berserk when he sees her tonight. He really cares for her. I don’t know how much more of this he’s going to stand for before he says something to her. Or worse yet, says something to Dante.”
“Why can’t she see that the sweetest, most loving guy around is right in front of her? Alex would do anything for her. Why would she subject herself to the physical and mental abuse she puts up with Dante?”
“Some girls like the bad guys. And maybe she cares enough about Dante that she can’t pull away. I don’t know. I do know the guy is bad news. At the first sign of him causing trouble here, his ass will be grass.”
“I wish I could talk to her about it, but I don’t want to embarrass her,” Chloe said, wiping her eyes with a tissue.
“Maybe in time, she’ll open up to someone here,” Shane replied. “Come on, babe, let’s get you home. Isn’t Marianne coming over to visit a while this afternoon?”
“Yes, she is pampering me like crazy. And, of course, I love every minute of it.”
Chloe’s sister-in-law, Katy, walked in. When she saw Chloe’s red, swollen eyes and splotchy cheeks, she became concerned. “Chloe, is everything all right?”
“I’m fine, just getting ready to grab some work and go back home.”
Katy glanced at Shane and he nodded. “She’s okay, Katy. I’ll fill you in when I get back to the office. It’s nothing to do with the babies.”
“Thank God. Get yourself home where you belong. Marianne will be by to keep you company later, won’t she?”
“Yes, Momma Katy, she will. I swear all of you are like Momma’s to me now.”
Katy grinned. “We all love you like a little sister, Chloe. We wouldn’t have made you a ‘Fab,’ if we didn’t.”
“And I thank my lucky stars every day that the ‘Fab Four’ walked into my restaurant that autumn night a few years ago. My life is so much richer with all of you in it.”
“Chloe, you know we all owe you and Shane a great deal. Without the two of you, where would we all be now? Still in Iowa, Ohio, and Chicago, instead of in Dallas having the time of our lives, I’d imagine.”
“Oh, you would have eventually ended up here, Katy. You and my hot brother-in-law were meant to be, even without my help. Y’all are a match made in heaven. ”
“Okay, girls, enough about my hot, older brother, you’re gonna give me a complex.” Shane chuckled.
“Aw… baby… you’re hot too,” Chloe teased.
“Well, your ‘hot’ hubby is ready to take you home, so get your stuff together and let’s go.”
“He’s right, Chloe. Go home and get some rest. I’ll see you later. I’ll bring dinner on my way home, so no cooking.”
“Yes, Momma Katy,” Chloe replied humbly.
Ryan O’Grady walked in the room. “Shane, may I see you for a minute?”
“Sure, bro. I’m just getting ready to drive Chloe home, will it take long?”
“Katy, honey, would you mind driving her home? I really need to speak to Shane about an urgent matter.”
“Of course I can. Chloe, let’s get you settled and comfy on your couch.” Smiling at her handsome husband, she replied, “I’ll be back soon.”
“Love you, see you later,” Ryan replied.
“Love you, too.” Katy walked out to her car with Chloe, curious about the urgent matter.
On the way to Chloe’s house she asked, “What is going on? I find you crying in Shane’s office. Shane says he’ll fill me in, now Ryan has an urgent matter to discuss with Shane. I feel like I’m in the dark here.”
“I’m not sure what Ryan was talking about, but I’ll tell you why I was crying.”
“What is it, Chloe?”
“When I first got to the office, I went to the employee lounge and the kitchen to say hello to everyone. Chelsea had just come in to start her shift. Oh, Katy, she had another bruise and this time it’s on her face. I think Dante is abusing her.”
“We all know he verbally abuses her, he stands her up, is late for dates, and generally treats her badly. But I had no idea he was physically hurting her, as well. You’ve noticed bruises before?”
“Yes, but on her arms, never on her face. The poor girl tried to disguise it with makeup, but it’s there.”
“Alex will be livid. I think his attraction to her is more than just friendly. I honestly believe my son is in love with the girl.”
“You may be right about that. I wish she’d wise up and see that Alex is a much better choice than Dante. I don’t think she has a clue he’s that gone on her. And I think she’s afraid to break up with Dante.”
“This is bad. I feel sorry for Chelsea, but I worry about Alex getting involved in this mess, if Dante is violent.”
“He’s got all of us behind him. Shane has already said if Dante causes any trouble at the restaurant, he’s in for a rude awakening.”
“Shane will be there tonight, so if Alex is very upset, he’ll know how to handle it.” Katy pulled into Chloe’s driveway, so the conversation came to a halt. She made sure Chloe was safely settled on her sofa with a cup of tea and her work before she left.
“No problem. Marianne should be here soon and I’ll drop by with dinner later. Love you.”
“Love you too, sis.”
I hope you’ll take the time to download and read this story. I believe it will touch your heart and your soul.
It will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance.com
Book # 6 The Road To Forever will be released by LazyDay Publishing on September 25th. I am currently at work on Book # 7 and it should be released sometime in 2014.
Until next time…