Let Devlin Take Your Heart For A Ride........

            Let Devlin ride into your life and heart.

            Devlin roars into Gracie’s life on a motorcycle in Devlin’s Grace from Rebel Ink Press as the first chapter begins. She’s scared but she’s intrigued too.  Readers get their first taste of Devlin in a brief prologue so they’re aware he served in Iraq.   And it’s evident the attraction is mutual. Devlin is far from the ideal date.  He’s more than a little rough around the edges and he struggles with many things including PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  He rides on the wild side of life and by his own admission he’s more than a little wicked.  After all, his nickname is ‘Devil’.  Since Gracie’s a good girl and a college student, you might expect her to turn tail and run but she doesn’t.  Instead, she responds to him with an openness he hasn’t experienced until now.  Devlin is more than a little prickly but Gracie, despite her natural shyness, can be pushy.  And she dares to move closer when everyone else tends to back away from the former Marine.

            Devlin is a flawed hero. He’s human but he’s not without redeeming qualities. And Gracie looks beyond the mask, probes deeper behind the façade.  The more she knows him, the deeper her feelings become.  Their love story possesses some poignant moments and I think it’s because he’s not perfect but they work together in spite of their issues.

When I decided to get serious about writing fiction I didn’t set out to write romance, just tell stories.  It wasn’t until after I’d finished the third one I realized I was writing romance and it worked for me. I strive to write about everyday people who are often in extraordinary circumstances, real people with quirks and flaws and troubles.
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            From Devlin’s Grace, here’s an excerpt:


            “I don’t sleep much, anyway.”

            His hesitant manner hinted maybe he didn’t usually volunteer such personal information any more than she invited men up to drink coffee or rode motorcycles.   Her hand trembled the tiniest bit as Gracie put her cup up to her lips.  Dev made her nervous, but he evoked a growing sense of tenderness, too.  And his presence leached out a lot of her usual bashful reserve.  Deep weariness shadowed his eyes and haunted his face, she noted, so she asked, “Why don’t you?”

            This time, his mug shook between his hands.  After a heavy moment of silence, he sighed. “You can’t expect the devil to have sweet dreams, darlin’.  Thanks for the coffee.  I’ve got to go – morning comes early and I have to work.”

            When he held out the cup, Gracie noticed the scarring on the underside of his left arm.  Dead white skin mottled with angry red patches and rough ridges indicated he’d suffered serious burns.  She noticed similar scars on the side of his neck and wondered how much of his body had been affected.  Everything she’d learned screamed at her to say nothing, to ignore what she saw, but Gracie followed instinct.  After accepting the cup, she put it down on the end table and touched the old burn.  Her fingers brushed against the coarse skin and marveled to find it cool.  She expected heat, but it would’ve gone long ago.  Dev started to jerk away from her, but when she touched him, he stopped.  Like a bird poised for flight, he remained still as she stroked the damaged area.

            Before she could speak, he pulled his arm back and with a defiant glint in his eyes, he removed his t-shirt. “If you want to see the scars, you can see them all,” Dev said, voice harsh and hoarse. 

He revealed a torso dappled with terrible raised welts, both back and belly.  These scars were worse than the others.  Raised red ropes twined like vines over his flesh, fused and almost melted.  The agony Dev endured was beyond anything she could imagine and Gracie’s eyes brimmed with tears.  They spilled over, down her cheeks with silent hurt.  One glance at his face, set hard and as stoic as a statue intensified her empathy.  She laid her right hand on his back, his scarred flesh beneath her touch and with her left she touched the center of his chest.

Beneath her hand his heartbeat thumped, rapid but steady.  His eyes locked with hers and in them Gracie glimpsed flickers of his personal hell.   Confusion showed up, too, along with regret and maybe shame.

            Whatever she did or said now would be pivotal, she sensed.  Based on her actions he’d either leave and be gone from her forever, something she didn’t want, or a new beginning would emerge, delicate and fragile.  If she took time to think, she’d be lost so Gracie mined deep into her woman’s soul.  When words came, she spoke them, her voice soft and yet as constant as the evening stars.  “Oh, Dev, it must’ve hurt so much.”

            “I don’t want your pity,” he said, a snarl transforming his face into something wolfish, alien.  “Don’t feel sorry for me, babe.  I don’t need charity and I sure as hell don’t need you to tell me some dumb ass feel good bunch of shit.  So quit crying over me.  Maybe it makes you feel better, but it makes me mad.”

            “It isn’t pity,” Gracie told him. “I admire you.  It takes a lot of courage to overcome hurts like this.  I hurt for you, but I don’t feel sorry for you.  I hate you had to go through such pain, but I’m crying because I care.”

             His hard face softened a little. “Why?”

            In this raw moment, she could give him nothing but honesty. “I don’t know, but I do.”




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