Friday, October 19, 2012

Dangerous Embrace Giveaway!

Romantic Suspense/ Thriller
Title: Dangerous Embrace
Author: Dana Mason
Date to be Published: 10/04/12
Sarah Jennings wants nothing more than a quiet life—alone.
Raised by an eccentric mother, their life on the road only taught her how to run away from hard times. But when she finds herself in an abusive relationship, this lesson serves her well. 

Now, back in her hometown, she's found a place she loves. She’s a first grade teacher, and with few friends and less family around, she has what she wants, a quiet life under the radar where she can be free of her past and live quietly. Finally comfortable in her own skin, she’s settled, and less fearful than she’s ever been in her life.

But it only takes one night and one act of violence for everything to change. Injured and afraid, Sarah wants to run again, but Mark Summors refuses to let her go.

Just when Sarah thinks she can have Mark and the life he promises, her past comes back to haunt her.

Mark Summors was born and raised in Santa Rosa. He married his high school sweetheart and never questioned his life, until he found his wife with another man.

Now divorced, he wants something more. He’s passionate about his job, he wants to protect people, and he devotes his life to it.

This time he’s protecting more than just another client, he’s protecting his future; at least, Sarah Jennings will be his future, once he convinces her she loves him

Dana Mason

Author Bio
Dana Mason started writing to prove to her computer geek husband and her math & science geek kids that she actually has a brain; it’s just a right functioning brain instead of a left. She’s lived all over the country and uses that experience in her writing and character studies. Her debut novel, Dangerous Embrace, is the first in a contemporary romance series about a group of friends from Northern California who learn just how short life can be when you don’t hold on to what’s important. Second chances don’t come easy…but sometimes love is worth the risk.
When not writing, Dana specializes in professional development and training. She’s also a board member on the local Art's Council and does what she can to support the art community.  
As an avid reader and movie watcher, she always requires a happily ever after ending

Dangerous Embrace (excerpt 1600 words)

Sarah changed into sweats and joined Mark on sofa. He picked up the remote and flipped through the channels until he found the news.
Spending time with Jamie improved his mood a great deal. Unfortunately their conversation brought him back down a notch. She regretted that her past had ruined yet another day for her. She’d had a good time hanging out with Mark and Jamie, but she couldn’t change who she was or where she came from.
When she heard the familiar sound of the Channel Two news anchor’s voice she looked up and caught the headline.
…third sexual assault in Sonoma County within a week, the police suspect a serial rapist…
Mark’s phone vibrated on the side table and he snatched it up. “Brian . . . ” He closed his eyes. “Yeah, it’s on the news.”
Sarah walked into the bathroom and paced, taking deep breaths to keep from being sick. When she felt better in control, she went back to face Mark. 
She stood in the doorway to the living room and listened to Mark’s side of the conversation. And as she listened, it became painfully clear that he hadn’t been honest with her.
“Call me back when you have more news, I gotta go—” He began to stand, but froze half way up. “Wait, what aren’t you telling me?” His face paled a shade before he straightened. “Oh my god.”
Slowly he closed his phone and turned to Sarah. His expression changed from trepidation to concern.
“You okay?”
She gently crossed her arms over her chest. “You haven’t been honest with me.”
“What do you mean?”
“Really? Do you think I’m stupid?”
His shoulders slumped. “Sarah . . .”
“Tell me what information Brian just gave you.” She inhaled deeply to regulate her breathing. “According to the news, there have been two other attacks in the last week, one today. Did Brian tell you about the second attack?” She sat down before she lost her nerve and collapsed. She hated being lied to and she wanted answers, honest answers. His lies scared her more than what she saw on the news.
“Let’s sit down and I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.”
“I am sitting! Mark, did Brian tell you about the other rape?”
She shook her head in frustration. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t want to ruin your day. You were finally feeling better and . . .” His eyes lingered on the floor. He took a step back, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “I apologize for not telling you.”
“What did Brian tell you on the phone?”
“They’re sure it’s the same guy that attacked you.”
“What else?” she asked, clamping her hands together to hide her jumping nerves.
“He . . . uh . . . wanted to make sure I was keeping an eye on you. Brian believes you’re still being targeted.”
Sarah bowed her head and scrubbed her face with her hands. He was stalling—keeping things from her. Lying. She wasn’t stupid, she could see right through his stammering bullshit.
Mark stepped forward and reached out for her. “Are you all right?”
She pushed it away. “Why? Tell me why he believes that. What new information did he give you?”
He stared at her without speaking, obviously trying to get his lies in order before he said too much.
“I am not a child. Stop treating me like one. I don’t like not knowing—this deceitful behavior isn’t okay with me.” She fought to control her temper, trying not to overreact. She wanted to trust him, but if he kept secrets, how could she?
She closed her eyes and shook her head. She thought he was different—but Mark was no different. He wanted to control her. Only he disguised it as protecting her. No—she wouldn’t let this happen again—not again.
Sarah stood and walked from the room, pulling her borrowed cell phone out of her pocket. She went into her bedroom, closed the door behind her, and started dialing numbers.
“Hey, Devon.” Relief washed over her at the sound of his voice.
“Hey, Sis, what’s going on?”
“Can I hang out with you for a few weeks? I need a change of scenery.”
“What’s wrong?”
“Why do you immediately assume something is wrong?”
“What should I assume when you ask if you can visit before you say a real hello?”
She rolled her eyes, bouncing her head back and forth. He had a point. “I miss you.”
“You don’t have to ask to visit me. You’re always a sight for sore eyes.”
His warm voice comforted her, but she couldn’t hold in her unsettled, strangled giggle when she thought of giving up and leaving.
“What’s up with you?” he asked.
“I need a break. I need a friendly face.” Her voice broke when she said it.
“You can’t lie to your big brother. Tell me what the hell is going on.”
“Nothing I want to talk about over the phone. If you’re sure it’s okay, we’ll talk when I get there.”
“You can come here anytime. Don’t be stupid.”
“Thanks, I’ll see you Friday.”
Sarah hung up and pulled her suitcase out of her closet. She needed to call Ava, ask her to check on the house when she got back from her trip. Sarah lifted the suitcase on the bed, dialing Ava’s number at the same time. Before she got the number dialed, Mark knocked on the bedroom door. She stuffed the phone back in her pocket and jerked the door open.
“Hey, listen—“ He stopped midsentence, looking into her room at the suitcase on her bed. ”What are you doing?”
“I’m leaving town until the police can get this figured out.” She turned and unzipped the suitcase. “Thanks for everything you’ve done, but you don’t have to worry about me. I have a safe place to go.”
He stepped closer to her. “Where are you going?”
“I’d rather keep that to myself.” She paced the room, pulling clothes from her closet and adding them to her suitcase.
Mark’s voice tightened. “You said you didn’t want to leave.”
“I can’t be stupid about this. I need to keep myself safe, regardless of what I want.” The decision to leave relaxed her. Running was in her blood. She had her mom to thank for that. And not being able to trust Mark changed everything for her.
“No.” He shook his head, his voice sounding panicked. “I can’t let you leave.”
She threw the sweater she’d finished folding into the suitcase. “Excuse me, but you don’t have a say. I stopped listening to your opinion when you started lying to me.”
When he came closer, she stepped around him, pulling clothes off hangers and carrying them to her bed.
“Sarah, don’t leave. I promise I’ll tell you everything.”
“Too late. You should have already told me everything. Come on, Mark, aren’t you sick of being here anyway? Aren’t you sick of all of this? Don’t you want to go home and back to your normal life?” She fought the painful regret surfacing. How could she have let herself get sucked into this? She wanted so badly to believe in him, to trust him. 
“What are you talking about? I want to be here for you. Why don’t you believe that?”
She threw her hands in the air. “Why? Tell me why it’s so important to be here. Why do you have this masochistic need to protect me?”
“Because that son of a bitch could have attacked anyone.” He ran his hands through his hair and made a fist, his eyes darting around the room, searching for the words he needed. “My mother was in that parking lot. My sister, Ali, any student could’ve been his victim. You—fighting him off— were incredible, and strong, and nobody else could have . . . but you did.” He dropped his hands to his sides. “I need to do this. I need to make sure you’re okay.”
“You don’t owe me anything. I don’t want you to feel obligated to help me.”
“Obligated . . . no . . . ” He held his hands up. “That’s not what I meant. I need to make sure you’re okay because I care about you—not from obligation.” He stepped closer. “Just stop packing and talk to me—give me a chance to tell you what happened.”
“I trusted you, and you lied. How could you do that?”
He reached out, his arms engulfing her. “I’m sorry about lying, but you can trust me, Sarah.
Tensing, she stood stock still, not sure what to do, but once his warmth settled into her, she relaxed. Mark’s embrace didn’t loosen and she realized he was more upset than she’d ever seen him. She put her arms around him and some of her anger subsided. 
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “Give me a chance to fix this.” He moved his hand up to the back of her neck and his fingers threaded through her hair, then he pulled back and looked at her. His intense stare traveled from her eyes to her lips as he leaned in and kissed her. She expected tender, but he was passionate, hot, and oh so damn sweet.
Mark’s kiss melted her resolve. His warmth pulled her in and held her there, kept her secure and made her feel safe again. He would protect her even from her own fears if that’s what she needed.

Jen's Review :

OMGohs! This poor girl! Can she ever catch a break???
Well I guess she caught Mark, so that's a good thing, right?

Sarah has had a VERY HARSH life - growing up, her mother was always competing for attention. Taking her kids to the clubs with her, or just leaving them alone. Dad's out of the picture, but she has re-married a couple of times.

When Sarah was in high school she met Kevin Lewis... When Sarah graduated from high school, Kevin became even more protective of her, abusive both physically and mentally. She was so afraid of him, especially when she caught him in bed with someone else. After trying to leave him, he beat her so bad, she lost her unborn child and ended up in the hospital.

The only way she could escape. She snuck out and ran.

8 years later, Sarah is still on the run. but she has finally made a little home for herself. She is always looking over her shoulder, but she has a couple of choice friends, a nice steady teaching job, and she's very content.

That is until one night when she had to stay after work a little late to talk to some parents, when she was attacked
Sarah froze at first, not knowing what to do at first, but her instinct to fight finally kicked in. She fought as hard as she could, and when she finally got away, she ran as hard as she could. Right into the chest of another man. Screaming and thrashing, not knowing if this was a friend of foe, she freaked.
But she heard to soft voice of the man who was trying to help her. just before she passed out.

When she woke up, she was back home. not remembering much about the hospital, or the statements she gave the police, or anything of that matter, and when she saw the strange guy in her house, the panic came back all over again.

Sarah had a hard time adjusting to Mark's compassion. She wasn't use to people doing nice things for her, especially people she didn't know. But Mark tried he best to help her out.
But Sarah kept freaking out... so he left her alone.

Mark is a SWEETHEART! Who would have known that a perfect stranger could so so much care for someone he didn't even know. But the more he got to know Sarah, the more he cared for her. But she was very Timid, and scared all the time. He could see how strong she was, but could also see she was looking over her shoulder and afraid of people.

When the guy that attacked Sarah in the parking lot left a note in her mailbox, Sarah started to panic again. Mark took care of calling Brian, his friend at the police force, and was able to get a matching DNA on it.
Then another attack happened to another girl, from the same guy, they knew that Sarah wasn't safe.

Mark took it personally to make sure that Sarah would be safe...

This was a great story, I really felt bad for poor Sarah. It seemed like every time she was just started to get back to normal, BAM - something else jumped up at her. She just couldn't catch a break. One could only imagine the stress that could cause on a person, let alone on a relationship.

Giveaway: eBook Copy of Dangerous Embrace

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Dana Mason said...

Jen, thank you so much for the review. I'm glad you liked the story! Every girl has a picture of what her perfect hero is like, that made Mark a fun character to write.

J.K. Hogan said...

Can't wait to read it!