We all get caught up in day to day drama of our lives. The next book, the next task at work, the next thing we HAVE to do. Take a moment and hear what Jennifer has to say about this cause and the book she wrote to shed light on the blight of Domestic Abuse.
Thank you so much, Eden, for hosting my book birthday party today! Skin Deep, a contemporary romance published by Whiskey Creek Press, is turning two this month and I’m very excited to celebrate with you.
First, here’s a blurb about it:
The last thing Valerie needs, after escaping an abusive marriage to an alcoholic and rebuilding her life, is a broody, secretive, standoffish man. But that’s exactly what she gets when she becomes a makeup artist on the set of a hit sitcom and draws the attention of the series’ star.
John Samuels hides a terrible past—a life of abuse and neglect. A successful acting career and the affection and support of cast, crew and friends, does nothing to convince him that he is anything other than an unlovable monster.
Will he learn that the life he’s been living has been built on a lie or will he be doomed to repeat the sins of his father?
Here’s an excerpt:
That night, after all the scenes had been shot, Valerie waited for everyone to leave. She didn’t want to answer questions or receive pity.
She arranged and rearranged drawers and tools. The trailer contained three stations, each with its own make-up chair. A long table ran down one wall, with plenty of drawers for storage space. Well-lit mirrors hung above the table. Un-able to find anything else to do, and convinced by the silence that everyone had to have left, she took out her keys to lock up. She jumped as a knock sounded at the door, the trailer rattled, and a head peeked in.
“Oh, hi, John.” She expelled a deep breath and willed her heart to slow its frantic beat. “Do you need something?”
“No.” He entered and stood by the door. John Samuels played the lead. At almost six-foot three, he dwarfed the trailer and had to tip his head to fit. He folded his muscular arms across his chest and spread his feet apart. “Michelle told me you were not joining us tonight. I thought I would see if I could change your mind.”
Valerie rolled her eyes. “She is persistent.”
“You noticed.” John’s dark eyes twinkled. His mouth widened with a ghost of a smile. Valerie tried not to gasp.
He reminded her of a rugged cowboy—broad-shouldered, with a prominent brow, dark piercing eyes, high cheekbones, and a cleft chin. When he smiled, even a slight trace of one, his eyes looked like liquid velvet and his dimples twinkled like stars in the night sky. A five-o’clock shadow covered his cheeks. Her fingers itched to brush against their rough texture, to tease his mouth into a full-blown grin.
“So, what can I say to make you join us?”
As he leaned against the wall in well-fitting jeans and a T-shirt that left nothing to the imagination, Valerie’s mind said, “Sleep with me.” Heat crept up her neck, over her cheeks, and continued to the roots of her hair. A thin sheen of sweat dampened the space between her breasts. She felt the sudden urge to fan herself, like a damsel in distress in an old B-movie. Instead, she ignored her traitorous thoughts. Her balled fist pressed into her tight stomach.
“Tonight, not even chocolate will change my mind.”
She didn’t exactly lie. She had no intention of going to the bar, or of sleeping with him, no matter how her thoughts might try to sabotage her good intentions. She’d been fooled by surface finery before, and it had almost killed her. She wouldn’t let it happen again.
“I will remember that,” he promised. “But next time you will not get off so easy.” His eyes bored into hers for a moment, and then he turned on his heel and left.
* * * *
True to his word, John arrived the following day pre-pared for battle. With a cursory knock on the door, he dangled a bag of M&Ms inside the trailer, but snatched it back be-fore she could grab them. “We are going out for pizza. I will pick you up in ten minutes.” Before she could answer, he walked out.
Valerie shrugged as she finished her work. The new Val-eerie never allowed other people to make decisions for her, but she’d practically handed John a permission slip. And, he had M&M’s. How could she refuse?
Ten minutes later, he returned, ushered her out the door and down the steps. Although he didn’t touch her, she could imagine the warmth of his hand on the small of her back, and feel the gentle puff of his breath against her hair. The angle of his body steered her toward the others in the parking lot as if he had taken her by the hand and dragged her with him. An invisible electric charge pulled her. Or maybe it was his Dial-soap scent. That scent—soap and man—made her stomach flip flop. Her uncontrollable reaction to him disturbed her, especially since he appeared unaffected.
He remained silent, strode toward their meeting place, and studied his surroundings as if he expected someone to pop out of the shadows and yell, “Boo!”
Then she saw the brown bag of M&Ms sticking out of his white shirt pocket. Before he could stop her, she reached around and grabbed them, opened the bag and popped three in her mouth.
“Hey, those are mine!” He reached for the bag, but not fast enough to retrieve them.
“Not anymore.” As she danced away from him, she stuck another handful in her mouth.
He brought his hand up to his heart, as if she had wounded him deeply, but the twinkle in his eye gave him away. Valerie had all she could do not to burst out laughing.
“You did not have to take them, you know. I was plan-nine to give them to you later.” He pouted and his dark hair fell across his brow, but not before Valerie saw a flash of a smile turn the corners of his mouth up.
“Oh really? When?”
“After dinner, of course. I would not want to spoil your appetite.”
As if that were possible. Valerie laughed again and John grunted, a deep hoarse sound that climbed from the pit of his stomach and thrust its way out his mouth.
Skin Deep was published in November 2011. I want to commemorate its publication, but I’d like the commemoration to mean a little bit more. Of course, I’d love for you to want to buy the book (you can find links at Whiskey Creek Press , Amazon , and Barnes & Noble ) and I’m also offering giveaways (described below), but in addition, I’d like the book birthday to benefit others.
Valerie, the heroine, is a survivor of domestic abuse. Her story has a happy ending. Not everyone, however, is so lucky. A portion of the royalties that I receive from each purchase of this book is donated to the Rachel Coalition, a local organization that helps victims of domestic violence. Here are some statistics that might interest you (from The Domestic Violence Resource Center ):
- One in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The National Institute of Justice, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence, July 2000. The Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999)
- Estimates range from 960,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend to 3 million women who are physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year. (U.S. Department of Justice, Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends, March 1998. The Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999)
- Women accounted for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence, men for approximately 15%. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003)
- Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence each year, and between 100,000 and 6 million men, depending on the type of survey used to obtain the data. (Rennison, C. (2003, Feb). Intimate partner violence. Us. Dpt. of Justice/Office of Justice Programs. NXJ 197838. Straus, M. & Gelles, R. (1990). Physical violence in American families. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers. Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence. National Institute of Justice, NCJ 181867.)
- Women ages 20-24 are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)
- Separated and divorced males and females are at a greater risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)
- Intimate partner violence affects people regardless of income. However, people with lower annual income (below $25K) are at a 3-times higher risk of intimate partner violence than people with higher annual income (over $50K).* (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.) *Please note that those with less resources are more likely to report incidents of violence
- Studies show that access to shelter services leads to a 60-70% reduction in incidence and severity of re-assault during the 3-12 months’ follow up period compared to women who did not access shelter. Shelter services led to greater reduction in severe re-assault than did seeking court or law enforcement protection, or moving to a new location. (Campbell, JC, PhD, RN, FAAN. Anna D. Wolf, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Protective Action and Re-assault: Findings from the RAVE study.)
For every comment I receive on this blog, as well as any other venue in which I celebrate the 2nd birthday of Skin Deep, I will donate $1 to The Rachel Coalition.
The Rachel Coalition is a division of Jewish Family Service of MetroWest, and a partnership of nine northern New Jersey organizations working together to provide services and support programs for victims of domestic violence in Essex and Morris County. You can find more about them here.
Additionally, anyone who comments here between today and November 16 will be entered into a drawing. Prizes include: signed copy of Skin Deep, birthday gift pack or a Sephora gift card. For anyone who purchases Skin Deep, either in paperback or as an e-book and can show me proof of purchase (email copy of receipt to email@example.com .), I will enter you into a special drawing for a massage gift card. Again, my goal is to help out victims of domestic violence while drawing attention to my book!
Good luck to everyone and thanks for celebrating with me!