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Atlanta, GA, United States
I am the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best Selling author of The Proposition, Proposal, Music of the Heart, and Nets and Lies. I am represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich for all books except for Proposition and Proposal.
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Friday, May 30, 2014

Prologue for Vicious Circle...Are you ready for the dark side?

As you may or may not know, I'm an equal opportunity writer--I don't stay in one genre. I've written Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy...you name it. 

After becoming Sons of Anarchy obsessed, I was hit by a ton of bricks with a MC story/series. At first, I thought, "No, no, no! That's too out of my realm!" But the characters simply would not take no for an answer.

Here's the blurb in case you missed it, and the Goodreads link! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20622381-vicious-cycle?from_search=true

David aka ‘Deacon’ Malloy has devoted his adult life to the Hell’s Raiders motorcycle club. Plucked off the streets as a teenager for his fighting ability, he willingly embraces the violent life-style of his new family. After his adoptive father’s murder during the last club war, he slid into the vacated role of Sergeant at Arms. His world is thrown for a loop when a former club whore dies, and the five year old daughter he had no idea he had fathered is deposited on the club steps.

Alexandra Evans followed in her parents’ footsteps by going into education. As a Kindergarten teacher, she loves helping her young students learn to read and write. At the start of the school year, one little girl stands out to her above all the rest. With an aura of sadness about her, Willow Malloy is someone who needs all the tender loving care Alexandra can give. When she suddenly stops coming to school, Alexandra goes in search of her. What she finds is a clubhouse full of bikers, and a father hell bent on keeping his daughter always within his sight during a turf war.

The moment Deacon lays eyes on Alexandra he knows he has to have her. He doesn’t give two shits about the fact she’s a na├»ve civilian or that she has no desire to become another one of his conquests. He’s never found a woman he couldn’t have, and he wants nothing more to persuade Alexandra into changing her mind.

Will Deacon seduce Alexandra into his dark world, or will she help him embrace a brighter future for himself and his daughter?



I give you know the prologue for Vicious Cycle


Bouncing her legs on the worn, leather couch, Willow happily followed along with Dora as she went exploring. No matter where the cartoon went, it was always better than the run-down apartment building where Willow lived. At the sound of splintering glass shards crashing across the kitchen floor, Willow abandoned Dora’s world, tucked her ratty teddy bear under her arm, and hightailed it out of the living room. Although she was only five, she knew all too well what was to come after the angry voices and the throwing things began. She had learned to read the signs, and sadly she was never wrong.  There weren’t many places of refuge in the tiny apartment where she and her mommy lived. But there was one place she could always count on to ride out the violent storms.

To other kids her age, the dark recesses under the bed were a frightening place. But for Willow, the known horror that often surrounded her was far less scary than the unknown. Lifting up the faded blue and white patchwork quilt, she crawled across the dingy carpet and underneath the ratty mattress that smelled like smoke and pee. Dust bunnies clung to her clothes, clouding her lungs and making it difficult to breathe.
Once she settled in, she pinched her eyes shut and imagined herself miles and miles away. Whenever she was scared, she always went to be with her Angel Mommy. In Angel Mommy’s world everything was happy, beautiful and pure. Rainbows stretched across the sky over castles filled with unicorns. But the best part of all was Angel Mommy herself. Angel Mommy never drank too much out of the bottles with dark liquid that made her real mommy angry and then sad. Angel Mommy never had boyfriends who yelled at Willow or smacked her in the face or on the bottom. For Angel Mommy, Willow was her whole world—the only focus of her love and attention. They would play for hours and hours, running along the grassy meadow or playing hide and seek in one of the castles on the hillside.  

She’d first begun to dream of Angel Mommy two years before at Christmas time. After her real mommy had drunk from the bad bottles and Mommy’s boyfriend had stuck himself with the scary needle, they started yelling at each other. Cowering on the couch, Willow had tried to hide behind the pillows. As Mommy and her boyfriend’s voices rose louder and louder, they began to push and shove each other. When Mommy tripped over one of Willow’s shoes, she lost her balance and fell into the small Christmas tree in the corner. Ornaments had broken and scattered along the floor.
After Mommy had screamed at Willow and thrown the offending shoe, hitting her in the face, Willow had tried to pick up the mess to make Mommy less mad. An angel in a long white robe was the only thing that hadn’t broken. It had soft, dark hair that she could stroke like one of her dolls, and it also had soothing brown eyes that gave Willow the reassurance she so desperately needed. Willow hadn’t let Mommy see that she kept the angel. And that very day, Willow named her Angel Mommy and always kept the ornament close to her side.

Under the bed, she let her hand creep down to her shorts pocket where Angel Mommy waited to give her comfort. Willow stroked the doll’s hair as the yelling in the living room grew louder. Just as she was about to plug her ears with her fingers, there was the bang of the front door blowing open and hitting the wall, like when Mommy’s boyfriend came home angry. More voices now. More yelling. More breaking glass. It sounded like the living room was being torn apart.

Mommy was begging someone with a voice that Willow wasn’t used to. It rang with fear, and it was usually Willow who was afraid, not Mommy. Thump, thump, thump. Willow began to shake at the sound. Was it pounding boots? Mommy didn’t like when Willow’s shoes made loud noises. Holding her breath, she prayed to Angel Mommy that the man in the boots wouldn’t find her. But even as she was saying the words over and over in her head, the scary person came inside her bedroom. She could tell right away from the size of his feet that it was a man. He started over to the closet. Clothes and toys began to litter the floor as he went through her possessions as if he were looking for something in particular.
Then he went over to her chest of drawers. One by one, he pulled the drawers out and tossed them to the floor. When one landed a little too close to her, she jumped and hit her head against the mattress, causing her to squeak. The small noise caused the man to freeze.

Willow’s heart began to beat wildly, and she felt like she couldn’t breathe. As she tried burrowing farther underneath the bed, the mattress covering her was ripped away. With a scream, she stared up at a man who was a vision out of her worst nightmares—long, stringy black hair, an angry red scar that ran down his face and onto his neck, and a patch over one of his eyes. Willow pinched her eyes shut with fear. Please, please, help me, Angel Mommy!

But then Big Booted Man grabbed her up and hoisted her over his shoulder. She could barely breathe, least of all cry out or scream—it was as if her voice had been snatched away the moment her precious hiding place had been invaded. Her body trembled with fear as he marched out of her bedroom and into the living room. He tossed her about like a mistreated baby doll. When they finally came to a stop, he jerked her around to where she was facing out from his chest. His arm wrapped tightly around her waist, binding her to him.  

Her voice momentarily returned at the horrific sight before her. “Mommy!” she cried. Mommy and her boyfriend, Jamey, were tied with rope to two chairs from the kitchen table. Jamey stared at her with the same aggravation he always had. But Mommy wasn’t talking or looking at her. Blood trickled out of her nose and mouth, her head hung limp. When she didn’t respond, Willow kicked at Big Booted Man to try to get away. “Mommy!” she shrieked.

She was rewarded with a smack to the head and face. “Shut the hell up, brat!”

Although she shouldn’t have, she cried out with the pain. Her face stung as if someone was poking her repeatedly with something tiny and sharp. It sent tears to blur her eyes.

She jumped at the sound of a gravely, harsh voice behind her. “Crank, watch yourself. She doesn’t get hurt until I say so, got it?”

 “Yessir,” Crank replied.

Willow turned her aching head to see a mean man staring at her. The look he gave her made her tremble all over. His black eyes focused on her with such hatred, even though she had never met him before. “Aren’t you a pretty, little thing,” he said.  

Since she couldn’t speak, she only stared at Mean Man. He then turned his gaze from her to one of the men who was standing behind her mommy.  

“Wake the bitch up,” Mean Man commanded.

The man grabbed Mommy’s hair and yanked her head up. She cried out, her eyes blinking furiously. When she met Willow’s gaze, she sucked in a harsh breath. “Leave her out of this. She has nothing to do with my business,” she said, in a pained whisper.

“Ah, but you see, she is part of you two, so she’s my business. Since you decide to fuck with my business, I’m going to fuck with yours.” Without taking his eyes off of her mommy, he took a step closer to Willow. “I think it’s time we showed your daughter what happens when you double cross someone.” Mean Man waved a gleaming silver knife in front of Willow’s face. When the blade pressed against her neck, fear overwhelmed her, sending warm liquid dribbling down her legs. Big Booted Man who held Willow pulled her back from the blade to give her a shake so hard her teeth clattered. “The little cunt just pissed all over me!” he exclaimed.

Mean Man narrowed his eyes. “Don’t be such a pussy, Crank. Now hold her fucking still, you hear me?” 

Crank grumbled but kept his arms tight around Willow. Mean Man glanced at Mommy and Jamey before he once again pressed the blade to Willow’s neck. “Now let’s try this again, eh? If you don’t fucking tell us where the shipment is, I’m going to start cutting pieces out of your kid!”
Jamey rolled his eyes and gave a contemptuous snort—the kind he usually gave Willow when she tried to talk to him about dolls or her favorite television shows. “Go ahead and slit the brat’s throat. I don’t give a shit.”

The Mean Man’s eyebrows rose in surprise. “You just playin’ me, man? ‘Cause I will seriously hurt the little shit.”

“You heard me straight. I don’t give a shit if you spill her blood all over the floor because it won’t be mine flowing out of her.”

“If she ain’t yours, whose kid is she?”

“She’s Malloy’s bastard.”

Mean Man hissed at the mention of the name. “Which Malloy?”

“Jamey, don’t,” Mommy protested, looking scared. All her young life, Willow had wondered who her daddy was. Whenever she asked, Mommy would call her daddy bad names. She’d never even seen a picture of him. Now it seemed Mommy had been hiding who her daddy was because she was scared. Willow couldn’t help wondering if her daddy was as bad as these men.

“Shut your trap, bitch,” Mean Man snarled. He then jerked his chin up at Jamey. “Tell me which Malloy the brat belongs to.”

“She’s Deacon’s.”

A name. Willow had finally heard her daddy’s name. For some reason hearing it made her feel like she knew him somehow. Her happiness was fleeting. Hearing her daddy’s name seemed to make Mean Man very happy, and Willow imagined that couldn’t be good. A smile curved on his lips. “Well, now. This certainly changes things, doesn’t it?”

His knife lowered from Willow’s throat. When he took a step closer to her, Willow cringed back against Big Booted Man. “This seems to be your lucky day, little girl. Letting you go now is going to serve my purpose far more in the long run.” Mean Man cocked his brows and stared at her. His rough hands came to cup her chin, tilting her head to look at her from several angles. “I can’t believe I didn’t notice it before. You’re the fucking spitting image of that cocksucker.”

Mommy leaned forward in her chair. “Just let her go, okay? Using her won’t do you any good. Deacon doesn’t even know she’s his—I left him before I found out. He doesn’t like kids, so he won’t give a shit about her.”

Mean Man tsked at Mommy. “He might not care at first, but I’ll give him some time. Even if he doesn’t want her, I guarantee his brother, Rev, will. And I’ll use any leverage I can against Deacon and his brothers.” He motioned to Crank. “Put her down.”

Relief filled Willow when she felt the ground beneath her feet again. Mean Man crouched down beside her. 
“I want you to listen to me and listen good. You tell no one what you saw here tonight, understand?”

Although Willow bobbed her head furiously to show she understood, it didn’t seem to satisfy the Mean Man. He leaned in to where she could feel his hot breath burning against her cheek. “If you say a fucking word to anyone about me or what you saw, I will come to you in the night and cut out your heart. Got it?”
Apart from the times when she explored with Dora or escaped with Angel Mommy, Willow spent a lot of time afraid. But, until now, she had never experienced such frightening fear like this. The tremor seemed to flood every part of her body. Although she shook from head to toe, she couldn’t make herself reply.

But somehow Mean Man was satisfied with her lack of response. He turned back to Mommy. “Does she have somewhere she can go?”

Tears streaked down Mommy’s cheeks. “Yes, she stays with the lady down the hall a lot.”

Willow’s fear dissipated a little at the thought of Mrs. Martinez whose warm and cozy apartment she stayed in during the times Mommy was away with Jamey or working. Mrs. Martinez always cooked something for Willow, and she even let her help prepare the food. She let Willow call her Mama Mari, and it was like getting to have a grandmother like her friends at school did.

“Fine. She goes down the hall, and we finish this.”

“C-Can I at least say goodbye,” Mommy questioned, as her chest rose and fell with sobs. Seeing Mommy cry made Willow start to cry.

“Hurry it up,” Mean Man replied, shoving Willow toward the chair where Mommy sat.

Clambering as best she could into Mommy’s lap, Willow buried her head in Mommy’s neck. Still bound tight by her fear, she couldn’t seem to make her lips move to say the words she was screaming in her mind. No matter how mad and mean Mommy was, Willow always loved her. She wanted nothing more than to be hugged and kissed by Mommy, but she very rarely got what she wanted.

“I love you, Willow. You be a good girl for Mrs. Martinez. She’s going to take you to your daddy. You be good for him, okay?” Willow nodded. Mommy started to cry harder. “I’m sorry I was a bad mother, baby. I hope you’ll have a better one now.”

Willow jerked back to stare into Mommy’s eyes. What did she mean a ‘better mommy’? Was she going somewhere? If Willow went to live with her daddy, did that mean she would never see Mommy again? It made her cry as her tummy twisted. “I love you, Mommy,” she whispered, finally finding the words she desperately wanted to say.

“I love you, too, Willow.”

“All right, enough sentimental bullshit. Crank, take the kid down the hall. Tell the woman to get the fuck out of the building for the next few hours if she knows what’s good for her.”

Big Booted man responded by snatching Willow up again and marching her to the door. As Willow gazed over her shoulder, Mean Man closed the gap between him and Mommy. Just as they started out of the apartment, Mean Man’s knife went to Mommy’s throat. Mommy looked straight at Willow. “I love—” Her words were cut off when the knife slid across her neck.

Willow’s mouth opened in a scream, but nothing came out. As hard as she tried closing her eyes from the sight of the red blood pouring from her mommy’s neck, she couldn’t. The last thing she saw as she was taken from the apartment was Mean Man turning back to her as he brought his fingers to his lips to remind her to keep quiet.

Willow knew that she would never tell. She never, ever wanted to see Mean Man again. No matter what was done to her, she would never tell.


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