Today's excerpt is one that is important to me. The proceeds for the the book it's from, "Unbridled" by Lauren Grimley, will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and V-Day. The author, Lauren, will be splitting the proceeds from her new paranormal romance short story collection from the Alex Crocker series, "Unbridled", between these two terrific women’s charities and hopefully inspiring readers to make individual donations, as well.
My mother died, after a two -year battle, of breast cancer when I was eighteen, and one maternal cousin and my stepmother are breast cancer survivors. So breast cancer is very personal to me. I knew, as soon as I received Lauren's email back in August, that I had to participate in this event.
A little info about Lauren ~
Lauren Grimley lives in central Massachusetts (*waves* Hi neighbor! ~ Bea) where she grew up, but her heart is on the beaches of Cape Cod where she spends as much of her time as possible. After graduating from Boston University she became a middle school English teacher. She now balances writing, reading, and correcting, all with a cat on her lap and a glass of red wine close by.
Unforeseen, the first novel in the Alex Crocker Seer series, was Lauren’s debut novel. She was thrilled this spring to continue the series with Unveiled and now Unbridled. To learn more about her or her writing or to connect with her online visit her website at www.laurengrimley.com
Author website: http://www.laurengrimley.com
Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Lauren-Grimley/e/B007Y5ZZSG
Twitter @legrimley: https://twitter.com/legrimley
And now, I'm turning this post over to Lauren:
Last fall I began drafting a short story collection. I was aiming only for romance. Soon though I was connecting these tales with a fourth story, one that illuminated what linked the ladies in these tales: strength and survival. Around the same time my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time, a battle that would require just the sort of strength I had been bestowing on my fictional heroines. Suddenly I saw an opportunity to use my passion for a greater purpose. Romance for a Reason was born.
Today I’m releasing Unbridled, a collection of connected short stories about three couples from the Alex Crocker series, an adult urban fantasy and paranormal romance series. To coincide with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, for the month of October, I am also hosting Romance for a Reason, a fundraiser to support two terrific women’s charities. Proceeds from Unbridled will be donated to these organizations. I also hope by raising awareness of important women’s issues, people might reach out on their own to support these and other organizations that help women and their families.
I’m very thankful to Bea and the other bloggers and authors hosting me this month for allowing me to share my stories and my mission. Oh, and by the way, Mom just had her most recent MRI and is officially cancer-free once again! (Excellent news! ~ Bea)
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation
The facts: Breast cancer is the second most deadly form of cancer facing women today, yet there are over 2.9 million breast cancer survivors living in America. Most of these women (and men) were saved by early detection and advances in treatment that would not have been available without the research and studies funded by non-profits like the BCRF.
My reasons: I was deeply affected by my mother’s initial cancer diagnosis when I was just a senior in high school and then again last November. Unfortunately, almost everyone I know has faced a breast cancer diagnosis of a woman they’ve loved. No daughter should have to worry about whether her mother will be around to see her walk down the aisle. No mother should have to wonder if she’ll live to see her grandchild born. Though the survival rates of breast cancer have tremendously improved in recent years, those fears can’t be eliminated until breast cancer itself is wiped off the map. This is the BCRF’s mission: to prevent and cure breast cancer in our lifetime.
Why this breast cancer charity: The BCRF is one of the highest ranked charities in the country, currently spending 91 cents of every dollar collected directly on research and awareness. Recently they’ve also expanded to helping support awareness and prevention programs, which are key to increasing survival rates.
To learn more: Visit the BCRF’s website.
To help: Read some romance; I’ll be donating half the proceeds from Unbridled to the BCRF. If you’d like to do more, you can support Romance for a Reason and this terrific charity by visiting my page on the BCRF’s donation site: http://www.fundraiseforBCRF.org/romanceforareason
The facts: One in every three women on the planet will be physically or sexually assaulted in her lifetime. That’s it. One fact. One bone-chilling, infuriating, unbelievable fact. One of V-Day’s primary missions is to make this fact more believable, because they feel that only by ending the silence that too often accompanies such attacks can we bring about an end to the violence.
My reasons: I am thankful that I have never been the one in three, but I’m vividly aware that it has little to do with precautions I’ve taken to protect myself and far more to do with luck. I have been the teacher, friend, and classmate of women who were victims of such assaults, some of whom shared their stories, others too afraid or traumatized to do more than hint. No women should have to suffer such treatment, and surely those that do should not feel the need to remain silent.
Why this women’s charity: V-Day is another highly-rated charity which uses 86 cents of each dollar donated to directly end violence against women. It balances global programs in countries where women have few rights and fewer advocates, with funding and leadership programs that create and sustain local charities and support groups. As an author, I was drawn to V-Day because they believe as I do, that “Art has the power to transform thinking and inspire people to act.” V-Day began with Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monolgues, and her realization that her art not only had the potential to give women a voice, but also to act as a platform for social change. From one playwright’s pen sprang forth a movement that has aided thousands of women worldwide. How could I not choose this charity?
To learn more: For now, visit the V-Day site. Come February, see a performance.
To help: V-Day will be receiving the second half of the proceeds from Unbridled. Like with the BCRF, though, you can donate individually! V-Day’s website doesn’t provide for individual fundraising pages, but they do accept online, text, or mailed donations here.
The Romance (finally, right?!):
Unbridled: A collection of short stories from the Alex Crocker series
“Think Law and Order SUV meets The Breakfast Club” was Ellie’s trite explanation of what Alex had been dragged into. Add a few fangs, Fifty Shades of Oversharing, and a dash of Dr. Phil, and she was in for quite a Thursday night.
Alex couldn’t deny she had become the pint-sized poster child for PTSD lately, but she didn’t exactly expect to find a support group for teachers turned vampire chew toys in Bristol, MA. Listening to the tales of the four other females gathered to help her heal, however, she accepts that perhaps both the worst and the best of life can blossom from the unexpected.
Unbridled is a novella-length collection of four connected stories focusing on the unlikely friendships and less likely lovers of the female characters from the Alex Crocker series.
“Grace and Dignity”
Even a female whose mating has been arranged most of her life still thinks about what she wants in a mate. Not one of the qualities Sarah had hoped for were easily evident in her betrothed, the future Regan of the Rectinatti coven. Perhaps, though, there were more layers to Darian than he liked to reveal, but how does a subject unmask a prince?
“Rules and Recollections”
Bristol, Massachusetts, 1902
You can’t fall in love with someone you barely recall, but that, Vivian supposed, was the point. After a terse meeting with the Knower, a mind reader, memory manipulator, and the coven’s most notorious lecher, Vivian isn’t herself. She can’t shake the feeling that the solution to her mood lurks just below the surface of her consciousness. Only plunging into darkness, though, will bring everything to light.
“Blood and Secrecy”
Bristol, Massachusetts, 2008
The shared need for blood brought them together, but individual desires for secrecy are keeping them apart. Each already left behind a life of privilege for reasons the other likely couldn’t understand. Now both Rocky and Ellie need to decide if they’re willing to open up about their pasts in order to ensure a future.
Genres: paranormal romance, vampire series, urban fantasy, short stories
Release date: October 1, 2013
Available formats: ebook & paperback (184 pages)Website page: http://www.laurengrimley.com/RomanceforaReason.php
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble - coming soon!
* affiliate link; clicking & purchasing results in a small commission for the blog
Excerpt from “Special Victims Unit: Part 1,” the tale connecting the romances in the novella:
“I’m not sure we ever had an official name,” Vivian answered, “but our newest member cheekily christened us the SVC or Special Victims Club.”
Ellie grinned sardonically. “Think Law and Order SVU meets The Breakfast Club.”
Alex was tempted to ask her if, as the only redhead in the room, she was Molly Ringwold. She wanted to know if the lipstick trick was possible. Sarah’s position directly in front of her, not to mention the serious meaning behind Ellie’s trite explanation, made her rethink it.
“The other females who come each week, they’re all of the Vengatti’s victims?” she asked instead.
Sarah’s sigh sounded like it held the sorrow of centuries. Looking tired and worried, an expression she wore often since learning she was pregnant, she went back to sit next to Cormelia.
Cormelia reached over, held her hand, and answered for her. “We wish that there were only a dozen of us. Other females made the choice to stop attending after awhile or never attended in the first place.
“Is that an option?” Alex’s glance darted to the door. Sarah crossed her arms over her chest, resting them on her bulging belly. Alex was being difficult, because arguing about having to be there was easier than talking about the reason they wanted her there. She’d rather they saw her as an argumentative bitch than a victim. She’d rather see herself that way, too.
“You’ll have a choice after you’ve stayed long enough to understand what such a group has to offer.”
Alex knew what they had to offer. She’d lived with Elizabeth since she was brought home from weeks of being held captive by the Vengatti. She imagined that the other females’ emotions would be just as jarring. She knew others often found comfort learning they weren’t alone in feeling what they did. Hearing someone say they felt the same, though, was a far cry from having to feel those emotions layered on her own. Yet that was exactly how Alex’s ‘gift’ worked.
“I’m a Seer, Sarah.”
“I know, which is why I didn’t bring you here right away. But you’ve dealt with that challenge. You now have the control to block our emotions if you need to. It’s time for you to deal with your own emotions.”
Alex balled her hands into fists. “Warriors have our own ways of dealing with things. I don’t see any of them here. Or Darian. The Regan was attacked that first night, too.”
Sarah closed her eyes, either to keep herself from matching Alex’s anger or because the reminder of the night she very nearly lost her mate added to her already intense anxiety.
Likely due to centuries of dealing with Sage, Vivian was more comfortable confronting the Seers’ snarky response. “You’re as much a woman as a warrior. Leonce knew that. His means of attacking you proved it.” She reached over and skimmed the tips of her fingers over the scars on Alex’s neck that remained from the previous July. Alex stiffened but didn’t stop her. Markus was careful, since they started exchanging essence, always to avoid feeding from Alex too close to the marks left from Leonce’s attack, but Vivian’s small fingers, though cooler, felt almost like her own.
“Darian was bitten in the same spot,” Alex continued to argue, though her tone had lost its edge. Vivian drew her hands back into her own lap and countered this too.
“Bitten, to create severe blood loss, but not fed from. The Vengatti never feed from our warriors in a fight. They rarely feed from our males at all. Since our essence encapsulates who we truly are, drinking from it is an act of intimacy. Taking it forcibly is no less a violation than rape. Leonce knew that.”
“But I didn’t know that, not then. To me it was nothing but another battle scar.” Alex opened her left hand and stared at a second scar from that night. She remembered the obscene way Ty had licked the blood from the wound, practically purring at the thought of killing her brother before her eyes, the first of many acts of torture he would have inflicted on her had she not escaped. That felt as great a violation as Leonce’s bite had.
Sarah must have seen some of that in her expression. “That’s the point, Alex. You’ve been with our coven less than a year and have suffered more injuries, of all kinds, than most of us face in a lifetime.”
TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY
Lauren is giving away the items shown above to two lucky winners. Enter below. Please read my Giveaway Policy.