Unbridled: A collection of short stories from the Alex Crocker series
By Lauren Grimley
“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.
Series: Alex Crocker series, can definitely be enjoyed without reading the first two books in the series, but is written to fit after the events of book 2, Unveiled.
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/Unbridled.html
Or for those who want just a bite, three of the individual stories are available as well:
“Grace and Dignity”: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FIS0VCQ
“Rules and Recollections”: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FIS1FIA
“Blood and Secrecy”: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FIS15SK
For the other books and stories in the series see Lauren’s Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007Y5ZZSG
Paperback (Amazon only, it’s not yet linked to the e-book): http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615861113
Barnes & Noble - no individual links yet but they will show up at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/lauren-grimley once they are available at BN.
Romance for a Reason came out of two important places. Early on in my drafting of this project I recognized that, although I was writing fantasy, the tale I was using to connect the three paranormal romance stories touched upon important issues facing far too many real-life women: violence and sexual assault. This planted a seed in my mind about whether perhaps I could use my writing to help women, beyond just writing about strong female characters.
Then as I finished the draft, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. For anyone who has had a family member diagnosed with cancer, and unfortunately that’s far too many of us, you understand the desire, the need to do something. The first time around I was eighteen. I bought a lot of pink, competed in a Danskin women’s triathlon to raise money for breast cancer research, and journaled my heart out. Now I’m thirty-three. I’ve accepted that I just don’t love pink clothing and that my knees can no longer handle long runs. But I still love to write.
So I took my tales of strong heroines, fanged though they were, and decided to turn them into a fundraiser for two terrific women’s charities. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so I chose it also to be the release date for Unbridled. I may not love wearing pink or purple, the colors of these two issues, but I do love a good fight for great causes. I’ve just chosen to battle this one with my pen. My knees thank me, while I thank all the women who fight the good fight against these issues every day. Please consider helping in your own way!
How you can help:
Read some romance. Proceeds from Unbridled will be donated to the two charities listed here.
Donate. Make your own individual donation to these two charities or choose a local charity supporting these and other causes affecting women in your area. To learn more about each charity and my reasons for choosing them, visit the Romance for a Reason page. Or click through to donate directly.
Party hard. Gather the women (and men!) of your book club or just a group of friends for a Romance for Reason party. Party ideas? Check out my blog for ideas on how to plan your gathering. Then download the Romance Reading Questionnaire and/or the Body Lingo Bingo for some fun party activities!
Share. Tweet, status update, review, or just chat with friends about the books, the tour, and the charities (mine or yours)!
It’s not about the money we raise, the miles we run (or slowly plod), or even the strong females we read and write about. It’s about recognizing there’s something, anything, we can do, and doing it. For me it was writing and sharing some feminist romance with fangs. What will you do to change the colors of fall from red and orange to purple and pink?
About the author:
Lauren Grimley lives in central Massachusetts 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
Exclusive excerpt from “Blood and Secrecy: Ellie & Rocky’s Story”:
Ellie wasn’t the only one acting nervous. He was tapping his fingers on his thigh. She detected the faint smell of blood and saw two of his nails were bitten to the quick.
“Who are you?”
“Me?” He looked up in surprise. He clearly didn’t like their roles being reversed. “I’m…nobody.”
“How Emily Dickenson of you.”
It was sadly comforting to know the males on the East Coast were as uncultured as those on the West.
“What does the depressed poet chick have to do with anything?”
I take that back, she thought. He wasn’t uncultured, just sexist. Although she admitted she was a little impressed he knew the poet, she wasn’t going to waste her breath reciting the poem. She just wanted a chance to explain herself.
“I was asking your name. For instance, mine’s Ellie.” This was only a half-truth, Ellie being the cover name she had been using since running away. But she wasn’t about to explain that either.
The male sneered at her condescending tone, but answered. “I’m Sl—Rocky.”
“You sure?” He clearly was making up some bullshit name mid-reply.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” he snapped. “What I’m not sure about is what the hell I’m still doing here.”
“You’re the one who pulled me in here. Why?” Ellie played it cool, putting it all back on him, though it was she who had the most to lose.
Rocky deliberated before responding.
“I thought maybe you needed help.”
Ellie considered telling him he thought wrong or that she didn’t play the damsel in distress role very well. But the truth was she did need help. Or she would very soon. Without a feeding partner, she’d have to scurry back to her father with her tail between her legs.
“What kind of help?”
Rocky grinned. “The same kind I need, an exchange of sorts.”
It couldn’t be that easy. A Rectinatti male happens to show up at her work looking for a feeding partner. This had her father written all over it.
“Fine. Give me your wrist.” She hoped to call his bluff.
“Um, okay.” The dark-haired male seemed baffled but slid up the sleeve on his right arm and held it out to her, stepping close enough that it nearly touched her lips.
She shoved him back into the wall. He looked as confused as she felt.
“Are you serious? Do you really not know who I am?”
“You’re Ellie, small arms aficionado and American poet lover from Portland. Is there something else I need to know?”