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I’m happy to be a part of writer Vincent Morrone’s cover reveal for his latest book, Just Breathe. This book is a little different from the ones I usually have on my website. Even though at its core, Just Breathe, is a romantic novel, it’s also a novel concerning the hard-to-write-about subject of sexual assault. Vincent isn’t afraid to delve into hard topics and based on the back cover copy for Just Breath, I’m interested to see how he handles it.
Back cover copy:
When Cassie Shaw looks at Noah Hunt, she sees a knight in shining armor, but she’s convinced he sees her as nothing but damaged goods.
Noah saved her from a brutal assault, talked her through a panic attack, and held her when she broke down crying.
Noah is a mystery. He avoids talking about his past, his phone rings with calls from four women he won’t talk about, and he receives texts from over a dozen more. To add to the intrigue, when Cassie tries to kiss him, he gets a look of sheer panic in his eyes.
Cassie finally finds a chink in Noah’s armor, and realizes that he’s even more damaged than she is.
He saved her.
Now it’s her turn to save him.
What I like about the excerpts Vincent provided me so far is the girl’s voice. Vincent has a way of making the inner monologue of the women in his various books sound real-to-life. I think that’s because he has teenage girls at home. It’s scary and awesome how much he can get inside a woman’s head to then write her voice in the first person.
See for yourself. Below is an excerpt from Just Breath (but warning, this excerpt deals with an account of sexual assault and maybe triggering to some people.)
Cassie tried to scream, but she couldn’t even breathe. A hand covered her mouth and someone pressed against her body.
“Stop struggling, bitch!”
She tried to see who it was, but all she saw was a black truck parked behind a car dealership with the motor running. Cassie was being dragged toward it, helpless.
Fight, you idiot, fight!
Cassie began to buck and kick wildly. She bit down on his hand and he screamed in her ear.
But he didn’t let her go. He wrapped his hand around her throat.
“Please,” she begged. “Let me go.”
“You think you’re begging now. Just wait.”
Cassie recognized the voice just as she was thrown in the backseat. She looked up and saw him.
Tom crushed his mouth on hers. His breathe tasted like cheap beer and cigarette smoke as his tongue forced its way into her mouth.
Cassie whimpered. She tried to fight, but she could barely move, crushed by the weight of Tom. He pinned her arms and pressed his erection against her .
Tom’s mouth moved down to her neck, teeth grazing her skin.
Scream, she commanded herself. Scream for help! Scream fire! Just scream your fucking head off! You know what he’s going to do! You know what will happen next.
But no sound escaped her.
Tom lifted his head for a moment and locked eyes with Cassie. He seemed to enjoy her panic. Cassie saw the perverse pleasure in Tom’s eyes shift to confusion—and then fear.
Cassie felt the weight of Tom’s body lift from her as he seemed to fly out of the truck of the car, backward.
Cassie struggled to get up. She needed to get out of this car. She couldn’t breathe inside the car. A hand helped pull her out, where she collapsed to the ground.
“Are you alright?”
Cassie looked up. It was the guy from the pharmacy. His boyish face was filled with concern.
Cassie tried to nod, but she couldn’t.
All she managed was a strangled gasp when she saw Tom coming at them with fury etched on his face.
The young man in front of her pivoted and smashed his fist into Tom. C assie watched as Tom’s nose started to leak red.
Tom stumbled backward and tripped. He cursed as he tried to get up.
Her rescuer returned to her side.
“You’re safe,” he assured her. “He can’t hurt you.”
Cassie looked up at him. She didn’t know who he was, but the one word that registered with her was safe.
She wanted to thank him, but she still couldn’t speak. The only sound she heard was Tom’s drunken scream as he rushed forward.
He didn’t get far. Cassie watched her savior spin around again. With both hands, he grabbed Tom’s arm. He twisted and step back. There was a snap as Tom’s arm was pulled into an unnatural position. Her protector then smashed Tom’s face down onto the pavement.
Cassie watched his face, no longer boyish and friendly looking. It was the face of a predator.
Cassie found her voice and screamed.
The young man turned and walked a few steps toward Cassie. She could see him push the anger away, replacing it with concern.
Cassie heard movement again. Her eyes found Tom, who had managed to get to his feet. His right arm dangled by his side, useless. With fear in his eyes, Tom made a break for it.
For a moment, Cassie feared she’d be left alone, that the man who saved her would take off after Tom as they both watched her assailant run away. He didn’t. Stopping a few feet away, he crouched down to be eye level.
“It’s okay,” he said. “I’m not going to hurt you. Can you tell me your name?”
Slowly, Cassie nodded.
“Cassie,” she said. “Cassie Shaw.”
“Hello Cassie,” he said. “My name is Noah.”
It was the last thing Cassie heard before she realized she couldn’t breathe.
Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, Vincent Morrone now resides in Upstate NY with his wife. (Although he can still speak fluent Brooklynese.) His twin daughters remain not only his biggest fans, but usually are the first to read all of his work. Their home is run and operated for the comfort and convenience of their dogs. Vincent has been writing fiction, poetry and song lyrics for as long as he can remember, most of which involve magical misfits, paranormal prodigies and even on occasion superheroes and their sidekicks.
As they say in Brooklyn: Yo, you got something to say? Vincent would love to hear from you at Vincent@vincentmorrone.com
As always, I want to know what you think about the books, giveaways, cover reveals, etc. from other authors that I post on my webpage. And I always want to know what you’re thinking about my latest novel, ELECTED! Have you seen that it’s featured in an anthology project with author Timothy Zahn? https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/103879051/heroes-the-anthology It’s the stretch goal at about 15K!
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