The Devil’s Pawn
When Ashton is left orphaned after her parents are murdered, her life becomes a hell she could never have imagined. Left to fend for herself, and responsible for a debt she doesn’t owe, she is swept into a life as a gentleman’s escort at a private men’s gaming hall. Her new manager makes it abundantly clear he doesn’t appreciate her inexperience, innocence, and shyness. On the contrary, he despises everything about her.
Derek can be “difficult,” she’s been told. And however dark and handsome he may be, he terrifies her in a way that chills her to the bone, but leaves her begging to understand him. As they are pulled along together, more secrets and threats than either one could ever conceive are revealed, and a common enemy emerges. This enemy will stop at nothing to bring Derek to his knees while using Ashton as the greatest pawn in his torturous game.
Will Derek be able to let down his shield of cold, harsh emotion before it’s too late? Will he be able to sacrifice himself to save Ashton, or will they both be destroyed by the secrets of their pasts?
Advice to a New Author from a New Author…
by Elizabeth Finn
So take it for what’s it worth! Just kidding. Even relative newbies, such as I, have something to contribute to this subject. First and foremost, if you are entertaining the idea of writing in any capacity, stop the entertainment, get off your tush, and Just Do It – thank you Nike… I wanted to write for years and years and years before I finally sat down and saw it through. What I assumed would be a daunting, insurmountable challenge, turned out to be nothing more than my fear of failure.
I can’t truthfully say what finally set me on the road to finally sitting down and knocking out a manuscript. But what I can say, I’m addicted. Writing has turned in to one of the most therapeutic, rewarding, and challenging endeavors I’ve ever undertaken. And the publishing aspect at the end of this journey has been far easier to navigate than I ever imagined it could be. This is thanks in large part to a great publishing company that has a great reputation and isn’t shy on supporting its authors and providing resources that have proven to be incredibly beneficial to a new author – be that advice, knowledge, or just understanding of the industry.
Here are what I consider the two best pieces of advice I can give any new author. Take it for what it’s worth… Actually, just take it. It’s good advice – even if I’m a relative newbie!
Just give it a try – writing an entire book can seem daunting when you haven’t done it before, and I’ll admit, it shocked the heck out of me when I looked back and my manuscript was 90,000 words long. Now, I have four manuscripts under my belt: one published (The Devil’s Pawn), one releasing on 10/22/2012 (Brother’s Keeper), one releasing on 12/17/2012 (Restoring Jordan), and one that I’m tweaking and will be submitting soon.
Find a good publisher – do your research! I’m not required to stick with one publisher, but I haven’t yet been given a reason to go to another. Check out Predators and Editors and other resources out there. There are some great, reputable publishers out there, but there are also some less than desirable publishers, so be careful, do your research, and be smart.
But if you take away nothing else, just hear this – if you love to write, do it. Do it for yourself and see the accomplishment regardless of the challenges. Writing anything at all is more than the average person does. Your talent is special, and you are embarking on a unique journey.
Once in the fitting room, Derek takes the chair again while I start to remove my clothes. I intentionally wore ugly, stretched-out, white cotton underwear that is entirely too big on me in the event he should be here. My mouth isn’t the only thing that can get me into trouble—my sarcasm knows no bounds when I’m unhappy.
As he sees the appalling excuse for an undergarment, his eyes move up to mine, narrowing darkly at my obvious defiance. I look coolly back at him before looking away dismissively. My anger and resentment of him from the humiliation he subjected me to the previous morning, not to mention his treatment of me over the past two weeks, have charged me into a bold, fiery bitch that no longer cares what retribution I might face. While my tongue usually gets me in trouble, today I decided to let my underwear do the talking.
Jacob enters with an armful of dresses for me to try on, and he cringes as he takes in my defiant granny panties, hated the world over by men, including, apparently, gay men.
He turns to Derek, and with a scrunched-up face, he worries out loud. “The dresses aren’t going to lay right over those…” He tosses a nod in my general direction.
Derek wastes no time at all reassuring Jacob and striking back at me. “No worries. Ashton was just taking them off. She won’t be wearing underwear anymore.”
I glare defiantly back at him as I drop the loose fabric to the floor. He returns the glare for a moment before letting his gaze travel down my body to my sex, and as it lands there, smoldering with heat, I turn abruptly from him, intentionally showing him my backside instead. I look to the mirror in front of me, and I catch his eyes flit away from me in annoyance. He worries his lip with his thumb and index finger as he contemplates, and the slightest of smirks crosses over his mouth. Jacob is standing by looking from one to the other of us, obviously wondering just exactly what he’s gotten himself in the middle of.
Derek finally looks back to Jacob. “Get on with it.”
I try on one after the other of the dresses. Some are perfect; Jacob pins in additional alterations in others. Derek sits by bored, only glancing up from his cell phone occasionally. One such occasion is when Jacob remarks that I’m “just not curvy enough for this one.”
Derek looks up to Jacob, but he shifts his eyes to mine before commenting, “Yes, well, if you can figure out some way of making her look female, you let me know.”
Jacob again lets his eyes pass between us, seeming to wonder all the while what he’s missing. As I hold Derek’s eyes with my own, my anger falters, and the pain that is behind my fury pushes through. I try to wrangle my tears into submission, but it’s no use. In defeat, first one, and then another spills from my eyes and slides down my cheeks. Jacob regards my state and excuses himself from the room.
I stand on the hemming block in the center of the room, refusing to look at Derek. But he’s looking at me, and as my hurt continues to work through my entire body, I let my tongue do what it does best. “Why do you hate me so much?”
He says nothing, but stands and moves to me. Reaching around behind me, he pulls the zipper of the dress down, and then, returning his hands to my shoulders, he pulls the straps down, exposing first my small breasts, and then the rest of my naked body as it falls to the floor.
He leans in to my ear and speaks. “You don’t know anything about me.” He then takes me by the hand and pulls me to stand in front of the mirror, and leaning to my ear once more as I watch him in the mirror, he speaks gently. “Lean forward and put your palms on the mirror.”