By all appearances, Shyla Ball has an enviable life: a loyal boyfriend, a great job, and family that loves her. She doesn’t realize how deeply unsatisfied she is until she has an embarrassing encounter with a handsome stranger at a coffee shop.
Taylor Holden, a successful businessman, takes a sudden special interest in her and offers her a job she cannot refuse. Soon after, she learns there is much more to this intensely private man than meets the eye. He is hiding many painful secrets, including why it is that he has seemingly plucked her out of obscurity for such a lucrative position. Her “perfect” world is turned upside down by her infatuation towards Taylor and in just a couple of months, her life looks nothing like it did before. While she is frightened by the changes she sees in herself, she cannot resist the lure of Taylor Holden.
As Shyla slowly gains Taylor’s trust, she learns of his complex history and how it has molded him into the person he has become. When elements of Taylor’s secret past resurface and threaten to destroy them, Shyla finds out there may be more to Taylor’s story than even he is aware of.
Strapped is a story of passion, manipulation, obsession, and family secrets.
Read an excerpt:
“You forgot your jacket.” It is still on my shoulders. I turn around to offer it up to him.
“Thank you Shy,” As he says this he takes both of his hands, grabbing each shoulder of the jacket and oh so slowly pulls it off of me, grazing my bare arms and back as he pulls it off. I close my eyes taking in his touch. Each caress of his fingertips feels like one thousand little sparks. How can just the faintest touch from this man set me off like this? Please kiss me. Kiss my neck. I won’t say no. I hold my position for a second more than I should, but it feels so tortuously long. There is nothing, not another touch, not a kiss. I turn to face him again and bid him goodnight. His face looks sad, almost guilty. Every word, every touch, every action tonight was an implication. This keeps us safe from one another. It keeps me safe from him.
“Goodnight Shy,” he says as if dismissing me from his presence.
I asked the author, Nina, how do you write your stories? Do you outline or write free form? Does the title come first or the story?
by Nina G. Jones
When starting a story, I try not to commit too much to one method. In order for me to be productive, I need to be in a relaxed state, not feeling tons of pressure to write a certain amount of words, or be committed to particular story lines. When I don’t feel that pressure, I find the words pour out of me and the story develops on its own, as if the characters are coming to life through my words.
That’s not to say that I don’t use certain devices to help guide my along major plot points. Here’s a little bit about the madness behind my method, or the method behind my madness…well, you get the gist.
I don’t need a title to start writing. Sometimes the title pops into my head before I write a word of the story. Other times, I need to get well into the story to find the right title. For example, with Strapped, I jotted down a list of titles that I thought might work, but when I wrote Strapped on the page, I just knew that was the one. For the sequel, which I am currently writing, I struggled a bit more. I wasn’t sure if I should go with an entirely different title, or keep the “Strapped” theme. I was about 60k words into the book when I settled on Strapped Down. I believe when people read the second book, they’ll understand why I chose the title. Not only does it fit with the series name, but it also reflects various themes central to the sequel.
When it comes to writing the meat and potatoes of the book, I do a mixture of free form and outlining. I come into a book knowing the major plot points and developments that must occur and have a sense of the ending. Then on index cards, I start writing out what plot points should be developed on each chapter. Those index cards are fluid, changing as I write, getting shifted around or rewritten.
Sometimes I get ideas away from my writing space, so I write on random envelopes, copy paper, receipts, whatever the hell I can get my hands on. I get the best ideas in the shower, in fact last night, I wrote on my shower wall with lipstick because I couldn’t afford to forget them. My writing room looks a bit like the hiding place of a maniac, papers with frenzied vulgar and violent scrivenings taped to the wall and scattered all over the guest bed. My husband often comes across cryptic and sometimes very intense notes on post-its through out the house. Luckily, he now realizes I am not going nuts, it’s just my process, though it was contentious there for a bit.
Attached to the cue cards for each chapter are post-its with quotes or other nuggets of inspiration that I want to include in the chapter. When I am ready to write, I grab my cards and notes. That’s where the free form goes in. Cue card might say: “The group of friends get together and have a wild night.” Attached to the cue card might be a post it that says “Mr. X says ‘damn girl, you are so gonna clean this up.’” Well, most of the time, I don’t know how I am going to get there until I sit and start typing. Then before I know it, there’s a dead hooker in the pool. I am usually just as surprised as a reader when I complete a chapter. It’s what makes writing so fun, being able to go on these crazy adventures of the imagination.
So, yeah, that’s my writing process. If you want to call it a process. It’s more like a crazed, frantic, state of internal insanity until I get all the words out of my brain and onto the page.
About the author:
Nina lives a pretty wholesome life, but is fascinated with the dark side of things. She loves watching true crime TV shows and it creeps her husband out to no end. Nina has a degree in Psychology and uses her characters as a vehicle to explore the human psyche.
She also totally gets it if you want to throw your Kindle at her when you reach the end of Strapped, but please let her know so she has a chance to duck.
Nina will be awarding a $50 Victoria’s Secret Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.The more you comment the better the chances!