Sunday, October 11, 2015

Book Blitz & Giveaway ~ Don't Make Me Beautiful by Elle Casey




Don’t Make Me Beautiful
by Elle Casey
Publication date: September 9th 2013
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense

**This story was inspired by true events. If you liked the movie “Sleeping With the Enemy”, then you might like this story too. CONTENT WARNING: Violence, foul language, and adult situations. Not meant for younger readers.**

A ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVEL. No one knew a woman lived there or that she even existed. A monster, living in darkness…

At twenty-two, Nicole doesn’t even look human anymore. The beast made sure of that. So she hides. A monster, consigned to a life of fear and solitude. This is all she deserves, she is quite sure of that.
And then one day out of the blue, the autographed baseball caught by Brian Jensen at the latest Marlins game enters her prison and manages to turn her world completely upside down.

Temptation comes in the form of pity at first, and then perhaps something more. Does she dare to believe the things she’s told, that this is not the life she was meant to live? That being a monster is not her forever-fate? And will she be willing to risk everything, to reach out and accept the helping hands around her and share her deepest, darkest secrets? She knows only too well that hands can hurt. Finding out whether they can also heal is a risky proposition, especially when the beast is still out there. Looking for her.

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A message from Elle about Don’t Make Me Beautiful: A really long time ago, I read an article in a newspaper or a magazine (I haven’t been able to locate the original) about a woman who was so badly beaten over a long period of time, she couldn’t leave her house. I thought about that woman a lot over the years and about what her thoughts might have been, her fears, her reality … and this book was my attempt to both exorcise those thoughts from my brain and also shed some light on a subject —domestic violence— that I feel should never be left in darkness. (October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.)

Don’t Make Me Beautiful
by Elle Casey
Chapter 2

“Hang on to that soda, Liam.”
“I am, Dad.”  The little boy’s skinny arms and small hands do the delicate work of carrying a full, sixteen-ounce soda up stairs and down again as they move through the stadium.
“Don’t spill it.  I’m not going to buy you another one if you do, you know.”
“I know, Dad.  I’m holding it good, I told you.”
Brian makes his way through the crowd, balancing his nachos, two hot dogs, and a soda while guiding his six-year-old through the sea of baseball fans standing between them and their seats.  They’ve got spots near the top of the fence in left field, the best ones in the house as far as he’s concerned.  His mitt is tucked under his arm.  The supple pocket and fingers of leather held together with knotted laces is the embodiment of hope he carries; one day, despite ten years of trying with no luck, he’ll catch a fly-ball and be able to put it in the stand he has waiting on his dresser.
“Think we’ll catch a ball this time, Li-Li?” he asks.
“Yeah,”  Liam nods confidently, “I’m pretty sure we will.  I’m feeling pretty lucky.”
“Me too.”  Brian smiles.  He knows the chances are slim, but he’s a man with a dream and a glove that’s been oiled every month for over fifteen years, ready and waiting.  This could very well be the night his childhood dream comes true.  And if not, it doesn’t much matter.  It’s the hoping and believing that makes it fun.  Passing on the legacy of that dream to his son is just the icing on the cake.  He could come to Marlins games for the next twenty years and never be disappointed, regardless of whether he ever leaves with a scuffed baseball in his hand.
They find their seats and sit down, putting nachos and hot dogs in their laps.  Sodas go in the cup holders on the arms of their chairs.
“Hey, Brian!  Hey, Liam!” says an old man one row down and to the left, standing to greet them.
“Hank!  How’s it going?” asks Brian, leaning over to shake the man’s hand.  It’s rough from the wood-working he does.  It was just luck that got them talking about the Marlins one day at a wood-working club meeting, and they’ve been attending the games in nearby seats since.  Brian and Liam are regular attendees at Hank’s famous barbecues too.
“Same old, same old.”  Hank shifts his attention to Brian’s son.  “Gonna catch a fly ball tonight, Liam?”
The little boy nods his head while shoving the end of a mustard-covered hot dog in his mouth.  “Mmmm hmmm.”  He gives the old man a thumbs up and blinks hard and slowly; both eyes go down together since he hasn’t yet mastered the art of winking.
“Good boy.  You’re going to give it to me if you catch it, though, right?”
Liam shakes his head, his expression serious.
Hank feigns disappointment.  “You’re not?  How come?”
Liam puts up a fist of victory, swallowing the wad of hot dog he only partially chewed.  “Catch the ball!  Live the dream!  Baseball forever!”
Hank laughs as Brian ruffles the hair on top of his son’s head.  “That’s my boy.”
“Hey, you men have a good night,” says Hank.
“You too.  And tell Lidia we said hello,” says Brian.
“Will do.  Hey … you hear from Helen lately?” Hank asks in a quieter tone, looking over to see if Liam is listening.  He’s not; he’s too busy checking out the activity on the field as the players take their positions.
“Yeah.  She’s coming to get Liam tomorrow after school.  She’s taking him overnight before she has to go out of town again.”
“Good, good, good … that’ll be good for him to see his mom and spend some time with her.”
“Yeah, of course.  She does her best.  Her schedule’s kind of crazy right now, but it’ll ease up.”
Hank nods, respect in his eyes.  “You’re a good man, Charlie Brown.  Not only a great father but a very understanding ex-husband too.”
“Thanks, Hank.  Good luck.”
Hank lifts a questioning eyebrow.
Brian slides his glove on and holds it up.  “Bring yours?” he asks.
“Nah.  I’ve got the old fashioned mitt right here.”  He holds up cupped, work-roughened hands and smiles, moving his bushy mustache up in the process.
“Just don’t get in our way tonight, Hank.  We’re feeling lucky, and it’s dog-eat-dog up here in the nosebleed section.”
“That so?”  Hank looks at Liam.  “You feeling lucky tonight, little man?”
Liam nods.  “My dad and I are ready.  We polished the stand before we came.”
Hank nods in appreciation.  “Well then, you’d better catch a ball tonight.”
The announcer interrupts their conversation, so Hank waves once and takes his seat.  Brian rests his glove in his lap with his hand loosely inside.
Liam looks up at his father, a blob of ketchup on the corner of his mouth and some mustard on his nose.  “Dad?”
“Yes, son?”
“Do you really think we’ll get lucky tonight?”
Brian smiles.  “I think we have just as good a chance as anyone else out here.”
“Maybe better because we have your lucky glove, right?”
Wrapping his arm around his son’s skinny shoulders, he faces the field.  “You got that right.”  Brian holds up his glove sideways and Liam gives him the high-five he’s waiting for.

  




Elle Casey is a prolific, NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American writer who lives in Southern France with her husband, three kids, and several furry friends. She writes in several genres and publishes an average of one full-length novel per month.


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