Title: Fallen Angel, Part II
Author: Tracie Podger
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Cover by: Crackstone Designs
Event Organized By: Literati Author Services, Inc.
When Brooke Stiles had said, “It was in a small room in an office block in Washington, DC, that my life changed, forever,” she had no idea of the enormity of that statement.
Just a few short months ago, Brooke, had lived a quiet suburban life in the UK. She now owns a closet of clothes she could only dream about and has been swept off her feet by trouble with a capital T.
Once Robert Stone came to terms with the fact that he was in love with Brooke, he knew he could never let her go. Not letting her go means introducing her to his life, past and present.
However, when Robert’s past and present collide, Brooke does the one thing that Robert begs her not to. Does it change her? Has that light that he sees in her eyes been extinguished?
This is a story of an ordinary girl who finds the strength to become the extraordinary woman, and keeps her promise to the man she owes her existence to.
I climbed out of bed and headed for the shower, grateful that the cast had been removed from my broken wrist and once there, I inspected my face. A scar across my eyebrow and a small one on my neck would always remind me of that night, the night Robert’s past made a dramatic return. I had made a promise to myself. The scar was to remind me of the life I now led, a member of one of the most powerful, albeit now totally legitimate, families in Washington, DC.
I had the advantage of seeing him this time as he came into the bathroom, I was facing the mirror. Robert had the ability of being able to move around so silently but we had a special connection. I would always feel him long before I saw him. I always knew where he was, there was a magnetic pull I got towards him whenever he was close. I smiled at his reflection.
“Hey baby,” he said, nuzzling the side of my neck. “Bad dream?” It was only the bad dreams that had me awake before him.
“Mmm, the usual,” I turned to face him, letting my towel fall to the floor.
I cupped his face in my hands and kissed him, gently at first but as my desire for him grew, deeper and hungrier. He laughed into my mouth as he picked me up by the waist, pinning me against the sink and pushing into me. I moaned, I would never stop wanting him, his naked body next to mine, the feel of his skin and his musky, earthy scent. He had the most amazing body, so fit and muscular but it was his eyes that melted me every time. Those black eyes could bore straight through me, into my soul, into the very core of me.
“Fuck me,” I whispered into his ear, nipping as I did.
He moved slowly at first, tormenting me, his mouth on my throat, my neck and shoulder. I wrapped my legs around his waist, squeezing him to me, forcing him deeper. Soon enough that wave of an orgasm started to flow over me, through my stomach, making my legs shake and a heat creep over my body. He watched me come, not taking his eyes off me. He needed to watch, to see the emotion and love for him flood across my face. I watched the same in him. I knew he loved me, long before he did, or rather before he could admit it to himself, but the minute he realised, boy, did he show it.
He stilled not wanting to pull out of me just yet and I held his face.
“I love you,” I said.
Everyday I had to say it, to reassure him it was still true, to let him know he could be loved, he was worthy and he could love back.
“I know, you told me already,” he said. “In your dream, you shouted it out.”
It was the last words I’d screamed before a knife was placed to my throat, seconds before Robert had found me, had appeared from nowhere and killed Joey. He had shot him through the head that fateful night only a few weeks ago. I saw the sadness in his eyes, he hated that I still had these dreams.
~ About the Author ~
Tracie Podger currently lives in Kent, UK with her husband and a rather obnoxious cat called George. She is a Padi Scuba Diving Instructor who has a passion for writing. Tracie has been so fortunate to have dived some of the wonderful oceans of the world where she can indulge in another hobby, underwater photography. She likes getting up close and personal with sharks.
10 Food Items that I wished I could eat without gaining a pound
What a great question! Top of the list has to be chocolate, I’m not a chocoholic but I do have a sweet tooth. I do love a burger, especially after a night out and a little too much wine. Got to add fish and chips since I’m British, covered in salt and my favourite, HP Fruity Sauce. You’ll find tubs of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream hidden in the freezer. Hidden so the nephews can’t get their paws on it. I like to snack on houmous and since there is a low calorie version, I guess it’s not as healthy as I imagine it to be. I have to have butter, no fake, chemically made spread allowed in my house! And to go with that butter, bagels. I’m partial to a piece or two of cheesecake, any flavour will do and to wash it all down, a large glass of wine. No wine in the house, then Limoncello!
Random facts about me
I have a Y shaped scar on my right palm. I fell over a dog and skidded, palms first, into a pile of broken bottles. I think I was 6 or 7 years old at the time.
I’m a Padi Scuba Diving Instructor and have been diving for years. Although I don’t teach so much nowadays, I still enjoy that thrill of seeing the look on someone’s face when they get in the sea for the first time and see some of the most amazing things.
I have two tattoos with another one in the planning. As a birthday present to myself some years ago, I had a dragon tattooed on my lower back. I chose a dragon because they symbolise strength and courage and at that time in my life I really needed to find both. On my stomach, and this one was a mistake, I have a whaleshark. It’s the first whaleshark I was able to photograph whilst diving in the Maldives. I took the photo to the tattoo parlour and had it inked onto my skin. It’s not a great tattoo and will soon be covered over! I don’t regret the tattoo, I just wish I’d thought about placing it somewhere else.
I’m really into underwater photography, not that I’m an expert at it. Sharks are one of my most favourite things to snap. I just wish fish would learn to pose, it’s hard work chasing them around to get a good shot!
I love Italian food. In fact I love all things Italy. I’ve been fortunate to visit many times and love nothing better than renting a house in the middle of nowhere and soaking up the culture, the food and importantly, the wine.
My mother’s family are Maltese. They left Malta and settled in Gibraltar a couple of generations ago. My father’s family are Irish (we think). Hubby calls me Tazmanian after the devil because I have a bit of a fiery temper, I think it’s just the mix of genes.
Finding your Voice
I write as I believe my characters speak, that’s not always going to be grammatically correct and I always write in first person. I tried third person but I hated it. I find first person harder, you can only let the reader know what the character sees, feels, hears or does and nothing more. I am guilty of ‘author jumping on the page’ in Fallen Angel, Part I. I wrote that “Brooke missed a look.....” She can’t tell you, the reader, what she missed because she didn’t see it in the first place! I hope I haven’t made that mistake again. First person is also hard when it comes to description of the character. I believe it’s a cop out to have your character stand in front of a mirror and remark how lovely her long black hair was, how sparkly her blue eyes were! Do we do that for real? I look in the mirror and think, “shit, I need to get my hair dyed” or “another wrinkle” and that’s all. So, how do you‘find’ your voice? It’s always been there, everyone has a unique style but I do think it’s important to always try to develop your voice, make it more unique so it stands out, especially if you write a very popular genre.
Ten Bookish Pet Peeves
I’ve been looking forward to compiling this list...
How to network online to promote your book
People buy into people. I’m a big believer that you should use social media to sell yourself in the first instance. If people like you, they are more likely to investigate your work. I prefer to have all my social media under my name, not my books. If I have a facebook page or web site per book, that’s a lot to manage. Fair enough to buy domain names but have it all lead to the one place. Why? I want followers to see all the work I do, not just the one book. There might be something else they’re interested in. Be friendly and entertaining and be professional. I belonged to a site owned by a major publishing house where a writer could put up their work for fellow authors to review and critique. On the forum a discussion started about drug taking. I left a comment wondering what would happen should any of these authors ‘hit the big time’. Do you want silly or even illegal comments/activities to come and bite you on the backside one day?
Networking online should be a massive part of an authors marketing strategy and if, like me, you’re not familiar with the etiquette or workings of twitter, pinterest, instagram and all that, grab your son/daughter/grandchild/godchild and ask them! I’m still learning and there are plenty of fellow authors willing to give advice.
My tips for twitter - If someone follows me I believe it polite to at least thank them. I don’t like an automated, computer generated response. I think it’s important to have an equal mix of promoting your book and talking about yourself. Reply to tweets you have found interesting, it’s a good way of connecting with people.
My tips for facebook - I’ve found pictures do far better than large blocks of text in terms of the amount of people who will view it. I try to keep general chat fairy short. But I will post excerpts from my books. Sadly facebook has become a crafty corporation. It’s not always the case that all of your followers get to see all of your posts. I will often ‘boost’ a post which costs a relatively small amount of money but increases the amount of people that will get to see your post. Check out other authors pages, see how they’ve done it. And like your favourite authors, your favourite bloggers pages. Lastly, be active, comment regularly, keep up to date.
Tips for finding a publicist
I found the wonderful Literati Author Services after they were recommended by a blogger. I had previously trawled the internet and even approached a couple who didn’t respond! Obviously I checked out their website and was pleased to see how straight forward everything was. You can opt for a publicity package or go a la carte! I then looked at my favourite bloggers websites. I checked out the quality of the promotional posts and how many bloggers were on the tour - this gave me an idea of how many bloggers were on Literati’s books. Most important though, I emailed and received a prompt response despite being in two different countries. Before committing, I also looked at who else used Literarti, once I found one of my favourite authors used their services, my mind was made up.
10 things I learnt when writing my books
How did I create the chemistry between Robert and Brooke
This was hard because I wrote from Brooke’s point of view and she didn’t understand what was happening between her and Robert. What I wanted to portray was an instant connection and a feeling of knowing. Have you ever had where you’ve met someone and know that you’ve met them before but can’t think where or when. This is what I wanted for Brooke. I wanted for both of them to see each other for the first time and be absolutely sure that they had to see each other again. Something pulled them together, a need they both have that only the other can fulfil. I think the discovering of why each felt this way makes its own chemistry. Of course there is sexual attraction but it goes deeper than that for Brooke and Robert, they have a primal need for each other and we are still discovering why.
10 Things that bring a smile to my face
Family is important to me. I don’t have my own kids so my niece, nephews, God and guide children are my brood. Guidechildren, are the same as Godchildren except we didn’t need a church to make it official. Not always, but these people will bring a smile to my face.
When someone likes my book. When a complete stranger gets in touch and says that they have enjoyed my writing, I beam from ear to ear!
Summer. I hate the winter, I get the winter blues so the minute the sun comes out, it cheers me up.
The sound of the sea. Any time of the year, I love to sit on a beach and just listen to that sound. It’s the most soothing thing for me and puts me in a really good place.
Sharks. I love sharks, I love to photograph sharks. And on the very odd occasion I get a good shot, I’ll have a have a grin like a Cheshire cat.
Acts of random kindness. I’m a big believer in paying it forward. I make a point of doing something nice to a stranger every day. It might just be bidding a good morning or helping a mother with her pram but I hope that if I’m in need, someone will be around to help.
Good books. I love to flick that last page over and just sit, smile, wipe a tear or two and contemplate.
When I was sad and one of my dogs would put their head on my lap and just look as if they knew I needed comfort, that used to cheer me up, make me smile.
My husband. Of course, like any relationship we argue sometimes but he is one of the funniest people I know. He can be so silly that I’m in stitches. He has a brilliant sense of comedy and timing.
Scuba Diving. I love to be under the water, to listen to my own breathing and heart beat. And when I see the most wonderful critters, things land lovers would never see, I smile.
Cut scene - Brooke & Robert are interviewed by a journalist who makes a return in Fallen Angel, Part III
An interview with Robert Stone and Brooke Stiles by Patricia Hogan
Robert Stone is a very private man and never gives interviews. For that reason there is always speculation surrounding him. Who is he? How did he get to be so successful? Is he a business or Mafia man? However, just for you, just this once, he has agreed to accompany Brooke Stiles and will answer a couple of pre-determined questions.
I was invited to the offices of Vassago Corp in Washington, DC. In a boardroom with floor to ceiling windows and a view over the White House to die for, I met with Mr Stone, Ms Stiles. I was introduced to Mack and Travis who, although in the room, were not to take part in the interview. I have to say, this group of people, Ms Stiles included, made for a formidable team. Mr Stone was as imposing and intimidating as I expected him to be. He has a stillness, he doesn’t even blink, that makes it hard to read him. He exhibits no body language at all. I imagine a therapist would have a field day with him. He gives nothing away yet I found myself inexplicably drawn to him. I expect Ms Stiles is used to this reaction, she simply gave me a secret smile. It is obvious to anyone having met this couple that there is a connection between the two of them and at times I felt I was intruding in something I knew I wasn’t invited to, but unsure of what it was.
In contrast, Ms Stiles was open and friendly, I was invited to use her first name and I got a sense of someone with huge inner strength and courage. However, when I asked personal questions about her and Mr Stone’s relationship, I noticed a very slight flick of her eyes in his direction. At first I wondered if she was deferring to him, checking for permission but as time went on, it seemed these looks were more to reassure him.
PH: “I appreciate that you are both a very private couple and I would like to thank you for agreeing to this interview with me. Can I start by asking, Brooke, how do you find living in the US and how does it differ from London?”
Ms Stiles: “To be honest, it’s not too different, although I find the people here, in Washington, a little more friendly. Once they hear my accent they want to chat. I do find it strange to drive on the wrong side the road though! I miss certain things from home, there are some of my favourite foods that are hard to find here but other than that, this feels like home now.”
PH: “I understand that you and Mr Stone now live together. How would you answer the critics that say you have not only snared the elusive Mr Stone but done it rather quickly.”
Mr Stone: “She doesn’t.”
PH: “I’m sorry? I don’t understand your answer.”
Mr Stone: “She doesn’t answer these so called critics, she doesn’t have to answer to anyone. It’s no-one’s fucking business and I’m not an animal, Miss Hogan, I haven’t been‘snared’.”
PH: “I apologise, my question was poorly worded, I didn’t mean to cause offence.”
Ms Stilse: “It’s okay Patricia, no offence taken. Things have moved fast between us and I imagine people are curious. I’m blown away by how fast our relationship has grown myself. All I can say is when you’ve met the one, you know it, so what’s the point in hanging around.”
I have to say at this point I felt uneasy, I had offended Mr Stone and as he leant forwards very slightly to give his answer, my reaction was to move away. Perhaps it’s the dark eyes but there is something quite scary about him. I continued with my questions.
PH: “Mr Stone, you are a very successful businessman and yet you shy away from any publicity. May I ask why?”
Mr Stone: “I don’t believe being successful means you have to court publicity. I work hard, I employ a lot of people who I expect to also work hard. I don’t need publicity to help me succeed in doing that.”
PH: “So, it’s not because you have one too many skeletons in your closet?”
Mr Stone: “There are skeletons in everybody’s closet, Miss Hogan, yours included. I don’t court publicity because I have no need to be in the public eye. There are far more important things that the press should focus on. Are you aware, Miss Hogan, of the thousands of homeless children on the streets of DC? Perhaps that’s where your attention should be, not who I happen to be dating.”
I noticed Brooke place her hand on Mr Stone’s arm and this had an immediate calming effect on him. He leant back into his chair and I realised I had pushed my luck and continued with my prepared questions to Brooke.
PH: “What will you do with your time now, Brooke?”
Ms Stiles: “Once my permits are organised I’ll be looking for a job. Back home I was in marketing so I hope to find something similar here. I don’t suppose it will be easy, I understand the job market in the US is in a similar condition to back home, what with the recession and all.”
PH: “Perhaps you’ll be arranging a wedding as well?”
Ms Stiles: “I don’t know about that just yet. I imagine the critics you spoke of earlier would have a wonderful time with that news.”
PH: “Mr Stone, are you finding the recession has affected your property developments? I understand you are about to start a build in Manhattan.”
Mr Stone: “The recession has affect many businesses throughout the US, fortunately, Vassago hasn’t been as affected as others and yes, we will shortly be starting a project in Lower Manhattan. A complex of apartments and high end boutiques.”
PH: “It came to light some time ago that Vassago had an association with a Mr Luca Gioletti in New York. Isn’t his father in prison for racketeering?”
Mr Stone: “Vassago has associations with many people, Miss Hogan, Mr Gioletti being one of them. He is a businessman who owns many companies. Vassago have used his construction company on previous projects. As for his father, I’m sure you don’t need for me to answer that question, you’ll be able to look it up and, Miss Hogan, whatever you are alluding to, be careful.”
I noticed Travis look at his watch, my time was up, my interview being terminated before I’d finished my list of questions. However, glancing at Travis and Mack and the thunderous looks they were giving me, I decided to call it a day.
PH: “Thank you both for your time and once again, Mr Stone, I apologise if my questions offended.”
I’m now back at my own office and having transcribed the interview I sit and read it. It dawns on me that this very private couple are still very private. I have nothing really. I’ve gained no more of an insight into Robert Stone than anyone else has with their speculation and I was sitting in front of the man! So, what to do? Shall I present my ‘non interview’ to my editor or do what others have done and speculate.
Instead, to flesh out the page with the word count I need to submit I thought I might tell you a little about how it felt to conduct this ‘non interview’. There is no doubt Robert Stone is an enigma. He commanded the room, silently. I can totally understand why people want to know all there is to know about Robert Stone. I thought back to when we stood to say our good byes. Mr Stone rose, buttoned his suit jacket and held out his hand to help Brooke from her chair. I watched Mr Stone place his hand around the back of Ms Stiles neck, under her hair and whisper something in her ear. His whole demeanour changed. All of a sudden he wasn’t the scary, cold, still businessman. I got a very fleeting glimpse of the man, Brooke Stiles, and only Brooke Stiles, knows. With just one nod of the head towards me, he left the room and I swear, the air changed with it. I felt my shoulders sag, the tension I had not realised I held there, being released.
Would I interview him again? You know what, probably not. I think, sometimes, things are best left unsaid, people are best left alone. Should anyone ever be able to truly interview Robert Stone, I imagine it would be like opening Pandora’s Box.
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Two Signed Copies of Fallen Angel Part I
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Two Quotes from Fallen Angel, Part II
“I’ve seen the best and I’ve seen the worst of you, and I’m still here.”
This is a quote from Brooke. I love this statement because, to me, it shows her strength and her courage. She is prepared to forgive the worst of Robert, to understand he is damaged, he is dangerous. She is not going to run when things get tough or ugly, she in this relationship for the long haul, body and soul.
“You know, at some point you have to forgive yourself for your past as well.”
Again, this is from Brooke and she believes that Robert does have feelings. He has built not just a wall but a fortress around him. He is not easy about what he has done in the past and this unease, she tells him, means he can feel remorse. He has to come to terms with what he has done and once he can, he can start to heal his broken soul.