Writing this story, with two completely opposite characters, was an interesting challenge. Most writers will agree when I say, once you craft a character, they take on a life of their own. That was certainly true with Mark and Sarah.
To my surprise, the character with the personality most like mine was the hardest to write. Sarah’s head was a difficult space to get into. It sounds crazy, but she was so well guarded even in the stage of creation that I couldn’t get her right without an intense amount of work. The same held true in the editing stage, and it was at that time when I realized I had to let my own guard down to really see her and what she needed.
While many of Sarah’s personality quirks (ahem, read flaws) came from me, that’s where the similarities end. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t imagine enduring what she’s overcome, which just created another challenge for me. I needed to make her strong, yet vulnerable enough to need Mark’s help and love. She was worth the challenge and I hope you all like her.
Mark on the other hand, the family man and all around nice guy, was easier to understand. I’m sure that has to do with my own imagination and the way I’d want my own personal hero to be. All of us can draw a picture of the perfect hero. We all know what we want when we’re being scooped-up and taken care of, even when we’ve convinced ourselves the LAST thing we need is to be cared for.
Unlike Sarah, Mark has lived in the same town his entire life. His parents are still married. He’s had a very ‘normal’ upbringing, and he has a pretty positive outlook on life. Something Sarah has trouble relating too. When Mark discovers Sarah, in need of help, yet so unwilling to accept it, he’s not sure how to handle her. But he’s sure he wants too, and he knows he needs to.
Dangerous Embrace is the first in a series of books based in Northern California. All three books address second chances and learning not to take life for granted. Book two, Precious Embrace, will be released July 11th. Learn more at Goodreads.
What's Dangerous Embrace about?
Sarah Jennings wants nothing more than a quiet life--alone. Raised by an eccentric mother, their life on the road only taught her how to run away from hard times. When she finds herself in an abusive relationship, this lesson serves her well.
Eight years later, she's settled back in her hometown and less fearful then she's ever been in her life. She's a first grade teacher, and with few friends and less family around, she has what she wants, a quiet life under the radar where she can be free of her past and live quietly. Until one night and one brutal act of violence changes everything.
Injured and afraid, Sarah wants to run again, but Mark Summors refuses to let her go.
Mark was born and raised in Santa Rosa. He married his high school sweetheart and never questioned his life, until he found his wife with another man. Now divorced, he wants something more. He's passionate about his job, he wants to protect people, and he devotes his life to it. This time he's protecting more than just another client, he's protecting his future; at least, Sarah Jennings will be his future, once he convinces her she loves him.
When Sarah agrees to let Mark help, she doesn't anticipate just how important of a role he'll play in her future or how the violence in her past will come back to threaten them both.
Excerpt from Dangerous Embrace:
Sarah pried open her heavy eyelids and turned, trying to focus on the clock. “Ow, dammit!” She clenched her teeth and looked down at the sling tied to her arm. The smothering realization pressed on her chest. When the nausea hit, she flung the covers off and rushed to the bathroom, fighting to get to the toilet before her stomach heaved.
When the painful dry heaving stopped, she lay back on the cold tile floor, exhausted, and waited for the room to stop spinning. Her ragged breaths roared in her ears and seemed to echo in the quiet room. When her breathing slowed, the silence ebbed around her in waves, but when footsteps approached the bathroom door, she tensed again.
A bead of sweat dripped down her scalp and at the same time someone tapped at the door. Her pulse spiked and she fought like hell to remember who brought her home from the hospital.
She closed her eyes. “Who’s there?” The waver in her voice pissed her off. Gawd—please don’t let me be pathetic in front of whoever this is.
A hesitant and completely unfamiliar man’s voice said, “Are you all right? Do you need something?”
Sarah sucked in a hard breath. “Um…” She exhaled slowly. “Who are you?”
She stiffened and tried to sit up. “Do I know you?” she asked her voice pitching.
“I can explain if you open the door.”
She steadied herself against the bathtub. The sling had slipped up her arm, exposing the trail of bruises. She swallowed another wave of nausea and tried to put the pieces together. Mark Summors? She glanced around for something to use as a weapon just in case, then she wanted to laugh—and cry. Who the hell was she kidding? She rolled her eyes. Good plan, Sarah, take on a strange guy with a toilet brush.
“Can I come in?” His voice was muffled as if he was resting his face against the door.
“Go ahead.” She clamped her mouth closed to suppress a shiver, then said, “It’s unlocked.”
The door eased open and a cup of water shot out at her.
“Oh, thank you,” she cried out, relieved to wash the disgusting film out of her mouth. She snatched the cup out of his hand and gulped it, letting her eyes lift above the rim to see his face.
“Ah.” Sarah choked and inhaled the water. She set the cup down, almost upending it as she dropped it. “Oh my God!” She would never forget those intense blue eyes, just like she would never forget the smell of her attacker’s breath. They were all thrown together in the same horrifying memory.
About Dana Mason:
Dana Mason started writing to prove to her computer geek husband and her math & science geek kids that she actually has a brain; it’s just a right functioning brain instead of a left. She’s lived all over the country and uses that experience in her writing and character studies. Her debut novel, Dangerous Embrace, is the first in a contemporary romance series about a group of friends from Northern California who learn just how short life can be when you don’t hold on to what’s important. Second chances don’t come easy…but sometimes love is worth the risk.
When not writing, Dana specializes in professional development and training. She’s also a board member on the local Art's Council and does what she can to support the art community.