When quirky, handsome, legal aid attorney, Benjamin Dalton, literally trips over the woman of his dreams … his life changes forever. Blake Redwood, CEO of La Rouge Cosmetics, is not too enthusiastic about being the recipient of his clumsiness. Stumbling into her life ignites a passion neither of them can deny. Yet, romance and relationships for Blake come with strict guidelines of obedience. While Benjamin believes he can play the role Blake demands of him, he realizes a life with her isn’t everything he thought it would be. Soon, the flaws of her dominating universe shine as he starts to work closely with a beautiful new colleague, Nina.
Lust, lies, and secrets are revealed while they deal with vandalized cars, psychotic ex-boyfriends, and MURDER. Chaos ensues as Benjamin sinks deep into the quicksand of Blake’s life. And when Nina finally divulges her true intentions, will he be able to break free of the constraints or continue on LOVING BLAKE?
Targeted Age Group:: 18-45
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A conversation was had about a rather popular novel that was in circulation and a thought popped up about a similar concept being used but with the female as the dominant role. It was supposed to mimic some parts of a relationship that I was in, but as these characters grew in my head, so did the story, and I had to change it. It had morphed from such a simple idea that I was supposed to pull from personal experience into something dreamt up out of my imagination.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I have a very vivid imagination, and I thought about the strength and body type of a man who one wouldn’t normally see as a submissive type. Benjamin is tall, athletic, and very controlled in his daily life, so he’s forced to relinquish some of that when he begins to deal with Blake.
As I stated earlier, this novel was supposed to mimic some aspects of my own personal dealings, so when I got to Blake, I began with giving her my eyes. As I wrote the story certain things that she would say and do just didn’t feel like me so I began to use the character in my head rather than the character molded out of me. Here came Blake.
Security was not his trade by choice. It was actually a young Blake that propelled him into the occupation. The thought of how long he has been her protector is mind blowing to him. Nearly twenty years have gone by since Blake walked into his life. He props his legs up on the desk in front of the security monitors and leans back in his chair reminiscing of how their paths collided:
Young Darren had graduated high school with no idea of what to do with himself. He didn’t want to look for a job and he knew college just wasn’t for him. So he spent most of his days just wandering around his neighborhood. He would leave his mother’s house at six am every morning and would not set foot back inside until after six pm. His mother had often suggested to him that he get into construction since he was tall, standing at a solid 6’2” and in great shape. However, he just wanted to give the appearance that he was looking for work until he decided what to do with his life.
Standing near a bus stop one morning, he spotted the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She was 5’2 and every bit of 100 pounds. Her hair was black, down her back, with streaks of blonde and her grey eyes popped outlined in black. She was stunning, but her age still showed underneath all of her makeup. He would follow her back and forth to school, at a distance to where she couldn’t notice him. After several days of watching her he could feel his passion and curiosity for her growing. Then it all changed.
It was a Wednesday morning, about seven a.m., when young Darren sat straight up from his bed. He was late and didn’t want to miss the girl of his dreams walking to school. He dressed as quickly as he could and hurried out the door. Checking his watch, he knew she would be cutting through the narrow alleyway between the Downtown Bar and 1st Trust Savings & Loan. He stood in the street about two stores down and waited for her to come out, but she never did. Something was pulling him toward the alley; something was telling him, “You need to walk this way.” So Darren obeyed his gut and just as he neared the alley, a man disheveled and adjusting his clothes nearly knocked him over. Darren grabbed him by the shoulder to stop him and look him in the face, “Seriously?! Say ‘excuse me!’”
The man was blue eyed with a scruffy red beard, and a nose that had been broken several times and never allowed to heal properly. He shoved Darren back aggressively forcing him to release his shoulder, “You’re excused.” His voice was raspy and it was one that Darren would never forget. He shakes off the rude gesture.
He turns his attention back to the alley and begins to walk down the corridor. That’s when he saw an arm on the ground next to the dumpster. His mind began to race as he walked closer. The sound of his heart beating was deafening as he looked around the dumpster to see whose arm it was on the ground. There she was…black hair with blonde streaks dirty and pulled from its ponytail. Her dark eyeliner had mixed with tears and dripped down her face. She was unconscious with a bloody lip and a black eye in development. Her legs were spread at an awkward angle and her skirt hiked up around her stomach. There were cuts and scratches around her thighs and on her forearms. She had obviously put up quite a fight.
Darren looked down at the young Blake and a tear rolled down his face, he couldn’t believe someone would do this to her. Then he remembered the douchebag who plowed into him. He must have did this and had he not gotten up late this morning he could have stopped this from happening. Darren kneeled down and checked for her pulse. It was faint but it was there. None of the businesses were open yet, and there weren’t any pay phones around to call an ambulance. He picked her bag up and put it on his back. He did a quick scan of the area for her panties but couldn’t find them. “That pervert must still have them,” he thought to himself. He gently moved her skirt down to cover her back up and scooped her limp body into his arms. She moaned and uttered, “No please. Don’t.” Her voice was barely above a whisper. Darren felt helpless, sad, and anger all at once as he watched her fall back into her unconscious state with her head slumping onto his chest.
He walked over a mile before a motorist stopped to offer them a ride to the hospital. The stranger dropped them off and Darren took Blake into his arms once again. He hurried into the emergency room and began to yell, “Someone help her! Please! She needs help!” The nurses came over with a bed and wheeled her off. Another nurse came over to him with a clipboard in hand, “Okay sir-“
“Darren, please, call me Darren.”
“Okay Darren. I need you to fill this out and tell me what happened.”
“Uuumm, all I know is I was walking to the bus stop this morning and this asshole comes bolting out of an alley and damn near knocks me down. When I looked down the alley he came out of I saw her arm on the ground and decided to go closer. That’s when I saw her like that. She was out cold, and her skirt,” his voice began to crack as the images replayed over and over in his mind, “Her skirt was shoved up above her waist and around her stomach. Her legs looked crooked she was all beaten up and I couldn’t find a phone so I scooped her up and brought her here. Here…this is her bag.” All he could do was bury his face into his hands.
“Thank you Darren, I’m sure you getting her here as quickly as you did is going to be helpful with her recovery,” she rubbed him lightly on his shoulder, “I’m going to go through this stuff and see if I can find a way to get in contact with her parents.”
The nurse was able to find Blake’s school id and alert them that she had been hurt and needed to get in contact with her parents. They relayed the message and less than two hours later both of her parents were in the ER waiting room searching for answers. Her father, Gregory Redwood, stormed in first with her mother Elaina not too far behind. He approached the service desk, “Where is my daughter? What’s going on? When can I see her?”
“Sir, who are you talking about? What is your daughter’s name?” the nurse behind the computer screen asked him as politely as she could.
“Blake! Blake Redwood! She was brought in a little while ago and no one would give me any answers! They just told me we needed to come down! Now who do I talk to?! Where is my daughter God damn it?!!!”
“Okay Mr. Redwood, your daughter was severely traumatized and attacked earlier this morning. The doctors are in with her now and should be out momentarily to let you guys know what’s going on with her recovery. But for now, please have a seat in the waiting room.”
Gregory couldn’t sit down and Elaina couldn’t stop crying. All she wanted to do was see her daughter. No sooner than they stepped into the waiting room, Gregory’s business phone began going off. He took the call and began shuffling meetings around. He wanted to try and manage his business during this crisis to keep him distracted from overthinking. His ex-wife looked at him with disgust. “Seriously Greg?! You’re taking calls at a time like this?! Our baby is in there and you’re making appointments?”
“Elaina! Regardless of how much of a monster you think I am, I’m here! I still have a fortune 500 company to run. I don’t have the luxury of living off of my alimony. I can’t just sit here and cry until these people let me know what’s going on with Blake.”
Darren hears her name for the first time and knew these were her parents. He didn’t want to jump into their conversation so he just sat back and watched them, as he did their daughter. The doctor came out about an hour later to update Blake’s parents on her status. Darren sat up so he could listen in.
“Are you Blake Redwood’s parents?”
“Yes we are,” they both stood to greet the doctor.
“I’m Dr. Reed and your daughter has suffered blunt force trauma to the head. She has a concussion and some swelling but x-rays don’t show any skull fractures and all brain activity is normal. She has some internal bleeding and tearing from the sexual assault and –“
“Oh my god,” Elaina gasped at the thought of her beautiful baby being violated and sat down refusing to hear anything else the doctor had to say.
Dr. Reed continued, “She is still unconscious but should be waking soon. I had the nurses perform a rape kit to submit to the police, who are on the way. They are going to want to talk to her as soon as she wakes up, and also to the young man that brought her in.”
“Thank you Doctor… but wait who brought her in?”
The doctor nodded his head to young Darren who was still sitting in the waiting room. Gregory walked over toward him, to which he stood and shook his hand, “Hello sir.”
Gregory grasped his hand and pulled him in for hug, with two hard pats on his back and his eyes welling up,” Thank you. You’re a good man son, a good man. What’s your name?”
“Darren, sir. Darren Carnegie.”
“Well thank you Darren, we are in debt to you.”
He began to explain when and where he found Blake but purposely left out the details of how he found her. He didn’t mention that he may have bumped into the man that did it. At that moment, he didn’t know why he chose not to tell Mr. Redwood about his daughter’s attacker. The more he thought of the guy, the angrier he got. He had to do something! He couldn’t just let this man get away with attacking her and maybe attacking anyone else. He gave the Redwoods his address and telephone number so they can contact him, but he couldn’t sit in the ER any longer. He had already been there for a few hours and needed to get some rest.
PRESENT DAY… Darren is constantly dozing off at the security monitors. This morning is no different as he begins to realize he needs help; some kind of relief. Even though there are two days every week Blake gives him time off; every other day is a twenty four hour service to her. Yet he continues to doze, fading in and out of dreams until, “Darren…. Darren! … DARREN!” Blake’s voice blared over the intercom waking him from his daydreams and memories of how they met. He pushes the talk button down, “Yes Blake?”
“Jeez …it’s about time I been calling your phone and buzzing this damn intercom for the last ten minutes! Sleeping on the job again I see. Can you please bring the car around? I have to go.”
“Right away.” Darren gets up from his security post and walks up the stairs back into the garage. When he pulls the car around to the front of the house, Blake is standing at the bottom of the stairs. He opens the rear driver’s side door for her. She gets in and he shuts it behind her. Once he’s in the driver’s seat, he just sits there.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” Blake asks him growing impatient.
“I’m waiting for you to tell me where I’m taking you.”
“Uuugggghh, Darren…to the courthouse! Get it together Darren; I need you focused right now.”
“You’re right, I’m slipping.” He pulls off down the long driveway and takes her downtown to the courthouse. Once they arrive she gathers all the paperwork she has spread across the back seat and hops out the car without waiting for him to open her door. She taps on the driver’s side window for him to roll it down.
“Listen, I don’t know how long this meeting is going to be so just go ahead and find something to do. I’ll call you when I’m finished.”
“Okay,” is all he says while he watches her walk into the building, thru the large mahogany doors. Being at Blake’s beck and call twenty four hours a day, for these last few weeks, was taking its toll on him. All he wants to do is find a parking spot on a nice quiet street to take a nap until she’s ready to go. He finds a parking garage not too far from the courthouse and parks the car in a corner. He shuts the engine off but leaves the battery on so he can listen to the radio while he waits. Soon voices of talk radio are lulling him to sleep taking him back to the day he spoke to Blake for the very first time:
Young Blake awoke in her hospital bed to see Darren staring out of the window. She didn’t know how long he had been there, and she has constant flashes of him picking her up off the ground after her attack. She finally made him aware that she was awake, “You know you’re here more than my parents…Don’t you work?”
Darren was elated that she woke up, but surprised at her demeanour. He smiled a warm smile, “No, actually I don’t work. Do you remember what happened to you?”
“Kind of, where are my folks anyway?”
“Your mom is in the psych ward, self-admission. Apparently your attack triggered some manic episode, and your dad has been in and out of here the last few days talking to cops and working.”
“Of course she’s making this about her. And good ole daddy always right by his daughter’s side,” Blake’s voice was riddled with sarcasm. “I don’t think I’ve actually said it, but thank you. I definitely wouldn’t have gotten here without you.”
“I’m just glad you’re going to be okay. Did you speak to the cops yet?”
“Yea that special victim chick has been in and out of here the last few days making me repeat the same story over and over again. I keep telling her I didn’t see the guy, he came up behind me. I fought him as hard as I could but with us struggling so much I couldn’t get a good look.” Blake’s voice sounded off to Darren. He could always tell when someone was holding back.
“I’m sorry you had to go through that. So you never saw the guy?”
Blake looked at him slightly agitated, “NO! I never saw him! What does it matter to you? What are you still doing here anyway?”
“I’m still here because your dad asked me to stick around to look after you since he has to work. And it matters to me because this asshole is still out there doing God knows what to God knows who and if you can tell any of us some info to get him off the street we can stop him from doing this to someone else.”
“Believe me, he won’t be doing this to anyone else,” Blake mumbled to herself under her breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing, can you go now? I want to go back to sleep.”
“Yea,” Darren moved from the window and stopped right before he exited the room, “But two things, one is I know you’re leaving something out of your story and two… You’re right, he WON’T be doing this to anyone else.”
“If you heard what I said, why did you ask me to repeat myself?” Her question made him stop in his tracks and turn back around. He pulled a chair up right next to her bed and took a seat. Blake knew that if she didn’t tell him everything he would somehow find out. She knew that having Darren as an asset would be much better than having him as someone she used to know. At that moment, she broke down and told him what happened that morning:
The man who assaulted her was Adam Ross. He was a manager at her father’s company, and even though he was fifteen years her senior; they were dating, at least that’s what she thought. She explained that they had been seeing each other for a few months and no one knew. The only chance they got to be together was when she had days off of school or when her father threw associate parties at their house. Time never permitted them to be intimate, and Blake had always been unsure about losing her virginity to Adam. For the last few days leading up to her attack, they had been arguing about Adam pressuring her to have sex, but she knew she wasn’t ready. He was being so persistent that it began to anger her to the point where she told him they should stop seeing each other. On the morning of the attack, she was walking to school as she normally did when Adam pulled up in his car and tried to apologize and give her a ride. She declined and he sped off. She assumed that he left to go to work or wherever, but what he had actually done was park his car. Right before she entered her shortcut through the alleyway, he approached her from behind. They were talking at first but as they began to get out of public view, he grew angrier and angrier that she continued to deny him. Once he grabbed her by the wrist, she began to fight but he was too strong for her.
“And I’m sure you know what happened next,” Blake looked at Darren waiting for his judgment, his disapproval after recounting the events that led up to her assault. “I didn’t tell the cops because I didn’t know what he’d have done to me if I told. You think this is my fault don’t you?”
“Blake the only person who was wrong is that slime ball Adam. Does Adam have a scruffy beard and a fucked up nose?” she nodded and he promised, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it so he doesn’t bother you or anyone else for that matter. Let’s keep this between us. I’m going to go so you can get some rest.”
Blake nodded an okay and watched her new friend/bodyguard walk out of the room. She made a decision that day to never allow another man to overpower her mentally or physically. Darren walked out of the hospital infuriated that someone could take advantage of a fifteen year old like that. He didn’t know what to do and he didn’t know where to start.
He happened to see Mr. Redwood on his way into the hospital. Mr. Redwood completely ignored him since he was talking on his phone. Then it dawned on him to look for Adam at Mr. Redwood’s office. He pulled the folded up business card that Mr. Redwood had given him from his wallet and went straight to the address. He waited for hours across the street watching people go in and out of the corporate high rise, and nothing, not once did Adam come into sight. He did this for a few days until he remembered Blake said Adam was driving when he approached her the first time that morning. He began to walk around the building looking for where employees would park their cars. He came to the entryway of the parking garage; a solid steel gate which could only be opened by an employee badge. His mind began to spin thinking of ways he could get in and out of the garage.
He watched all kinds of cars and delivery trucks come in and out of the parking area. There was a security camera outside of the steel door that was specifically trained on the drivers and the badge reading machine. There was a button that the delivery trucks could ring and get buzzed into the underground space and he noticed a blind spot in the corner right under the security camera. He left to go home, once his mother was asleep he snuck back out of the house. Dressed in all black he made his way back to the garage on foot. He pulled a ski mask over his face and his hood over his head …….
Over the last ten years, I have gone off to college, left my home in New York City to live in Philly, had a child, graduated college, came back to New York, and told my “9-5” to take their job and shove it. Currently, I’m still in New York City where I have started my own business, Phoenix Jones Publishing LLC. After I finish publishing three more projects, within the next two years, I’m going to begin signing other authors, and offering individualized services, such as cover design and book formatting.
When I am not writing I enjoy spending time with my loved ones, listening to music, going to the gym, and baking cupcakes.