Lena Diaz presents: THE BODYGUARD

TheBodyguard Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My newest book, THE BODYGUARD (rated 4 1/2 Stars in RT Magazine), is one of the most difficult books I’ve written so far. This book touches on a very sensitive subject, spousal abuse. I say “touches”, because other than the very first scene, there isn’t any abuse “on page”. That was a deliberate choice on my part because I didn’t want the story to be about the abuse. The story is about the aftermath and how a woman transforms from victim to victor and learns to rely on herself. She learns that she doesn’t need a man to feel whole and she can take care of herself. But once she has become the person she was always meant to be, she is then able to let love into her life and plan a future with the one man who treated her with respect all along – the bodyguard who saved her life.

I’d like to thank my fellow author, Rachel Grant, for giving me some critical information about this delicate subject. Rachel used to work a hotline for victims of abuse. The information she gave me was crucial and really helped me to understand how the heroine in the story would feel and react in various situations. Rachel also provided information on The National Domestic Violence Hotline, which I put in the dedication of the book. That dedication appears below:

This book is dedicated to abused women everywhere. It’s not your fault. It’s NEVER your fault that someone else chooses to hurt you. You deserve a life without fear. Please, don’t wait until it’s too late. For information or help, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org. (The website has a quick escape option in case your abuser monitors your Internet activity). Or call 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

This book isn’t a treatise on domestic abuse. That’s just one element in this poignant love-story with action-packed scenes of the hero and heroine running from an unknown killer. But if someone in an abusive relationship picks up this book, I hope they read the dedication, and draw strength from the story…maybe enough strength to make that all important phone call that could possibly save their life.

Below is the back cover copy for THE BODYGUARD. (Print edition available 4/15; Ebook edition available 5/1.)

SHE HAD NO ONE TO FIGHT FOR HER—UNTIL ONE POWERFUL BODYGUARD REFUSED TO LEAVE HER SIDE

Her perfect marriage was a sham and Caroline Ashton had the physical and emotional wounds to prove it. With nothing left to lose, Caroline is ready to walk away—and hires Luke Dawson as her personal bodyguard. But before he can do more than secure her a safe house, Caroline stumbles upon the body of the man she’d fought day and night to escape. Now, as Caroline is confronted with fears beyond anything she ever imagined, Luke is the only man she can trust. Putting her life in someone else’s hands isn’t easy, but Caroline knows survival never is. Besides, Luke’s proven himself to be a worthy protector—one who’ll stop at nothing to see she never suffers again….

Lena Diaz

And here’s the excerpt from Chapter One:


The monster sat across the breakfast table from Caroline, looking deceptively handsome in a dove-gray, thousand-dollar suit that emphasized his broad shoulders and the bulging muscles in his upper arms. The tanned hand that flicked the page on his electronic tablet was elegant, strong, with perfectly groomed nails.

They should have been talons.

Talons would have warned people who didn’t know Richard Ashton III that those hands were lethal, especially when they were clasped into fists.

He skimmed through the latest stock-market figures, then looked pointedly at the untouched food on Caroline’s plate.

In spite of the worry that had kept her awake most of the night, the worry that had nausea churning in her stomach this morning, she picked up her fork and took a bite of egg the cook had prepared exactly to Richard’s specifications. She dabbed her napkin on the corners of her mouth as he’d taught her, before training her face into the carefully blank expression she’d learned was the safest.

His brows lowered. “You’re getting too thin, Caroline. That displeases me.”

She stilled, her fingers curling against her thigh.

“I…I…I’m sorry, Richard.”

Calm down. He hates it when you stutter.

She fought back the fear that so often jumbled her words. “I’ll eat everything on my plate. I promise.” She took another bite of egg.

Tiny lines of disapproval tightened around his eyes.

Her stomach clenched. What had she done? She raced through a mental checklist. Her hair was neat and curled to drape over one shoulder in the style he preferred. She’d painstakingly applied the makeup he’d selected for her, natural looking but polished. She held her napkin in her left hand in her lap, her fork in her right, no elbows on the table. What had she missed?

“Don’t look so alarmed,” he chided her. He cocked his head, his eyes narrowing. “Or have you done something that requires further instruction?”

“No, no, no, I’ve been good. I don’t…n-need another l-lesson.”

Stop it, calm down.

“Don’t stutter, Caroline. It’s unbecoming of an Ashton to stutter. Tell me, why aren’t you eating enough?”

Her hands went clammy with sweat and shook so badly she almost dropped her fork. Desperation had her scooping another forkful of eggs into her mouth. As she chewed, she smiled across the table at him, trying to placate him.

He shook his head. “You’re being rude. I asked you a question, and now your mouth is full. You’re making me wait for an answer.”

Stupid, stupid, stupid. She should have answered him first and then taken a bite. She swallowed hard, forcing the lump of eggs down her tight throat without taking the time to chew.

“I’m so sorry,” she rushed to assure him. “I didn’t mean to be rude. I w-wanted you to be proud that I was obeying, that I was eating.” She wiped her moist hands on her pants.

“I’m still waiting for an answer.”

She blinked. What was the question? What was it? She couldn’t remember. He’d said something about her being too thin, and then he’d said—

“I asked why you aren’t eating enough.” His voice was clipped, harsh.

“I’m s-sorry. I guess I’m just…tired. Not hungry.”

One of his elegant brows arched. “And why, exactly, are you tired?”

She grasped for an excuse, anything but the truth—that she’d lain awake most of the night, going over her plans, trying to build her courage.

“I…I don’t know. Perhaps I worked too hard in the garden yesterday. I am a bit sore.”

The slight reddening of his face had the blood draining from hers, leaving her cold and full of dread. He would take her comment about being sore as an accusation against him, a complaint. Because, as he frequently reminded her, it was always her fault when he was forced to teach her a lesson, her fault he had to punish her.

“You’ve worked in the garden plenty of times without being sore.” His voice lashed out at her like a whip. “I’m more inclined to believe you’re complaining that you forced me to teach you a lesson yesterday.”

She dropped her gaze, her pulse slamming in her ears. A whimper bubbled up inside her, but she couldn’t let it escape. Crying was undignified. Ashtons did not cry.

“Look at me when I’m speaking to you,” he demanded.

“Please,” she whispered, trying to appeal to the man he used to be, the man that must surely still be there, somewhere, hidden deep inside, the man she’d loved once, so very long ago. “Please, Richard. It was a…poor choice of words. I’m sorry.”

He plopped his napkin on the table and stood. “Yes, it certainly was, a very poor choice.” He stalked to her chair.

She shrank back, and hated herself for it.


 

GIVEAWAY! To celebrate the release of THE BODYGUARD, I’m giving away TWO print copies. Leave a comment for a chance to win and then check back on Thursday. Note: If Non-USA address, book will be mailed directly from The Book Depository (unsigned).

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Posted on April 15, 2014, in Lena Diaz and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. Beautiful post, Lena! I can’t wait to read your newest Intrigue and I have no doubt it will be as wonderful as your others.
    But I have to say this is my favorite cover–I love Savannah!

  2. Congratulations on your book release, Lena. This one looks fabulous! Thanks for writing about this “cause.” Excellent dedication. Write on.

  3. I can’t wait to read this book! Sounds like a really great book!

  4. Lena, what a chilling opener, and moving dedication. Tennessee Takedown was great, can’t wait to read this one! Congrats on the release!

    • Hi Jenna! Nice to hear from you. It’s been a while. 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN. I had a blast writing that one. It was my romancing the stone non-stop adventure book.

  5. love reading the HQ intrigues, Lena’s books are great

  6. Lena, your excerpt is compelling and you’ve chosen a challenging task…to show a woman rising out of such a deep hole of victimization. Congrats and happy sales to you!

    • My agent said I was crazy to try this one. She was right in that it was extremely difficult to touch on this subject and still create a believable and compelling romance. Crossing my fingers that readers will feel I succeeded. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Such a compelling opening, Lena! Can’t wait to read it. I know (first hand) how accurately you’ve portrayed your heroine in the opening, how the fear and angst come to rule your life and everything your say or do. And that there’s hope, and life and real love after the abuse. Thank you for dealing with such an important subject.

    • Gail, I’m so sorry that you have firsthand knowledge of this. I didn’t know that. Hugs. It’s really good to see you here and I can attest to everyone that you are one of the strongest women I know. I only have a sideways brush with this subject because a close family member was beaten by her husband when she tried to leave him. So sad that some men feel that kind of behavior is okay.

  8. WOW! What a powerful beginning, Lena. And yeah- kudos to you for taking on such a horrific subject in a ‘romance’ novel. I applaud you for putting in the hotline and know that it will touch someone someday.

    As usual, I’m hooked and can hardly wait to read more. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Sarah. This was one of my favorite openings because of the depth of emotion. And when you read the entire scene (I didn’t include all of it here) it really shows the twisted reasoning and justification by the abuser. But it also shows why the heroine acts the way she does in the rest of the story.

  9. Congrats on your ebook release day, Lena!

    I love your dedication with the hotline information – it’s vital to get the information into women’s hands. Victims of domestic violence are usually so isolated it’s important to let the know there is a vast network of people who want to help them.

    Your opening is chilling and sadly far too true for many women – I love it that this book shows that victims become survivors and can thrive. My favorite volunteer work I did for an organization that helped battered women and their children was the ongoing support groups in which we’d have clients who were in crisis along with women who were post-abuse and crisis. I loved seeing the successes of the women who’d recovered their self-esteem and were thriving, and it was wonderful for the women still in crisis to see they could have a future. Your book will do that too.

  10. Thanks Rachel. The print book is out today, Ebook on May 1st. I so admire the work you did to help people in abusive situations.

  11. Carmen Pacheco

    I cannot wait to read this! I’m a lifelong stutterer, so I know this is going to make me cringe (bad memories). Love your work!!!

  12. Joan D. w/a Joan Wylder

    Wow, Lena! Your opening is gripping and now I can’t wait to read the rest. Best of luck with this new one!

    • Thanks so much Joan! Nice to see you here. Hope to see you at the May FCRW meeting. I hope to be able to make that one – and lunch afterwards of course!

  13. sherry gladden

    Can’t wait to read this & I would love a bodyguard that looks like him!

    • Ha! I’m with you on that. Although the bodyguard in the book, Luke, actually has very dark hair instead of the light-colored hair on the cover. But I love the guy on the cover so I’m not complaining.

  14. Congrats on the new release! Sounds like a nail biter. Maybe a hard one to read for those that have gone through something like your female character.
    Life gets sticky sometimes and unfortunately, alot of abuse goes without being reported or even noticed.
    I know this had to have been a hard one to write.
    Thank you for giving a voice to something that goes on alot more than we know.

    • Thanks Kim. I really hope it would help someone rather than make them feel bad if they have been in that circumstance and read the story. The opening doesn’t actually show anyone get hurt–it’s implied. And that’s the only part of the book that dwells on that. The rest of the story is meant to show how a woman who came from that situation gained inner strength and overcame her past to become strong, independent, and happy. That was my goal at least in writing this one. I hope you give it a try and I’d love to hear feedback afterwards.

  15. Lena I totally agree that the opening is compelling! And chilling! Great emotion jumping off the page. No surprise of course 🙂 . I can’t wait to read this one. You’ve got me hooked on Intrigues- you bad girl, you!
    Happy release day!

  16. Happy release day, Lena! What a compelling opening!

  17. Happy release day, Lena! I’m glad you’re touching on such an important topic and providing resources for those who might need them. Can’t wait to read this one.

  18. Congrats on the release of your new book. It sounds like an amazing book!

  19. It’s really important for this subject of spousal abuse to discussed and this book is an excellent way to do it.

  20. Hi Lena! Congratulations for your new book. I understand it couldn’t have been easy to write such a story filled with high emotions. I would like to read it.

  21. Very heartfelt post, Lena. I so appreciate books that focus on survivors. This is a fantastic one.

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