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Retribution by Diane Demetre
She’s a ballerina with a dark secret. He’s a retired sniper with a tortured past. Will they find love or fall prey to a stalker’s deadly game?
Professional ballerina Jessie Hilton wraps her battle scars in satin pointe shoes, but there’s a deeper hurt that haunts her sleep. When a handsome man steps in to save her from a mugging, something about her hero makes her heavy heart leap. Though her career can’t afford distractions, he may be her sole source of safety when she gains the unwanted attention of a relentless stalker.
Ex-sniper Brad Jordan survived his tour of duty, but a tragic accident cost him the lives of those closest to him. With his faithful border collie Whiskey by his side, Brad gets a second chance when he protects the beautiful Jessie from danger. When the ballerina’s stalker grows more brazen, Brad’s tactical training may be their only weapon against tragedy.
Will Jessie and Brad survive a deadly game, or will the assailant destroy their chance at love?
Retribution is a standalone romantic suspense novel. If you like tough-as-toe-shoes heroines, second-chance romance, and page-turning plots, then you’ll love Diane Demetre’s heart-stopping saga.
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author Q & A
Please tell us a little bit about your book. What inspired the themes in your story?
Retribution is my first foray into writing romantic suspense, a genre where the suspense element and the romantic relationship are equally important to the plot. I wanted to give a rich emotional depth to the story by constructing complex character arcs in a story that merges the deeper elements of life, love and hope. Retribution does not follow the usual formula for this genre… It is romantic suspense with a twist.
This story is my way of paying tribute to the people who have endured more than most. Those who have lived hellish childhoods, those who have fought for our freedom, those who have experienced unimaginable trauma and those who may never recover from their suffering. With the overarching theme of forgiveness and redemption, Retribution pays homage to the human condition in all its glory and misery.
Do you outline before you write? or just dive right in?
I spend time plotting, outlining, character development and collating the research required so when I dive in, I have a clear vision of my story.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you currently reading?
I switch genres and authors constantly. I’m not sure I have favorite authors as each author has differing styles and strengths. Currently, I’m reading cozy mystery authors as I’m writing a cozy murder mystery series.
If you could visit any setting from one of your books, which one would it be and why?
I have visited each of the settings of my books, except Spain. This is location for my third erotic romance, Dance to a Gypsy Beat. Spain is still on my bucket list. But each other location, I have visited. Wherever possible, I set my stories in places I have experienced as it brings an authenticity to the writing. It’s also a good motivator to go on holidays 😊
Who are your celebrity inspirations? If you were to cast your characters, which actors would you choose?
I modeled Brad Jordan, my hero in Retribution, on Chris Hemsworth. He would be perfect casting if a movie were ever to be made of the book. In so far as Jessie Hilton, my prima ballerina heroine, it would probably be Natalie Portman since she did such a brilliant job in the movie Black Swan.
How do you come up with the names of your characters?
They beam in. I don’t choose them, they choose me. Even if I try to change them, it doesn’t work. They have to stay as they first presented themselves.
Name one item you can’t live without.
When all is said and done, there is nothing I couldn’t live without, as life always goes on – although my puppies rank high on the list.
What are some of your hobbies?
Having been a professional dancer, dancing is my favorite hobby. I also love to read (obviously), to watch quality movies or drama television series, and to throw big house parties.
If you were presented with the opportunity to travel through time, which period would you choose and why?
The future…I love to go forward, not back.
What’s next for you?
My next book, Island of Secrets will be published on 14 October. It’s an epic love story that will make you laugh, cry and believe in the power of love. It spans forty years and is set on a privately-owned island off the coast of Maui. I’m now writing the Diana Daniels cozy Murder Mystery series. The first is nearly finished with another two story ideas ready to go. So, the end of 2018 and 2019 look big on all fronts.
Cold, damp and hard—wherever she was, it wasn’t her bed. Scattered thoughts whirled in her head as she searched for recent memories. A pungent smell lingered in her nose wakening her further. It reminded her of science class. What was it? Chloroform? Crunched on her side, her body cried for movement and she strained to focus on her surroundings. But she couldn’t. She was groggy and dazed and there was no light by which to see. Exhausted, she heaved her hand in front of her face, but she couldn’t see that either. It was as if it wasn’t there. Absolute, petrifying blackness. A nightmare. It was another nightmare. But she knew it wasn’t. Now fully conscious, she lay somewhere dank and cold, in pitch blackness. The inability to see rendered her immobile, preventing her any chance of escape. Even if she began to crawl, feeling her way, she might tumble down a precipice or a staircase. She didn’t even know whether she was lying on the ground or on something man-made. All she knew was it was rock-solid, cold and a little uneven. He’s left me here, alone, to die. The thought scared her even more than her captor returning.
She rolled carefully onto her back. Stretching her body, she used her hands and feet to check that she wasn’t about to roll off wherever she lay. Once assured she was safe, she relaxed a little. Deep, controlled breaths cleared her mind and nose of whatever drug he’d used. With no idea how long she’d been unconscious, she existed in an abyss of unknown time. She struggled not to panic. As she stared into nothing, her sense of what was up and what was down destabilized. The subtle illusion of losing her balance teased her inner ear, increasing the fear. Rolling over slowly, she managed to get onto her hands and knees, connecting with the surface below to correct her equilibrium. Head lolling forward, she froze— humiliated, helpless and hopeless, overcome with despair. Minutes slipped by or was it hours?