It’s alive! The Misguided Confession.

 ON SALE FOR 99c 
Title: The Misguided Confession
Genre: British Paranormal Romance
Release Date: November 12, 2016
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Designer: Claire Smith
Add to Goodreads TBR

Elaine Gibbs has been defined by other people’s words for much of her life: autistic, shifter, adopted, genius, Royal Marine. She has spent a year having her entire world spun around and just when she hopes things have stabilised, a zealot threatens everything she holds dear, including her life.Alim Kader grew up knowing his family’s expectations and is required to fall in line. Life, however, threw him a massive surprise in the body of the most fascinating woman he has ever known. Now if he could only convince her that his sole desire is to stand beside her, not rescue her.

Will love be enough for two people from different worlds to brave a storm of evil and come through the other side unscathed?

 

 ON SALE FOR 99c 

 

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Dahlia Donovan started out working in the insurance world. After ten years, she morphed her love of investigating accidents and studying people into writing about them. She’s a bit of a hermit and despises being in front of a camera. Her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.

The Anatomy of a Relationship

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At the root of any romance novel is the relationship between the main characters, we tend to approach reading (and writing) them with a particular formula already set in our minds. Like most things in life, anything straying outside of the norm jolts us out of our fictional daydreaming. It takes a bit more effort to understand and appreciate the beauty of them.

From the outset, I knew Elaine and Alim from The Misguided Confession wouldn’t fit the standard mould. Their romance is real and built strongly by the both of them. It’s just not like others.

Elaine is quirky, offbeat, autistic, and romantically different. She expresses her emotions in a way some might find unusual. Her relationship with Alim might be considered equally eccentric.

Of all my characters, Elaine has the most in common with me. As we’re both autistic, I modelled many of her interpersonal struggles after ones I had faced with my husband. Well, minus the creepy zealot who wreaks havoc on Elaine’s world.

In the process of writing The Misguided Confession, I wanted desperately to stay faithful to showing the truth of a relationship between an autistic and a neurotypical (or non-autistic). It’s not typical. It’s certainly not easy, but most definitely real—real love.

Love is often a finicky business.  Alim learns early on, as did my own husband, that often a relationship with an autistic requires a healthy amount of compromise. Elaine feels emotions deeply but doesn’t always know how to identify or express them.

They soldier on together. Their souls and hearts meeting in ways they never imagined possible. Maybe it’s not typical, but it works for them. It’s deep, meaningful, and special.

My hope is when readers approach the novel—along with Elaine and Alim’s relationship—they do so with open hearts and minds.

Love is love, after all.

Love is love.

 

How I wrote the Villain in The Misguided Confession.

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Villains can be tricky bastards to get write right.

The baddie in The Misguided Confession is a proper evil git. Ezekiel Harding hides his vicious malice under the guise of a priest’s cassock. He manages to practically froth at the mouth while smiling charmingly enough to ensnare those around him.

My greatest difficulty in creating Ezekiel came from not wanting to turn him into either a caricature or a horror movie style psychopath. I wanted to build a character who readers could believe existed in the real world.

In writing Ezekiel, I attempted to portray a man who believed in his goals with absolute certainty. A true zealot. One who is fighting for what he feels in his soul in the right path for himself—and for the church and the world in general.

I thought quite a bit about my favourite villains in film and books while I was writing. The most terrifying ones are the people who fly under the radar. You never see them coming until it’s too late.

In The Misguided Confession, I alternated the perspectives of chapters between Elaine, our intrepid heroine, and Ezekiel.  It seemed critical to give an insight into the simmering madness within the priest.  At times, it reminded me of that quote about not peering into an abyss.

Peering into the soul of a man like Ezekiel made me want to take a shower at times—several times in fact.

How about you? What makes the best/worst villains to you? If you’re a writer, what do you struggle with when creating a baddie?

Cover Reveal: The Misguided Confession

 PREORDER 99C SPECIAL 
Title: The Misguided Confession
Author: Dahlia Donovan
Genre: British Paranormal Romance
Release Date: November 12, 2016

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Designer: Claire Smith
Add to Goodreads TBR

Elaine Gibbs has been defined by other people’s words for much of her life: autistic, shifter, adopted, genius, Royal Marine. She has spent a year having her entire world spun around and just when she hopes things have stabilised, a zealot threatens everything she holds dear, including her life.Alim Kader grew up knowing his family’s expectations and is required to fall in line. Life, however, threw him a massive surprise in the body of the most fascinating woman he has ever known. Now if he could only convince her that his sole desire is to stand beside her, not rescue her.

Will love be enough for two people from different worlds to brave a storm of evil and come through the other side unscathed?

 

 PREORDER 99C SPECIAL 

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Dahlia Donovan started out working in the insurance world. After ten years, she morphed her love of investigating accidents and studying people into writing about them. She’s a bit of a hermit and despises being in front of a camera. Her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.

 

Why Elaine and Alim Belong Together.

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On paper, as individuals, I suppose Elaine and Alim from my upcoming novel, The Misguided Confession, don’t have much in common. They come from completely different worlds and backgrounds. Opposites do attract, but it’s not immediately apparent when you see them on their own.

As the only living heir to a wealthy and connected Moroccan export dynasty, Alim had the best of everything growing up. He’s well-educated and well-travelled. The quintessential posh businessman who lives in Armani suits and has a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce.

Elaine, as the adopted daughter of a merchant marine and his wife, grew up a wee bit rougher. Being both autistic and a cougar shifter, she has frequently struggled in her life to find her place. Her mannerisms and speech have always been misunderstood by the neurotypicals around her.

On paper–they don’t work.  And yet, they’re brilliant for each other.  Their romance is sweet and genuine.

Given his upbringing, one might expect Alim to be a spoiled and driven by money.  He has infinite patience with his mate and approaches Elaine on her terms. Their romance moves at her pace, not his. He loves her as she is, never seeking to change her as others might’ve done.

She is autistic and has worked hard to accept herself.

Alim often struggles to understand, yet they find stumbling along together is far better than going it alone. They compromise, him more than her, admittedly. He never begrudges her need to be herself–to find her own way to deal with life in a world built for neurotypicals.

S0–why do they belong together? To be trite and cliche–love conquers all. Patience, laughter, and lust help as well.

 

 

 

My 2000 Likes Giveaway!

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In celebration of reaching 2,000 likes on Facebook and Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to host a huge giveaway. Shout out to the authors & bloggers who kindly donated.  Be sure to stop by my Facebook page today as I’ll be sharing different teasers from them throughout the day.  There’s also a huge giveaway to answer, and last, today I’m posting the last of the four part Alim & Elaine Valentine’s Day date, hope you’ve enjoyed it!

The giveaway starts today, the 14th and ends on the 17th.

You can enter the giveaway here:  Rafflecopter Giveaway

I’m also putting Masquerade on sale for free today and tomorrow, so be sure to grab it from Amazon.

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And finally, on to the last of Alim & Elaine’s date:

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Alim had spent a lifetime adding to the immense wealth his father and grandfather had amassed. The Kader men had dedicated the majority of their time to building a reputation and wealth which rivalled most in the world. It hadn’t left much time for anything else.

With his fingers gently massaging the cougar head resting on his thigh, Alim considered the enigma of the woman within the feline form. He had thought her stunningly beautiful when he’d first seen her. It was her brash mouth and quick mind which drew him closer to her.

Beautiful women were easy to come by when one owned estates throughout the world, had chauffeured Bentleys, and more wealth than could ever be spent. Alim had never worked hard for a date in his life. He’d seen the dangers of casually dating through the pains of his father’s affairs.

He’d never wanted that for himself.

Ever.

His niece had explained how the mates of shifters tended to be for life. It suited Alim just fine. He could happily spend the rest of his days in the pleasurable company of a woman who was utterly fascinating and as complicated as any puzzle he’d ever attempted to solve.

Smiling broadly at the purring creature asleep beside him, Alim went over the plans for the next few days in his mind. He wanted Elaine to be able to enjoy Paris without being overwhelmed. He knew from his research that going out for brief excursions then allowing her to recuperate in a quiet, safe environment would be best.

He’d already booked the penthouse floor of an exclusive hotel which catered to the wealthy. It would allow them privacy and also let Elaine shift into her cougar whenever she wished. The penthouse also had separate bedrooms since he had no idea if she was ready to share a bed with him.

Having called in several favours, Alim had managed to gain access to several museums outside of the normal visiting hours. It would allow them time to explore without crowds.   Ivy had made the suggestion, as it was something they’d tried with her autistic cousin.

The biggest surprise for their weekend would come on Saturday. There was a ‘Women in Electronics and Gaming Convention’ planned for the weekend in a chateau outside of Paris. Alim had paid an exorbitant amount of money to convince the organizers to allow a two hour block of time for Elaine to experience everything the con offered without the throngs of people.

His main concern in all of this was whether or not Elaine would be affronted by his…gifts. She might mistake his attempt at being thoughtful for believing her to be weak. Alim hoped he could demonstrate just how strong he knew her to be.

He barely managed to restrain himself from flinching in surprise when his fingers went from gliding through tawny fur to threading into beautiful, auburn curls. “Hayati?”

“Why do you keep bloody calling me ‘your life’ like a right romantic prat?” Elaine groused with a faint blush on her cheeks.  She continued muttering about him being a ridiculous pillock. She didn’t attempt to move her head from his lap so Alim chose to ignore her grumblings. “And yes, I do understand at least a small amount of Arabic.”

“I was aware.”

Aware,” Elaine mimicked his tone with a hint of amusement. “You might be the poshest bloke I’ve ever met.”

“There is nothing wrong with manners.”

“So I’ve heard.” Elaine sat up slowly and eased down the couch, putting a small space between them. “My cougar is a bloody nuisance.”

“How so?” Alim had been careful never to push Elaine for answers or on points she seemed uncomfortable. It wouldn’t do to have her running from him at every turn. “Have I done something?”

“You’re a perfectly, bloody perfect prat.” Elaine huffed at him. She crossed her arms then gave him the barest hint of a smile. “I know sod all about how normal people date.”

“Normal sounds so absolutely mundane. “ Alim twisted slightly on the couch so he was facing her. “I have never been impressed by the mundane. I want someone extraordinary, someone special. You are anything but ordinary.”

Elaine reached out with obvious hesitancy to take his hand. “I’m ruddy impossible when it comes to relationships. I’ll bugger this up, I know it.”

“And each time, I will be here to help you untangle the confusion.” Alim allowed himself the indulgence of grazing his thumb across her knuckles. He repeated the motion a few times before stopping. He’d quickly figured out that repetitive caresses eventually started to bother Elaine’s sensitivity. “What matters most to me is you don’t give up on yourself or our relationship.”

“So what now then?”

“I imagine you will grouse and grump at me while I spoil you to my heart’s content for the next few days.” Alim lifted her hand to brush his lips against her knuckles.

“Only if you stop chuntering on like a romantic, doddering fool.” Elaine’s harsh words were softened by the glint in her eyes. “Thank you.”

“Anything for you, hayati.”

Be sure to stay tuned for more in Elaine, due out toward the end of 2015.

Alim & Elaine: The Romantic Date: Part 3

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Part three of the romantic short for Alim & Elaine, hope you enjoy – Find Part One Here and Part Two Here.
The first two times Elaine had flown on Alim’s private jet had been an experience in torture for her heightened senses. The carpet made the oddest sound whenever someone walked across it, the lights were too bright for her eyes, and the blankets thrown across the seats made her skin crawl. It had been enough to induce a rather humiliating bout of sensory overload meltdown.

She’d thought at the time she managed to keep it under wraps.

Walking up the stairs into the luxury jet for the third time, Elaine immediately knew she’d failed. Alim had obviously noticed. The carpet was now soft, plush, and blissfully silent. Gone were the expensive, but cringe-worthy blankets, replaced with silken cashmere throws. The lighting had been dimmed ever so slightly.

Elaine turned toward the man in his impeccable suit standing by the door. “This wasn’t necessary. I can deal with my bloody issues.”

“This, I could fix easily.” Alim strode purposefully across the cabin to step in front of her. He brought his hands up to cup her face then kissed first her forehead, then the top of her head. “This? Your brilliantly beautiful mind? It is perfect and needs no fix.”

Elaine frowned in response to avoid blubbing like a sodding twit. She mumbled a rather ungracious ‘thank you’ and moved to the relative safety of one of the new couches. She sank down only to find herself stunned yet again; it felt like one of her soft bean bags.

“How did you get a sodding…”

“You would be amazed as to the lengths others are willing to go to when they realize funds are unlimited to accomplish my desires.” Alim lifted his shoulders in a graceful shrug. “Is it comfortable?”

“I’m so shit at this.” Elaine scrubbed her fingers across her face in frustration. She let them fall away when Alim knelt in front of her. “The answer is no.”

“I would never propose to you on my jet when we’ve barely been dating for a few months.” Alim scoffed at the idea. He tapped his finger very lightly against the side of her knee. “I do not expect you to respond as my niece or Ivy would to my gestures of kindness.”

“Why precisely are you on the floor like a blithering idiot then?” Elaine wished for about the millionth time in her life for some sort of filter for her mouth. “Bollocks.”

“I do not believe you would appreciate my looming over you like the men tend to do at the firm.” Alim eased back so he was sitting on his heels. “Are these small changes making your flight more comfortable?”

“Well, yes.”

“Then the cost and effort do not matter. Your gratitude is equally unnecessary.” Alim tilted his head slightly so his dark eyes met hers. “If I have made any part of your life easier, I consider it a success.”

With those words, Alim had apparently said all he intended to say. He stood and made himself comfortable in a seat across from Elaine. It allowed her space, but kept him in her line of sight—a move her cougar greatly appreciated.

Her cougar also wanted to curl up beside Alim to be petted. Elaine’s cougar tended to be as anti-social as she was. The level at which her other form felt comfortable with Alim had been a massively inconvenient surprise.

Her cougar could sod off at the moment.

Elaine liked routines, privacy, and plenty of space. She didn’t enjoy change. Alim had brought a lot of it into her life. Being a shifter often helped with some of the more painful or frustrating aspects of being Autistic; it couldn’t remove them completely.

The reason Alim had included a stuffed toy in the care package was often cuddling one helped soothe Elaine’s anxiety. She peeked over the one in her arms at the man who was studiously avoiding putting any social pressure on her. He didn’t acknowledge her gaze, simply focused on reading his newspaper.

A thought occurred to Elaine about how Alim always seemed to know how to put her at ease.  He skirted the edges of things which would bother her with an ease no one else around her possessed. Most of her family and the Blackbird Pack worked under the assumption that she could manage without their help.

“You did research.” Elaine flung a pillow to get his attention. Her words came out more accusatory than intended. “You sodding researched my broken brain.”

“Different is not broken, as you are well aware.”

Elaine shrugged.

Setting his paper to the side, Alim once again crossed the cabin to sit beside her. He held his hand out on his thigh with it turned palm up. It took several moments for Elaine to realize he was giving her the option of holding hands. She hesitantly placed her hand on his, letting her fingers thread between his.

“Alicia informed me of the fact shifters tend to mate for life.” Alim tightened his hold slightly when she made to jerk away from him. “How many years have you spent trying to make our world work for you? You cannot change who you are. I can, however, do research to adjust things to ease your path. You are not broken, and you know it.”

“I’m a little cracked, let’s be honest.” Elaine had no illusions to how much her neurological differences affected her.   She wanted time to process everything, but trapped inside a jet didn’t provide it. “Will your staff be shocked by the presence of a massive cougar?”

“They will not enter the back cabin without my permission.” Alim moved down toward the far corner of the couch to provide her space.

Shifting into her cougar, Elaine hopped up onto the couch and turned around a few times before flopping down with her head resting on Alim’s thigh. It was closer than she would feel comfortable in human form at the moment. A purr rumbled in her chest when his fingers began threading through the tawny fur around her ears.

Alim bent forward until he could whisper in her ear. “I will have you for my own, hayati.”