Reality in romance: stories tackling the tough issues

If you’re a hard core reader of romance, you’ll be aware that between the pages of a romance book you can find any and every issue, even the toughest and seemingly untouchable topics.

And I’m not talking about possible sexual scenarios with an octo-tentacled mutant.

Or even how to tell your brother you’re expecting his best friend’s baby.

I hate to bring the mood down, but romance and reality can and does blend. And yes, even with something as topical as domestic violence.

But romance books are for entertainment, I hear you say. I want to be distracted from real life, not dragged into it.

And I agree whole-heartedly. But it doesn’t mean a romance story can’t tackle the tough issues and still provide a sexy, sassy, rip-roaring read.

When I started to write Pieces of Me back in July 2014, domestic violence awareness was gathering force, unfortunately because of the horrendous number of shocking deaths suffered by women and children at the hands of their current partner, ex-partner, or parent. (I ask that you take the time to look at Rose Batty’s – 2015 Australian of the Year – foundation and personal story here: http://lukebattyfoundation.com.au/ ).

As a woman, wife, sister, aunt, daughter, and mother of two boys, each time I think about the prolificacy of domestic violence in Australia, I feel a sickening knot in my belly. Domestic violence is a confronting topic, and may not be, on the surface, something expected to be found in a romance novel. But with the right approach and delicacy from the author, it can be.

In addition to providing an entertaining read, my intention with Pieces of Me is to increase domestic violence awareness, particularly within our upcoming generation of young women (18-25) who may unwittingly find themselves in that situation. And, also, show the effects on children who have grown up witnessing domestic violence in their household. I attempt to dispel some of the unjust stereotypes many of us hold about the victims. And highlight how, with the right support and opportunity, a victim can safely extricate themselves from their abuser and, in time, heal.

Pieces of Me was written to inspire HOPE by showing the happy ending we could achieve. The story is a tribute to the STRENGTH of will women have to survive, heal, and emotionally grow after experiencing horrendous adversity. And of course, between the e-pages, there’s loads of sizzling, explosive LOVE, because that’s what we read romance for, right?


 

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A story about starting fresh, letting go, and risking it all for love…

For Hannah, Mercy Island is a refuge, a new beginning, and a place to find safety in her own skin. Here, in this peaceful, beachside place, she will rediscover all those pieces of herself her abusive ex stole away.  For Bear, Mercy Island is a prison, a backwater, a place he can’t wait to escape. Away, in the city, he’ll chase his dreams and lose the bad memories haunting him.

When Hannah’s home is damaged in an ugly storm, Bear offers his handyman services to repair it—a last job and a pretty girl to pass the time before he heads out. But Hannah is terrified to lose herself in another relationship, and Bear isn’t in it for the long haul.

However, their simmering sexual attraction refuses to be ignored, and just because love isn’t on the line doesn’t mean sex isn’t on the table. A no-strings-attached brief fling to curb the tension and take the edge off. No ties. No emotions. No pain.

But love has a way of coming in the windows, even when you’ve slammed the door, if only Hannah and Bear can stop looking to the past and find hope in their future.

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