~ About the Book ~
Tori Bishop has carved out a safe circle of friends who know nothing of her privileged status. But when she’s roped into attending a glitzy fundraiser, she brings along strong and steadfast Derek for support. As long as her secret stays safe, she never has to question his motives.
Derek Miller wants his life to count for something, to make a difference—especially in the life of Tori Bishop, the spunky smart-mouth who loves razzing him. But if his prison record comes to light, she’s sure to take off running.
When Tori and Derek get involved in building a local women’s shelter, the extra time together stirs more than an ember of attraction. Haunted by the fear of exposure, each must wrestle with the chains of their pasts to experience freedom, love, and the full depths of God’s grace.
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Novella
Release date: 21 July 2018
Publisher: Orange Grove Press
~ Excerpt ~
Tori slipped her feet into her sandals, slung her beach bag over her shoulder, and climbed up the sand to the parking lot.
“Yo! Miss thang. One of these days I’m gonna repay you for all the harassment you dole out.”
She kept walking. “Yeah, sure. But not right now, okay? I’ve got a major crisis to fix.”
Derek frowned. “What’s up?”
“Full blown wedding rescue. I’ve got to go.” Her mind was spinning at a hundred rpms.
“Whoa, sounds serious. Need help?”
“From you? No. Got it covered.”
He screwed his lips to one side. “Of course you do. Don’t ever need anyone, do you?”
Tori rolled her eyes.
“All right. But seriously…” He stepped sideways in front of her so that his broad frame blocked the sun, then caught her gaze with a penetrating look. “If you change your mind, I got your back.”
“Okay. I’ll let you know.” She climbed into her Jeep and started the engine.
Derek gave her a compassionate look, no pretense in his molasses-colored eyes. He raised a hand. “Take care.”
Guilt tickled the back of her neck. She rubbed it away. Why did he have to be so nice? “Yeah. You too.” She smiled at him, and her next breath was strangely shallower than the one before. “Wish me luck.” She backed out of her spot and headed up to the exit.
Derek Miller rubbed an arm across his brow and watched Tori drive away, her dark auburn locks fluttering out the window. The girl sure knew how to get under his skin. That sassy mouth of hers would get her into trouble someday. But even after knowing each other a couple of years, she still seemed determined to keep him at arms’ length. The banter could be playful, fun sometimes. Until it wasn’t. And she knew it. He’d read it in her soft gray eyes for split seconds at a time. Just before she plastered a smirk on her lips, lifted that straight, diamond-studded nose in the air, and threw another teasing comment his way.
If she could drop the sarcasm for one hot second, they might be able to get along.
~ Review ~
‘Opposites attract’ always makes for an interesting story, and characters don’t come much more opposite than Derek and Tori. Black/white, poor/rich, privileged/ex-con. And yet this story shows that, at our core, we’re all the same. We have the same insecurities regardless of why they’re there, the same desire to be accepted for who we are, and the same Lord who will guide us if we let Him.
At the beginning of this novel, it’s not just their respective pasts that are troubling Derek and Tori; it’s knowing what to do with their futures. I enjoyed each step of their journey as they finally found the freedom to embrace who they are in Christ, particularly when their banter and sass came to the fore. And there were a few unexpected developments in the second half of the novel too!
It may only be a novella, but there’s a lot of heart in this story.
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Related books ~
~ Guest Post from Michelle Massaro ~
When I sit down to write a new story, I tend to gravitate toward some pretty deep emotions. The raw kind we all have known at one point or another. It’s what connects us all as human beings, no matter how different we are on the outside. If we can learn to see ourselves in others I believe that’s where compassion is born, as well as some self-revelation. Like King David hearing the story of the rich man stealing the poor man’s lamb and realizing he was that man!
In Unbound by Grace, I was approaching the story of two super fun characters I had introduced in my first novel, Grace in the Flames. In that book, they were side characters. But I always adored writing their scenes. They were both so entertaining! And the chance to put these two together and give them their own book was just too delicious an idea to pass up.
I got to put them into some interesting surroundings (anyone been to watch a horse race lately?) and take them to some very exposed, vulnerable places as well. Through them I was challenged to get inside someone else’s skin, and understand. Plus, they kept me smiling as well! This story was a blast to write, and I hope you enjoy these fictional friends of mine as much as I do.
It’s such a pleasure to meet new readers. I hope to hear from you soon!
~ About the Author ~
MICHELLE MASSARO writes contemporary fiction soaked in grace. She makes her home in Southern California with her husband of over two decades and their four children. She’s dabbled in homeschooling, teaching Creation Science, and leading worship. When she isn’t tinkering with words, Michelle enjoys old Rogers and Hammerstein movies, making kefir, and Sudoku. A new lipstick and a good French roast always make her happy.
~ Giveaway ~
To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize package that includes a notebook, a mug, a bookmark, a pen, a signed copy of Grace in the Flames, and an Amazon Gift Card ($40)!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d3a6/unbound-by-grace-celebration-tour-giveaway
~ Tour Stops ~
22 September ~ Bibliophile Reviews
23 September ~ A Baker’s Perspective
24 September ~ Fiction Aficionado
25 September ~ Faithfully Bookish
26 September ~ Reading Is My SuperPower
27 September ~ Carpe Diem
29 September ~ Simple Harvest Reads (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
30 September ~ Janices book reviews
2 October ~ Texas Book-aholic