Meet Rachel Bennett, Leading Lady in THE STALKER

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Rachel Bennett has a problem. A man from her past is obsessed with her.

A twenty-eight year old graphic designer, Rachel has recently returned to her hometown of Tucson, Arizona, and is attending her ten-year high school reunion. While she’s there she’s reintroduced to Shane MacLeod, a fellow classmate who she briefly met while serving on the yearbook committee. Rachel may not remember Shane, but he certainly remembers her, and as they’re busy getting reaquainted another man from Rachel’s past suddenly reappears. A former coworker, Craig Walker, has been stalking and harassing her for the past few years, and no matter how hard she tries to seek justice, the system keeps failing her.

Fortunately for Rachel, it’s all about to change. Shane is undaunted by Craig, and, with his help, things finally appear to be working in her favor. But unknown to them, Craig is about take his revenge, and Rachel’s life will never be the same.

Rachel was inspired by an acquaintance who was once hounded by a former colleague. She’s a courageous woman determined to regain control of her life, and she’s not afraid to back down from a fight.

MM

 

Meet Shane MacLeod, Leading Man from THE STALKER

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My editor loved Shane. She thought he was the best leading man since Alex Montoya in The Deception, and she has a point. Both will do whatever it takes to protect and defend the women they love, and both were “nerdy” kids when they were young.

Rachel and Shane went to the same high school, but had different circles of friends. Shane hung out with a couple of other nerdy kids, known as “The Math Club,” while Rachel, who was on the yearbook committee, took their club photo. And even though she didn’t notice him, he certainly noticed her, and he soon had a secret crush on her. Fast-forward to their ten year class reunion. Shane has gone from a nerdy teenager to a handsome, accomplished man, who, upon seeing her, reintroduces himself and invites her to join him at his table. Rachel accepts. The two quickly become friends, but little they know that another man from Rachel’s past intends to destroy her, and he will stop at nothing to get to her.

Like Alex, Shane is a purely fictitious character not inspired by anyone I’ve known in real life. Tis a pity indeed.

If you liked, The Deception, you’ll like The Stalker as well. Along with similar leading men and a supporting character who appears in both books, both leading women have enemies who intend to destroy them at all costs.

MM

 

 

 

Meet Emily St. Claire, Leading Lady in THE BETRAYAL

Emily
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I decided I would make Emily St. Claire, my leading lady in The Betrayal, a loving, devoted wife. Emily is happily married to Jesse, her college sweetheart, and she put her dream of becoming a concert pianist on hold, at least for a time, taking a job as an office manager so Jesse could launch his own career. And now that he’s become successful, it’s Emily’s turn to pursue her dream.

Unfortunately, Emily’s world is about to be turned upside down. She’ll get the shock of her life when she discovers Jesse has been unfaithful to her. Emily, however, is nothing if not resilient. She returns home to her father, and her piano, determined to follow her dreams, with or without Jesse. But as she begins to follow her dream, her life will take another unexpected turn. An unforeseen tragedy will lead her to Kyle, a man who’ll love her unconditionally, but before Kyle can pursue her, he has to save her from another enemy, determined to destroy her.

I wanted Emily to be the polar opposite of Maggie Andrews, the betrayed wife in The Deception. Both women have been deeply hurt by their husband’s infidelity, but Maggie chooses to take her wrath out on Carrie, her husband’s mistress, even with the knowledge that Carrie was completely unaware that Scott was married and had already ended the relationship. Maggie is a bitter, unhappy woman, who uses her husband’s affair as an excuse to destroy another person’s life because she believes doing so will somehow make her feel vindicated.

Emily, on the other hand, tries her best to handle her husband’s infidelity with grace and dignity, but another man will soon take advantage of her vulnerability, causing her to make a decision she will later regret, and that others will use against her.

While Emily is a fictitious character, the inspiration for her story came from two different friends. One was a man I dated many years ago who had caught his ex-wife in the act. The other was a friend who never forgot the day her father came home and caught her mother being unfaithful. Adultery doesn’t just harm the spouse who was cheated on. It affects others as well, and both The Betrayal, and The Deception, are stories about the long term consequences of infidelity.

MM

 

 

Meet Kyle Madden, Leading Man in THE BETRAYAL

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One of the things I enjoy doing as an author is crossing characters from one novel into another. After all, they’re just sitting there, doing nothing, so I may as well put them to work, right? One of these crossover characters is Kyle Madden, who we first meet in The Reunion. Kyle is the police detective who warns Gillian, the leading lady, about her ex-husband, Jason.

As I began formulating the plot line for The Betrayal, I decided to include a good cop/bad cop story, with my leading man being the good cop. The story would be set in Phoenix, and, rather than create a leading man from scratch, I decided to use Kyle. He’d only played a minor role in The Reunion, as a generic police detective, so he had plenty of potential. In The Betrayal, Kyle becomes a thirty-something divorced dad whose wife had left him, and their young son, a few years earlier. Kyle wants very much to be a good father, but his demanding career takes up too much of his time, and it has left him feeling burned out.

Kyle first meets Emily, the leading lady, at an art gallery opening, but they’re destined to meet again. This time, however, it’s official police business, and Kyle soon realizes that Emily is being framed for a crime she didn’t commit. As he fights to prove her innocence, he’ll discover that one of his fellow officers is behind the nefarious plot.

Kyle is a hero who was inspired by real heros, all of the dedicated real life police officers out there who put their lives on the line for the rest of us each and everyday.

MM

Meet Cassie Palmer Leading Lady in THE JOURNEY

Romantic young woman outdoors at a summer day.
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Cassie Palmer is a character best described as grace under pressure. Seemingly naive and shy on the outside, Cassie is an iron lady in disguise.

We first meet Cassie in The Reunion, when Gillian and Jeremy stop for breakfast at a truck stop diner in Idaho Springs, Colorado, where Gillian suddenly finds herself reunited with the diner owner, her long-long best friend, Samantha Walsh. As they get reacquainted Samantha unveils another surprise–her daughter, Cassie. Gillian is surprised, but Jeremy’s life will never be the same.

Cassie and Jeremy soon become friends, but I don’t want to spoil too much of the story for those who haven’t yet read The Reunion. Cassie returns in The Journey, and this time she’s the leading lady. As the story begins, she is critically injured in a car crash that leaves her fighting for her life. Later, as she begins the long road to recovery, her world will turn upside down once again, yet through it all, she remains gracefully resilient.

Cassie is a purely fictitious character not inspired by anyone I know in real life. She is, instead, an inspiration for those times when we feel overwhelmed by all life’s obstacles.

MM

Meet Jeremy Palmer, Leading Man in THE JOURNEY

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It’s funny how things sometimes work out. Jeremy Palmer was originally intended to be a rouge character in The Reunion. He would make a brief appearance, do his dirty deed, and then disappear into the night. But sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned. As I was writing The Reunion, I came to realize that Ian, the leading man, wouldn’t have had such an evil son. So Jeremy went from rogue villain to a rival, competing with his father for Gillian’s affections, and creating a storyline that many readers tell me was their favorite part of The Reunion. Jeremy blossomed. Okay, he jumped off the page. He became a sexy, vibrant character worthy of having his own novel, The Journey.

We first meet Jeremy in The Reunion as a twenty-one-year-old bartender. He has his father’s good looks, and his mother’s bold, sometimes too direct, personality. Jeremy isn’t one to mince words. He likes to get straight to the point, and his bluntness occasionally gets him into trouble.

The Journey begins approximately eighteen months after The Reunion has ended. Jeremy is now working as an engineer, and he’s happily married to Cassie. (You really didn’t think Ian would have allowed him to steal Gillian away, did you?) Jeremy’s world turns upside down the night Cassie is seriously injured in a car crash. He rushes to the hospital and stays by her side. While Cassie recovers they befriend Denise, one of Cassie’s nurses. Denise seems familiar, and while Jeremy can’t quite place her, she has never forgotten how he jilted her, years before. Denise wants a second chance with Jeremy, and she’s about to unleash an evil plan to win him back.
Jeremy is a purely fictitious character. He wasn’t inspired by anyone I knew in real life, although his character is very similar to the young Ian seen in the flashback chapters of The Reunion. The younger Ian was inspired by someone I knew, long ago. And just like his father, Ian, Jeremy will make his fair share of mistakes, no doubt making some readers saying, “Like father, like son.”
MM

Meet Alex Montoya, Leading Man in THE DECEPTION

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Alex has to be one of the most likable, not to mention sexy, characters I’ve ever  created. He’s strong, yet quirky and vulnerable at the same time. The American-born son of a Spanish immigrant father, Alex is American in every way, while his father still clings to Old World customs and traditions.

Alex and Carrie, the leading lady, have a friendship dating back to the fourth grade. They remained friends through high school, but when they ended up going to colleges on opposite ends of the country they drifted apart. Ten years later Carrie deeply regrets letting Alex go. After her identity is stolen, and she’s accused of a serious wrongdoing as a result, a friend arranges for her to meet with a bright young attorney who can help her. Much to her surprise, that bright, young attorney is none other than her long-lost best friend, Alex.

I decided to have Alex be of Spanish descent in honor of a friend I had years ago, who was also of Spanish descent. She had great pride in her heritage, and she often spoke of it. I also had another close friend who was the first American born child of Italian immigrant parents. She too was proud of her heritage, but she sometimes found herself in conflict with her parents whenever they tried to impose their Old World expectations on her.

If I had to describe Alex in one word, it would be loyal. He’s the kind of man who’s willing to go the extra mile for the people he cares about, while not expecting anything in return. That’s what makes him a positive role model.

MM

Meet Carrie Daniels, Leading Lady in THE DECEPTION

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I really tried to give Carrie Daniels, my Deception leading lady, a nice, girl-next-door quality, and, judging by the comments I’m receiving from reviewers, it looks like I’ve hit my mark.

A freelance photographer and former child model, Carrie’s entire world is about to come crumbling down. Three years earlier her mother suffered a debilitating stroke, and Carrie went from riches-to-rags once her mother’s insurance ran out. Her financial calamity, however, is only the beginning of her problems. Doug, her significant other for the past ten years, is about to dump her, and, once that happens, Carrie will be left homeless and vulnerable, making it all too easy for Louise, her former mentor, to seize the opportunity to exploit Carrie for her own selfish gains.

As the story unfolds, Carrie will experience both sides of infidelity. She will be shocked and devastated when Doug admits he’s been unfaithful to her. She’ll also be deceived by Scott, a married man who presents himself to her, and her best friend, as a man who’s single and available. Carrie leaves the relationship once she realizes things aren’t adding up, but by then it will be too late as Scott’s wife, Maggie, seeks revenge. Yet despite her troubles, Carrie remains resilient as she tries to make the best of what she can. She’s the kind of character you can root for–sweet on the outside, but strong on the inside.

Carrie is a mostly fictitious character, in that I did not model her after anyone in particular, although I may have put a little of myself into her. Photography has always been one of my life’s passions, and, in my younger days, I too dreamed of being a model.

MM

Meet Gillian Matthews THE REUNION Leading Lady

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And now for another true confession…like Ian Palmer, the leading man in The Reunion, Gillian, the leading lady, is also based on a real person–me. Granted, we’re not clones, but we do have a few things in common.

Gillian has had a successful career as an artist, and she’s even had a little bit of fame to go along with it. And while she’s done well professionally, her personal life has been a disappointment. Gillian has a knack for getting involved with the wrong men, but that all changes when she travels to Denver for an opening at a gallery and a man from her past suddenly reappears. Ian Palmer is the one man she never got over. Gillian and Ian resume their friendship, and, once again, become lovers. Unfortunately, her world will shatter once again when something unexpected occurs behind the scenes, and an accident nearly takes her life. Later on, she’ll become the object of affection with a new, and much younger man, while Ian attempts to win her back for a third time.

Okay, maybe my life hasn’t been quite so dramatic as Gillians. Or has it? I survived a car crash that, had it happened a split second sooner, may have killed me. And yes, there really once was an Ian in my life, but, thankfully, he’s never reappeared. And doggone it, I haven’t found myself enamored by a younger man–at least not yet. However, like Gillian, I started out my career as graphic designer and artist. I also lived in Denver for a time, and while I was there, a few of my paintings were accepted in some juried art shows.

So there you have it. Gillian is my alter ego, of sorts, even though I’ve never experienced most of the things that happen to her in The Reunion. That’s where imagination takes over, and it’s what made writing The Reunion so much fun.

MM

Meet Ian Palmer, THE REUNION Leading Man

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret that until now, only my closest friends knew. Ian Palmer, the leading man in my novel, The Reunion, was inspired by a real person.

Ian is an architect who appears in most of the story as a middle-aged man. He’s had a successful career, working his way to a prestigious position with a large architecture firm. His personal life, however, has been less than stellar. He married the wrong woman for the wrong reasons, and the marriage ended after he discovered his wife had cheated on him. Now Ian’s life is about to change. He has a second chance with Gillian, his long-lost love, but his new-found happiness will soon be put to the test. As new challenges come his way, Ian struggles to balance Gillian, parenthood, and his career, which is about to come to an unexpected and untimely end.

Ian also appears in this story as a young man. During the flashback chapters readers will see him as an outgoing but ambitious college student who, just by chance, happens to meet Gillian, the girlfriend of one of his classmates. The two quickly become friends, and, after Gillian’s relationship with Ryan ends, they become more than friends. Unfortunately, Ian’s ambition and desire to succeed will be their undoing, at least the first time around. It’s this younger Ian who was inspired by someone I once knew.

Now I can’t divulge his real name. That would violate his privacy. I’ve also gave him a different physical description and hometown than his real-life counterpart. What I can tell you is that just like the Gillian, I attended Arizona State University, and while I was there I met a young architecture student who turned out to be the love of my life. In fact, how I met him was pretty much the same way as I’ve described Gillian meeting Ian. So, for those of you wondering about his real identity, that ought to narrow down to a few thousand people.

Does the real Ian know about The Reunion? Somehow I doubt it. We lost touch with one another years ago, and I’ve long since moved on. But if he ever should hear about The Reunion, I hope he’ll like it, and I hope he’ll take the Ian character as the complement he is meant to be.

MM