Introducing characters and main themes
Sizzling sex, humor, relatable characters and heart wrenching conflicts, Unfinished Business, my recent novel, has all of these. Add in a devastating small town scandal and the woman who wants to hide it and you have the latest book in Totally Bound’s bestselling What’s Her Secret line.
From an author’s perspective, the fun challenge of writing a book centered around a secret is, obviously, coming up with a secret. The trick is the secret must be compelling and tension building but also something understandable and relatable. To achieve that satisfying balance in my story, I created the character, gave her a goal and then used her motivation to dig around in her past to uncover her secret. I say uncover because I didn’t know what her secret was until I got to know her first.
At the start of the story, Hayley, the main character, wants to reinvent herself. She’s left her small, country hometown and moved to the city to a fresh start. She has a new job and new friends who know very little about her past. At the heart of her desire to reinvent herself is a search for her own identity. As a member of a small community, she had been surrounded by people who knew most everything about her. They influenced her in ways she didn’t realize. It was only after she moved to the city, away from everyone and everything she’d ever known, that she understood how much she’d been influenced by their values and lifestyle. Once she’s on her own, the freedom to become who she wants is both thrilling and intimidating. As she struggles to find herself, she does a couple crazy things. Lucky for her, Nick, her guy friend, is looking out for her.
Better still, Nick is that sweet, sexy guy-next-door type who know when to be gentle and encouraging and when to be tough and demanding.
This opening excerpt from Unfinished Business introduces the main character, Hayley, and the story’s setting, Detroit, Michigan. There’s also a hint about her secret but only a hint. Because like most secrets, Hayley’s secret is revealed bit by bit and comes to the surface at the worst possible time.
It’s Thursday night and I’m hanging out at a record store. It’s the kind of place you’d only find in Detroit. Three months ago The Twelve Inch Groove didn’t exist. It was storage area in the back of the bowling alley. I don’t mean just any bowling alley. I mean the Midtown bowling alley that also has an upscale restaurant on one side, a bar filled with regulars up front and a club upstairs where anybody from Whitey Morgan to DJ Assault will be on stage. Two weeks of cleaning and moving crap around, and bammo, it’s a store.
Sure, you have to weave through the bowlers to get here but as long as you keep off the lanes and don’t mess with the barrel-chested guys hurrying to get their next pitcher of Coors before their turn rolls around, traipsing through is no big deal.
“You like this track?”
On my left is what looks to be a walking ad for Goodwill. Baggy pants, huge Red Wings shirt, but short, clean-cut bleached hair. Two-tone Sperrys. It’s like he can’t make up his mind. Can’t commit.
On second thought, maybe I have something in common with the guy. Commitment and I aren’t on speaking terms, apparently.
Blurb for Unfinished Business:
She ran away from the town that wouldn’t forget, to a city that doesn’t forgive, right into the arms of the guy who insists she set things right.
Less than a year ago, Hayley Jones made a scandalous decision that sent her packing. She left her country hometown, moved to the city and made a new life for herself. But it’s hard being someone else when the real you has some unfinished business.
Hayley knows taking care of the unresolved piece of her past could stir up more trouble and humiliation, so she dodges the truth and puts her energy into her new friends and job. That strategy works for a short while but people from her past start showing up in her present.
Life gets even more complicated when she realizes she’s falling for Nick Noel, a guy who knows she’s running from something, and continually challenges her to be herself. But Hayley is afraid of what will happen if Nick finds out who she really is and what she did back home.
About Isabelle Drake:
Thrill-seeking risk takers, heroes with the dark past, sexy locales, untamed women! Isabelle Drake writes stories featuring men and women who aren't afraid to go after what they want. An avid traveller, she'll go just about anywhere—at least once—to meet people and get story ideas.
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