A second divorce and a new baby wasn’t the vision Alison Hayes had for her future. Now a single mother with two young boys, she wants to focus on her kids and what’s left of her stagnate career.
When Detective Johnny Rhay Bennett breezes into her life with his country-boy accent, she wants to run. She doesn’t need another man in her life, or another reason to make people talk. But when her worst nightmare becomes a reality, Johnny is the only person who can pull Ali out of her despair, forcing her to stay strong and not give up hope of finding her missing child.
Who falls in love after a one-night stand? Johnny Rhay doesn’t believe it’s possible until it happens to him. With Nashville in his rear-view mirror, he’s determined to convince Alison she loves him too, even if it means moving to the West Coast.
Ali’s not easy, and she’s living on just this side of bitter after her divorce, but Johnny doesn’t care. He’s up for the challenge. At least, he believes he’s up for it until baby Micah is stolen right out from under his nose. Now Johnny has to keep it together and get that sweet little boy home safe before his dreams of having a family vanish too.
Hey, Dana. Thanks for interviewing with Gutter Girls Book Reviews. We're all wondering...Where did you get the inspiration for the characters in Dangerous Embrace and Precious Embrace?
Sarah was the first character I created. She is much like me but overdramatized. Like Sarah, I moved around a lot growing up. I also had a bit of a ‘dangerous’ boyfriend in high school who wasn’t very nice to me. Of course I wasn’t physically abused or raped like Sarah, but he was very emotionally abusive. And I fell right into his trap and swallowed all of his narcissistic lies, just like any impressionable young woman might.
Ava, Sarah’s best friend, is much like my best friend. Unfortunately most of Ava’s scenes were eventually edited out.
My husband handles security for his company along with all of their IT needs, so he is where I got the idea of Mark. The rest of the characters unfolded from the story. I actually added Johnny on a whim once I realized Brian needed to contact the Nashville police. It was one of those shrugable ‘why not’ moments.
Do you relate to any particular character more than the others?
Aha, yes, Sarah, but I can relate a little to all of them. I’m a parent like Ali and Mark. I’ve lived in Nashville, which made Johnny a little easier to write, and I’ve had my heart broken like Brian. (This you’ll learn about in book three)
I have to be honest, I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to embrace Alison's character because of her history with Mark. Were you worried that readers would dislike Alison in Precious Embrace for that reason?
YES! Very worried. When I wrote Dangerous Embrace I didn’t have any intentions of writing a series. I hoped, with crossed fingers, that if I did my job correctly, people would grow to like Ali and understand her. I wanted people to make the connection between her having lost her father at a young age and her lack of any real history with men, and realize she was simply misguided. I find that women with stronger father figures tend to have smarter heads when it comes to men. Not always, but most of the time this is true. Ali’s not a bad person, but she’s naïve and she’s compulsive when it comes to men.
When I added Johnny’s character to Dangerous Embrace, I thought about pairing him with Ava, but Johnny decided for himself who he wanted. It was a bit kismet really. Johnny and Ali had chemistry as soon as I put them on the page together. How could I not give Johnny what he wanted? If he didn’t care about her history, why should I?
We love country boys here at Gutter Girls Book Reviews, so Johnny Rhay Bennett fits right in! Any particular reason you chose to write about a southern boy from Nashville, TN?
I spent several years in Nashville growing up, and, well, let’s just say, the boys made an impression on me. Johnny was modeled after one particular 13 year old boy who I thought I loved for a short time. I guess you can say Johnny is how I hope this boy turned out.
A lot of authors swear by using music as inspiration while they write. Does that go for you too? What's on your playlist?
I have an extensive playlist. Johnny even has his own theme song. I’ll list a few songs here, but you’ll be able to see the entire list on my blog in a few weeks.
Bad Things by Jace Everette (Johnny’s song) Yeah, I know, it’s the True Blood song, but I picture Johnny when I hear it.
Follow Through by Gavin DeGraw
Criminal by Fiona Apple
Here With Me by Dido
I’m Yours by The Script
One and Only Adele
Overjoyed by Matchbox 20
Ho Hey by The Lumineers
Are you working on any writing projects now that Precious Embrace has been released? What can we expect from you in the future? Do you plan to stick with writing Romantic Suspense?
I love romantic suspense so I can’t imagine writing anything else, but you never know. I’d never rule anything out. I have to finish book three, Broken Embrace, and then I’m on to my fourth book, What the Heart Wants.
Broken Embrace is about Brian and Melissa. They had the same introduction as Ali and Johnny. Once they were on the page together, they just connected, which is pretty inconvenient considering I had already written Brian as married. You’ll have to wait to for Broken Embrace to find out what happens.
Thanks for answering our questions! Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
Thank you so much for the wonderful interview. It’s been fun and you asked some great questions.
If I could say anything to my readers, it would be to give Sarah and Ali a chance. I don’t write fairytales, these are real women with real life problems and just like us, they don’t always act the right way or say the right things. That’s what makes them women. We are unpredictable creatures who want to do right all the time, but are too often led by our hearts and emotions instead of our brains.
One other thing I would like to say to my readers is THANK YOU! It’s been a rollercoaster ride and I hope it never ends. The support I’ve received is priceless and makes it worth all the ups and downs.
If you love a man who knows what he wants, loves babies, wants a family, and would like nothing more than to adore you for the rest of your life, then you will LOVE Johnny Rhay Bennett. Johnny Rhay is a police detective from Nashville, TN and he’s moved all the way to California to be with a girl that he spent one night with in Maui while attending a friend’s wedding. He shows up on Alison’s doorstep with a smile and that little southern accent of his to charm his way into her life despite her reluctance to dive into another relationship.
Unfortunately, these crimes are usually committed by those that are close to you, so how can Johnny Rhay keep Alison safe when she refuses to believe the truth? How can he convince her that she deserves to be loved and shouldn’t hate herself for the rest of her life because of one terrible mistake?
Dana Mason really has a way of bringing real life problems to life in her writing. She writes about relationships that seem realistic with an extra dash of romance. Johnny Rhay is every girls dream man and I really enjoyed reading about his devotion to Alison despite the grueling circumstances they found themselves in. Precious Embrace didn’t move as fast as Dangerous Embrace, but I still enjoyed it and Johnny Rhay is the main reason why. I think this is geared more towards older readers with families. This is a book to sit down with when you’re not looking for anything too angsty relationship wise. It’s a sweet read that will touch your heart and make you hug your babies.
I recieved an ARC from Dana Mason in exchange for an honest review.
Dana Mason started writing to prove to her computer geek husband and her math & science geek kids that she actually has a brain; it’s just a right functioning brain instead of a left. She’s lived all over the country and uses that experience in her writing and character studies. Her debut novel, Dangerous Embrace, is the first in a contemporary romance series about a group of friends from Northern California who learn just how short life can be when you don’t hold on to what’s important. Second chances don’t come easy…but sometimes love is worth the risk.
When not writing, Dana specializes in professional development and training. She’s also a board member on the local Art's Council and does what she can to support the art community.
As an avid reader and movie watcher, she always requires a happily ever after ending.
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