Griffin Stone knows the stats. Sons of abusers become abusers. This is his single fear.
After witnessing firsthand his parents’ tumultuous marriage, Griffin worries that he, too, harbors an explosive dark side. Can he escape from his father’s rage-fueled ways or is he destined to become part of the cycle?
Unable to persuade his mother to leave and wrestling with his resentment towards her for staying, Griffin volunteers at Holly’s House, a safe haven for abused women. Through sculpture, Griffin gives these women pieces of themselves they’ve long forgotten. Holly’s House is the only place where Griffin finds peace and purpose.
Until he meets Frankie Moore.
Frankie is an aspiring photographer, finding beauty in things most people miss, including Griffin. Griffin is attracted to her free-spirited, sassy attitude but fears Frankie will trigger the most intense part of him, the one he must keep buried.
Frankie’s got to get her act together. Her anything-goes behavior is leading nowhere fast. She’s hopeful that her latest hobby will be a building block for the future. But when a stranger appears on the other end of her camera, looking as complex as he is handsome, Frankie thinks this might be just the change she needs.
When Griffin’s father strides out the door, I involuntarily suck in a gasp. Approaching us is possibly the most handsome man I’ve ever seen, especially in his sharp button-down shirt, slacks and designer shoes. He’s almost Griffin’s clone, except as he smiles to say hello, some soft lines surround his mouth and fiery brown eyes. His dark hair has the same slightly reddish tint as Griffin’s but it’s short, with not a single strand out of place. He’s got Griffin’s high cheekbones and deep dimples indenting his cheeks. These two could be twins born a couple of decades apart.
A small guttural sound spurts from Griffin, who practically has smoke coming out his ears, and two things occur to me. One: I cannot be thinking about how beautiful this man is. I have to hate him the way Griffin does, because, for God’s sake, he’s an abusive asshole. And two: even though he has explained it to me, I’m grasping for the first time why Griffin keeps his appearance the way he does. Morally, he is the polar opposite of his father, yet their physical features could make them identical.
“Frankie,” his father says, revealing a smile matched in beauty only by his son’s. “I’m so glad to be meeting you. I’m Evan.” He extends his hand.
Griffin is absorbed by his father’s manicured hand grasping mine. Definitely no tattoos on those knuckles. He releases me and turns to Griffin.
“Hello, my boy,” he says, but doesn’t reach for his hand. Maybe he knows Griffin won’t shake it and doesn’t want to make things awkward. Instead he gives Griffin a playful slap on the back. Griffin straightens.
“Why aren’t you at work?” Griffin snaps at his father. Griffin’s hands quiver and he crams them in his pockets.
“I was.” His father ignores the tone. “But when your mother mentioned you were bringing a date for dinner, I decided to cut our meeting short. Why don’t we go inside? Your mom said everything’s almost ready.” He tries to escort me by placing a hand on my spine. Griffin pulls me away and steps between us to walk.
Dinner should be interesting.
Guest Post- Naming Characters:
A friend recently asked me if choosing the names for characters in my books is like choosing names for my children. My immediate response was yes, because in some ways, the processes are similar. For instance, in both cases, the names are permanent, so there is some built-in pressure about picking well. Also, in theory, I’d give everyone names I love, so the methods would have to be similar, right?
After thinking about it, though, I realized that’s not actually the case at all. First off, I don’t have to love, or even like, the names I assign my characters. Maybe I’m writing about someone despicable. I wouldn’t necessarily want to give him a wonderful name. Also, I keep some of my favorite names on a back burner, waiting for the perfect hero or heroine to come along. This might be an acceptable practice for a writer – not so much for a parent.
But there is one much bigger difference between the two. For each of our children, my husband and I mulled over dozens of names. We had no idea what kinds of personalities they might have or what would interest them. Their names were based solely on our opinions about what sounded pretty. When I name my characters, though, I’m privy to all sorts of information. I decide what my hero is going to be like before I lay one word on a page. I know if I want my heroine to be weak or strong, serious or funny, and I can name her accordingly. The names can reflect their personalities if I want them to. Or they can be, ironically, a sharp contrast to them.
I’ll admit that when writing my first book, At This Stage, I did borrow from the pool of rejected baby names my husband and I had saved on scrap paper. Jackson and Griffin were among them. These were names we loved, but for one reason or another, opted not to use for our children. Their last names though, Wall and Stone respectively, represent parts of their characters.
When naming my heroine in that book, I had certain criteria. She was on the younger side, but I didn’t want her to seem childish. She was mature beyond her years and I wanted her name, both in its whole form and her nickname, to reflect that. I chose Kaitlyn because to me, it sounded strong and controlled - even when Jackson called her Kate.
Shatterproof was a different story. My heroine’s name had to suggest a free-spirited nature. It had to be a little bit fun, but not weak and not over-the-top girly. As soon as I thought of the name Frankie, I knew it was the one. I loved the idea of her full name being Francesca, yet the formality not fitting her, so she uses a shorter name. The origins of her name also have a meaning that applies to Frankie, but I won’t give that away because it’s explained in the book.
In my latest work in progress, the names of my hero and heroine are symbolic. His has to do with his talent, and hers, her family background. Neither are names I would have chosen for my children, although I do like both of them. Sometimes, I think naming characters is about what’s pleasing to the ear. Other times, it’s what’s pleasing to the mind. And I suppose in a perfect world – one that may be entirely fictitious – they can be a little of both.
About the Author:
K.K. Weil grew up in Queens, but eventually moved to New York City, the inspiration for many of her stories. Weil, who attended SUNY Albany as an undergrad and NYU as a graduate student, is a former teacher. She now enjoys writing her own dramas and lives near the beach in New Jersey, where she is at work on her next novel.
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