- N. N. Light
New Release | Vulnerable by @Marsharwest #laterinlife #romance #secondchance #newrelease #bookboost
Author: Marsha R. West
Genre: Late in Life Romance, Second Chance Romantic Suspense
Publisher: MRW Press, LLC
Interior designer and junior college professor Maddy Crawford Crain strives to stand on her own after the unexpected death of her husband two years ago in a car wreck. Being sexually harassed at work makes her feel vulnerable and forces her to seek help.
Former LA Homicide Detective and now security expert David Bourland wants to protect his clients and protect his heart after seeing his wife gunned down. Maddy’s problems draw on all his protective instincts to keep her safe.
Will the harasser’s obsession turn deadly? Will David’s fear of falling in love with someone who could die violently and Maddy’s determination to stand on her own keep them from finding each other?
Note: Maddy is the sister of the heroine in COMPROMISE. David Bourland is the brother of the heroine in TRUTH BE TOLD. I wrote this book because a reader fell in love with David and pressed me for years to tell his story. 😊
Watch the book trailer: https://youtu.be/Q2uaEusbZtI
(Maddy meets with a security specialist recommended by her daughter.)
Maddy nodded. After drawing in a deep breath, she told him from the beginning what had occurred—meeting with President Huntington at his house, the run-in at the grocery store, and the two parking lot incidents. She didn’t notice when, but at a point during her talk, Bourland had picked up a computer tablet and typed notes as she talked. Finally she exhaled a long breath, sat straighter, and unclenched her hands. “That’s all. What do you think? Have I overreacted? What should I have done differently to keep him from behaving this way? Should I bother to go to the college Human Resources department?”
He set the tablet on his desk. “Let’s be clear. You haven’t overreacted. If anyone behaves in a manner that you are uncomfortable with, which clearly happened four times here, then that’s sexual harassment. The behavior is always in the eye of the recipient, not the perpetrator, who can be oblivious to what he is doing. Harder in this day and age to be oblivious, but it’s possible. You clearly told him to stop. And you did nothing wrong to cause this to happen. Let me repeat. You did nothing wrong.”
“Thank you. I feel better hearing you say that. What do you recommend I do next?”
“To begin with, if you’re able, use your phone to document any future interactions you have with the president. All you have to do is press Record. I’m glad you’ve made notes. Send the file to your daughters. The time stamp will function as documentation. Got it?”
“Of course. I’ll continue to make notes if, God forbid, he comes at me again. I haven’t had a chance to add the last two incidents. I can do that. What about H.R.?”
“I know you’re in a tricky situation, but yes, in my opinion, you should report this to the college’s Human Resources department. Even if they don’t act, you’ve still got another official documentation of the harassment.”
Maddy dropped her head, her shoulders slumped. Her hands involuntarily clenched again. “I wish this hadn’t happened. What did I do to cause his behavior?”
At his sharp tone she jerked up her head.
“Ms. Crain. You must believe this. You did nothing wrong. Do you hear me? You. Did. Nothing. Wrong. Now we have to take steps to make sure you’re safe and insure he doesn’t harass anyone else. He could pick on someone who doesn’t have the support system you do.”
Maddy straightened in the chair and drew in a deep breath. “Okay. What do we do?”
“Number one, finish updating those notes. Number two, make an appointment with the school H.R. department. Number three, we’ll check out your work area and your house to make sure you have the most updated security procedures. And four, we want to see how good you are at self-defense.”
“What? I hope to God the situation never devolves to where I have to find out.”
“I do, too, but let’s not leave any possibility to chance.” He smiled. “You don’t have to become a black belt in karate to develop a few skills to keep you safer.”
Defense training and the most updated security system? Yee gods, that would cost a fortune. Maddy leaped from her chair and paced the office. He didn’t say a word until she stopped. She forced herself to draw in five breaths and let them slowly out. Then she turned and faced him. “Okay, sorry I freaked out that way. It’s just a lot. I do have a security system at my house, but it’s not connected to the police. The school has a security system, of course, and we see campus security patrolling, too.”
“What’s your schedule like now? Could I visit the campus, see your office, and then go to your house?”
Wow. He didn’t believe in messing around. He seemed ready to take on her dragons, and Maddy was grateful. “Yes, we can do that. I don’t have classes this afternoon or evening.”
“Great, let me grab your jacket.” He did so and held it for her to slide her arms in the sleeves.
Maddy preceded Bourland back into the office entry where he told the receptionist he’d be out for the rest of the afternoon and ushered Maddy outside.
“Are you parked in the garage?”
“I am, too. Let’s go.”
On the way, Maddy noticed how observant Bourland was. His head swung on an almost constant swivel, taking in their surroundings. When they reached her car, he stopped her from getting in. “Let me check it out first.” He knelt and looked under her car and then walked all around it.
“What are you doing? Huntington is sexually harassing me, but I don’t have a threat to my safety.”
He rose and brushed his hands together. “Did you hear what you said? Ms. Crain—Maddy, if I may call you that—someone who sexually harasses you doesn’t have your best interests at heart, and it’s way too easy for that behavior to escalate into doing serious physical harm. Don’t take your safety for granted anymore.”
“My life has seriously changed, hasn’t it?”
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A retired elementary school principal, a former school board member, and theatre arts teacher, Marsha R. West writes Romance, Suspense, and Second Chances. Experience Required. She lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband and Charley, a deaf, Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier. Their two daughters presented them with three delightful grandchildren all who live nearby.
The theme of Marsha’s ten books is always second chances, and she even has a four-part series titled The Second Chances Series. She believes in Happily Ever Afters. Her husband picked up a plaque for her on one of their several trips to Maine that states her philosophy exactly. Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end. The Heroines and Heroes in her books are in their 40s and 50s with their parents and children often playing supporting roles.
She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, North Texas Romance Writers, Authors Marketing Guild LLC, & the WORD BY WORD Blog. She has her own weekly blog and monthly newsletter. Marsha loves making presentations to groups and has twice taught a Silver Frogs class on Indie Publishing for Texas Christian University. Her books can be found on AMAZON, B & N, KOBO, and iTunes and other sites. Print books are also at Draft 2 Digital, Indie Lector Stores, and Amazon. Blurbs for each of her books with links can be found on her website.
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