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Happy Girls' Day!

I realize it’s not a traditional hinamatsuri photo, but I couldn’t help it, the cat was so cute! Happy Girls’ Day!

Guest post and giveaway by Sally Bradley

Hey peeps, I’m thrilled to host Sally Bradley today! I first heard about her book, Kept, years ago when she first was writing it and thought the story premise was absolutely fascinating. It’s wonderful to see this book finally in print (and what a gorgeous cover, too!).

Here’s the back cover blurb for her book:

"Gutsy and fast-paced."—Laura Frantz, author of Love's Reckoning

"One of the most surprising and best books I’ve read this year."—MaryLu Tyndall, best-selling author of Legacy of the King's Pirates series

Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her—all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago's lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman.

Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father's sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can't help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she's longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again.
When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes that her anonymity was an illusion. Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her—a woman who's gone too far and done too much.

"Vibrant characters, compelling questions, modern-day issues... Kept is a contemporary Christian classic along the lines of Redeeming Love. Impossible to put down, this story pulls us into the heart of Chicago and shows us how God’s hand can work, even when we repeatedly make the wrong choices. Sally Bradley’s voice is gripping and clear, and her debut is a shining beacon of how very relevant Christian fiction can be."—Heather Day Gilbert, author of God's Daughter and Miranda Warning.

Here’s a bit about Sally:

Sally Bradley writes big-city fiction with real issues and real hope. A Chicagoan since age five, she now lives in the Kansas City area with her family. You can find her online at sallybradley.com and Sally Bradley, Writer on Facebook. Kept is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

And now, here’s Sally!

First, big thanks to Camy for letting me hijack her blog!

Camy’s got a lot of romance going on here, so I thought I’d follow suit. My debut novel, Kept, has just released. In fact today’s the official release day! (Woo-whoo! Ahem.) Kept is big-city fiction set in gorgeous downtown Chicago—right on the lakefront beside Grant and Millennium Park and Buckingham Fountain and the Art Institute... don’t you just want to go?

I sure do.

Miska Tomlinson, my heroine, is an exotic beauty who’s fallen for the line so many young women in America are falling for—that sex is meaningless, that love doesn’t last, that relationships are only for a time. They’ve been thrown away so many times—and have thrown men away too.

Eventually all that hurt catches up to a girl.

That’s where the book begins for Miska—just as a guy like none she’s ever met moves in next door. There are lots of ups and downs throughout their journey, lots of pain and drama, but lots of fun and flirtation too. So I thought I’d share the flirting part here. This section always makes me smile.

[Important details to catch you up—Dillan is, as Miska first labeled him, freakishly tall. He’s six nine. No, that’s not random. There’s a reason he’s so tall. And they’re playing Frisbee soccer with a bunch of other singles. Enjoy!]

They jogged farther down the field. Dillan’s team kept the Frisbee near her goal, and she and Dillan stopped to catch their breath. Behind the trees on the far side of the park, the sky turned pink and lavender. She squinted at the occasional ray of light that jumped between swaying leaves and tried to blind her.

Somewhere someone was grilling. “Smell that?”

Dillan sniffed the air.

“What is that? Ribs? Steak?”

He pointed behind them. “It’s coming from over there.”

She looked but couldn’t find the source. When she turned back, Dillan was yards ahead of her, sprinting for the Frisbee heading their way.

“Dillan!” She chased him.

The Frisbee stayed up, and Dillan leaped high into the air, nabbing the edge and pulling it into his palm. He landed hard on his feet, almost falling to his knees as she skidded to a stop. He flung his arm out for balance.

Two of his teammates stood alone by her team’s goal. Once he stood—

Miska leaped onto his back.

He laughed beneath her. “Uh, foul.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck, her legs around his waist. “Drop the Frisbee and no one gets hurt.”

People began to laugh and cheer. Someone wolf-whistled.

“Miska.” Dillan coughed. Laughed. “Get off.” He twisted, his left arm coming back to his chest to fling the Frisbee.

Miska lunged over his shoulder for it.

He laughed again, straightening. “Are you serious?”

She slipped. With a yelp, she tightened her hold around his neck, one hand grabbing a fistful of shirt.

He stumbled back a step.

Safely on his back again, she made another grab for the Frisbee.

“Please.” Amusement tinged his voice. He held the Frisbee out, way beyond her reach.

“No fair. Your arms are like six feet long.”

“And you climbing on my back is fair.” He brought the Frisbee in close, let her reach for it, and held it out again. Pulled it close, let her reach for it, held it out again. And again.

Across the field laughter grew. Jordan flopped onto the grass, an arm across her stomach, while Garrett watched with his hands on his hips. “Let me have it, Dillan. You’re making a scene.”

“So?”

“So I can live with this. Can you?”

“Watch me,” he said and started to run.

She jerked backwards. Her mouth flew open, and she grabbed his shoulders. “Dillan!”

His long legs ate up the distance. Miska hung on, each fist clenching the front of his shirt, each step jouncing her up and down. She pressed her cheek against the side of his head, his hair cushioning her jaw. They passed everyone until only one man stood between them and the goal.

Dillan leaned over the shorter guy’s head and tossed the Frisbee in.

His team erupted.

Miska slid off his back and landed in a heap on the ground. Dillan high-fived Cam, then turned to her, a grin across his face. He offered her a hand up.

She swatted it away. “You cheated.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. What was I thinking?”

On her feet, she flipped her hair over her shoulder. “You weren’t, I’m sure. There’s not enough oxygen up there. How are you even alive?”

Laughing, Cam shook his head and jogged downfield.

Dillan pointed toward his ear, his chest heaving beneath his crumpled Cubs T-shirt. “You’ve got grass in your hair.”

She ran her fingers over her curls. “Did I get it?”

“No, it’s still—” He brought his hand closer. “You’re right below it.”

She shook her head, moved her hand up. “Here?”

“Let me.”

Her hair gave beneath his fingers, a curl separating his skin from hers. And then his fingers were in front of her, a blade of grass—brown and jagged at one end—in his hand. He tossed it to the ground. “There.”

“Any more?”

“Don’t think so.” He checked both sides of her head. “You’re good.” He took a step toward the center of the field, and Miska fell in beside him, seeing the Frisbee take off at the other end.

Cam said something to a guy who glanced over his shoulder at her and Dillan.

“Why does everyone keep looking at us?”

“What do you mean?”

“While we were eating and just now. Every time I look up, guys are watching us.”

He shrugged. “Got me.” He eased into a jog and began to leave her behind.

“What are you doing?”

“Playing defense.” He smirked over his shoulder. “I’ll explain it to you some time.”

Camy here: Great excerpt! Thanks Sally!

Sally’s also giving away one ebook copy of her book, Kept!

To enter the contest:

You must join Sally’s email newsletter to be eligible for this contest (go to Sally’s website and look for the form on the right side to sign up for her newsletter). Fill out the form below. Be sure to read the rules.

Comments

Unknown said…
What a fascinating premise, Sally. I enjoyed the article.
Deanna Stevens said…
This is going on my TBR list :)

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