Saturday, March 15, 2014

Unbroken sale!

To celebrate the anniversary of UNBROKEN, I'm throwing a sale! Like a party, but with bargain books :)

***ON SALE FOR 99 CENTS for one week only!***

Barnes & Noble:
Amazon UK:

One week only!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Unbroken means to me….

Hey guys,

Celebrating the one-year anniversary of my publication, I thought I’d do something different. Unbroken, Unafraid, Unconditional -- the titles of my Beachwood Bay books are connected to the characters and plot of each novel, but they’re also concepts that mean a lot to me in my life. So, I’d like share a few stories with you of experiences I’ve gone through, and ways that these words have been significant to me. I hope you enjoy them, and learn a little more about me.


‘Unbroken’ is a beautiful word. It implies wholeness, but more than that, something resilient; standing strong against the storm. For Emerson and Juliet, those storms are the forces that try to tear their relationship apart, but the truth is that for me, one of the hardest challenges I ever faced was remaining unbroken in myself; my own spirit, my dreams, my identity.

I was bullied in school. Not just from time to time, but pretty much consistently between the ages of seven and seventeen. I had the misfortune of being smart, a bookworm with big glasses and a fuzzball of hair I’d yet to figure out how to tame. I was different, I wasn’t pretty, and in school, there’s no greater crime for a girl. They called me names, ridiculed me whenever I spoke up in class (and then, when I stopped that, they carried on all the same). Jokes about how ugly I was, how weird, how repulsive, how it was the worst imaginable fate for me to even have a crush on someone. There were petty teen girl gossip games, and the threat of violence from boys who would bombard me with spitballs through every class, and hurl books at me if I ventured to my lockers unaccompanied.

Alone, these things may not strike you as too bad, but it’s the relentless misery of it that was so exhausting to me. A long decade of abuse and ridicule, of being teased and taunted and excluded. A war of attrition, getting up every day knowing that school will be a battle, coming home and crying almost every night. Death by a thousand paper cuts.

Worst of all was the loneliness. I would have periods blending into the crowd, tagging along on the edges of a group or social circle, but through it all, I felt so dreadfully alone. I wasn’t like the kids around me, my mind worked in a different way. I wasn’t interested in drinking and hooking up with guys, I didn’t fit with the Church groups, and I wasn’t a sci-fi engineering geek like the group of nerdy guys who hid out together in the library at lunch. I was out of step with everyone around me, and it was hard for me to imagine a time when I would be free from the judgment and loneliness and every-day humiliations.

But I did. I imagined, I dreamed. About sunshine and blue skies, happiness, and success. I daydreamed a million other lives for myself, and I clung to that vision of some future life with everything I had, keeping my head down against the abuse, working hard, scribbling stories and poems in my notebooks in the back of classes I knew better than to speak up in. I would get out, to a good college. I would find people like me. I would make it so that lonely teenage girl hadn’t suffered in vain.
I would make it all worthwhile somehow.

I wish I could go back in time show that lonely, sad girl what the future has in store for her. That one day, she’d be sitting in a sun-drenched apartment in California, writing books and sharing her stories with the world. That there would be a time when she wakes up every day, feeling happy, and free, and loved.

I’m not saying it was easy. It’s been a long road to get me here. I’ve been rejected, and disheartened; seen friendships build and crumble, faced stress and financial pressures, but none of them dented my resolve. I told myself, the worst was over. If I could survive that, then I could face anything.

I see now, how those years shaped me. When you’re under attack every day for the simple fact of being yourself, you can choose one of two paths. You can change, hide, strip away everything that makes you unique to try and blend into the crowd. I understand it, I saw other kids do just the same. Anything to make it through. But I couldn’t. If I was going to be abused, then I would have to love myself enough to balance it out. I became strong because I had no other choice, and that strength has stayed with me, through everything else the world has thrown at me since. For that, I will always be grateful.

People have asked why I’m making such a big event of the Unbroken anniversary, and the first year of the Beachwood Bay novels. I’ve written other books, and series are released all the time. Well, part of it is that I’m proud of the books, and it’s so much fun to celebrate them with you readers; to share pics, and favorite scenes, and relive the heartbreak and passion. But part of it is a celebration for me too – for the girl I used to be, and everything I’ve overcome to be here. I’m not just celebrating the books, but all the blessings they’ve brought into my life. It means so much to me because for many years, the vision of this life that I dreamed about – one filled with friendship, and creativity, and independence – was the one thing that kept me unbroken in the face of my own storms.

I’m so happy to be here, on the other side, sharing my stories with all of you. 



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Unconditional excerpt!

Wow, time flies, it feels like only yesterday I was sitting down to start writing this book, and now it's just two weeks until publication!

I've been run off my feet moving apartments, and preparing for the big launch. Here's a sexy little excerpt to get you in the mood!


A noise comes. A shadow rears up in the dark. I scream.

            “What the hell?”

            Panic claws my chest and I scream again, reaching blindly for something to fight him off. Squatters and junkies and all kinds of dangerous men fill my mind as my hand closes around something solid on the hall table and I swing with everything I’ve got.

            “Goddamn!” The figure reels back, stumbling against the wall.

            “Get away from me!” I cry, shaking. My heart is racing so fast I think it might beat right out of my chest. I grip the object in my hand tighter. “Don’t touch me!”

            “I’m not trying to touch you!” the man roars, angry. “I just want to know what you’re doing breaking into my goddamn house!”

            The light flips on. I reel back, blinded by the sudden glare, but as the daze clears and my eyes flick back into focus, I see the man in front of me for the first time.

            I stop breathing.

            He’s half-naked, that’s the first thing I notice. Jesus, his body is like nothing I’ve ever seen before: tanned bronze and chiseled like a Greek god, but not like the guys I’ve dated, all waxed and pumped from hours at a fancy gym. This guy is real, raw, all muscle and power, with a web of dark tattoos snaking over the bicep of his right arm. I feel a flush roll through me, hot with prickling awareness, but I can’t look away as I take in his tight, sculpted six-pack abs, and the trail of dark hair leading down to the waistband of his navy briefs…

            “Don’t mind me, darlin’,” his voice comes. “Any time you’re done looking…”

            I snap my eyes up to his face, blushing. Then I look at him for real and it all clicks into place.

            “Oh.” My heart clenches in my chest as I recognize him for the first time. “It’s you.”

            Unshaven face. Messy bronzed bed-head hair. And a pair of stormy ocean-blue eyes scowling at me like I’m the last person on earth he wants to see.

            And, I can say, the feeling is entirely mutual.

            “It’s me,” Garrett Sawyer agrees in a low, Southern drawl. He strides over and snatches the vase from my hand, setting it down on the table with a thud. “Now, you want to tell me what the hell you’re doing creeping around my house at three in the goddamn morning?”

             I catch my breath, the flush of desire mingling with irritation. I nearly had a heart attack trying to get in here, and he’s the one with an attitude?

            “It’s not your house,” I snap, my heart still racing. “It’s mine.”

            “Well, if you wanna get technical, it belongs to Emerson,” Garrett corrects me, glaring. “But I’m the only one here with permission to stay.”

            “Why do you need a place?” I try to pull myself together, smoothing back my hair and yanking down my dress. “Don’t you live above that dirty old bar?”

            “Nah.” Garrett paces closer, his full lips stretching into a lazy grin. “Usually I just go straight out back and roll around in the filth like a pig.”

            His smile is heart-stopping, a whiskey smile, honeyed and dangerous and just inches away from me now. Despite my irritation, I feel another wave of heat roll through me, automatically rising to his nearness like a magnet spinning off its axis to find true north.


            I ignore the kick of my pulse and fold my arms across my chest. “You’re disgusting,” I retort, ignoring the shiver in my bloodstream.

            “And you’re trespassing.” His gaze hungrily drifts over my body. I glance down, and see the rip has torn the skirt to the top of my thigh. I blush, yanking it shut.

            “Look, I’m tired, OK?” I exclaim, self-conscious. “I’ve been driving all night, I didn’t know anyone would be here. I just need a place to sleep. Can we save all your territorial bullshit for the morning?”

            Garrett raises an eyebrow at me, like he’s amused. I brace myself for more arguing, but instead, he gives a casual shrug. “Why not?”

            I exhale with relief. “I’ve got a suitcase out front,” I tell him.

            He smirks. “Then you better go get it. Spare bedroom upstairs, I’m sure you know the way.”

            My mouth drops open, but before I can complain, there’s a noise from above us.

            “Garrett?” a female voice sounds, and then a woman appears at the top of the stairs. She’s wearing an oversized T-shirt that barely skims her tanned thighs, her dark hair mussed up, makeup smudged around her eyes. “What’s going on?”

            “Nothing, honey,” Garrett calls up to her. “Go back to sleep.”

            “But it’s cold.” The woman pouts suggestively. “I need you to come keep me warm.”

            Real classy.

            I roll my eyes, watching as Garrett flashes her one of his easy grins. “I’ll be right up, sugar. And then I want my T-shirt back.”

            “Come and get it.” The woman giggles, then disappears back to the bedroom, leaving us alone in the foyer again.

            “Honey?” I challenge him. “Sugar? Why not just admit you don’t even know her name?”

            Garrett smirks at me. “Sure I do. It’s Lauren, or Laurie. Or maybe it was Lorna…” He frowns, pretending to think, and even though I know he’s just doing it to get a rise out of me, I can’t help but make a dismissive snort.

            “Must be true love.”

            Garrett narrows his eyes. “What I do with my life is none of your goddamn business. So why don’t you quit bitching and let me get back to sleep.”

            I blink, thrown by the sudden change in his tone. “I’m not the one standing around giving me a hard time,” I retort. “I’d be asleep by now if you hadn’t come prowling around, trying to play hero.”

            “Whatever you say, darlin’.” Garrett turns away and starts climbing the stairs. Then he pauses, turning back to me with a wicked grin, and says, “But you might want to wear earplugs. Lorna likes it loud."


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sharing a little secret...

Hey guys,

With the one-year anniversary of Unbroken and Beachwood Bay coming up, I thought it was time to let you all in on a little secret: my real identity!

That's right, Melody Grace is a pen-name, and although I've loved having a secret double life, I can't wait to share more of my real-life adventures with you all. I've got so much planned for Beachwood Bay in 2014, this year is going to rock!

Find out all the details in this interview over at Hypable!

Melody / Abby

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Unconditional cover reveal!

Here it is, the day you've all been waiting for: COVER REVEAL DAY!


It's always hard finding models who can live up to the characters in my head, but David and Alison killed it with their performance -- they really brought Garrett and Carina to life.

So, here it is. What do you think?

"I’ve spent my whole life chasing perfection: perfect looks, perfect man, perfect home. But in one brutal moment, I realized it was all just a beautiful lie…"

Carina MacKenzie is fleeing from her past. Picking up the wreckage of her shattered dreams, she seeks comfort in the only place she’s ever felt safe: Beachwood Bay.

Garrett Sawyer isn’t looking to be anyone’s savior. Scarred by old betrayals, he’s sworn never to put his heart on the line again -- especially not for a damaged, high-maintenance girl like Carina. But passion knows no logic, and soon, their reckless chemistry is making him forget his bitter vows.

Two damaged hearts. The hope of true love. As their passion blazes out of control, Carina and Garrett struggle to escape their legacies of hurt. But can you ever outrun the past? And when everything is on the line, can they trust enough to build a love that's unconditional?

*This book contains adult situations and explicit content. 17+*

Monday, February 3, 2014

Unconditional sneak peek!

Hey guys, happy February!
I can't believe the year is moving so fast, before you know it it'll be March 18th ;)

Coming up this week is the big cover reveal for Unconditional, so to get you ready, here's a sneak peek of Garrett hanging out before the shoot -- and an excerpt!

This is a scene some of you might recognize from the end of Unwrapped: the moment Garrett and Carina first meet at the wedding. And sparks definitely fly :)


Garrett carefully took down the bridal arch and carried it to the back porch to store with the rest of the chairs and decorations for the night. The wedding had been over for hours. It was dark out now, and everyone else was inside in the warm, celebrating the happy couple, but he’d insisted on taking clean-up duty. It was the least he could do for Emerson and Juliet, and besides, he needed the space away from the crowd.
He worked silently in the dark, snowy yard, bathed in the glow of lights from the house, and the silvery moon shining bright across the bay. His breath fogged in the cold, but Garrett didn’t mind: he liked the sting of crisp air in his lungs, and the pull in his muscles as he dismantled the heavy wood. Anything to distract him from the memories spinning in his mind, creeping through his usual defenses and catching him square in the chest like a sucker punch he’d never seen coming.
They’d looked so happy, Juliet and Emerson. They deserved it, he knew, but still, it was a thing to see, when she’d appeared at the end of the aisle and Emerson’s jaw dropped. The way she’d looked, walking towards him, so full of pride and hope and nervous excitement, Garrett knew that expression by heart.

It was the way his wife had looked at him on their wedding day.

A noise startled him out of old memories, and he looked up. It had come from out past the woodshed, on the edge of the property down by the beach. “Hello?” Garrett called, moving closer. “Anyone there?”
There was another muffled sound, and when he rounded the corner, he found a blonde woman there, fumbling with her phone.
“Oh, hey, sorry.” Garrett stopped. She lifted her head, and he recognized her from earlier. Juliet’s older sister, Carina, he thought she was called. She hadn’t helped with any of the set-up, she’d just arrived at the last minute for the ceremony in an expensive-looking black dress, watching the vows with a faint sneering expression, distant and remote.
Now, for a moment, her expression was open and unguarded, her heart-shaped face looking young and alone.
“Are you OK?” he asked, stepping closer.
Carina flinched back. “Fine,” she snapped, her voice high and shill. Her face shuttered shut, and in a moment, her expression was aloof again. “What do you want?”
Garrett paused. “You’re cold,” he said, noticing her slim frame shivering. “Here, you’ll freeze out here without a real coat.”
He shrugged off his heavy jacket, but Carina shook her head, her glossy blonde hair barely moving.
“I’m fine.” she insisted.
Garrett sighed. “Your feet are turning blue.”
They both looked down to where her ridiculous stiletto heels were sinking into the snow. Carina looked annoyed. “I didn’t realize they were serious about having this thing outside. Who gets married in the freezing snow when they can do it inside, like civilized people?”
Garrett felt his patience wearing thin. “Either take my jacket, or get inside. It would screw up their honeymoon to have you die out here of pneumonia.”
Carina snatched the jacket from him, looking pissed, and began to totter towards the house.
“A ‘thanks’ would be nice, darlin’” Garrett drawled, walking behind her.
Carina turned, glaring. “I know just what kind of thanks you want, and trust me when I say, it’s never going to happen.”
“Woah there,” Garrett protested, indignant. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“I’ve heard all about you,” Carina fixed him with a penetrating stare. “You’re the good-time bar-keep who has his way with anything in a skirt. Well, I’m taken,” she told him, holding up her hand so he could see the huge rock twinkling on her ring finger. “And even if I wasn’t, I’m not that desperate,” she sneered at him knowingly. “Not in a million years.”
Garrett’s temper flared. Here’s what he got for trying to be gentlemanly: this girl acting like he was something she scraped up on the bottom of her expensive shoes.
“You sure about that, darlin’?” Garrett took a step towards her, narrowing his eyes. “Because judging by the chip on your shoulder and that stick up your ass, you haven’t been getting what you need for a long, long time.” He reached out to trail a finger down the side of her bare neck. Carina slapped his hand away, flushing, but not before he saw the shock of awareness in her eyes.
“Don’t touch me!” she demanded, her voice carrying in the empty garden.
“Relax, sugar,” Garrett scowled. “You’re not my type. I prefer my women flesh and blood, not stuck up ice-queens like you.”
Carina set her lips in a thin line. “You’re disgusting,” she informed him, stepping back. Her shoe must have caught on something in the snow, because she lurched wildly with a cry.
Garrett made to catch her, but then stopped himself. “I won’t trouble you any longer then,” he told her with a smirk. “You have a nice night.”
He turned and headed back for the house, leaving her there, balanced on one leg in the snow.
“Wait!” Carina's voice echoed after him. “You can’t just leave me like this!”
Garrett kept walking, letting himself into the house with a smile. He’d let someone know she was out there, send someone to help, but for now, she could use a moment to cool off. Literally.
A burst of noise and laughter hit him as he stepped inside. Garrett paused a moment to let it wash over him, chasing the dark memories away. The past was done, he reminded himself. There was no changing it.
He grabbed a beer from the table, and caught the eye of a girl across the room. She was friends with Brit, he thought, a pretty brunette who seemed sweet enough. That was what he needed, he decided, taking a first gulp and starting across towards her. A few beers, and a woman for the night, and maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t wake up in a cold sweat like all those other nights before, his heart beating out for a past he couldn’t change; reaching for a woman who was never coming back.
Garrett reached the girl with a smile, and set about forgetting his pain the only way he knew how. Sure, love was grand for his friends, for Juliet and Emerson, and Brit and Hunter, but he’d learned his lesson now.
He wouldn’t make the same mistake again.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

All grown up?

Next week I get the keys to rent my first 'grown-up' apartment, after years of roommates and a tiny studio flat. I'm so excited, it feels like a real milestone, and it got me thinking about adulthood, and how it isn't always so easy to figure out. When I was younger, I thought I would know for sure when I was grown up - I would reach some birthday, and everything would be figured out.

But here I am, nearly 29 now, and I know it's not so simple. I moved an ocean away from home and built a life here in LA, but I still feel like I should get gold stars when I pay a bill or eat my vegetables (instead of just eating dessert for dinner :). Adulthood comes in fits and starts, and sometimes, it's nothing we can predict: it can be taking responsibility for someone else for the first time, a child or parent; owning your mistakes, or simply making the hard choice you know is right for you, no matter what the cost.

In Unconditional, Carina is 26, older than any of my other heroines. All around her, her friends have settled down, they have homes, and husbands, and are starting their families, and she finds herself back at square one trying to figure out her life from scratch again. Writing her story made me realize again how there's no one path we're supposed to walk: adulthood is messy and confusing, and your life may not look like the people's around you -- or anything resembling the image you had in your mind.

But that's OK. Everyone has their own journey, and sometimes the most important thing to remember is that it's never too late to start again: to choose what you really want out of life and go for it. Be brave, know yourself, and sometimes, once in a while, eat dessert for dinner :)