Release date August 16, 2013
So how did I get myself into this situation, you ask? Simple: desperation. When you’re faced with being homeless and hungry or taking off your clothes for money, the choice is easier than you’d imagine. That doesn’t make it easy, though. Oh no. I hate it, in fact. There’s nothing I’d like more than to quit and never go into another bar again, never hear the techno beat pulsing in my ears again, never feel the lecherous gazes of horny men again.
Then, one day, I meet a man. He’s in my club, front and center. He watches me do my routine, and his gaze is full of hunger. Not the kind of desire I’m used to though. It’s something different. Something hotter, deeper, and more possessive. I know who he is; of course I do. Everyone knows who Dawson Kellor is. He’s People Magazine’s Sexiest Man alive. He’s the hottest actor in Hollywood. He’s the man hand-picked for the role of Rhett Butler in the long-awaited remake of Gone With the Wind.
He’s the kind of man who can have any woman in the entire world with a mere crook of his finger. So what’s he doing looking at me like he has to have me? And how do I resist him when he looks at me with those intoxicating, changeable, quicksilver eyes?
I’m a virgin, and he’s an American icon of male sexuality. I’m a stripper, and he’s a man used to getting anything and everything he wants. And he wants me. I know I should say no, I know he’s the worst kind of player…but what my mind knows, my body and my heart may not.
“No daughter of mine will engage in any such lewd and sinful behavior as dancing.”
These are the warning words of Grey Armunsen’s father who is the founder and executive pastor of Macon Contemporary Baptist Church. Grey is a straitlaced young lady who goes to another state for film school and that’s where her life basically spirals downhill. She has to make decisions so that she can fulfill her dreams, without the support of her father. As a reader, I was tapped into a very realistic world wherein a young woman has to confront life, dreams, and reality head-on. Life is hard. Dreams are sometimes even harder to reach. And reality can be the biggest barrier to reaching your dreams.
I loved Grey’s character. She’s strong, willful and has a lot of personality. When she meets our hero, Dawson, a guy who seems to have everything – fame, money, power – the tension between them is sizzling!! Dawson, oh Dawson…He is such a hot man! He is handsome, understanding, strong, and smart! He knows what he wants and goes for it.
These are just some of the quotes I loved:
“All the world is silent and still. The sun hasn’t moved in its arc across the sky. Motes of dust hang in the sunlight, frozen like beads of amber…”
“You make me feel alive, Grey. And…I love that feeling.”
Ms. Wilder’s writing is flawless, exceptional, and breathtaking. As a reader, you’re treated to a wonderful blend of chasm, angst, humor, and whew! burning hotttt love scenes! The love scenes though are not gratuitous; they are essential to establish the strong passionate connection between Grey and Dawson. The secondary characters are a very interesting mix – you get to see the Hollywood lifestyle, the glitter and the glamour and you also get to read about life in a simple town. Ms. Wilder creates a world where you can get lost into and I have a hard time finding my way back. She yields great commands of words, almost prose-like, and I am left in awe.
I also loved the cover – I think it’s great and appropriate for the story. I truly am a fan of this author. I will read anything she writes. ANYTHING. Stripped – this is really a great story of life, love, choices, family.
FIVE AHHMAZZINGLY STRIP-WORTHY STARS!!!!!
Chapter 1 (Part 1)
“No daughter of mine will engage in any such lewd and sinful behavior as dancing,” Daddy says to me, his blue eyes blazing. “It is gross and immodest and entirely sexual. I’ve seen the kind of dancing those…those harlots engage in at that so-called academy. You will not attend.”
I screw my eyes shut and restrain the urge to scream and stomp my foot. I’m sixteen and a lady. Stomping my foot does not become a lady. At least, that’s what Mom tells me. “Daddy, please. Please. I won’t do anything like that. I’ll be modest, I promise. You can okay each dance, each outfit. Just…please. Please, please, let me dance.” I clasp my hands in front of me and dip at the knees, giving him my best puppy-dog eyes.
He’s wavering. I can sense it in him. “Grey, I don’t approve of dancing. God does not approve of dancing.”
Mom to the rescue: “Now, Erik, you know that’s not what the Scriptures say. You’re just being a cantankerous old dinosaur. David danced before the Lord. The Psalms mention dancing to honor the Lord in several passages.” She glides to Daddy’s side and presses up against his arm, resting her hand on his shoulder. “Our daughter knows right from wrong, and you know it. She just wants to bring glory to God by using the talents He’s given her.”
“Please, Daddy. I won’t allow any choreography that’s lewd or sexual.” I can barely breathe from the burning weight of hope in my chest.
He glances from me to Mom and back. I can see him chewing it over in his head. “I’ll allow it…for now. But at the first sign of anything sinful or ungodly, I’ll pull you out of there so fast you won’t even have time for your head to spin. You hear me, child?”
I hug him, squeal with joy. “Thankyouthankyouthankyou!”
“Don’t disappoint me, Grey. You are a pastor’s daughter. You have to set a fitting example for the entire community.”
“I will, Daddy. I’ll be the best example. I promise, I promise.” I spin away from him and dance a few flowing steps away, then settle into an arabesque, which I hold for a moment. I turn back to him. “See? Nothing wrong with that, is there?”
He just narrows his eyes at me. “I have to finish preparing Sunday’s sermon.”
Daddy is the founder and executive pastor of Macon Contemporary Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in the entire state of Georgia. Granddaddy Amundsen was the hellfire and brimstone pastor of a tiny Reformed Baptist church in the backwoods of Georgia, so Daddy grew up a pastor’s kid, was groomed for the pulpit his whole life. Granddaddy was even more strict than Daddy, impossible as it seemed. He didn’t even approve of me wearing pants or shorts, even as a little kid, but Daddy let me get away with that as long as the shorts weren’t too short or the pants too tight. To Granddaddy, women stayed in the kitchen, wore dresses, and were seen and not heard. He was a bit of a fossil, Granddaddy. He never approved of the fact that Daddy taught the more modern and contemporary Baptist theology.
I’ve been dancing in secret since I was fifteen, watching Internet videos, teaching myself, watching So You Think You Can Dance on my laptop and trying to imitate the choreography. Mom helped me out a bit this past year, taking me to dance classes on Saturday mornings, telling Daddy it was manicure-pedicure appointments. He approved of mani-pedis as little as he did everything else, but he had a hard time saying no to me and Mama, so he let us go. He didn’t need to know about the secret dance classes as long as Mom was driving me. Of course, Mom and I really do get mani-pedis after dance, but that’s beside the point.
I grin at Daddy as I dance out of his study.
Mom is waiting for me in the kitchen. “There you go, Grey. Now you can dance all you want and not worry about either of us getting in trouble.”
I hug Mom and give her a kiss on the forehead. “Thank you, Mom. I know you didn’t like lying to Daddy—”
She glares at me, silencing me with a finger over my lips. “I never lied. Not once. He asked if we were going to get our nails done, and that’s what we did. If he didn’t ask where else we went, that’s not lying. If he had ever asked me directly if I was taking you to dance classes, I would have told him. You know that.”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jasinda Wilder is a Michigan native with a penchant for titillating tales about sexy men and strong women. When she’s not writing, she’s probably shopping, baking, or reading.
Some of her favorite authors include Nora Roberts, JR Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Liliana Hart and Bella Andre.
She loves to travel and some of her favorite vacations spots are Las Vegas, New York City and Toledo, Ohio.
You can often find Jasinda drinking sweet red wine with frozen berries and eating a cupcake.
Jasinda is represented by Kristin Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency.