Life Changers…Dr. Drew Can’t Cure This

One of my favorite television shows is ABC’s Once Upon a Time. I love this show because we receive a glimpse into the lives of time-honored and much loved fairy tale characters. We discover their stories—like how did Snow White and Prince Charming meet before the fated kiss? Why did Rumpelstiltskin choose to become an evil, magical imp instead of the loving, self-sacrificing father he once was? How did the queen become an embittered, warped, rage-filled evil bi—I mean, sorceress? It’s fascinating—the histories, choices and events that shaped them into Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Pinocchio are fascinating.

Last year my local RWA chapter hosted a program presented by author Carrie Lofty called “From Clichés to Keepers”. She spoke about the events that establish a character’s inner-self and the psychological repercussions that affect their behavior and emotions. What altered a heroine’s path from rebellious, high-spirited child to biddable, don’t-rock-the-boat woman? What event ingrained a fear of snakes inside an otherwise fearless hero?

When I was five, I attended Messiah Lutheran Day Care Center. That summer there was an infestation of Daddy Long Legs. They were every-freaking-where! One hot day while eating lunch out on the playground, a couple of spiders crawled up my arm and—unbeknownst to me—one disappeared inside my Doritos bag. Imagine sprinkling those last, all-important crumbs—cause we all know the bag isn’t truly finished until you upend the crumbs on your tongue!—on my palm and discovering an eight-legged freak amid the chips! Oh Lawd! Up until that point my only fear was water pooling in my bathing suit and dragging down my top to expose my itty-bitty, non-existent boobies to my class! But after that point I developed a horrible, debilitating case of arachnophobia. And as twins often share many things, my sister did, too. We even stapled the spider section together in the Encyclopedia Britannica so we wouldn’t flip to it by mistake! Unfortunately, the fear hasn’t abided. I still haven’t watched that part in Return of the King. I’ve never watched the movie Arachnophobia—had nightmares for two weeks from the trailer alone! If the Daddy Long Leg infestation hadn’t happened, well, I wouldn’t have heart palpitations every time I see a web. Aaand I wouldn’t sit in the car during a hot summer’s day sweating off five pounds waiting on my husband to get home so he can kill the spider on the front porch.

I started thinking about my characters and their life-changing events. In Secrets and Sins: Malachim, my new release from Entangled Publishing’s Ignite line, my heroine Danielle Warren hates the dark. As a child, she and her older sister, Carmen had to often fend for themselves because in the term of priorities they logged in under boyfriends and drugs with their addict mother. Their mother overdosed when they were eleven, and Danielle, home alone at the time with her, had been trapped for hours in the dark bedroom with the body. Since that time, Danielle has found complete darkness claustrophic and terrifying.

Malachim Jerrod, the hero, learned a hard lesson about evil early in life. Twenty years earlier one of the three boys he’d been best friends with—literally—since birth, killed a man who had tried to attack him. He and his other two friends helped cover up the crime, including burying the body and protecting the secret for two decades. It was Malachim’s first brush with true evil, and it tainted him. He never looked at the world through the same eyes again, and he grew up to be an attorney, a defender of the hunted, persecuted, and innocent.

How these characters overcome their fears, hang-ups, and world views—or persevere in spite of them—are as wonderful to read as witnessing them outsmart a psychopath, discover the identity of an obsessed stalker or stand up to their pasts. Now my happily-ever-after where I can kill a spider or even look at a picture of one without flipping out hasn’t arrived yet… But hey! One can dream!

Thank you so much, M.J., for sharing your blog with me today, and allowing me to introduce myself to your readers. There’s still time to enter the Secrets and Sins: Malachim Giveaway September 23rd through October 4th. The prizes are a $20 Amazon Gift Card, a World Traveler Boston cuff bracelet, and the 4 September Ignite releases! You can enter through the Rafflecopter below!


When Danielle Warren shows up on Boston attorney Malachim Jerrod’s doorstep looking for a job, his first thought is trouble. Well, actually his first thought is how does a woman with the face of a saint have the voice of a sex phone operator? But sexy trouble or not, he’s desperate for a paralegal to help keep his struggling law office afloat. Can the boss keep his distance from the silk of his employee’s skin, the siren lure of her body…or ignore the haunting vulnerability in her eyes.

Danielle can’t remember her own name, because it belongs to someone else. The new identity has afforded a fresh start and a new job. She’s taking control, making her own decisions, and refuses to allow anything to distract her—even her unwanted desire for her boss. Because distraction is dangerous and letting her guard down is not an option. Especially with a shadowy figure stalking her every move.

Danger is on the hunt, threatening the boss she’s falling in love with. Should she fight for the future of her dreams or flee to save Malachim’s life? Danielle must make a decision. Because her lies are unraveling. And some secrets can kill…


“I don’t…” Danielle paused as if considering her phrasing. “Have a lot of faith in the police or the justice system. In my experience, they haven’t always been…reliable.”

Oh, Malachim heard so much in that slight hesitation. At some point in her life, those sworn to protect and serve had failed her. She didn’t trust cops. Suddenly, her vehemence about not calling the police after the mugging made sense. Through the years, he’d had clients who’d had troubled pasts and possessed an inherent dislike for anyone with a shield pinned to his or her chest or carried in a wallet. While her reply assuaged some of his questions, it didn’t answer all of them. What had occurred to instill her mistrust? Was it related to the fear of men she tried—and failed—to conceal?

“I get you might have had a negative experience with the police, sweetheart. I do. And I’m sorry about that. But you lied. Why?”

She shook her head, her curls glancing off her cheeks. “I-I,” she stuttered, “I didn’t want to tell the detective what the intruder said to me.”

He leaned over the table as fear slithered across his soul like dark clouds over a bright, full moon. “What do you mean? What did he say?”

Another pause, and the skin over her knuckles blanched.

“He said we…didn’t get to spend time together.”

He exploded from his chair. The piece of furniture teetered before rocking forward, the front legs hitting the floor with a thud. He noticed her flinch, but he could do nothing to reassure her. Not while fury raced through his veins.

He stalked from the room and entered the kitchen. He didn’t want to scare her with his rage. Because part of it was directed at Danielle. Why hadn’t she said something earlier? The home invasion, the shooting, her narrow escape… Suddenly, the robbery-gone-wrong had taken on a darker, more sinister cast.

One where she, not her belongings, had been the primary target.

She wasn’t going back to that apartment; if he had to tie her to his home until she saw reason, he would. If Pat hadn’t been there, she could’ve been…

The desire to see her, to stroke her cheek, to pull her into his arms overwhelmed him. He returned to her, a scrap of driftwood being carried back on the swell of need. He’d scanned her in the hospital waiting room, but he had to do it again. Had to convince himself she was truly all right.

Her gaze settled on him the moment he walked into the room, as if she’d been watching the entrance for him. Acknowledging he faced probable rejection, he still strode to the couch and dropped to his knees beside her. He stared into her eyes. Noted the thick, black fringe of lashes. Studied the delicate arch of her dark brows. Detected the soft gasp of air between lush, parted lips.

“Can I touch you?” he whispered.


Naima Simone is a multi-published author in contemporary&erotic romance.She’s a member of RWA’s Southern Magic chapter,mother of the Dynamic Duo,lover of everything Vin Diesel &wife to the fabulous husband who tolerates this                                       affair.

You can find Naima here:

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You can purchase SECRETS AND SINS:MALACHIM here:


  1. Welcome, Naima! So glad to have you here today with us on this BEAUTIFUL FRIDAY!!! (Beautiful in that it is Friday alone!)

    1. LOL! You're right about that, M.J.! Friday is a glorious day just because! Thank you so much for letting me visit with you today! This just makes the day even better! :-D

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Rachel! And thanks for coming by, reading, and commenting. Have an awesome Friday!

    2. Hey, Rachel! Thanks for coming by today. It does sound like a great read! I'm intrigued by these characters.

  3. Great post,ladies. Love it. And can't wait to read this Secrets and Sin book. Sounds exciting.

    1. Suzi- so great to see you here! And you're right. I love a story when two hurt people find their comfort and home in each other!


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