Authors: Viveca Benoir
People often believe that writing a book is a one person endeavour, that is partly true. The writer comes up with the plot, puts it all down on paper, and then they go, manuscript in hand to others for help. This is where all the others, those unsung heros and heroines behind the scenes come to the fore.
The editor(s), the graphic designer(s), the PR teams, the reviewers, the bloggers and a whole range of other very valuable people. So you see, it is in fact, often a team effort when you finally pick up and read your book.
Here are a few well deserved
to those that have worked behind the scenes on my books. Believe me. I make them work hard.
To Murder Matt
Editor: Nessa Leret
Graphic Designer -Cover: Rebecca Berto
Graphic Designer -Teasers: Najla Qamber Designs
PR: Francessca Webster of Francessca Romance Reviews
Dancing with Devia
Editor: Amy Donnelly
Graphic Designer -Cover and Teasers: Najla Qamber Designs
PR: Francessca Romance Reviews
I would not be writing if it were not for the following people, both successful writers in their own right. I cannot Thank you both enough:
, whose encouragement to follow my dreams, gave me the inspiration to start writing again. She literally changed my life and gave me the hope (and reality) of becoming a published writer.
, whose step by step ‘hand holding’ and never ending patience helped me through the actual process of publishing. I bugged her continually with hundreds of questions. She is one in a million!
Please read their works. They deserve all the success that life can give them for being unseen angels in my life.
And, of course, not forgetting all the bloggers and reviewers. There are too many to mention here. More Details can be found on my Facebook profile.
Oh, and my ever suffering family, for when I become totally obsessed with my characters and plotlines that I become crazy myself.
I was awoken by the sound of the keys clanking in my metal prison door.
It squeaked open and a guard ambled in, a tray in his hands. Being on death row, I wasn’t allowed out of my small cell.
I had to wait here, caged up until I was allowed, or rather, was put to death. It wasn’t until I came here that I understood dog pounds.
No wonder they looked listless and hid in the corner. I looked up and got out of bed. It never paid to remain lying down as sometimes breakfast and hot tea would end up in your lap.
“Breakfast, your highness.” He said sarcastically, a sneer on his face.
The guard slammed the tray down on the table and the contents of the bowl jumped up and out, causing a puddle of red thick gloop on the tray. Today was tomato soup for breakfast and a buttered roll. Sometimes the tomato soup was runny, other times it was lumpy. Today it looked like it might be a good batch. I could eat it with a fork it was so thick.
I walked over to the tray, and looked at my breakfast. Its steaming mass about as welcoming as a dose of the clap. I smiled as the guard growled and walked out.
Every day in this stinking lifeless hellhole I thought about her. Devia.
And about how I had come to be here. I thought about what I would do to her, if I ever saw her again.
We all wonder, at some point in our lives, about the ‘what ifs.’ What if I hadn’t taken that left turn or what if I had met ‘x’ sooner?
Crossed paths happen over and over again. Some turns that our lives take, lead us down wondrous paths to wondrous places. Others, those are the turns you want to avoid. I took one of those turns.
My turn, was nothing more sinister than an innocent ride to the Antique Car Museum with my children, and as people say, it was all downhill from there.
Let me tell you how one wrong move can change everything. It takes you down a road from which there is no return. Lives and loves have been lost through these turns. Lives ruined. Devia almost ruined mine, but until I am in that chair, being given the injection that will kill me, I can say I lived to tell the tale; other guys might not have been so lucky. They might not have made it this far.
In order for you to understand what I have been through, I have to take you back to the beginning, to the time before I was even aware of her, and then I’ll bring you forward to where I am now. Sitting here, on death row, waiting to be executed.
I had an idyllic life, a gorgeous wife and two fabulous children. Well, it was idyllic to me. To you, it may seem mundane. I went to work. I came home. I loved my wife and family, more than life itself. I
a family man, a proverbial and somewhat rare ‘one woman’ man; something many seek, and others take for granted. I treasured my wife. I loved waking up with her, stretching over the bed to bring her closer to me, to feel her nestling, warm and snug, safe in my arms, her long blonde hair trailing along my arm. Her breathing light as she folded into me, a soft sigh as she slept.
Even though she felt her body had changed since the birth of our two children
to me she would always be beautiful. Her changing body with the roundness of our unborn children had made me proud. Here was my beautiful woman, carrying
. What man doesn’t love that? Or have that sense of virile pride? I loved every kissable inch of her. She was mine. The mother of my children, my wife and life partner. Maybe I am painting too pretty a picture, but this is how I saw it, and still see it. I am the sort of faithful man that women could dance in front of me, naked, and if they had I would have asked them to move so that I can speak to, or still see my wife. So how, if I valued this life of mine, could someone, someone like Devia, tear it all away from me?
At first, I didn’t know she had. When jealousy rears its ugly head, and another woman decides she wants you, us men, we don’t stand a chance. Devia was such a woman. She saw what we had and she wanted a slice of it.
No, she didn’t want a slice of it, she wanted
of it, and she would do whatever it took, to get me. I’m not stupid, but you could have knocked me over with a feather when I found out everything she had done to get me
wait, I can’t rush to the ending yet. I have to start from that very first moment. I have to start where it all began.
And so it begins…one of my passions is vintage cars. I love them to the point of wanting to always be driving them, to be around them, tinkering with the engines, and of course, as an enthusiast I hunt the really rare ones down in museums. I want to be involved with them in any way, shape or form.
This was when I, the naïve fly, first walked into her tangled web of deceit and desire.
And so it starts. The road
hell, otherwise known as death by
The weather had been sunny and cool. Just the sort of weather after winter when you clean the driveway to your house and you start taking the children outside for more activities. This one particular day, he took the children out in the car to the museum. It was a perfectly glorious spring day. He thought it would be a fun day out, a chance to daddy bond with them, and the ideal opportunity to introduce them to his passion, cars. His wife, Crystal, had been feeling a little under the weather. It seemed the perfect solution to let her rest and put her feet up with a coffee he had just made her. Julian wrapped her up in a blanket and left her on the sofa with a runny nose and a pack of tissues. He could see the gratitude in her eyes as the children were excitedly getting ready to leave. Soon, the house would be quiet and her head could pound, without additional noise from the children being added to it. She waved her tissues at them and croaked a sorry sounding goodbye. He bundled them up in their coats and scarves then strapped them into their seats in the backseat of the car. Think about it, if a man were hunting for women he wouldn’t take his children, would he? He wouldn’t, because he would be afraid that they, being innocent, would inadvertently say to Mommy, that Daddy had made a new lady friend. It was a minefield he had no intention of ever walking through. Not from the moment he said, ‘I do,’ to her on their wedding day.
The antique car museum
s just a small town affair. It
s a building that you could drive past if you weren’t aware of it. It had double swing doors, one of which had been permanently fastened to the floor. Inside the small foyer was a library of thousands of books, all relating to cars since they were first invented. Books from all over the world. He had been in there so many times that he knew the indexing system by heart. He could spot a new book from the moment he entered the large sun lit room. If they would have allowed him to take them from their archives, he would have taken them all, stashed them all away in his basement, and never been seen again. At least not until he had mentally devoured every word written on the subject.
On this particular day, he walked in with both children. Both were immensely excited, holding his hands and they were all so happy. At the reception desk, sat a new woman. She sat there, looking secretarial, not unattractive, but not someone you would go gaga over. She was in her thirties, maybe early forties. He couldn’t tell. She was, as they say in the US, the sort of woman that had been ‘ridden hard and put away wet.’
He had never seen her there before. But that wasn’t important to him as the museum was forever taking on volunteers to help out. He bought the tickets from her, thanked her and they made their way through to the museum.
He was so enjoying the kids’ laughter when he told them stories about the cars in the good old days that he hadn’t even noticed Devia had been trailing behind them. Unbeknownst to him, Devia had been circling in the background the entire time, and had been watching him with his children. If he had known she was there and her intentions, or at least, had heard the jaws theme music he would have been able to take evasive action. But no. They were all oblivious to anything deviant or shark like. They were only looking at, and focused totally, on the cars.
“Hey, family man, need any help with the histories of the cars?” She smiled pleasantly, probably in the same way that the wolf did to little red riding hood in that fairy tale. But how was he to know? He politely thanked her, and before he realised it, she was
As he said earlier, he hadn’t noticed before that she was a heavyset girl, with thick strong thighs that were as sturdy as tree trunks. And a broad barrel of a waist, with pendulous floppy breasts that rested just above her waist. They were held in a tight fitting push up bra, so tight that the folds of fat bulged out from it. She had a lot of ‘junk in her trunk’ and he had seen Polish shot putters on TV that were more attractive than her. Her dyed, shoulder length blonde hair, had been over bleached and had thin streaks of grey at the temples. She had a worn face, with wrinkles around the eyes, but he wasn’t even looking at any of this at the time. He just thought she was being friendly
“My name’s Devia,” she said
, holding out her hand for him to shake it.
That was perhaps the first mistake. It always seems rude to me when people offer their hand in friendship, and you don’t take it, and so out of habit, and politeness, I shook her hand. She held on longer than was polite and I took my hand away sharply.
“Hi I’m Julian. These are my kids, Carl and Mary.” Both children offered a polite hello and we continued walking around, chatting and laughing together. It was a wonderful visit to the museum, and we all thoroughly enjoyed her stories
and our personal tour of the place. She had a way of speaking and looking at you sideways, as though she were telling you a secret, you know the sort, the type of look that suggests a conspiracy, and of course, my kids, lapped it up.
I was flattered that she chose to accompany us, and it made my children feel special.
“Bye y’all.” She said, as she waved to us
. “Do come again. Next time I’ll see if I can get you out for a ride in one of your favourite cars.”
I can only tell you that that made my kids squeal with excitement. They started pulling on my jacket and jumping up and down, begging to go back again soon. I nodded my thanks to her while getting the kids calmed down and back in the car to go home. The drive home started off with excited ramblings about the visit. Little by little, the kids got tired, until they were both dozing comfortably in the back of the car. It had been a great day.
When we got home, I parked the car in the garage and carried the little ones into the house via the side door. I popped them into bed and went back into the living room where Crystal was lying on the sofa. She was still wrapped up
cozy in the blanket, her feet up, and her nose glowing like Rudolf’s on Christmas Eve.
“Hey Honey,” I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek she proffered.
“Hello, sweets.” She replied in a blocked up, and nasally voice.
“How was your day?” I said.
“Oh, really busy. I lay here, and snotted all over the place.”
“Awww,” I said
as I leaned closer and folded her within my arms.
“How was yours?” she said into my chest.
“I think the kids loved it. We had a woman show us around. A personal tour you might say.”
“Oh yeah? Was she attractive?”
“Hell no! Maybe after a keg of beer she might be. To be honest she would be a ‘gnaw your arm off’ the morning after, kind of woman. You know the type. So you have no worries, my darling woman.”
She laughed at his description of her. What he didn’t realise, was that he was devastatingly attractive, and the fact he didn’t know this, made him even more so, to women everywhere. They all wanted a piece of him, and she knew exactly which piece.
“Ok, I’ll believe you, thousands wouldn’t.”
He looked at her seriously and said, “That’s why I am with you, and why I married you my darling. You are the only woman I want or would ever
kids with. What more could I want in a woman?” She suddenly burst into tears, as he spoke.
“Look at me! I have a hideous cold, I have put weight on, and…and-”
“Hush,” he said tenderly, “I love you as you are,
. Just as you are. I have seen you in much worse shape. From holding your hair back when you vomited, to holding you up when you had that terrible fever so you could wipe your
when you were really ill that time. You feeling ill or changing in appearance doesn’t mean a thing. I married you, for your soul, and because I love you.”
As he spoke, she sniffled and the tears continued streaming down her face. Her nose was running so much that she took another tissue, and blew heavily into it.
“We said, for better and for worse, remember? Th
means everything to me.”
“I used to be a model, an actress. I could have been famous! Look at me now…” she wailed.
pouted like a child who had been given the second prize instead of the first.
“Coulda, shoulda, woulda. Come on,
! I’ll cook you your favourite dinner.” He kissed her again.
and was left to rest while he went to the kitchen to cook.
A few days later, Julian was running errands around town. He had gone grocery shopping at the local supermarket and was busy loading the
up into the back of his Explorer
. His green wax jacket flapping in the brisk cold wind as he lifted the paper bags from the grocery cart into the back of the truck.
“Hey there! I thought it was you.”
“Pardon?” Julian turned round, and looked at the woman standing behind his truck. She was vaguely familiar, but he couldn’t place her.
“Yes it is! I knew it.” She smiled broadly at him.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know you.” He said straight to her face. His was obviously perplexed. She laughed, and looked at him with a twinkle in her eye.
“Yes you do! I met you at the antique car museum the other day. You had the two adorable little kids with you. I showed you around, remember? Devia’s my name. Pronounced Dee-Vee-Ah.” Her mouth was exaggerating the phonetics and he caught a glimpse of her small odd shaped teeth, like bugs bunny with two larger teeth at the front. ‘What’s up doc?’ He thought.
He paused for a moment
“Ah, ah yes. I remember now.” Julian was uncomfortable, as he didn’t know what else to say to her. She stood there, looking at him expectantly, a fixed smile on her face. He looked at his groceries and reached for another bag from the cart.
“Here, let me…” she said, as she grabbed a bag of groceries and handed it to him.
“No, really. No need.”
“Oh come on, let me help you.” She held the bag out for him to take from her, and he reluctantly took it. The moment the bag was out of her hand, she was picking up the next, and passing it to him. He continued taking the bags from her, as he didn’t want to offend her offer to help. When the cart was empty, he smiled as he passed her, and went to place it back in the cart
. When he turned around, he was relieved to see she had gone. He started whistling, and
to his car. He opened his door and immediately stepped back in surprise. She was sitting in the passenger seat, and was smiling across at him.
“Listen lady, I don’t know what game you are playing, but…” He responded angrily.
“Dee-Vee-Ah.” She repeated. “Wow, that didn’t go well.” She shrugged her shoulders. “I was hoping you would just give me a lift. I only live just down the road. I thought, as you were passing…”
uncomfortable. If she did live just down the road, he could drop her off, and she would be gone. Hopefully never to be seen again. His other option was to kick her out of his car. She would undoubtedly make a scene and before you knew it,
would be all over town. All for nothing. He got in the car, his eyes looking straight ahead. His jaw clenched.
“Ok, where to?” He said gruffly.
“Oh, that’s so
of you. Thank you.” She gushed. Her smile was as wide as the Grand Canyon. He tried not to look at her, so she started playing with the edge of her skirt. She gave him the address. It turned out that she had rented a house on the outskirts of town, about ten miles from his house. A small run down place at the end of a quiet cul de sac. He was glad she wasn’t his neighbour. She chatted
, as though they were
friends. He ignored her, and never said a word.
As soon as he pulled up
, she leaned across to kiss him on the cheek, and he backed away from her.