Monday, July 06, 2015

Win a $20 Amazon/BN GC - The Last Dreamgirl by Shane Hayes


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Shane Hayes will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
For every man there’s a girl who grips his imagination and his heart as no other girl ever did or will. She may be in her teens or a mature woman. He responds to her as a boy to a girl. Whether she comes early in his life or late, there is a throne in his subconscious that she takes possession of, without trying, often without wanting to.The image he forms of her reigns there in perpetuity, even if she has left his life, or this life. Her enchantment never fades or fails, and he is never immune to it. She may not be for him the last wife or paramour, but she is the last dreamgirl.

Enjoy an excerpt:

He thought of stopping in the kitchen, sitting down with her at the table and pacifying her, maybe even having coffee together, so she’d see he wanted to talk. But then he’d have to get brutal again to force her to the basement. He decided to get that part over with and then begin the process of calming and convincing her of his benign intentions when she was, well, in the cage.

That secure little bedroom didn’t look as awful as it sounded, he thought, but Sandra panicked as he forced her—now struggling and screaming—down the cellar steps, into her new quarters, and closed the heavy iron cage door behind them. He made her sit on the easy chair beside a bookcase, then he dropped panting into the companion easy chair. “Now let’s just sit and catch our breath,” he said, sweating and breathless. “This has been hard for both of us.”

Though red-faced, teary-eyed, and bordering on hysteria, Sandra stared at him with hate-filled eyes and said, “For both of us? You want my sympathy?”

Ollie looked at her with surprise and admiration that she was capable of irony at what had to be the worst moment of her life. “No,” he said with a trace of a smile, “but you have mine. Whether you want it or not. And whether you believe it or not. I’m sorry to put you through this.”

“Sure,” she muttered caustically, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.

“I don’t want your sympathy,” Ollie said, wiping his forehead with his forearm. “I just want your friendship.”

Sandra stared in disbelief, though sensing already that her abductor was not a total savage, not destitute of human feeling. In forcing her from the car to his house and then down the stairs and into—what looked like an iron-barred bedroom—he had not touched her in any erogenous zone, as he might have if rape were all he had in mind.

To her amazement he seemed to be struggling with his conscience. If she tried to reason with him she might at least defer the violence a little. Her comment about sympathy had surprised her as much as Ollie. She realized vaguely that sarcasm made her sound and feel strong. She tried it again.

“My friendship! Are you kidding? Is this how you make friends? Is there a chapter on kidnapping in Dale Carnegie?”

Ollie smiled wearily. “I haven’t read that book. But my mother has it upstairs.”

“Read it,” Sandra said. “Read it tonight and let me go.” Then she said hopefully: “Is your mother upstairs?”

“No,” Ollie said. “She died four months ago.”

“I’m sorry,” Sandra said, meaning more for her sake than for Ollie’s.

“Thank you,” Ollie said, thinking the sympathy genuine.

“Does anyone else live here?” Sandra was not only curious about that but determined to keep the conversation going. As long as they were verbalizing she felt safer: he might not get physical.

“No. My father died a few years ago. There were just the three of us.”

“I’m sorry about that, too.”

“Thank you,” Ollie said again. They were beginning to catch their breath.

After a moment of silence Sandra asked, “Who are you?”

Ollie, inspired by her tone of irony, said: “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Oliver T. Bower. My friends would call me Ollie, if I had any. But I don’t. My parents called me Ollie.” God, he thought, I’m talking with a sense of humor. This cage is working. I’m not terrified. “Please call me Ollie.”

About the Author:
A native Philadelphian, Shane Hayes earned his bachelor’s and his law degree from Villanova University, and studied for a year at Princeton Theological Seminary. He worked as a writer/editor for Prentice Hall and an attorney for the federal government. He is married, has four children, and lives in suburban Philadelphia. His nonfiction book The End of Unbelief: A New Approach to the Question of God was released by Leafwood Publishers in the fall of 2014.

Two young men meet on ship when both are recently out of college. They share a flaming ambition. Each aims to write novels that will be internationally acclaimed and win him a place in American letters. One of them, Paul Theroux, achieves the dream in all its glory: becomes world famous, writes over 40 books, and three of his novels are made into films. The other, Shane Hayes, fails completely, but keeps tenaciously writing, decade after decade, plowing on through hundreds of rejections. Then almost half a century later, Shane contacts Paul, who remembers him, reads three of his books, likes them, and praises them with endorsements.

In writing to agents and publishers Shane could now say, “Query for a novel praised by Paul Theroux.” No one offers a book deal because of an endorsement, so rejections keep coming. But more people let him send at least a sample and are predisposed to see merit in it. At his age, time is crucial. In the month he turns 75, Shane receives contracts on two of his books from different publishers. He will always be grateful to the literary giant who remembered ten days of friendship half-a-lifetime after it ended.

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Buy the book at Amazon (print)/(digital) or Barnes and Noble (print)/ (digital).

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14 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Shane Hayes said...

Thanks, Judy, for hosting The Last Dreamgirl on your World of Dreams. The title fits the theme. I'm Shane Hayes, the author. This newspaper review just appeared; it will give your blog visitors a quick perspective on the book:

'THE LAST DREAMGIRL' IS A GREAT SUMMERTIME READ

Published: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 in The News of Delaware County, The Garnet Valley Press, and several other newspapers in the Delco News Network

By Betty Lou Roselle

When I was first approached to review The Last Dreamgirl by Shane Hayes, I declined, thinking “What women wants to read a book about a man’s idea of the perfect woman?” When I was again asked to review the book by a valued co-worker, I acquiesced and I’m so glad I did.

Yes, this is the story about the very handsome Ron Pavone who watches the incredibly beautiful Marisa emerge from the water at the beach in New Jersey and decides she will be his based solely on physical attraction.

But running parallel to this is the story of Ollie Bower, born horribly disfigured, whose loving parents die when he is in his late twenties. Although wealthy, he’s lonely and aware that he has no hope of meeting a woman who will love him, so he kidnaps his dreamgirl after stalking her for weeks. He chooses her because he senses a sadness in her that he feels will allow her to accept his friendship. Sandra is a very intelligent young woman of faith, who will use her love of God to get her through the ordeal of living in a cage in Ollie’s basement. The sadness that Ollie sensed in Sandra comes from the fact that her brutal uncle has been abusing her. The reader is left to decide which situation is worse for this young girl, especially since Ollie is not demanding anything physically from her and showers her with anything she could want.

Their lives will intersect with Ron Pavone when he’s hired to investigate Sandra’s disappearance. He is now married to Marisa and constantly cheating on her. We can see he will never appreciate this dreamgirl he pursued with such passion.

Although we feel sympathy for Ollie, his capture of Sandra drags on for months instead the few weeks he promised her. She has become too important to him, he can’t let her leave.

I don’t want to give any more of this gripping story away but I finished this book in two days, I couldn’t put it down.

Andra Lyn said...

Congrats on the fabulous review Shane :) It definitely clears some things up for me :D

Victoria Alexander said...

That is one beautiful cover...I love it! I loved the excerpt, I'm definitely looking forward to reading more. Thanks for sharing!

Patricia said...

This excerpt triggered a lot of emotions for me!

patrick siu said...

I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

Rita said...

I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

Shane Hayes said...

Andra Lyn, Victoria, and Patricia,

Thank you for your comments, which were all interesting and favorable. FYI, here is a brief plot sketch, which avoids giving away too much:

A shy, pretty 17-year old girl is seized by a gentleman kidnapper, who holds her captive in his home. He is facially deformed from birth. His ugliness and crippling shyness condemn him -- despite wealth and artistic talent -- to rejection and icy solitude. His life has been ruined because he is physically unattractive. Hers has been ruined because she is physically attractive, which brought on years of sexual abuse at home. The kidnapper intends not to molest his victim but try to win her friendship and her love. If he fails he will release her, reward her for her time in captivity, and end his solitary life. That's his plan -- but when she's locked in his home, he learns an old truth: "Power corrupts." Can he resist that human tendency or will he abuse his power? Her beauty and vulnerability are so tempting. Her life is in his hands. But, he points out, his life is in her hands, too, because if she ultimately rejects him he'll choose suicide. While this drama unfolds a handsome private investigator (with passions of his own) is narrowing his search for the missing girl. Gathering clues. Closing in. Paul Theroux -- a world renowned author -- called it ingenious, believable, and compelling.

Shane Hayes said...

BULLYING

One of the themes of The Last Dreamgirl is bullying and the profound effect it can have on a child's personality development. Here's an excerpt from the Prologue that shows what Ollie, the kidnapper, suffered from a very early age. He was five when this scene took place:

"He was playing—alone as always—with toy soldiers in a little fort he had made at the back edge of the Bower property where the lawn ended and the trees and shrubs of the arboretum began. The two boys were pretending to be Indian scouts stealing invisibly through the forest. When one caught sight of Ollie, he signaled the other to be still. Bush by bush they advanced to about five feet from where Ollie knelt. They made no sound audible to him. He went on with an enthralling fistfight between a metal soldier and a plastic fireman. The imaginative fray involved muttered words and exaggerated facial expressions that changed radically every few seconds.

"The larger boy, a handsome kid with fine features, prized looks above everything and had never seen anyone as ugly as little Ollie. Beak-nosed, almost chinless, with misplaced eyes close to the perimeter of his face and a weird gap in the middle, the child reminded him of a hideous buzzard in the cartoon illustrations of a fable his mother used to read to him. He found Ollie’s face so ugly, even in repose, as to be an affront; but when Ollie contorted that repulsive face into an expression that deliberately made it uglier, the boy felt a wave of hatred and avenging fury. He picked up a smooth stone about half the size of a golf ball, and hurled it at Ollie’s nose. It bounced off his forehead with a sickening clunk.

"Ollie literally didn’t know what hit him. His face registered shock and grew violently red. The contact point on his forehead turned white and, as Ollie silently screamed, it swelled into a frightful lump, a little smaller than the roundish stone that caused it. In the ten seconds it took for Ollie’s breathless scream to enlist his diaphragm and become audible, the two boys had beat a terrified retreat into the woods. Though Ollie half-consciously saw them dashing through the bushes, he was too dazed, dizzied, anguished—and childish—to make the logical deduction that the vanishing boys were the cause of his suddenly inexplicably aching skull."

Cali Willette said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I like the excerpt. :)

Betty Woodrum said...

Sounds like an amazing book and I love the cover! Thank you for sharing!

Shane Hayes said...

Cali and Betty,

Thank you for those heartening comments.

Shane

angela smith said...

i enjoyed reading the excerpt.pretty cover.i want to read more

Ally Swanson said...

Great post! I really enjoyed reading the excerpt and learning more about this book. Excited to read this book!