(The Bliss Series, #1)
Genres: Adult, Contemporary,
One phone call was all it took. A voice on the answering machine, a man oblivious to what calling me would do, uprooted my entire existence. He revived old hurts, dug up past nightmares. He destroyed everything I’d built for myself.
But I found bliss through Grey, in Grey.
I had no idea that making a simple phone call, one that devastated me because of the reasons behind it, would make me question my truths, my friendships, everything I held dear in my little town.
Calling her was the best and worst decision I’d ever made, but it brought her to me, to Bliss.
And I could never take that back.
Finding Bliss is a story about redemption, of love, of finding true, irrevocable bliss. It’s about new beginnings and the heights you can attain during them.
Not intended for readers under the age of eighteen due to language and sexual situations.
I replayed it, transfixed. The voice on the machine was deep, masculine…striking. He had the most soothing tone I’d ever heard – and I’d spoken to a lot of people over the phone because of my job. His was something different, something that called to me in a way that was profound.
A shiver tripped down my spine as I played it a third time.
“Grey Raiden,” I murmured.
It was a great name.
A really great name.
And the voice!
I was about to push the button for the fourth time when I stopped myself.
What am I doing?
This is crazy!
A voice shouldn’t do this to me.
I took a step back and stared at the answering machine, wondering what in the world was going on with me. It had to have been the conversation with Paige. She must have flipped on something inside me or planted a seed in my mind, forcing me to focus on something outside of my norm.
That had to be it.
I turned and headed for the bathroom, telling myself to forget the voice on the machine. I didn’t need to hear it again, nor was it important to call him back.
Footsteps sounded on the stairs, gaining our attention. A man powered down them rapidly, heading straight for us.
Oh, dear Lord, I was in La-La-Land.
There was no way a man like this existed. He was, quite simply, spell-binding.
His hair was dark and shaggy, his lips curled into a smile, but his eyes were what had me completely immobile. They were tawny and flecked with brilliant shades of gold, making them appear almost liquid. Lush, long black lashes fanned them, and if it wasn’t for his rugged apparel – jeans, flannel shirt, and work boots – I would have thought they were fake. His brows were thick and heavy with dark hair. They accentuated his eyes in a way that made them scream at you.
I’d never, in all my life, seen a man this perfect. It was very intimidating and off putting. And I wasn’t one to take looks into consideration.
“Told you it was gorgeous in here,” Shelley whispered to me conspiratorially.
The man came to a halt in front of Shelley and me, grinning widely. He even had dimples.
“Clarabelle, finally! I’ve seen pictures of you as a kid…but wow!” His gaze traveled over my face as he held out his hand. His gorgeous eyes went a little funny, but they changed back to normal quickly – it happened so fast, I’d almost missed it. “I’m Grey.”
This was the voice?!
This is Grey?!
I rubbed my temples, completely losing it. One minute, I was freaking out, and the next, I wanted to jump this man! Usually it was like, knock, knock, libido, are you there?
Something was up with this woman. I could practically smell fear wafting off of her.
Clara looked over her shoulder at me, her jaw clenched, and those pretty blue eyes of hers were filled with suspicion and trepidation.
And those eyes…Jesus!
They were all I saw when I came down the stairs, and damn it, they about dropped me to my knees. But then I saw what was in them. Every instinct I had wanted me to protect her and take away that vulnerability, that fear. A woman like her – any woman for that matter – should exude happiness.
She turned to me as I took a sip from my glass. “Why are you single?”
I laughed at her candor, almost spilling my wine all over me in the process. “You don’t ask easy questions, do you?”
“You’re wonderful, Grey. You are considerate, kind, and absolutely gorgeous. I don’t see how it’s possible that you’re not snatched up by now. You’re thirty years old. I don’t get it.”
I grinned cheekily. “Absolutely gorgeous?”
She pursed her lips and rolled her eyes. “After everything I said, that’s all you heard?”
“I wish you could see the you I see from my eyes. She’s strong, resilient. She’s selfless, pure, and so damn beautiful. With every little bit of yourself that you reveal to me, darlin’, I’m more and more captivated.” As he spoke, tears trickled from my eyes. “There’s something inside of you that calls to me. I want to protect it, claim it as mine…cherish it. I can be a greedy man, Clara, and that means I won’t settle for anythin’ less than all of you. But in return, I’ll be a safe place for you. You’ll fear nothin’ ever again. Not with me.”
I rested my chin on his shoulder as his words washed over me, filling me. No one has ever cared for me like this. Never. It was touching, warming, but so damn scary. I’d have to bare my soul to him.
“Can you do that for me, Clara? Will you let me have this? I promise you, I’ll take care of it. I’ll treat it like a treasure, because I know how valuable it is, how valuable you are. You’re worth it, Clara. I’d take on the world for you.”
Finding-Bliss-Book-1-ebook/dp/ B011GGSQ4S/ref=sr_1_1?s=books& ie=UTF8&qid=1442318424&sr=1-1& keywords=Finding+Bliss+cassie
Author Q & A:
What does your writing process look like? Do you outline the story or go with the flow?
I don’t do any kind of outline. I start with an idea and build off of that. My characters come alive once that happens, and then their story streams out of me. Because I usually write series, this is fun because they can continue to live on in my mind and on the pages for my readers.
Where did the idea of Finding Bliss come from?
There was a story that broke earlier this year about something slightly similar to the subject matter in Finding Bliss (I don’t want to ruin the surprise by giving specifics). It made me wonder about the girls involved in this scandal and how they were coping. The idea started building then, and Finding Bliss was born.
What were your biggest challenges in writing Finding Bliss?
Finding Bliss deals with issues that are taboo, but I didn’t want the story to be dark or gritty and instead uplifting. To describe my heroines past, her thoughts, her feeling, I had to use a lot of finesse so that the story wasn’t offensive to my readers. Also, I needed to convey her story in a way that you truly understood the reasons behind the choices she made.
What upcoming books are you currently working on?
There will be three other books in The Bliss Series. Book two is already in the works, but won’t be published until (don’t hold me to it) spring. I also have another series, Armstrong Securities, that I will be continuing. The third book in the series, Unforgiving Debts, will be released around Christmas or right after New Year’s. I will be revealing the release date by the end of the month.
Who is your favorite author?
I absolutely adore anything and everything by Kristen Ashley. Actually, she was the one that inspired me to take the leap of faith and become an indie author.
Cassie Strickland lives in East Texas with her husband, her daughter, and her Jack Russell terrier. With the support of her family and friends, she recently changed her career path to something new and exciting, something she loves to do - writing.
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
- $20 Amazon Gift Card + eBook of Finding Bliss, Second Chance Sunshine, and Beautiful Duplicity