Sunday, August 21, 2016

EskieMama Reads Sunday Spotlight w/Giveaway: Hold Fast by Olivia Rigal & Shannon Macallan



Welcome to EskieMama Reads Sunday Spotlight!
Today we are spotlighting Olivia Rigal &
amp; Shannon Macallan's
New Release Hold Fast!

Enter to win 1 of 3 ebooks of Hold Fast from 
Olivia & Shannon


The Stunning New Dark Romance Thriller
Hold Fast



One needs to be rescued. The other needs to be saved.

Sean thought he was done with war except in his dreams, but he still has more battles left to fight if he and his childhood sweetheart Courtney are to find a second chance at love.

Sean:

When I was a SEAL, I lived my life by one rule: HOLD FAST. Those two words kept me alive through years of war, but they couldn't save my brothers in arms, and they couldn't save my career.
Now I'm home, back in the real world. I've got more nightmares and scars than any ten men should have, and the only woman who could make me whole again is missing. I don't care where she is or who has her. I'll burn down the world to find her and bring her home.
To me.

Courtney:

I'm trapped, and there's no way out. I need to leave this hell behind, but I can't do it alone. I knew this cult was a bad idea when my mother brought me here, but I didn't know how bad. I'm a prisoner, and this noose draws tighter around my neck every day. There's only one bright spot in my life, only one man who could save me. He's the only man I've ever loved, but he left me behind when he enlisted all those years ago.
Sean, where are you?

Two USA Today bestselling authors come together to bring you this dark and powerful military romance.

  • Do you like romantic suspense?
  • What about thrillers?
  • Or maybe fast action and emotional roller coaster rides?
  • And stories about soldiers, warriors and bravery?
  • Are you happy when loyalty and courage rescue love from a tangled web of shadows, lies and misplaced trust?
  • Do you want your own personal avenging angel in the form of the ultimate alpha male: a deadly US Navy SEAL? 
If you answered yes, then you'll definitely want to read HOLD FAST. This is a story firmly rooted in all the darkness and danger of the real world, set in the small town environment of rural Maine. Packed with action and vigilante justice but tempered with loyalty and love, this book pulls no punches as Sean and Courtney find salvation and redemption together. Women call it an "empowering story," "raw and intense," "a modern day knight to the rescue." Men describe it as reminiscent of Tom Clancy's Without Remorse, and compare Sean Pearse to Lee Child's Jack Reacher, or Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp.
This is a standalone full-length novel with a happy ending / HEA.



Grab your copy today


Watch the book trailer on facebook:


Q & A with Olivia & Shannon about Hard Fast!

Tell us about HOLD FAST?
HOLD FAST is … I guess really it’s two stories.  Three, maybe.  Okay, fine- it’s several stories. On the surface level, you’ve got the story of a young couple that’s very much in love, where the damsel is in distress and needs to be rescued by the knight in shining armor. But underneath, there’s a lot more than that. There’s the story of a combat veteran returning to a world he barely knows anymore and a family that’s changed utterly from what he remembers. It’s the story of a young woman trapped in a hell beyond anything that most of us will ever experience but which is all too real for all too many people. It’s the story of their families, and the way that they’ve dealt with their own losses and how their pasts shape the way that they move through the world.

HOLD FAST is an intense book, raw and gritty. Some readers have called it dark and powerful, and disturbingly realistic. Others have called it empowering. NYT bestselling author - and good friend of ours - Christa Wick described it as ‘bleakly provocative.’ It’s a roller-coaster ride of emotions- hope falling to fear overcome by tenderness beaten down by loss burned away by fury calmed by salvation and love.

What initially inspired you to write HOLD FAST?
That’s a bit of a tough one, right there.

I met Olivia shortly after I started writing. She’s been writing her biker series for a while now, and she wanted to try something a little different. Something heavier, darker. Something.... more. I’d only done light, fluffy things myself at that point, but I wanted to do something more as well, and when she found out that I had a military background she asked if I had any interest in co-writing something dark with her.

Well, we did some research. We read dark romance. And we couldn’t go there. Neither one of us was cut out for that. We wanted a story that would be challenging, but where it would not be difficult to tell good and evil apart.

Things just sort of went downhill from there. We turned off all our filters and firewalls. We dredged up things out of memory and history and we just let ourselves go on this. I grew up in Maine, and most of the places that we describe are very much real, or are based very closely on real locations. If you go to Google Earth and look at the places we talk about, you can see exactly where things happen. The world around us is a cold, dark and scary place, and HOLD FAST is a book firmly rooted in the real world.There were two quotes that gave us a push along the way. Edmund Burke said “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing,” and George Orwell is reputed to have said that “people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” We started from there, and imagined one of those ‘rough men’ who would not stand by and allow evil to triumph. As a former naval officer, I know sailors in a way that I don’t necessarily know soldiers or Marines or airmen, so it was natural that Sean Pearse would be a SEAL.


Courtney… we’ll talk a little more about her later.
Tell us little about the characters in HOLD FAST.
Sean Pearse and Courtney Dwyer are our hero and heroine. They have a long history with each other, and their families before them.

Sean, like so many young men before him, ran away to sea, enlisting in the Navy underage, with his mother’s signature on the papers. He’s been gone for eight long years, most of it spent in combat or in the hospital recovering from wounds, but now he’s back home in Maine. He believes that he’s done with fighting, but there’s one more battle that he’s going to have to fight if he wants his happily ever after with the only woman he’s ever truly loved.

Courtney, for her part, has spent most of that time trapped in a nightmarish prison not of her own making. Shortly after Sean enlisted, her mother, Heather, had the last in a series of psychotic episodes, and her link to reality was broken. She divorced her husband and abducted Courtney, to ‘save’ her from a life of ‘sin,’ and is willing to go to any lengths necessary to ‘protect’ her daughter.

What was the hardest part of writing HOLD FAST?
There were a lot of things that were difficult for us. For me, personally, some of the scenes with Courtney’s mother were the hardest. My relationship with my own mother was… let’s just say that there were some parts there that were very much like going to therapy.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
The epilogue, I think. Not just because it meant we were done, but because there’s hope there. Resolution. Closure. We came to care very much about Sean and Courtney over the past year we spent working on HOLD FAST, and after all the fear and pain they went
through it was really a wondThere were two quotes that gave us a push along the way. Edmund Burke said “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing,” and George Orwell is reputed to have said that “people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” We started from there, and imagined one of those ‘rough men’ who would not stand by and allow evil to triumph. As a former naval officer, I know sailors in a way that I don’t necessarily know soldiers or Marines or airmen, so it was natural that Sean Pearse would be a SEAL.

Courtney… we’ll talk a little more about her later.

Tell us little about the characters in HOLD FAST.
Sean Pearse and Courtney Dwyer are our hero and heroine. They have a long history with each other, and their families before them.

Sean, like so many young men before him, ran away to sea, enlisting in the Navy underage, with his mother’s signature on the papers. He’s been gone for eight long years, most of it spent in combat or in the hospital recovering from wounds, but now he’s back home in Maine. He believes that he’s done with fighting, but there’s one more battle that he’s going to have to fight if he wants his happily ever after with the only woman he’s ever truly loved.

Courtney, for her part, has spent most of that time trapped in a nightmarish prison not of her own making. Shortly after Sean enlisted, her mother, Heather, had the last in a series of psychotic episodes, and her link to reality was broken. She divorced her husband and abducted Courtney, to ‘save’ her from a life of ‘sin,’ and is willing to go to any lengths necessary to ‘protect’ her daughter.

What was the hardest part of writing HOLD FAST?
There were a lot of things that were difficult for us. For me, personally, some of the scenes with Courtney’s mother were the hardest. My relationship with my own mother was… let’s just say that there were some parts there that were very much like going to therapy.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
The epilogue, I think. Not just because it meant we were done, but because there’s hope there. Resolution. Closure. We came to care very much about Sean and Courtney over the past year we spent working on HOLD FAST, and after all the fear and pain they went erful thing for Olivia and I to be able to give them the happy ending they so richly deserved. Plus, of course, it let us set up the next book!

What are your future project(s)?

As I mentioned before, we’re working on a sequel, but we’re doing something else first. The lovely Cat Johnson invited us to play in her sandbox, so we’re writing a novella that will be a prequel to HOLD FAST. You’ll see quite a few familiar faces, but you’ll see some new ones as well.  After that, we’ll be working on the sequel to HOLD FAST, that will follow one of the other characters.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers about this book/series?
This is not a lightweight book. It’s dark, it’s challenging, and it pulls no punches. It looks at real issues that real people face every day, but which are rarely ever exposed to the light of day. Olivia and I are very proud of our baby, and it’s gotten some fantastic response so far: over 100 people have left 5-star reviews for us on Amazon, and we hope that you’ll all love HOLD FAST as much as they did.


Now an exciting excerpt from Hold Fast!


I pull over a stool, and coax my mother into eating. One spoonful at a time, the soup vanishes until half of the bowl is gone.

“Oh, Mom,” I sigh. “Where are you?” She turns her bruised face to me when I speak to her, but her eyes are empty, unfocused, and I feel as if I’m transparent. Does she even know who I am?

When she’s too tired to eat anymore, I take her in my arms and help her get up. She trudges in silence to the bathroom and back, and I tuck her back into bed.

“Why are we here, Mom?” I know she has no answers for me, but I need to ask anyway. “Why did you bring me to this place? Why won’t you leave here?” I look away from her as I stand, staring at my feet as I ask one final question in a bitter voice. “Why won’t you let me leave?”

“Because He commanded it.” My mother’s whisper stops me in my tracks, and when she reaches out to me, her grip on my wrist is as strong as any steel manacle. “He willed us to be here, and so we are here.”

“Is this what you want?” I ask. I’m torn between incredulity and anger at her answer. “For yourself? For me?”

“It doesn’t matter what I want, Courtney. It doesn’t matter what we want. It only matters what He commands,” my mother whispers softly. “When He commands, it must be done. We must purge ourselves of sin, of wickedness. We must be worthy of Him.”

“But why, Mom?” Prying her hand off my wrist, I lay it against my thigh. I know she can feel the damage through the threadbare skirt, and in a sudden burst of fury I wish I could let her feel it firsthand. “Why couldn’t you just let me leave? You ran away, yourself, Mom. Once upon a time, you ran away from a place like this.”

“If the sheep run away,” she says, “then the shepherd cannot protect them.” There’s a hint of sadness in her voice, in her eyes. Is it truly there, or am I only imagining it? Do I see it because I want it to be there? “The flock must grow,” she finishes, echoing what Father Emmanuel had said to me in his office.

“Is that it, then?” I ask, sick horror in my stomach. “You’re with him on this? You want to see me married to Jeremiah?” I recoil from her touch. “Do you know what that will mean for me?”

“The flock must grow,” she says again, and it’s not my imagination, now: her eyes do express genuine sadness, regret. “He commands, and we must obey. It’s the only way we can be saved from our sins, from this sinful world. I thought I could live out there, I thought I could protect you myself, but I couldn’t. I hear His voice, and I must obey him. You must obey him.” My mother’s blinks several times, each one slower than the last, until her eyes simply stay closed.

I sit again, staying with her until her breath settles into the steady rhythm of sleep. Carefully avoiding the bruises, I brush graying hair from her face. How can you look so old, when only in your forties? My mother seems so fragile, so frail, but her grip on my wrist was stronger than I could have expected.

This is the most open she’s ever been about these things. Medication and exhaustion must have given me the key to open her, but they still weren’t enough to make her speak plainly. Or perhaps they were too much, combined, to allow it? Every other time I’d asked why, she’d simply flown into a rage. Before long I learned to avoid her slaps, and it didn’t take much more time before I learned to avoid those inconvenient questions. Even I’m as smart as the dogs, Mom. Why can’t you be? What did you mean? What did any of it mean?

“Goodbye,” I say to my sleeping mother. I’ve received all the answers I’m likely to get, tonight. I want to tell her about tomorrow, about running away with Sean. I want to tell her everything, but I don’t. If she’s truly asleep, it’s a waste of my time. If she’s not? It would spell disaster.




Shannon is a native of Maine, descendant of a family that has lived in New England since the last time there was a queen named Elizabeth, and has worked for the government, been in sales, and done some technical work as well. These days, Shannon is sick of working for someone else and has decided to take hold of fate and the future by writing.
Shannon is happily married with an assortment of two- and four-legged children which all seem to be surviving nicely, and a variety of plants which are not.
Born in Manhattan, Olivia spent her youth going back and forth between the United States and France. She has lived and studied in both countries.
While still a student, she kept herself busy with a variety of jobs, and has worked everywhere from the famous Clignancourt Flea Market all the way to a Parisian recording studio, with stops along the way as a dog groomer in Manhattan and an assistant in a famous British auction house.
Olivia finally settled in France to raise her family and practice law. When her legal practice does not keep her busy in Paris, she runs away to write novels in her Florida home next to MacArthur Beach State Park.
Olivia and Shannon met in the summer of 2015 and worked on Hold Fast together for an entire year, ultimately finalizing it during the Romance Writers of America 2016 annual conference in San Diego.

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Shannon Macallan

Olivia Rigal


Hold Fast Giveaway!