Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Hunted Heart by J.J. Massa


I write all kinds of fiction, or do I? Some of what I write happened somewhere or another. To me? To you? Well, maybe. I like sensual, sexy, seductive, emotional, funny, carefree… I like reading and writing about all of that and when I do, I want you to feel it with me.

I’ve lived in many places and met so many people. So many secrets and I’m going to share them with you. Only thing is… I can’t tell you what happened and what didn’t, but trust me, I’ll tell you everything.

These days my writing partners include my dog Cosmo, my two cats, and my daughter—they certainly keep things interesting.

Visit her website at:
Subscribe to her newsletter:
Visit JJ's alter ego:



Like all great authors, FBI profiler Tatiana Branigan has drawn from
personal experience in the creation of her best-selling thriller series.
But few realize just how up-close-and-personal those experiences are.
Ten years ago her fairy-tale marriage ended, wrecked by a man who has
obsessively hunted her and a memory that's haunted her.

For the past decade Von Branigan has been living out his solitary life
estranged from the only woman he's ever loved and isolated from
anyone who might try to reach through the wall he's built around his
heart. He may be inconsolably immersed in feelings of bitterness and
still wounded by betrayal, but when the police call and tell him that
his wife was attacked by a madman and is in need of refuge, he can't
bring himself to refuse to help her.

Von takes Tatiana back into his home and as time passes and old wounds
heal, back into his heart. A grave misunderstanding, a
once-in-a-lifetime love, a wife's sacrifice, a crime of passion, and
a second chance for happiness—A Hunted Heart.


Von told the sergeant at the desk that he'd received a phone call from a Detective Lester. The sergeant showed him to a small room and said he'd let the detective know he was there.

Trying not to think the worst, Von settled in a chair and waited. After he had been sitting for a few minutes, a large man came in.

"Detective Bill Lester, sir." A beefy, forty-something giant with a ruddy complexion and a shock of red-blonde hair stepped in front of him with his hand out. He looked like a bar fight waiting to happen.

"Von Branigan," Von replied, shaking the man's hand.

"Look, what's...

The large man handed Von a Polaroid. The photo showed a thin, frail, young woman laying on a black surface. Her features were pale, her eyes were closed, and blood could be seen around a wound at her temple.

"Can you identify that person, Mr. Branigan?"

Von nodded, swallowing. "Her name is Tatiana Branigan."

The dectective stood. "Wait here, please, Mr. Branigan."

"Is she..." Von began.

"Please wait here, sir." The detective left the room, leaving the door slightly ajar.

Von's head was spinning. Had he just identified the body of his wife? Was she dead or alive? I don't know if I can live in a world that she isn't living in. There must be something wrong with me.

As he sat, trying to absorb what had happened so far this night, Von began to notice the quiet of the building. He heard footsteps approaching and began to focus on the voices he could hear nearby.

"Go easy, Jim, it's been a heck of a night." Von heard a door open across the hall.

"Bill, it's bleeding again. I'm gonna check her eyes." He had to be addressing the detective that Von had just talked with.

"Stop it, Jim, you're making my headache worse!"

Von sat up straight. A voice that sounded seductive even when she was irate. That couldn't be...

"Tatiana, you need to be in the hospital. I know you have a concussion. You're not really recovered from the pneumonia." Jim sounded very agitated.

He called that woman "Tatiana"! My angel is alive!

"You know I'll refuse further treatment. What are they going to do for me, Jim?" came her soft-voiced reply. "They can't put my head in a sling."

"Tati, I'm going to call that number you gave me. You need someone to take care of you now." That was Bill, the big detective.

"Bill, nobody at that number wants to care for anything besides my remains. Don't make me sorry I trusted you."

Is that what she thinks? And why wouldn't she think that? I made it pretty clear she wouldn't be welcomed back, didn't I?

"It's only a happy accident you're not sporting a toe-tag right now, dang it!"

Von wanted to go in there but something made him listen for a minute longer. He waited for the pain of her betrayal to wash over him but he could only feel elation. He needed to get himself together. She's alive!

"He could have killed me anytime in the last nine years, Bill. He doesn't want me dead, he wants me to suffer."

Who is she talking about?

"Up until tonight, Tati, I would have agreed. But you tipped the scales, didn't you?"

What is he talking about?

"I don't know what you mean, Bill..." clearly, she did, too.

"Don't lie to me Tatiana Dmitri Branigan," the detective barked.

They must be pretty close.

"He's been torturing you for the last nine years, killing you slowly." Von moved toward the sound of their voices. "But I heard what you said to him before I got up the stairs. You not only asked him to kill you, I think you gave him a reason, didn't

She's even more beautiful than she was ten years ago.

She wore a long-sleeved dress that flowed over her. It was dark green velvet and came to her ankles. Her long black hair waved and curled just above her elbows. Blood trickled from a cut on her temple.

"Please, don't call that number, Bill."

"It's too late, angel."

At the sound of his voice, she grabbed for a nearby table.

"Von," she whispered. She looked as if she were seeing a ghost.

He moved to stand in front of her and cupped her cheeks. Those eyes. Her big gray eyes nearly took up her face. He caressed her delicate jaw with his thumbs. He let his hands slide down her shoulders until he lightly held her forearms. Her whole body shook.

"I thought you were dead, angel." He couldn't look away from her.

"I am dead, Von." Her eyes filled with tears and she closed them whispering, "Go home, please go home."

"I can't angel. I can't walk away from you."

and later...


Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I’ve always written a bit. Articles, different things like that. When I was young I imagined I’d be a writer and even did some magazine articles. But then, I got lost along the way. I wrote my first book when I was laid off from a teaching job at an adult school. I had run out of book that I wanted to read, so I wrote one.

What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
I love being able to slip into another psyche, be someone else for awhile—I love the different perspectives. Sometimes that’s hard when there’s too much stress going on. It becomes hard to focus on characters sometimes. It’s like making the time to take a trip.

How do you balance your personal and writing time?
I try to do whatever calls the loudest. This week, my youngest needed me and the rest of my private life was clamoring loudly. So there was simply no choice but to answer the call. I usually write whenever I can. If I’m stressed, I read a bit or walk my dog if possible. Then I write—it’s my favorite thing to do.

How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
I write using a laptop which has a speech to text program. (I don’t look blind, but I am. The programs that I use make everything equal) I’m a character-driven author. The characters inspire the story and take me through it. Plot is usually vague to me until I’m in the middle of the story.

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
There isn’t a genre I don’t write in. I have sci-fi, mystery, contemporary, erotic, sensual, romance, thriller, even vaguely historical. Frankly ,though, I’m not very good at historical and don’t know if I could really write a true historical story. I write the stories I do because something sparks and then the story begs to be told—or the characters beg to be let out to play.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
My characters are based on any number of things. Some come from friends, my dog, a show I’ve watched as a kid. So I’d have to say yes to both. My characters have a little of real folks and a bit of imagination in all of them—even the bad guys ---muwahahahaha

Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
Oh wow… that’s a toughie. My favorite really does change with each book and each day. Maybe it’s the one I just finished or the one I’m writing now. I become obsessed with the characters and the story and sometimes, the same people are in three different stories doing three different things. Sometimes they have just one or two little differences. Each story is a little bit of: “what if this happened?...what if that happened?”

What would you want readers to take away from your books?
I want readers to feel like they’ve really gone somewhere—that they got to step away from their own lives and ride alone in someone else’s. WE all need a break now and then. I just want a reader to be able to be invested enough in my characters to become involved and forget their own headaches for a few hours.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
Invest in your work—write something you feel strongly about and then get behind it, tell people about it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to turn to another author for a quick read. Sometimes a different perspective will show you something you’re missing or even show you what you don’t want. Most of all, have faith in yourself. People do want to read your book, keep working on it.

What are you reading right now?
I’m reading something that a mainstream author friend is writing. It should be out next year, so I can’t say what it is yet—it’s a little creepy. *grin* That’s all right—some of my stuff creeps him out, too.

If you could be anyone or anything that you wanted, who or what would you be?
You know, I don’t really want to be anyone else or to do anything else. Sometimes I’d like to pay my bills better or have less to worry about while I write, but I guess it all goes together to make me who I am. All that stuff is probably necessary to make me write how I write. I guess I’ll just keep doing the best I can.


“A heart-pounding, heartfelt suspense-romance that wil leave you utterly breathless.”
Samantha Sommersby, author of As You Wish

A Hunted Heart by J.J. Massa
ISBN # 978-1-60202-051-1
Book Length: 192 pages
SexualContent: (S) Sensual
$5.99 from Linden Bay Romance

Purchase A Hunted Heart by J.J. Massa HERE!!

posted by Rachelle
at 4:10 PM