Author: Mel Ballew
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Hosted By: Love Between The Sheets
“If all you can do is crawl, start crawling. Soon, you’ll be able to stand.”
S’renaty James lives a privileged life most her age only dream of living. She is beautiful and popular with her entire life ahead of her. Life could not get any better.
Until her entire life shifts, crashing around her…
Bound by devastation, persecuted by the ones she used to call ‘friends’, haunted by disturbing nightmares, and filled with self-blame, she vows to overcome.
Stefan is everything S’renaty swears to avoid. He is carefree and charismatic. He is primitive, complicated and a total badass. He makes her melt like fine chocolate under a hot summer’s sun the first time their eyes meet. There is something about him, and she makes it her mission to find out.
When he meets S’renaty James, he is not prepared for what comes over him because for the first time ever, a girl leaves him breathless. Now, his primary responsibility is to keep her safe.
He will do anything to protect her. Even lie…
Stefan is the one person she has trusted with her heart. After keeping an unforgivable secret, he could be the one to shatter it to pieces. In fact, he may even destroy her beyond repair. Will she overcome and forgive, letting go of the pain, guilt and shame? Or this time, will she be stronger than the hardest lesson of her life — and, become totally ShameLess?
Chelly’s Thoughts ❤
S’renaty James (Ren) has had a tragic life. On prom night her best friend, Elle, walked in on Ren making out with her boyfriend (or so she thought) and drove off in a fit of rage. After chasing her down to explain the situation, Elle and Ren were pulled over on the side of the road and were struck by a truck. Ren survived, Elle didn’t, and Ren believed it was entirely her fault. Everyone else in town believed it was, too, including her boyfriend of 2 years, Tucker. Now, she has no one left. Two years in therapy and she still carries the guilt of killing her best friend. In an effort to escape her past and start over, Ren decides to go to college out of town.
Ren meets her new roommate, Jade, who is bubbly, energetic, almost exactly how Elle used to be, and they are immediately best friends. At her first frat party, Ren runs into Stefan Esposito, whom she had met before, but never thought she’d see again. Ren also sees Tucker, one of the people she was trying so hard to get away from, and runs. Soon Ren has two guys vying for her heart. She has a past with Tucker, but he left her when she needed him most. Now he’s back and trying to make things right, but does he deserve a second chance? Stefan immediately makes it clear he wants Ren, but can she let him in and let herself be loved? Can they help each other move past the shame of their pasts?
Romance plays a huge part in ShameLess, but it is not just a love story, by any means. Throughout the entire story there is mystery and suspense: What deal did Stefan make? Who is the stranger following Ren? Who are the texts coming from?
I really enjoyed this story. From the first couple of pages, I was hooked, and the plot twists had me floored. I did have a little trouble connecting with the characters at first, but by the end I was totally hooked and it left me a little teary eyed. I especially loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter and the writing style of the author was beautifully descriptive. I look forward to reading Tucker’s story in FearLess.
On the heels of the truth surfacing in my head, my body reacts. Rapidly, I do a half-turn, lunging down and digging my right foot into the sand, and spin. I push off, hard with my foot, and take off darting back down the sand heading in the direction we just came from. I don’t wait for a response or a reaction from Stefan. I just run fast and hard. I allow my body to dictate its speed. I sprint, running parallel with the raging tides inspiring my motivation. It’s absolutely fucking freeing. Emotional tension blends with the sexual tension surging, pushing me, and giving me additional grit to push on.
“Who needs a rest now?” I cry out into the air now blowing at my back. Dazed, Stefan didn’t see that one coming, and I chuckle as I continue racing down the beach.
In no time, he catches up to me as we near the house. He grabs my hand, halting me, pulling me to his side. Both of us are covered in sweat, and sex oozes off him. I just want to scream. Instead, I lean forward, placing my hands on each of my knees, gasping through huffing breaths. Damn that felt great!
Before I know what is happening, he whisks my entire body up slinging me over his shoulder, and takes off running. We both plunge straight into the ocean. The frigid water bitch slaps me; no cold shower needed. Together, we come up for air. Freezing water runs down our faces.
“What the hell, Stefan?” I stutter out through chattering teeth as shivers possess me. Between the cool breeze off the ocean, and the frigid water, I can’t get warm.
He pulls me to him, wrapping me in his arms, “I told you, you would be in my arms, Star. And, cheaters always get due punishment. I don’t play.” His words, playful, and firm, offer heated softness. I allow myself to welcome the warmth. How is there any possible way to respond to that? I can’t.
In the next instant, Stefan takes both of his hands to each side of my face, saying, “You will always be in my arms,” then leans in closer introducing his lips to mine in a more passionate kiss than any I have had with him or by anyone else.
In this moment, it feels like the first one. I’m dying inside. This icy water holds no refuge to the fervor his body offers mine. He attempts to pull away, but I bring him to me this time, and take all of him, seizing his lips with my own. I bite his bottom lip, sucking it in, nibbling a little harder, and letting him know I want all of him, not just his lips. I want all of him!
Time has a way of transcending. It surpasses more than the grandest of any of our unanswered prayers. It offers us gifts every single day. Pap is right. Each day is truly a gift. Our past is a gift for our present to open. I’m in the present with the most amazing guy. Right now, nothing else matters except for opening my gift, and accepting my present. God knows exactly what we need exactly when we need it. I thank God for giving me the strength to be here, in this moment.
Tomorrow may still be a mystery, but today is unraveling, slowly. It’s like opening a gift, and one I have every intention of treating with care…unwrapping it gently to savor its blessing. Here is to the present; to us!
Mel Ballew resides in rural Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter, along with their two adorable cats.
An avid reader, she has always had an equal passion for writing and has written her entire life, to date. Her mother initially birthed, inspired, and encouraged these loves. The two often discussed writing together but unfortunately, that dream never came to fruition.
Years later, this happened, that happened—life happened.
She stepped away from writing to place more focus on being wife and a full-time mom. Today, she would not have changed a thing. The day her daughter was born became the first day she realized a significant rhythm to her heart was also born. Her daughter, now preparing to go off to college, has grown into a beautiful and responsible young adult.
A twisted turn of events in September 2009 left Mel unable to work outside of the home. Forced to consider other options, and while embracing a therapeutic approach of transcribing all of the challenges facing her, post-accident, she returned to journaling. Once again, the writer within her has been re-birthed—awakened from slumber.
Mel is a hopeless romantic. Blessed, she has her very own soul mate, which she calls husband, best friend, and lover.
She is a simple country gal, with a profound love of true simplicity. She is just as hopeless in her love of nature and regards many of her writing aspirations to appreciating its beauty, although every single story is birthed from her dreams. Sometimes, in life, simply enjoying a chilled glass of sangria on a warm summer’s eve or indulging in her love of chocolate and peanut butter is an expression of enjoying such simplicity. For her, these moments are truly d’vine.