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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Welcome to Knoxville


“There are no facts, only interpretations.” Friedrich Nietzsche had said that. A professor who’d been too smart for the school, and too underappreciated by his students, had lectured her on Nietzsche. She’d been neck-deep in her English studies, but those words had resonated, sticking somewhere in the back cobwebs of her mind.
No facts. Only interpretations.
So much of life was all about perspective.
She’d held that sentiment as a child, had carried it with her to college, down deep in the soles of her boots, never expecting to run into it again, in the words of a long-dead philosopher. She’d expected her five years at a major university to change that perspective of hers, to lend new verses to her interpretation. She felt older, felt wiser in the ways that only a young woman of twenty-two can feel and express with the bald honesty of a girl. But she was unchanged.
Because her interpretation – it was tainted with the laugh lines framing Daddy’s eyes, the lipstick kisses Mama pressed to her forehead, Aidan’s rich laughter, the smell of hot asphalt and leather, and the cacophony of tailpipes. All those tailpipes. All those nostalgic, tradition-steeped moments in which she’d felt the earth shake and known she was a part of something that had begun before her, and would endure after.
Her perspective would always be that of Ghost and Maggie Teague’s daughter, Aidan Teague’s little sister. That of a girl raised by outlaws.
And her interpretation was no one’s but her own.

Dartmoor Book I:
Five years ago, Ava Teague left Knoxville to attend college in Georgia, running from heartbreak, hoping time and distance could heal her hurts. After graduation, she returns home for grad school, reuniting with her family, the club...and the man who broke her to pieces.

Aidan, as he studied her, became almost sympathetic, his features tight and somber as he gauged her reaction. “But I thought you should know that he’s here.”
She nodded. “Thanks.” Swallowed hard, her throat dry and sticking together. She felt the pavement shift under her feet; felt her lungs contract and her face grow hot.
She hadn’t counted on this, not at all. No part of her coming-home fantasies had included this kind of shock.
Clueless, Ronnie fiddled her with hand and said, “Who’s here?”
“Mercy,” she whispered, and just saying his name sent the waves of pain heaving through her again.
Her ultimate ruination.
Born and bred on the bayous outside New Orleans, Mercy fled a horrible crime fourteen years ago, his demons nipping at his heels.

No one from Acadia had been surprised when Felix Lécuyer grew up and joined the Lean Dogs, and adopted the name Mercy. No one in his club was surprised that one of his skillsets was hunting alligators. Nothing about him surprised most anyone, really. He was too big to ever go unnoticed, and too convincing to ever be mistaken for something else. They were qualities that made him believable; duplicity was not his game, only strength and force and honesty.



He gained a place at the Knoxville table, charged with guarding his new vice president's family, and it would take the unlikely, gentle friendship of his new charge to bring him back to life.
Breaking her heart almost killed him, but he had to, for her safety, for her future.
And now, they're together again, the secrets of the past, and the memory of loss, threatening to cut them in two.

                The silence fell over them again, like a ship sail that had settled after an errant gust.
                Then Mercy said, “I don’t wanna hash things out. I won’t do it, actually. Not possible.” His tone brooked no arguments.
                “No,” she agreed. “That would be bad.” There was too much hurt and confusion there – on her part – for her to express how much she hated and still loved him with any coherence. A part of her wanted to break it all open and scream at him. Another part of her wanted to throttle him for dismissing the past. And still another part was grateful they’d never have to actually say the words out loud.
                “But,” he continued, “I don’t want it to be weird – us both being back home like this.”
                Ava bit down hard on the end of her tongue. “Me neither,” she finally said. It was all she could do not to glance over at him, him with his maddening calm and that almost-smile.
                “Maybe we can be friends,” he said.
                “Do friends shove their tongues down each other’s throats at club parties?”
                He shrugged. “Seemed like a good idea at the time.”
                “Oh…” She started to get to her feet.
                Only to be tugged back down, one of his huge hands curled around her elbow. “Don’t walk away all pissed at me. That’s what we’re trying to avoid.”
                It would never cease to amaze her – his gift for rationality. He had a bad habit of being the most violent and the most logical man in the club.
                She sat back down hard, scowling. “Mercy…” Saying his name aloud, under the portico like this, like old times, burned her tongue. Whatever she’d been about to say left her brain. “Why’d you come back?” she asked softly.
Theirs is a story of grief and joy, courage and sacrifice. A story of love, passion, longing...and above all, Family.
Dartmoor Book II:
"I was looking for a killer. I took one look at you, and knew you were The One."
Holly Jessup works evenings at Bell Bar, a semi-divey haunt populated with locals and Lean Dogs alike. It's the bikers she's interested in - the men with the dark reputations. She has need of a hired gun, and she finds one in Michael, the loner, eerily quiet sergeant at arms for the Lean Dogs.
Guarded, cautious, and socially awkward, Michael knows fear, and he recognizes it in Holly. He has no business helping her...but he can't resist, not when she turns those big green eyes his way and looks at him as no one ever has - as a hero.
His heart was a rich throbbing rhythm against her breasts; his breath ruffled her hair. His fingers were curled and hard like claws, and Holly felt a curling in his body, as if he tried to cover her while they stood. The scent and feel of him engulfed her. There was no kitchen, no house, no snowbound Knoxville, only Michael, and his hands in her hair.
            “Do you care?” she asked in a shaking whisper against his chest. She couldn’t bring herself to ask it more deeply than that, only repeat, “Do you care?”

Heartbreaking, poignant, and deeply romantic, Price of Angels explores the ways in which love can reach into the darkest of histories, and pull tarnished souls from the wreckage.
Dartmoor Book III:
His club brothers call him the Money Man. Vice President Kingston Walsh is one of the most trusted members of the Lean Dogs MC. He’s thoughtful, quiet, and he’s all business. Who better to serve as guardian of the club’s skeletons?

He never counted on the girl, but he’s not letting her go. She has skeletons too…

Emmie Johansen has worked at the same horse farm all her life, and when the owner decides to sell, she’s crushed. Briar Hall is about to be sold to real estate developers, and she’s about to be out of a job, a home, and a purpose.

Enter Walsh, and the Lean Dogs MC. Emmie thought losing the farm was the worst possible scenario. But when the club buys Briar Hall, and keeps her on as manager, she begins to unravel the farm’s dark secrets…and learns the true meaning of “outlaw.”
"I have never felt more connected to a whole set of characters. Lauren Gilley has created something I have never experienced while reading other MC books:a true family. All MC books talk about how the club is a family and I've understood it, but felt it? Never! You actually see and feel through these characters exactly what it is like to be a part of the MC in more ways than just being a member or an old lady."
- 5-star Goodreads Review
Notes from the Author:
I will readily admit that I'm a geek, with an aggressively eclectic preference when it comes to fiction. I'm passionate about the Classics - Jane Eyre, and Pride and Prejudice being my chief favorites. I also adore horror - from the Gothic wonders of Poe, Shelley, and Lovecraft, to modern Stephen King and, most importantly, Anne Rice. I like to say that J.R.R. Tolkien is my muse; I'm a rabid Shakespeare fan. And currently, I'm hooked on the Marvel comic book movies.
For me, it all boils down to reader experience. I want to become obsessed with a set of characters: their trials, their flaws, their moments of glory. I want to love them, shake my head at them, and root for them. I want to dissect their every facial expression and every thought...and as a writer I want to give that same kind of immersive experience to my readers.
I prefer to write about families - all kinds of families. Those husband/wife, parent/child, sibling/sibling relationships. The messiness of it; the warm Southern love and the grace of it. With my Dartmoor Series, I sought to explore a different kind of family - one that is a combination of blood and brother-bond. A family that lives outside of normal expectations - and oftentimes outside the law. The novels are character-driven, they are romantic, and most of all, they are human. I often compare this series to the Outlander novels - they are expansive, detailed, realistic, and genre-bending. Leave any expectations of a formulaic bad-boy romance at the door when you step into the world of Dartmoor. This is a series about a family, which loves and fights and lives in Knoxville, TN, growing and changing, counting its blessings.
I am beyond excited to have the chance to talk to so many local readers at the 2015 JLCM Fall Sustainer Luncheon on October 1st. I hope you can join us!
Oct. 1st
6:30 - 8:30pm
Home of Past Sustainer President Sandy White
853 Hickory Drive
Marietta, GA 30064
*Please bring a new or gently used book to donate to CIS*



  1. Mercy. Mercy Me! *whew* Awesome pics.
    I wish I could be in Marietta on October 1st. Enjoy!

    1. Wish you could have been too! It was a fun night :)