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In my upcoming eBook, The Dark Proposal, Claire McCormick thinks she has the perfect boyfriend. Daniel Bertrand is a college professor, cultured, talented, and good-looking. He has an apartment in Tribeca, a Manhattan neighborhood where millionaires live. He’s fluent in French and has traveled far and wide.

He also likes Claire, calls her his rock, and is caring and attentive towards her.

At first.

About two months into their whirlwind relationship, Daniel reveals he is a bloodthirsty vampire. He also reveals a side of himself Claire only had glimpses of: bad tempered, condescending, and above all, violent. He begins to speak curtly, becomes controlling and manipulative, and even strikes out at Claire a few times to display not only his vampire strengths, but to assert himself his dominance over her.

I know that probably wasn’t easy to read for some people. It wasn’t easy for me to write about Claire being frightened and abused by Daniel, especially since it left me wondering what would I have done if I were in her situation?

No, not being hurt by a vampire, but any guy. I’ve had my share of moments where the guy showed signs of being abusive very early on. One told me on our second date how to do my hair and what clothes to wear. Another was quick to point out that he didn’t want me to pursue certain career goals – 20 minutes into our first date. I also went on a second date with a guy who insulted me, criticized and talked down to me, even though he was a sweet, nice guy the first time around. Last but not least, I was mistreated by a guy I briefly went out with who was manipulative, condescending, and even beeped the horn rather than going to my door to pick me up.

Yep, I’ve had my fair share of assholes. But even though I was quick to dump them because of their abusive signals, I hesitated. I made excuses for their nastiness, I ignored the warning signs, I focused on their niceness and wouldn’t admit that it was actually manipulative behavior. But I wised up and told the guy(s) that it wasn’t working out. Some of them could care less, some tried to blame me, others were verbally abusive (that guy who told me not to pursue my goals? He told me there must be a reason why I was still single).

It hurt and stung when those douchebags reacted like that, but I was relieved. I was glad and proud of myself for getting away before anything got bad, as in really bad. It was highly likely those guys would’ve emotionally, mentally, verbally, physically and sexually abused me. I wasn’t a person to them; I was just something to play with and break. I really believe guys who abuse and control women are misogynists to the core, especially if they show those signs very early on. There must be a function in their brain that doesn’t allow them to see women as breathing people. Maybe they are insecure in their masculinity or come from homes where Dad beat up Mom.

Whatever the case may be, I got away in time. But what I didn’t? That question lingers with me long after the guy is gone.

While I was writing The Dark Proposal, I poured my fears over being in an abusive relationship into my book. I had Claire McCormick go through my biggest fear – albeit with the paranormal side to it – and tried to make her as strong as possible. It had to be believable, of course, but I wanted the reader to cheer Claire on and be at her side throughout the book. Claire may not be perfect, but she does her best.

I didn’t initially come up with the idea for The Dark Proposal just to express my fears over being abused. The story first came to life when I was living a boring life a couple of years ago and hoped things would dramatically work out better. The TV show, True Blood, was on, and I would daydream about a sexy vampire coming to spice up my life. But then I came to my senses: vampires are evil! They kill people and have little use for humans! From there, I created the villainous vampire, and along the way, my inner fears came out onto the pages. But keep in mind: my book is more of a vampire than a love gone bad story.

I don’t mean my book to be symbolize abusive relationships or be a how-to survive guide. I think some readers would be disappointed with Claire’s decisions throughout the book. I just hope that the readers would see they are not alone when it comes to some guys mistreating women.