Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway – Keeping Secrets by Kitten Jackson

A tormented man, Greg Parker, is obsessed with a woman he raped 16 years ago, but hasn’t seen since then. Over the years, he transforms himself from Johnny Moretti, the skinny geek and rapist, into a very attractive and manipulative man, not even recognizable to himself. 
The woman, Abbie Kolbeck, is haunted by the memory of her rapist, someone she trusted. When he contacts her after all those years, she’s passionately drawn to him, believing the familiar feeling between them means their union is fate. She has no idea she’s falling for her rapist.After a whirlwind romance, Abbie finds that Greg is being investigated for the murder of his best friend and the friend’s girlfriend. And after a not-so-gentle session in bed, she realizes that he’s the man she forgave for raping her so long ago. Abbie desperately wants to believe his denials, but she’s torn between her feelings for him, and her desire to protect her daughter and herself from a man the police are telling her is a murderer.
“And now you found her on Facebook.”
            “It was easy. She spells her name with an ‘ie’, instead of a ‘y’. Abbie Rae Kolbeck. I searched it, and there she was.”
            “Dude, how is it that she doesn’t know it’s you? You don’t have any photos on?”
            “No, I have photos. Like I said, she knows me as Johnny Moretti. And when she knew me, I was this skinny little geek with big, wavy hair, bad teeth, zits, green eyes and big-ass glasses. Now, I’m four inches taller, about 50 pounds heavier, my hair is short, and I have the mustache and goatee. Oh, and I got my nose fixed. And I have brown contacts. And I had braces.”
            “You got a nose job?”
            “Yeah. Before I met you.”
            “Yeah. You didn’t look like that when I met you.”
            “That was the idea.”
            “Hmm. So why did you send her the friend request?”
            “I want to see her.”
            “You what?”
            “I want to see her.”
            “Greg, you’re drunk. Let’s talk about this when—”
            “No! I haven’t been drunk for the past 15 years! I’ve never stopped loving her, and I’ve never stopped wanting her.”
            “But Greg. You said you’ve done something that could get you’re a*s thrown in prison. What’s the statute of limitations for rape down there?”
            “In Florida, there isn’t one.”
            “What? You mean, for the rest of your life, you have to worry about going to prison?”
            “I guess. I’m not sure the law’s reto…retroactive, but that’s Johnny Moretti. I’m not Johnny Moretti.”
            “Greg, do you hear yourself? You need to go home and sleep this off, and in the morning, you’ll see how crazy this is.”
            “I didn’t come up with this tonight, Mark. I’ve been thinking a lot about it on and off for the past few years.”
            “Mostly off, I hope.”
            “No, mostly on. And I think I can pull it off.”
            “Look, going to a new place and starting over as someone else is one thing. But going back to where people knew you before and pretending to be someone else is a different thing entirely.”
            “I’m not pretending. I am someone else.”
Greg reached into his back pocket. He pulled out his wallet and started going through it. There in the back, under some business cards, was a picture of an unattractive, skinny boy with shoulder-length, big hair, a huge nose, bad teeth, and big, ugly glasses. He showed Mark the picture.
            “Does that look like me?”
Mark studied the picture, then looked at Greg. “No. Not at all. Damn!”
            “See what I mean?”
            “Okay, but what about your voice? Surely, your voice isn’t different from when you were in college.”
            “That’s the only thing I’m a little bit concerned about. But back then, I was a southern boy. Now, I’m a full-on New Yorka. Fuhgetaboutit! Ya know? I’m a completely different guy, other than maybe my voice sounds a little like someone she used to know.”
            “Yeah, someone who raped her! If you weren’t drunk, you’d realize how ridiculous that sounds.”
            “Hey, I’ve thought this through when I was sober, and I know it’s a big chance, but I think it’s something I have to do. It’s a chance I have to take, Mark. She’s the reason I can’t, and don’t even want, to get close to anyone else. I still love her!”

My Rating – 4 tense stars
After reading the description for this book, I knew there was no way it could possibly have a happy ending – so I dove into it eagerly. Every once in a while a girl needs a darker read that isn’t all flowers and sunshine. For some reason, I kept imaging this book would end like Sleeping With The Enemy where Julia Roberts confesses to killing “an intruder” just before she shoots and kills her abusive husband (the look on his face was priceless!). Alas, Abbie isn’t quite as tough and strong-willed as Julia was. 
This is the story of Abbie, who gets raped in college by a guy who was a close friend of hers because she shunned him. This guy, who now calls himself Greg, has never given up his obsession with Abbie. He tries to reconnect with her using a new identify and a new look, hoping she’ll never find out who he really is. From the first page, Greg gave me the massive creeps. We see him at his most cruel and soulless. I couldn’t imagine how he could possibly redeem himself in my eyes after that first chapter. 
Although he never really gained my trust, I found myself wavering in my opinion of him. Maybe I was being mislead? Maybe he was an okay guy who was just dealt a shitty hand in life and deserved an opportunity to fix himself? But then why so many lies? But were they lies, or was he telling the truth? The questions kept coming. Just when I was certain I had him pegged and knew what was going on, I would start to doubt myself. 
That kind of uncertainty and duplicity breeds discomfort. I found myself squirming in my seat while reding this book. I was so worried about what was going to happen to Abbie. It couldn’t end well…or could it? At the same time, I wanted to slap Abbie. She was all sorts of insecure and co-dependent. No wonder she drew creepy guys to her like a moth to a flame. 
I won’t reveal any spoilers, but this story isn’t resolved in the end – not by a long shot. Stay tuned for book 2. Things are only going to get worse for Abbie before they get better. If you are looking for a darker, more suspenseful read that isn’t so cut and dry, check out Keeping Secrets.

Greg is back! Not even his fear of going to prison for murder could keep him away from Abbie. But this time, it’s not just Abbie he wants. His obsession drives him to abduct Abbie and Taylor, taking them on a five-state crime spree, desperate to avoid capture by police. As Abbie struggles with her convictions, her emotions, and her overwhelming need to protect Taylor, the body count rises…
“Don’t you think we need to get another car?” Abbie asked.
“Steal a car?”
“Yeah. I mean, we might get caught because of being in a stolen car, but a stolen car is not gonna get national media attention. Every cop in the country is looking for this thing.”
“I was thinking that, too. We do need to lose the Suburban, but I don’t want to get into a shootout with one of these good ol’ boys, you know?”
“I mean, I have guns, but I don’t want to have to use them. I don’t want you and Taylor to be exposed to anything like that. I want you guys to be safe.”
“Well, it’s getting kind of late. Maybe we could take one from a house where the people are asleep.”
“And what if they aren’t asleep? Then we get shot at.”
“Okay, for the record…not everybody in the south has a gun. That’s a stereotype. We wear shoes, and we don’t all live on farms. In fact, most of us don’t live on farms. I’ve never even been on a farm! We don’t wear straw hats and overalls unless we’re going on a hay ride. We have colleges, and some of us actually attend those colleges. We don’t marry our brothers and sisters, or cousins, any more than you guys in New York do.”
“Calm down, Abbie!”
“No. Somehow, when a tornado hits, every redneck in the state migrates to the cameras, so I can see how the stereotype is perpetuated, but it really p****s me off. We aren’t all Forest Gump, okay? And being from Pensacola, you should know this.”
“Well, I’ve been gone for a long time. And the reality shows about the south don’t help, either. You know?”
“I know. It drives me crazy! Honey freaking Tutu! Makes me sick to my stomach.”
Greg laughed. “Is that the name of a reality show?”
“I don’t know. Something like that.”

Kitten K. Jackson
         Why the middle initial? Well, with a name like “Kitten,” I was hoping the middle initial would give it a more serious, “grown-up” sound. And no, I was never a stripper, contrary to what the name might convey! LOL! My dad started calling me Kitten when I was only days old, so there was no pole dancer connotation intended there!
         I wrote both Keeping Secrets and Keeping Secrets II in 2012. I then went back and edited and published the first book in December, ‘12. Then I edited and published the sequel on Smashwords on May 5th and on Amazon on May 8th of this year.
         I’m from Muscle Shoals, Alabama (Roll Tide!). I’m in Wilmington, North Carolina now, homesick for my daughter, the rest of my family, and sweet home Alabama. For those of you who don’t know, Muscle Shoals was “The Hit Recording Capital of the World” back in the late 60s, through the 70s. Everyone from The Rolling Stones to Aretha Franklin, and lots in between came to that tiny town on the Tennessee River to record hits such as Wild Horses, Brown Sugar, Mustang Sally, When a Man Loves a Woman, and many more. And I went to school with the sons (great guys) of the man who started it all at FAME Recording Studios—Rick Hall.
         My best friend is my little black and tan doxie, Peej. “Peej?” you might ask. Peej is short for PJ. PJ is short for Precious Jackson. Peej was my dad’s baby. When he died in 2009, she became mine. When I would tell people her name was PJ, they would say, “He’s so cute.” So I started calling her Peej, which just confuses everyone, but it’s okay. It fits her. J

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  1. Hi, Dina! Wow! Thanks for a great review! I was glad to read that you didn’t have Greg figured out. “Squirming,” “worried,” “discomfort”… That’s what I like to hear! Suspense is a beautiful thing. That is, if you like a suspenseful read. And you’re right about poor Abbie. She’s about to go on the biggest rollercoaster ride of her life in Keeping Secrets II!
    Thanks so much for hosting my books and me today on the second stop of the Keeping Secrets blog tour! 🙂

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