Hi guys, we have Cari Waites (Lisa Henry) stopping by today with the tour for her new release Stealing Innocents, we have a great guest post where Cari chats about one of the stories in Stealing Innocents, we have a great excerpt from the story First and Only and there’s a fantastic giveaway, so enjoy the post and leave a comment (with a way to be contacted) to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Those who dare to scratch the surface of ordinary, everyday life may be horrified to find a sick underbelly beneath—a nightmare world populated by villains and victims, predators and prey, where the rules of society no longer apply.
Where you’ll find people like Danny, the boy who sells himself to pay for his father’s gambling debts and ends up in a situation more twisted than he ever imagined. Or Troy, the cop whose obsession with saving a brutalized human trafficking victim turns deadly. Or Drew, the mental patient who begins to suspect his nightly delusions of abuse by his doctor are actually real. Or David, the cuckolded husband who decides the best way to get revenge is to seduce his wife’s barely legal son.
Stealing Innocents is an exploration of our darkest human impulses, where sex is power, love is horror, and there’s no such thing as a happy ending.
This collection contains edited second editions three stories that were previously individually published, plus one all-new story, by Lisa Henry writing as Cari Waites.
Cari Waites/Lisa Henry
Hi! Welcome to the blog tour for Stealing Innocents by Cari Waites. Who is not-so-secretly Lisa Henry. I’m visiting some of my favourite blogs around the place to talk a bit about writing Stealing Innocents, and sharing some of my influences, ideas, and even an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win prizes!
First and Only is one of the stories in my Stealing Innocents anthology. The narrator is David, a man in his late thirties who discovers that his wife is cheating on him. David’s mind goes immediately to revenge that, in this case, comes handily packaged in the form of his barely-legal stepson, who is home for Christmas.
First and Only was a lot of fun to write, mostly because I had no idea, when I started, how I was going to end it. David’s a despicable man. Did I want him to win? And, if so, what exactly does winning mean in this scenario? Humiliating his stepson in order to get revenge on his wife? Or could it mean, as David’s thoughts turn from revenge towards affection, winning love? Both of those possible endings were sufficiently twisted to play out nicely. In the end, of course, I went with something completely different and decided that this is definitely a no-win situation for everyone involved.
This wasn’t Lolita.
He was eighteen.
Also, I hadn’t even known that Alice had a son before I proposed. After four months of dating—sometimes you just know, don’t you?—I popped the question, and she came back with, “David, there’s something I need to tell you.”
Well, of everything that whirled around in my brain in that moment, the fact that she had a sixteen-year-old son wasn’t the worst admission she could have made. I was only three years out of a divorce myself, and people in their late thirties come with baggage. That the baggage was named Sage and was currently at boarding school, paid for by his long-absent father, was a surprise. What was more of a surprise was that she’d called her kid Sage. I mean, who does that?
But the kid, I told myself, wasn’t going to be an issue. Sage’s daddy was a trust-fund baby, so one paternity test later and Sage was set for life as well. And given that he was living at his exclusive boarding school getting the best education money could buy, it wasn’t like he’d be impacting our married life at all. I thought.
I first met Sage at the engagement party.
A week shy of seventeen then, and the kid was . . . gorgeous. As pretty as his mother, with soft blond hair, blue eyes, and the face of an angel. He could have been a girl, except for those skinny jeans and a T-shirt so tight it pulled across his slender, flat chest.
And he was polite as well, more polite than I would have been at that age getting thrust into some dull gathering of adults. Most of the guests were colleagues from the law firm where we worked, and Sage talked and joked with everyone like we were all old friends. No sullen teenage sighs and eye rolls here.
“It’s nice to meet you,” he said, and then lowered his voice like he was letting me in on a secret. “Wow, these canapés are good. You have got to try one!”
I liked the kid. I liked him enough to throw Alice’s wedding plans into disarray by adding him to the list of groomsmen. I thought it was a nice gesture.
The morning after the wedding, Alice and I went to Mexico on our honeymoon, and Sage went back to school.
He sent weekly emails to Alice, and included me in the recipients. That was a nice gesture as well. It was from his emails that I leaned he’d taken up rowing on the school team. I thought of the muscles in his arms and chest pulling under his tight T-shirt as he rowed. The image stuck with me for days, but it wasn’t until Alice was on her knees giving me head one night and I found myself imagining it was Sage instead that I knew I was in serious trouble.
And then it was Christmas.
I think I knew, in the weeks leading up to it, that Alice was having an affair. The blowjobs she was suddenly keen on giving? Her guilt, maybe.
The affair was with Grant Fisher, one of the partners in the firm. What I didn’t know was how serious it was. Was Alice doing it for a shot at making partner, or was she actually in love with the guy? And had the rest of the firm known about it for weeks before I finally figured it out?
That was the worst part, I think. The burn of humiliation. My second marriage, coming to a messy ending after a little over twelve months. And I would be painted as the fool, because didn’t I still send her flowers every Monday morning, even though her office was only just down the hall from mine?
Maybe that was what gave it away. At first, all the women in the office would coo and smile and tell Alice how lucky she was, and tell me how they wished their husbands would do the same. And then those smiles became a little strained, a little insincere, soured with pity.
Everyone knew but me.
So, Christmas. Not only did Alice suddenly have to fly out to Denver, of all places, with Grant to deal with a client, but I’d been downgraded from Husband of the Year to glorified babysitter for her kid. The fool, the cuckold, the doormat.
And then Sage was standing on the front step with his shy smile—“Thanks for doing this”—and, just for a bright shining second, I knew exactly how to make Alice pay.
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Cari Waites is her much darker alter ego.
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