Monday, November 3, 2014

The Fall of Our Secrets by Tracy Gardner Beno (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Fall of Our Secrets by Author Tracy Gardner Beno!

Author Guest Post

I have a crush on a guy. He’s not really my type, or at least not what I’d thought of as my type years ago, when crushes were plentiful and I wasn’t yet a wife and mother.

I realized it might be serious a few days ago when he was sitting next to me in an auditorium and he stood up to stretch. I noticed his broad shoulders, the way the fabric of his shirt stretched taut across his frame, and hung looser at the narrowed V of his waist. It struck me that I hadn’t noticed that in a while, which is strange, since I see him every day. I notice other things, like the perfectly contrasting tan Italian skin engraved with dark lines of the tattoo that arcs from one side of his rib cage to the other. It’s not like I don’t see what’s right in front in me.

It’s just that in the daily rat race of kids, job, homework, dinner, housework, bills, and a hundred other things, I’ve discovered that sometimes I limit how I let myself react to what I’m seeing. After all, if I let my thoughts run away with me every time I look at my husband, then what? Then I know there are 12 minutes until one of us runs out the door to taxi a kid somewhere, and 9 of those 12 minutes will be spent wolfing down dinner. I can’t believe I’ve let the details of my life interfere with my feelings for my one true crush, my instant-chemistry, so-right-together-it’s-scary, funny, hotcute, tough guy rock star of a husband. I didn’t throw in great-dad, because that is so not the point here.

Anyone who knows me should feel free to tune out at this point. I can hear what you’re thinking: O.M.G. You’ve been together for eons. Get real. But listen, here’s the thing. It is so easy to forget why we’re with our significant other, and what made us decide to make all these enormous, life changing decisions with that one person.

I’ve read lots of articles on what makes or breaks a marriage. 7 Tips To Keep Your Love Fresh10 Steps To A Healthy Partnership5 Warning Signs Your Relationship is in trouble. I unofficially title this piece that Kathleen Higgins-Anderson was kind enough to let me post 1 Tip To Revitalize Your Marriage. That’s all I have to offer in the way of advice. Because everything else, suggestions like, “tell your partner you appreciate him every day,” is the kind of stuff I think most of try to do anyway. None of us wants to see what we’ve set out to create as starry eyed lovers fall apart. But it happens every day. It happens to people we know, our friends, our neighbors, our family. It happens to people we couldn’t in a million years imagine it happening to. It could happen to me. I never doubt that.

I don’t actually believe there is one magical thing we can do to keep our marriages alive. Sometimes, the petty arguments over who will take the garbage out or why he still hasn’t fixed the stairway railing that broke six months ago turn into huge arguments over where he really was last night or why she can’t seem to speak to him without yelling. Sometimes, no matter what we do, how great our efforts are, relationships do fall apart. It’s a harsh reality and no formula or pat advice from anyone is going to change that.

But there’s something worth trying. Something that might help, if enough of the person we used to be, and the person we fell in love with, is still there under all the weight of all those resentments and responsibilities. Here’s my 1 Tip:

Go on dates. There’s a caveat. The dates must be with your partner. And a condition: dates must be original. So this means no routine dinner-and-a-movie and back home by 9:00. These dates will require a walk down memory lane.

Remember when you’d just met your crush? Finally? You’d had your first conversation or maybe your first real date. And then a second date. You’d started to meet each other’s friends, and that led to some of your time together being spent in groups. After a few outings or evenings in groups, you couldn’t wait to get some one on one time. Because even though you always enjoyed hanging out with him, you both needed that one on one time to reconnect.

Remember trying to think of new and different places to go, things to do, for when you’d see him next? Remember that feeling, after talking on the phone late into the night--so very late it was almost early--with him, and thinking how this person just gets you, better and more completely than anyone has ever gotten you? And how everything he says is so funny or interesting, you can’t wait to hear the sound of his voice and what he says next?

I know I’m treading into some very cheesy territory here, but I’ll go ahead and admit I remember. Now. I forgot for a while.

So, last night I went on a date with my husband. We put aside our impulse to stay in, or to catch a movie and make it home in time to get a good eight hours sleep (sex or no sex, that is also not really the point here, but a fun topic for another day). Instead, we drove to Detroit and spent a few hours messing around at one of the casinos. Something we used to do pre-kid, just for fun. Neither of us is a big risk-taker, we came home with about $40 less than what we started with, but that was the best $40 I ever spent.

For my money, I got two car rides with my husband, jamming an obnoxious, glorious mix of metal and punk on my intense car stereo. I got conversation on the way into the city that centered around kids and work and house, subjects I consciously tried to steer the conversation away from but hell, those are big important chunks of our lives. And I got conversation on the way home, and for the hours in between, that had no trace whatsoever of those things.

I realized at some point during the evening that I really like this guy. Like, like like. I mean, I always have. Obviously, or we wouldn’t have two kids and 26 years of history. Somewhere between The Walking Dead slots and our wistful glances at the $15 minimum Blackjack tables, I noticed he was teasing me. I don’t even know about what. And I was laughing, and giving him sass right back, and his hand on my waist made me feel the way I’d felt when I was eighteen and we went on our first date. The elements in this man that had initially drawn me to him were still there. Why wouldn’t they be? I think I just forgot, for a time, to notice them.

Which takes me back to the beginning of this piece, when I mentioned this new crush of mine wasn’t really my type. He wasn’t. He was pretty much the opposite of the kind of guy I thought I liked. Meeting him shouldn’t have been a big deal. We were in a group of people when introduced. This is the ultimate in cheesiness, but when our eyes met and we said the obligatory “nice to meet yous,” there was an instant connection. Sort of a, Wow, there you are. Where have you been? Through everything that followed--denial of the attraction (I was in no position to even be checking him out in the first place), well intentioned efforts to forget about him, months later a change in our circumstances that led to a first date, more dates, a long engagement (we were young and busy having fun), marriage, family, forties--the one thing I will never forget is the way he made me feel. I was reminded of it last night. On a date with my husband. When I let myself, made myself, remember the person he was years ago, the person I fell in love with, all of the sudden I could see him again. I wonder what he’d say if I told him my new crush has made me see everything with clear, wide open eyes. He might be floored if I told him who my new crush is.

This morning, he said to me, “We have to do that more often.”

I said, “Yeah, it was a fun night. You liked the casino?”

And he said, “Sure, but we should go out together more. Just me and you. Wherever. You know, like we used to. I had a great time.”

What I heard was: I think you’re pretty cool. I like like you, too.

 (Thanks so much for hosting me today on Jersey Girl, Kathleen!)

About The Author

Tracy Gardner Beno is a Metro Detroit native who has lived in and around small, rural communities like those described in The Fall of Our Secrets. Her stories draw readers in with recognizable characters and real emotion, seasoned with intrigue and a dash of humor. She loves spending time with her husband and two children, reading, writing, and catching her favorite bands in concert as often as possible. She works as a Registered Nurse in her day job and when she's not writing novels she contributes short stories and articles to Verite Magazine where she's a staff writer.


Book Review

The Fall of Our Secrets by Tracy Gardner Beno
Publisher: Art Counsel /E-Lit Books
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Format: Paperback - 352 pages
              Kindle - 334 KB
              Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 978-0989401173
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction 

BUY THE BOOK: The Fall of Our Secrets

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Laura and Nicole, childhood friends separated by mysterious circumstances, meet again quite by accident and renew their friendship.

Laura is a devoted single mom. She's stuck in a going nowhere relationship, but doesn't realize it until she meets Adam, her newly dubbed Airport Hottie, on the flight home after spending a whirlwind weekend with Nicole.

Nicole is now married to the man of her dreams, but she carries deep wounds from a childhood filled with secrets, constantly afraid to trust any true happiness she encounters.

Together these two best friends work toward uncovering the long buried secrets of Nicole's horrific past, ultimately freeing her to believe in and embrace the new life she's worked so hard to create. The friendship nurtures both women and Laura finds her own self confidence and the revelation that what she needs is within reach, hers for the taking.

The Fall of Our Secrets takes the reader on a hopeful journey of love and discovery.

Book Excerpt:

Laura stood in the dark with Adam outside his car in her driveway, loving and hating their goodbyes. She stamped her feet a few times to knock the dusting of an early snow off her skimpy shoes and leaned back against the car, not caring about the faint salt stain it’d leave on her long black wool coat. His eyes crinkled at the corners and she felt his smile on her lips when he leaned down to kiss her.

“What are you doing to me, lady?” he said huskily, when she came up for air after a time. Their faces were inches apart. The silky black cowlick at his temple drew her eye and she reached up without thinking, tracing the curl with a light touch, then gently running her fingers into his thick, soft hair, not missing for an instant the way his eyelids lowered and he leaned a bit into her hand.

Her other hand came up and both arms went around his neck, tightly, as she drew him to her and kissed his lips and then his neck. With no conscious thought, she unbuttoned the top few buttons of his shirt so her lips could feel more of him, more of the heat radiating from his skin. Her breath caught in her throat and she buried her face against his chest, hearing his heart racing as fast as hers as his warm hands roamed her spaghetti-strapped back under the coat. She gingerly tasted his skin there in the firm smooth contour below his collarbone, and wanted more. It took a staggering amount of self-restraint to keep from wrapping her legs around his thighs and the hardness she felt pressing against her. He ran his hand around to her ribcage, his fingers brushing the side of her breast as he traced a path slowly down to her hip, pulling her more tightly against him. She moaned, a deep longing sound she had no control over.

After a minute or two, he cupped his hand under her chin and she resisted, her cheeks burning with mingled desire and embarrassment. “Hey,” he whispered, finally getting her to look at him. When she met his eyes, she found passion there, but more than that, she saw a tenderness she didn’t expect, especially in a moment like this. He relaxed his grip on her slightly and kissed her again, but softly now, first on the lips, then the forehead, one hand still resting possessively around her hip, holding her there.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured, still surprised at her own impulsivity.

Adam laughed and shook his head at her. “For what? Why would you apologize?” He pushed a stray strand of blond hair out of her eyes.

Laura shrugged, “I don’t know ... it’s just ... Adam, you must know, you’re just so ... I mean….” she stammered.

He waited for her to finish, and when she didn’t, he chuckled again. “I’m just so….”

Now Laura rolled her eyes at him, finding the courage to continue. “You’re amazing, that’s all. You’re so great to be with, and on top of that, you’re just….”

He looked at her expectantly, eyebrows raised.

“Well, you’re not terrible to look at, you know,” she smiled at him. “I’m pretty self-sufficient, I never felt like I needed a guy to be happy, but--I’m having such a great time with you,” she laughed, trying to lighten the mood a little. “I guess I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Does that make sense?”

He was quiet now, considering, and Laura thought, fantastic, nice going Ace, you just officially scared off the one and only guy you’ve been really smitten with in over a decade. He joined her leaning against the salty, icy SUV, and turned an odd expression on her.

“Okay, let me get this straight. You, who have single-handedly raised a child to be a well-adjusted teenager, who have supported yourself and your son in a house you pay for and take care of, who have a successful career that you found the time to go back to school for, who have such a big heart that even hearing some of the unwanted cat and dog sob-stories from my clinic makes you cry, you just can’t figure out why in the world a nice, intelligent, handsome, modest guy would be interested in you?” He cocked one eyebrow, a hint of a smile threatening to break his serious expression. “I thought you were smart.”

She jumped to her own defense. “I am! Adam, I’m not saying we don’t hit it off, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.” She paused. “I guess I’m not used to this kind of attention, or feeling so strongly about someone--” she stopped herself and searched his face. “Okay,” she said, unnerved as always by the intensity of his gaze and attempting to change tacks. “Okay, let me just ask you this, and don’t be upset ... but I need to know. You lived in that old farmhouse with someone. Were you married? Was it a girlfriend? What happened? And how long ago? Why won’t you talk about it? And how come you’re not dating anyone now?”

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, The Fall of Our Secrets, author Tracy Gardner Beno weaves a wonderful tale about two childhood friends who reconnect and renew their strong bond of friendship. It is a special friendship that overcomes a painful past, endures, mends, and heals from old traumatic wounds.

The reader follows the story of Laura and Nicole, childhood friends who were separated by mysterious circumstances, only to reconnect decades later after an unexpected chance meeting. This is a multi-layered and intense story that alternates between the past and present, it has enough drama, mystery, murder, suspense, emotional issues, tragedy, romance, friendship, and joyful renewal that keeps the reader easily drawn in as Laura and Nicole's story unfolds.

The Fall of Our Secrets is a wonderful story of a childhood friendship that is reestablished after years apart, the intriguing twists and turns takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride, you can't help but get lost in their story, and embrace the joys and sorrows that comes with their friendship. This is an enjoyable story about a special friendship that will touch your heart and stir your soul.


Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Comment on The Fall of Our Secrets tour page to win a $20 Amazon gift card! The winner will be drawn November 4. Get 10 extras bonus entries if you purchase your copy of the book and send the receipt to!

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

October 20 – Relatively Yours – Guest Post 
October 22 – Fiction Zeal – Guest Post & Excerpt
October 23 – Brenda Corey Dunne – Interview
October 24 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
October 27 – Polished & Bubbly– Review & Excerpt
October 28 – Ski-Wee’s Book Corner – Excerpt
October 30 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Guest Post
October 31 – The Little Reading Cabin – Review
November 3 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
November 3 – Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews – Guest Post & Q&A


  1. This seems like a very thought provoking story. Would love to read this novel. The title is very intriguing.

  2. I love your post. After 26 years of marriage, it is hard to get stuck in a rut.