Monday, April 26, 2021

#BookTour #AvailableNow - Hands of Women by Stacy M. Wray

Title: Hands of Women
Author: Stacy M Wray
Release: April 20, 2021
Genre: Women’s Fiction

Haddie Kellar is passionate about three things: her marriage, her doctorate in botany, and women’s rights. It’s the injustices of the latter that sends her subconscious plummeting into a dark lens of how to level the playing field, even if it goes against the grain of morality.

After creating a gel that alters the personality of men, Haddie feels invincible after women from all over take action against those who have wronged them. Her movement is working and everyone is noticing, even though her identity has been kept secret. So, when her loving, supportive husband discovers that she’s behind the shocking events revealed on the news, it rocks her world.

Leaning over the black porcelain toilet in the ladies’ room, Jade felt her lunch travel up against her will, spilling into the shallow water, making small splashes against the rim. She knew her nerves were the cause and not anything she had eaten.

It wasn’t every day she assigned herself the task which helped her fellow woman. And so willingly! Jade had never been more passionate about a cause—a crusade, as she’d like to think of it—than what she was about to do. Still, she was a good person. She knew this without a doubt. She cared about human souls, perhaps too much, although she would never label herself a do-gooder. Jade never wanted to be one of those, merely a simple, quiet cheerleader, usually performing gracious gestures behind the scenes. Such as when she would rescue her neighbor from pulling out her hair when one of her kids fell ill. Jade had no problem taking their healthy siblings, coloring pictures or taking a quick trip to the park. Or even sending an elderly stranger a birthday card when she saw his daughter’s post on Facebook begging for mail, even though he had no idea who she was.

But this? She wouldn’t quite call it kindness, more like a favor. One which simply had to be done. She volunteered for this assignment and would see it through. That’s because Jade was loyal, her allegiance knowing no bounds for what was about to happen.

After Jade cleaned herself up, swishing water in her mouth, she avoided the mirror in attempts to stay focused on what waited for her in the other room. Or more like who.

Softly creeping inside where a man awaited, no doubt lying on his stomach with a towel discreetly placed over his naked bottom, Jade entered the Zen-like atmosphere as the soft notes of calm and serenity floated through unseen speakers. Sure enough, there he lay with his face pressed into a round opening, his eyes either closed or staring at the cloudy linoleum below while his arms stretched, circling his head, his fingertips hanging over the edge like a boney waterfall.

Mr. Allen Suiter.

A man who was well-known in her community. Well to do, sporting a tan line which indicated he’d been somewhere tropical recently since it was smack dab in the dead of winter here in Ohio. Jade didn’t begrudge anyone escaping the chill and gray slush that lay in small piles along the frozen streets, wishing that she could be sunbathing on one of those strappy lounge chairs herself. That wasn’t the reason for her saltiness. Not even close.

Mr. Suiter shifted his head, causing panic to stir, bile threatening to rise to her tender esophagus, but he kept it in place to Jade’s relief, only saying, “I thought you had forgotten me.”

It was imperative that he didn’t see her. His regular masseuse, Sally, was out sick today, her afternoon being spent in a doctor’s office—a plan that was put into place to protect her in case anyone traced the events of Mr. Suiter’s day back to the Tranquil Massage Spa. Jade was simply a fill-in, using the alias Jennifer Smith. She’d be long gone before that happened.

Jade cleared the nerves from her throat. So many women before her had done their part—carried the plan through without a hitch—and Jade would do the same. They all made it sound so easy. So far, no one had been linked—and she wasn’t about to be the first.

Jade filled her lungs with lavender-scented mist which was being diffused through a wooden, water-filled sphere nearby, needing a moment as some of the tension left her shoulders and hands.

“Sorry about that. My last customer ran a bit late,” Jade lied.

“You know how I feel about my time, sweetie. Let’s get on with it—I have an important meeting I can’t be late to.” His voice sounded as if he were in a tunnel.

Jade quickly warmed her hands before pouring the Roman chamomile-infused oil into her awaiting palms, her mind wandering anxiously, knowing the rest of his day wouldn’t pan out as he had anticipated. Smiling to herself, she rubbed her hands together before applying pressure to Mr. Suiter’s back, working her fingers in a strong circular motion, moving up toward his neck.

Muted groans leaked from the man as his muscles relaxed under her touch. Those sounds made Jade sick to her stomach, imagining him making such a response while he forced himself on weak women, threatening their jobs—or worse—if they ratted him out. After all, he had a wife and children—he would never. He attended church, for crying out loud, passed the offering basket to his fellow parishioners nearly every Sunday. No one would ever suspect such behavior from a God-fearing man, would they? Heavens no!

His groans turned into grunts as Jade realized she was digging her knuckles into his skin with more force than necessary, blaming the thoughts tumbling inside her head. She eased up and continued down the length of one leg, hating the way his coarse hair felt against her oily fingers.

It had been relayed to Jade that Mr. Suiter had tried putting the moves on Sally once, but she quickly put him in his place, appalled that he hadn’t been the least bit embarrassed or remorseful, even offering her quite a handsome tip. Sally was shocked when he returned the following week after his first visit, requesting her as his masseuse, once again. She had been worried his advances would continue, but he never again offered with words, only leering stares through his intimidating eyes that scanned her body up and down, lingering on her chest. But that didn’t give him a free pass—Jade knew for a fact what he was capable of and what he had done. Sally had shared her knowledge of others who were on the receiving end of Mr. Suiter’s advances. Unfortunately, they suffered more than suggestive words or an uncomfortable gawk. There was no turning back now.

She glanced at the clock every five minutes, her nerves getting the best of her as his allotted time ticked by at an excruciating pace. With her heart rate escalating, she knew what would happen when the big hand reached the number eleven. Tick tock. Tick tock.

Mr. Suiter never turned over—he was one of those odd ones that only wanted his massage performed on his backside, never his front. To each his own. But Jade already knew this about the man, Sally filling her in with all the important details. That only aided her when it came time. Jade had thought out the scenario over and over as if she were viewing a short film inside her head—almost as if she had stepped out of her body and taken a seat on the other side of the room, leaning forward in anticipation for what was about to happen. But when she looked up, there was only a row of slender, black cabinets lining the wall—no chair and no Jade.

Strangely, her body calmed with the final tick as she moved to the drawer that was embedded inside the table that Mr. Suiter lay on. He hadn’t moved at all, and she wondered if perhaps he might be asleep. She could only hope for such an unexpected gift.

Sliding the drawer slowly toward her, Jade reached for the glove that she had previously placed inside. As she shoved her hand inside the thin latex, she couldn’t help but notice the three letters that would eventually be visible to all. Soon, Mr. Suiter would become a man no one would recognize—behavior-wise, at least. The blisters would eventually fade, but their effects would be long-lasting. His colleagues and friends would wonder what became of the arrogant man who probably sat at the good ol’ boys’ table, parlaying an exaggerated conquest of some poor, helpless woman who didn’t stand a chance against his power.

Jade quickly removed three thin strips of paper adhered to the latex and pressed her gloved hand firmly, yet gently, into the skin on Mr. Suiter’s back. She then leaned over and lowered her head toward his.

“I’m afraid your time’s up, Mr. Suiter.”

Stacy M Wray loves writing and reading anything romance - Judy Blume being one of the first authors she read in middle school. After all, a world without love, heartache, and angst would prove a boring place to live. Now branching into suspense and women’s fiction, she believes the sky’s the limit.

Lover of gray and white cats, craver of all things sweet, enthusiast of hiking and camping, wife of an extremely supportive husband, and mom to two amusing adult children, she realizes life is pretty darn good.

She also appreciates that it's never too late to try something new. Never.


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