Laurie Shelton is the only person alive who can identify Hawaii’s most notorious mob boss… After stumbling into a deadly kidnapping, Laurie’s life is in grave danger, and it falls to US Marshal Dante Stark to keep her safe until she testifies against Kaimi Quamboa—assuming he can be captured. Dante knows he’ll lose his job if he becomes romantically involved with a witness… But when he has to comfort her through constant nightmares, he finds it nearly impossible to fight his attraction to the beautiful, strong young woman he is sworn to protect. Laurie feels it too, but aware she’s in a high-stress situation and that when the danger is past she’ll never see Dante again, she tries to ignore his easygoing smile and the security he offers. Laurie and Dante are forced to flee again… When Kaimi’s men descend on their hideaway, they escape to a second safe house, only to be tracked down there as well. Dante now knows there’s a mole inside the US Marshal Service, and the only thing left to do is disappear. Kaimi will never stop looking for Laurie, and if he’s caught, showing up to testify could be the last thing she ever does. With each choice as dangerous as the next, Dante and Laurie must confront the boundaries of what they’re willing to sacrifice, and which is more important… Love or Justice.
Interview with the author:
Tell us about your latest book.
My first novel, Love or Justice, follows the love story of U.S. Marshal and his witness as they run for lives to escape a persistent mob boss. Both characters must confront the sacrifices they have to make in order to pursue justice and put the mob boss behind bars. There are no easy answers. Just like real witnesses, they can always choose to disappear and live out their own lives rather than going to trial. This novel explores their sacrifice and how difficult it is to be in the witness protection program.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
A dream, actually. I had a dream that I was a witness being hunted by a criminal and I was in love with the man protecting me. I woke up and thought “this would make a great novel.” So, I wrote it.
Who and what inspire you to write?
My husband inspires me to write. He is working on his YA fantasy series, and he has two books published with a third in production.
Each author has his or her own inspiring journey. How did you begin writing?
Oh, since I was in 5th grade. I was always writing long stories for English class, winning writing awards in high school, etc. I graduated college with a major in writing, literature and publishing, though I primarily focused on playwrighting. Now, I’ve turned to novel writing instead.
What has been the most pleasant surprise about writing? How about an unexpected down side?
The pleasant surprise is that the ideas keep coming. The down side is the marketing demands on my time and energy. Juggling marketing plus writing plus a job plus family is a huge task.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Nope. Sit, write. It’s just that easy.
Do you write your books in order?
If it’s a series yes. I was asked to make Love or Justice the first book in a series. A gratifying request from my publisher. However, I already have two other novels written in between that have nothing to do with Love or Justice. So, now I’m working on the second book in the series.
What is on your writing playlist for this book?
Nickleback. I would listen to a few Nickleback songs and it would get me really excited to write more of Love or Justice.
Any favorite writing snacks?
Pretzels and peanut butter.
What advice would you give writers who aspire to be published?
Keep trying. It’s a tough environment. I got two contracts off a twitter pitch festival! So, you never know until you try.
Are you working on anything new right now?
Book two in the Protect and Serve series! You may see Laurie and Dante again. I’m also editing a novel about a time traveling anthropologist, which I hope to turn into a series. It’s a little bit science fiction, but mostly historical romance.
Who is your favorite character in your current book?
Laurie and Dante. Those two crack me up sometimes.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Oh, geez. You’re asking me to pick one? Just one? Fine. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. But, I protest the very idea of only having one favorite book ;-)
Tell us in one sentence why we should read your book.
It’s action packed with lots of twists, turns, and a romance that’s worth fighting for.
About the author:
Rachel Mannino is a passionate writer who creates characters and settings that allow readers to explore power dynamics in relationships, the empowerment of women, and the ethical and moral dilemmas love can create in our lives. Rachel also uses her writing skills to raise thousands of dollars for entities that enrich our lives and create community change around the world. She has worked for the Peace Corps; the Humanities Council of Washington, DC; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; and the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events in Boston, MA. Her first novel, Love or Justice, was published by Limitless Press in November 2016. Her second novel, Fractal, will be published by eTreasures publishing in the spring of 2016. Rachel has a BA in theatre studies and writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College, and she has used it every day since graduation. She lives with her husband, author Christopher Mannino (http://www.christophermannino.com/), and their adorable dog and cat in College Park, Maryland.