New Release, Excerpt, Review & GIVEAWAY: Melissa Brown’s “Wife Number Seven”

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Lipstick. Bright, red lipstick. Nothing but lipstick. Even though it’s against our faith to wear a color that screams of sexual promiscuity and deviant behavior, I’m not allowed to protest. But, I want to. So badly.
You see, there’s more to me than the braid that spills down my back. More to me than the layers of heavy fabric that maintain my modesty. And so much more than the oppressive wedding band that adorns my finger–the same band that each of my sister wives wear. So much more. To protest would be sinful. I must keep sweet, that is my duty.
So I’ll wear the lipstick. I’ll do as I’m told. And I’ll do my best to silence the resistance within me, to push him from my mind. If only my heart would do the same.
If you have ever read a Melissa Brown book or if you have read my reviews, you would know that Melissa in the past has written light romance stories – that I have called the perfect chick flicks. You know the kind of movies you cuddle up to watch with the happily ever after. I can say that when I heard about this book, I was really excited to see what Melissa would do with it.  SHE DID NOT DISAPPOINT!  My first thoughts upon completion were FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!!!!  I loved this book and once I started, I COULD.NOT.PUT.IT.DOWN.   For readers that like to know, this book does NOT have a cliffhanger and is a stand-alone book (at least right now – Maybe with enough begging she would write a series).
Romance with a twist…. Polygamy!!!  I now have a better understanding of this culture – Melissa has enlightened me.  It was like being a fly on the wall, but on the insides of a polygamy compound.
“I had my secrets. A voice inside me told me I didn’t belong here, that there was another life waiting for me. And with each passing year, that voice became louder.”
You can tell Melissa certainly did her research on this topic – if I did not know her better, I might actually think she has lived in this type of environment – and that could not be further from the truth, but she certainly pulled it off for me in her writing to believe this story.
Melissa’s writing is flawless, heartfelt, emotional and just fantastic.  Talk about taking a plunge out of your comfort zone and growing as an author, kudos to Melissa!
If you want a unique and original type of romance, and just want to be wow’d, this is the book for you!
Rebecca and I were alone in my bedroom. Her children had fallen asleep easily, not entirely grasping their situation. They didn’t know they were being reassigned, only that they were at our home for a sleepover. Rebecca was apparently delaying telling them the truth.
She probably didn’t want to tell them that our prophet acted according to what he felt was God’s will, and no one in our community could question him or what was “revealed” to him by our Lord. It would be difficult to tell them that they’d lost their father, that they would never return to their home, and that their lives had changed forever because the prophet deemed it so.
“I-I understand that this was a revelation, but . . .” Rebecca sat on the edge of my bed, her hand covering her mouth, the skin surrounding her eyes red and puffy. “I love him. I love my husband.”
“I know,” I whispered, rubbing her back softly with the palm of my hand, attempting to soothe her as best I could. “I could see that you did.”
She wiped her nose with a tissue. “He’s kind and loving, and . . . and I just can’t imagine not being with him.”
“I understand.”
“You do?”
“I think so.” I shrugged. I didn’t have children yet. And I could certainly imagine a life without Lehi . . . so did I? Did I really understand her? Perhaps not.
“I don’t know Elder Cluff. I don’t know him at all. And now . . . he’s to be my husband?”
Reluctantly, I nodded and said what I should say. “Lehi’s a good man.”
She gasped, looking startled. “Have I offended you? I hope I haven’t. I just—I don’t, I mean—”
“No, no. I promise.” I patted her on the shoulder. “I just wanted you to know that you’re safe here. That Lehi will take care of you and your children.”
She pursed her lips and stared at the carpet beneath our feet. “But I don’t love him.”
I knew what I was supposed to say. I knew I should tell her that she’d grow to love Lehi, that she’d have a warm and loving relationship with our husband, that she just needed to give it time. But I couldn’t.
I spoke the truth.
“Neither do I,” I whispered, shaking my head slowly back and forth.

From Melissa:

Why I wrote this story…
Quite a few people have asked me why I decided to write this story— why I chose this subject matter instead of writing another light romance like the “Love of my Life” series.  For some, this book seems out of character for a “Melissa Brown book.” The best answer I can give is that I just had to. I’ve been fascinated by this lifestyle for years, unable to wrap my brain around how a woman could share her husband.  
The idea for Brinley’s story came to me over a year ago, and it stuck with me. I kept seeing the characters in my head and I knew that eventually I had to tell her story.  Whenever I shared my idea with friends, they were intrigued. I think we’re all drawn to taboo subjects such as polygamy. We’re curious about those who live their lives so differently than we live our own. I’ve read several autobiographies from those who have left polygamous compounds, and have been fascinated. For everything I learned, I wanted to learn more. So, I watched documentaries, read more, devoured all of the information that I could. If I was going to tackle this topic, I knew that I had to be accurate. 
For my readers who have enjoyed my contemporary romance novels, I hope you will give this one a try, as well. It’s different—that’s true. It’s a little darker, it pushes boundaries in a way that my other books have not. But, as a writer, this excites me. I want to continue to push myself as my career continues.  I am not finished with light romance, but I’ve really enjoyed pushing myself in this way. And for that reason, this book has become my very favorite of anything I’ve written. And I promise, within the darkness there is still hope in this story.  I can’t completely abandon my inner optimist.
Thank you for reading!
Melissa Brown was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She attended the University of Illinois and is the mother of two fantastic kids. She’s an avid reader who enjoys making handmade gifts for her family and friends, as well as baking and painting. She speaks fluent movie quotes from the 1980s and ’90s.Her romance titles include Bouquet Toss, Champagne Toast, Picturing Perfect and Unwanted Stars. She is currently developing a Young Adult series called Sorority of Three.