Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Guest Hot Spot! Lee Brazil

 Can the Leopard Change his Spots?

But, Lee—what do you mean by that? You haven’t written a book about wildlife have you? No. No, I haven’t. This proverbial question, querying the ability of any person or creature to change its innate being, is a key element in the plot of my latest Truth or Dare book, Giving Up. You see, Brandon Blake has to make some changes in his life for the sake of his health and the sake of his family.
Brandon is the eldest of the Blake siblings, and he’s been charged with taking care of his family by his deceased mother. That’s a heavy responsibility for a sixteen year old. Brandon has learned to be authoritative, to take charge, to be in command at work and at home. It’s become such an ingrained habit to worry about his family that he’s risking being estranged from them by interfering too much in their lives.
In addition, all the stress and worry is creating health problems for Brandon as well. He’s developed an ulcer and his doctor wants him to slow down. He has to learn a whole new way of life. If he succeeds, then all will be well.
But, there are those who say that the leopard can’t change his spots, which would be too bad, because then Brandon is stuck as an interfering, domineering older brother.
So what are the chances that he can give up this behavior pattern?
Think about it. Have you tried giving up any bad habits? Smoking? Drinking? Biting your nails? Shopping? Eating meat?
Did you succeed? If you succeeded in changing your habits, to what do you attribute that success?
I quit smoking back in college. Then again, I was never really into smoking to start with. It was a social thing. I quit easy peasy. Now, the SO, he’s a heavy smoker, has been since he was thirteen. He can’t quit. Tries to every few years, but can’t seem to make it.
Then there’s other habits. Like not exercising enough because I’d rather be reading or writing. That’s a change that consists of adopting new habits, not giving up old ones. I’m not so good at that.
So, my personal experience says that the leopard has a fifty-fifty chance of changing his spots. What do you think?
And I love best Rudyard Kipling’s answer to this question—because it proves that if the necessity is great enough, the leopard can indeed change its spots.

Can Dr. Arden Grey teach Brandon Blake that giving up control is worth while, with the right woman?

Brandon Blake has a problem. His family is fed up with his controlling ways. They don’t need him managing their affairs any more. Brandon doesn’t want to lose his connection with his brothers, but he doesn’t know any other way to live.  He’s been in charge for a long time. Now his brothers are leaving home and making families of their own, and Brandon’s interference has caused some serious rifts. Brandon’s stressful job as CEO of the family production studio and his concerns for his brothers have contributed to the ulcer his doctor recently diagnosed. Therapy is supposed to help Brandon learn how to let go and give up the need to control every thing. Brandon finds the counselor he’s been sent to intriguing, if a bit intimidating, though she has absolutely nothing in common with the women he’s dated in the past.

Dr. Arden Gray knows about control. A survivor of marriage to a dominant, abusive partner, she’s spent the last twenty years turning her life around. She’s learned to take control and has made a career of teaching others to do the same. Brandon Blake is a surprise. When his doctor sends Brandon to her, Arden isn’t sure how she can help the man. But after a few sessions, she sees something intriguing hidden inside Brandon Blake, something that tells her he just might be the man she’s been looking for. If only she can convince him that giving up control to the right woman will solve all his problems!


He stood automatically, reaching out to shake her hand in greeting and murmuring polite good mornings. A slight heat rose in his cheeks and he hoped to hell the blush wasn’t visible. And why the fuck a simple handshake for the doctor should cause him to blush he didn’t know, but something about her made him feel self-conscious and uncertain in ways he hadn’t felt since he was a wild sixteen year old serving as his beautiful mother’s escort to Hollywood’s wild parties.

He stiffened his spine and forced himself to meet those sharp blue eyes, unwittingly squeezing her hand just a little too tightly. He watched as the blue eyes flared wide then narrowed, and Dr. Grey gently removed her hand from his. The flush on his cheeks grew and he felt his stomach churn alarmingly. He and Trick were about to have more in common than he’d ever thought possible if he couldn’t calm down soon.

Dr. Grey led him into her office and he took the same seat he normally did on the plush leather chair in front of the desk. Somewhat surprised, he noticed that instead of taking the chair adjacent to him as she usually did Dr. Grey seated herself behind the neat steel and glass desk. Crossing her hands on the desktop, she met his questioning gaze calmly, and Brandon let out the breath he hadn’t realized he held. His roiling emotions calmed as he took in her stillness, and even his churning stomach was soothed. This was different, but not wrong.

Or so he thought until she spoke.

“I’m afraid, Brandon, that I can’t keep you on as patient any longer.”

Panic flared. “What? Why not?” His stomach heaved and he forced himself to breathe deeply through his nose, swallowing rapidly to prevent the consequences of the sudden lurch. Nothing of his feelings showed on his face. He had twenty-three years of practice at making sure of that. He couldn’t have heard correctly.

“Because I can’t help you in a professional capacity. I’ve given you the tools to manage your problem, you’re an intelligent man and you can resolve your issues from here on your own.” Her voice remained the same as it always had, soothing and cool, her gaze untroubled and calm.

Damn. How had he come to depend on that calmness in such a few meetings? How would he deal without the soothing effect her voice had on his nerves and stomach? Quickly pulling in resources to hide the shocking sense of abandonment he suddenly felt, Brandon grasped the tiny thread of anger and blew it up.

He surged upright and waved his phone in her face. “Fuck. I could have been at the office heading off a dozen major crises! See this? It’s called a cell phone. I have it with me all the time. Next time you need to change our plans, use it!”


I’m an avid reader and former teacher of grammar and composition who believes that falling in love is the grandest adventure anyone can have. In a nutshell, that’s every story I have to tell. Relocating from the crazy pace of life in Southern California's Orange County to the beautiful and leisurely atmosphere of the Illinois countryside has given me the time to indulge the desire to write that I set aside when I started teaching fourteen years ago. Readers can find out more about me and my writing by visiting me at my blog, or finding me on Facebook . Feel free to drop me a line at lee.brazil@ymail.com

 Feel free to chat with Lee in comments!

No comments: