Mel Ballew
Genre: Romantic Suspense
“If all you can do is crawl, start crawling. Soon, you’ll be able to stand.”


S’renaty James lives a privileged life most her age only dream of living. She is beautiful and popular with her entire life ahead of her. Life could not get any better.


Until her entire life shifts, crashing around her…


Bound by devastation, persecuted by the ones she used to call ‘friends’, haunted by disturbing nightmares, and filled with self-blame, she vows to overcome.


Stefan is everything S’renaty swears to avoid. He is carefree and charismatic. He is primitive, complicated and a total badass. He makes her melt like fine chocolate under a hot summer’s sun the first time their eyes meet. There is something about him, and she makes it her mission to find out.


When he meets S’renaty James, he is not prepared for what comes over him because for the first time ever, a girl leaves him breathless. Now, his primary responsibility is to keep her safe.

He will do anything to protect her. Even lie…


Stefan is the one person she has trusted with her heart. After keeping an unforgivable secret, he could be the one to shatter it to pieces. In fact, he may even destroy her beyond repair. Will she overcome and forgive, letting go of the pain, guilt and shame? Or this time, will she be stronger than the hardest lesson of her life — and, become totally ShameLess?

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On the heels of the truth surfacing in my head, my body reacts. Rapidly, I do a half-turn, lunging down and digging my right foot into the sand, and spin. I push off, hard with my foot, and take off darting back down the sand heading in the direction we just came from. I don’t wait for a response or a reaction from Stefan. I just run fast and hard. I allow my body to dictate its speed. I sprint, running parallel with the raging tides inspiring my motivation. It’s absolutely fucking freeing. Emotional tension blends with the sexual tension surging, pushing me, and giving me additional grit to push on.


“Who needs a rest now?” I cry out into the air now blowing at my back. Dazed, Stefan didn’t see that one coming, and I chuckle as I continue racing down the beach.

In no time, he catches up to me as we near the house. He grabs my hand, halting me, pulling me to his side. Both of us are covered in sweat, and sex oozes off him. I just want to scream. Instead, I lean forward, placing my hands on each of my knees, gasping through huffing breaths. Damn that felt great!


Before I know what is happening, he whisks my entire body up slinging me over his shoulder, and takes off running. We both plunge straight into the ocean. The frigid water bitch slaps me; no cold shower needed. Together, we come up for air. Freezing water runs down our faces.


“What the hell, Stefan?” I stutter out through chattering teeth as shivers possess me. Between the cool breeze off the ocean, and the frigid water, I can’t get warm.

He pulls me to him, wrapping me in his arms, “I told you, you would be in myarms, Star. And, cheaters always get due punishment. I don’t play.” His words, playful, and firm, offer heated softness. I allow myself to welcome the warmth. How is there any possible way to respond to that? I can’t.


Time halts.


In the next instant, Stefan takes both of his hands to each side of my face, saying, “You will always be in my arms,” then leans in closer introducing his lips to mine in a more passionate kiss than any I have had with him or by anyone else.

In this moment, it feels like the first one. I’m dying inside. This icy water holds no refuge to the fervor his body offers mine. He attempts to pull away, but I bring him to me this time, and take all of him, seizing his lips with my own. I bite his bottom lip, sucking it in, nibbling a little harder, and letting him know I want all of him, not just his lips. I want all of him!


Time has a way of transcending. It surpasses more than the grandest of any of our unanswered prayers. It offers us gifts every single day. Pap is right. Each day is truly a gift. Our past is a gift for our present to open. I’m in the present with the most amazing guy. Right now, nothing else matters except for opening my gift, and accepting my present. God knows exactly what we need exactly when we need it. I thank God for giving me the strength to be here, in this moment.


Tomorrow may still be a mystery, but today is unraveling, slowly. It’s like opening a gift, and one I have every intention of treating with care…unwrapping it gently to savor its blessing. Here is to the present; to us!
It’s My Life – Bon Jovi

Beaches – Bette Midler

Live Like You Are Dying – Tim McGraw

One Step At A Time – Jordin Sparks

Show Me What I’m Looking For – Carolina Liar

Acceptance In The Waves – Ice Nine Kills

Let’s Get It Started – The Black Eyed Peas

Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO

Walk Of Shame – P!nk

Wild Boy – MGK

Purple Rain – Prince

When It Rains – Paramore

Get Lucky – Daft Punk

Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne

Between the Raindrops – Lifehouse

Sun Doesn’t Rise – Mushroomhead

Crazy Bitch – L.A. Guns

Welcome to My House Party – Mill Creek

Losing My Mind – Daughtry

I’m That Chick – Mariah Carey

Cassanova – Frankie Paul

Because Of You – Kelly Clarkson

Lost In You – Three Days Grace

Touch My Body – Mariah Carey

Just A Fool – Christina Aguilera

Umbrella – Boyce Avenue

Home – Phillip Phillips

Rise Above This – Seether

Whatever It Takes – Lifehouse

Shout At The Devil – Motley Crue

Before I Met You – Usher

I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz

Who Knew – P!nk

Light Up The Sky – Christina Aguilera

Neon Lights – Demi Lovato

Shameless – All Time Low

Shooting Star – Owl City

The Kill – Thirty Seconds To Mars

Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart – Alicia Keys

Fix You – Cold Play

Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar

I Swear – All-4-One

More Than Words Can Say – Alias

What About Now – Bruno Mars

Just The Way You Are – Rachael Yamagata

Just Give Me A Reason – P!nk, Nate Ruess


Listen to the ShameLess Playlist on Spotify

What goes in to creating a romantic suspense novel? 

Creating a romantic suspense is the blending of a love story involving emotions, a romantic relationship woven intricately amid a structured plot connecting mystery, intrigue, secrets &/or tension. Essentially, it the dynamic of lacing these genres together throughout the plot, allowing them to meld together to create one seamless storyline is key. There are varying ways to achieve this. I knew I wanted my main character to have endured a loss, but not just any loss. It was the loss of her best friend, a piece of herself. There was mystery from the first chapter. From the start of the book, mystery, and romance were introduced.  As the plot structured, both were heightened at varying levels. To me, a romantic suspense is a novel that is a story driven by the threat of danger and the promise of a romance with both being equally synchronized and parallel of one another. That is what I hope I achieved with Shameless.

 SHAMELESS by Mel Ballew had my heart pounding from the very first page. When you start reading, you are automatically transported to the scene and it’s intense and emotional right off the bat. THAT is how you captivate a reader! Seeing that Mel Ballew is a brand new author to me, I’m glad she hooked me at the beginning.
I want to say just a few words on what bothered me a little bit during the story, just so I can get it out of the way. I’m not a huge fan of switching back and forth with the POV’s. I think in some stories it works, but if there is one discrepancy between the two POV’s it could ruin the scene for me and I find myself having to read it over again to try and understand what happened. There were a couple times I had to do this in SHAMELESS, and some parts just didn’t add up, so I was a little bit confused. By no means did it keep me from finishing this story, because it really was all together captivating, with such a unique storyline, and such great bouts of suspense that kept me on my toes.
Not only did this have just the right amount of suspense, it was full of beautiful and sensual love scenes that made your heart melt. Another great thing the author did in this story was tie in music lyrics. I am such a fan of music and I LOVED that. It helps portray the emotion in that very moment and gives you a chance to connect more with the characters. Mel Ballew will be an author to watch out for!

*ARC provided by author*

Mel Ballew resides in rural Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter, along with their two adorable cats. 
An avid reader, she has always had an equal passion for writing and has written her entire life, to date. Her mother initially birthed, inspired, and encouraged these loves. The two often discussed writing together but unfortunately, that dream never came to fruition.
Years later, this happened, that happened—life happened. 
She stepped away from writing to place more focus on being wife and a full-time mom. Today, she would not have changed a thing. The day her daughter was born became the first day she realized a significant rhythm to her heart was also born. Her daughter, now preparing to go off to college, has grown into a beautiful and responsible young adult.
A twisted turn of events in September 2009 left Mel unable to work outside of the home. Forced to consider other options, and while embracing a therapeutic approach of transcribing all of the challenges facing her, post-accident, she returned to journaling. Once again, the writer within her has been re-birthed—awakened from slumber.
Mel is a hopeless romantic. Blessed, she has her very own soul mate, which she calls husband, best friend, and lover. 
She is a simple country gal, with a profound love of true simplicity. She is just as hopeless in her love of nature and regards many of her writing aspirations to appreciating its beauty, although every single story is birthed from her dreams. Sometimes, in life, simply enjoying a chilled glass of sangria on a warm summer’s eve or indulging in her love of chocolate and peanut butter is an expression of enjoying such simplicity. For her, these moments are truly d’vine.

* All entries are international unless otherwise indicated *

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One comment

  1. Thanks for the spotlight on Shameless and the guest pot from Mel – both Mel and her book are new to me and I enjoyed finding out about both. I have to agree that sometimes the shifting POV works and other times not so much but that’s what great – as authors gain more experience their POV’s improve too.