New Book Opening

First Word

I might rather have been a slave in the Deep South before the Civil War.

The road to slavery might be short or long. Mine was long. It started with parents who hid secrets that lurked in ever-growing shadows, secrets that wounded me whether I knew them or not.

Their neglect of me and of what the secrets caused gave an open invitation to rapists, starting with junior high boys. Like a long, winding row of perverse dominoes, that path brutalized me on to graduation into New York City sex trafficking.

Shane’s image comes alive. Unlike him it never dies. My stomach knots until it wrings bile into my gut. His hand stretches from his grave, trying to grab me, beat me, and pull me down into hell with him.

After him come the schoolboys, John, and the stonehearted priest. Then Tony, Rebel, Snake, Mark, and Armando—their images and their wounds live long after they did. How could so many people be dead while I keep living? I who tried to kill myself so many times.

Despite my shattered body, I now refuse to die. Because my path also brought me two kids, and my love for them keeps me alive.

And I have more. A kind of hope was ignited in me. Like an ember, fading and brightening again, it burns quietly. Though I’ve often felt as if my mind would snap, somehow it has not. And as my heart heals, I embrace the person I am meant to be. This hope brings me a joy and peace I cannot understand. I shouldn’t have this, but I do.

I want to save others from a fate like mine, or to give them enough hope to break free. I want to inspire free people to reach those in slavery. My name is Nancy. This is my story.


Does this opening grab you and make you want to read the book?

How would change it?