The Evolution of Toxic

To find the truth, she’ll have to defeat his darkness…


I’d like to share how my next release, Toxic came to be.

I call Toxic (formerly titled Don’t Ask Questions of Fairytales) my starter novel because this was my first full-length manuscript. The entire story derived from a dark period in my life, throwing in a hunky hero, a cast of colorful characters, and of course, romance and suspense.

I started writing seriously in 2004. I lived in Columbus, Texas a small, picturesque town about seventy miles east of Houston. Columbus is my inspiration for the story’s setting. During that time, I worked at a wholesale nursery. We potted, grew, and shipped bedding plants. I held several positions, ending up becoming the shipping supervisor.

My story takes place in a nursery, patterned after the one I worked. The heroine, Gracie Desoto’s life mimicked my own and unlike other characters I’ve created since, her personality is closest to mine. I had an interest in learning landscaping which is where Gracie’s profession materialized. She lives on a river, the Colorado River runs through Columbus, another inspiration, sans the alligators.

Once completed, I set the manuscript aside and left it alone for several years. I moved on, wrote two other books, Echoes and Tomorrow, then decided I was ready go back to Fairytales. A major revise was in order. I took out the personal stuff, made it more romantic and suspenseful. After the revisions, I re-titled it to fit the story.

I’m grateful for this book. The writing helped me clear many personal hurdles. Though not an idea or spark, this particular piece was my therapy, a way of purging an awfulness I experienced, and let me take a giant step as to who I’m supposed to be. I’m excited it’s about to be published. I hope you’ll give it a read.

Release date is September 23rd, and published by The Wild Rose Press


Landscaper Gracie Desoto is too busy building her business to worry about her love life. Until she receives news her ex-husband is getting remarried, and she meets the enigmatic Ethan McCarthy. Despite the warning bells, Grace can’t deny her attraction to the much younger man.

Ethan McCarthy is a man on the mission. His job keeps him on his toes, plus he’s dealing with personal issues he can’t figure out. He doesn’t have room in his life for a romance, until an encounter with the adorable Gracie changes his mind.

In a whirlwind weekend of missing plants and a murder with Ethan as a possible suspect, Gracie is determined to solve the mystery and clear her man. Together, they head down a darkened path into an unknown where they may not survive.

Is their love toxic, or is it worth the risk?


“You need to watch where you’re going. That guy almost hit you.”

Gracie flinched and twisted, stumbling into the doorframe knocking her off balance. A pair of rough hands grasped her shoulders and stopped her from toppling to the ground. Her palms skated over warm, muscular skin, and rested against soft material covering a solid torso.

She cranked her head up, and froze.A sharp tingle traveled throughout each body part causing her stomach to drop to the ground. Every issue evaporated in an instant. Serious gray eyes coolly regarded her. “This isn’t a good place to walk around and daydream. Could get you hurt.” His voice was low and easy. Sexy.


“I’ve followed you for a while. You’ve roamed in no particular direction and never noticed me behind you. You were zoned out. So, yeah, I’m guessing your mind was somewhere else.”

“You were following me?”

A slight grin played at the edge of his lips as his fingertips traced down her upper arms and dropped to his sides. “Doing my job, ma’am.”

“Ma’am?” she repeated indignantly.

He ignored her piqued resentment although his gaze stayed on her. “Are you lost?”

“Oh, no, I’m just waiting.” Heat saturated her face. Shocked to find her hands still bonded to his chest, she released the T-shirt, one finger at a time and took a step backward.

He dipped his fingertips into his shirt pocket and extracted a pair of Maui Jims to cover his gray eyes. “This is a restricted area. Only certain employees are allowed in this section.”He lightly took her arm to escort her away from the greenhouse. “You’ll have to wait somewhere else.”

“Yes, I used to…” Her voice trailed. Did he just tell me to leave? She stopped and jerked away from his grasp. Her eyes narrowed. “Who are you?”

“I’m the person informing you that you need to stay out of this area.

His words hung in the air between them. Gracie stared at the man, keeping her face impassive, though inwardly she fumed. First, he insinuated she was directionally challenged and now he was giving her orders. The guy certainly didn’t have a clue as to who he was dealing with.


About Debra Jupe

Hi, I’m Debra and I write romantic/suspense novels, with a bit of steam and a lot of fun. Creating stories is my passion. My favorite days are when I can tune out the universe, huddle over my laptop, and let my imagination go wild. More of my loves My kids-I am the proud mom of two. Son, Stephen and daughter, Hannah. I’m also a proud mother-in-law to Astrid and Ryan. I’m a huge animal lover and am “mom” to a houseful of adopted fur-babies. Animals know, when they show up at my house, they have a forever home. Texas-I’m a lifetime Texan. Born in Waco, I grew up in a small town, south of the city. In my early 20’s, I left and lived in different areas within the state. Twenty-eight years later, I happily returned home. I hope to have one more move in me. My dream is to live by the ocean, sit on the deck with a glass of wine and write. Bucket List accomplishments-In my 40’s, I did something I’d always wanted to do, which was return to school and further my education. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in 2011. My day job is working in the education system, teaching special needs children. Inspiration-Growing plants in my flower beds, painting, photography, travel (love the beach), I was born to shop-now if I just had the money, and I can be easily bribed with a tasty meal of Mexican food. Oh yeah, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Writing-I received my first publishing contract with The Wild Rose Press in 2013, and my initial release debuted in September the same year. I’m an active member of the Central Texas Romance Writers of America Chapter, and I serve as secretary of the group., Follow me on twitter @AuthorDebraJupe Keep up with the latest updates by liking my Facebook page or on my Facebook page Author Debra Jupe
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