ISBN: 1-59279-405-X (Electronic)
ISBN: 1-59279-779-2 (Paperback)
Cover by Trace Edward Zaber Copyright © 2005
Homely Louise Bauer makes a deal with a mysterious "bag lady"—if Lu will perform a ceremony using a sculpture of her ideal man, he'll come into her life and love her as she is. Soon afterward, Lu meets Eric Troy, a handsome, charming and talented actor who lights up her days and heats up her nights.
Then Lu notices that anyone who crosses Eric suffers a violent punishment, yet Eric himself always has an airtight alibi. Could Desma, the ancient-looking "bag lady," be helping him through some kind of sorcery? Why did she warn Lu never to question Eric about his past? Are they conspiring to boost Eric's acting career, or do they have something even bigger and more diabolical in mind?
Lu digs for answers, knowing that this violates the original "deal." She also knows if she loses control of Eric, he could eliminate her, too—and perhaps the last hope of survival for the human race...
What Reviewers Are Saying
“Subtle horror effectively moves the plot to a chilling conclusion…Ms. Watkins is a true master of terror.”
—Amanda Killgore, Eternal Night, January 2006
“Paragon is the first e-book I couldn’t stop reading…I was surprised to find two hours had literally flown by me…I became spellbound by the story; I couldn’t figure out where it was taking me…An entertaining read that still lives in my mind."
—Christine I. Speakman, Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, February 2006
“Not a book where you know instinctively what is going to happen--I loved that… Definitely a recommended read!”
—Janet, Fallen Angel Reviews, February 2006
“Paragon cleverly combines the elements of modern horror writing with the tenets of ancient mysticism…An amazing book that deserves to be read time and again!”
—Sylvia Cochran, Roundtable Reviews, March 2006
“An engrossing story…warns us that we need to be careful what we wish for and what we will do to get it.”
—Michelle Thomas, Gotta Write Network (4.5 Gold Hearts), November 2005
...Desma lifted her heavy bag onto her lap. It looked like two squares of worn Turkish carpet, stitched together at the edges. With her yellow claws, she rummaged in its depths until she pulled out something small.
Lu saw it was a tiny gold heart, the size of a locket. Solid, though, and with no loop to hang it from a chain.
"When you go home today," said Desma, "you will find your sculpture. Cut an opening where the heart would be and place this in there. The sculpture is stone or marble?"
"Just plaster." Lu turned the gleaming token over in her palm. "Is this real gold? I can’t accept this."
"You can. You saved my life. I warn you, though, do not sell it for money. It has a special purpose. Use it only as I tell you!"
From the old woman’s tone, Lu felt she’d better take the warning seriously. "Okay. I put it into the sculpture...?"
Desma nodded. "Then wrap up the whole thing and hide it where no one else will see it or touch it. In a few days, the man you have dreamed of will come into your life."
Lu pondered this with much skepticism. Yeah...and immediately take off with someone better-looking.
Desma seemed to read her thoughts again. "Treat him well, and he will love you as you are. He will bring you much money, too. But there is one thing you must promise, Louise Bauer. You must never try to find out where he came from!"
Background on... Paragon
Ever notice how many fables and classic stories deal with a homely, strange or downright ugly man winning the love of a beautiful woman? Think of CYRANO DE BERGERAC, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. And then we have the numerous stories of men who will settle for nothing less than their "ideal woman" shaped to their personal specifications, such as PYGMALION and all of its imitators, right up to the movie PRETTY WOMAN.
Nobody ever deals with the reverse situation--a less-than-attractive woman who wins, or even creates, her ideal man. To balance the scales a bit, I wrote PARAGON.
I also was inspired by a conversation I once overheard, in which a very homely woman fantasized that if she ever went to Hollywood she’d probably "go crazy around all those handsome men." It seemed ridiculous, and yet, if the sexes had been reversed, would we laugh at a nerdy man for daydreaming about gorgeous starlets? No so much.
I’ve always enjoyed theater, dabbled in acting myself and discovered I was no good at it, but I’ve always been fascinated by people who were. I guess I see actors as doing something very similar to what I do, bringing fictional characters to life and really losing themselves in alternate identities.
PARAGON is all about how deceptive appearances can be. The homely characters, including protagonist Lu Bauer and theatrical agent Herb Greenbaum, tap into their deep reserves of passion, loyalty and courage to become truly heroic. Desma, the decrepit-looking "bag lady," possesses powers no one would suspect from her frail, old-country appearance. And actor Eric Troy wears the best disguise of all, for although he looks like a gorgeous but very human hunk, is reality he's…Nah, I’m gonna make you read the book!