Visionary & Metaphysical Fiction; Christian Fiction
Date Published: October 11, 2023
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
What if your deepest, darkest fears were inked on your skin for the world to see?
Famous plastic surgeon Derek Hollinger has it all: money, success, luxury cars, and an L.A. penthouse near the beach. Who cares if he has no friends or lovers? He doesn’t need anyone.
But Derek’s seemingly perfect life is shattered after a chance encounter with a mysterious old woman. When he wakes up covered in tattoos, the shadow of his traumatic past—one he can no longer outrun—looms large.
Aided in his desperate quest for the truth by the young nurse he once scorned, Derek’s only hope for redemption lies within his own damaged psyche. What do the tattoos mean? Are they part of God’s plan for him, a test of his lapsed faith…or a curse brought on by his own arrogance?
And can he get rid of them before he loses everything?
The cathartic ride along the coast restored his faith as he returned home to prepare for the evening. After a few hours of careful grooming and prepping, he climbed into his Bentley and dropped the Plastic Surgeons’ Association Award dinner invitation on the passenger seat.
Derek drove down his neighborhood’s palm-lined street, rounded the first corner and braked. A group of teenagers hovered in the intersection he needed to cross. He stiffened as he watched them through his aviator sunglasses. He slowly rolled closer. They would pause every other step to roughhouse and shove each other.
Hands gripped the mahogany steering wheel as the thirty-nine-year-old plastic surgeon felt a stab of anxiety. While he sat in refined luxury, observing the outside world through the barrier of a windshield, this ragtag group crossing the road represented what he feared most: the city’s out-of-control youth.
Derek had grown weary of the glorification of violence and drugs. It suddenly became apparent to him that the young men’s outward appearance reflected their inner state of mind. Like a scene from Lord of the Flies.
The doctor quickly reached for the button to raise the windows. A split second later, the group was upon him. They yanked the Bentley door handles from both sides. A leering face pressed up against the rising glass of the driver’s side window.
An adrenaline rush shot through Derek’s body. He flashed back twenty-five years to a day when he was just fourteen and a group of heavily tattooed men with shaved heads had suddenly surrounded him. The memory of being punched, kicked, and beaten reactivated the shock and pain of the attack. He could hear the loud cracks of his bones breaking. The men’s derisive laughter played like a background soundtrack in his head until the thud of a fist slamming down on the hood of his Bentley yanked him back to the present. The doctor floored the accelerator. The Bentley lurched forward, sending the teens jumping out of the way, arms and legs flailing.
Small beads of sweat formed on his upper lip as he glanced into the rearview mirror. The group was still stumbling around and shouting after the Bentley. Tires screeched as he turned the corner, knees vibrating. He tried to relax his leg and eased off the gas. Loosening his clammy grip on the wheel, he turned the AC vent for a blast of cool air. Derek circled the hotel city block a couple of times, allowing his pulse to slow, before pulling into the driveway of the New Century Hotel for the evening’s event.
He dragged himself out from behind the wheel, still weak-kneed and shaking, one hand braced against the top of the car door.
The uniformed valet waited patiently while he straightened his tie and smoothed down the lapels of his Hugo Boss tuxedo jacket. A quick glance at the bright, serene full moon provided the doctor with a small flicker of self-composure.
About the Author
Writer, speaker, and certified life coach Monica Broussard is passionate about writing fiction that contains elements of fantasy and keeps the reader intrigued about the lead character’s motives. She also writes an occasional article for her hometown’s magazine, SeaCliff Living. She belongs to Toastmasters International and enjoys attending national writers' conferences.
Born in North Carolina on a Marine Corps base, Monica now lives in “Surf City,” Huntington Beach, California, with her husband of thirty-seven years. She has enjoyed various occupations over the years, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing.
Twenty-One Tattoos is her debut novel. For more about her writing, visit her website, MonicaBroussardAuthor.com.