Friday, February 5, 2016

Mother Before Wife

by Melissa Brown
Release Date: February 4, 2016
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So many secrets. Nothing but secrets.

I started another life with a new husband, thirteen new sister wives and a new place to call home.
But the secrets weigh on me, on all of us.
And every secret leads back to the Prophet the, self-proclaimed, mouthpiece of God. The man I’ve worshiped since childhood, the man we obey without question.
And he’s the man who will destroy us all.

I must reveal his secrets.
Prove his betrayal, his lies and his deceit.
I will not be silenced, no matter how hard he tries.

And I will never give up. Ever.


The Prophet linked his hands behind his back, tilting his head a bit as he studied me. “The cake is delicious. Did you make it?”

“I’m glad you enjoyed it, but no, Sarah is the baker of the family. I do make a delicious roast chicken.”

“I should like to try it sometime.”

“I’d be honored.”

Another pause, and my heart raced. There had to be a reason for this conversation. Perhaps he would explain his actions, although the chances of that were slim. The Prophet answered to no one. Who was I to think he’d feel any obligation to explain himself to me?

Get a grip, Aspen. You’re nothing special, just a woman, like any other on this compound.

“My mother is certainly taken with you.”

“Thank you. I like her very much.”

The Prophet stared back at the bench where Jorjina was watching birds chirping from the tree above her. “Well, she always has liked Paul’s wives.”

“Excuse me?” I asked, wondering if I’d misunderstood his last statement.

“How’s your dog?” he asked, clearing his throat. When he turned his attention back toward me, his face hardened.

“Scout?” I asked, my throat dry. “He’s fine. He’s off playing with Jeremiah, I’m sure. They’re attached at the hip.” I attempted to divert the conversation in another direction, but I failed.

“Yes, your boy seems rather attached, doesn’t he?”

“They’re the best of friends.”

“You know, I was surprised to see the dog off the grounds of his home. Is he allowed to roam?”

“No, sir, he normally stays in our yard. Someone left the gate open and he just got out, I guess.”

“Ah, I see.”

“I’ve asked my sister wives to double-check that they always lock the gate, so it shouldn’t happen again.”

Please understand what I’m saying. Please don’t punish my family for what I saw . . . what I think I saw.

“I should hope so. It would be a shame if he wandered away; it seems your little boy would surely follow. You said yourself they’re attached at the hip.” He tipped his head forward and raised both eyebrows. “Am I making myself clear?”

Jeremiah? No! Don’t you touch my baby!

I swallowed hard as sweat popped out on my forehead, my neck, my hands. The Prophet was threatening me, threatening to harm my little boy. In sheer panic, I gave the only answer I could possibly offer.

“Yes, sir.”

“Good.” He clasped his hands together. “Now, I believe I’ll have another slice of cake.”

He stared at me, waiting for me to serve him. I was nothing if not perceptive to expectations. The Prophet had threatened me, and then demanded dessert. His eyes were dull and lifeless, as if threatening to harm my child was just another part of his daily role as Prophet.

In that moment, something shifted within me. If the Prophet felt the need to threaten me, to threaten the life of my youngest child, then he was up to no good. This became quite clear.

And at that realization, I grew angry. Furious.

For weeks, I’d hoped that I was wrong, that I misunderstood. But I knew without a shadow of a doubt that if I’d misinterpreted what I’d witnessed, then there would be no need for the warning that had just taken place.

So I harnessed my bravery within, took a breath, and looked him square in the eye. “Of course, dogs do have minds of their own, don’t they?”

The Prophet’s jaw tensed and his Adam’s apple bounced as he swallowed. “I suppose they do.”

“We try to control him, but he’s just an animal, after all.”

The Prophet stared at me in silence.

“I’ll get that cake for you,” I said with a nod, and went to retrieve a plate with the largest piece I could find as my heart pounded furiously in my chest.

As I walked back to join him, I felt strong, powerful. I’d called his bluff and gotten away with it.

Or had I? Panic replaced my confidence as my heart continued to thump so hard within me that I felt my lungs could deflate completely. The pressure within my chest was almost unbearable.

What on earth did I just do? Have I put my baby at risk? What kind of mother am I?

Apologize, Aspen. Repent! Make things right!

I returned to the Prophet, placed the plate in his hands, and opened my mouth to speak. Before I could utter a single syllable, he gripped the plate with one hand and my forearm with the other. He squeezed hard, painfully, and I gasped.

“Watch your step, Aspen. Your life can change in an instant.”

“Yes, sir.” I looked around the yard to see Paul watching my interaction with his brother. A concerned and confused look crossed his handsome face as he studied me.

Keep sweet. Keep sweet. Keep sweet.

“If you’ll excuse me, I should join Paul and my sister wives.”

“Of course.” The Prophet nodded, releasing my arm and turning his attention to the cake on his plate. He glanced down and smiled. “Ah, a corner piece. My favorite.”

He plunged his fork into the thick icing and placed the large bite of cake in his mouth, such a carefree action considering the tension that loomed between us just seconds before. While I required every ounce of strength within me to join my husband and appear unruffled, the Prophet had no trouble going about his business and enjoying his dessert.

A disturbing thought came to me as I walked to join Paul. Perhaps I don’t know the Prophet at all.


Wife Number Seven (Book #1)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

His Only Wife (Book #1.5)

My 5 star review of Mother Before Wife
Melissa Brown has such versatility. I think that is what draws me to her, like a moth to a flame. She can write the super cute fun romances, and she can also write the bone chilling mystery. Her writing this Compound series has really changed my outlook on the books I usually read. I am typically a cookie cutter romance girl. I like the meet cutes; I love friends to lovers, forbidden love, etc. But this series, THIS SERIES, is absolutely freaking amazing, and it’s totally different from anything I have read before- anything you will read before. And books like that just don’t come along that often. And I feel like I need to say that the concept is different- totally, but the writing is something that is out of this world. Like she’s been doing it her whole life, this setting is not something easily understood. And Melissa helps us to understand it, to give us insight into the polygamy world. It’s something that has to be meticulously researched, and she has gone above and beyond to give us a glimpse into that world. To help us to better understand it, and she has done a hell of a job.

 This is Aspen’s story.

We first met and fell in love with Aspen in Brinley’s story, Wife Number Seven, and here she is again. She is removed from the Cluff house, and into a new one- with her girls. She ends up marrying the prophet’s brother- which can go one of two ways. She could be revered with a new holiness, because she is married to the prophet’s brother after all. OR, it could be the worst fate, because the prophet is always watching. Being with 13 other wives is not something Aspen is used to, and she can’t help but wonder how Paul takes care of all those women. Also, take into consideration, the title. I did this many times while reading. Mother, before wife. Aren’t we all? We are conditioned to put our children before anything, and that’s the truth. So when Aspen makes decisions in this story- I side with her on everything because she is a mother to her children, her young children- before anything else. She is a mother.

There are so many secrets thrown in this book that make is such a mystery- and I LOVE that about it. I was always biting my nails, worrying about what was going to happen to Aspen, how it was going to affect her children- and how much of  an egomaniac the Prophet actually is, came to light. But only in Aspen’s eyes, to everyone else- he is still revered by all. I never knew who could be trusted, I was totally on the edge of my seat with this one, like I have been in the past with WN7. I am not spoiling a bit of this book, so you have to just read it yourself!!

This book is wonderfully made, and flawlessly written. Being Melissa’s beta reader is a dream come true for me, she is absolutely amazing, and I hope everyone sees it with this series. She is making her mark in the literary world, and I hope it gets the recognition it so deserves!!


Melissa Brown was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She attended the University of Illinois and is the mother of two fantastic kids. She's an avid reader who enjoys making handmade gifts for her family and friends, as well as baking and painting. Melissa has an unhealthy obsession with pop culture. She speaks fluent movie quotes from the 1980s (John Hughes = genius), reads celebrity gossip magazines and never misses an episode of Scandal. She enjoys writing contemporary romance, romantic suspense and young adult novels.

All of Melissa's books are currently available exclusively through and are part of the Kindle Unlimited Program.


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