J. Whitney Williams

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Carried Away (cover)

Animated by her fear of settling comfortably into the only kind of life she has seen, a young woman decides to pull up stakes and cast her fortunes to the wind. She intends to use the power of her sexuality to summon a handsome prince who will carry her off into the sunset. She succeeds but soon finds out that was the easy part.

For every ounce of venomous contempt in which she held the circumstances of her childhood, she finds a pound of shocking wonder at the miracles of a wider world. She must ultimately learn that people--herself included--are more than their simplest appearances suggest and cope with the most terrifying consequence of sex: love.

A novel in which the heroine punches a shark, sets a man on fire, and swims across the English Channel.

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Editor's Review

Carried Away, the impressive debut novel by J. Whitney Williams, is a romantic tale of personal growth that's both deeply emotional and delightfully disturbing.

The plot follows a prodigious woman who flees from the expectation of a mediocre life, discovers a world peopled by those even more brilliant and daring than her, and ultimately realizes that she has unintentionally fallen in love with the man facilitating her escape.

With its true-to-life characters in their depth and complexity, and prose that manipulates language as the characters do to each other, Carried Away is as poetic as it is provocative. Sexy as it is insightful. Self-reflective as it is sheer entertainment.

Williams is a master storyteller, spinning yarn into gold with the skill of a seasoned author. Carried Away is the first installment of what is sure to become a highly-anticipated series of erotic romance.


As we walked out Victoria Street looking for a place to have a late lunch, I wondered about Gretchen. I thought I knew the story of her life. She told me back at the beach house. She had said nothing about any family or friends in the military, much less killed or missing. When she told me how young she was when she met Henry, I assumed she had spent her whole life with him. In fact, I didn't even know how old she was, how many years ago that had been. I knew a little bit about her, and I had filled in the blanks. Clearly there was much more to her story than I supposed.

When we sat down for lunch, I decided to let go of who I thought she would be and try to find out who she really was.

Gretchen, I asked cautiously, may I ask you a question?

She answered, Of course, Love. But Henry's eyes flared and he shook his head slightly. He must have known I wanted to ask about the tomb and known she would not be comfortable talking about it. I had only an instant to make something else up.

Where did you grow up? I was pleased with that. It was a fair question, especially because I had noticed her adopting a slightly more pronounced accent while we were in London. I didn't really think of the way she spoke as British, but she did sound kind of like the people there.

Little village called Swindon, about a hundred and twenty kilometers west of here. We moved to the City when I was thirteen.

Ouch. Just in time for the wreck in which she lost her parents. I had dodged one uncomfortable topic by bringing up another. Turning to Henry, I tried to dodge again. What about you?

Without hesitation, he answered matter-of-factly, I was imbued with life in the laboratory of a Swiss alchemist.

You were not! Humorously scandalized, Gretchen turned to him and slapped his arm in disbelief, then she clarified for my benefit, He was not.

Terrified by what he had done, my creator abandoned me.

Oh you poor dear, Gretchen mocked. Hated and feared, were we? Her accent definitely sounded British through her laughter: 'a'ed an' fea'd, we'e we?

I was hated and feared by the villagers, he began.

There we are!

After letting her interrupt, he continued, Hated and feared by the villagers because I lacked the single defining characteristic of humanity.

Gretchen, still laughing, attended to his fiction with derisive interest. Oh, and what was that, Darling, hmm?


Imperfection! She laughed. Of course! And aren't you the lucky one then that I'm brave enough to face your brilliance!

It speaks well of you, Henry admitted. They were a cute couple having an adorable little argument. I couldn't help but smile. Henry turned to me and asked where I was from.

I liked the way he had declined to answer the question, so I decided to claim one of my own favorite stories. I was hewn from marble by a Greek sculptor.

Gretchen laughed musically again. Splendid, Love, splendid! Then she turned her mockery on me and asked worriedly, You weren't abandoned by your creator too, were you?

No, I answered. He prayed to Aphrodite for a living bride like me. When he returned home and kissed me, I became flesh.

She smiled and giggled as I spoke. When I finished, she looked me dead in the eye, and her smile faded. And did Pygmalion ever tell you why he carved you?

I didn't know that part of the story, but the look on Gretchen's face gave me a sinking feeling that it would not be flattering. I braced myself and stepped into the trap. No, he never did.

He swore off human women forever after witnessing an act of prostitution, a woman subverting a man's desire for her own gain. He carved a statue to have the beauty of femininity without that cruel spirit of malicious seduction and use. But these things, they never work out, do they? His own lifeless marble seduced him. He made offerings, sacrifices, for a hunk of earth with no soul. And then, she said, he was stuck--with you.

Thus landed Gretchen's rebuke. She hit hard. She was still angry, and it still wasn't a game...