Spotlight feature of Dilemma by Jacquie Johnson (& giveaway)

 Why Human Trafficking

I was driving my daughters to Latin class a few months ago when I saw a billboard with the words, “Protect your daughters. Stop the trafficking.” I just about slammed on my brakes in surprise. Yes, I knew human trafficking existed, but I didn’t expect to see a warning about it in my own community. Indiana is not exactly the hotbed of crime in my mind. Those words along with an increase in newspaper articles about trafficking spawned the idea for Dilemma.

As a mother of three teenage girls, issues concerning sex, child prostitution, and kidnapping remain in the back of my mind. When most people hear the term sex trafficking, they think of people being forced into slavery. Sometimes the individuals are used as laborers or domestic servants. Other times, they are used for organ harvesting. Here in the United States, human trafficking – in large part – involves prostitution.

For example, on July 30, 2012, ABC News reported that three Washington teens filed suit against, claiming that they had been forced into prostitution and profited. According to the teens, their pimps would post pictures of them on the website, and with the simple click of a button, a customer could acquire the girl for a period of time. The lawsuit’s underlying premise is that the online site was aware that its classified ads were being used to enable the sale of sexual services but did nothing to protect the alleged victims.

This story resonated with me. After all, my daughters are around the same age as these girls, and I could not imagine how I would feel if this had happened to them. Much to their dismay, these kinds of stories make me want to lock them up in a house and never let them leave. Since I cannot do that, I chose another route – bringing attention to this issue. What better avenue than Dilemma? To assist in this effort, five percent of the profits from Dilemma will be donated to the Polaris Project to help stop trafficking and assist those who have been victimized.  

In Chicago, the name Jon Elliott garners attention. When the legal mastermind offers to mentor Alexis Winters, Bingham, Elliot, and Bright’s newest associate, she jumps at the opportunity sure she will launch her career. But Jon has a dark side, one that demands unquestioning loyalty and willingness to defy the spirit of the law, if not the letter.
Thrust into Jon’s world and expected to play by his rulebook, Alexis grapples with her conscience. On several occasions, Jon’s orders are at odds with what she learned in law school and she finds herself trapped between her profession’s rules of ethics and her own values. When Jon’s biggest client appears to be engaging in questionable activities and he orders her to ignore the behavior, Alexis investigates on her own. Suddenly, she is not only a witness to a horrible crime but a victim in her own right. Going underground, she turns to the one she can trust, investigative journalist Rhyder Prescott, a childhood friend. Together, Ryder and Alexis work to piece together a puzzle that crosses socioeconomic classes, political parties and international borders.
Embroiled in a global conspiracy that costs her the only family she has left, Alexis must decide how far she will go to defend truth and justice. Is she willing to sacrifice life, liberty and the possibility of love?


“No wonder you look dynamite.”

Alexis was thankful the darkness hid her blush. “Thank you, but I exercise because it relieves stress and helps clear my mind.”

Ryder hummed in agreement while taking her hand as they walked through a small park. “Litigating is a demanding job. Do you like it?”

“Parts of it.” A puff of wind blew hair into her face, and she turned slightly toward Ryder, using his body as a buffer. He tugged her a little closer and tightened his hold on her hand. “I love researching. It makes me feel good when I find the needle in the haystack that helps win a case. Plus I like piecing together new theories and setting new precedents. I don’t like the actual court part, though. I mean, I like creating the arguments but hate making them in front of the judge. It’s nerve-racking.” She frowned, thinking about her stomach’s gymnastics each time she set foot in a courtroom.

“What made you choose defense work?” Ryder brushed a small branch aside so it wouldn’t hit her and led her toward a stone bench set back from the walking path.

“I guess you could say it chose me. I really liked criminal law in school and I was good at it. I won several awards for my studies in that area. But when time came to apply for jobs, I just couldn’t go in that direction. I didn’t want to do criminal defense because I couldn’t handle helping people who I thought were guilty even if they were entitled to representation. Prosecuting appealed to me, but it also scared me. What if I put someone innocent away? It seemed like too much responsibility.” She looked down at her hands, uncomfortable with her own admission. It wasn’t like her to share her innermost thoughts with other people. They were supposed to remain locked deep inside her. So why was she sharing her fears with Ryder of all people? She pushed that thought aside for later analysis as she tuned back into the conversation.

“So, why employment discrimination?” Ryder wrapped an arm around her, and she snuggled closer to him, appreciating his warmth and how good he smelled. It had been quite a while since she had enjoyed a man’s company in this way.

Alexis leaned her head against his shoulder and thought about how to answer. She considered giving him the canned answer she used during interviews, but the quiet intimacy of the moment allowed her to admit the truth. “I guess because it’s similar to criminal work in many ways without the safety risk or responsibility.”

“Why defense instead of plaintiff work?”

She laughed softly. “Because they offered me a job and I get paid well. I’d love to work on the plaintiff side or do pro bono work, but I have bills to pay.”

“Still the idealist, though?” His fingers played in her hair, and she closed her eyes, relishing the sensation. “Even though you’re swimming with sharks?”

She could tell he was teasing by the tone of his voice. “I don’t work with sharks, but I suppose I have changed. How could I not?” They sat in silence for a few minutes while she contemplated how to explain. “I still think the same way, but I’ve learned to temper my thoughts and opinions. I don’t agree with what many people do, but since most people live that way, I guess I’ve learned to live with reality. It doesn’t change how I feel inside, though. I just keep it to myself.”

“It’s hard to keep the values we learned at home alive. Time after time, I’ve tried to do the right thing, to report the truth, to showcase wrongs, but more often than not, I either get slammed for it or find out no one really cares. Sometimes I wonder why I pick myself up and do it all over again.”

“But you do.” Alexis tilted her head up and stared at Ryder, the moonlight highlighting his face and betraying how seriously he took the conversation. “I admire you for it.”

“Thank you,” Ryder breathed as he lowered his mouth to hers. The first kiss was soft and gentle, nothing more than a light touch of lips saying hello. The second had considerably more heat behind it and left her breathless. He lifted her chin and stared into her eyes as if seeking permission. Alexis trembled under his heated gaze. She knew what he was asking and didn’t know if she had the strength to deny him—or the courage to survive the aftermath. Ryder was a love ’em and leave ’em type, and she was a commitment kind of girl. Could she accept the night for what it was and live in the moment?


Dilemma Blog Tour Schedule

8/13/21 ~ Simply Ali

8/14/12 ~ Book Reviews and More by Kathy

8/15/12 ~ Harlie’s Book Blog

8/16/12 ~ Guilty Pleasures

8/17/12 ~ Books-n-Kisses

Want to learn more about Jacquie & her books?  You can contact her here


Jacquie is offering a prize of a $5 Gift card per day to bookseller of choice (Amazon or B&N) to one commenter and a grand prize of a $20 gift card to bookseller of choice to one person.  To enter the daily entry please leave a comment with email  ( no email = no entry).

Click HERE to enter the Grand Prize drawing


38 Responses to Spotlight feature of Dilemma by Jacquie Johnson (& giveaway)

  1. aurian August 17, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    Great blogpost, and I do understand your fear of something happening to your daughters! I have “required” a stepdaughter myself, she is 13 now, and well, she is not all that careful around strangers.

    auriansbooks at gmail dot com

    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      Hi Aurian,
      It’s hard to teach children to be accepting of others and yet be careful at the same time. One of my girls is very outgoing, and I struggle with how to make her aware of her environment and the people around her without stifling her personality. It’s a tough call, but the world she is growing up in is very different from the one I remember as a child. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my book. Good luck with your stepdaughter.

  2. Kassandra August 17, 2012 at 4:55 am #

    Thank you for your post and giveaway!!


    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      Thanks for reading, Kassandra!

  3. Joanne B August 17, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    Congrats on the new release. Can’t wait to read it. It’s great that you are donating part of the profits from Dilemma to the Polaris Project which sounds like a very worthwhile cause.


    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 11:39 am #

      Hi Joanne,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I chose Polaris Project because it not only works on critical legislation but also assists victims directly. I think it’s a nice combination.

  4. Dovile August 17, 2012 at 6:33 am #

    It’s great that you remember that human trafficking is a problem even if it’s not near your neighborhood.

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 11:41 am #

      Hi Dovile,
      Human trafficking may not be taking place in my backyard, but given the size of the industry, someday, it may be. I hope my contribution can help stop the trafficking and assist victims in rebuilding their lives. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Shannon August 17, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    Thanks for getting involved and donating a percentage of your proceeds to such an important cause. fencingromein at hotmail dot com

    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 11:42 am #

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Shannon. I hope my contribution makes a difference.

  6. wyndwhisper August 17, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    Hi Jacquie,
    thank you for the chance at such a great giveaway. i love the cover, it’s beautiful and the book sounds wonderful. thank you also for being brave enough to write about something a lot of people are either to uncomfortable with or would rather ignore.

    tammy ramey

    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      Hi Tammy,
      Thank you for your lovely comments. I’m glad you find the cover and story appealing. Although it’s fiction, I hope Dilemma brings some awareness to the issue of human trafficking.
      Have a great day.

  7. Jennifer Bielman August 17, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Looks like a great book. I love that you are donating part of your profits. :)

    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 11:46 am #

      Thanks, Jennifer. :)

  8. Maria D. August 17, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Great guest post. I didn’t think much about trafficking until I watched a movie on Lifetime a couple of years ago called “Human Trafficking” with Mira Sorvino. For some reason that movie really touched me and I realized what a huge problem this is. I worry about it subconsciously because I have two very pretty young nieces and it just freaks me out to think that someone could do that to them. Thanks for the excerpt and the giveaway. This definitely sounds like a book I want to read.

    • Maria D. August 17, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      forgot my email

      junegirl63 at gmail dot com

    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      Hi Maria,
      Thanks for reading my post. I’ve seen “Human Trafficking” as well, and it is a frightening movie on many levels. I can certainly relate to your feelings about your nieces. I worry about my girls on a regular basis, especially my oldest who is away at school.

  9. Melanie Rovak August 17, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Book sounds great and it is really awesome that you are donating a percentage of the profits to help the victims. Thank you for the giveaway :)

  10. Melanie Rovak August 17, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Book sounds great and it is really awesome that you are donating a percentage of the profits to help the victims. Thank you for the giveaway :) Bboo04(AT)hotmail(DOT)com

    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 11:53 am #

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Melanie. I hope you have a pleasant day.

  11. Victoria Zumbrum August 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

  12. Wendy/books4me August 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Human trafficking is scary! When we were in Europe this summer with a group of middleschoolers, I was slightly concerned as I hear kids are kidnapped in Eurpoe for trafficking. All our kids returned home safe and sound but I constantly was watching out for any of our kids!

    Sounds like a great read!

    books4me67 at ymail dot com

    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Wendy. I’m glad you and your middle school crew made it home safely. I hope you enjoyed Europe.

  13. Jess1 August 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Reading your post, I was surprised and alarmed about learning how prevalent and huge a problem human trafficking is. Thanks for making us more aware and for your contribution to help.

    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Jess.

  14. Jen B. August 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Human trafficing is such a terrible thing. I can’t understand one person abusing another that way. Thanks for the giveaway. I look forward to reading your book. I love a good thriller. jepebATverizonDOTnet

    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

      Hi Jen,
      I love mysteries and thrillers too. I hope you enjoy Dilemma. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  15. Brandy Dull August 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    Human Trafficking is an alarmingly real problem. Its sad that in this day and age that it is still a problem and people are not free! This sounds like an amazing read. Thank you for bringing this to the world and making them notice! Thank you for your contribution!

    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

      Thanks for reading my post, Brandy. I hope my small contribution can make a difference and help stop trafficking.

  16. bn100 August 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    That’s so great of you to donate to the cause. Very nice excerpt.


    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

      I’m glad you enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  17. Charity Costa August 17, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    2 things:

    1st what a great way to spread the word about something so real in this world!! And for you to donate some of the proceeds well that’s just AWESOME!!!

    2nd I am the mother of a 12 year old young man, and it sickens me that I have to worry about him just like mother with a daughter. The Human trafficking is not limited to young woman only and neither are the sick bastards out there who take children. But unlike a lot of people I never tell myself nothing like that will ever happen to me or my family, instead I live in the reality of the world and have educated myself and my son to help prevent this from ever happening in my family.

    Thanks again for bringing a spotlight to disgusting reality and I cant wait to grab a copy of your book.

    • Jacquie Johnson August 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

      Thanks, Charity. You are so right. Trafficking is not limited to women or girls. Your son is just at much at risk as my daughters. Like you, I’ve made an effort to educate my girls so that they can protect themselves. I hope you enjoy Dilemma.

  18. angel shaw August 18, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Great excerpert….loved it!!! Thanx for the chance to win!!! angelshaw54(at)yahoo(dot)com

  19. Mary Preston August 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    It’s terrifying to know how rife human trafficking is.

    I enjoyed the excerpt thank you.


  20. Christina Imajicasnow Cessna August 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    thanks for the giveaway

  21. Vanessa August 19, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    Wowsers. That sounds pretty darn amazing, as a new to me author you absolutely caught my attention and went right onto my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway!
    – lavendersbluegreen(at)yahoo(dot)com

  22. donnas August 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. I am looking forward to picking up your book.
    bacchus76 at myself dot com

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