Author: Zack Love
Genre: Contemporary Fiction and Political/Interracial Romance
Cover Design: Pink Ink Designs by Cassy Roop
Anissa is traumatized by the most brutal conflict of the 21st Century: the Syrian Civil War. In 2012, Islamists in Homs terrorize a Syrian-Christian community and destroy everything that a young woman holds dear. Narrowly escaping death, Anissa restarts her devastated life as a college student in NY. She is bewildered and lost -- a virgin in every sense.
But despite her inexperience with men and life in the United States, Anissa is quickly drawn to two powerful individuals: Michael Kassab, the Syrian-American leader working to found the first Mideast Christian state, and Julien Morales, her Columbia University professor who runs a $20 billion hedge fund.
Complicating matters, Michael is still attached to his ex-girlfriend and Julien is the most sought after bachelor in Manhattan (and has hidden demons even his therapist can't extract). Anissa's heart and her communal ties pull her in different directions, as she seeks hope and renewal in a dark world.
WARNING: This book is about a young woman's difficult journey: her escape from Syria's Civil War, her transition to a new a country, and the relationships that she forms along the way, including her romantic interests in two very different men. The story is set against the backdrop of the Syrian Civil War and makes reference to violent acts, sometimes in detail. There is some occasional profanity and a few scenes that depict sexual intimacy. Accordingly, the recommended minimum age for readers is 16. The novel might be compared to books like "The Diary of Anne Frank" or "The Kite Runner."
We were peacefully rallying for our cause, when some strangers accosted me and started to debate us. But then it became clear that they didn’t really want to debate as much as harass . One of them then spat on me and tore up my sign, and then, as I was wiping off his spit from my face, I saw the placard in Michael’s left hand fall to the grass, as his right hand closed into an angry fist. Then I saw his clenched hand barrel thunderously from his side until it landed smack on the nose of the giant guy who had spat on me. I actually heard the thud of the impact, and the man just collapsed to the ground from the force of Michael’s blow. He was out cold.
“Come on, shitheads – who’s next?!” Michael shouted at the first two counter- protestors, gesturing them to step up for a fight. By then, their entire group had gathered around, so Michael was even more outnumbered. But his dangerous rage was palpable – as if he alone could destroy everyone there. More of our protesters also started showing up, after hearing or seeing the commotion. But they weren’t needed in the end. The counter-protestors there raised their hands in surrender and backed away in fear of this large man who just knocked out an even larger man with a single punch. “OK, OK, take it easy. We’re leaving,” they said.
“Apologize to her. Now!” he boomed, ready to rip them to shreds. The first two protesters looked at me meekly.
“We’re sorry… We’re sorry, ma’am, that our friend got out of hand.”
“Yeah, he shouldn’t have done that.”
“Now get the fuck out of here!” Michael commanded. “It’s cool, dude, we’re leaving,” one of them said, as the two of them picked up their dazed comrade with a bloody and probably broken nose, and left the area with him stumbling between them...
I went over to Michael and very conspicuously put my arm around his waist. I then pulled him in for a long and intense kiss, as if our future together depended on it. After a few minutes, we finally came up for air, and my face felt flush with impatient passion.
“Let’s go back,” I said.
Zack Love graduated from Harvard College, where he studied mostly literature, psychology, philosophy, and film. After college, he moved to New York City and took a corporate consulting job that had absolutely nothing to do with his studies. The attacks of September 11, 2001 inspired him to write a novelette titled “The Doorman” and heightened his interest in the Middle East. A decade later, that interest extended to the Syrian Civil War, which provided the backdrop for his latest work. In late 2013, Zack began releasing his unpublished works of fiction and became a full-time author. He has published comedy, psychological and philosophical fiction, and romance. Zack enjoys confining himself to one genre about as much as he likes trying to sum up his existence in one paragraph.