G I V E A W A Y   E N D E D

@Versatileer Welcomes the Babe in the Woods by Jude Hopkins #BookBlitz + $25 Amazon Gift Card #Giveaway
@XpressoTours Blog Tours – June 7th to June 11th
Blitz-wide giveaway (INT), 18+ – Open until June 14th, 2023

Babe in the Woods by Jude Hopkins

Book & Author Details:
Babe in the Woods by Jude Hopkins
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: June 7th 2023
Genres: Women’s Fiction
Provided by Xpresso Book Tours


It’s September 1995, the first year of the rest of Hadley Todd’s life. After living in Los Angeles, Hadley returns to her hometown in rural New York to write and be near her father. In addition to looking after him and teaching high school malcontents, Hadley hopes to channel her recent L.A. heartbreak into a play about the last moment of a woman’s innocence. But she seeks inspiration.

Enter Trey Harding, a young, handsome reporter who covers sports at the high school. Trey reminds Hadley of her L.A. ex and is the perfect spark to fire up her imagination. The fact that Trey is an aspiring rock star and she has L.A. record biz connections makes the alliance perfect. She dangles promises of music biz glory while watching his moves. But the surprising twist that transpires when the two of them go to Hollywood is not something Hadley prepared for.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo



“Have you ever fallen in love?”

He winked at her. “All the time.”

She’d have the last word, something she realized was important to her. “I think it’s wrong, all these women you lead on. Don’t you? I mean, they may get attached, fall for you. But you seem to use them, to see what you can get out of them for your own purposes. I think that’s wrong, They’re human beings, after all. With feelings.”

He turned around, his eyes drained of any light. “They use me, too. It’s not like they’re not getting anything out of it.”

“What am I getting out of this?” she asked him, if not rhetorically.

He stood on one hip, a move that made him appear more rakish than usual. “I really don’t know, Miss Todd. I wondered that myself. I thought perhaps you were bored or intrigued. Or maybe you’re a control freak.” He took a step toward her so he was within half an inch of her face. “Or maybe you’re just like the rest and can’t resist me.”

Hadley stood her ground. “How do you know when it’s over? The moment when love, or lust, turns into something else. Something not as passionate?”

“I don’t think about it,” he said, returning her gaze. “It’s something that happens. Maybe it’s not one moment. It just is.”

He turned around and walked out of the room.


Trey was twirling the end of a white stick in his mouth. With a loud slurping sound, he pulled from his mouth a bright red lollipop before sticking out his tongue, which now matched the color of his shirt.  

“Fire your secretary,” he said, tapping his watch. “May I come in?”

She let him in, the shame of her unkempt apartment equaled only by the shame of her own disheveled appearance. 

He stood close to her. “I have to say, you are much more attractive without all that make-up.” He talked with the lollipop stuck in his cheek. “Definitely younger.”

It was an approach she remembered from her time with Derek. First you surprise them, then compliment them when they’re at their most vulnerable. She made a mental note.

He walked toward the nearest chair, sat down, but quickly jumped up again, fishing in his pockets. “Where are my manners? Here.” He extended a lollipop, grape flavor, her favorite. 

“No thanks.” It wasn’t even on the level of the apple Neil had given her on the first day of school. Besides, what was with men and their semiotics anyway? Perhaps it beat communicating with words. And how in the world would he have known grape was her favorite flavor? Was she that transparent? Was there a grape “type” as opposed to an orange or cherry type? The grape type would be moody and dark. The orange type would be young, perky, sassy. The cherry type? Passionate, desirable. Like him.


She picked up her books. She felt alive, all senses on the alert. If Trey reminded her of Derek, then they must be part of a type, members of the same genus and species. What was the proper name for a conclave of these guys? An assembly of assholes? A gaggle of gigolos? A bundle of bounders? Oh, but they had something these guys. They could make her life a dream whether she was sipping Dom Perignon with him at The Plaza or swilling moonshine with him on a back porch. Those guys could change the lens all right.    

Trey would be easy to observe, too. He was an alpha male in a jungle of willing women out in the middle of nowhere. He had enough girlfriends around here that she could easily watch and record his interactions with them. As long as these women were OK with being snookered by such a playboy, she might as well learn as much as possible and make the proverbial lemonade out of a bowl of sour fruit.

“Have you forgotten? You were one of them,” an inner voice reminded her. 

She corrected her posture and straightened up to her full 5’8” height. All of a sudden she was twenty again. It wasn’t only the play that interested her. He interested her. Besides, their names were linked. They formed a chiasmus – almost.


In one smooth move, he slid closer to her, dropping one arm around her and sliding the other behind her back, drawing her face to his lips, whereupon he delivered a kiss worthy to be immortalized as cinch art on the cover of one of Delores’ novels. She let him take control, tipping her head back. His lips were as soft as she’d imagined—whipped ice cream twisted with vanilla and strawberry, a kitten’s toe beans, raspberry cream truffles. It had been so long, so awfully long, since she’d been kissed in such a way, meaningless though it might be. But she had to end it, at least in the moment, to stay in control. 

“Hey, Cowboy, slow down.” She laughed nervously. 

“Suit yourself,” he said, before settling back into the banquette. “But you may not be as tough as you’d like to appear to be. There’s a heart beating somewhere within.”

She noticed his arm was now back in its pre-kiss position, a millimeter from her shoulders. 

“Did you ever think maybe a kiss shouldn’t be so casual?” she asked him, in the same tone of voice she asked students why they didn’t hand in their homework. “That a kiss should mean something?”

Trey slid out of the booth, making Hadley’s release now possible. He stood by the table, fishing bills out of his wallet. “It did mean something.”

“No, no. Wait a minute. What exactly did you mean?”

“The kiss? It was a friendly little peck, that’s all.”


Walking back to her car, Hadley mulled over her all-consuming desire to write this play. She wanted, first of all, to figure out why she—and many other girls and women—were attracted to the same type of guy over and over, the ones who always seemed to break her heart. Sure, she understood the initial attraction, but why stay when they proved to be veritable will-o’-the wisps in terms of faithfulness? Why did women cede their romantic innocence to these heartbreakers? Weren’t there clues they should watch for? Once figured out, she could educate the female sex in her play, including that decisive moment when girls unwittingly stepped into the muck with their kitten heels only to find them irretrievably stuck. She would break the code. And it would be there in black and white, to be read, re-read and acted out on stage. That would be Hadley’s mission.

And, most of all, by writing the play, Hadley herself would avoid these blackguards once and for all. Like Derek, her ex-boyfriend from L.A, a walking heart smasher. She once overheard him talking on the phone to God-knows-who: “She’s old. She can’t put up with this much longer.” Old? Maybe thirty, thirty-one at the time? What a bastard! OK, he was a good five years younger, but that didn’t make her old! She’d show him. She’d write her play and have it staged while he still flirted with younger women.

Author Bio:

Women’s fiction—with a splash of romance, albeit tempered. I was once an adjunct professor in English at various universities, expecting a lot of my students. But the need to write something besides comments on student essays gnawed at me. I wrote poems and essays, one of which appeared in the L.A. Times. One day, I took out my old self-help book manuscript from a cobwebby drawer and began the process of turning it into a novel. That novel became Babe in the Woods, coming out June 7, 2023. I was a runner-up in the 2018 Personal Essay Contest by Proximity Magazine, judged by Hanif Abdurraqib. Besides the essay in The Los Angeles Times, you’ll find me on Medium, including The Belladonna, The Writing Cooperative and others, and have had poems published in Timber Creek Review and California Quarterly, among other journals. My publications can be seen on my website: judehopkinswriting.net/. Thanks for visiting!

Website / Twitter


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Babe in the Woods Blitz__BUTTON.jpg

One thought on “Ends 06-14 – Babe in the Woods by Jude Hopkins Book Blitz + $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Leave a Reply