The Story

Rough-edged and hard-core, Gracie makes her living as a striptease dancer in a San Francisco club called Girl-O-Rama.  A survivor with terrible secrets, she lives from hand to mouth; yet she’s happy because of the love she shares with her boyfriend, Marcus.

Even though she doesn’t tell Marcus certain things — why she’s plagued by hideous nightmares, why she won’t even discuss having children — Gracie is closer to Marcus than she’s ever been to anyone.  Like the dragon tattooed around his shoulder, Marcus is streetwise and strong, and it’s his love that helps Gracie finally kick the drugs she’s used to anesthetize herself for so long. Her love is also Marcus’s salvation, and he tattooes Gracie’s name across his heart.

But one night, Marcus starts throwing up blood.  Grace takes him to the hospital; but the doctors don’t know what’s wrong with him and, over the next few months, he gets weaker and weaker.  When Marcus is finally diagnosed with AIDS — at that time, in 1982, a little-known and less-understood disease — they both know he’s going to die soon.  More than ever, he becomes Gracie’s whole world.

Just before he dies, Marcus makes Grace promise to fulfill his last wish:  He wants her to get pregnant and have a child in his memory.  He knows she’ll need someone else to live for when he’s gone.

But he can’t know what a long and twisted journey this will become…

Want to find out what happens next?  Buy The Tattooed Heart