The Gripped Book Series – Now Being Adapted for TV!

“Invigorating, engaging and a must read. The characters in The Gripped Series diligently tackle the essence of forces that can limit greatness within.” 
– LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix’s Emmy Winning Docuseries Last Chance U

Gripped 1: The Truth We Never Told

In high school, Taylor Dunkin broke more records than any other athlete to step foot in Montgomery, Massachusetts. As a sophomore in college, he was ranked by ESPN as one of the NFL’s top 100 prospects. However, his aspirations came to a jarring halt when a season-ending injury sent him spiraling into a dark world of pain, depression, and addiction.

One year later, Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential investigation headed by the Boston Police Department. He has entangled himself in a crime ring notorious for pushing drugs on local college campuses. Montgomery’s hometown hero has fallen hard, and he’s taking a lot of people down with him.

Luke Davids has become the middleman between Taylor and teens in Montgomery who want to buy drugs. Freshmen Cathy Kagelli, Chris Dunkin, and Jason Davids are just a few of the students at Montgomery Lake High who have fallen victim to the benzos and opiates supplied by Taylor and Luke.

When Taylor’s youngest brother Marc discovers that Taylor is behind the copious amount of pills circulating around his high school, he sets off to not only reverse the damage Taylor has caused, but also his lifelong role model from becoming a casualty of America’s deadly opioid epidemic.

Gripped 2: Blindsided

Fourteen-year-old Chris Dunkin is known for being the life of the party and everyone’s favorite friend. Despite his amicable nature, he carries around deep-seated pain from his childhood that he frequently numbs with alcohol and drugs.

After hosting a party, Chris wakes up with a strange vibe running through his body and no recollection of the previous night. When he learns the horrifying truth of what his night entailed, the trajectory of his life is changed forever.

Gripped 3: The Fallout

After a near-death experience, Chris Dunkin begins surrounding himself with positive influences and putting his efforts towards living a clean lifestyle. However, the night before school starts, his best friend Jason convinces him to host a party that shows Chris more about himself than he actually wants to know.

Meanwhile, Marc Dunkin has received word from a detective that his oldest brother Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential case headed by the Boston Police Department. They know Taylor’s clean; they know he wants out of the game; and they want to help make that happen. However, their “help” will come at a cost—one that may put Taylor and his entire family in grave danger. Taylor is trying to get his life back in order after an opiate addiction wreaked havoc on his once promising athletic future. Getting clean was a difficult feat, but breaking free from the Bilotti crime ring will present an even greater challenge.

Gripped 4: Smoke & Mirrors

Taylor Dunkin is used to high stakes. As an NCAA star quarterback, he performed under pressure to lead his team to victory, but his football career came to an abrupt halt when an injury sent him spiraling down a dark hole of pain, depression, and addiction. Now he finds himself playing a game with even higher stakes because his life, his reputation, and the safety of everyone he loves are all on the line.

Taylor’s two younger brothers, Jordan and Marc, have been at odds for years, but they are brought together to decipher the mysterious clues Taylor is leaving regarding his whereabouts. As secrets are revealed, the Dunkin boys’ relationships will be changed forever.

In Taylor’s weakest moment, he made a deal with the devil, and now there is a reckoning. But who will pay the price?

Gripped 5: Taylor’s Story

Taylor Dunkin is missing.

The last message Jordan Dunkin receives from Taylor leads him to Taylor’s abandoned Jeep. Each of Taylor’s family members holds a piece of the puzzle, and as the Dunkins begin putting the details together, they are awakened to the possibility they may never see Taylor again.

No one can find Missy Kent.

Missy’s boyfriend Luke Davids last saw her dancing with their friends at a nightclub, but she hasn’t responded to anyone’s texts or calls for hours.

Everything is connected.

Taylor and Missy’s friends are dangerously close to learning the truth, but their ignorance might be the only thing keeping them safe. Every clue is leading them closer to peril.

The fifth book in the Gripped series moves through details at a thrilling pace. Secrets are revealed and lives are at stake. Taylor, Missy, their friends, and their families must figure out who they can trust before it’s too late.

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The Montgomery Lake High Book Series

Mackenzie Wells of University of Georgia Reviews Stacy Padula’s MLH Book Series

MLH #1: The Right Person

Growing up in the shadow of two NFL-destined cousins, Chris Dunkin has high hopes for his own future in football. However, a drug addiction threatens to destroy everything he has worked hard to attain. When Chris meets Courtney Angeletti–the mayor’s straightedge Christian daughter–he believes she could be the source of inspiration he needs to overcome his destructive lifestyle.

Courtney, however, has other ideas.

The desire to rebel has been tugging on Courtney’s heartstrings for some time, and Chris’s “bad-boy” reputation draws her to him like a moth to a flame. After all, he is a central part of the most popular clique in her high school. Will Chris pull Courtney away from her faith or will Courtney inspire him to overcome his rebellious lifestyle?

MLH #2: When Darkness Tries to Hide

Students at Montgomery Lake High believe the ominous clouds and impending storm will only bring a temporary interruption to their regularly scheduled lives. However, when the tempest grows worse and a classmate’s life hangs in the balance, students must pull together to support each other and seek help for their friend. As the lines between cliques dissolve, dark secrets are revealed and hearts are transformed.

MLH #3: The Aftermath

At age fifteen, Jason Davids appears to have nearly any worldly thing that promises enjoyment at his disposal. Despite this, there is a persistent emptiness inside his heart. After failing to fill the void with achievements, relationships, and illicit substances, Jason finds himself intrigued by Jessie Robins: the daughter of a local pastor. How is it possible that she stands for everything his lifestyle opposes yet possesses the one thing he has been searching for all along?

MLH #4: The Battle for Innocence

Jon Anderson and Chantal Kagelli are trying to live moral lives, but temptations are plaguing them in and out of school. Will they continue to be lights in their best friends’ lives or will they get pulled into the darkness?

MLH #5: The Forces Within

After being trapped inside his own body, unable to communicate with anyone but his own thoughts, Andy Rosetti finally wakes up from the coma that controlled his life for one month. But upon awakening, Andy finds himself and his friends in an unfamiliar setting: a mansion riddled with secret passages and supernatural forces. As his friends fall prey to the entities surrounding them, Andy must figure out if the darkness lies within the mansion’s walls or within the people surrounding him.

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The On The Right Path Book Series

Co-authored with NBA Coach Brett Gunning and illustrated by Maddy Moore, On The Right Path is a children’s book series based on the principles of Brett Gunning’s non-profit. For complete information please visit the series’ page: “On The Right Path” by Brett Gunning & Stacy Padula


About the Author

Author Stacy Padula grew up in Pembroke, Massachusetts and attended Silver Lake Regional High School. After high school, she attended Wentworth in Boston, where she was a presidential scholar. Although she was pursuing architecture and design, she took every literature and writing elective offered at the college. After graduating college, she worked for two and a half years in the architecture and design industry, only to realize the fields of literature and education were (loudly) calling her name. In 2008, she transitioned into a career in private education, publishing, and writing. She is the founder of Briley & Baxter Publications, the founder of South Shore College Consulting & Tutoring, and a co-founder of BLE Pictures.

Stacy began writing her first book series, Montgomery Lake High, when she was a teenager because she saw a need for realistic Y.A. books that address topics such as substance abuse and bullying. Between 2010-2014 all five Montgomery Lake High books were published. In 2017, she began writing her second series, Gripped, which serves as both a prequel and sequel to her first series. Gripped parts 1-5 were published between 2019-2021. She is currently writing part 6. In 2019, she also wrote her first screenplay, an adaptation of her novel The Aftermath, and worked on writing a pilot for Gripped, which caught the attention of Hollywood producers. Gripped is currently being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman

In 2020, Stacy began writing a third book series with NBA Coach Brett Gunning. Geared towards children ages three through eight, Stacy and Brett’s “On The Right Path” book series has been endorsed by Joel Osteen, Mike D’Antoni, and Kevin McHale as a series that belongs in every school, library, and household. 

Stacy has edited and published a variety of titles, including Boston Bruins Anthem Singer Todd Angilly and Rachel Goguen’s “The Adventures of Owen & the Anthem Singer,” LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix’s Last Chance U’s “Nate & His Magic Lion,” and former NHL player Norm Beaudin’s upcoming memoir “The Original: Living Life Through Hockey.”

Awards: Stacy has been featured in Marquis Who’s Who in America (2018-Present) for excellence in literature and education, Marquis Who’s Who in the World (2018-Present), and Cambridge Who’s Who for Young Professionals (2009). In 2018, she was awarded the Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2019, the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP of New York, NY) chose Stacy as its Top Educational Consultant of the Year.” In 2020, she was named “Empowered Woman of the Year” by IAOTP and a  “Social Impact Hero” by Authority Magazine for her support of animal rescues through her publishing company. She was also chosen to be on the cover of T.I.P. Magazine, an international business publication. In June of 2021, Stacy was featured on the famous Reuters Building in Times Square as Empowered Woman of the Year. In 2022, she was named “Top Inspirational Author of the Year” and will be honored at a gala at the Bellagio in Las Vegas in December. She was also chosen to be featured in an international publication titled 50 Fearless Leaders for 2022. Most recently, her novel Gripped Part 5: Taylor’s Story won the Silver Award for “Best Teen Book” in the 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards. All 13 of her books have risen to #1 New Release and/or Best Seller status in a variety categories on Amazon from 2010-Present.

Personal Life: In 2018, Stacy married her husband Tim, a respiratory therapist at Beth-Israel Deaconess Hospital. The couple resides in Plymouth, Massachusetts with their two miniature dachshunds, Briley and Baxter. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, taking online classes, following the stock market, attending Bruins games, playing fantasy sports, reading about psychology, hosting Bible studies, traveling, taking her dogs to the beach, and spending time with her family and friends.

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