It’s the fourth day of ‘Scare Your Pants Off’. I hope you have enjoyed the spine tingling excerpts in our gear up for Halloween! Here are the previous days’ posts just in case you missed one: Intro, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.
Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
The first excerpt comes from Cara Bristol’s, ‘Warrior’. This is a lovely dark fantasy / erotic romance with horror elements.
Anika waited until the moon floated high in the sky and the males snored before she slipped out from under her sleep covering. She tugged on her boots and tiptoed through the camp. Since they’d arrived, she’d been unable to slip away alone even once to relieve herself. Someone had always been with her—most often Icor, who dogged her every move, but, if not him, then one of Qalin’s alphas or betas.
She could not do as they did—walk a few steps out of camp and turn her back.
Under lunarlight, she crept into the woods. Every step jarred her full bladder, but she needed to put distance between her and the others, lest they awaken with the same needs and happen upon her.
Behind a stand of trees, within a small clearing ringed by a thicket of brush, she stopped. Urgency growing by the second, she tore at her uniform. The harsh chill bit at her exposed skin, but cold was the least of her concerns. Dropping to a crouch, she released her bladder and sighed in relief as urine spread in a widening, steaming puddle across the frozen ground.
After her bladder emptied, she wiped with a handful of dried grass, then stood and fixed her uniform.
“You are not alpha, you are female!”
Anika whipped around.
Icor circled her, flexing his arms. The violet Parseon moon radiated a strong glow over them both, and Anika watched in horror as recognition dawned. “You! You did this to me,” Icor accused.
For a male who’d moved gingerly, he struck fast. Pain splintered across her cheekbone, knocking her to the ground, and she struck her head against a fallen tree. The moon blinked in and out of focus.
“Drakor!” he spat.
Anika stumbled to her feet, but Icor grabbed her before she could take more than a step, and spun her around. His fist shot out, but she ducked, and it glanced off her temple.
She wrested away, her guerilla training channeling panic into action. With an uppercut, she jabbed under his chin. His feral howl echoed in the night. She aimed again, but he feinted, caught her wrist and, with a wrench, forced her to her knees.
Murder gleamed in his good eye. A thick white substance oozed from the facial abscess.
“It will be my pleasure to see you beg before I kill you,” he snarled, and twisted her left arm. Anika screamed as her shoulder dislocated. The world fogged. Icor slapped her to full consciousness, knocking her onto her side.
She inched her fingers into her boot.
“Get up!” He kicked her ribs.
She closed her hand around the dagger’s hilt.
“Stand up!” Icor hissed.
Her dangling, useless right arm could assist with no purchase, but she used to her injury as a distraction, staggering to her feet while easing the knife from her boot with her right hand. She shielded the weapon behind her thigh then lunged forward and drove it into Icor’s abdomen.
His eye bulged with disbelief, and he gasped. He clutched at her hands, but his strength dwindled with his life force, and she held on. Scarlet froth dribbled from his mouth and red seeped through their fingers, warm against her cold skin. His features went slack, and he pitched forward. She jumped away, yanking out the knife, as Icor fell dead.
Bile clogged her throat. Her breath came in panicked gasps. I have killed someone! She gaped at the bloody knife, at the body. I eliminated a threat, a male who intended to kill me. I had no choice. She dropped the knife and stumbled from the body, a starburst of pain shooting into her shoulder as her left arm swung. She pressed it to her side and moved gingerly to a large tree. She took a deep breath, gritted her teeth, and dove into it shoulder first. With a pop, the ball of her humerus snapped back into its socket.
Anika sank to her knees and vomited.
When the retching ceased, she rose and tested her limb. Her injured arm, though sore, had regained function. Her cheekbone, however, throbbed with greater intensity. Anika fingered her face. Nothing broken. But she would have colorful bruises to explain.
But her biggest problem was how to dispose of Icor’s body.
Under the moonlight, she could see steam rising from the spreading pool beneath the corpse. Once the blood froze, she would be unable to eliminate it. She recalled how Urazi had hidden Grogan in a thicket, and she scanned her environs for the densest clump of brush. There. She wished it were thicker, wished for more time to conceal what she had done, but she needed to act before anyone awakened, noticed their absence, and investigated. Their screams and shouts might have carried. Someone could be looking for them already.
She rolled Icor onto his back to minimize the blood trail, then grasped his ankles, and dragged him into the brush. Next, she piled leaves on top of him and blotted the blood as best she could. Anika gathered tree needles and grasses and scattered them about. Not perfect, but better. Leaving the area, she descended the bank to a half-frozen, sluggish stream.
She rinsed Icor’s blood from her hands and the dagger. Moonlight glinted off the blade. An alpha became a warrior with his first kill. Males recounted that rite of passage with long tales of great pride. Anika felt no triumph, only sickness. But she knew she’d done what she had to to defend herself.
Anika slipped her dagger into her boot, rose to her feet, and headed for camp. She would have to find the privacy to change into a fresh uniform and discard the bloodied one.
Woodsmoke permeated the straggly forest, and through the trees she spied the faint glow from the fire. Sleep would not return this eve; she might as well tend the flame and wait for morning. Hope for the best.
What questions would Icor’s unexpected disappearance raise? Would her traveling companions assume laziness kept him abed when they readied for departure? Would they seek to rouse him to bid him farewell? When they found him gone, would they search? Probably not. But that didn’t mean they might not stumble upon his body. Most of the males relieved themselves just outside the camp perimeter, but other bodily needs might drive them deeper into the wood, and what if she hadn’t camouflaged all the blood? What if animals discovered his corpse before morn and scattered his remains?
Perhaps she should go back and check.
A hand smothered Anika’s mouth, a rough arm clamped her against a hard muscled body, and she was lifted off her feet. She flailed her arms in open air, and screamed, but her cries sounded as mere puffs of sound under the hard, broad palm.
Her captor hauled her back into the wood.
Warrior (Breeder 3) blurb
A female fighting for freedom. A male armed with determination. Can they save their people?
As a despotic Qalin marches through Parseon intent on conquering every province, Commander Marlix pledges his sister to another Alpha to protect her. Desperate to decide her own fate, Anika flees and finds refuge with the guerilla resistance movement against Qalin. Marlix’s aide Urazi hunts her down to bring her home to fulfill her duty. But when love blossoms between them, and provinces fall to Qalin, Anika and Urazi realize home has ceased to exist, and they are all that stand between the people of Parseon and the end of the world.
Warrior is the third and final book of the Breeder science fiction romance series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.
The next excerpt is from the heart pounding paranormal romance, ‘Karly’s Wolf’, by Penny Alley.
She thought about going back to town, but she didn’t think she could handle another run in with either Colton or Gabe. It was likely neither meant her any harm. Margo knew them and she didn’t think Margo would send people who would hurt her to bring her sandwiches or to keep checking on her, but her hands wouldn’t stop shaking. Her stomach felt so tangled and tight, she thought she might actually throw up, and when her cellphone rang, the sharp tones startled her so badly that she jumped half out of her skin.
“I forgot the newspaper,” she said, without bothering to check the number. “What should I do? Should I go back and get one? I’m so scared, Beth. The local cops keep talking to me and—”
“You’re fucked,” Dan growled into her ear, his voice as cold and as sharp as knives.
Karly’s throat seized so hard she choked. The next thing she knew, the car was fishtailing to a stop in the middle of the narrow dirt road. Without realizing it, she had slammed the brake pedal all the way down to the floor mat.
She sat behind the steering wheel, shaking hard, staring straight ahead without seeing anything.
“You want to run from me, baby? Fine, but there’s no place in the world you can hide that I won’t find you. You think you’re scared now? Wait until we’re face-to-face. Serve me fucking divorce papers? No, ma’am. ‘Til death do us part. That’s what you promised, and that’s what I’ll have. In every nuance and meaning of the word now, you…are…fucked.”
Karly didn’t have to hang up. The connection went dead in her trembling hand.
Seconds bled into minutes.
She couldn’t move. She couldn’t see. She couldn’t even breathe.
She vaguely heard Puppy growl a half second before two hard knuckles tapped the glass right by her head.
Karly knew she was freaking out even while she did it, screaming and grabbing at the steering wheel. She even dropped her phone. If it weren’t for the seatbelt, she’d have thrown herself into the passenger seat on top of Puppy, grabbing at him for security. Her eyes as huge as dinner plates, she stared at the very powerfully built man bending down to peer in through the window at her. His dark hair was shoulder length; his mustache, neatly trimmed. Tattoos wound up his arm all the way into his short sleeves. His hands were dirty, stained with engine oil. So was his bright orange t-shirt, which sported twin rifles crisscrossing one another and black, jagged letters that read, ‘If you can read this, you’re in range.’
He was a McQueen. He had to be. Her heart beat so hard, it hurt her ribs and still, when he tapped the window again and pointed ground-ward, she obeyed him, rolling the glass down just a crack.
Leaning his forearm along the roof of her car, McQueen looked at her. He looked at Puppy, dipped his head slightly to spit on the ground, and then looked back at her again when Puppy rumbled out another rolling growl.
“You lost?” he asked.
Karly shivered. Her wild glance darted from him to the dilapidated shacks sitting back from the road, nestled in amongst the shade trees. Two other men were sitting together on the front porch; another leaned against a support post with the long barrel of a rifle slung across his shoulders. Oh God, of all places to stop, she had stopped in front of their house.
Karly quickly shook her head. “No.”
“You’re the one moved into Margo’s up the road, that right?”
Puppy bristled, loosing another low growl.
McQueen looked at him, unfazed. “I heard you, and I’m not talking to you.” He stared at Karly again, then patted the top of her car twice. “Get on then.” He gave a jerk of his head. “My driveway’s not your parking lot.”
Karly didn’t need to be told twice. He was letting her go and she went, fairly flying the rest of the way home, driving much faster than she should have, much faster than was safe. She managed to stave off tears right up until her small cabin came into view, and then she lost it.
She couldn’t remember turning the car off and she didn’t get out. She just sat there, bawling and clinging first to the steering wheel and then to Puppy, who nosed his way into her arms and then sat stiff and still in the passenger seat while she leaned into him and gripped him like he was her lifeline. Her tears soaked his fur. Her panicked fingers pulled at his hair. But through it all, he made no move to break away and stayed with her until the storm of panic had subsided and the well of her tears ran dry. Her ragged breaths evened. She came back to herself enough to feel stupid and foolish.
“Sorry,” she whispered, feeling even more foolish for apologizing to a dog, who couldn’t understand her anyway.
As she pushed away from him, Puppy leaned over and nuzzled her cheek. The warm rasp of his tongue washed away a lingering tear. He offered no censure. He simply got out of the car when she did and followed her back into the house.
On the run from her abusive husband, Karly Whitaker flees across state lines and finally settles in an old mining town called Hollow Hills. Starting over has never been so scary. To make it worse, on her first night in a new place she hits a dog—the biggest, blackest, wolf-like creature she has ever seen. Although he appears more dazed than hurt, Karly takes him home. But while it’s comforting not to be alone, it’s hard to ignore the strange things happening around her. All she wants to do is hide from her husband, Fish and Game won’t leave her alone, her gun-toting neighbor scares her to death, and every morning Puppy vanishes, leaving her to deal with Colton Laurens all on her own. Colton—the dark-haired, honey-eyed Game warden, whose gentlest touch makes her battered heart ache and whose hungry kisses burn her from the inside out. For the first time in her life, Karly knows what it’s like to live unafraid, but with more than ghosts haunting her footsteps, she’s beginning to suspect not everything in Hollow Hills is what it seems…
Karly’s Wolf by Penny Alley, the author also known as Maren Smith.