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Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Off the Hook Publishing
Number of pages: 389
Word Count: 105,000
To survive, they must embrace what they most despise . . . in themselves and each other.
Mitch Turner is everything women want most in a man—charismatic, successful, drop-dead gorgeous. Except he’s not a man—he’s a monster.
The only way Mitch can protect others from his monstrous side is to stop them from getting too close…that and a 7x7 foot cage. Isolated by his genetic curse, he spends his life hurting people emotionally, driving them away before Hyde can harm them physically. But, after a night of the best sex Mitch has ever had, he realizes that might be impossible. Except the woman he wakes up with claims she doesn’t remember any of it.
Eden Colfax is everything men want most, men other than Mitch, that is. She’s kind, honest to a fault and sickeningly sweet. To rid herself of the monsters that haunted her broken childhood, Eden doesn’t lie, doesn’t curse, and definitely never wakes up naked in strangers’ beds…until the day she does.
Then the flashbacks start—places she’s never been, people she’s never met, blood she’s never spilled. She discovers she’s split into two parts—the woman she thought she knew and another who is capable of anything. And the only person with any answers is the one man she never wants to see again.
What neither of them know is that someone is watching them both, manipulating them, determined to see just how evil the two of them really are. And when the truth begins to seep through the cracks, leaving them nowhere to turn but each other, they will be forced into a partnership neither had expected.
Because in life, who you trust is as important as who you are. And when you can’t even trust yourself, sometimes the only person you can rely on is the last person on Earth you should be falling for.
*** This novel is intended for adults only, as it includes lots of cursing, descriptive sex, biting sarcasm, and themes similar to those in Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, from which this story was inspired.
Fifteen years ago . . .
He woke up to the screaming. His mom’s. Different this time. More fearful. More frantic. He ran to the door and threw it open. His sister barred his way, somehow knowing what he planned to do.
“No, Mitch,” she said, her eyes wide. “Don’t. Don’t go in there. It’ll kill you.”
It. The beast. The creature that had been part of his life for as far back as Mitch could remember. Even longer for Shelly and his mom. They never talked about it. As if pretending it didn’t exist made life easier. Life wasn’t easy. Life was terrifying.
Something had to change.
His mom’s screams were louder. And then they stopped. Mid-cry, they just stopped. He pushed Shelly out of the way and ran down the dark hallway toward the living room.
Too late. It was all too late.
His mother lay on the tile floor. The only part of her still moving was the blood pooling beneath her body.
The beast stood above her, huge, smiling. Blood splattered across its neck and chest. It raised its head slowly. There was a flash of recognition in its eyes, then it blinked, shook itself like a wet dog, and launched toward Mitch.
Mitch dove to the side. The beast barreled by him, into the hallway. Toward Shelly.
Her cry slammed into his mind, his heart. “Shelly!” He grabbed his baseball bat from the entryway and ran.
The beast had her pinned in a corner. “Are you afraid, bitch?” it growled. “You should be.”
Mitch swung the bat. Three years of little league and the last two of high school ball packed into one hit. Then another. But the hall was too narrow.
The beast shoved Shelly against the wall and then flipped around, laughing darkly. “That all you got, boy?”
Mitch swung again and again, sometimes making contact with an arm, a shoulder, stepping back as the beast advanced, toying with him. The bat’s length the only thing keeping the bastard from reaching him. Back into the living room, it pawed, trying to grab Mitch’s inadequate defense. If it caught hold, if it backed Mitch into a wall, everything would end—Mitch, Shelly, everything.
A blow to its head stopped its laughter, a quiver rippling through its body. “Come here, you little prick!” it roared.
Mitch aimed high for another hit to its face, one step closer to use the full force of the weapon. The bat rebounded in his hands as it struck flesh, sending a shooting pain through Mitch’s arms and shoulders.
Again, he swung. Again, he struck.
The beast stumbled, put its hands to its ears, still cursing. Another strike landed. Then another. The beast sank to its knees, its growls turning into grunts of pain.
Mitch lifted the bat above his head. His legs were numb, his upper body vibrating as he pounded all of his anger, all of his fear, into the monster lying at his feet.
“Mitch,” his sister begged. “Please stop. Please.”
He didn’t. He couldn’t.
“Stop! It’s dead. Stop,” she said, weeping.
He felt Shelly’s arms around his waist, holding him, pulling him back from the edge. Finally overcome, the bat fell from his hands, and he let her guide him a few steps backwards. His foot caught on the rug and he sat down hard, Shelly sliding down beside him.
She crawled on her knees until she was between him and the bloody bodies on the floor and hugged him tightly.
Over her shoulder, Mitch stared at the creature. Watched it change, shrink, diminish. Until all that was left was the lifeless body of his father.
Their father. Dear, old Dad. A man they had both hated. A man who had been filled with evil when he was human. Doubly-so each time he transformed into Hyde.
Shelly held Mitch’s shaking body in her arms, stroking his hair, making shushing sounds, telling him it would be okay.
Would it? Would it ever be okay? He slumped into her. “Oh, God, Shelly, what did I do?”
“You had to do it, Mitch. You saved me . . . saved us. We can be happy now.”
“He was a monster.” Her words stung.
“Don’t say that,” he whimpered.
“But he was. He was evil. He had to die.”
“Please, Shelly, don’t say that,” he said through his sobs, his eyes still locked on his father. “Because . . . that’s what I’m going to be.”
She stiffened, and then hugged him tighter, slowly rocking him back and forth. “No, we won’t let it. We’ll figure something out.”
It was too late. His transformations had already started. Not as violently as his father’s—not yet—but they’d begun. When his tears blurred the image of his parent’s bodies, he rested his head on Shelly’s shoulder and cried.
“You’ll never be a monster, Mitch.”
“I already am.”
About the Author:
After earning degrees in Fine Arts and English, Lauren Stewart wanted to see the world. A lack of funds meant that she didn’t get far. She spent two years traveling around Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada—first as a choreographer and then as an English teacher—meeting folks from all the places she couldn’t afford to go to. But that time was highly useful—she learned about herself, other people, and how insane life actually is.
Lauren reads in almost every genre. So naturally, her writing reflects that. With every book, every story, you'll find elements of other genres--fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women's literature, all with a touch of humor because what doesn’t kill us, should make us laugh.
Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/author/laurenstewart
Guest Post by Lauren Stewart:
ARE WRITERS AS SCREWED UP AS THE CHARACTERS THEY CREATE?
I write stories about truly dysfunctional people, so does that mean that I am truly dysfunctional? My answer: All twelve of my therapists say I’m totally normal. Of course, eleven of them are imaginary. ;) Actually, I don’t have a therapist, though I probably should. Doesn’t everyone need someone unbiased to help them figure out what the heck is happening in the madness of their own minds?
Instead, what I find therapeutic is writing. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to encourage other people to try it. Not with the goal of publishing, or even to show anyone else. But in my opinion, we all need to be able to express ourselves. Really, you should try it. But not right now. If you can, please wait until you’ve read the rest of this post, left a message in the comment box, and entered the giveaway for Hyde, an Urban Fantasy. Then you should definitely try it.
Hyde was inspired by a discussion I had with myself. One day while I was feeling particularly inadequate at being the world’s most perfect person, it hit me. Who decided what ‘perfect’ was? Who decided I wasn’t good enough? And then, after a few sips of wine, I asked myself another question: What defines ‘good’? And why the heck do most of us give up every ounce of ourselves for our families, friends and careers, leaving nothing for ourselves? All in the name of who we should be?
So when I sat down to write, it seemed only natural to go back to the original story of good versus evil: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But in my story, which has a lot more romance and sex than Stevenson’s does, I wanted to examine the extremes using a man and a woman, both with a paranormal side that affects their humanity.
My hero, Mitch, is not heroic. He’s angry and bitter, venting out his evil by being cruel to those around him. My heroine, Eden, is exactly the opposite. She does everything ‘right’, even if it ends up hurting her. After the two of them have no other choice than to deal with each other, they begin to question the things they’ve always believed about themselves.
My ultimate goal with this novel was to get people to think about what determines good and evil…and where on the scale each of us lie.
I suppose this book was therapy for me. And I really do encourage you to try writing something, anything. For a writer, our work needs to fulfill a promise we make to our readers. But for you, the final product doesn’t have to be pretty or meaningful to anyone other than you. Is your pen ready? Your keyboard dusted? Then leave a comment, enter the contest, and heck, go check out Hyde, an Urban Fantasy to see if it’s the sort of read you’re looking for. And then consider what you need to express, to ponder, to write. Happy reading...and writing!
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