A Bad Breed
(Gaslamp Gothic, #3)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: May 31st 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling
A creature out of folklore. And nightmare.
January 1889. When a Romanian village suffers a series of brutal attacks, occult investigator Anne Lawrence is dispatched to the forests of the Old Country to hunt the killer – only to vanish without a trace.
The trail leads her mentor Vivienne Cumberland deep into the Carpathians to a remote monastery. As a blizzard rages outside, trapping them all with the pricolici, Vivienne risks sharing the fate of the woman she came to find. But is the culprit truly a werewolf … or something even more dangerous?
A man bent on revenge. And a love that was never meant to be.
Imprisoned in a decaying castle, Anne finds herself ensnared in a web of dark enchantment, at the mercy of a mysterious captor with a beast inside – and a memory as old as the ancient legends.
As the weeks pass, Anne learns his real identity, and slowly uncovers a complex and deeply passionate man. But is she willing to pay the price for falling under his spell?
Note: This darkly magical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast is the third book in the Gaslamp Gothic series, but can be read as a standalone with no need to start with Book #1, The Daemoniac.
Check out this short excerpt!
The last rays of the sun were setting fire to the high peaks when he caught her.
She’d run for miles through the forest, fighting the black tide of the drug he’d slipped into her wine. Whatever it was made her feel as if she floated above her own body, weightless and without a care in the world.
If not for the bitter cold, she might have sat down in the snow for a spell.
The hard-eyed, sober part of her, which was not yet gone entirely, knew that would be a very bad idea.
So she ran, focusing on the tidal rasp of her breath, the metronomic ticking of her heart. After a while, the sounds of pursuit grew fainter. She dared to hope she’d lost him.
Then she’d twisted her ankle in an animal hole concealed beneath the snow.
It wasn’t broken, though it hurt like the dickens even through the narcotic fog. At least the pain sharpened her wits.
I am so bloody stupid, she thought for the hundredth time, leaning against a tree. I never should have….
Should have what?
Her eyes lost focus.
What an intricate, miraculous thing snow was! She’d never noticed it before, each crystal outlined with perfect clarity. Deep cold was like swimming underwater….
Her fingers tightened to a fist, the nails drawing blood.
Drunk the wine, that’s what. Bloody stupid of me. Now get a grip.
She studied the woods. Blue shadows gathered beneath the tall pines where the twilight deepened. All was quiet. But she sensed a presence, watching.
There were wolves in these mountains. She’d seen one that morning at dawn, standing on a rocky tor. It stared at her with yellow eyes, then turned and loped away. She’d felt a sublime grace in its presence.
She had no fear of wolves.
Yet her heart hammered in her breast as she limped down the path.
She wore stout boots and a high-necked wool dress over layers of petticoats and a cloak lined with dark blue silk. The path followed a frozen creek, its edges brittle with ice. Frost lay thick on the ground and the boughs of the trees.
The light bled away as she reached the edge of the forest. A full moon rose, huge and bright. The nape of her neck prickled a warning.
She looked back. A silent shape glided through the trees. Not a wolf. Not a man either, though it moved on two legs.
In the distance, she heard the whistle of a train.
She scrambled down a steep incline. Her ankle throbbed, but she thought it would hold for a few more minutes.
A quarter mile off, the mouth of a tunnel led into the mountain. The tracks sat atop an embankment and she could see the glossy black engine chugging toward the tunnel. Light spilled from the windows of the passenger cars. The hood of her cloak fell back as she struggled through knee-high drifts. She tore a glove off with her teeth and freed the long iron blade sheathed at her waist.
The clatter of the train grew louder as it approached a curve and slowed down. She veered left toward the white expanse of an open field. If she cut across, she might still catch the train before it accelerated into the tunnel. Silhouettes filled the windows and she imagined the people on the train, reading books or sipping coffee, in the warmth and light.
She risked another glance over her shoulder. Whatever came was cloaked in shadow, but she sensed it speeding down the slope.
She was halfway across when ice cracked beneath her boots. Not a field but a lake — and not solidly frozen. She flung out a hand, scrabbling madly as she slid into the frigid water.
She tried to summon her elemental power but it drifted away on a black tide of tranquilizer. The train whistle sounded again and then it was swallowed by the tunnel.
And the last thing she saw was two golden eyes, bright as the moon, rushing toward her.
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Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.
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