The Monster Within

Sometimes the monster that haunted you as a child truly is real…

All it took was one phone call to bring Nicole Jones’s life crumbling down around her.  Now a nightmare she thought she’d left in her past is back, and he’s not exactly bringing her candy and flowers.  While fleeing, in a non-terrified fashion, she meets a menacing man in a dark alley.  Then promptly passes out at his feet.

Gideon Evans hasn’t exactly been having the best run of luck, but all that changes when a buxom little blonde collapses right in front of him.  Or at least he thinks it has.  It doesn’t take him long to realize that bombshell is an appropriate description for more than just her looks.  Now he’s facing several problems, including a surprising enemy, his own dark past, and a rather inconvenient case of lust.

Can they work together to battle the nightmare that’s chasing them?  Or will they succumb to the monster within?

ISBN-13: 978-1479300952

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Excerpt:

“Montimore and Hadigan’s Purveyors of Fine Goods.  We handle all your affluent import and export needs with alacrity and discretion.  This is Nicole speaking, how may I help you tonight?”  It was delivered in the chipper tone one would expect from a young woman used to dealing with the kind of rich doucheknuckles who employed their grey market services.  Really though, what she was thinking was “If I have to ask one more idle billionaire with more cents then sense I’ll fucking stab a fork in my fucking eye.”  Luckily repetition kept her from allowing her self-mutilation fantasies to affect her tone.  Then again, if she hadn’t had to ask the question over a dozen times a day whenever she had the misfortune of working the desk, then the words might not trigger such an irrational rage.  She probably wouldn’t be saying them in her sleep either.  She definitely wouldn’t have taken to answering her personal phone the same way – much to her humiliation – every time her mind wandered.  Which was far too often.

Much like now, actually.  She was so caught up in her brooding hatred of working the desk of the pretentious almost-smugglers that acted as a front for their equally grey market other worldly business that she didn’t notice that she’d received no response.  So preoccupied with glaring at red polished toes peeking out of her black peep-toed sling backs, trying not to snag her damned silk stockings, and focusing on not breathing too deeply to avoid popping the buttons on both her high-waist pencil skirt and classic white blouse that she didn’t even know she was still holding the phone.  It didn’t even register that she had one less hand to try to keep from picking at her elegant and complicated twisty up-do or her perfect makeup.  After all, Liza would be most displeased if Nicole shattered the false front she’d installed so that Nicole could, in turn serve as a false front.

It wasn’t until there was a hissing rush of air that she once again took note of the receiver in her hand.  The sound made Nicole shiver.  It was a sound you would normally hear when air was introduced to a vacuum for the first time.  A vacuum or a tomb.  “Hello?” The question came out shakier than she would’ve liked, her voice no longer that of the perky blonde robo-bimbo.

“Hello,” tumbled from the phone in a voice that was akin to silk over broken glass, smooth and harsh all at once.  It was a voice straight out of Nicole’s nightmares, and it was impossible.  The owner of that voice had died nearly fifteen years ago in a castle somewhere in the Scottish highlands.  “I believe you can help me a great deal.  You see, I need to procure something rather precious to me.  Something I lost many years ago.”

Nicole’s heart was in her throat as panic threatened to choke her.  It took all of her remaining will power to sound even remotely professional as she asked “and what would that be sir?”

For a moment, she thought that the man’s foreboding chuckle would be her only answer, but she was not that lucky.  “Come now Ekaterina, I think we both know what it is I need.”

Her blood turned to ice as terror dug its claws into her very soul.  No one ever called her Ekaterina.  Not anymore.  Not since him.

What people are saying:

“This is an incredibly enticing story of magic, supernatural creatures, a new world that Lola Rayne craftily weaves for us but only allows us to dip our toes in it. Her writing style is flawless. She can make you feel whatever she wishes you to feel. Her prose is elaborate and yet to the point, current but not overly slang-ish. It never distracts from the story itself and it draws you in from the very first sentence. It is laced with delightful humour, making even the more dramatic scenes quite entertaining and light-hearted.” – Natasha, Natasha is a Book Junkie (sitereview)

“Let me just say, once the headboard starts rocking, hand on tight – Gideon is all about some scandalicious sex. He’s just bossy enough but also is able to let Nicole guide the ship, if you will. Trust me, there’s a scene in a chair that will leave your Kindle smoking!” – Scandalicious Book Reviews (sitereview)

Cover designed by the lovely and talented Jena Gregorie

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