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The Beast Within
Samhain Publishing
ISBN-10: 1599983389
ISBN-13: 978-1599983387
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: e-Book/Print

The Beast Within

What's a girl to do when she can't change into the family wolf and Mr. Beast kidnaps her man?

Take the evil on and kick some ass--with or without a furry coat. Cassidy Quinn, Private Investigator extraordinaire, helps down and dirty humans and monsters of Memorial City for a price.

But when a friend phones with a puzzling medical case,

Cassidy knows the big bad has come to town in the form of a rogue Werewolf out for blood.

Making herself known to the new evil, she fights against his web of deceit and lies, battling to save her friends, family and sexy police detective Patrick Logan. One problem--the beast has targeted Cassidy for his mate and he has the upper fang since she's stuck in human form. When Cassidy finds Logan an all too seductive distraction, the beast's anger explodes and Logan is kidnapped by the werewolf. Can Cassidy find Logan before it's too late and he becomes the main course?


 

REVIEWS

 

Ethan starts with humor and ends with death, hope and the lead-in to a sequel. Her heroine kicks butt whether in wolf or human form, while the hero is arrogant and handsome, and the villain nightmare inducing. Although the romance is more emotional than physical, this tale will make readers flip pages as quickly as possible to get to the ending.
~ Rt Magazine 4 Stars

"Ethan included some twists in this suspenseful story that I will readily admit I did not anticipate, although I usually can deduce most surprises before they occur. Any story that can surprise me automatically gets points! Balancing the story equally between the romance and the suspense, Ethan has paved the way for sequels starring Cassidy and Patrick, should her muse so guide her again. And I will be waiting with baited breath to buy them, if and when they happen"
~Kwips & Kritiques, 5 Klovers

"If you enjoy the possibilities paranormal suspense with a dash of romance can bring you, then give The Beast Within a go. The Beast Within is different, weird, sassy and enjoyable. I mean it’s not everyday you get to wonder if a human and a ‘were’ can make a go of it."
~ Once upon a Romance

"The Beast Within was an awesome book and I loved every minute of it! Kelly Ethan writes with a wonderful balance of humor, suspense, and adds just the right amount of sexual tension between her main characters. I loved The Beast Within and am seriously hoping that there will be more to come!!"
~ Joyfully Reviewed



EXCERPT

He tasted the air, felt the pungent damp earth. The stench of moist human rolled over him. Beneath it all, he sensed the beat of the street. The life force of the inhabitants pulsed through him. It encouraged and fed his hunger.

They were nothing but empty and discarded pawns. Their only use was for hunting and devouring. The animal in him roared agreement and he shifted fully into the predator.

The beast sniffed, focused on the prey and the fear running through the body of his target. The terror oozed out of his food, his cattle’s skin, with a thick, sweet perfume, inciting the predator, driving him on. There was no division between himself and the animal. They were one blood-hungry entity. Both human and beast lusted for the kill, the chase, and the blood.

Detecting his goal and compelled by the lust for spilled blood, he prowled forward, slithering from shadow to shadow. Like a wraith with an eternal thirst for his kill. His instincts told him the man was old and weak, no longer fit to be near or in the pack. The doomed one knew the beast’s real name and names had power. He had to silence him.

The animal smiled, knowing what was to come.

His prey sensed danger and tried to flee to safety, but it was too late. The leap already taken connected squarely with the center of the soon-to-be-dead man’s chest.

Claws dug in and little by little slipped through the skin. The force of the animal behind them dragged the razor sharp talons down. They sliced with ease, like a red hot poker sizzling through a block of ice as the old man howled for help. The exhilaration of first blood spilled built until it bubbled out from the beast in frantic little giggles of insanity. The victim’s screams were like opera to the killer’s ears. Loud and strident at first, it led into a harmonic gurgle as the depth of the man’s terror immobilized him.

Bloodlust and thirst soared again, only for a moment satisfied. The prey fell to the ground, weakened by the massive amounts of fluid running from its body. The savage predator’s hunger exploded outwards, driven by the ever-spreading blood puddle.

The beast, in the frenzy of a feed, lowered his muzzle toward his quarry. He thirsted for the throat of his victim, a taste of the ambrosia this fool hoarded. A scream broke out from a woman in a parked car and a large object came toward him. A car, his fuzzy mind reminded him. Danger, an insistent voice whispered to him.

The animal broke off and stole back into the shadows like a specter in the night. A scalding beat of bitterness drummed at the thought of his missed feast.

Enough!

The man within the beast smiled. It was enough of a test of power until next time.

***

“Okay, I howl at the moon. What’s the problem?” Cassidy Quinn raised her eyebrows and grinned at Bethany, her receptionist and best friend. “Come on, it’s not like I’m an axe murderer or anything nasty. The folks in my family happen to change into howling, snarling, fur-covered eighty-pound wolves. What’s the biggie?”

“Sort of like PMS every month.”

“Except you wake snarling, moody and bloated, while in my family’s case, a normal guy’s likely to wake next to a shedding animal.”

“Nothing wrong with that.”

“All right, it’s not the normal routine for most people and my family is still in the minority, but we count. We vote. And it’s not like you can catch it through kissing germs.” Cassidy focused on her friend as she scowled back at her.

“I figured by now everyone knows lycanthropy is inherited, like a hereditary blood disease. I suppose there’s still folks around who are narrowed-minded about this type of thing.”

“My father’s right.” Cassidy bared her teeth in disgust. “A strong alpha male can cope with anything, not like that wimp of a lawyer last night.”

Okay, he’d looked trim and buff on the outside, but appearances were obviously deceptive. Look at her, born to a family of Weres and she couldn’t even change properly. Not to mention the fact she was over being patient. Twenty years over it. There had to be a reason why a twenty-eight year old couldn’t do what an eight-year-old cub could.

“What happened?”

“He almost wet his pants.” Cassidy grinned at her friend before she continued. “And ran out of the restaurant, leaving me the bill for a very expensive dinner.”

“Lordy, I wish I’d been a fly on the wall to see it.”

Cassidy wiggled her eyebrows. “All because he couldn’t keep his paws to himself, ha.”

“What did you do to the poor guy?”

“Nothing, all I did was to growl.” She chuckled at the disbelieving look on Bethany’s face. “Fine. I flashed my teeth and pinched him with my claws. It’s about all I can do anyway.”

Her friend could no longer contain herself. She covered her mouth with her palms, the laughter still audible. Cassidy frowned, not certain it was funny. Obviously taking note of her look, Bethany started to back out of the room. She mumbled an apology moments before closing the door.

Cassidy slumped deeper into her high-backed chair, the frown still etched on her face. Damn, she was getting tired of dates like last night. How much was a girl supposed to put up with before cracking?

“It’s not like I stripped naked and tried a change right there in the middle of the restaurant.” Cassidy tried to convince herself it was no big deal.

Besides, there was one big thing wrong with that scenario, she couldn’t change into a Were without a hell of a lot of pain. Actually, she couldn’t fully change at all, pain or not. Not something you want to advertise to your enemies or your clients, bad for business.

“Have you stopped sulking or are you up to the ranting and raving part?” Bethany opened the door and sidled inside, a pile of letters balanced on her right palm.

“Excuse me?”

“Peace, boss. I’m on your side.”

“I know, I know. I told him I was a Were. But it’s hip these days to be a monster so he hadn’t believed me.” It wasn’t her fault. Hopefully he’d have to pay some therapist a ton of money to get over it.

“Just because my family wants me married with a litter, is no reason to go and date any sort of scum. Especially a wimp lawyer.” Cassidy paused for a breath and tried to grab back her place of calm. There was no sense in losing her temper. Bethany wasn’t the one she should be mouthing off to.

“Okay, bitching done. I’m past the ranting and raving part and almost to the section where I bite you.”

“Nah, your bark’s worse than your bite. By the way, these letters need your paw print.”

Cassidy scowled. “Stop with the wolf jokes. I’ve enough of a complex about it as it is. Besides, we’re an old and mysterious race. We deserve respect.” She plastered a holier-than-thou expression on her face.

Even though they’d been around for centuries, Weres had only been out of the closet—so to speak—for fifty years. A health check had turned up some very interesting results they hadn’t been able to destroy or hide. Now it was equal opportunity for all.

“Ha, is this the sermon you sprouted to Octopus Sam, the lawyer?”

“Yeah, right about the time he was running for his life. At least I didn’t date a man who wanted to wear my underwear,” Cassidy retaliated. “Especially when I’d been wearing them that day.”

Bethany scowled and poked out her tongue. “What can I say? I have a talent.”

Cassidy pantomimed choking.

“All right. But for the most part, they don’t run screaming into the night.” Bethany spun on the spot and marched out.

“At least mine don’t sniff my panties,” Cassidy yelled to her friend’s retreating back.

They don’t get close enough. She made a face. Actually, her dating life was having a severe drought. Who had time anyway? Between the job and her family, she was lucky if there was time to scratch a flea or two.

Copyright© 2006 Kelly Ethan
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

 

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