As you read this, I may or may not be slightly hungover from too many shots of Fireball whiskey, striving valiantly to survive a business trip to Vegas (yes, Vegas, baby, and no, it’s not at all as fun as it sounds) for the Day Job of Doom. (Fun fact, though, one of the products we sell at the Day Job of Doom, and the lovely sponsor of said business trip to Vegas, is responsible for the water fountain show at the Bellagio hotel. You’re welcome, World.) But, since I have never missed posting something for your entertainment, I managed to find a few moments to schedule this post.
Today’s offering is an excerpt from a newly released title by Curiosity Quills press. But before we get into that, here’s the scoop on the book itself:
Sixteen-year old Toby was trained by a family of hunters to kill shape-shifters—but he has a unique weapon in his arsenal. With a touch of his hand, Toby can lift the magical protection shape-shifters use to disguise themselves as human. It’s an unusual skill for a hunter, and he prefers to kill monsters the old-fashioned way: with a blade.Because of his special skill, Toby suspects he may be a monster himself. His suspicions deepen when William, a jackal-headed shape-shifter, saves him from an ambush where Toby’s the only survivor. And Toby doubts William helped him for purely altruistic reasons. With his list of allies running thin, Toby must reconcile his hatred of shifters and the damning truth that one saved his life. It’ll take both of them to track down the monster who ordered the ambush.
And Toby needs his unlikely alley because he has a vicious enemy—the infamous Circe, who has a vendetta to settle against the hunters. Toby has to unravel the mystery of his dual nature. And he has to do it on the run—before Circe finds him and twists him to her own ends.
One of the shifters growls and sprints across the carpet. It pounds down on me like a speeding train. I pivot, duck, and thrust upwards with my hunting knife. I connect with flesh, slitting the stomach when it leaps over me. The canine shifter staggers into a mattress column, howling with rage, splitting my ear drums. Deafened, I can’t hear the other one attack. It flashes by, maybe some type of feline, pinning me underneath it. My mother screams. Claws dig into my chest, but I thrust upwards and kick it off like I’m launching from the gymnastics vault. My vision bursts into a thousand colors. I punch my knife hand into the feline, and the blade glints in the flashlight beam after each strike. The animal wheezes, and in its death spasms, falls down on top of me. I gasp under its weight, avoiding the last snaps of its jaw before it goes limp, but my eyes are still popping. The flashlight rolls, spinning the world in dollar store yellow lighting. I fumble for my Bowie knife, numb hand grasping chunks of cheap carpet. There’s a scuffle, and in the beam of light, on the other side of a stack of off-white mattresses, my mum is crouched. She only has her butterfly knife left, and she’s swinging it at the giant wolf approaching her. Its eyes glow like a hell hound’s. She backs up, and through neon color pops, I watch the wolf jump at her. She thrusts the knife into its throat. Its breath gurgles as it dies, but I can’t see either my mother or the wolf over the mattresses now. The scent of blood floods the air like after a shark attack. It can’t be my mum’s―there’s too much of it. My heart is still beating, and it’s driving the bile up my throat. I’m rocking on one of those cheap county fair rides. The world tilts up and down, whirling me until the little cart breaks and goes flying through the cotton candy stands and into the parking lot. A hand grasps the flashlight, pulling it off the floor, and turning the world dark. Footsteps crunch over the carpet. The soles are heavy, not practiced and light, so it’s not a hunter. I’m hearing through a tunnel now, so maybe I don’t know. The world is all neon lights and animal stench. Someone speaks, and I think it’s a man, but I can’t understand him. The voice is stretched like it’s in slow motion. The footsteps come near me. A man leans down, and I look up into the face of a jackal.
When I lurch awake like a car with no brakes skidding on ice, I see a monster’s face―the jackal. It slips away, turning into the face of all the monsters I’ve hunted. But that’s a hallucination, and I slip back into nothingness. He’s carrying me―it feels like floating. The rain pours over him while he changes back to a man, but it smells like alcohol and the bitter sting of antiseptic.
And lastly, a bit about the author herself:
H.D. Lynn is like Harry Potter in one way: she’s currently renting an apartment with a bedroom under her building’s stairs. Other than this, she explores fantasy worlds through storytelling like anyone else. She loves books with a mix of humor, adventure, and horror, and especially enjoys the urban fantasy genre. GOD’S PLAY is her first published novel.
When not writing, she enjoys hiking, climbing, and running. She’s a voracious reader, and has found listening to audiobooks while backpacking to be a perfect mix of two of her favorite things. She currently lives in Connecticut, but finds herself on the road often.