I must confess I'm a huge fan of Ash's books. Her ability to write humor amazes me. She has a new release out and I'm excited to brag about it for her. Can't wait to read Strange Neighbors!
When star pitcher and shapeshifter Jason Falco buys a small apartment building, he sees it not only as an investment but as a place to escape the demands of major league baseball. That is, until he meets his tenants--a sarcastic unemployed vigilante vampire; a wereraven with a morbid sense of humor; a werewolf thief who sells security systems; and two witches with an owl who work as phone sex actresses. Not to mention a beautiful, all too human nurse. But with all the hooting, howling, and hollering going on, how's an all-American shapershifter supposed to sweep a girl off her feet?
Strange Neighbors, PG-13 Excerpt.
Strolling away from her car with competing thoughts swirling through her brain, she fumbled in the dark for her back-door key. Suddenly, her feet went out from under her and she found herself hurled to the ground and pinned by some foul-smelling brute. A moment later she realized she had hit hard pavement with her head.
Unable to find her voice right away, or even process what had happened, she lay there, dumbstruck. The moon reflected a glint of metal nearing her face.
“Shhh… Don’t scream and I won’t hurt you—much.” Maniacal laughter followed. A hand fumbled with the buttons on her coat.
Oh my God. What is it they tell you to do in case of rape? Oh, yeah, scream!
Merry inhaled deeply and let out a blood curdling scream. She didn’t even recognize the voice as hers. Suddenly her throat tightened and she recognized another threat—her asthma.
She remembered being told to fight but not struggle. They liked it when a woman struggled. Gouge out his eyes! Punch his nose up into his brains. Fight like your life depends on it.
As she tried and failed to get near the bastard’s face, her assailant grabbed her wrists in one hand and pressed the sharp knife to her neck with the other.
He hissed, “Shut up! I told you to shut up!”
She pushed his arm away from her and freed one hand. Grabbing anything else she could get a hold of, she tried to yank him off of her.
His jeans must have hung low on his hips, because she grabbed onto the waistband of his underwear. Riiiiiip.
The perp yelped. His eyes flashed in horror and she realized she had just given him a world-class wedgie.
Dear God, I’m going to die. I’m going to be raped and killed in a back alley on my first night as an independent adult. I’m never going to fall in love, get married, hug my children, or live in a McMansion.
The knife pressed into her flesh, and the warm trickle down her neck meant he had pierced the skin. Should she scream again? Would he just kill her and leave her rather than rape her? Or would he, ewww, kill her first, then rape her? Oh, my freakin’ God!
As she contemplated what would be the lesser of all possible evils, the man flew off of her and landed a few feet away. At first, she didn’t see anyone else.
When she blinked, two shadowy figures stood over the gasping pervert. One of them clamped his boot on the would-be rapist’s neck and pointed a gun at his face. The other one hurried over to Merry and helped her up.
“Thank you. Both of you. You saved my life!” The man holding her elbow seemed preoccupied with her neck. Awareness rolled over her. She recognized the dark-haired man who had been leaning against the wrought iron fence, watching her move in. Again, he wore all black, but the concern on his face completely changed his ominous air. His dark chocolate eyes were warm and almond shaped, much like her own.
“He missed your carotid artery. You’ll be okay.”
Merry touched her neck. Thankfully, his diagnosis seemed true. Blood simply trickled from the wound, it didn’t gush.
“I saw you yesterday,” she said. “Do you live in this building?”
“Nearby,” he said, then he turned his attention to the other man, a tall blond with broad shoulders—also dressed in black. “Konrad, here, is one of your neighbors. Hey,” he called to the tall blond with the massive shoulders, “leave him to me and take her inside.”
“Good idea, Sly,” the striking Viking said. His white teeth glistened as a grin spread across his face. His canines seemed larger and more pronounced than in most men. Light facial hair and a short goatee softened his jawline. He had heavy brows of the same color. His ears were slightly pointed and poked though his almost waist-length hair.
The dark-haired man called Sly moved with lightning speed, holding down the assailant.
The guy protested, vehemently. “No, please! I’ll do anything you ask. Just let me go.”
The blond Konrad changed places with Sly and escorted Merry to the back door. She glided along beside him, numb, as if in a dream.
As soon as she had ascended the concrete steps, before she stepped through the door that Konrad held open for her, she turned and caught only a glimpse of the scene she had left behind. Sly knelt beside the stranger and leaned over by his head. Konrad placed his hand on her lower back and hurried her in, closing the door on a male scream that emanated from the dark alley.
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