For three years, the province of Gévaudan, France has lived under the terrifying reign of the Beast. The death count continues to rise.
It is into this Beast's woods that Constance throws herself, desperate for escape from a life she finds more horrifying than the thought of her province's monster. What she does not expect to find is a man.
Tristan, the half-masked noble from a neighboring province, is one of many young men come to hunt the creature. The last thing he expects to find is the beautiful Constance, but find her he does.
Can two wounded souls overcome the pain of the past and the trials of the present to find one another, amid a time of terror and blood?
17 May 1767 ~ Gévaudan, France
The young woman rushed into the forest. Fingers of shadow grabbed at her fine dress and twigs clung desperately to her hair, hoping its shimmer might help them bloom after the oppressive, long winter. She ignored both, fleeing the sun for the welcoming unknown in the thick trees of Mont Mouchet.
She wondered if anyone would miss her at home before it was too late. Would they come looking for her? She doubted they would even find her if they did. This mountain was infamous for its mystery and the way a person, or beast, could lose themselves in it forever if they wanted to. At least, that's what she was counting on.
Cloth ripped and pieces of underskirt abandoned her as holes appeared in satin. Chestnut brown curls broke free and leapt to their death from the pile at the top of her head, only to discover they were stuck in place and could do nothing more than hang limply along with the rest. She ignored all of it, because it didn't matter anymore. Or it wouldn't, if she was successful.
Constance Marie de Marin stumbled into a clearing that the tree line had hidden from her until she found herself in the middle of it on her hands and knees. It might as well be here. It wasn't like there would be a sign marked for what she sought, or anyone she could ask. She was on her own, just like she had always been and always would be.
"Please," she shouted at the trees. Her aunt would be ashamed to hear the unladylike tone, but being ladylike wouldn't get her anywhere now. It hadn't gotten her anywhere before. "I know you're out there. Everyone knows that you're out there! You kill women and children when they dare to enter your land. You love this mountain. I have heard them talking about you and this place." She paused. "I listen to them all when they talk and I know that this is your favorite place. I'm deep in your woods."
Wiping her nose with the back of her hand, she pushed herself to her feet. Her chest felt so tight that it drew the rest of her body inward. Her heart thundered. "I know that you must be out there. I am a woman alone in your forest! Please! Come kill me!"
Mia Darien has lived in New England all of her life and knows that no matter where she goes from here, New England is always going to live in her. Presently, she still lives in the land of snow and fast talkers, with her husband, her son and her pets. She writes a bit of everything genre fiction (horror, romance, mystery, fantasy and science fiction) and thinks it sounds like an odd joke: a unicorn, a space monster, and a pair of zombie lovers walk into a murder investigation…
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Author Site: http://www.miadarien.com