Look at that! It’s #TeaserTuesday again and I have ‘Tragic Beauty’ a delicious dark romance for all of you from Iris Ann Hunter, a new-to-me dark romance author, that apparently a TON of my readers are already in love with! Do I have your attention? I hope so, lovelies! Trust me, if you’re not already interested you will be after this excerpt from her debut release…
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One beauty. Two beasts.
The one who owns her. And the one who wants her.
I was sixteen when I made the deal.
When I put my fate in the hands of Shayne McAllister, a man determined to break me.
A man with black eyes and a blacker heart, who’s been obsessed with me since we were kids.
And now that my father has passed, he’s coming to collect his debt.
But before I become his, I see a chance to make a choice for myself, and I take it.
I slip away, for one night.
One dark, stormy night that goes horribly wrong.
Until a stranger crosses my path.
An angry stranger, with a harsh voice and menacing eyes, who grants me one night.
One messed up, beautiful night, that changes everything, and spares no one.
Because the stranger wants more.
More than just one night.
He wants me.
What follows, is darkness.
A darkness where secrets will be revealed, blood will be shed, and sacrifices made.
My name is Ava, and this is my story.
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I’ve been walking maybe ten minutes when headlights approach, going fast. Really fast. I step as far over onto the shoulder as I can, hunched against the cold and the rain while the lights close in. The car whizzes by me, easily going over a hundred. I feel the spray of water and grime soak my legs, but I’m too numb to care. I start walking again when I hear the screeching of brakes. I turn and see the car fishtailing in the rain. It stops and reverse lights come on, then it’s backing up, fast. I look quickly to the left for any oncoming cars, but the freeway is empty. The car passes me and maneuvers onto the shoulder, stopping right in front of me.
The headlights are so bright I have to lift my arm to shield my eyes. The car just sits there, idling, black and sleek, the tinted windows masking whoever’s inside. It’s one of those new muscle cars, but it looks custom, and mean, and sounds even meaner. Heavy metal music blasts from inside and seeps into the night, mixing with the sound of the rain as it pounds on the car.
I stand frozen, not sure what to do, the fear still in me from the last time I came across a man on the side of the road. The longer the car sits there, rumbling, the more that fear wants to get a hold of me. I think of making a run for it, but then the music cuts and the door opens. A dark figure emerges, but I can’t see anything more than the outline of a body, the rain and lights choking my vision.
“What the hell are you doing out here?” a deep, angry voice shouts.
I shrink back when I hear the tinge of a beast. I’m already moving backwards when he slams the door, his car still idling, and storms towards me.
“I asked what the hell are you doing out here?”
He’s in front of me now, the fear so strong I can’t move, because through the glare of lights I can see he’s a big man, tall, with wide shoulders. Not a man I can likely get away from. I blink when I see what he’s wearing—a tuxedo. I’ve never seen a man in a tuxedo before.
Then I see a whisper of something else. Something that not even the shadows can hide. I see it in the hard line of his jaw, in the glint of his angry eyes. He’s handsome. The kind of handsome that has me staring, like I’m under some kind of spell.
He narrows his gaze, running it up and down my body, like he can’t figure out who or what I am. “What’s the matter, you fucking deaf?”
The spell is broken and I take a step back, but glare at him. “My car broke down.”
“Fuck,” he swears, running a hand through is soaked hair. “You’re supposed to stay in the car. Call a tow truck. Not fucking walk on the side of the freeway, at night, dressed like a—”
He waves his hand at my clothes and I hug myself tighter. My dress is so short, you can barely even see it. Yeah. I know what I look like. That had been the whole point.
“Don’t you have a cell phone?” he asks.
I shake my head.
“You don’t have a—?” His mouth hangs open and he mutters something about his own cell being dead. “Jesus. Tonight of all fucking nights.”
He spins and marches to his car. “Get in!” he snaps over his shoulder.
I do nothing but stand there.
He turns around. “I said get in! I don’t have time for this shit.”
I ball my hands into fists and storm past his stupid fancy car. Through the heavy pounding of rain I hear a loud string of cursing behind me, but I keep moving, more determined than ever. Still, I can’t help the fresh tears that begin to fall.
Then he’s there, striding past me, blocking me.
“Go away!” I choke, my body shaking so hard I think I might fall.
The stranger stands there for a moment, our faces merely shadows in the dark. “Look, I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life, but I’m not about to add leaving a woman stranded in the rain on the side of the freeway, to the list. Now please, I’m asking nicely. Get in the goddamn car.”
Something in the way his voice has softened calms me down. I stare past him at the darkness that waits, then turn back to him, doing my best to size him up when all I can see is his outline. He isn’t happy at having to stop for me, so probably doesn’t have abduction or something worse on his mind. And there’s something in his voice…something I want to trust.
So I turn back. When I get to his car, he’s already opening the door for me. The dome light comes on and I notice the finely stitched, black leather seats. I look down at my wet clothes and hesitate.
“In,” he snaps.
I sink into the leather and he closes the door. Seconds later, he’s sliding into the driver’s seat. It feels intimate, nothing but the lights of the dash illuminating the interior. It smells of new car and expensive cologne. I hear him breathing, as though he’s trying to control it, slow it down. I force back the tears and sit quietly, shaking. He must notice, because he reaches over and turns on the heater.
“Where to?” he asks.
I look down at my hands. “I’m…not sure. I’m not from around here.” My voice is so small I wonder if he heard it, but I know he did, because his hand shoots to his forehead and rubs at his temple.
“The nearest gas station,” I say quickly, the only thing I can think of.
Without a word, he checks the side mirror and pulls on to the road. Moments later we breeze past the Lexus.
“That it?” he asks.
We drive in silence while I stare out the window, catching glimpses of a stormy ocean as it blurs by. “I’m sorry,” I say.
I look over at his tux—his drenched tux.
He looks down at his clothes and shrugs.
“And now you’re late,” I say, knowing he probably had somewhere to go, all dressed up like that and as mad as he was at having to stop for me.
“Worse things have happened.”
I turn back to the window, watching the rain streak across the glass.
“Where are you from?” he asks.
“A little ways north.”
I catch his gaze drift to my legs, almost obscene beneath the jacket. “Where were you headed?”
The implications of what he asks aren’t hard to miss. Dressed like that, is what he meant to add.
“Doesn’t matter now.”
Thankfully, he doesn’t press. The rest of the drive is quiet. Eventually, lights come into view and he takes an exit, where a rickety looking gas station sits at the end of the off-ramp. There’s nothing else in sight. It’s the very outskirts of Goleta, a northern suburb of Santa Barbara, and still mostly surrounded by open space.
He pulls in, the smooth low rumble of the engine purring as he brings the car to a stop beneath the overhang and out of the rain.
I’m surprised the place is closed, but when I glance to the clock on the dash, I see it’s a little after nine. He glances that way too, and I can tell by the pressing of his lips that he’s indeed late after all.
“There’s a pay phone on the side,” he says.
I nod and reach for my purse, then turn to him. The lights of the station illuminate the car and I can see his face more clearly now. I see a man maybe in his thirties, with sharp green eyes that linger on me quietly. Stubble darkens his jaw—a jaw that clenches tighter and tighter, the longer I look at him. But I keep looking, because I can’t stop. My eyes graze over soft lips and a scar along his left cheekbone and another over his right eyebrow. His hair is black, wet and slicked back, with a few strands hanging over his temple. That’s when I realize, he’s not just handsome, he’s beautiful. And for some reason, he seems familiar, like I’ve seen him before, but I can’t place it.
I watch him study me in return, his eyes lingering on my face, then darkening as they drift down my legs, then back up again. I can only imagine what I look like, with long wet hair plastered to my head and mascara trailing down my face. Even so, there’s a shift in his gaze, a subtle flaring of the nostril. The silence in the car becomes deafening.
“Thank you,” I whisper, unable to bear the quiet.
“You going to be alright?” he asks, his voice deeper than before. “You have someone to call?”
I nod and open the door, the cold wrapping its grip around me once more. After I shut the door and step back, the car lingers for a moment, then slowly pulls away until the tail lights disappear from view with a rev of the engine and a squeal of the tires. I hug my jacket tight and walk into the rain and over to the pay phone. I’m just about to reach for the handle when I see the little, white, slip of paper.
Out of order.
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Intriguing, right?! I’m so curious what happens next, especially after people in my reader group freaked out about how much they loved it! The warning about a DARK contemporary romance with scenes some may find disturbing from the Amazon page is always pretty much a sign that I need to read it. Maybe for you too? Definitely time to check out this chick!
AMAZON: 1-CLICK NOW!
Official Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIqQz59AwUQ&t=2s
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Want more of Iris Ann Hunter?
Iris Ann Hunter grew up with a love of books and a passion for writing, but it wasn’t until later in life, after working as a horse trainer, truck driver, and graphic designer, that she decided to pursue her dream to be a writer. Drawn towards the tortured, sometimes brutal side of human nature, she writes dark, twisted romance that explores the shadowy side of love and lust. Iris lives with her longtime lover in a seaside town along the Southern California coast. Tragic Beauty is her debut novel.
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