Thursday, September 17, 2015

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Devil’s Playground by Helena Shaw

 UFI welcomes Author Helena Shaw. Thanks for Joining us!!

“It’s finished!”

Those were words that I thought I’d scream with glee, but when the moment came, it was more of a whimper.

I’ve been working on the four book Night Hunters series for over just over a year, and with Devil’s Playground, the series has come to an end. I thought the moment I hit publish on the final book would be a time to celebrate, and while it was, I couldn’t help but notice the melancholy that filled me. 

For a year, I was on an adventure right alongside with Dawn and Jase. While they traveled, fought monsters, and made love, I was right there with them and held their hands through every step. Finishing their story was letting go of those hands and seeing them off into the world.

It’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a very good thing. Being able to share four novels of the Night Hunters series with readers is the best feeling I’ve ever known. Hearing from people that they enjoyed the story as much as I do is a great feeling and is what keeps me sitting down at my keyboard each and every day.

And with every end comes new beginnings. With Night Hunters finished, I have time to focus on my new novel, a lion-shifter romance I’ve entitled Pride, which will be out in early autumn. Starting a new story is just about as scary as ending an old one, but with that fear comes the most intoxicating excitement. It’s different from anything I’ve put out so far, and yet I’ve already grown so close to the hero and heroine the upcoming book. There’s a lot more of me in Rori than there is in Dawn, and with that comes its own set of opportunities and challenges.

But the biggest thing I’ve learned in finishing the Night Hunters series is that just because you’ve said it’s the end doesn’t mean that has to be a hard and fast rule. Dawn and Jase hold a special place in my heart, and with that means that there will always be an opportunity to tell more of their story one day.

Helena Shaw has been writing ever since she was a child. Always with a book in her hands, she started crafting her own stories at a young age. She has always loved the world of the paranormal and inspired by her favorite stories, she set out to create a world of her own.

Her first full length novel, Harvest Moon, was released in November, 2014 and she is currently hard at work on the sequel. She hopes to keep Dawn and Jase's story going for many years to come.

Helena Shaw resides in a small town in western Ontario. When she is not writing, she is taking care of her two boys and her husband.

Find Helena and her books

Devil's Playground
Night Hunters #4
She finally thought she was free.

Dawn Garrett has been on the run from her past since the day she turned eighteen. A new name, a new life, and a new love have kept her safe from the one man who will stop at nothing to get her back.

Together with Jase Byrnes, Dawn has stood up against werewolves, witches, vampires, and so much more. She’s learned to be a hunter and with Jase by her side, she’s finally found the strength she’s been looking for.

But the man she’s spent so long running from is hot on her trail and Dawn is out of places to hide. She’ll need to stand and face him, but she’s trapped in his playground and he’s got more tricks up his sleeve than she ever thought possible.
The snow showed no signs of slowing down as it whipped and whirled through Dawn’s hair. All her sweaters were gone, her makeshift scarf, her boots, everything.
And yet she wasn’t cold.
When she and Jase had gone out earlier, the snow had been so cold that it hurt, and it had been even worse when they got back to the hotel and her toes and fingers started to warm up again. The pain and itch had combined into pure agony and part of her wanted to bury them in the hotel’s ice bucket just to alleviate the pain, but in time it had begun to subside on its own.
Maybe I’m going numb, she wondered to herself as she marched through the snow. She’d read that was a sign of hypothermia. The body numbs itself to the cold and eventually you just go to sleep, but never wake up.
But she wasn’t tired. She was looking for something, and she couldn’t sleep until she found it.
She had no choice but to keep moving forward through the blowing wind. Each step was a struggle against the constant pressure of the gale, but she couldn’t stop.
It wasn’t until she reached the park that she realized that she was completely alone.
“Jase!” Dawn called. He’d been with her a moment ago, she could have sworn it, but now she was alone.
Entirely alone.
“Anyone?” Dawn screamed. No one was out in the freezing weather. The snow was too much, too wet and cold, and it just kept falling.
I have to find him, Dawn’s mind raced as she moved through the park. Panic surged through her and she kicked through the snow while it planted wet kisses with every flake that landed on her cheeks.
But the further she went, the less the snow behaved like normal. It changed, mutated, and when she looked up at the trees she saw they were no longer bowed and bent, but easily carrying the weight of their loads.
“No...” Dawn muttered as she spun. The wet snow turned to dry speckles of white ash and the wind was no longer cool on her face, but a hot blast of air.
The ash in the trees spread and grew, and without warning, it burst into red hot flames. Smoke filled the air and Dawn knew she had no choice but to run or risk getting swallowed by the fire.
It’s not real, she told herself as she ran. It can’t be real. It’s just a dream.
But it didn’t feel like a dream. The heat was real, the smoke in her lungs too. The hot blasts of air stung her eyes and everything was too clear.
Ahead, she saw what just might be her salvation. A subway entrance beckoned to her and she ran right for it.
Like the rest of the New York in her dream, she was alone when she got down the long flight of stone stairs. She’d hoped a train would be waiting, a train that would take her out of her dream and keep her safe, but she wouldn’t be so lucky.
As a teen, she’d loved the subway. The freedom it had given her that she hadn’t had in her small home in New Jersey. Without the need for a car, she could just get on the train and go anywhere she wanted to without a moment’s notice.
It would be her eighteenth birthday present to herself, or at least, that’s what she had decided. The moment she was legally an adult, she’d be gone and she’d keep running until he could never find her again.
Her plan had been to get some cash, get on the subway, and catch a train. With cash in hand, she’d be able to do it all easily enough. No one could trace the cash and she’d be out of the city before the sun rose.
It had all been worth it. The freedom she’d had on the road was better than the subway had ever offered her. It couldn’t even compare, and now she could only hope that this time, the train would actually lead her somewhere safe, rather than just looping around the city.
She knew she couldn’t stand there and wait for the train, not for long. Something was outside and it was coming for her. She couldn’t risk standing still and she needed to get moving or risk being caught.
With no train in sight, Dawn jumped down on the tracks. Even knowing it was a dream, she avoided the third rail and debated whether to go left or right.
Right, she decided. An old bit of trivia was what kept her from going left. Sinister, that was the old word for left, or at least that’s what she had heard. She couldn’t go the sinister way, it was just asking for trouble.
She hadn’t made it far when behind her she heard something. Even without turning around, she knew she was no longer alone. The soft sounds of scraping claws and heavy breath filled her ears and when she turned, all she saw were glowing yellow eyes.
Run, her mind screamed, and she did just that. There was no hesitation, no paralysis, only instinct as she began to run down the tunnel.

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