My favorite month (October!!!) is just around the corner, and today I’m sharing a look at my latest horror novella, Nightmare in the North. Think of it as a pre-Halloween treat!
Some of you may know me as a romance author, but I also write short horror fiction. I originally started out as a horror author, and nowadays I divide my time between the two genres.
Nightmare in the North is a cautionary tale about traveling alone in the winter and trusting strangers. In my last blog, I talked about the origin of this unsettling story. This week, I’m posting an excerpt from the opening.
NIGHTMARE IN THE NORTH
Stranded during a violent blizzard, Mark hikes to the only house nearby. George, a well-mannered University professor, welcomes Mark and gives him shelter from the storm.
By morning, Mark suspects that everything isn’t what it seems. George’s adult daughter, Kate, who also lives in the house, shares a disturbing and unsettling tale. When questioned, George insists that Kate has a psychological issue and can’t be trusted to tell the truth.
Mark quickly finds himself caught in a game of cat and mouse. Who should he believe? Is Kate’s desperate plea for help sincere? Should he be suspicious of George? Or are both of them plotting something together?
Isolated from everyone, Mark is forced to wait out the storm—and find a way to escape—if he hopes to make it out alive.
“You have reached Great Bear Lodge. In three hundred feet, turn right into the parking—”
“Are you kidding me?” Mark jabbed the power button on the navigation system, silencing it. The useless piece of sh*t had done nothing but get him lost.
For the last half hour he’d been listening to the robotic voice lead him deeper into the wilderness. He’d followed the GPS from one secondary road to another, and now he was lost in the backwoods of Nowhere, Vermont.
At least he thought he was still in Vermont. For all he knew, he could be in Canada. Then again, if he was at the border, at least there would be a sign and he could get directions from a Mountie.
He peered through the windshield, squinting into the wall of white. Fat snowflakes coated the car, and he couldn’t tell where the Camry’s hood ended and where the snow began. Who the hell rented a white car in winter? Nobody except him, obviously. He cursed and punched the steering wheel. This trip had turned into a disaster the second he’d crossed the Vermont state line.
The storm had started about four hours ago. At first it was only a few flakes, then more, and more. Then the wind kicked up, and before he knew it there was at least six inches of snow on the road. He had watched the outside thermometer drop from a balmy eight degrees to four, then two, until finally, it had settled at minus four.
There was nothing on either side of the snow-packed two lane road except more snow and a few scatterings of pine trees. He grumbled and kept driving at a whopping 10 miles an hour. He had no choice but to keep going. There was nowhere to turn around.
He probably should have stopped when he passed that house a few minutes ago. The driveway wasn’t plowed, but there was a light on, and he could have asked for directions. But the house might be empty. It was the middle of February. Didn’t most people up here spend the winter in Florida, or—
BAM! The loud bang snapped him from his thoughts and he yelped as the car started spinning. He took his foot off the gas and steered, twisting and turning the wheel as the car slid left, then right, then spun all the way around.
Everything happened in slow motion. A cluster of pine trees went past on the left, then the car rotated again and slid sideways on the road, spinning out of control. He spotted a pine tree three feet from the front end and jerked the wheel hard, shooting the car across the street toward a ditch. “Sh*t!” He hit the gas and cranked the wheel again.
After a few more spins and slides, the car finally stopped. He threw the gearshift into park and slumped over the steering wheel, listening to his heart hammering in his chest. Jesus, that was close. “I hate this state. I hate winter. I swear to God I’m never coming back here,” he whispered.
He took a deep breath and straightened up. It could have been worse, much worse. He could have slammed up against a tree or went flying sideways into the ditch. If he’d gone off the road there wouldn’t be help for hours, maybe even days. He’d freeze to death. Nobody would ever find a white car out here.
But what the hell happened? He’d heard a loud bang before he spun out. Did he hit something? He unhooked his seat belt and got out of the car. Icy air blasted him in the face as he pulled on his gloves and checked the driver’s side front tire. Great, just great. It was flat.
No, not flat. He leaned closer. The tire was… shredded. “What the hell?” He walked around to the passenger side and groaned. That tire was shredded too, right down to the rim. “Beautiful. What the frig did I hit?”
Find out how everything gets even worse for Mark in… Nightmare in the North. Order it here:
All other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/m2vqOk
I hope you’ll check it out. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss my other ebooks: Kropsy’s Curse and Dead Til Dawn.
Next month, my blog goes all things paranormal & horror. I’ll be posting about my paranormal romances and my spooky horror fiction!