- By Julia Sykes
- Editions: ebook & paperback
- Published: March 29th 2013
- Genre: Adult, Dark Romance / Erotica
- In a Flutter: Gripping!
My life was irrevocably changed that night.
The night I was taken.
I saved a man’s life, but at what cost to myself?
Can I convince him to save me in return?
I hate him for what he’s done to me. But the longer I’m trapped with him, the harder it is to cling to that hatred.
He is an enigma of a man, one who is shockingly arrogant, sweetly contrite, and frighteningly aggressive by turns.
And the pain in his eyes is a mirror for my own.
The longer I remain in his grip, the more confused I become.
Is my freedom worth betraying him?
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Coiled tight from my tense situation, I jumped slightly at the sound of Sean patting the bed beside me.
“Sit down, doc,” he ordered lazily.
I glared at him. I had spent enough time on that bed beside the disturbingly handsome man already. “I’d rather not,” I said drily. “And I thought I told you to call me Dr. Ellers.”
His expression froze for a moment, as though taken aback by my gumption. Then his grin widened. “Sit down, Claudia,” he re-phrased, addressing me slightly more respectfully. But it still wasn’t a question; it wasn’t enough for me. Fighting the temptation to be charmed by his heart-melting smile, I held my glare.
He blinked once, then chuckled, a deep, rumbling noise. “Suit yourself,” he shrugged. But he stopped quickly, cut off by a wince as the movement jarred his injury.
“You should try to avoid sudden movements,” I advised.
He grimaced at me, his dark eyes full of pain. “No shit, doc,” he ground out through gritted teeth.
I frowned back at him, piercing him with a sharp glare.
After a moment, he rolled his eyes. “No shit, Claudia,” he corrected. Then he yawned widely. “Your antagonism is wearing me out. That can’t be good for my health,” he accused, but there was a lightness in his tone that suggested he still found me amusing.
“That’s the oxycodone,” I said, trying to suppress a small smile. Despite everything, his easy humor was catching; his levity in the face of intense pain seemed to infect me. “You should rest more,” I said kindly.
“You’re a lot bossier than most of the women I find handcuffed to my bed, you know,” he said. He patted the bed beside him again. “Now sit down. Watching you stand there all tense is making me tired.”
“You should be tired,” I reiterated, but I found my knees folding as though of their own accord. Still, I was careful to position my body as far from Sean as possible, practically perching on the edge of the bed.
It didn’t escape his notice, and his eyes were mocking as he spoke. “I won’t bite you, you know.” Then his grin turned wolfish. “Not unless you want me to, that is. I’d be quite happy -”
“Not in a million years,” I said, cutting him off sharply. While his flirtatious insinuation didn’t set off the internal alarm bells it probably should have, I wasn’t about to establish a precedent for letting sexual innuendos slide. The very thought was disgusting given my situation. “Now, before you go off into some drug-induced lucid fantasy, let’s get something straight: You are not to touch me in any way. You may think your eighth-grade flirting is cute, but it’s pretty fucked up considering that the only reason I’m in your bedroom is that you won’t allow me to leave. So whatever your perverted little mind is imagining, don’t let your fantasy include me as a willing participant.”
The predatory grin was gone from his face as though I had slapped it away. His expression darkened, the lines of his face drawing downwards. He suddenly couldn’t seem to meet my eye. “Claudia, I….”
“You what, Sean?” I asked angrily, hurling his name out like a curse.
“I’m sorry,” he said finally, looking up at me through his long, dark lashes. “I’m sorry I can’t let you leave.”
“But you can,” I said, desperation coloring my tone. “I promise I won’t tell -”
“You just can’t, Claudia!” He said harshly, his eyes snapping up to burn into mine. They were ablaze with an anger so intense that I scooted away from him as far as I could without falling off the bed. The man before me was so different from the flirty, arrogant boy I had seen only moments earlier; this man gave off an aura of power that threatened to overwhelm me. It frightened me almost as much as Bradley’s gun.
But I refused to show how intimidated I was. Summoning up all of my courage, I met his furious gaze. “You should get some rest,” I said coldly.
His fierce expression melted into something almost contrite. “Claudia…” He trailed off, not finishing whatever it was that he was going to tell me. He looked frustrated and a little lost.
Most of my frostiness ebbed in the wake of that small show of vulnerability. Sean truly seemed to regret the fact that he was holding me prisoner. I broke from his gaze, suddenly uncomfortable with the emotional intensity of what was passing between us
Q&A with Julia Sykes
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
Dark-lite. Can I make that one word? I’m making it a word.
2. What would you say inspired you to write it?
I was watching an episode of Castle called “Anatomy of a Murder,” in which a doctor who was in love with a drug lord is killed. I wondered: How does that happen? What was their love story? Monster unfolded in my mind over the next few hours.
3. Your all time favorite book?
Oh, don’t do this to me! Hmmm I think I’ll have to go with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
4. What made you pick that one above all others?
The darkness of the book really resonated with me. I read it when I was twelve, and all of a sudden my happy, magical world became a very dangerous place, with very real consequences. In the last few years, I became fascinated with the idea of playing with that sense of darkness and danger in an unexpected genre. I like pushing the envelope in what is considered an “acceptable” level of violence in Romance.
5. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
Definitely my latest book, Rogue (An Impossible Novel). I set it aside to start another project and then again later to write a novella. It’s taken about five months to finish. I love the story, but it’s not nearly as dark as my other books. I think that’s why I struggled. It was hard to transition to something as lighthearted as drug wars and deception. There’s actually some humor in this one!
6. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
It has completely changed my whole life! I was working on getting my PhD in Roman Archaeology when I first self-published. Then I started writing Romance more often than my thesis, and I finally said goodbye to my lifelong goal to be a professor. It was scary and a bit heartbreaking, but I wouldn’t change my decision for the world.
7. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series?
I am so glad you asked this! Yes, Monster is part of the Impossible Series. The series order is actually quite confusing, because it started as the serial that tells Sean and Claudia’s story in Monster, Traitor, and Avenger. Then one of my characters wanted his own HEA (I won’t say who to avoid spoilers), so he got his own novel. He had a bunch of friends, and they demanded their HEAs as well. Now there are three novels and a novella in addition to Impossible: The Original Trilogy (Monster, Traitor, and Avenger), and I have seven more books planned in the series. Hopefully it will continue on indefinitely as I meet new characters. All of the stories can stand alone, but if you want to read them “in order,” it goes like this:
Impossible: The Original Trilogy (Monster, Traitor, and Avenger)
Savior (An Impossible Novel)
Knight (An Impossible Novel)
Mentor (An Impossible Novella)
Rogue (An Impossible Novel)
8. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?
Other than the Impossible books, I’m developing another set of serialized novellas (with cliffhangers, please don’t hate me). This will involve the CIA instead of the FBI, as well as intrigue involving the Chechen Mafia and illegal arms dealing. And there will be plenty of BDSM, of course.
9. Where is your work being distributed, Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, AllRomanceEbooks/Omnilit, some other distributor? How did you decide which one(s) to go with?
My books are available on Amazon, B&N, kobo, Smashwords, and iTunes. I started with Amazon exclusively, and then slowly added other sales channels as I worked my way through understanding the indie world. I’m currently working on making my books available through Google Play.
10. If you could turn back in time and do things differently, would you? What would you change?
I would definitely have communicated with other indie authors before publishing. The wealth of knowledge shared by indies is just incredible. For a while, I felt like I was on a little writing island by myself. Then I attended the Indie Romance Convention in 2013, and it totally changed my writing and marketing process. I learned so much from so many amazing authors. It was a great experience.
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
To own my dream Mini Cooper. I’ve wanted one since I was fifteen.
2. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
Oh, man! I guess I would have to glue all of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books together. That would give me several thousand pages of rich characters, violence, deaths, romance, and political intrigue to read again and again. Although it would be nice if the series was finished before I was stranded. Not knowing the end would kill me!
3. Name your favorite fruit.
Pears. The soft ones.
4. Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Definitely coffee.
5. Favorite season?
6. How about favorite time of the day?
Three o’clock in the afternoon. There’s still enough time in the day to get plenty of writing done. It is a time full of promise, and I don’t have to panic until four!
7. Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
8. Favorite food for breakfast?
9. Latest book you’ve bought and read?
Their Virgin Secretary by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake
10. Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
I collect ancient Roman coins. I’m not really sure what to do with them, but I can’t seem to resist them. I’m a bad archaeologist for buying antiquities, but I love holding something that connects me with the past.
11. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
Blue. No, yellow! Aaarrrghhhh! (Sorry for the obscure reference. I couldn’t resist.)
12. Drama or comedy?
13. Have a fav quote or personal motto?
“Of course this is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” –Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
14. Cats or dogs?
Cats. Hands down.
15. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Dinner by candlelight
16. Favorite swear word?
Fuck. It can be used in so many contexts.
About the Author
Julia Sykes has always kept dark stories tucked away in her mind, so she was thrilled when she discovered that other people actually want to read them. Her books blend romance, suspense, and BDSM.
After spending four years living in England, Julia returned to her Southern homeland. She has recently settled down in North Carolina and spends her time petting her cat-children, reading, and binge watching TV with her husband when not writing. You can usually find Julia in Starbucks with a venti iced caramel latte clutched in her hand.
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