When Elizabeth Ashton escapes her damaging city life and finds herself in the remote town of Hemlock Veils, Oregon, she is smitten by its quaint mystery; but the surrounding forest holds an enchantment she didn’t think existed, and worse, a most terrifying monster. The town claims it vicious and evil, but Elizabeth suspects something is amiss. Even with its enormous, hairy frame, gruesome claws, and knifelike teeth, the monster’s eyes speak to her: wolf-like and ringed with gold, yet holding an awareness that can only be human. That’s when Elizabeth knows she is the only one who can see the struggling soul trapped inside, the soul to which she is moved.
Secretly, Elizabeth befriends the beast at night, discovering there’s more to his story and that the rising of the sun transforms him into a human more complex than his beastly self. Elizabeth eventually learns that his curse is unlike any other and that a single murderous act is all that stands between him and his freedom. Though love is not enough to break his curse, it may be the only means by which the unimaginable can be done: sacrifice a beauty for the beast.
It's also important to note, I think, that this novel (an adult Urban Fantasy/light fantasy crossover with romantic elements, complete at 118,000 words) is a loose modern-day retelling of the classic fable, Beauty and the Beast. Though it works very well as a standalone novel (that's how it was originally written), it is being written into a 3 part series.
Every trace of Willem’s blood had been scrubbed away days before, but Elizabeth Ashton’s hands would never be clean. It caked the space beneath her otherwise spotless fingernails, imbedded there for life.
She drove northwest on Oregon’s U.S. Route 26, the cone of her only functional headlight attempting to cut through a fog whose density gave it the ominous appearance of a living, breathing being. It had hovered from the moment she passed through Warm Springs twenty-eight miles ago, like a protective shield that settled over the Indian Reservation—a conscious mind that was all too aware of what she’d done. Perhaps it was a warning. Perhaps it was an attempt to push her in the other direction, back to the place she wasn’t welcome anymore.
Cash fattened the worn corners of the manila envelope on the passenger seat. It screamed for her attention, but she didn’t look. She wouldn’t be able to see it in the dark anyway, even if she tried. It taunted her, its energy as blunt as the murderous smile of her brother’s killer. It belonged in the hands of its rightful owner, not on the hardened vinyl seats of her Saab. But if there was one thing Mr. Vanderzee was it was true to his word. If he said he would track every last cent to see that her end of the deal was met, somehow, he would.
At the moment the fog gave way like an unveiling curtain, rain pelted the windshield with a livid fury, the almost-midnight sky heaving its early April wrath.