Welcome to Dark Bites newest – and first – Thirsty Thursday event in which a free sampler from your favorite author’s newest book is shared for your enjoyment.
Special thanks to Jeff Strand, the funniest scary guy writing today for providing this teaser from his latest offering, My Pretties.
Without further adieu, pull up a stool, grab a drink and enjoy your free sample. There’s more where this came.
A serial kidnapper is preying upon women. He abducts them, then locks them in one of the cages dangling from the ceiling in a soundproofed basement. There, he sits quietly and just watches them, returning night after night, hoping he’ll be in the room at the moment his beautiful captives finally starve to death.
Charlene and Gertie have become fast friends at the restaurant where they work. But Charlene is concerned when she hears how her co-worker spends her evenings: Gertie’s cousin is one of the missing, and Gertie wanders the city streets where many of the abductions took place, using herself as bait with a high-voltage stun gun in her pocket. Charlene reluctantly offers to trail her in a car, just in case she does lure the kidnapper and things go wrong.
Unfortunately, the women find themselves the source of unwanted fame. And now they’re on the radar of a very, very dangerous man…
A Free Sample from MY PRETTIES by Jeff Strand
Olivia opened her eyes.
She was swaying back and forth.
Not from being drugged. She was in a cage suspended several feet above a cement floor, with her legs dangling free. There was almost no room to move—at her heaviest weight a few years ago, she probably wouldn’t have fit in here. The top of the cage pressed against the top of her head. Her shoulders touched the sides.
She could turn her head. When she did, she saw that the windowless room contained a dozen cages, four rows of three, hanging by thick chains from the ceiling. More than half of the cages were occupied.
A wooden chair and a stepladder were in the far corner, next to a door.
The woman in the cage next to her was pale. Emaciated. Her eyes were open and she was looking at Olivia, but it was unclear if she was actually seeing her.
The other women—and they were all women—appeared to be dead. Three of them were dead without question. The other two might have been unconscious, but probably weren’t. All of them were nightmarishly thin. Almost skeletal. One was literally skeletal.
The smell of rot was so overpowering that she had a coughing fit that lasted for almost a minute.
When she stopped coughing, Olivia screamed and screamed.
Then she forced herself to shut the hell up and take stock of the situation. Greg wasn’t in the room. She could escape. Her mind was still fuzzy, but there had to be way out of this. One that all of those other doomed women had overlooked.
“Don’t,” said the woman in the cage next to her. Her voice was a weak rasp.
The woman blinked twice, hard, as if to focus. “Scream. It hurts my ears.”
“Where are we?”
“Does it matter? Wait it out. It’s not as bad once you stop feeling anything.”
Olivia began to swing her feet. The cage rocked along with her.
“We’ve tried that. Tried all of that. Tried everything.”
“Well, I’m not going to just sit here.”
“Yes, you will. That’s all you’ll do. Sit here. He’ll give you water. But no food. Never any food. Soon we’ll be like the others.”
“They all starved to death?”
“I think he got mad at the first one. That’s what I heard. I wasn’t here yet. The rest starved.”
“We can escape,” Olivia insisted. “If we work together, we can get out of this. There has to be a way.”
The woman smiled. “You’re cute.”
“I’m not giving up.”
“When will he be back?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
Olivia’s cage swung back and forth, missing the woman’s by inches. They’d probably been specifically spaced out so that they wouldn’t collide. And she couldn’t imagine that the setup would be so flimsy that she could yank the cage out of the ceiling by swinging it, but she had to try something. She couldn’t just sit here and die.
The cage did not pop free from the ceiling.
After a while she quit swinging.
Then she went back to screaming.
Of course the room was soundproofed. The other women would’ve thought to shout for help. She was wasting energy.
Her legs were dangling free. When Greg returned, she could lure him close to her, then kick him in the face. Break his nose.
That wouldn’t do any good, though. She’d still be trapped in the cage.
She could talk to him. Reason with him. Convince him that she’d never tell anybody, not a soul. She didn’t know what the other women had said to him. Maybe she could say something different. Something that would change his mind.
She screamed some more.
“You’re hurting my ears,” said the other woman, when Olivia finally stopped.
“There has to be a way out of this.”
“You’ll stop believing that. When he comes back, he’ll sit in a chair and watch us. Just watch us. Quietly watch us starve.”
What people are saying about My Pretties:
# Despite the title, there is nothing Oz-like or magical about MY PRETTIES. The only monsters here are humans. This is a Despite the title, there is nothing Oz-like or magical about MY PRETTIES. The only monsters here are humans. This is a crime thriller as well as a horror novel. Jeff Strand’s trademark humor comes through in the dialogue between characters, but overall this is one of Strand’s darkest and most disturbing novels. Don’t start reading this at bedtime; there are several unexpected plot twists that will keep you reading late into the night.crime thriller as well as a horror novel. Jeff Strand’s trademark humor comes through in the dialogue between characters, but overall this is one of Strand’s darkest and most disturbing novels. Don’t start reading this at bedtime; there are several unexpected plot twists that will keep you reading late into the night. #
# My Pretties is a fast-paced novel filled with twists that get more twisted as you reach the climax. What starts out as a story about two young but naive women trying to lure a serial kidnapper into their trap quickly transforms into the grim and sometimes darkly comic tale. My Pretties is a fast-paced novel filled with twists that get more twisted as you reach the climax. What starts out as a story about two young but naive women trying to lure a serial kidnapper into their trap quickly transforms into the grim and sometimes darkly comic tale of a sick man coping with the surprising issues that interfere with the enjoyment of his crimes. In My Pretties, author Jeff Strand shines the spotlight on his villain more so than his female heroines and delivers one of the most original and suspenseful horror releases of 2019.
# One of Jeff Strand’s best if not his best book to date. Very dark,brutal and with plenty of twist. All with Strand’s sense of humor. #
To read MY PRETTIES in it’s unsettling entirety click HERE if you dare to order a copy in your preferred format.