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Lash
The Lash Series: Book One
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-066-1
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 249 Pages
Published: February 2013



From inside the flap

Scarred from a childhood spent in perpetual indigence after being forced from their home in the Everglades, weresnake Trystan Valeras and his family make their way to the Case Hotel. When his wealthy gangster father arrives the summer he turns sixteen, Trystan’s dream of a better life, along with the lovely aristocrat Mara, is suddenly within his grasp. Instead of paradise, a series of devastating events unfold, leading Trystan to become the instrument of his dying father’s revenge. His violent reprisal instigates a backlash of murder and death, forcing Trystan to flee with the remains of his family to the sultry city of New Orleans where he sells himself into the service of the Vampire Lord Abraham. Becoming the assassin Lash to hide his identity, Trystan finds a measure of peace, even as his skill with killing heightens, bringing to him not only new allies, but also new adversaries.

Reviews and Awards

"There are some books you just find yourself sliding easily into and others that it’s a struggle to make it past the first chapter. Lash by Tara Fox Hall was for me an exercise in perseverance, and I was glad that I’d stuck it out...Ms. Fox Hall created perfection with imperfection; Trystan/Lash may have seemed flawed, his morals questionable at times, but his core being was filled to the brim with love for those he let down his walls enough to care for...Rarely have I come across a character that was such a mix of conflicting emotions, I thought it made the plot more believable, layered and complex...If you’re a paranormal fan that doesn’t mind some gore and loving in their reading, you’ll find Lash by Tara Fox Hall"--Two Lips Review

"...part supernatural La Cosa Nostra and part Greek tragedy...There are memorable characters throughout Lash...Lash is an excellent anti-hero and I look forward to joining him again in Shadow Man."--Manic Readers Review

To say this is a good book is like calling the Taj Mahal a pretty building. Beyond the supernatural legends lies a paranormal version of the American Dream: the poor boy from the sticks escaping the circumstances of his birth by using his wits and abilities to become a deadly force in his chosen profession...Lash is a paranormal Scarface—one can see a definite parallel between Tony Montana and the protagonist here, Trystan Valeras.--review, New York Journal of Books, http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/review/lash

“. . . Lash is a paranormal Scarface—one can see a definite parallel between Tony Montana and the protagonist here, Trystan Valeras . . .”

New York Journal of Books

Scarred from a childhood spent in constant indigence, teen years infused with ill-gotten affluence as the son of an influential criminal, and finally into adulthood rife with complications—weresnake Trystan Valeras is hardened into the titular Lash: a whip-wielding killer with a talent for violence and a thirst for vengeance.

Night Owl Suspense

Lash (Excerpt)


PROLOGUE

"Lash, no, please-"

I slid my well-used survival knife deftly into the mark’s heart, his familiar gasp of surprise instantly gratifying. After a few more jerks, his body went limp in my arms. Withdrawing the knife smoothly, I lay the dead weight down across the stoop of his business. His employees would find it when they arrived for work the next morning.

Only one more thing to do.

Moving the coiled whip at my waist out of the way, I went to one knee to sever his head. The bastard rolled as I reached for him, going to all fours as his skin started rippling. A throaty growl issued from his mouth where fangs were rapidly erupting.

"Who’d have figured you for a goddamned shapeshifter?" I hissed, bracing myself for the lunge that was coming. "You’re a street thug, Ken-"

The black panther leapt, it’s still-shifting clawed hands more fingers than paws. Ken knocked me sprawling, kicking hard with his back feet, the nails shredding my shirt.

I shoved up and right with the knife. The cat let out a howl, then went for my throat.

I dropped the knife, and used both hands to keep those white fangs out of me, as I partly shifted, my own fangs forming fast. Spreading my lips wide, I bit down into Ken’s foreleg. He screamed and thrashed, trying to shake me loose, even as he changed form back to human. I held on tight, pumping the venom in as fast as I could.

Thirty seconds later, Ken went limp as his heart stopped.

Spitting the taste of wereblood out of my mouth, I quickly severed his head, placing it in his lap as my boss had instructed.

"Abraham told you to stop selling drugs in his territory," I hissed. "That you weren’t going to listen was a given. But who the hell turned you? There’re no werepanthers inside the city limits."

Ken didn’t answer.

I cleaned my knife blade on the remnants of his torn clothes. Why not? It’d already been amateur night here with me having to resort to my venom. Might as well move it up to total incompetence.

I walked off to my car, consoling myself that probably the cops wouldn’t notice poison residue mixed in with the victim’s blood when they had a headless, naked body to hush up. Even if they did, what I used was a common poison; something readily available at a dozen locations inside the city limits. In any case, the sky was lightening. My vampire boss would turn in for the day any minute now. Before he did, I had to get back and make my report.


***

"Ken’s dead. I left the body like you asked. Someone had turned him panther in the last week-unless you forgot to mention that when you asked me to kill him."

Abraham shook his head. "I didn’t know. Was that trouble?"

Yeah, he’s naked andheadless. "No."

He rubbed his eyes. "Good. We’ve had enough since the Crash. People all over the country are suffering. Hoover’s made a few speeches outlining some new government plans, but nothing’s come of them yet."

"New Orleans will survive." I bared a fang. "At least as long as you and I have anything to say about it."

"Get some sleep, Lash. I’ll need you to go back at first dark to find out who turned him, and to make sure that my message was heeded. "

"And if it wasn’t?"

"You know what to do."


***

I sat in my room later that morning, sipping some single malt. For the past month, I’d been having trouble sleeping. A few shots were usually enough to relax me, but this morning it wasn’t working.

It wasn’t the killing, I was used to that. It wasn’t the failing economy, those fucking human deadbeats peddling drugs, or even the vampires and weres I had to keep in line for Abraham.

My own bad memories were keeping me up.

I hadn’t always been an assassin. I’d been a bright young man poised for a successful future, maybe an exemplary one. I’d been going to get married.

Instead I’d become Lash.

I downed the rest of my shot and got into bed, placing my weapons on the nightstand within reach. Sleepless, I lay there remembering.