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Escaping The Beast

A Darkhills Romance

Elizabeth Greene

Copyright © 2021 Elizabeth Greene

All rights reserved

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.

ISBN-13: 9781234567890

ISBN-10: 1477123456

Cover design by: Elizabeth Greene

Library of Congress Control Number: 2018675309

For my sister

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Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Epilogue

Acknowledgement

About The Author

Books In This Series

Chapter One

Katherine

Katherine peered anxiously through the windshield as the wipers frantically thwacked back and forth. She had never known rain like it, to call it heavy was a significant understatement. She cursed and not for the first time on the long journey, wished she had upgraded to a more substantial rental car. She had a little money saved up from her multiple jobs but she needed that to fund her studies. The car she had hired was an economy model and wasn’t coping too well with the bad weather. Huge pick-ups flew past her on the freeway, honking their horns and flashing their lights as they passed. Yes, she was driving a little slow but she would rather that than end up skidding off the unfamiliar roads.

She wouldn’t be bullied into going any faster. Her father could wait a little bit longer for her to get to him. She was turning up to help him out of yet another tight spot. He should be grateful that she was coming at all. His frantic phone call late last night had woken her from where she’d fallen asleep at her desk again. She’d been reluctant to speak to him after the last time she had to bail him out, but she couldn’t help but worry that he was in danger. Especially when he called at two in the morning and practically begged her to help him out. She had hired a car the next afternoon and had been driving into the forests and mountains for the past five hours. This was the last time she vowed. Never again would she settle his debts, or get him across a state border or give him an alibi.

Katherine sighed to herself. She had said the same thing the last time, and the time before that.

She passed a sign for Darkhills and inwardly cheered. She was nearly there. Her body ached from the long drive and she needed to re-fuel and give herself a break before heading further into the hills to the address her father had given her.

She pulled off the main highway and followed the gently winding dark road towards a small cluster of lights in the distance. It was a relief to be able to drive slower without getting abuse from her fellow drivers, the road was pretty deserted. She wondered if she’d taken the wrong turning but just as she thought about pulling over to check the directions on her phone, the town appeared around the next bend with a slightly worn looking ‘Welcome to Darkhills’ sign.

The rain eased as she drove through the main thoroughfare of the town. Katherine spied a gas station and quickly pulled in to fill up her tank. Experience had taught her that it was better to have a full tank of gas when collecting her father from any of his business meetings. It was often beneficial to be able to get them a long way away in the other direction without needing to stop.

Katherine asked the clerk if there was somewhere for her to grab something quick to eat and was directed to a bar further along the strip. She’d last eaten the night before. Since her father’s phone call she had spent all her time consumed with scouring her various textbooks for anything useful on contract law and what might be considered appropriate adaptations or extensions to terms and conditions. He had told her he was having trouble with a business deal and needed her help to re-negotiate some terms. She agreed to help him, glad that he wasn’t trying to palm her off for dates with creepy old men for a change.

As she pulled up into the small parking lot out the front of the bar, Katherine’s stomach rumbled loudly. Yup, it was time to eat. She would need her strength before facing her father and whomever he had fallen foul of this time. She grabbed her purse and climbed out of the car, hopping across the asphalt avoiding the puddles that shone with the light coming from the neon sign above the bar. She pushed the door open and immediately considered turning straight back out again.

A dozen or so eyes turned in her direction. The bar was quietly hosting the biggest, gruffest-looking men she had ever seen. And they eyed her with suspicion. She guessed that they didn’t get a lot of city folk go through their small town. She took in the dimly lit room, the jukebox playing some kind of country music, and the sheer amount of plaid shirts on display and suddenly felt very out of place in her smart tailored dress, suit jacket, and heels. She had dressed for a business deal, not for rubbing shoulders with the locals. Just as she was about to turn and retreat to her car, a bright female voice called out to her in greeting.

“Hey there, come on in out of that rain,” a petite auburn-haired woman came padding around the bar towards her, her slightly rounded belly protruding proudly. “What can we help you with hon?”

“I’m just passing through,” Katherine answered with

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