by Kate Hill
Ben wants Laura to reconsider staying overnight at Demon’s Grotto, and he has information about the club’s history that should convince her. He tells her three creepy love stories, hoping she will change her mind.
Rise of the Creature: When a mad doctor brings a dead man back to life, only his beautiful assistant can make that life worth living.
The Demon Within: A man on the run stops to rest at a rooming house, not knowing that it’s the hunting ground of a gorgeous succubus bent on devouring handsome guests.
Don’t Cry, Wolf: An ad for a maintenance man at a bed and breakfast is answered by a former soldier who’s harboring a hairy secret. The business’s lovely co-owner becomes involved with this sullen hunk who’s more than she imagined possible.
After hearing these stories of love and murder, will Laura decide to spend the night at Demon’s Grotto?
After climbing down from the wagon, Cora glanced at the doctor, but he was already focused on the horses. She entered the house, removed her rain-soaked cloak, and hung it on the rack near the door.
She walked upstairs, and then paused at the bottom of the flight leading to the laboratory. Gazing upward, she drew a deep breath and steeled herself for the night to come.
Slowly she ascended the stairs and opened the door to Cyril Damp’s office. A bookcase packed with medical texts took up an entire wall. Charts filled another. On his desk rested his personal journals that she knew were filled with notes from his experiments.
Passing through the room, she thought how the scent of it reminded her of him — medicinal. Clean, but unsettling. She stepped through the door at the back of the room and entered the laboratory. It was huge — taking up nearly the whole third floor. There were two surgery tables and several cabinets for equipment and various medicines.
Cora made her way to the refrigeration unit at the back of the room. Though such ice rooms were still experimental, Cyril insisted that due to their practicality, they would one day be in every household in the civilized world.
She at least hoped that other households wouldn’t share the doctor’s ice box contents. She opened the door and stepped inside. She didn’t look at the body parts on storage, but focused on the corpse lying on the table in the center of the room. A shiver that wasn’t entirely from the cold ran through her. Cora stepped closer to the corpse, knowing she shouldn’t admire a dead body, but unable to help herself. When the doctor first brought him here — dug from his recent grave — her first thoughts had been of sorrow and disgust. The dead should be allowed to rest, even if this young man had died far too soon.
“He was a lumberjack,” the doctor had explained, still panting from the exertion of carrying the massive corpse upstairs.
She had again marveled at the tall but wiry doctor’s strength. The corpse was at least as tall as the doctor, who stood over six feet, and the dead man was solid muscle.
“A beautiful specimen, isn’t he?” Dr. Damp continued, leaning heavily on the table, his gaze fixed on the corpse’s face.
Alive, yes, the man would have been beautiful. He had thick blond hair, heavy golden eyebrows and thick eyelashes. His features were strong and even. If not for his blond beard, he would have been boyishly handsome, but the facial hair gave him a rugged look that fit his powerful body.
“What happened to him? How did he die?” Cora asked softly.
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