Missing since age five, a young woman discovers her captor never intended to release her, and reacts with a hasty plan which results in an unforeseen death. The only possessor of the secret ingredient in Votras Alute—a miracle healing drug—Zenna strikes a bargain with the notorious mob boss “Mother” Gothel, to clear her parents’ debt and free herself from servitude. However, Mother has other plans… Malik Gothel, next in line to run the family business, follows orders without question. When fate crosses his path with Zenna, his simple life is upended, and he makes a shocking decision that alters the course of his life forever. But Mother is not a romantic, and love is not part of the plan. When separating Malik and Zenna fails, Mother resorts to a more sinister plot, one which will cost someone their life. Mafia meets the Brothers Grimm in this dark, twisted retelling of the classic fairytale, Rapunzel.
Give us the one to two sentence tagline for your book.
Mafia meets Brothers Grimm.
What is your favorite scene/moment in your book?
My favorite moment is when Zenna is first left alone with Malik. Having never met anyone besides Mother, Zenna is drawn to Malik, and at the same time terrified of him because of his reputation.
How do you use magic in your book?
Magic is used to cast traveling spells, as well as cause human transformation. It’s considered common, although only two characters in the book actually possess magical power.
Would your hero enjoy pumpkin spice lattes, candy corn, or apple bobbing?
Zenna would love to try all those things, because she’s been locked in a tower for twenty years. I can see the delight on her face the first time she tries the above treats.
What costume would your heroine (or hero if MM) wear to a halloween party?
She wouldn’t go to a Halloween party. Crowds make her nervous, she’d be happier with just her parents and Malik.
What scene did you adore writing in this book?
I love the scene when Malik and Zenna first meet. He’s standing beneath her tower, trying to convince her not to jump.
Is this book a spooky/scary PNR, or a cozy/snuggling with a monster PNR?
Dark and twisted PNR, with a hint of bad boy.
What is your favorite monster to write?
I’m partial to witches and sorcerers
If you had to pick, would you rather have fangs, claws, or wings?
Tough choice. I’d rather have wings (it’s the least violent of the three).
Halloween’s coming. Do you do anything special to celebrate?
I start decorating the house at the beginning of October. By the time it’s Halloween, the house looks spectacular.
Excerpt from Hair, She Bears
“Don’t jump!” The voice yelled again, the deep rumble reminding her of Mother’s gruff tone.
She tightened her grip on the spire and leaned forward. Cupping her hand around her mouth, she yelled back, praying Mother would not hear her. “I’m not going to jump.”
“Then, what the hell are you doing?” the man asked, dashing back and forth beneath her as if he intended to catch her.
“I’m watching the sunrise.”
“You could do that on the ground.” He stopped running and stepped back, keeping his arms outstretched.
Mother was going to hear of this, and the punishment would be severe. Zenna bit her lip and crouched down. Scooting down the roof, she straddled the gable and leaned over the side.
“Why are you awake?” she asked.
“That’s your question?” An audible choking sound rose from the ground. “You’re on a roof!”
“And I am perfectly safe.”
“Not from where I’m standing.” The man folded his arms across his chest.
Grimacing, she slid her leg over the side of the roof, wrapped her fingers around the shingles, and swung back through the window, landing on the floor with a soft grunt, and spun around.
“Satisfied?” she asked, peering down.
“Yes, thank you.” He took a step closer.
She licked her lips. “Please don’t tell Mother you saw me on the roof.”
“Tell me your name,” he said, a forceful undertone to his command.
“Swear not to reveal to Mother where you found me.” She placed her hands on the windowsill and leaned out further. “Do I have your word?”
“I swear,” he replied, his voice laced with amusement, and held up his right hand.
“My name is Zenna.”
“Zenna.” He spread his arms out wide and bowed. “It is a pleasure to meet you, my name is Malik.”
Malik? As in Mother’s son? Her heart stopped, a corset of fear crushing her chest. “I-I-I thought Malik controlled the territory to the north.”
“Then why are you here?” she asked, a tremor rippled through her body. She would never see daylight again.
“My presence was requested.” He thumbed over his shoulder at the compound. “All the captains will be here this morning.”
Malik twisted away from her question—curiosity was never encouraged by Mother. She cringed, waiting for Malik’s castigation. After a moment of silence, he returned his gaze to her.
“If I knew, I wouldn’t be here.”
USA Today Bestselling Author Alyssa Drake has been creating stories since she could hold a crayon, preferring to construct her own bedtime tales instead of reading the titles in her bookshelves. A multi-genre author, Alyssa currently writes Historical romance, Paranormal romance, Romantic suspense, and Contemporary romance, blending a little bit of love with a little bit of mystery.
Alyssa thoroughly enjoys strong heroines and often laughs aloud when imagining conversations between her characters. One of her favorite diversions is fabricating stories about the strangers surrounding her on public transportation. When she’s not whipping up chocolate treats in the kitchen, Alyssa can be found madly scribbling notes on a train or daydreaming out the window as the scenery whips past.