Today we're spotlighting C.C. Hunter's novel, Midnight Hour! Read on for more about C.C. and her novel, plus an excerpt, and giveaway!
Meet C.C. Hunter!
C.C. HUNTER is the author of the New York Times bestselling Shadow Falls series. She lives in Spring, Texas where she's at work on her next novel.
Being a dyslexic witch is a curse in itself, but Miranda Kane’s time at Shadow Falls has helped her harness her magical powers. Now, just as she’s finally mastered them and is preparing to graduate with her friends, a near-death experience threatens to ruin it all.
Miranda awakens in the hospital with a mysterious tattoo that no one can explain. As she struggles to make sense of it – and questions her feelings for a certain irresistible shape-shifter and a hot new guy – the strange markings begin to spread all over her body, leaving her desperate to find answers. But before she can solve that problem, a new one arises: her sister is missing. Has her sister been kidnapped? Miranda will risk her life to find out. Will she live to share the day she’s worked so hard for with her friends? When the clock strikes , will Miranda make it to her graduation at Shadow Falls?
“Just do as he says and you won’t be hurt.” Perry Gomez’s voice came out mu ed from behind the Halloween mask. rough the eyeholes he watched the pretty bank teller’s large hazel eyes brim with tears. His father shot his gun up in the air. Her eyes, eyes almost the same color as Miranda’s, held an inexplicable forebod- ing that he felt in his chest, outgrowing his rib cage—pushing against his chest bone. Oddly the warning didn’t seem to be only about the robbery, but about . . . Miranda.
Seconds before entering the bank, a ood of Miranda images lled his mind. Her hazel eyes, her long strawberry blond hair, her small, slightly pugged nose. One right after another, the images came.
A lot of her crying.
Not that he ever went long without thinking about her. It had
been nine months and two days since he’d left Shadow Falls, and damn he missed her. But something about those last visual snap- shots felt di erent. Like she was trying to tell him something. It felt almost like an omen. But that was stupid, because shape-shifters didn’t get omens.
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Not unless . . . someone had sent it to him. Shit! Had Miranda sent it to him? Was she in some kind of trouble?
“Please don’t hurt me,” the teller said, her voice shaking and bringing Perry back to the problem at hand. And what a handful of a problem it was. Damn it. He hated this. He’d sought out his parents hoping to nd . . . something.
Answers to how someone could just abandon their child. Or
maybe not answers. He knew why they’d done it. His powers as a shape-shifter had arrived way too early, and made him . . . di cult to parent. Impossible some would say.
Hell, he couldn’t even put a name to the reason nding them had felt so urgent, but whatever he’d been seeking, he hadn’t found it.
at empty feeling inside him hadn’t disappeared. He still needed . . . something. Yet, he’d been forced to admit that their abandonment had been the best thing they’d done for him.
Right now he wished he could return the favor. Just walk away, forget everything, and not look back. He couldn’t. It was too late for that.
“We’re not going to hurt you.” Perry met the young woman’s gaze, seeing and sensing bone-deep fear. Recently, after learning to control his power, he’d tapped into sort of an extra gift. He’d heard other shape-shifters had it, he just hadn’t known he did. It was the ability to read shifts in people’s emotions. He made an e ort to sound calm, though he knew his Frankenstein mask didn’t encour- age tranquility. Hopefully, she recognized the truth in his voice. He purposely kept his own gun pointing down.
He hadn’t wanted to carry a shotgun, but Caleb—his dad’s friend who was the boss of some secret mob-like gang—ran the show and had insisted everyone be armed: If we’re not all carrying, the FRU might suspect we aren’t human.
MIDNIGHT HOUR 15
As powerful of a shape-shifter as Caleb was—though not quite as powerful as Perry—the asswipe had more brawn than brains. And whoever was passing down the orders was a Big Mac short of a meat patty. Because this was their second bank job this week, and Caleb let it slip that two other groups were hitting banks and even some retail stores in di erent towns in Texas. is wasn’t just a one-man show. Nevertheless, sooner or later the fact that the rob- bers could disappear without being seen was going to be a red ag to o cials and the FRU would be called in.
Perry saw the girl’s hands tremble. “Just put the money in the bag and we’ll go,” Perry assured her.
Another shot rang out behind him. e girl let out a low whim- per that gave Perry another wave of regret. He looked back and saw Caleb standing in the middle of the bank lobby, his gun point- ing at the ceiling. “Anyone hit an alarm and the next bullet will end up in their head.”
e guy, his bright gold eyes peering out of his werewolf mask, locked on Perry. Or maybe not at him, but at the girl standing behind him. And that was even worse.
“Well, well, what do we have here?” Caleb asked.
Perry’s heart raced when the man started strutting over. His cold eyes turned colder.
“How did you score the pretty one?” Caleb asked, leering at the girl as if she were a toy he had the right to play with.
Emotion rose in Perry’s chest. No one is playing with anyone!
“Put the money in the bag,” Perry told the girl, motioning to the black backpack, and wanting to get out of there before things got out of hand.
She did as Perry ordered, scooping stack after stack of bills out of her drawer and dropping them in the opened backpack.
Caleb moved closer. “You are a sight for sore eyes, aren’t you, sweetheart?”
e girl’s gaze widened with more fear and she cut her pleading eyes to Perry as if begging him to help her.
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Caleb pointed his gun at her and motioned it to the left. “Why don’t you come around here and let me see all of you.”
e girl made another whimper. When she didn’t move, he pointed the gun at her. “Come on, be a good girl.”
Perry shot forward right in front of the gun. “No. We have to go before the cops get here.”
rough the mask, Perry saw the man’s eyes change colors again. Anger did that to a shape-shifter. And it was never a good sign.
“ is won’t take long,” Caleb bit out and attempted to push Perry aside. His tone, his implication was so disgusting, Perry’s own anger ratcheted up a notch. His skin started to burn, a sign that his emotions were heightening to dangerous levels and if he couldn’t control them, he’d shift. Shift into something bigger, meaner, and right here in front of about ten humans. And that was not accept- able. But neither was what Caleb planned to do to the girl.
Perry stood solid, staring through his own mask, and refused to budge. rough the corner of his vision, he saw the girl watch- ing as Frankenstein and a werewolf faced o . He hoped like hell that was all she was going to see. Concentrating, he found that in- ternal switch inside him that allowed his anger to exist without awaking an unwanted beast.
“I said no. e cops have to be on the way by now.” Perry felt his eyes brighten, a sign that his switch hadn’t been completely turned o .
“Since when do you call the shots, kid?” Dislike hung on the man’s words, but Perry didn’t give a damn. Soon the asshole would really dislike him. e plan was already set in motion.
Perry took in a noseful of air, hoping to compose himself. Finding that calm and controlling his shifts had been something he’d only mastered in the last year. And occasionally he still failed at it.
“Since I don’t want to get arrested!” he told Caleb, tightening his jaw.
MIDNIGHT HOUR 17
“What’s wrong?” Perry’s dad shot over holding his own back- pack lled to the max with money.
“Your kid thinks he’s in charge.” Caleb put his gun to Perry’s chest. “Now step back before your daddy has to see you die!”
Perry’s breath caught in his chest. Not so much from fear, but from waiting to see his father’s reaction. Would his father defend him against his partner in crime? Silence lled the bank. e hos- tages seemed to hold their breath. His dad didn’t speak, but Perry saw a icker of something in his eyes. Something that told Perry he might actually give a shit.
It shouldn’t have mattered. It was too late. But for some damn reason it did.
“I just want to leave before the cops get here,” Perry said, un- sure if that icker of emotion in his father’s eyes was enough to count on. Unsure if it actually meant anything. Right then his heart took an emotional U-turn. Suddenly he wished he hadn’t seen it, because it was just going to make this harder.
“And I want to spend a few minutes with our pretty new friend here,” Caleb hissed and cut his eyes brie y at the girl, then back at Perry. “Don’t worry, I’ll give you a few minutes with her, too.”
Perry’s skin started to tingle with fury. How could his father befriend someone with such low morals? Perry inhaled again, and prayed he could control the beast inside him that wanted to come out and play. at wanted to come out and kill.
“Perry’s right,” his dad nally spit out. “We’ve got to leave.”
Did that mean his father really gave a shit? Or was he just being logical?
“Now you, too?” Caleb hissed. “Since when do you two think . . .” Sirens echoed from outside. Behind the mask, Caleb’s eyes turned black. Obviously, he hated being proved wrong.
He snatched the backpack from the counter, turned, and hauled
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ass to the back. Perry’s and his dad’s footsteps slapped the tile right behind him.
Caleb pushed open the emergency exit, no doubt to throw the cops o , allowing them a few seconds to escape. en he darted into a small o ce. Perry and his dad followed on his heels.
“Police! Don’t anyone move!” e door had barely clicked shut when the sound of o cers entering the bank echoed from behind the closed door.
Caleb closed his eyes, and his human form quickly transformed into a mouse. His father closed his eyes at the same time. But the older shape-shifter lacked the same amount of power and his change wouldn’t come so quickly. Perry waited, wanting to see his father was safe, before he morphed himself. Soon, he wouldn’t be able to protect his dad from the consequences, but right now, abandoning him felt so damn wrong.
Footsteps and voices rang closer. “Police!”
Bubbles of leftover energy lled the air and oated o his father’s
weakening human form.
Finally, only a mouse stood where his father had been. Perry
concentrated on his own shift into a lizard. e door slammed open at the same time as his skin stung with the shift and his own iri- descent orbs of energy lled the room.
rough tiny slits of eyes, Perry watched the o cer barge into the room, his gun held out, ready to re. “Shit,” he muttered and inched when one of the bubbles hit his skin and the magical cur- rent entered his body.
Perry scurried past the policeman now staring at the emptiness of the room. Perry had only gotten a few feet when another image of Miranda ashed in his head.
She lay on a patch of grass. So still. So pale.
Miranda? Miranda? Are you okay?
By: C.C. Hunter
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Two winners will receive a copy of Midnight Hour (US only).
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