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Pretty Baby

Title: Pretty Baby
Author: Audrey Godwin

Published in 2004 by New Concepts
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 1-58603-345-7

Madison Shadoe is a top notch cop who from time to time falls victim to the pressures of his work. A man wholly dedicated to hunting down criminals and bringing them to justice. Part of his job requires him to go undercover and infiltrate the world of the bad guys he seeks. While there he witnesses things that pound deadly frustrations into his head. Thereby inciting his protective instincts to help the innocent these criminals prey upon. In Shadoe's latest attempt to catch a fleeing criminal, he is saved from near death by his partner Max. Filled with an unimaginable rage at the perpetrator’s escape Shadoe loses himself in a violent outpouring of emotions. Because of this he is ordered by his captain to take a calming vacation or face time behind bars. Being a cop is in Shadoe's blood. A product of a Cherokee mother and a white father who was one of Chicago's finest, he always knew what he was meant to be. A protector of people.

Shadoe goes to Horizons Travel Agency to start looking for a place to relax. He comes across a pamphlet advertising a beautifully scenic place called Scarlet Bay Inn. Upon reading of the myths and legends surrounding the place he finds himself intrigued. The attractions of the local lore’s call out to him and he is anxious to get there as quickly as he can. Shadoe knows that he is going there to relax, but once he arrives he feels the hint of a danger he cannot yet see. Scarlet Bay is a grand house shrouded in foreboding as well as with a history of accidents and tragedies. It is also a dwelling that has contained within it's walls horrific events that will force him to reevaluate everything he has ever known. His encounter with the Inn owner, Lucretia Van Dere, Leave him with chills that have no explanations. He is then told that her father Garret Van Dere, the Inn’s rightful owner, died 15 years prior. It is upon chance that he spies a young woman who is a ambiguity to himself as well as Scarlet Bay. Shadoe finds himself intoxicated by the urges he has when he continually comes across her. He only knows an overpowering need to unmask her and discover her secrets. She sets him afire with her innocence and he longs to be the one to take her to newly discovered heights of pleasure. In the process of doing so Shadoe also encounters another malevolence lurking within the Inn. One that is both ominous and lethal to all those who patron there. An Evil that will go after the one thing that shadoe wants more than anything.

Julieta Van Dere is a shy and excruciatingly mistreated young woman. Having just turned 18 she longs to run free and have a life as does the people that come to stay at the Inn. Forced to wear a mask to cover her disfigurement she hides behind walls and creeps around under the cover of darkness. Julieta doesn't comprehend her sisters' hate and cruelty. She only feels the rebellion growing inside of her and a rage that longs to boil over. Treated as if she were a porcelain doll one minute and then physically beaten she is alternately confused. With rags on her back she flits around Scarlet Bay as an enigma and apparition that no one seems to notice. Appearing childlike in demeanor and dress she realizes that she is a woman with burgeoning wants that confuse her. That is until the tall dark and beautiful warrior came along and everything changed for Julieta.

Believing him to be a powerful God Julieta falls right away for Shadoe. Tired of hiding behind doors she puts herself into his proximity. She longs to touch him but is scared of what he would see looking at one such as her. A woman so terrifyingly scarred and ugly that no man would want to look at. She hides her feelings from Lucretia not wanting to feel her wrath. She knows her sister see's her as a child and would beat her if she tried to alter that. As the days go by she finds herself embroiled in an exciting and new longing for Shadoe. She feels her body responding to his kindness and warm glances. Hungering for human contact she craves his touch with an intensity that arouses and frightens him. But can she convince him that she is not the one he has to be weary of?

Audrey Godwin tells a tale of gigantic implications and proportions. A story so boldly alarming that it grips you with a fear that leaves you gasping for more. Shadoe is assailed nightly with ghostly wails and pleas for help. Not knowing if he's dreaming or not he searches for answers. What started out as a relaxing vacation has turned into a journey to a nightmarish realm that for some there is no escape. Who is it that lives below the Inn? and to what extent is Lucretia willing to go to keep Julieta in her grasp and why? As Shadoe becomes deeply etched into finding the truth, he begins to doubt Julieta. Will her love be enough to show him that her only secret is in loving him? Will Lucretia be able to carry out her sinister and murderous deeds? What happens when Shadoe finds a way to overcome one revolting evil, only to find himself faced with an even more potent and dangerous foe?

Shadoe and Julieta's story is full of deadly twists and turns built into a dark and macabre plot. Evil abounds profusely and it's up to Shadoe to prove himself a warrior and save the woman that he loves. But can he do that when the danger is concealed and that much more cunning? I found PRETTY BABY to be one fabulously written read. A novel that moves along swiftly and precisely in all of it's intents. Whether it is to shock or soothe, the effects will still be felt long after the book is through. Written by Audrey Godwin PRETTY BABY will capture your attention with its ghostly desires and enrapture you in its sensual grasp. A disturbing and hauntingly realistic love story that will embrace your heart forever.

Yours in good reading,

Joann Ruffen

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