Click on the cover to go to the post and the giveaway!
After twenty years in the Marine Corps, Major Frank Cutlip comes home to the quiet hills of his beloved Pennsylvania to take up a new life as the sheriff of Allegheny County.
Professor Beth Lowe took up a post at Paxton University because she became enamored with western Pennsylvania’s charms, a more enduring love than she thought she would ever feel for a man.
When Beth’s dog is savaged by wolves, their peaceful lives are shattered, and their fates entwined. On the brink of death, the dog not only survives but grows larger… and more vicious. A thousand-year cycle of carnage is reaching its climax once more, and the peaceful wooded hills will soon be smeared with blood.
Sheriff Cutlip leads his community in a hunt for the hidden terror, but then his own brother is bitten, his blood corrupted by the ancient evil. The sheriff must confront terrible choices, and he can’t do so alone.
‘The Clearing’ — a novel of ordinary people thrown together in extraordinary circumstances.
Beth punched the sheriff’s number into her phone as she pulled out of the parking lot. “Sheriff’s office,” came a high, evenly modulated voice, “Deputy Gibbons speaking.”
“Good morning, Deputy. I wanted to report that my dog has been bitten by a wild animal of some kind.”
“Yes, ma’am. Your name, please?”
“Alright, Ms. Lowe, when did this happen?”
“My dog got out of the yard last night, and was gone all night. When he came home this morning, he had been bitten on the neck. He seems to be fine, but I thought you should know.”
There was a long pause on the other end of the line. “You say it happened last night?”
Something in the deputy’s tone rang an alarm, “Yes, that’s right. Why?”
“Nothing, ma’am. What’s your address and phone number please?”
She recited the information, and the deputy thanked her, told her the sheriff would be in touch, and hung up. What was with him? she thought. He had sounded so spooked.
Back at the house, the ladies laid extra blankets in the dog’s bed, filled his food bowl, and attempted to put Flapjack down to rest. He would have none of it, and bounced around the room, mouth a’barkin’ and tail a’waggin’. As he paused to catch his breath, Barlow the cat strolled in casually. The moment his eyes fell upon Flapjack, he froze. He didn’t hiss, fluff up, or bare his teeth. He remained in position, one paw poised in mid stride, his yellow orbs fixed upon the dog. Flapjack slowly turned his head. Rising to his feet, he gradually lowered his head and regarded the feline with a level stare. They both remained in their respective positions while both Beth and Lizzie sat transfixed.
The ring of the telephone jarred everyone, and Beth stood to answer it, her eyes on Flapjack as he shook his head slightly, as if waking from a trance. For his part, Barlow seemed content to offer Lizzie an opportunity to scratch his ears, but he cut a wide circle around the dog to do so. Beth would later recall this was the last day she would see her two pets in each other’s company.