Lexi DeHalo lived in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina until she left for college to study Chemistry and Forensic Science. After graduation, Lexi decided to pursue her love of the arts by writing erotic romance. When she’s not too busy in the lab, you can find her working on her latest inspiration or playing with her fur-babies.
Haunting memories and shattered dreams of a life he left behind lead Karson Maddox back to Southlands, Montana and the one man he can’t forget, Marcus Deveraux. But Karson is a changed man, scarred by the chains of his past that are unwilling to let him go, and he doesn’t know if he can be the man Marcus once loved or if he will be forever bound to the horrors that plague him.
With his lover’s disappearance, Marcus repressed his pain and heartache by devoting his time to his family’s ranch. When Karson shows up on his doorstep five years later, battered and bruised, Marcus is torn between protecting the one man who stole his heart and the fear of betrayal.
As desire and passion reignite, the secrets surrounding Karson’s past threaten to tear them apart once again, and Marcus will learn just how far he’s willing to go to keep Karson safe from the demons that threaten both of their lives.
The Southlands End. The orange, neon words hung high above the doorway, glowing brightly in the nighttime sky. The loud music playing inside could be heard clearly from the crowded parking lot. This place was meant to serve as a safe haven for the shifter kind who resided in Southlands, Montana, but to Karson Maddox, it only served as a reminder of the life that had been stolen from him.
He took a deep breath and inhaled the smell of the familiar rugged landscape. Montana had been the place he’d called home for many years, until that fateful night had changed his life forever. After five years, Karson had finally made it back home, but now, he was uncertain of what awaited him on the other side of those metal doors, and frankly, he didn’t care. The only thing he cared about was finding Marcus.
Reaching out with a shaky hand, he opened the door and stepped inside. He was instantly greeted by the bouncers, set in place to keep wandering mundanes—a shifter term for the majority of the human population—out.
“Passcode,” the large one on the left requested in a less than pleasant manner. His voice was deep and his intimidating stare was enough to stop any sensible person from advancing.
Karson ran a nervous hand through his shaggy hair. “I don’t know it, but—”
Before he could even get the rest of his sentence out, the other bouncer, who had yet to speak, grabbed ahold of his arm and pushed him back outside.
“Hey, wait a minute. Lemme go!” Karson struggled against the painful grip. “I’m here to see Marcus.”
His words did nothing to stop the two shifters from removing him from the building. They tossed him to the ground like a ragdoll, and the sting from the gravel scraping against his exposed flesh burned like a son of a bitch.
He glared up at the two men, his temper flaring from their harsh handlings as his mind was taken back to the past five years of abuse he’d endured in one moment. He could feel the animal inside him rise to the surface, itching for a release that couldn’t be sated. His inability to shift only fueled his desire to defend himself as he lunged at the taller man His fist collided with the bouncer’s jaw, but despite the pain that radiated up his arm, his target appeared to be unfazed by the blow.
“Fuck,” he cursed as he shook his hand in an attempt to free it from the ache that emanated from his knuckles.
“Is there a problem here?”
His heart caught at the sound of the slight southern drawl. He knew the man who had spoken those words even before he turned around and his rage was instantly calmed by the familiar voice. A wave of nervousness washed over him as his hands began to tremble. Turning slowly, he met Marcus’s eyes for the first time in five years and the world around him seemed to fade away.
Marcus Deveraux stood in front of him, dressed in a pair of dark-wash Wranglers and his favorite pair of cowboy boots. His white shirt was left partially unbuttoned, no doubt to showcase his well-muscled chest. Strands of his blond hair fell in front of his ice blue eyes as he stared down at Karson. The soft features of his face had hardened with the years, but everything else was just as he remembered.
Karson’s mouth went dry. He tried to find the words he’d rehearsed earlier in the day, but nothing came to him. Instead, all he could do was stand there like a deer caught in headlights.
“Karson?” Marcus whispered as recognition finally kicked in. A look of shock and confusion fell upon his face as the pain and agony of the past few years shimmered inside the depths of Marcus’s piercing eyes.
The desire to reach out to him was overwhelming. It was an impulse that had surprised Karson given that he’d changed so much in the past few years. Something shifted inside him, awakening a mixture of emotions he hadn’t felt since the day he was taken from Marcus. Tears pooled in his eyes and he tried desperately to hold them back. He wouldn’t cry. Not here. Not now.
“Sir, you know this man?” the large shifter Karson had punched questioned Marcus.
Marcus gave a slow nod, his eyes never leaving Karson. “Yes… he’s my mate.”
Behind the Scenes
What are your current projects?
My current projects include starting a new pen name for a M/F BDSM piece I’ve been working on entitled, Beautifully Broken [A Limitless Novel] and supernatural suspense novel that has yet to be titled.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Hmm. An interesting question. I think I have come a long way since my first book was released a year ago. I have found my own voice, so to speak, and I’ve quite enjoyed experimenting with different genres. I’m excited about my upcoming works in progress J
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The edits. I switched editors with my latest book and while I was extremely happy with the feedback I got, I also spent many hours working on their suggestions. It really pushed me as a writer and helped shape the book to be what it is today.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Yes, I do. The cover is the first impression that a buyer sees and it needs to reflect the quality of writing, the reader can expect. A cover doesn’t need to be flashy or over the top, but it does need to be professional.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
Being published is great route for a writer so long as it is a reputable publisher that does their share of the work. Realistically, I don’t want to do business with a publisher if their editing, cover art, and promotions are not worth 50-60% of my royalties. If I’m doing most of the work and even having to correct their edits, then I don’t feel like the publisher is holding up their end of the contract. In that case, self-publishing would be an ideal situation, especially with today’s technology. Hiring you own editor and cover artist can be an up front, out of pocket cost, though and if an author doesn’t earn back enough from their self-published title to cover those costs, it will be a direct loss that they have to take. For new authors, I feel that being published is a great introduction into the industry. It gives the author a feel for the expectations of the industry and is a good place to start. For more experienced authors who feel like they aren’t getting what they need from their publisher, they may want to try their hand at self-publishing.