Tuesday, September 2, 2014

TASTE TEST By L.B. Dunbar | Release Day and Giveaway


By L.B. Dunbar


In a modern twist of fairy tales,
what if the beast is a woman instead of a man?

Ethan Scott

I was about to find out when a mysterious job led to the secluded home of a horror novelist. I’d lost everything: my scholarship, my education, and my way. In denial of my family inheritance, I took the unusual employment as a chance out of a hole, but I found myself buried in the unknown trauma of another situation much deeper. 

Ella Vincentia

I had changed my name and my address to keep myself hidden, but my scars were more than physical. Living as a recluse in the woods, I was used to being alone, so I wasn’t happy when a certain someone was always in my space. Our first encounter was less than pleasant and tension continued at every attempt to tame me. 


I knew she was keeping secrets and I wanted to help, but she was cutting me down and cutting me off every time she opened her mouth. Our frustration with one another grew until a misunderstanding changed everything. How can I be the next guy after something so tragic? It was a challenge I wasn’t sure I was willing to take.

I knew I was taking the dirt road a bit fast, but I felt exhilarated with the prospect of my new job. It sounded simple. Cook. Live in the woods. Keep a secret. Easy. My thoughts were screaming a song in my head about freedom when I turned one of those unexpected curves in the winding drive and pulled up short in front of a girl.
I noticed her hair immediately. It was brown with reddish tints, like a perfect combination of brilliant fall leaves wild and blowing in the September afternoon air. A storm was definitely coming and I was mesmerized for a moment as the startled girl looked up at me. I couldn’t slam on the brakes of my motorcycle without flying over the handlebars, so I slowed as best I could and skidded to a halt inches before her.

“Jesus Christ,” I yelled over the dulling roar of the cycle as I yanked off my helmet, releasing my own set of wild waves. The girl was frozen like a deer in headlights looking back at me. Her bright blue eyes pierced my own deep brown ones.
“Are you okay?” I asked as I squinted with concern. She turned her head just the slightest bit and I noticed a horrid scar down the right side of her face. Three long gashes dragged down her cheek and neck, ending under her white tank top. Her bright highlighter-orange shorts and the earbuds in her ears made it obvious she had been out for a run. I flicked my glance from her scar to the shorts and back to her hair. I didn’t want to stare at her face. I knew how much I hated it when people stared at Mum and her bald head from chemotherapy. The girl’s tongue sneaked out to wet her pink lips and she bit her bottom one slightly.

I opened my mouth to speak again, but the girl bolted for the woods. She propelled herself through the greenery and disappeared before I could get off the bike. I had no idea where she went due to the thickness of the trees and shrubs. Shaking my head as if I had seen a mirage, I sat back on the motorcycle, returned my helmet to my head, and roared the bike back to full life, taking the road more slowly as I exited Winters Trail.

I was blown away by this gentle, emotional, and suspenseful book. First loves are difficult to maneuver. If you have never been in love before, you have no idea what you are in for. First of all, how can you tell the difference from a crush, lust or love? This being your first time, what do you compare it to? That moment when you realize you would give up everything for the object of your affection is the moment when you finally open you eyes and realize you are in love. Love is sacrifice that does not feel like a burden. You are willing to do whatever is necessary to bring a smile and happiness to the face of the one you love. Their happiness makes you happy, so how can it be a burden?

Ethan and Ella's story is complicated. This is not your typical boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after. Just like in real life, there are real choices and challenges to deal with. Attraction is not the one thing that draws them together. They are both at a crossroads where they are dealing with painful situations and must take charge of their lives in order to own and control their future.

This book is well written. You are swept away by the author's words and into Ethan's and Ella's reality. Empathy is not the only feeling I had for this couple. I felt like nurturing and protecting them as my own children. I also felt the anger toward the circumstances that brought both of them to their current status.

I recommend this book to those who are not only looking to read about a love affair, but also for those who seek to understand why we react the way we do to very human circumstances.

Also from this Author:

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About this Author
I’d like to say I was always a writer. I’d also like to say that I wrote every day of my life since a child. That I took the teaching advice I give my former students because writing every day improves your writing. I’d like to say I have my ten-thousand hours that makes me a proficient writer. But I can’t say any of those things. I did dream of writing the “Great American Novel” until one day a friend said: Why does it have to be great? Why can’t it just be good and tell a story?

As a teenager, I wrote your typical love-angst poetry that did occasionally win me an award and honor me with addressing my senior high school class at our Baccalaureate Mass. I didn’t keep a journal because I was too afraid my mom would find it in the mattress where I kept my copy of Judy Blume’s Forever that I wasn’t allowed to read as a twelve year old.

I can say that books have been my life. I’m a reader. I loved to read the day I discovered “The Three Bears” as a first grader, and ever since then, the written word has been my friend. Books were an escape for me. An adventure to the unknown. A love affair I’d never know. I could be lost for hours in a book.

So why writing now? I had a story to tell. It haunted me from the moment I decided if I just wrote it down it would go away. But it didn’t. Three years after writing the first draft, a sign (yes, I believe in them) told me to fix up that draft and work the process to have it published. That’s what I did. But one story let to another, and another, and another. Then a new idea came into my head and a new storyline was created. 

I was accused (that’s the correct word) of having an overactive imagination as a child, as if that was a bad thing. I’ve also been accused of having the personality of a Jack Russell terrier, full of energy, unable to relax, and always one step ahead. What can I say other than I have stories to tell and I think you’ll like them. If you don’t, that’s okay. We all have our book boyfriends. We all have our favorites. Whatever you do, though, take time for yourself and read a book.


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