Black Friday: an EDGE OF SANITY Excerpt & Contest by Shannon Butcher

SButcher-Razors Edge

BlackFriday.2012What is a Black Friday without a few gifts and surprises? Shannon Butcher wanted to be here, but due to deadlines (and we totally want more stories, right?), she was unable to participate. However, she’s sent along this fabulous beauty instead: Razor’s Edge, the book leading up to her new release, Edge of Sanity. We are giving away a copy of Razor’s Edge and I know you want it. *grin*

Chapter One of Edge of Sanity

SButcher-Edge of SanityIn his years working for the private security firm The Edge, Clay Marshall has seen it all. But the recent blackouts he’s been having are new. So is waking up with blood on his hands and clothes, with no memory of where the blood came from—or who he might have killed. He hates to admit it, but he needs help.

Dr. Leigh Vaughn has treated other Edge employees before, but from the moment she sees him for the first time, Clay strikes her as a special breed of man. She knows he’s dangerous, and distrustful of doctors, but she finds herself drawn to him even as his own steely exterior gives way to his growing desire for her.

Neither knows, however, that Clay is being used as a pawn in a larger experiment, and that his blackouts are only the first step toward a terrifying goal. And both Leigh and Clay will put themselves in harm’s way to stop an unseen enemy—and to save one another.

It was the blood that woke him.

Clay Marshall’s fingers were glued together, sticky and itching where the blood had dried. The heavy, metallic smell of it clogged his nose, choking him with the stench of violence.

He stared at his dirty hands, disoriented and numb from shock. Fatigue dragged at his bones. Pain pounded deep inside his skull, worse than any hangover.

The water stain on the ceiling was a familiar comfort, telling him he was in his own bed. Now, if he could only remember how he’d gotten here.

As the fog of sleep cleared, the meaning of the blood began to take hold. Concern gnawed at the edges of his numb haze, nibbling away at the false sense of calm. Reality squeezed around him, shoving out his breath like a giant boa constrictor.

Clay sat up, trying to control the fear before it became full-blown panic. His clothes were stiff and dark with drying blood, as if someone had splashed a bucket of it down his front. He searched for the source of the blood, seeking out the kind of physical pain this much blood loss would create.

He ripped off his shirt and jeans only to find the skin beneath whole. His sheets were stained, but there was no pool lying where he’d been. Those smears were only from contact with his clothes.

Clay rushed to the bathroom on shaky legs and peered into the full-length mirror on the back of the door. No cuts. No gashes. Only a collage of bruises of varying ages and a body that was so thin he barely recognized it.

The blood wasn’t his, and yet he could find no relief in that knowledge. It had to belong to someone.

The need to scrub it away arose, compelling him to stumble into the shower. Cold water hit him hard, driving the air from his lungs before it slowly warmed. He lathered himself from head to toe, watching in disgust as the rusty suds spiraled down the drain.

Even though the hot water stung, he still felt detached from the world, as though he were covered by a thick layer of foam, preventing anything from really reaching him. His head was clouded with confusion— o much so that he was only just now realizing that he was confused.

He dried off and headed for his kitchen, where the coffee lived. After three cups and twenty minutes, Clay’s brain finally began to function. And with that relative clarity of thought came fear.

There were stains on his floor in the shape of his boots, leading from the kitchen door all the way to his bedroom. He followed them to where the bloody pile of clothes lay on the rug.

There was even more blood on them than he’d imagined. So much, he knew someone had to be dead. The question was who? And whether Clay had been the one to kill them.

A sick sense of dread settled over him, making the coffee in his stomach churn.

He had no memories of last night; he couldn’t remember anything since lunch yesterday. The sun was streaming in through the windows, but as hard as he tried, there was simply a gaping black hole where the missing time should have been, as if he’d been asleep since then.

The blood proved otherwise.

Clay turned on the local news and barely breathed as the anchor moved from one story to the next. He wasn’t sure what he expected to hear—reports of a building collapse or a giant pileup on I- 5, maybe—but he knew what he feared: murder.

His hand shook as he surfed from one station to the next, seeking some sign of what he’d done. When they started repeating the same stories, he wasn’t sure whether he was more relieved or scared. Maybe he hadn’t hurt anyone. Maybe he’d saved someone’s life and gotten them medical attention. Then again, maybe they just hadn’t found the body yet. Or bodies.

This wasn’t the first time Clay had woken up with blood on his hands, but he had no way of figuring out how to make it be the last time. The only person he could trust was his best friend, Mira. She was like a sister to him, and he couldn’t stand the idea of burdening her with his problems.

Still, if anyone could help him solve the mystery, she could.

Clay dug his cell phone out of his bloody jeans and wiped it clean before dialing Mira.

Her voice was so cheerful and bright, it hurt his head. “Good morning, Clay. You’re up early.”

“Heya, squirt. I need a favor.”


“I need to know if anyone in the area was killed last night.”

The line went silent for a minute. “Uh . . . what?”

He hated lying to her, but there was no other way. “I saw a ton of blood on the sidewalk outside a club. I was wondering if anyone was murdered. Can you find out?”

“Where was it?”

Shit. He hadn’t been thinking clearly enough to consider even such a simple question. He was even worse off in the mental department than he’d thought. “I don’t remember. I was drunk.”

“Clay,” she said in that voice that told him she knew he was lying. “What’s really going on?”

“Can you find out or not?”

She let out a heavy sigh. They’d been friends a long time—since they were kids—and he was not easy on his friends. Especially Mira.

“Hold on.” Disappointment weighed on her voice.

Clay heard the clicking of keys in the background before she came back on the line. “There was a drug- elated shooting that killed three. One fatal car accident. Three deaths from natural causes. That’s all I could find.”

“Any John or Jane Does?”

“You want me to hack into the morgue? That’s a little dark, even for you. What’s going on?”

“Nothing. Really. Don’t worry.”

“How can I not worry? You sound awful. Did something happen?”

The lie nearly choked him. “No. I’m sorry I bothered you.”

“You’re not a bother, Clay. You know I love you. Whatever you need, I’m there, okay?”

An unexpected spurt of emotion clogged his throat. She was the only person in the world he really cared about. He didn’t know why she stuck with him when he was such a mess, but he was glad she did. “I love you, too, squirt.”

“Then let me help you. The headaches, the blackouts—you need help.”

The pile of bloody clothes popped into his mind, staring at him in accusation. Until he figured out what was going on, he wasn’t safe to be around. “I’ll be fine. But I’m not feeling so great, so I’m taking a sick day. Will you let Bella know?”

“Sure. Get some rest and call me if you need anything, okay?”

“I will,” he lied.

Mira hung up the phone feeling sick to her stomach. Clay was getting worse. The bruises, the split knuckles, the dislocated joints. And now he wanted her to check death records? Even if her IQ had been cut in half, she would have been able to figure out what that meant.

He thought he’d killed someone.

Clay kept pushing her away, making up reasons why they could no longer hang out together. The more she tried to help, the harder he pushed.

If he wouldn’t let her help him, she had to find someone who could. And there was only one man Mira knew who had even a chance at getting through Clay’s thick skull.

What she was about to do would piss off her best friend, but that was just too bad. She owed him her life— even if he didn’t remember— and if she had to suffer through his anger, so be it.

With her decision made, she dialed the phone.


Meet Shannon Butcher!

Shannon ButcherA lot of authors knew they wanted to write books from the time they were little. Their heads were full of fanciful stories that they yearned to commit to paper with a passion that only grew as they did. They spent hours reading fiction, voraciously absorbing every kind of story they could get their hands on.

Shannon was not one of them.

When she was little, she wanted to be a daddy. When she learned the anatomical improbability of that happening, she decided instead to become what her dad was: an Industrial Engineer. So that’s what she did. She never once changed majors or veered from her path. After she graduated, she went to work for a big telecom company earning a steady paycheck while her husband, Jim Butcher, pursued his dream to become a published author.

Contact Info
Website: website
Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | GoodReads | Fan Forums

Want to purchase Shannon’s novels?

  1. Living on the Edge at Amazon | Book Depository
  2. Razor’s Edge at Amazon | Book Depository
  3. Edge of Sanity at Amazon | Book Depository

Sentinel Wars

  1. Burning Alive at Amazon | Book Depository
  2. Finding the Lost at Amazon | Book Depository
  3. Running Scared at Amazon | Book Depository
  4. Living Nightmare at Amazon | Book Depository
  5. Blood Hunt at Amazon | Book Depository
  6. Dying Wish at Amazon | Book Depository
  7. Falling Blind at Amazon | Book Depository (April 2, 2013)

Bound by Vengeance at Amazon
For Me Not at Amazon

Contest Time!

SButcher-Razors EdgeSButcher Black Friday GiveawayShannon is giving away a signed copy of Razor’s Edge plus a personally handmade piece of jewelry. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: How would you react if you woke up and found yourself covered in blood? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.

Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.

The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.

All Black Friday contests will remain open until December 31st at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the snazzy plug-in I have. Have you checked out the other Black Friday contests yet? Check out the Master List to see all the Black Friday giveaways.

I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. I would be totally grossed out and start screaming. Then I’d race to the shower, worrying about getting blood on my light colored carpet!

  2. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! I’d say freaked out… is it mine… how did I get covered in it… how much trouble am I in…

  3. Of course I will freaked out, and first thing I do is called my boyfriend. Maybe he’ll freak out too but he will help me to know why I covered in blood and assure me everything will be okay.

  4. I would freak out first, and then try to figure out how I got that way and if it was something I needed to find help for or if I should just call the police.

  5. I’d probably get a heart or a panic attack. If I lived after that, I’d consider calling an ambulance for myself, or start looking for a body:)

  6. I’d panic – and try to get in a shower as quickly as possible! Although I don’t know if there would ever be enough water to feel clean…

  7. How would you react if you woke up and found yourself covered in blood?

    Would have a total freak out.

  8. I would be very surprised and scared. My first thought would be if I was hurt or if anyone around me was and why?

  9. My reaction to waking up covered in blood would probably be first massive confusion, followed by the desperate check for injuries and then a check of the family. I would like to think that after I was assured of family safety would I rush for the shower to get clean.

  10. I am midwifery student. I’m used to the blood but I would probably freak out a bit because I would have no idea what has happened or someone is injured. I will try to understand what has happened and then decide what to do (police, hospital….).

  11. Cry out and struggle not to have a full blown panic attack as I tried to figure out whose/where/how the blood got all over me, where my family was, if it was “safe” wherever I was (was I alone or?) then I might call or run outside for help.

  12. First of all: Freak out. I’d like to think I’d be sensible enough enough not to scream in case the bad guys were still around but I’m not sure. Secondly, check to see If I was still bleeding/hurt and check my memory to see If I knew what had happened. Then, I’d check my surrounding and get the hell out.

  13. I would probably freak out before calming down enough to head to the shower, where I would then do a run through of the previous day to try and figure out who’s blood I was covered in and why. After my shower I would scope out the place I am in and plan accordingly to my findings.

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