Teaser: Claire C. Riley #SummerofZombie

Odium III The Dead Saga

Excerpt

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“I’m so sorry,” I mumbled against his mouth.

And I was. I was sorry that I hadn’t told him the truth, that I hadn’t trusted him to keep that truth to himself, and I was sorry that I had been too stubborn to realize it. Trust went both ways, and while I had been deliriously angry with the fact that he hadn’t trusted me, I equally hadn’t trusted him.

“No, don’t apologize, that’s my job. I was a total dick to you. I know that, I know I ruined what we had. That’s on me.”

I shook my head, but he pulled away and looked carefully into my face, his eyes burning with intensity.

“None of us are perfect in this world, we’re both far from it, but when you find someone worth dying for, you have to believe that they’re worth living for too. You are worth living and dying for, and I’m sorry that I hurt you.”

“I’m sorry too.” I blinked away the tears and smiled at him. “I have so much to tell you. I want to tell you everything.”

“I know it all—Rachael, the baby, everything. You were doing the right thing, I know that, and again, I’m so sorry.” He pressed another rough kiss against my mouth and I clung to him with both hands. “God damn, woman, you’ve been driving me crazy. It’s like you’re living in my head. Everywhere I turned you were there—or at least the ghost of you.” He laughed, but I could hear the strain in his laugh, and feel how desperately he meant those words and needed me to understand them. “I’ve been such an asshole.” He shook his head and pulled me close again, his beard scratching against my neck once more.

“It was both of us,” I relented. “Not just you and not just me.”

I felt him nod. “Fine, I’ll meet you halfway,” he chuckled. “You never let up, do you?”

“Never,” I replied, and hugged him tightly, my fingers digging into his sides. “Never.”

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!

Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Teaser: Joe McKinney #SummerofZombie

An Excerpt from Joe McKinney’s The Dead Won’t Die

The Dead Won't Die

Halfway down the concourse they came to a wide stairwell.  Signs hanging from the ceiling indicated that they led to the main tunnel network, two levels above them.  At the far end of the concourse, tunnels branched off in three different directions.  Another set of signs above those tunnels directed them to surface access, the airfields and a series of research labs with long, confusing titles that Jacob didn’t even try to figure out.

Jacob walked a little farther down the concourse and squinted at the signs.  “Chelsea, what’s your aunt’s lab called?”

“Morphic Field Studies and Application.”

Jacob shrugged.  “I need somebody with better eyes than me.  I can’t read those signs.”

But behind Chelsea, Kelly looked terrified.  She was staring up the escalators, wide eyed, shaking her head.

She turned to Jacob, held up her fist, and clenched it four times.

The non-verbal sign everybody in Arbella was taught to give the rest of their party when there were zombies close by.

Jacob advanced on her position.

Sure enough, coming down the stairs were three zombies in tech uniforms.

A fourth appeared at the top of the stairs and started down after the first three.  They had only recently turned, and like the dead bodies Jacob and the others had come across, they showed no signs of injury.  They meant the moved fast, and they were still strong.  Running from them wasn’t an option.  He had to engage them right now.  If he didn’t, they’d start to moan and their hue and cry would bring every other zombie within the sound of their voices.

Jacob ran up the stairs, got just out of arm’s reach of the nearest zombie, and fired right in its face.

The woman’s head burst open in thick clumps of hair and bone and blood that oozed down her shoulders before her body even got the message to fall to the ground.

Jacob side stepped the corpse and bumped into the metal handrail that ran down the middle of the stairs.  He’d wanted to get above the man in the yellow flight suit in order to put him off balance, but the zombie was faster than Jacob expected, and it closed the distance between them with a few quick steps.

It lunged for Jacob, like it was trying to tackle him to the ground.

Jacob ducked under the man’s hand, grabbed the front of his flight suit, and pulled the zombie down so that it ended up bent over the railing.

Off balance, Jacob went for the shot anyway.  He couldn’t afford to let this one stand back up.  It was too fast.  He fired and landed a glancing blow across the back of the zombie’s shoulders.  Bits of the back of the man’s head splashed onto the stairs below him, along with part of his left shoulder.

He turned to face Jacob, his dead eyes showing no pain, no surprise.  The zombie collapsed the next instant and rolled down the stairs, landing in a heap on the tiled floor below.

The other two zombies were caught on the opposite side of the railing.  They charged Jacob, only to run right into handrail.  The reached for him, tore at the air.  They snarled and snapped at him like rabid dogs.

But they couldn’t reach him.

Before they had a chance to figure out how to get to him, Jacob took a step back, leveled his weapon, and fired two quick headshots.  Both zombies collapsed onto the handrail and then slid harmlessly to the floor.

Jacob glanced toward the foot of the stairs and saw Kelly staring at the second zombie he’d killed.  She and Chelsea were okay.  Moving quietly and staying low, he climbed the stairs to see where the zombies had come from.  Near the top of the stairs he got down on his belly and poked just enough of his head above the top step to see the large junction beyond.  It was a huge circular room, probably a hundred meters across, with eight passageways leading off in different directions.  A few zombies were milling around the right side of the room, exploring, hunting for noise.  Beyond them, filing out of the most of the passageways, were more zombies.  Too many to count.  More than a hundred though, certainly.

“Shit,” he muttered.

He slid away from the top stair, then rose to a crouch and hustled down the stairs.  Kelly was kneeling next to the zombie he’d killed, studying the dead man’s face.

“We need to get out of here pretty damn fast,” he whispered.  He hooked his thumb toward the stairs.  “We’re about to have a whole lot of company from up there.”

“How many?” Chelsea asked.

“No idea,” he said.  “I saw maybe a hundred, but there’s probably more.  And if we make any noise we’re probably going to get a whole lot more.”

“Jacob,” Kelly said.

He knew that tone.  She was worried.

“What is it?” he asked.

She turned the dead man’s face toward him.  “Look at that.  There, around the mouth.”

There was a faded, uneven blue ring around the man’s mouth, like he dove face first into a blueberry pie and hadn’t done a very good cleaning up after himself.  “What is that?” Jacob asked.  “Some kind of bruise?”

“Cyanosis,” Kelly said.  “That’s one of the leading indicators of death by asphyxia.”

“You mean somebody strangled him?”

“More like poisoned him with some kind of nerve agent, like a poisonous gas.”

Author's Headshot

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!

Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Teaser: C.A. Verstraete #SummerofZombie

A few short excerpts from GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie by C.A. Verstraete

(Download the prologue and chapter 1 PDF at http://tinyurl.com/pfej6cj.)

What happened before this? Read Changes, a GIRL Z Prequel short story, to see how Becca got into this situation…

girlz-mylifeasateenagezombie-1

Prologue:

A virus. A freaking virus.

I’d been sick before, you know, measles, mumps…kid stuff…but not really sick.

Never like this.

This . . . this couldn’t be happening.

I tuned back in to the doctor’s explanation…new diet, pills, blah-blah-blah…and let his words fade again into the background.

Gone was the golden tan I’d nurtured over the summer with tanning cream and hours sunbathing by the pool with one of my cousins. My skin had a weird grayish tone, like I’d rubbed myself with fireplace ash.

I gazed at my legs, now mottled with strange gray blotches, and my pretty pink toenails peeking out from beneath the sheet.

The machine next to me made a frantic beep-beep.

I turned and caught my reflection in the metal canister sitting on the table next to the bed. Whimpering, I rubbed a hand over my cheek, wondering at the scaly texture, while at other times I felt almost nothing.

Large, deep brown eyes under ebony bangs stared back. I saw a decent nose.

Spots.

I took in the pinkish patches and my uneven skin tone, which reminded me of those old battleships on the PBS show I’d watched with my aunt.

For the first time in my sixteen-year-old life I was . . . ugly.

I struck the bed frame over and over, the pain barely registering. The machine’s whir-click-whir turned into a wail almost louder than mine—beep-beep-beeeeeeep.

A nurse in blue scrubs rushed in and tried to reassure me, even as she attempted to keep me immobile on this slab they called a bed.

“Relax, it’ll be fine,” she said.

“No, it won’t,” I yelled, “it won’t!”

How could looking like freaking King Tut without his wrappings ever be fine?

Excerpt – Where Becca is helping fight off a zombie family:

The other three, Mama, Papa and Sister Zombie, clung to the car, their shrieks and screeches getting louder as they fought to gain entrance. Maybe it was sick, but I couldn’t resist. I took aim with the paintball gun and squeezed the trigger. Pop-pop-pop. They landed in an arc, hitting each in turn. The paintball sizzled, the neon poison spreading across the one creature’s back. The second ball splat on the arm of Mama Z, who puller her hair and screeched before she fell. The third Z turned its rotten face my way and hissed like a snake, its rot-pocked tongue wiggled at me, before it, too, fell into the pile.

Yikes. If this wasn’t good for nightmares, I didn’t know what was.

Excerpt – Becca comes face to face with an old lady zombie:

An old lady Z in a ratty housecoat, the puffs of hair left on half of her head still sporting pink curlers, her mouth ringed with blood like she’d missed while applying her lipstick, limped toward us from the opposite direction.

She stumbled along, taking mincing steps in dirty pink slippers. A small plastic handbag dangled from a chain around her arm. I watched her progress, unable to shake the thought of somebody’s grandma heading to a tea party before she went missing.

Carm’s poke at my arm barely registered, my focus solely on Grandma Z shuffling along. “Bec? You good?” my cousin asked.

I shook my head, but didn’t trust myself to answer. My eyes blurred and got a little moist. I’d never expected this sudden stab of emotion. Up until now the Zs hadn’t bothered me, but this little old lady was different. She could’ve been anybody’s charming little grandma who unfortunately had somehow become infected.

I couldn’t do it. Not this time.

As if she sensed my hesitation, Grandma Z gave another little growl and reached for me with chubby hands, her fingers pocked with rot, bits of bone sticking out. I stared at her and screamed when Carm pushed me aside. “Bec, watch out!”

Carm pumped her gun, the paintballs hitting the senior Z full in the face. She made mewing sounds like a baby and grabbed at her dripping flesh.

It was too much for me. I averted my gaze. The sight of her agony and the reality of her body falling to pieces bothered me like it never had before.

* C.A. (Christine) Verstraete is the author of GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie and several short stories. See details at her website http://cverstraete.com or visit her blog, http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com.

Links:

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/mwjn6v3

Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/ctyd9dz

All Amazon countries: http://authl.it/B00E8HCVQM

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/d889gzn

Blog: GirlZombieAuthors

Website: http://cverstraete.com

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!

Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!

Teaser: Jack Wallen #SummerofZombie

reunion_cover

five | Trey

 
Morning. Breakfast. The journey is afoot again.

I hit another climb. I wasn’t in the mood. In fact, at the moment, the whole business of hiking was getting on my last nerve.

“Namaste, mother fucker,” I whispered. It was a joke Erica and I shared with regards to a rather brutal hot yoga class. As the cold wind whipped across my face, I longed for that one hundred and ten degree room and the surrounding sweat-drenched bodies.

For a brief second, my mind shifted and twisted to Erica’s sweaty flesh. At that moment, purpose resurrected in my core and my legs pumped upwards toward the peak of the climb.

I could smell her skin, hear her deep breathing. As I climbed, a memory bubbled to the surface. The first class. She was a graduate assistant, teaching Chemistry 101. The second I laid eyes on all five foot two inches of her, it was over. I bypassed crush and smitten and went straight to love. I was a transplant from the States, she was a native Canadian. I had a thing for the dialect and her quirky, youthful smile. After class, I followed her to a coffee shop, pulled out my guitar, and improvised a song.

It was lame.

It worked.

I got the girl.

And I will have that girl again, if it’s the last thing I do.

Just as I reached the apex of the climb, snow began to fall. Snow falling on the Appalachian Trail was nothing out of the ordinary. What did strike me as odd was that the snow didn’t melt when it touched down on my warm skin.

I stopped, removed a glove, and cupped a hand to catch a few flakes. With a beam of light shining down on the snow, I blew warm breath into the tiny pile.

Nothing.

Or so I thought. I blinked my eyes and held my hand out to catch a few more of the flakes. What should have been virgin white snow was …

“Gray?” I whispered. “What the fuck?”

I pinched a bit of the ash-colored snow between my thumb and forefinger and rubbed. It almost felt like flakes of … skin maybe? Even more disturbing than the idea of catching flesh flakes in my palm was that, after the rubbing, the snow left behind a smear of soot.

“Shit,” I hissed and rubbed my hand on my pants to rid my flesh of the mess. The trail stood before me with a sign that read “Walasi-Yi Center” and an arrow pointing ahead. That meant only one thing ─ the hostel in question was on the trail.

Finally, this nightmare could come to an end. All I had to do was hop onto their WiFi, Skype with Erica, and arrange for a plane trip back into the arms of pure joy.

And maybe a hot bath.

And some hotter sex.

The Walasi-Yi Center was dark. I pulled out my phone to check the time. Ten fifteen p.m. The hostel was either empty or everyone asleep. I stepped up to the door, turned the handle, and pushed. The door resisted against my weight. I leaned into the door and it finally gave way a few inches.

“Come on,” I whispered and dug my heels in. After another six inches, the door came to a sudden stop …

… and an arm dropped through the opening.

“Shit,” I shouted. My heart raced like I was on stage again. Adrenaline flooded my system and sweat soaked my neck. I shined my light down on the arm. The skin was pale and a thin line of dried blood ran from shoulder to wrist. A spaghetti network of blue veins peeked through the grayish skin.

A soft moan caught my attention. The sound came from within the hostel. Someone was either in pain or pleasure.

“Hello?” I called out.

Another moan answered me.

“Are you okay?”

A second moan cried out.

I kicked caution off the cliff and bore down on the door until it was open wide enough for me to enter. My situation had reached, as Erica would say, Defcon 1. I stepped through the door and was immediately assaulted by the coppery stink of blood. The smell came from every direction, permeated my every pore. Bile splashed against the roof of my mouth.

Thanks to my position as frontman for a metal band, everyone assumed me a total bad ass. Truth is, I wasn’t. Yeah, I was in shape (I had to be to get through shows night after night) … but being fit and being tough were two very distinct things. Erica was more badass than me. If she were here, she’d probably be laughing at me to suck it up. Of course, I knew her truth better than she. She was only badass with me. Outside of my orbit, Erica was a fuzzy kitten that needed protection. Outside of her circle of protection … I was about to puke.

I pressed my lips tight and sucked it all up. With a hard swallow, I lifted the beam of my flashlight until it shined across the room.

“Fuck,” I whispered.

Dead bodies everywhere. The old hardwood floor was riddled with cold gray flesh.

How did I know they were dead? There was nothing else they could be. Necks snapped or missing, arms broken, blood spilled everywhere, unsealed torsos, and eyes ─ those same sour-milk eyes from the blind hiker ─ stared back at me.

My body and mind froze in a synapse-misfire nightmare. It wasn’t until the moan returned that I regained control of my motor skills and thought processes. I shot the beam of my light around the room to locate the source of the sound. I saw nothing but death.

The moan came again. This time, I had the wherewithal to tuck myself behind a door. My eyes peered through the space between door and jamb to watch a young male awkwardly walk through the room. He stopped at one of the bodies, bent down, and sunk his teeth into the flesh of the woman below him. The sound of tearing meat and splattering blood brought the bile soup back to my taste buds. The urge to toss a rainbow was powerful. I managed to hold it back.

The bastard cannibal stood and slowly made his way to the exit of the hostel. I remained tucked away behind the door. After a moment, the source of the second moan made itself known ─ a female. This one didn’t bother to stop for a snack, but continued on through the door.

I exhaled a measured breath. As I continued to drink in the wind of the still living, I listened for more moans. None came. I pulled out my phone and checked for a wireless connection. When Walasi-Yi popped up, I tapped connect. Thankfully there was no password to block me from reaching the outside world.

As soon as my connection was ready, I fired up Skype and placed a call to Erica. She picked up after just two rings.

*   *   *   *   *

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!

Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!

#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!