One woman’s journey through the chaotic new world.
Those left standing make the paths for the future generations.
Those the planet allowed to live still have to survive the trials of the virus. If you manage to come out of it alive you are left with some form of mutation that could give you an ability that could be harmless or lethal.
Bree Taylor is the last survivor of her family. With no other choice she sets off on her own to escape the clutches of the new government’s army—that does not place safety and security in their code of behavior only the highest bidder get their protection and loyalty.
The entire volume 1 will be released in January 2015.
First part of volume 2 (Kane's story) is TBR in November 2014
Excerpt for #4:
It felt like months, the hours dragged on. I’d listen carefully to the voices to try to figure out when the guards changed, but without ever seeing daylight or night I couldn’t be sure if it was three times a day or only twice. My hands no longer throbbed; in fact I couldn’t feel them at all.
I tried not to think about the woman I’d known only for that one day, I tried not to think about Kismet and Tremor and what was happening to them without me to keep them safe. I drifted in and out of sleep, or maybe I was just numb, not feeling or sleeping at all.
When I stopped feeling thirsty, I knew I’d reached some sort of bridge. A person should always feel thirst to some degree I imagined. My stomach, was insistently reminding me that I hadn’t had more than a few sips in the time I’d been here—I still didn’t try to identify what the taste had been. With each second I lay there in the dark, I felt myself starting to accept not getting out of here.
My teeth hurt from trying to chew the cord around my wrists to free my hands. Why they only tied my hands I didn’t know, was I a threat to the two men that were always outside the door? In my weakened state probably not much of one, unless they were afraid I’d flick dirt off the floor at them when they came in.
Excerpt Part 3
The sound of wings flapping had my undivided attention; I stopped and held my breath trying to locate the direction it was coming from. The moment I honed in on the area the bird had been I wished I hadn’t. Here I was half way to the middle of the clearing in snow up past my knees and coming out of the trees roughly thirty feet from me were two very rough, huge men. I had twenty seconds grace before they spotted me, just enough time to turn in the snow and take the first step in what would likely end up being the most difficult run of my life.
Running in snow this deep was like running through water. If your feet didn’t clear it you got nowhere. I hadn’t stopped long enough to measure the height of the men quickly gaining on me, but I was fairly certain their long legs would move through this snow faster than my own.
As I hit the tree line again, I hesitated long enough to pick a direction. Kismet and I had been through this area enough times I knew most of it without thinking now. Slipping in the snow I changed directions and headed towards the hill that led to the river bed. If I could out-maneuver them in the densest part of the trees I might just be able to put a big enough gap between us that they’d give up.
Chancing a glance over my shoulder I noted one thing. They were large enough it would take four of me to make this anywhere near equal. My heart was thrumming, pumping blood through my veins in a chaotic beat. A part of me knew I couldn’t outrun them, but I had to try. Turning, I bolted back towards a tight grouping of trees. I could hear the pounding of their feet hitting the ground behind me and had one second to regret the one time I didn’t let Kismet come with me. He would have evened the odds.
One of them was close enough I could hear his heavy breathing over my own as I dodged between two trees I knew he wouldn’t be able to go through. My coat was actually slowing me down, but it held the knife and gun and there was no way I was dropping either of those right now. I heard him curse behind me and knew I only had seconds before he would have me. Ducking left, I stopped and spun around at the same time. My knife was now in my hand held down against my side as I gasped to settle my breathing. He stood a foot away from me and looked really pissed with the fact that I had made him run after me.
I wanted to look around for the other one, but didn’t dare take my eyes off of him. A familiar flick sound brought my attention to his hand to see a blade slide smoothly from the handle it had been folded into. There was nothing I could say that was going to change this man’s plans. His eyes were wide and bored into mine with a look of craziness. A branch snapping behind me was the only warning I got before a big arm wrapped around my waist and pulled me back into a hard chest.
They spoke to each other and it wasn’t in any language I understood, then again I only knew English. The tone the man in front of me used and the sudden smirk on his face told me I was in deep shit. There was no way, no how this was happening to me. I refused to be a victim. The one behind me tightened his hold, making breathing hard. He rubbed his face against my neck making my skin crawl. The other one waved the knife in front of me a few times and then used it to push open my coat. He grinned and said something to the one that was breathing on my neck.
The adrenaline was pumping so fast through my body I didn’t know how I was able to not vibrate. Now or never! Lowering my head, I relaxed my body as much as I could. Taking a deep breath, I threw my head back and brought my hand with the knife up at the same time, aiming for the arm around me. The loud crack and sudden pain in my head told me I’d connected hard with the face behind me. He cursed and let me go just as the other one lunged towards me. I felt the sting across my cheek as I brought the knife down and across his chest.
Excerpt Part 2:
Claws dug into me as it climbed to my neck at the same moment ice cold water swallowed me. My breath left my body so quickly it felt like my lungs were going to burst. The intense pain from the incisions the animal was making across my chest brought me the strength to kick as hard as I could towards the surface. I wasn’t the strongest swimmer by far, but I had more than enough will to live to try for both of us.
In the brief glimpses I managed to keep my head above the water, I didn’t spot the shore once. We were being sucked into the middle. Through the white choppy water that blurred my vision I was only able to catch a quick look each time before we were dragged under again. I could feel the rocks rake over my back and hoped there would be enough flesh left to survive it.
The cat was practically wrapped around my neck and holding several layers of skin and flesh captive in its young claws as we swirled around again in a deep pit of rushing water. Each time we surfaced, I gulped as much air into my lungs as I could before water filled my mouth again. The undercurrent calmed just long enough for me to find the direction of shore and with every ounce of strength I could find I kicked and paddled with my arms trying to shove us in that direction. I could make out a tree that was floating near the bank just seconds before I was inhaling water again.
Hitting the bottom I shoved as hard as I could and tried to aim to the calmer water near the shore, not even knowing if I was going in the right direction until air hit my face once more. The tree was still in sight and I somehow knew if we didn’t reach it we wouldn’t be on land after that. Releasing my hold on the animal that was anchored to me so deeply that no way was it going to jump off and float away I swam towards the tree and prayed I’d reach the limbs lying in the water before we were dragged beyond them.
Excerpt Book 1:
The snapping and crunching of branches told me something was moving through the trees. Turning the flash light off, I hunched down to be as small and invisible as possible. I listened in the darkness for anything that would let me know where the noise had come from and what had made it. Voices were carried to me in the dark, a man and a woman. I moved slowly back towards my things and sat with my back against the tree straining to see in the dark.
Time stopped as I waited to see if the voices kept moving or came closer. I wasn’t sure what I’d do if they did come closer. I touched the handle of the knife inside my coat, hoping this wasn’t when I find out if I could use it. Leaves rustled from behind me. I held my breath and pushed back against the tree, waiting. When I heard a low growl coming from around the tree I think even my heart even paused.
I had strangers coming closer on one side of me and an animal voicing a warning behind me. Tremor shook his head and pranced a few times and the growling got louder. I sat there trying to gauge what was the most important and decided there was no way I was going to let something happen to my horse. Sliding up the tree as quietly as I could, while focusing on the voices, I tried to recall every skill instilled in me, drawing more blanks than anything useful.
Pulling the knife from the pocket, I prayed it was sharp enough to cut the rope I’d tied Tremor to. I guessed I had about fifteen seconds to cut it and get to the horse before whatever was growling took a bite off one of my legs or other body parts. Chewing my lip, I hoped I could still get on his back without the saddle. The plan was to ride like hell and come back later for my stuff—if we could find it again.
Character Name: Bree Taylor
Character Bio: I was nineteen when the world went crazy, nothing that was would ever be again.
Remnants of a familiar world remained, but not enough to instill those warm, fuzzy feelings you get when life is comfortable and predictable.
When I was twenty-two I was the only surviving member of my family and terrified to stay in the city on my own. I decided that where I needed to be was in the mountains, so I left. The months to follow are something I will never forget or ever want to repeat.
Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?
My best, I think is my compassion for others but now in the new country it’s also my worst—the “could get me killed” kind of worse.
What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?
That I’m not as harmless as I look, then again that’s an advantage most of the time now.
What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?
I’m afraid to be alone. If it weren’t for Tremor and Kismet – my horse and wolf I doubt I would have lasted a day out here on my own before I ran back to the city.
What are you most afraid of?
Being caught by the Red Bands.
What do you want more than anything?
To reach the mountains. After months of traveling they don’t seem to be getting any closer.
What is your relationship status?
Complicated? There is a man but I never know if he’s coming back, then again out here I don’t know how long I’ll be around either.
How would you describe your sense of fashion?
Survivalist. I may not be color coordinated but I do my best to stay, dry, warm or cool and alive.
How much of a rebel are you?
I don’t think I am any more than the next person now. We don’t have a choice or we’re not going to survive.
What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?
I survived the winter is probably my greatest and I did it alone.
What is your idea of happiness?
After months of no hot running water – a hot bubble bath! Odd I know, but if you’d been through what I have you’d understand.
What is your current state of mind?
Determined. I am going to get to the mountains in one piece.
What is your most treasured possession?
My throwing knives.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Definitely the hair, flaming red. I like it but I’ve learned it’s like a beacon out here to attract attention.
What is it that you, most dislike?
Fish. If I have to each one more fish I’m going to scream.
Which living person do you, most despise?
I don’t think I despise anyone in particular, more of a type of person. Bullies. Whether it’s someone picking on the little guy or in my world the Red Bands.
What is your greatest regret?
I didn’t know how I’d mutated after the virus until it was too late to save my brother.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
He has to have a kind heart. I don’t care if he’s all puffed up for show, but the heart better be one of gold on the inside.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Standing up for herself. Who knows maybe a few thousand more years and men might just get it.
Who is your favorite hero in fiction?
Wow, books and movies are practically a thing of the past now – it’s been so long I can’t think of one.
Which living person do you most admire?
Oh that’s easy , Maisy. I mean I’ve lasted out here, just barely at times and she’s elderly and the virus took her sight and she’s still the strongest most amazing person I’ve ever met.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I would be taller. Just thinking of how much less work it would be with a bigger me, well it would be a dream come true.
What is your motto?
One moment at a time. Planning too far ahead in this new country is just setting yourself up for disappointment.
Jacqueline Paige lives in Ontario in a small town that’s part of the popular Georgian Triangle area. No one has ever heard of Stayner, so she usually tells people she lives “near Collingwood” and no, she doesn’t ski at Blue Mountain or at all, in fact she’s not even fond of snow.
She began her writing career in 2006 and since her first published works in 2009 she hasn’t stopped. Jacqueline describes her writing as “all things paranormal”, which she has proven is her niche with stories of witches, ghosts, physics and shifters now on the shelves.
When Jacqueline isn’t working at her ‘reality job’ or lost in her writing she spends time with her five children, most of whom are finally able to look after her instead of the other way around. Together they do random road trips, that usually end up with them lost, shopping trips where they push every button in the toy aisle, hiking when there’s enough time to escape and bizarre things like creating new daring recipes in the kitchen. She’s a grandmother to four (so far) and looks forward to corrupting many more in the years to come.