Sunday, November 8, 2015

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Names Starting With 'Z': Need Something New to Read?

Names Starting With 'Z': Need Something New to Read?: Are you looking to discover a fresh, new author? Are you looking for a new cozy-mysteries writer or a refreshingly new YA author? How about ...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Chapter Excerpt from HUMAN SACRIFICE by M. Elaine Moore

Chapter Excerpt from HUMAN SACRIFICE by M. Elaine Moore


For L.A.P.D. detective Aubri Payton, the only thing worse than being abducted is learning the cost of her ransom…
For as long as she can remember, Aubri’s life has consisted of pain and perseverance. A past she can’t explain. A future she can’t quite face. Then, the last thing she wants…a new partner. One she barely tolerates. Strangely, one who seems to understand her. As soon as she begins to feel a connection to him, she finds herself in the worst situation of her life. And suddenly, Aubri is faced with the ultimate decision…save her own life and hand over the partner she thought she never wanted, or save his and make herself a human sacrifice.


They've done a full search of her place, and found nothing. Not even a fingerprint that doesn't belong. The lock on her door was expertly picked, and there isn't a trace of a struggle. Had she even known they were there?
Her house is now a crime scene, the center of an investigation, the place from which his partner has been abducted. The place he had been last night for that oh-so-short, impromptu visit to check on her. The place he had finally lost all sense of caution and had kissed her.
He wanders back through the memories of last night. Had he let things go on, had he pressed his luck instead of drawing away, would she have let him? Would it have ended up as more than one kiss? Would she have pulled him into her bedroom for the night? What if? He rakes his hand through his hair and lets out a breath. Would she still be here had he stayed?
"Chris," says Waite, yanking him out of his headspace. "There's nothing more we can do here. Let's go."
He nods, still lost in last night, still knocked flat by the reality of the situation at hand. Aubri is gone, and for once, he has absolutely no idea how to help her.
* * * * *

She fights to keep her face emotionless, her gaze blank. She cannot let them see the recognition in her eyes at the mention of his name. They have to think they're wrong. She stares at the man, feeling his filthy hand on her throat. She wants to vomit.
"I don't know who that is," she says, keeping her voice level.
"Bullshit," he yells, grasping her throat again, slamming her head against the pipes.
She struggles to breathe. "I really don't know him. You have me confused with another woman."
"Really, mija, because we've seen you with him. We know you're his girlfriend."
His girlfriend? Really? That's the best they can do? She nearly laughs, but the situation is far too grave. "I'm not. You're wrong. I don't know a Chris Avery."
They look at each other. She can't tell what either one is thinking. She sees fury, hate, frustration. She's pissing them off. But she won't give him up. She has no idea why they want him, or why they would dare go to these lengths to get him, but she knows with certainty that if they find him, they probably intend to kill him. How can they not know where he is? They knew where to find her.
"You were with him last night," the Caucasian guy says. "So yeah, we know you're his girl. Where is he?"
Shit. "What do you want with him?"
The Hispanic smiles. "If you don't know him, why do you care, huh?"
"Because if you're willing to do this to me, it makes me wonder what you plan on doing to him."
He smiles again, a sickening, sadistic grimace. "Worse, mija. Much, much worse."
* * * * *

Time passes with alarming speed. And still, there's no clue where she is. Or who has her. Nothing makes sense, and it's infuriating. He paces around like a caged animal, trying to figure it out. Someone has gone to great lengths to abduct a police detective from her home. They have to have a reason. They have to want something in return for her life. But if you're leveraging someone, they have to know that you have what they want. And so far, no one has come forward with a demand.
Which terrifies him.
Leverage is one thing. Revenge is another. If it's retribution they want, there's little to be done. If this person wants revenge against Aubri, he's not going to contact anyone, not going to make any demands. Because the one thing he wants, he already has.
Hours pass. Darkness falls. With it, comes a sense of hopelessness he's sickeningly familiar with. He drives around, praying he'll see something. He talks to contacts on the street, asking about a beautiful, dark-haired woman. No one knows a thing. It's as if she never really existed, except in his own mind. He goes back to her house and ducks beneath the crime scene tape. Total silence. A heavy darkness oppresses the room. His heart squeezes. Where is she? If she were dead, wouldn't he feel it? He's so in tune with her, so in sync now, wouldn't he know? Grasping for something to hold onto, he tells himself he would. It's the only thing he can do.
* * * * *

They've left her alone again. Her face throbs, her throat is dry, everything aches. None of that even compares to the idea that they want him. And if they found her, they can certainly find him. But why haven't they? How much simpler would it have been to just snag Chris from his apartment? Or from her house last night? There's something else to this, but she can't figure out what. She has no idea why they gave up so easily before. She had expected them to keep at her until they got what they want. But they hadn't.
Light fades from the room. The night becomes maddeningly silent. Where the hell is she that there is no sound? No traffic, no voices, nothing. If she screams, will anyone hear her? No. She's alone.
 When will they come back? She's sure they will, knows they aren't done with her. She also knows, with sickening certainty, that when they do, they won't give up as easily. They'll attempt to beat the information out of her. She imagines that at some point, they'll decide they like the looks of her. She's surprised it wasn't their first line of attack. She squeezes her eyes shut at the thought. They'd have to un-cuff her for that, wouldn't they? This would be too awkward. She could fight then. They're big, but so far she's seen no weapons. It gives her just a bit of hope. She clenches her fists and relaxes them, and remembers the ink scrawled on her palm. Her fortune. I will always save you. Trust me. She sucks in a breath, feeling her throat constrict.
 She has hours upon hours to think, to access all the dark thoughts and memories swirling around in her head. Hours to ask herself questions. Just what has Chris Avery come to mean to her? Why is she willing to suffer for him? Is it for him, or for Evan? Is she determined to save her partner's life at all costs because she's that connected to him now, or is it because she couldn't save the first one? She imagines it's just a bit of both. Loyalty and penance. But the truth is, Chris has come to mean something to her. Something she can't allow herself to lose. She curls her hand and strokes her fingertips over the ink on her palm.
Sitting on the cold concrete, her ankles now raw from rubbing against it, she begins to go a little stir crazy. She has never been prone to panic, and she forces herself to remain calm now. But she can't help but fight the cuffs. She tugs, trying to pull her aching hands through. She knows better. They'll swell, and there will be no hope of escape. Not that she has much hope. She's alone, and for all she knows it's forever.



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Chapter Excerpt from SCARLET MEMORIES Volume One by Jessica T. Ozment

Chapter Excerpt from SCARLET MEMORIES Volume One by Jessica T. Ozment


Ian's life is a dream come true. He has the perfect job, good friends and plenty of money. Little does he know, his whole world is about to become an apocalyptic nightmare. While filming a new movie, he discovers one of the actresses has come back from the dead. Forced to take charge of the film crew, Ian and his co-workers journey to what they hope is safety. Lives will be lost and emotions are stirred as new horrors arise. Will Ian and his crew make it out alive? One thing is for sure, no one is safe

Chapter One - Genesis

He lays a hand across his chest as he walks into the room where Allison’s faint voice traveled from. He had been following the light whispers to an upstairs room they had been hiding. He squinted his eyes; desperately focusing through the darkness. He reached for the light switch, no power.

‘Ryan?’ Came Allison’s soft voice trickling out from the center of the room. It was barely above a whisper. Ryan shifted his gaze but was unable to make anything out. How he wished his eyes would adjust already.

‘Allison?’ He cried. ‘Where are you?  I can’t see you.’

With that, he heard something scamper quickly across the room.

‘Allison?’ He choked again.

His heart nearly dropped to the floor when he heard a loud thud.

‘Ryan I am here….follow my voice…,’ it sounded as though her voice trailed off. Was she being dragged?

With the sweat building above his brow he moved slowly, and carefully, closer to the sound of her voice.

‘Closer…’ Allison beckoned.

Her voice became more shrill. Ryan felt a knot curl into his stomach as she called out to him. Something was wrong. They’d been together almost every day for the past six years. He knew her voice well; he could sense the unease in her tone.

Ryan finally decided to stop. In the darkness his hand brushed up against what felt like the edge of a firm bed. He traced the wooden frame along the edges, feeling for anything that could be Allison. As he felt along the side of the bed, his hand reached something wet. His initial reaction was to pull away; to wipe it on his jeans.

‘I’m right here baby…’ She murmured.

At that moment Ryan felt a very cold and wet hand grasp his arm tightly. So tight in fact it burned.

‘Allison, what is wrong with you? Why are you so wet?’

Ryan waited for her response. She had gone quiet.

His voice started to shake. ‘Allison?’ He repeated.

At that moment, Ryan turned his head towards the bedroom door. He sees the lights slowly coming on one by one. Until finally the light in the room flicks on. Ryan turned quickly to face her . But it wasn’t Allison at all. It looked like it could have been her. Or, at least a shell of her anyways. He threw her arm off of his shoulder and backed away from her.

‘You’re not Allison...’ He could only manage a squeak.

As the lights brightened suddenly, a barreling voice shouted, ‘Cut!. I told you to hold on to the last sentence and make it sound… more intense!’

Ian threw his palm to his forehead and pressed it firmly there. He’d only been playing the part of Ryan for a few days but, already the director was starting to annoy him.

‘Alright! I’ve got it!’ He mouthed to Jim through a half smile.

He was getting tired of his antics. He was constantly barking at him over every small detail. No matter, it wouldn’t be long before filming was done. And then Ian would return to New York. He’d been taking smaller roles in order to get his name out there. But, lately it seemed he had been dealing with the worst of directors. He would just have to deal with it. He turned to his Co-star Kendra who was playing the part of Allison.  Despite her stage makeup he could tell that she felt drained.

‘You alright Kendra?’ he asked, raising his hand to rest on her shoulder.

He watched as her eyes followed his hand, seeming to skim them over.

‘Yes…I am fine.’ She croaked as she got up and walked to the other side of the room.  It looked like she was afraid to be near him.

‘You sure?’ He asked. ‘You seem a little tense today.’

He motioned for his assistant to grab some refreshments. He took the water and offered her a bottle. Brushing back his black hair, he watched as she guzzled it down quickly as though she had been parched for days.

‘Why don’t we finish this scene tomorrow?’ He asked her, looking over at Jim for support.

Kendra bit down on her lower lip. Nothing irked her more than finishing the day with an uncompleted scene. But, she really couldn’t see this day lasting much longer with the way that she felt at the moment.

‘Ah, sure.’ She sat the empty plastic bottle down and walked over to Ian. ‘I guess that would be ok. I’ll just be in my dressing room taking this off.’ She said, motioning toward the atrocious outfit and body suit that she was wearing.  It smelt heavily of sweet candy due to the fake blood the makeup artists had doused her with. It had begun to make her nostrils burn.

‘Uh, Ok, yeah that sounds fine. But, you two better have your butt’s in gear and lines down by then!’ Jim shouted.

With that Jim turned around. He need no longer waste his time staring at the pair of them if they weren’t making him money.

Jim Cranston was the type of person who invested his time very wisely. His father taught him that, ”time is money” he’d say. And he took that as seriously as he could.

‘Listen up everyone!’ Jim roared. - That seemed to be the only way that he could express himself these days- ‘I’m going to be in my office if anyone needs anything…’ He paused taking in a breath. ‘And by that, I mean leave me alone!’ 

He swiftly turned and headed towards his office at the back of the warehouse.  Which wasn’t entirely a warehouse anymore? The props and building crew had turned it into a house within a warehouse for the film. His tiny office was located in the back of the warehouse. He did this on purpose. He avoided other people whenever possible . Which was a bit odd for the occupation he had.  Jim hurriedly raced passed the film crew to his office and slammed the door. The ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ sign rocking back and forth swiftly as he did.

With Jim’s exit underway, Kendra realized she had better start making hers. She was truly feeling horrible. ‘If this didn’t let up, she would have to see a doctor soon.’ She thought to herself.
‘Ian I’m going to head to bed. See you later?’ She asked brushing her brown hair away from her face.

Her brown eyes looked rather dim. The pair had taken to grabbing a drink after each completion of important scenes.

‘Yeah, of course. That is if you’re feeling any better than you look.’ He joked. Trying to put a smile on her face before she left.

He knew she needed something to cheer her up. He allowed a large smile to pass over his face. Kendra smiled half-heartedly. Ian could tell that all she had on her mind was hitting her head on a soft pillow. Far away from any cameras and hot lights pointed at her. She pushed passed him quickly as if she were about to throw up; running in the direction of her dressing room. It was also located near Cranston’s office. This happened to be Cranston’s doing. Kendra was a good looking girl.

Ian grabbed his manuscript of lines he had thrown into his actor’s chair. The one with his name on it for in between scenes and such. He would need to study hard tonight if he wanted Jim off of his back. This film was proving to be his least favorite. The only person who made it bearable was Kendra. And she was too sick to hang out with him. Resigned to spending the rest of the evening alone he made his to his dressing room.

On the way to his room, Ian noticed there was a small crowd around Jeremy - The key grip guy for the film. Their gazes seemed situated on his smart phone. What could be this good? He wondered as he walked closer to the cluster of people. It’s probably just some dumb crazy cat video. Everyone is really into those these days. The sound of the people’s whispers slowly began to get louder and louder. Whatever it was, it sure had everyone excited.

As he got closer he noticed that what he mistook for excitement was actually fear. Everyone’s face, including Jeremy’s, looked extremely frightened at whatever they were witnessing. What the hell is up with everyone? Ian asked himself. He was finally able to get a good view of what was playing on the cell phone… As he stared at the screen his heart sank deeply into his stomach. He knew now what the other people had known all along. The world had just lost its mind.

‘What in seven hells are we going to do?’ Ian heard Jon the kitchen guy blurt out, scared beyond measure.

The crowd began thinning out around Jeremy. They all backed away from his phone as if it were the plague. No one seemed to want to be near it, let alone touch it. Ian decided to move forward and get a better view. Jeremy saw Ian walk toward him.

‘As you’re still pretty calm, I take it you’ve not seen this yet?’

Ian shook his head as Jeremy restarted the video from the beginning.

As the video starts back up, Ian notices what appear to be Russian soldiers in a makeshift hospital. From the look of it, Ian could tell that they were at war. As the camera focuses, the cameraman walks towards the injured soldiers in the hospital beds. He zooms slowly into the frame of the face of a young Russian soldier who appears to be sleeping.

But wait… Ian thinks. Is he sleeping? He’s so still and pale….what’s going on here?

The soldier never moved. The camera man grabs the patients chart from the end of the bed. He pulls up the top of the first page. And then speaks something in Russian. The words, ‘He is dead.’ translated across the bottom of the screen.  The eerie silence that followed only made the realization more bizarre. At that moment, the viewer hears the cameraman speak something in Russian again. His words seemed rushed and worried. He leaps backward, nearly dropping his camera. The video bouncing around within the small confines of the cell phone eventually straightened up and re-focused. What Ian saw next would not be believed around the world for many days to come.

 The soldier that the cameraman had focused on wasn’t dead at all… Or was he? Ian frantically thought.

He still had the look of death upon his face but, he was moving… The soldier stretched out his arm towards the cameraman. His mouth was open wide with rows of teeth, many of them broken and chipped. At that moment Ian looked back at all of the people who had already watched the video. His look was of disbelief. How could the cameraman make something like this up? No one seemed to care. They all seemed busy getting their things together. One person tripped over a cord from the cameras and ripped part of the backdrop from the last scene that they filmed.. How odd? Ian thought. Again his gaze shift back to the phone.

This time, you could not see very much of the background because, there was an alarming amount of blood covering the camera’s lens. As if that wasn’t enough, you could barely make out in the background shadows shuffling about the room. What am I seeing here? His hands began to tremble.

A banner for the local news channel passes across the video’s page. And then the newscaster appears in the camera’s frame. His look wasn’t that of disbelief. Oh no. It was the look of despair. Like he knew something that he didn’t truly feel like talking about. But, this was his job and somebody had to do it.

‘We come to you now from the Channel 12 newsroom with an alarming video. We are live coming straight out of Russia’s war zone nearing the capitol.’ The News Anchor dropped his gaze to his command prompt screen. He paused, took a deep breath and proceeded with the story.
‘It appears that there is a high body count, casualties of war that the military cannot account for. This is a follow up statement that goes along with the video we have just shown you. It appears that the dead are rising!’ The news anchor dropped his papers, coughed and adjusted his tie.

‘Ahem,’ he clears his throat. ‘It would appear that the dead are attacking people. Anyone they come in contact with. The government has called for a state of emergency in almost all of the United States. We are advising that you stay home, don’t open your doors. And above all be safe. Witnesses have reported seeing the dead bite other people and moments later that person experiences violent seizures, followed by vomiting and then…they turn.’

The anchors blue eyes flushed red at reading this statement. He didn’t look as though he believed it himself. 

‘So, please get your family somewhere safe. And await further instructions as they come available, we will continue to bring you the latest and most accurate news…um’, he choked. ‘Here at Channel 12 news station’.

The anchor then dropped his papers, storming away from his desk at great speed.  Then, the Russian video began to air once more, as if it were on a loop.

Jeremy stuffed his phone back into his pocket. He had a feeling he wouldn’t want to look at it again for a while. This was all getting to him. He thought he’d had it with his job as key grip working under Cranston. But, now this? He can be sure that he’ll be adding a few more greys to his already salt and pepper hair. He ran his fingers through his shaggy hair. He knew for sure that they couldn’t stay here. They needed to go. But, to where? He looked to Ian.

‘So…What do you think we ought to do?’ he asked turning his head around the room, soaking in everyone’s demeanors. Each person had a different look about them. Some were grabbing their things and heading for the doors. Others, well they looked to be in a state of confusion. They didn’t seem to know what to do.  He could only think of sadness and a sense of hopelessness.

Ian peered around the room as he saw Jeremy do. Everyone looked helpless. He knew that half of these people had no homes to go back to. That many of them had family in another state. Most of the cast and crew had been flown in. He could only imagine what they must be going through. And then he remembered that his family was back in New York. Surely, they will know of someplace safe to go? He talked himself into thinking.

In reality he wasn’t so sure. His parent’s barely watched the television as it was. He doubted they knew any of this was happening. Ian’s eyes began to water. He allowed himself to think positively about the situation. Someone will help them. They are strong.

He forced himself to bury any thought of them. If he didn’t he’d be unable to take care of himself.
‘I’ll go make sure Kendra and Jim know. You,’ he motioned with his finger at Jeremy,’ We need to make sure everyone here has a place to go. I’ll come back with those two to help you make sure.’

‘Alright, I’ll see you in a minute.’ Jeremy said walking in the general direction of the others.

Ian shuffled passed the staging area towards the back of the warehouse where he would find Kendra and Jim. He felt drained and way under-prepared for this situation. He wondered what could have started all of this. No one really knew where it began anyway. How bad is it out there? He thought. Lowering his head and focusing on his shoes.  Ian came to the double doors that would lead him to the dressing rooms. He focused on the sign that read, ‘CAST AND CREW ONLY.’ His attention was broken when he heard a noise coming from behind the doors. Opening the door to see who could be in the break room, he heard the noise again. Searching for the light switch Ian tripped over something. What was that? Ian suddenly had no breath left in his lungs.  He could only think of what he’d tripped over. His mind wandered over so many outcomes. Oh my god it’s one of those things! He cried! I’ve got to find a light switch. He thought with exasperation. But, just then, he heard something slop onto the ground. It sounded eerily like wet meat being thrown into a pig trough. The old familiar,’suuuueeeewwwwyyy pig, pig, pig! 
Sueeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwyyyyyyyyyyyy!’ came to mind. God what am I thinking? Where is that light switch? Ian felt quickly along the wall as he jumped up. It seemed like it took him forever to find it. 

Click’ The light switch snapped up to the on position. Ian had been facing his hands on the wall. He had to turn around to face whatever it was he had tripped over. The thing. He snapped his neck to in front of the door entryway. It was Kendra. She had fallen onto the floor and busted her head open. And from the looks of it, it was fairly bad. He rushed to her side.. As he got closer, he noticed that she also had what looked like a bite mark on her shoulder. You could tell because she had changed into her nightly pajamas. Which included a tank top that read, ’Kiss the cook,’ and ‘fuzzy pajama pants’. They had giant pink lips all over the length of the fabric. There was also,’muah!’ printed all over the bottoms. He inched his way closer to her. Bending lower as he checked for her pulse. He grabbed her head and lifted it off of the concrete floor. Ian checked the wound on the back of her head. It definitely did not look pretty. And had already begun to smell? Why would it already smell like that? I heard her hit the ground… The wound was also doing something else that he didn’t understand…The blood had already begun to congeal.

But, that doesn’t make sense. She just fell! None of the facts seemed real to him anymore. Nothing, none of the evidence would back up what he had heard only moments before. He gently laid her head back down onto the floor and stood up. He searched the cabinets in the break room for a towel or something that could stop the bleeding. Bleeding? I thought I just saw her would congealing? Why am I grabbing this? He thought to himself. He had just found a dish towel that he could use and threw it into the sink next to him.

‘GRRWWAAH Came a voice from behind him.
It was a sort of grunt mixed with a moan. He wasn’t completely sure which one he had heard. He whipped around to see Kendra off of the floor and heading towards him. Her face paler than before. Her eyes had a crazy look about them. As if they were strangers to her own body. She also had throw up on the corner of her mouth and cheek.

‘Kendra?’ ‘He asked.  ‘What’s wrong with you? Are you ok? I just heard you take that fall… And I am sure I just saw you dead on that floor!’ He spoke to her, his voice quivering with fear.

She lunged at him out of nowhere. Grabbing at his shoulders and arms trying to take a bite out of them any way that she could. Ian looked down and noticed her mouth open much wider than she had ever done before. It looked unnatural. It seemed that her teeth had gotten longer too. But, taking a second glance he realized that they were broken and jagged.

‘You’re one of those things!’ He cried, Pushing her away by her shoulders. Trying to avoid her jagged teeth. She just kept coming at him. No matter what he did. God that smell was revolting! He eventually pushed her so hard, that she fell against the employee refrigerator. Hitting her already battered head into the corner of the handle. Kendra lay on the floor not moving. Her body unconscious the blunt force trauma she had just endured. He knew he had to do something. But, what could stop a dead person .. Thing ... Creature?  That was when he looked down and saw Kendra’s finger twitch. Her arms then began to move to push her lifeless body off of the ground. Droplets of congealed blood fell from the giant gash in the back of her head. Gross! He thought as he rushed to find something he could use to ‘put her down.’ He looked over at the sink area where they usually prepared their daily meals. This is one of the first times that he had come into the break room and found all of the dishes done. Why today? He grumbled.

He had hoped that he would find a knife or something blunt to use. There was nothing. Not even a coffee maker. They were all used to getting Starbucks, so, there was no need for one. Ian could not believe that nothing of use was in the room. At that moment Ian decided to push passed Kendra and opened the fridge. He grabbed ahold of her long hair and slammed it between the fridge doors. Kendra spat drying blood out of her mouth and clawed at Ian trying to grab him from the legs. But, Ian moved away just in time. He slammed it so many times that her head began to crush. He could see her brains squishing out of her skull and falling to the floor with a splat.

Kendra finally stopped moving. She was no longer slashing at him with her broken fingernails.  Her arms and legs hit the floor completely still. Her body seemed truly lifeless now. Out of sheer curiosity, Ian pulled the door of the fridge open. He could see brains and teeth all over the floor. And that smell was so much worse now. It’s like it was coming from the brain itself. And Ian had gone and made a soup of it all over the floor! Putting his arm to his face, Ian jumped back wafting in front of his face. He grabbed the trash can and fell to his knee’s throwing up immediately into it. He could taste his meal from earlier. And the taste of the acid burning his throat. The smell of Kendra’s dead body coming up with each time he threw up. He had to get out of this room.

Ian rushed to the break room door and into the dressing room area. He still had to warn Jim. Even if he was a complete jerk the guy deserved to know. Passing the many posters and signs that the crew had put up in the halls, Ian heard another noise. This time it was coming from Jim’s office…He rushed to his door. As he was about to turn the knob, he heard an all too familiar sound coming from inside the room. It sounded like the electric shaver Jim was always shaving with. He carried that thing around everywhere. Ian had no idea why he constantly shaved. It wasn’t like his beard would grow over night. Just another reason confirming the fact that Ian couldn’t stand Jim Cranston. But, he had come here to warn him and that was what he was going to do.

Ian knocked on the office door before entering. He knew the consequences that would follow if he didn’t. Jim hated an unannounced entry into his office. He adored his privacy and promised anyone who ignored that request a long and enduring one sided shouting fest. Of course it was very rare for anyone to do this now. They had all had their share of hearing him rant.
‘Jim I’m sorry to barge in’ Ian started. His train of thought was violently interrupted by the images he now saw. Blood… Blood, guts, body parts, brains, everything that makes up the human body mass of Jim Cranston. The smell of the blood reminded him of the scent of iron and rust. God! What happened here? He glared around the room. It was dark and musty. But, from what he could see, it looked as though there had been a huge struggle starting at his desk. All of his nick knacks and paper weights were rolled across the floor. Far from where they were supposed to be. And there was a lamp thrown to the floor, the bulb busted. The filing cabinet closest to the majority of where his body parts lie, was tossed to the side as though it didn’t weigh very much at all. He had thousands of manuscripts in there! How the hell did someone pick that up? Much less throw it that far without any trouble? Ian questioned.

What if Kendra did this? He asked himself. Trying to mull over a thousand scenarios in mind. It had to be her. She would be the only one who could do this. He thought, spotting Jim’s family portrait broken and ripped up on the floor. It made Ian think about his own family again. Were they alright? Did they get disemboweled like this?

Ian shut the door to the office trying to shake the scene from his memory. Unfortunately, it was instilled there forever. Something he would never forget. He knew he would need to warn the others that the threat had already been there all along. They had to get somewhere safe. This thing could get ugly quick and without warning. And there was no time to sit and dwell on things that he can’t change. He set out to tell the others what he had just experienced. The most bizarre thing that has ever happened to him. He had done things he wished he didn’t have to do. Kendra was his friend. They did everything together recently. They were midway through the shooting of the movie and were inseparable.  Ian tried to think about the last time he had a friend that close. He couldn’t really think of anyone but Matt Rings. His old best friend in High School. He was the biggest guy he knew. With the biggest heart too. Matt was a survivalist junkie and somewhat of a doomsday prepper. He studied all things used for self-sustaining situations. He wanted to be able to live life without needing modern conveniences. And he was getting good at it. That’s when they went their separate ways to go to college. Ian went to Pace University in New York. And Matt… Well Matt went off to travel to teach himself the ways of the land. He was doing something that he loved. They lost contact shortly after high school was over. And Ian hadn’t heard from him from him in so long.

Ian snapped to it. He was at the front of the warehouse now. Where everyone had gathered earlier to watch the video. Passing a corner, Ian ran into Jeremy. When Jeremy saw him his eyes looked concerned. ‘Are you ok’ He asked Ian. Jeremy was staring at the blood all over Ian’s pants and bottom of his shirt. To him, it probably looked like Ian had gone mad.

‘I’m fine’ he said waving his hands in front of his face. ‘I need to talk to you about what happened in there.’ Ian pointed to the back of the warehouse and dropped his gaze back down to the floor. How was he going to tell him that he just kind of... murdered the supporting actress and their boss? I mean, he knows that the world had gone to the dogs. But, it still seemed barbaric. But, this was the first sign of trouble for anyone in the entire group. They had managed to isolate themselves from the current situation somehow. It must have been because they were so busy with filming the movie that many of the cast and crew hadn’t traveled outside of the filming location for days. Only the select few who lived here in Texas really did.  Ian pulled Jeremy to the side and spoke to him very quietly. He knew this would upset a lot of people once it got out. And now wasn’t the best time. Who knows what they would do if they found out this early on. Ian was barely able to handle it.

‘Kendra and Jim are dead.’

Ian’s mouth suddenly ran dry at hearing the words come out of his own mouth. Somehow it made it seem more permanent. More real. If anything was real anymore. Jeremy dropped his jaw so far down it could have touched the floor. ‘What the hell do you mean they’re dead? We literally just saw them like fifteen minutes ago!’ Jeremy said to him in dis-belief. He watched as Ian began to recount what happened.

‘It was Kendra. Remember how she’d been sick?’ He questioned Jeremy. ‘I think she came down with whatever the hell is bringing the dead back to life. She must have gotten to Jim when she turned. She killed him too.,’ He paused. Wiping the sweat off of his forehead. ‘She ripped him to shreds and there was no saving him.’ Ian felt the image of Jim’s body parts strewn across the room coming back to the surface of his memory. ‘There was no way that he could be saved…’

Jeremy looked up at Ian’s face. His emotions seemed mixed. But, the majority of emotion that he saw was of sadness.

‘That must have been horrible to witness. We have to tell everyone. They need to know to be careful with these things. I checked with them and most of them want to get back to their loved ones. They aren’t looking to stay here. And I don’t blame them.’  He shook his head.  ‘Neither do I. But, there is something we have to worry about. These things are strong and fast and we have to be careful not to cross paths with them. And if we do, we have to be prepared to handle them.’ Ian thought back to his toss up with Kendra. ‘Kendra came at me. She wasn’t herself. She was one of those things. Had been sick all day. Remember?’ He was repeating himself.

 ‘We had to send her to get rest? It must have happened then. And it didn’t take her long to take care of Cranston. You don’t want to see him. In fact, we can’t let anyone back there. This is something they don’t need to see at all.’ Ian shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. It was drenched in sweat. He had been through a lot already today. And he knew this wasn’t the end of it. No, it was the beginning of what he believed to be hell on EARTH.

The two decided they would both tell the swell of people out there what had happened. And then they would let them decide if they wanted to stay together, go in groups or try to make it on their own. Of course, they would shoot for option one; staying together. The more people we have the better. We need the numbers. Ian thought. He suddenly was remembering a lot of things Matt had taught him. He hoped more would surface soon. He knew he would need it. Plus, it felt nice thinking about his old best friend again. He did miss him. And things sure would be better if he were still around today. He hoped that where ever his friend Matt was; that he was in a better situation than he was in at the moment.

   Ian took a deep breath. Allowing his lungs to expand fully. He was nervous about telling the others what he knew. Knowing that there was a chance that people would leave. The thing that was taking over peoples bodies was right here. In the very same building. But, as far as anyone of them knew, it had stopped with Jim and Kendra. It really wasn’t safe to stay here much longer anyway. They needed a plan.

Ian and Jeremy walked into the filming area. Everyone was too busy talking to each other to notice them step up onto the main staging area.  They both looked around the room. The sense of terror was heavy in the air. So heavy that you could almost taste it. If they were going to make a plan, they needed to make sure it was something that wasn’t thought of out of fear. That could get them into a lot of trouble. They needed to get somewhere safe. And this was hardly it. This warehouse had too many ways to access the inside.

Jeremy cleared his throat loudly so that the place would hopefully quiet down. Finally, a few people heard him and started ‘shushing’ the others. When they had won the attention of the audience they at once began.

‘We know that many of you don’t have anywhere to go.’ Ian said. Opening up the first button of his button down plaid shirt. It had suddenly gotten much warmer in the room. Everyone was staring at them wondering what to do next.
‘I need to tell you something that I just witnessed. And I need you all to remain calm.’ Stated Ian bringing his hands up and down signifying complacently.

He took another deep breath and prepared himself for the next part.

‘Kendra and Jim are dead.’ There was a start of an uproar in the crowd. You could hear people asking one another how this could happen. ‘I don’t know how, but she turned into one of those…things.’ He paused between words. He wasn’t quite sure what they should be called. No one had a clue what it was that brought it in the first place. ‘I was forced to defend myself from her. And it’s not a pretty scene.’ Ian lowered his head. The tears welling up in the corner of his eyes.

‘She was my friend. I never wanted to see her like that. ‘Sweat was beginning to pour from his scalp. He was very nervous about the next part. ‘Jim was an innocent by stander in all of this. It looks like she got a hold of him before he could find help. These things are strong! We can’t fight against them if we don’t have a way to defend ourselves. And we can’t just go running outside looking for a fight either. They tore Jim apart… We need a plan.’ The whole room got quiet at that point. They all seemed to agree with Ian about needing a plan.

Jeremy piped up finally,’ I think we need to discuss changing locations. Now, I know we can’t stop you from leaving. But, it would be in everyone’s best interest if we stuck together. What does everyone think about that?’ Immediately Jeremy and Ian wished that they had gone about this in a different way. The whole room started shouting. Before you know it people were shoving one another. Yelling obscenities.

‘I want everyone to stop for a minute!’ Ian shouted at the crowd. This was pointless time they were wasting. They needed to do something quick. Ian pulled Jeremy to the side quickly. ‘How about we vote on it?’ He asked. This was the only thing that he could think of. And if someone didn’t want to stick together, well they could just go. They didn’t need someone dragging them down.

‘We are going to vote on it.’ Said Jeremy.


Cover reveal for DECEPTIVE OUTLAW by Dawn White

I'm proud to have Dawn White on the blog today with her official cover reveal for Deceptive Outlaw, book 3 in the Sinister Sons Syndicate series...

 **********This book could be read as a stand alone. Or part of the series.******* 

Rebecca is still mending from the brutal kidnapping. But one thing keeps coming to light as she tries to heal. There must be a double agent in the ATF. Gavin helps Rebecca figure out who it was that almost got her killed. Will they find the double agent or will Rebecca and Gavin make more enemies? Can their love survive the hunt?

RELEASES October 23, 2015!

Pre-order links: $.99 until release day!