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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Spotlight ~ What Remains: Mutation


A new strain. A brand new war... 

Cogan MacKenzie, Sullivan Gates and Jake Gibson aren’t your typical recon team. Firefighters in their previous lives, they lack the tactical presence the other teams have—a fact no one’s willing to let them forget. But when they get the chance to go searching for another missing team, they don’t let a lack of well wishes stop them. They just never counted on running into a woman fighting off a horde of undead. Or that she’d give them the answer to the one question that’s been on everyone’s mind. 

How the whole damn thing got started. 

But the knowledge reveals a deadly new development in their fight against those infected by the parasitic plaguea secret that could destroy what little remains. They’ve got one chance. One last shot at stopping the infection from spreading before there’s nothing left worth saving.


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EXCERPT ~
“Damn it, Lelin, keep up!”
Harper Rawlings darted along the edge of the creek, pivoting just long enough to release another arrow, hitting the creature closest to her. The zombie’s head snapped back, making an eerie cracking sound before it fell into the water, a circle of droplets spraying into the air. The splash sent a ripple undulating across the surface, destroying the crystal-clear reflection of trees and brush. She glared at the man trailing behind her, his feet moving methodically along, his gaze blank. Unreadable.
She cursed again, kicking another creature in the face when it jumped out from behind a tree, knocking it down, the hard crunch of bone ringing through the air. She checked the area in front then took off, winding her way down the narrow trail, wondering why she even bothered dragging Lelin’s ass from day to day when she’d move quicker without him. Without the scathing looks and vile comments on the rare occasions he showed any sort of consciousness at all. He’d been somewhat cooperative when they’d first ventured out of the facility three months ago, but had grown increasingly agitated with every passing day. She’d finally had to bind his hands when he’d become violent, trying to stab her one night when they’d holed up in an abandoned building.
He growled behind her, the sound disturbingly similar to the chorus of grunts echoing around them. She glanced back at him, disgust and hatred churning in her gut as he glared at her, his lips curved into a cruel smile. Great. Of all the times for his personality to make an appearance, it had to be now. In the middle of nowhere. An aggressive group of infected on their asses.
He laughed, the sound bitter and smug. “Do you see how fast they’re running? It’s happening everywhere. Quicker than I ever imagined. I told you it was only the beginning.”
“Well, it’ll be your end if you don’t move your damn feet.”
“Untie me and I will.”
It was her turn to laugh. “And have you run off on me and get yourself killed? Or maybe you’d like to try and stab me in the back again? No thanks.”
“They won’t kill me. And I don’t have any weapons to kill you with.”
They aren’t human. They kill everyone. And everything’s a weapon in the right hands.”
“You mean like yours?”
She jumped across a narrow twist in the creek, stopping long enough to ensure he made it. “People like you are the reason people like me were necessary. Not that any of that matters now.”
“What’s wrong, Agent Rawlings? Losing faith?”
“Faith isn’t going to stop this plague. That’s up to you. And I’m not an agent anymore.”
“Who said I’d stop it?”
“Who said you’d have a choice?”
He chuckled, the tone rising sharply at the end. “That’s the problem, isn’t it? The reason we’re out here. I do have a choice, one that’ll get you killed for your efforts. You never should have left the facility. I told you I needed to stay.”
“The damn place got overrun. Those motherfuckers were everywhere! I can’t kill them all, Lelin. Not alone.”
She cursed when he purposely slowed. He was right about one thing. He’d get her killed if he didn’t cooperate at least a bit. Lelin gave her a cruel smile just as three zombies pushed out of some brush off to her right, gazes focused on her. One tipped its head back and screeched, the raspy sound sending shivers down her spine. They raced toward her, feet pounding the dirt, bodies uncharacteristically steady.
She notched an arrow, releasing it and reaching for another before the first even hit its mark. Thank god she’d been able to grab the bow during their escape. Ammo had become more extinct than humans. At least she could make her own arrows when needed. Damn hard to make a bullet from a branch and some bone.
The creature dropped, as did the next, leaving the third several feet away. Harper pushed Lelin aside, unsheathing her knife when a pop echoed through the woods. The zombie collapsed, pieces of shattered skull spraying across the ground.
She pivoted, sheathing her knife then swinging her bow back into place, another arrow held firm when her breath left her on a startled gasp. Three men stood on the other side of the small creek, guns drawn, gazes fixed on her. They wore faded cargo pants with shirts and jackets, the sleeves frayed around the edges. Firm, thick muscles bunched the fabric of their clothes, and she could tell just by looking at them they were intimately aware of each other. A team.


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