Book 2 of the Find Me Series is now available on Audible!
Listen to the sample HERE
Book 2 of the Find Me Series is now available on Audible!
Listen to the sample HERE
‘Lost and Found’ will be released in March. Yep, THIS March. I’m so freaking excited! Here’s a Sunday Snippet for you!
The wind howled like a dying wolf outside the windows and rattled the solar panels on the roof. It had a ferocity so intense I figured it was only a matter of time before they slid off the top of the terracotta tiles and landed with a crash on the driveway and back patio. They were what kept the house running, just as if the power had never been lost. Except for those few days where the storm ripped through California with one goal only – destroy anything and everything in its path.
I turned away from the moisture-clouded glass and readjusted my feet beneath me as I pushed deeper into the chair. Drake was lounged on the sectional, his feet propped on a pair of matching cushions with Swarovski crystals sewn delicately onto the silk fabric. I think he used the lavish throw pillows as foot props on purpose as a way to spite the previous owners who spent money on things that had no true worth. The house was full of valuable items from all around the world that meant absolutely nothing anymore. Value had a different meaning. Fresh water and food had become our gold and silver.
“How long are you going to stare at me?” he asked without looking up from his book.
I inwardly chastised myself for blushing but since he had yet to glance up at me, the embarrassment faded quickly. “I’m not staring. I was thinking,” I said a bit too rough.
“Thinking…and staring.” Again, he didn’t look up but I thought I caught a hint of a smile playing at the corners of his mouth.
With an exasperated sigh, I glanced back outside at the cold wind that had the tropical plants in the backyard thrashing around wildly. Even after hearing the sound of paper rustle and the hardcover book snap shut, I didn’t look at Drake. The feel of his eyes burned into the back of my neck and I wiped at the sensation on my skin nervously.
Eventually he spoke, “What’s wrong? You’re more pouty than usual.”
“And you’re just as rude, I see.”
“You think I’m rude?” he laughed.
“Unpleasantly rude and not very thoughtful,” I grumbled under my breath, finally looking at him.
His smile faded immediately. “If I was either of those things, I would have just left you bleeding out in the mud.”
“Then why didn’t you?” I snapped.
Drake’s hands flew up in front of his face like he wanted to strangle something. “I’m not as much of an ass as you think I am. Have I proved otherwise?”
Drake stopped just before a major intersection, stepping off the cracked sidewalk to lean against the wall of a three story office building. I stood next to him in semi-baggy clothes that didn’t quite fit right, my hair pulled back in a tight pony tail and stared across the street where dozens of medical tents stood, cordoned off from the street by a slew of haphazardly placed military vehicles. Even from hundreds of feet away I could hear the flap of the plastic tents as the breeze moved through them with a lazy kind of lull. A separate area inside the barrier was partially obstructed from my view but the single story tent with a white dome top had a rip down one of its long sides, exposing the contents to the elements.
Stacked on top of each other in tight rows were thousands of white body bags; just iridescent enough that even from beyond the street and across the parking lot I could make out the brunette, blonde and occasional redheaded bodies through their milky-colored plastic wraps. It wasn’t the first time I had seen a medical quarantine zone but the sheer volume of people sickened me. The way each body, no matter the size, was piled neatly on top of the next, meant there was a system in place on how to properly store infected human remains. Someone wrote up a plan, had a title, pointed at a pile and said, ‘That one over there’. It was depressing and sad and made me want to puke.
“Sure is something, isn’t it?” Drake said in a hushed tone. His eyes were glazed over, like he was looking through the death across the street, rather than at it.
I glanced between him with his stoic and faraway gaze, and the parking lot turned military base with a numb feeling. It should hurt to see such a thing. Thousands of dead people – hundreds of dead families. It should hurt every time, like a knife straight into the heart, to see a body bag with a person half my size rotting inside. But it was only that detached and numb feeling. A feeling of ‘been there and seen that’. A shitty feeling.
Drake cleared his throat to bring my attention back to him. “Warehouse is just over there,” he nodded down the street, beyond the vacant office building.
I stared at the side of his head, wondering what the story was behind the closed hole in his right earlobe. A random thought for a fractured mind. Made sense.
“So, when do you want to do this?” I asked, still staring at the tiny hole in his ear where a piercing used to be.
“No time like the present.” He grinned the wide Joker smile that creeped me out.
Sighing, I knelt to the ground in a small patch of brown grass, letting the moisture from the night before soak into the knee of my jeans. Mudding up my pants wasn’t a concern. Being dirty was a normal part of my new life. Besides, the jeans would be easy to replace if needed. Stain your clothes and break a shoelace? Pilfer new ones from the closest mall. Lose your brush and run out of shampoo? Pilfer more from the closest mall. Of course, that philosophy wouldn’t last forever. Eventually even the malls would dry out just like the bones from the bodies under the dome tent.
My pack was full of weapons; handguns and clips, knives of different shapes and sizes. Most of them pulled off the dead men from the day before. My own knife was strapped securely to my leg, just like Drake’s. A gun was tucked into the back of my jeans, loaded and ready for action. The day before, I hadn’t even bothered to take one of the long range rifles. My shoulder wouldn’t tolerate the kickback so Drake was the only one with a rifle draped across his torso like a pageantry ribbon.
All we needed was a little bit of greasy paint to streak our faces and those cool lace-up combat boots and we would fit right in with the thugs we conspired to kill. Well, maybe the camouflage paint was a bit much, but the idea struck me as a funny one and I imagined Drake’s face covered in hunter green, mine in black. The image was so appealing at that moment that I almost dragged my fingers through the mud and rubbed them under my eyes.
Instead I sighed, doing it over and over, filling my lungs with air as rapidly as I could sort of like a swimmer would right before launching their body into the water for a race. When my head felt efficiently light-headed and cleared of all the gunk that lingered around in there like the day old smell of skunk, I tightened my pack straps and nodded at Drake that I was ready. Of course, all he had to do to prepare was hitch his jeans up half an inch or so. Men were easy that way.
“Ready?” he asked, gun in hand, fingers and muscles taut and ready to fire.
“Ready enough,” I said with a smile. If we were going to die in five minutes, I wanted a smile to be the last expression we shared between us.
Enjoy this excerpt from my current WIP: ‘Lost & Found’, the second book in the Find Me Series. Want more – follow my Facebook Author page for snippets!
Bubble baths and sateen sheets. Vegetable broth and crackers washed down with flat ginger ale. And sleep; days and days of it. I walked around the lavish bedroom during the day twirling my full-length nightgown, giggling at the soft feel of the expensive silk as it danced around my freshly shaved legs. At night I dined on salads full of every kind of vegetable, drenched in olive oil and vinegar. For desert I had wine – with a side of lemon gelato.
How glorious it was – this house. At least two stories, though I seemed only to wander around the same floor. In fact, I never left the bedroom or the attached bathroom with the whirlpool tub. But it didn’t matter. I twirled the nightgown. I danced. I slept. I ate. And then I did it all over again until the rain came.
Like a child, I cowered under the blankets every time the thunder boomed in the sky. I yelped in fear when white light flashed outside the windows. I was alone in this room and the storm wanted in. The window panes shook as hail pelted the glass from outside, threatening to break through with every gust of the vicious and unrelenting wind. I knew it wanted me.
The storm was coming. And I was all alone.