For this week’s book hook, I thought I’d share an excerpt from The Infiltrator. In this scene, Keira is evading Seekers, independent contractors working for a human trafficking ring in the wake of the apocalypse. When she’s awakened from her hiding spot in the dead of night, she discovers she’s no longer alone.
On the fourth night at the cottage, she was jerked rudely awake by a scuffling from above. Her sleep-deprived mind struggled to push back the panic that crept in and settled around her like a dark cloud. One hand closed around the revolver—the one with which she’d first planned to murder her husband—on her stomach as she bolted upright. She trembled beneath her threadbare blanket, nerves frayed as she rose from her pallet, tiptoeing through the pitch black to the bottom of the staircase. She held the revolver with a steady grip while listening to the noises of the cottage above. She was exhausted from only sleeping in two-to-three-hour stretches, but her senses were now fully alert as she detected another distinct shuffling noise followed by the timbre of male voices. Three at least, possibly more.
Her eyes flashed to the single window above the crates stacked in the corner as she considered her possibilities. The frame was narrow, but Keira had been thin even before the world ended. She could simply kill the men in the house above. It was the first suitable shelter she had encountered for miles, and it was an unusually cold night for this early in the season. Even with a roof over her head, the threat of hypothermia was very real, especially since the rain had started again. The ground would be frozen over by morning. Not wasting any more time, she marched to the window and stuffed her meager belongings behind a crate. The men clearly hadn’t yet discovered the cellar door off the small kitchen, but it was only a matter of minutes. Keira would wait outside by the cover of darkness and observe them through the windows, gauge how many she was dealing. She would likely wait until they were sleeping, slit the watchman’s throat, and then slip back inside and silently kill the others. She had long ago learned to do what she had to, and she didn’t stop to think about it. If it was a cruel world before, it had become something unspeakable now.
Keira clamored through the window and pressed herself against the cold stone of the house, eyes darting frantically about. It was dark, the rain still coming down in icy sheets, shocking her system, and rendering objects in her line of vision little more than shapeless masses.
“Weapons on the ground, and hands where I can see ‘em.”
The voice came from in front of her and slightly to the left, little more than a low growl that caused an involuntary shiver down her spine.
Her eyes shot in the speaker’s direction and her hands instinctively tightened on the switchblade in her left hand and the gun in her right. Her heart stuttered as panic seized it in an icy grip. Yet outwardly she remained calm. She’d dealt with Seekers more than once, but she’d take the Ghosts any day.
“Easy there.” He was stalking toward her slowly, and the large blur grew distinct, shaping into a lean, powerful frame and broad shoulders. A weapon—a rifle—was aimed at her center mass. “Don’t wanna hurt ya.” He was mere feet away now. Keira couldn’t see his eyes beneath a mop of shaggy dark hair, plastered to his face by the downpour.
“Whatcha got there, Derrick? That a woman?”
Her pulse fluttered in genuine fear at the second voice; there was something in it that chilled her blood, something unmistakably hard—and well-suited for this world.
“Nah, man,” the first man snarled as the second jogged out of the tree line, aiming some sort of bow at her. The rifleman’s free hand came up, stopping his companion forcefully in his tracks as he attempted to move forward and get a better look at Keira. “She’s mine.”
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A virus has rendered humanity mostly extinct. Keira Starr is alone, staying alive by staying on the run, sleeping in empty gas stations and the trunks of cars long abandoned on the highway. The world is overrun by “Ghosts,” the mindless, bloodthirsty dead, but they are the least of her problems. She is being hunted by ragtag groups of ruthless men, independent contractors working for a mysterious human trafficking ring. When she is finally captured, she discovers that Derrick Caine, despite his gruff demeanor and appearance, may just have a different agenda altogether.
M/F, erotic romance, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi/fantasy
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