Monday, April 11, 2016

Exclusive First Chapter Look: A Time To Kill Zombies by Jill James

Exclusive Chapter 1
A Time to Kill Zombies

 


A Time to Kill Zombies is now available to preorder. Release date is June 27, 2016!!
(disclaimer: content may change by release day)

 

Jack and Lila 1

 
Spring, 1 A.Z. (after zombies)
Outside the RV Yard
 
A warm breeze blew a lone tumbleweed down the middle of the road. Lila Sterling Morales gathered her tattered rags with hands that shook like it was the middle of winter. Her vision swam in and out of focus, while a gray fog hovered on the edges.

Had she eaten today? Or had it been yesterday. The days clumped together in a montage of starvation and abuse. Relentless. Day after day after day.

She shuddered and dragged her mind away from her husband, Juan. That way led to madness and despair. A cough built in her throat. She covered her mouth as the moans of the undead echoed just beyond the dark, empty road. Her body shook as the cough wracked her too-thin body. Her other hand clutched at her ribs, praying they were bruised and not broken. She had no time to waste being injured. Only the thought at Selena at the mercy of the evil and darkness in the world kept her going. She stumbled as a sharp rock tore open her bleeding foot.

Only have to get to the red line.

The red line.

The line.

The line dividing safety and danger.
 
Finally-dead zombie bodies littered the pavement where a red-painted line had been sprayed across the street. She’d made it. A deep breath and she grabbed her ribs on a groan. She glanced up at the walls of the RV yard and her steps quickened into a stumbling jog at the sound of human voices and a welcoming firelight seen through the gate.

Her fingers tightened around the cold metal bars. She inhaled deeply and opened her mouth to scream.

“Jack.” A whimpering whisper spilled from her tortured, dry throat. Her arms trembled as she shook the gate.
She had to find Jack. Her desperation aided to push strength into her voice. She could do this. She had to—for her daughter.

“Jack.” Her scream echoed across the yard and brought the welcome sound of pounding footsteps.

“Jack,” she whispered, her hands locked on the gate the only thing keeping her standing. The commander rushed to the other side and gave the signal to Paul, his second-in-command. An eternity passed as the gate slowly rumbled open enough for her to stumble inside.

All she saw was his face, his so familiar face as she fell into his arms. Her weight, slight as it was, carried them both to the asphalt.

“Lila,” Jack whispered. “What happened?”
 
“He took her,” she mumbled through the stinging pain of her split lips. “Juan took her.”

“Juan took who?”

She shook as Jack’s fingers cradled her head with what was left of her chopped off hair. His glance swept over her rags and the tears of anger spilled from her eyes. She didn’t need his pity, she needed his help. There was no time.

“He took Selena. He ran away and took her. You have to get her back,” she yelled, grabbing handfuls of his shirt. She had to make him understand.

“Lila, I told you. I’m not the law. He’s her father.”

“He took her to be his whore.”

Jack’s face whitened and he squeezed her to his chest. “Even so, I can’t do anything. It isn’t my place. I have to take care of my people here.”

“She’s your responsibility, Jack. She’s your daughter, mine and yours, not Juan’s.”

Everyone started talking at once, but she tuned them all out. Her focus was solely on Jack, who looked like a lightning bolt had hit him. His grip tightened on her and the sore ribs ground together.
 
“You’re hurting me,” she hissed out.

He yanked his hands away as if she were a fire burning his skin. She would have fallen if they weren’t already on the ground. She deserved his look of disgust. She deserved all that and more. Whatever punishment he dealt out, just as long as they went after her daughter.

Their daughter.

* * *

Jack’s hands clenched into fists as he looked down at the woman he thought he knew. Like a bucket of ice-water over the head, his anger and disgust disappeared as his gaze took in Lila’s too-thin body and the rags too torn to hide the bruises on her ribs and around her neck. His heart ached even when he didn’t want it to.

Hiding the fact he was Selena’s father for nine years was unforgivable but no one deserved the fate that life had dealt the woman he’d loved long ago. He’d wished misfortune on Lila Sterling many times over the years, but never this. Payback for a broken heart wasn’t abuse and neglect. The thought of such a man having Selena made his stomach roil and spasm.

“I meant to tell you a thousand times after you found us,” she whispered, her words just above the sound of the soft breeze.

“But you didn’t,” he said, his jaw locked and tight. He pulled himself up, taking Lila with him. His hands dropped away as a million thoughts and plans pulled him in separate directions. Shoving his hands over his buzz cut, he turned to his second-in-command.

“We’re going through with our plans. This place is useless now with the tainted well and the psychos down the road.”
 
“The church is gone,” Lila spoke up. “The men left, taking their families with them. That’s when Juan left with Selena. He choked me, left me for dead.” Her voice faded away as a shaking hand touched her throat.
 
Jack grasped her hands. “I have responsibilities here.”

“Family comes first,” Paul butted in. The man moved closer and whispered. “You have to go after the girl. I can get the others to Ryde. I’ll have Suz and Josh with me,” mentioning his wife and her brother.

His gaze took in the diminished group huddled around them. He sighed. The RV yard had been bustling with activity and people just a few short days ago. The sudden illness had taken a large group and taking down the turned had caused a few more deaths. In a day, half of them were dead or missing. He needed to hold the shattered group together. Order. Discipline. It was what kept their world together.

Paul’s hand rested on his shoulder. “I know what you are thinking, Jack. We can get them to the next location. You need to find your daughter. We’ll be waiting for you down the river.”

Like a load off his chest, he took a deep breath. The others would be safe with Paul as their leader, but he had another duty. He’d never shirked his duty in the army or the zombie apocalypse and he wasn’t about to start now.
 
He held his hands up and faced the crowd. “Paul will lead the group to Ryde. You always have a choice. You can go elsewhere, but that is where Paul, Suz, and Josh are going. Safety lies in numbers. As you heard, the Bountiful Harvest Church is no more, but staying here is not an option.”
 
He put an arm around Lila’s shoulders and pulled her in close. “I have my own mission, but God willing, I will see all of you in Ryde before summer’s end.”
 
Seth Ripley walked up to them as the crowd scattered to gather their belongings. The man’s hands were slammed into his pockets.

“Emily won’t go without Michelle. I’ve promised her I’ll wait to daybreak, but we can’t leave with the rest of you.”

Jack shook his hand, hardly noticing the ever-present glove that hid the man’s missing fingers. “I wish you well. Hopefully we will all meet again down the road.”

Seth’s gaze swept over Lila’s tattered clothing. “Emily has some stuff she can’t wear right now. You’re welcome to it.”
 
Lila looked up at him. “Go; get some clothes and a good pair of boots. As soon as I tell Paul what he needs to take and get my own stuff, we are out of here.”

She wrapped her arms around Jack and squeezed. “Thank you.”

He stared after her as she walked with Ripley to his trailer.

Thank you? Did she think this was a favor? This was his daughter they were talking about. He would die to get her back. Didn’t Lila know that?
 
 

 

 

 

 

Preorder A Time to Kill Zombies today at:

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Original post: kkmalott.booklikes.com/post/1377997/exclusive-first-chapter-look-a-time-to-kill-zombies-by-jill-james

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