Sunday, October 19, 2014

And the winners are ...



The Nowhere to Run release party contest has come to an end and I am pleased to announce the winngers.

The first winner of an ebook copy of Nowhere to Run - Trish
The second winner of an ebook copy of Nowhere to Run - Karim
The third winner of an ebook copy of Nowhere to Run - Giedre

The winner of an autographed copy of Invisible - Ximena

And the winner of a $50 Amazon gift card is - Patti

Everyone has been notified by email. Thank you to all who entered and made the contest a success. Enjoy your prizes.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Shattered World (#2, Broken World series) by Kate L. Mary






Post-Apocalyptic/Zombie Series

KindleBarnes & Noble │ KoboGoogle Play
Shattered World Cover



synopsis
***Warning: Contains Spoilers for Broken World***
Stranded in the middle of the Mojave Desert, surrounded by zombies, Vivian and Axl are sure they’re facing the end. The dead are closing in and the shelter they were promised is sealed tight. Just when they think they’ve run out of time, the doors are thrown open. Five years underground with all the provisions there for the taking. It’s almost too good to be true. With the promise of security, Vivian hopes she’ll finally able to deal with the loss of Emily, her growing feelings for Axl, and the terrifying new world they’re facing.
But their sense of security is soon shattered when they discover the shelter isn’t the utopia they thought it would be. It seems the company that built the shelter decided to solve their financial problems by selling off provisions, which means the group has to find a way to get supplies. Or face starvation.

And Vegas is the closest city.

With her feelings for Axl stronger than ever, Vivian volunteers to accompany him and a few others on a trip into one of the biggest tourist cities in the world. Vegas is overrun with the dead, but there are other survivors as well. Only not everyone they meet is a welcome sight. As the emotional baggage piles up, Vivian and Axl’s bond grows stronger, but it doesn’t take long to realize that zombies aren’t the only thing they have to fear.

Excerpt

“Here goes nothin’,” Axl says, echoing my thoughts.

He leans down and fools with the wires under the steering wheel. The dead bang against the car, but even more have surrounded the sedan. I dig my nails into my legs while I wait for Axl to do whatever he has planned. He grunts, and a few sparks fly. My entire body jerks when the deafening sound of the alarm rings through the car.

The world around us explodes. The bodies go crazy and converge on the car, banging on it with their hands, their bodies, their faces. They leave thick smears of black on the windows as they desperately try to get in. The door handle rattles, and some even climb on top of the car.

They’re wild and frantic. It’s so terrifying that for a moment I can’t remember exactly why we decided to do this. My heart pounds and I cover my ears, trying to block out the sounds of the hammering and the alarm. Trying to keep the terror at bay. All I want to do is run, but there’s nowhere to go. The realization that we’re stuck hits me so hard I start to shake.

Then the sedan drives off. It turns the corner with the truck close behind it, and I relax just a little. They’re going to make it. Nathan and his wife, their daughter. Two other little boys who have years ahead of them. Trey can get back to Parvarti and Winston to his daughter. They will have food and safety. That’s why we chose to commit suicide in this horrifying way.

Axl pries my hands away from my ears and pulls me against his chest. He wraps his arms around me as the pounding continues. He doesn’t say anything, and neither do I. All I can do is watch silently as the truck pulls out of sight.

After a few minutes, he turns the alarm off, but the damage is already done. They know we’re in here, and they won’t give up until they’ve broken in. A crack starts at the corner of the windshield and travels across. Then another. A dead man hurls himself against the glass and pounds his fists. Hundreds of cracks fan out across the windshield in a frightening web pattern, and I have to stifle the urge to scream. It’s safety glass, so it doesn’t give. At least not yet.

“I won’t let them get us.” Axl’s lips brush against my head, and strands of hair fall into my face. They tickle my nose, but I can’t find the motivation to move them aside.

I nod and swallow against the lump in my throat. He doesn’t mean he won’t let them get in, because we both know there’s nothing we can do about that now. Surprisingly though, I’m okay with it. A bullet to the brain sounds a lot better than being ripped apart by the undead.

Author

image
Kate L. Mary is a stay-at-home mother of four and an Air Force wife. She spent most of her life in a small town just north of Dayton, Ohio where she and her husband met at the age of twelve. Since their marriage in 2002, they have lived in Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and California.

Kate enjoys any post-apocalyptic story – especially if zombies are involved – as long as there is a romantic twist to give the story hope. Kate prefers nerdy, non-traditional heroes that can make you laugh to hunky pieces of man-meat, and her love of wine and chocolate is legendary among her friends and family. She currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband and children.

socail media links



other books
When a deadly virus sweeps the country, Vivian Thomas sets out for California in hopes of seeing the daughter she gave up for adoption. Then her car breaks down and she’s faced with a choice. Give up, or accept a ride from redneck brothers, Angus and Axl. Vivian knows the offer has more to do with her double D’s than kindness, but she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to reach her daughter.

The virus is spreading, and by the time the group makes it to California, most of the population has been wiped out. When the dead start coming back, Vivian and the others realize that no electricity or running water are the least of their concerns. Now Vivian has to figure out how to be a mother under the most frightening circumstances, cope with Angus’s aggressive mood swings, and sort out her growing attraction to his brooding younger brother, Axl.

While searching for a safe place to go, they pick up a pompous billionaire who may be the answer to all their problems. Trusting him means going into the middle of the Mojave Desert and possibly risking their lives, but with the streets overrun and nowhere else to turn, it seems he might be their only chance for survival.

Amazon Barnes & Noble │ KoboGoogle Play

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Nowhere to Run, Release Party and Giveaway



Nowhere to Run was released October 3, 2104 by Etopia Press and in order to celebrate, I’ve decided to run a contest/giveaway. This is a first for me, so I hope I don’t mess up. I will be giving away a $50 Amazon gift card, three copies of Nowhere to Run (ebook), and a signed copy of my young adult novel, Invisible (which, by the way, has been optioned for film)





Here's what the book is about:


What’s a girl to do when she falls in love with the man whose mission it is to bring her down?

With the murder of her only sister, Sara, just a few months past, Lily Valier—a woman of beauty and substance—tops the sheriff’s list of suspects in small town Maine, and for a very good reason. Dear old Dad had willed his fortune to Sara and only Sara, leaving Lily to fend for herself. However, with no murder weapon or witnesses, the evidence against Lily is only circumstantial.

Enter P.I. Aiden O’Rourke, black-haired and blue-eyed, charged with gaining Lily’s trust and learning her secrets, all to finally get the goods on her. Things move fast and feelings run deep, yet when Lily discovers the truth about Aiden, everything begins to come apart.

Aiden’s torn. Despite his feelings for her, Lily is the most logical suspect, with a great big fat motive. Except something’s not quite right. Aiden trusts his instincts and they’re screaming at him to have a look at a former suspect with far more to hide than first appeared. With little left to lose, Lily decides to stand her ground, and staying put has its consequences when the murder weapon finally turns up—and it’s Lily’s gun.

What happens to love, when trust is betrayed?


And here's an excerpt, a little something to catch your interest:



The ghosts of those we love never leave us. They live on in our hearts but break them too, Lily thought as she flipped the sign on the door of the Higgstown Diner from “Open” to “Closed.” Then she sank wearily onto a stool at the counter, finally at the end of the workday. Now she could let loose the heaviness weighing her down. Hot tears stung her eyes and she let them. It was OK. There was no one around to witness her breakdown. She rested her head in her hands and heaved with sobs.

“Sara, please talk to me. Give me a sign you’re still around,” Lily said to the air. “I miss you so much.” More tears washed down her cheeks. It had been three months since her sister’s death, and there was still no escaping Sara’s ghost. Even the chipped Arborite counter where she now sat, with the wonky red upholstered stool that swiveled just a little too much to the right, brought back memories. Lily could see her older sister as plainly as if she were standing in front of her now, black hair piled high in a bun and that blue eye shadow she was so fond of. Lily smiled through her tears.

Sara had been a whiz at the grill, whipping up orders faster than Lily ever could. God, how long had the diner been a part of their lives? More than twenty-five years, she guessed. They were just kids when their mother, Nancy, bought the place—Lily, seven, and Sara, twelve.

A creak came from the back of the diner. Lily lifted her head to listen. Another small groan of the floorboards. Could Sara be giving her a sign?

“Sara?” Lily slid off the stool.

A tall, dark figure loomed in the doorway.

Lily froze, her heart near exploding. “What do you want?” she choked out in a thin voice.

He stepped nearer. “Open the register.” His voice was a deep whisper.

A balaclava hid his face; the seams of a dark gray coat strained over a thickly muscled physique. He aimed the gun in his right hand at her chest.

Her feet seemed rooted to the floor.

“I said, open the register.”

The man moved close enough for Lily to catch his scent—a mix of sweat and cheap aftershave. He shoved her forward, snapping her from her stupor, and followed as she made her way behind the counter to the cash register.

A glowing red light caught her attention. She hadn’t turned off the coffee maker! In one quick movement, Lily grabbed the pot’s plastic handle and launched the scorching brew at the woolen knit of the intruder’s balaclava. The gun landed with a thud between his booted feet as he clawed at the steaming mask plastered to his face.

Now was her chance. Lily shouldered past him to the front door. Her fingers, thick and clumsy with panic, fumbled as she tried in vain to turn the two deadbolt locks. She ordered herself to calm down. Take a breath. C’mon, you can do this, she told herself, but her heart jackhammered in her chest, and her ears pulsed with the rush of blood behind them.

Suddenly, a face appeared on the other side of the glass front door of the diner, sending Lily backward, nearly tripping over her own feet.

The stranger on the other side of the door took her in. A look of confusion flickered across his face. Then, as if coming back to himself, he yelled, “Hurry. Unlock the door!” The cold night air whipped his dark hair wildly around his face. His pale blue eyes locked on hers.

Panic had hijacked her brain. She didn’t know what to do. He could be an accomplice.

And it you're wondering, here's a little bit about me (written pretentiously in the third person to make me sound important), as well as a blurry picture:






Jeanne Bannon has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years, first as a freelance journalist, then as an in-house editor for LexisNexis Canada. She currently works as a freelance editor and writer and is represented by Karen Thomas of the Serendipity Literary Agency.

Jeanne’s debut novel, Invisible, is a young adult paranormal romance, published by Solstice Publishing and has recently been optioned for film. Invisible is an Amazon bestseller both domestically and internationally and continues to receive wonderful reviews.

On October 3rd, 2014, Nowhere to Run, Jeanne’s latest novel, is set to be released by Etopia Press. Nowhere to Run tells the story of Lily Valier, a woman of substance and beauty, and her dilemma when she falls in love with a man whose mission it is to bring her down.

Currently, Jeanne is finishing up work on her third novel, Dark Angel, a paranormal thriller.
When not reading or writing, Jeanne enjoys spending time with her daughters, Nina and Sara and her husband, David. She’s also the proud mother of two fur babies, a cuddly and affectionate Boston Terrier named Lila and Spencer, a rambunctious tabby, who can be a very bad boy.

Here are my links:






Amazon: Invisible



 

Now for the good stuff: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Back to School Blog Hop with Linda Ulleseit











EXCERPT FROM Wings Over Tremeirchson

The sound of a galloping horse whipped all four heads toward the livery and the village beyond.
“Corryn, up now!” Branwen said.

He put one foot into a stirrup and swung up on Ceri’s back. The horse pointed her nose in the air and snorted, her wings stretched out to their fullest. Grigor tightened his grip on her lead rope, reaching for the clip that would release the mare once Corryn was strapped in.

Ralf’s jaw dropped in disbelief as Davyd reined in the livery horse. “Unhand that mare!” the tavern keeper called in authoritative fury.

Branwen stood between Davyd and Ceri, hands on her hips and head thrown back in her Celtic warrior pose. “She is ours now! Corryn, go!”

Corryn gathered the reins and kicked Ceri into motion. The mare reared, pulling the lead rope out of Grigor’s hand. Ralf could see the whites of her eyes as she hopped backwards, wings floundering, the rope trailing.

“Come on, baby, fly!” Corryn shouted.

Ceri bolted forward, ears still plastered against her head. The sudden jerk threw Corryn backwards. He lost his stirrups and bounced out of the saddle along the mare’s rump. Still holding the reins, he fell sideways onto a wing.
Grigor grabbed for the lead rope and missed. Branwen screamed and ran to help. She let go of the other three horses, who neighed and backed away. Still on horseback, Davyd urged his horse forward, knocking Ralf to the ground. 
From his hands and knees, Ralf stared in disbelief as Corryn slid off Ceri’s wing and landed in the grass where she’d been peacefully grazing only minutes ago. Ceri reared again, but Davyd grabbed her lead rope and pulled her down. Dismounting, he stroked the winged mare’s nose to calm her. She trembled under his touch. The three livery horses disappeared over the hill toward home.

Branwen stood horrified, eyes wide above her hands clasped over her mouth. Ralf stood up and brushed off his skinned knees, taking a deep shaky breath. Corryn did the same. Grigor hung his head in defeat. 

“You incompetent, stupid children!” Davyd raged. “You could have injured a very valuable animal!” Ceri flattened her ears again at his tone, and Davyd continued in a calmer, colder voice. “I chose to ignore you when this idea of a winged horse for Tremeirchson was just a crazy notion, but I can’t have you endangering High Meadow.” 


LINKS:








AUTHOR BIO:

Linda took her first creative writing course in seventh grade, accumulating a closet full of stories that she never showed anyone until 2007, when she was already involved in a career as a teacher. Currently Linda is a sixth grade teacher at James Franklin Smith Elementary School, where her students are some of the early reviewers of her books. Her favorite subject is writing, and her students get a lot of practice scribbling stories and essays. Blending her passions for history and fantasy, Linda wrote On a Wing and a Dare, which is set in medieval Wales and features teenagers saving a herd of flying horses. Four more flying horse books followed this first book, including Wings Over Tremeirchson, which is an ebook novella that introduces the world of flying horses. Most recently, Linda released Under the Almond Trees, a novel about three California pioneer women. Linda lives in San Jose, California with her husband, two adult sons, and two young yellow Labrador retrievers. When she’s not writing or teaching, Linda loves to cook, cross-stitch, and read.
 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I'm not lazy. I just take my time.

 

Cover Reveal - Nowhere to Run

 
Well, it’s about time. It’s been three years since my first novel, Invisible was published. I am proud (and relieved) to finally have another novel under my belt.
 
Nowhere to Run is a romantic thriller, set in small town America. Here’s what it says on the back of the book that little thing we all call a blurb.
 
 
What’s a girl to do when she falls in love with the man whose mission it is to bring her down?
 
With the murder of her only sister, Sara, just a few months past, Lily Valier—a woman of beauty and substance—tops the sheriff’s list of suspects in small town Maine, and for a very good reason. Dear old Dad had willed his fortune to Sara and only Sara, leaving Lily to fend for herself. However, with no murder weapon or witnesses, the evidence against Lily is only circumstantial.
 
Enter P.I. Aiden O’Rourke, black-haired and blue-eyed, charged with gaining Lily’s trust and learning her secrets, all to finally get the goods on her. Things move fast and feelings run deep, yet when Lily discovers the truth about Aiden, everything begins to come apart.
 
Aiden’s torn. Despite his feelings for her, Lily is the most logical suspect, with a great big fat motive. Except something’s not quite right. Aiden trusts his instincts and they’re screaming at him to have a look at a former suspect with far more to hide than first appeared. With little left to lose, Lily decides to stand her ground, and staying put has its consequences when the murder weapon finally turns up—and it’s Lily’s gun.
 
What happens to love, when trust is betrayed?
 
 
Excerpt:
 
The ghosts of those we love never leave us. They live on in our hearts but break them too, Lily thought as she flipped the sign on the door of the Higgstown Diner from “Open” to “Closed.” Then she sank wearily onto a stool at the counter, finally at the end of the workday. Now she could let loose the heaviness weighing her down. Hot tears stung her eyes and she let them. It was OK. There was no one around to witness her breakdown. She rested her head in her hands and heaved with sobs.
 
“Sara, please talk to me. Give me a sign you’re still around,” Lily said to the air. “I miss you so much.” More tears washed down her cheeks. It had been three months since her sister’s death, and there was still no escaping Sara’s ghost. Even the chipped Arborite counter where she now sat, with the wonky red upholstered stool that swiveled just a little too much to the right, brought back memories. Lily could see her older sister as plainly as if she were standing in front of her now, black hair piled high in a bun and that blue eye shadow she was so fond of. Lily smiled through her tears.
 
Sara had been a whiz at the grill, whipping up orders faster than Lily ever could. God, how long had the diner been a part of their lives? More than twenty-five years, she guessed. They were just kids when their mother, Nancy, bought the place—Lily, seven, and Sara, twelve.
 
A creak came from the back of the diner. Lily lifted her head to listen. Another small groan of the floorboards. Could Sara be giving her a sign?
 
“Sara?” Lily slid off the stool.
 
A tall, dark figure loomed in the doorway.
 
Lily froze, her heart near exploding. “What do you want?” she choked out in a thin voice.
 
He stepped nearer. “Open the register.” His voice was a deep whisper.
 
A balaclava hid his face; the seams of a dark gray coat strained over a thickly muscled physique. He aimed the gun in his right hand at her chest.
 
Her feet seemed rooted to the floor.
 
“I said, open the register.”
 
The man moved close enough for Lily to catch his scent—a mix of sweat and cheap aftershave. He shoved her forward, snapping her from her stupor, and followed as she made her way behind the counter to the cash register.
 
A glowing red light caught her attention. She hadn’t turned off the coffee maker! In one quick movement, Lily grabbed the pot’s plastic handle and launched the scorching brew at the woolen knit of the intruder’s balaclava. The gun landed with a thud between his booted feet as he clawed at the steaming mask plastered to his face.
 
Now was her chance. Lily shouldered past him to the front door. Her fingers, thick and clumsy with panic, fumbled as she tried in vain to turn the two deadbolt locks. She ordered herself to calm down. Take a breath. C’mon, you can do this, she told herself, but her heart jackhammered in her chest, and her ears pulsed with the rush of blood behind them.
 
Suddenly, a face appeared on the other side of the glass front door of the diner, sending Lily backward, nearly tripping over her own feet.
 
The stranger on the other side of the door took her in. A look of confusion flickered across his face. Then, as if coming back to himself, he yelled, “Hurry. Unlock the door!” The cold night air whipped his dark hair wildly around his face. His pale blue eyes locked on hers.
 
Panic had hijacked her brain. She didn’t know what to do. He could be an accomplice.
 
 
 
Finally, in case you’re interested, here’s my bio, written pretentiously in the third person:
 
 
Jeanne Bannon has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years, first as a freelance journalist, then as an in-house editor for LexisNexis Canada. She currently works as a freelance editor and writer and is represented by Karen Thomas of the Serendipity Literary Agency.

Jeanne’s debut novel, Invisible, is a young adult paranormal romance, published by Solstice Publishing and has recently been optioned for film. Invisible is an Amazon bestseller both domestically and internationally and continues to receive wonderful reviews.

On October 3rd, 2014, Nowhere to Run, Jeanne’s latest novel, is set to be released by Etopia Press. Nowhere to Run tells the story of Lily Valier, a woman of substance and beauty, and her dilemma when she falls in love with a man whose mission it is to bring her down.

Currently, Jeanne is finishing up work on her third novel, Dark Angel, a paranormal thriller.
When not reading or writing, Jeanne enjoys spending time with her daughters, Nina and Sara and her husband, David. She’s also the proud mother of two fur babies, a cuddly and affectionate Boston Terrier named Lila and Spencer, a rambunctious tabby, who can be a very bad boy.
 
Links:
 
 
Twitter: @JeanneBannon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Power of Love, by Heather Scavetta



There’s an old folk tale about a young mother who lost her child and is inconsolable. The wise man of the village tells her to go from house to house to find what everyone shares—and what everyone shares—is loss. It’s the universal experience.

Although we all will grieve the loss of our loved ones, we can learn how to reconnect with them. Through prayer and meditation, we can shift our awareness from the physical to the non-physical. We can witness firsthand that death is but an illusion. We can heal. We can find joy again. Author Heather Scavetta discovered that reality when she began developing her clairvoyant abilities after the death of her daughter, Elizabeth, in 2004.

In The Power of Love, Scavetta shares her personal journey of receiving visions and afterlife communication from her daughter, loved ones, and spirit guides who encourage her to persevere through her grief. Having no previous ability, Scavetta shows that opening up spiritual gifts is accessible to everyone. Through personal examples, she shares how to open your own psychic and mediumistic abilities, and she discusses the many ways spirit can reach us.

A story of celebration about the amazing and wonderful experiences that occurred since Elizabeth’s transition, The Power of Love narrates one family’s story of how they opened their spiritual gifts to see, hear, and feel—and to know beyond any doubt—their daughter never left their side.


Excerpt


Over time, I slowly came to accept that Elizabeth would never be as she was in her physical form again. I would never hug her, kiss her forehead, brush her hair, or worry about her physical safety. There would be no graduations for her, no wedding, no grandchildren, but there would be beautiful new ways of seeing Elizabeth. 
 

July 1, 2004. Every year we have an annual Canada Day barbecue. I didn’t want to have a party this year, but I knew that Elizabeth would like it. The girls always baked when we had company. Cassandra was excited to make her maple-leaf cookies. I wanted for her to continue to have family traditions. That morning, Tony was up early taking out the patio furniture and cleaning the barbecue grill, but since it was only 5:30 a.m., I was still asleep. 
 

I was dreaming. And then the dream changed, and Elizabeth was standing before me. She was inches away from my face. I could see every detail of her face clearly. White light radiated behind and around her. Her eyes were so beautiful. She was love. There were no words spoken, only love. I stared at her face, taking in every detail. I finally looked away from her eyes and looked at her hair. It was short and curly brown. You’ve cut your hair. I reached up and touched a curl and pushed it back and smiled. It was over. I opened my eyes. I was in my bed. The room was dark and I was alone. But I was so excited. I ran outside to find Tony: She had come! She was here!
 

I have had other visits like that one. I will never forget those visits because they were real, with an energy of their own. Whereas dreams fade, those visits are forever etched in my mind, and when I recall each moment, I feel the emotions once again. I have seen Elizabeth at the end of a dream, vivid and real. And I have seen her in meditation. Sometimes, she was on her horse, galloping towards me or riding across my visual field. Often, I have seen her face. Her beautiful, big brown eyes looking at me, her flowing light brown hair around her. She always makes me cry.


Heather Scavetta, RN Non-Practising is a Reiki Master and founder of School of Miracles. She has been teaching meditation, psychic development, mediumship and Reiki since 2006. She has been channeling The Council since 2009.
 

Heather developed her clairvoyant abilities after the death of her daughter Elizabeth in 2004. In her studio in Caledon, Ontario, Canada, she continues to help people who have experienced loss and those seeking more in life to develop their spiritual gifts and open up to communicating with Spirit. She and her husband, Tony, have twin girls, and live on their hobby farm with Canadian and Icelandic horses and two German shepherds.


On a personal note - I have just received my copy of The Power of Love and am very much looking forward to reading it. As well, I will be meeting Heather at a local library event in our town next month. I do not believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason and it is for that reason I am very much looking forward to meeting Heather. Our paths have crossed for a reason.
 

Heather, I wish you only the very best of luck with your book ... Jeanne xo

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Broken World, a post-apocalyptic zombie novel


 
 
When a deadly virus sweeps the country, Vivian Thomas sets out for California in hopes of seeing the daughter she gave up for adoption. Then her car breaks down and she’s faced with a choice. Give up, or accept a ride from redneck brothers, Angus and Axl. Vivian knows the offer has more to do with her double D’s than kindness, but she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to reach her daughter.

The virus is spreading, and by the time the group makes it to California, most of the population has been wiped out. When the dead start coming back, Vivian and the others realize that no electricity or running water are the least of their concerns. Now Vivian has to figure out how to be a mother under the most frightening circumstances, cope with Angus’s aggressive mood swings, and sort out her growing attraction to his brooding younger brother, Axl.

While searching for a safe place to go, they pick up a pompous billionaire who may be the answer to all their problems. Trusting him means going into the middle of the Mojave Desert and possibly risking their lives, but with the streets overrun and nowhere else to turn, it seems he might be their only chance for survival.
 

Excerpt

The diner is crowded. I have to squeeze my way between waitresses and patrons, dodging trays and elbows. I bet they haven’t had a crowd like this in here since the 1950s.
There’s a line for the restroom. I stand at the back and dig through my purse until I find Emily’s picture. She smiles at me, and my heart aches.
I didn’t want to give her up, but I was sixteen. It wasn’t safe in my home—if you could even call it that—and there was no way I could bring a baby there. It was just me and my dad. Mom had run off with a neighbor when I was ten. Not that I can blame her for leaving, but I do blame her for leaving me. She must have known dad would need a new punching bag if she left. She obviously didn’t care. That hurts even more than the beatings did. That she didn’t care about me.
I loved Emily the moment I saw her. She was so tiny and pink, and her face was all smashed in from birth, so ugly-cute like all newborns. I loved her enough to give her to the Johnson’s. They sent me updates for a while. Nine months, to be exact. Then they stopped. I can’t blame them. It wasn’t an open adoption, and they never got a single response from me. Maybe they thought I didn’t care. Truth was, it just hurt too much.
The woman behind me coughs on the back of my head. Hot, moist air hits my hair and brushes it forward. I start to turn around so I can yell at her, but I freeze. She’s not the only one. Half the people in this diner are hacking their heads off. People slump over in booths, their breathing raspy and their faces bright red. A woman moans and shivers. She has on two jackets, but she still shakes so hard her teeth clang together. Her face is covered in sweat. The man next to her urges her to eat something. But he coughs too.
My stomach aches. I’m going to be sick. It’s here.
I forget the bathroom and head back to the table. I have to pee, but I can do it on the side of the road. We need to get out of here. Joshua is back. The three men are tense. They look up when I walk over.
“It’s here,” I say, but they already know.
“We’re gettin’ our shit to go,” Axl says.
He’s pale. So is Angus. His face isn’t as hard as it was before. Death tends to do that to a person. Turn them into spaghetti.
Even Joshua shakes, and he knows he’s immune.
I sit down and wait, wringing my hands on top of the table. My hands tremble so hard that when I pick up my glass to take a drink, it spills everywhere. I set it back down.
“We still need supplies.” Angus’s voice is hollow.
“Why don’t you and the Doc head to the convenience store and grab us some stuff? Vivian and me’ll wait for the food,” Axl says.
Angus gets to his feet, and I stand to let Joshua out. People cough on them when they go by. Angus clenches his fist when a man sneezes on him. But the anger melts away and all the color drains from his face. He walks faster.
“Guess we’ll know soon,” Axl says.
I nod, but I can’t make my mouth work to say anything. My insides curl into a ball. They grow tighter each time I think about it. I should be relieved. Soon the suspense will be over, and I’ll know whether or not I’m going to die. But I’m not. I don’t want to die, and the thought of it happening makes me want to hurl.
Axl and I don’t speak. We just stare at each other. The diner is amazingly quiet, considering how full it is. People cough. There are a few quiet conversations. Otherwise it’s silent. Deathly silent.
“Thought the end of the world would be more dramatic than this,” he finally says. It makes me jump.
I look around. It is the end. It’s written on the face of every person in the diner. I’m sure it’s on mine. “There should be chaos or panic. Something.”
“Probably is. In the cities.”
He’s right. Here the people are too disappointed. They were so close. They passed their physicals and thought they were in the clear. That they were going to make it. Is that what’s going to happen to me? The thought sends a shiver down my spine.
 

About the author

 Kate L. Mary is a stay-at-home mother of four and an Air Force wife. She spent most of her life in a small town just north of Dayton, Ohio where she and her husband met at the age of twelve. Since their marriage in 2002, they have lived in Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and California.
Kate enjoys any post-apocalyptic story – especially if zombies are involved – as long as there is a romantic twist to give the story hope. Kate prefers nerdy, non-traditional heroes that can make you laugh to hunky pieces of man-meat, and her love of wine and chocolate is legendary among her friends and family. She currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband and children.
 


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