FALLBACK: THE DEAD SURVIVE, #2
by Lori Whitwam
After being rescued from a brutal band of marauders, Ellen Hale rebuilt her life in the fortified neighborhood that became her home. A heartbreaking decision and devastating loss pushed her to become a fierce fighter, because weakness only got you and those you loved killed.
Now her community is facing a deadly threat, and Ellen has another choice to make.
Ellen volunteers as a member of fallback team three, tasked with establishing a temporary refuge for their citizens in the event their community is overrun by the enemy. As the danger intensifies, she and her adopted sister, Melissa, set off with the rest of their team on the road trip from hell.
Their mission is cloaked in secrecy, but suspicions of a traitor arise.
Something is affecting the zombies’ migration patterns, and when blacksmith Tyler Garrett is discovered trapped in a farmhouse, the team refuses to trust him. But Ellen believes his story, and it’s not just because of his rugged, blond good looks and soft-spoken manner—his skills can greatly benefit their team.
As the team struggles to reach the fallback, previously secure locations are overrun, and their chances of success seem remote. With the likelihood of a traitor nearly certain, and the lives of everyone she loves at risk, Ellen must figure out who to trust before the traitor—or the zombies—destroy them all.
Is there a spy among the fallback team, or is there another threat lurking in the Kentucky hills?
The machete slipped from my fingers, and I slumped against the chain link fence, exhausted. I swiped my forearm across my face, clearing the sting of sweat from my eyes. My vision cleared, I looked with grim satisfaction at the half dozen corpses strewn around me. There wasn’t as much blood as you might expect. They were dead long before I killed them.
“Nice job, Ellen,” my combat instructor, Theo, said as he handed me a canteen. I drank the lukewarm water gratefully before handing it back.
“Thanks,” I said, “but my arms feel like warm Jell-O.”
Theo released a short laugh and led me from the training area, and we sat on a bench outside the fence. “You’re doing great,” he said, pulling his dark hair from its ponytail and running his fingers through it, a few droplets of perspiration dotting his t-shirt. “You didn’t even need any backup today.”
Whenever we were training with live—well, relatively live—targets, a trio of sharpshooters always stood around the perimeter of the field. “I almost…” I began, but Theo interrupted me.
“Shut it, you.” He nudged me in one limp-noodle arm. “You’ve come a long way, and you know it.” His lopsided grin broke through my self-criticism, and I had to smile in return.
“Maybe,” I conceded. “Sometimes it feels like no matter how good we are, it’s not good enough, though.”
He shook his head. “You’re too hard on yourself. A year ago, you’d barely even touched a machete, and now you’re going on patrols and kicking loads of zombie ass.”
I snorted. “Yeah, once I stopped trying to use a gun.” Despite months of training, I remained a terrible shot, and eventually gave up any sort of firearm in favor of a machete. This machete, which was now never far from my side.
Theo looked away to where the sharpshooters were dragging the permanently dead from the enclosure in the direction of the burning pit outside the fortified subdivision in which we lived. When he returned his gaze to me, his eyes crinkled with amusement. “Uh huh. I never saw anybody who was more shit with a gun than you.”
“Hey,” I protested, “that wasn’t all my fault. Everybody said I wasn’t strong enough to swing a blade.”
“And you couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with an arrow, either.” He seemed about to tease me further, but he glanced down at my machete, and his mood sobered. “He…” His voice caught, and he cleared his throat. “Quinn would’ve been proud.”
I felt as if the breath were being squeezed from me, and I stared desperately at Theo, wanting it to be true. “If I’d been able to do this before…before he died…” Before I killed him.
Lori spent her early years reading books in a tree in northern West Virginia. The 1980s and 90s found her and her husband moving around the Midwest, mainly because it was easier to move than clean the apartment. After seventeen frigid years in Minnesota, she fled to coastal North Carolina in 2013. She will never leave, and if you try to make her, she will hurt you.
She has worked in public libraries, written advertising copy for wastewater treatment equipment, and managed a holistic veterinary clinic. Her current day job, conducted from her World Headquarters and Petting Zoo (her couch) is as Managing Editor for Limitless Publishing, as well as editing for a select list of indie author.
Her dogs are a big part of her life, and she has served or held offices in Golden Retriever and Great Pyrenees rescues, a humane society, a county kennel club, and her own chapter of Therapy Dogs International.
She has been a columnist and feature writer for auto racing and pet publications, and won the Dog Writers Association of America’s Maxwell Award for a series of humor essays.
Parents of a grown son, Lori and her husband were high school sweethearts, and he manages to love her in spite of herself. Some of his duties include making sure she always has fresh coffee and safe tires, trying to teach her to use coupons, and convincing the state police to spring her from house arrest in her hotel room in time for a very important concert. That last one only happened once—so far—but she still really, really appreciates it.
Find her online:
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, that leaves me wanting to know what happens next.
And enter the giveaway.
Lori will be awarding one prize pack consisting of $25 Amazon/BN GC, plus a signed print copy of Fallback, as well as bookmarks and magnets (international) to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
-Kit ‘N Kabookle posts on Twitter @desantismt. Tag me for retweets.