Bloodlands Excerpt

Synopsis

She seeks revenge across the desert wasteland, hunting the head of the Blood Valley drug cartel that controls the post-American Southwest. He wakes crazed and alone in a foreign time and place, a parasitic monster in human skin. When their lives collide by coincidence, they embark on a violent journey toward retribution and absolution.

Excerpt

Her first instinct was to run, but she knew that some predators were excited by the flight of their prey. His eyes followed her and only her. He gave no thought, had no interest in the easier target still sprawled in the truck below him.

She pulled the gun from her holster, but he was on her well before she could line up a shot. She hit her back, jarring every new and old wound she had. Hot, wet breath washed over her face, her throat. Her muscles seized. Her heart slammed against the inside of her chest. Maybe he’d rip her throat out this time. Maybe he’d leave her an empty husk in this graveyard of a town.

The fight and flight reactions tangled somewhere in her brain stem and she flailed away from the dark, pressing mass of him even as she squeezed the trigger in a series of manic twitches. She fought her way from beneath him and launched herself into and through a nearby window pane.

Rocks and bits of glass and dried snarls of brush tore at her feet as she pounded across the open earth. She got free because he let her free. Because maybe, if she were lucky, he’d turn his hunger on Eric instead.

Force against her side. She went down again, the breath jarred from her body. He was substantial as shadow in the moonlight, red eyes and sharp white grin stark in the darkness. She fired again, again, again. Got to her feet. Ran without thinking. The roar of her blood was so deafening in her own ears she knew he must have heard it like white rapids, heart like a war drum. Another shove, this time from behind. Her knee clipped a tract of pavement and her palm scrapped bloody as she shoved herself back up.

He was playing with her. The air burst from her laboring lungs in something like a sob as she realized it.

Each fall of her foot against the uneven ground sent fire spiraling up her leg. Her head swam. She ached and bled from rent nerves. Only the electric arc of terror shooting up her spine kept her running against hopelessness.

A burned-out shop front ahead. Through the doorway. Over the counter. Into the backroom and down the open hatch in the floor, into the storage basement. A pale shaft of moonlight stabbed into the black underneath. She crouched just beyond the light, struggled to control the beat of her heart and the huff of her breath.

If she’d been fast enough, maybe… if he had lost the scent and sound of her, maybe.

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