[My sneak peek today is from one of my favorite authors, Annabeth Leong. Read more about her zombie apocalypse tale, Run for Your Love! Oh, and she has a buy one, get one free offer on, too. Check the end of the post! ~ Lisabet]
Shotguns seem to be everyone's
favorite accessory for the zombie apocalypse, but Zach Paul believes
he can survive without hurting anyone—not even the zombies. An
elite-level runner, he plans to speed away from every danger. Then
Zach meets a woman he can't bring himself to leave behind, and
staying beside her tests all his principles.
Viola Ortiz fought free of her
controlling boyfriend just before the zombies came, but now she
believes her macho ex is the only one who can protect her. She sets
out to reunite with him, only to encounter Zach instead. The tall,
lean runner is everything her ex is not, and Viola is shocked to find
he turns her on as no man has before. Viola's ex, however, isn't
willing to let go of her, and soon it's clear that other survivors
are as dangerous as the zombies.
Zach and Viola can run, but they
must find safety before they lose their humanity in the struggle to
protect their lives and growing love.
It may not have been too crazy
for me to think I could keep clear of the zombies in the Quarantined
Area. On the news everyone kept saying these are "slow zombies."
They're dangerous, diseased, and mostly impervious to pain, but not
the sort of terrifyingly speedy hunters that have been popular in
movies lately. My plan to run in there was risky, but I like to think
not completely doomed. I planned around my talents instead of just
deciding I'd somehow figure out how to execute a standing long jump
of multiple feet once I found myself staring down at concrete two
stories below a rooftop. I trusted the only thing I've been able to
rely on my whole life—my legs.
What I didn't take into account
were bullets—as in projectiles whizzing past my ears as I booked it
down the sidewalk. Why the hell does everyone think the zombie
apocalypse gives them a license to act like Rambo? I'm not just
talking about what happened once zombies actually appeared in the
middle of our city, eating brains, shambling, and whatever else they
do. I'm talking about all the years of excitement about
zombies—Facebook quizzes predicting whether your relationship would
survive an outbreak, the sudden popularity of YouTube videos about
parkour, and a pervasive cultural obsession with shotguns. I think
people watched zombie movies and decided it would be great for the
rule of law to break down to the point that they'd be allowed to
solve problems by shooting first and asking questions later.
It's not the most macho position
to take, especially not in the neighborhood where I grew up, but I
guess it's clear by now that I'm a pacifist. Some other guy might
respond to the looters by taking cover behind an abandoned building
and pulling out his own gun to trade shots. That's not my style.
Instead, I shouted, "What
the hell?" and tried to run faster.
Two days into societal breakdown,
street cleanliness had already suffered. Trash bags, newspapers, and
other detritus littered the road, and I swear the pavement had more
cracks than usual. It took all my concentration not to slip or break
I don't have experience dodging
bullets, so I wasn't sure if I'd be harder to hit if I tried to
zig-zag or not. Since I didn't know, I ducked my head, picked up the
pace, and hoped for the best.
The guy with the gun shouted,
"Drop the backpack!" Apparently, he thought bullets made
"There's nothing in it!"
I screamed back. Which wasn't strictly true. I didn't have any money
or valuables, which I assumed was what they were looking for. On the
other hand, the backpack had everything I thought I needed to survive
in the Quarantined Area, so I didn't want to give it up.
"Like hell it's empty!"
The guy chasing me squeezed off a few more shots.
The fact that he hadn't managed
to hit me yet confirmed one of the points I'd like to make about
guns, which is related to a couple of the things I've already ranted
about. A lot of people think you can just pick up a gun and go to
town. That tells me that most people have never actually held a gun,
much less fired one.
I've been to the shooting range a
number of times with my older brother Dominic, and once, before a
birthday party he celebrated one year in Vegas, that included firing
machine guns. Before I'm accused of hypocrisy, I'll add that Dominic
spent a long time trying to get into the police academy, and I
provided moral support while he studied and trained. Anyway, after
several good tries, I learned that if you can hold a gun without your
hand trembling uncontrollably, you're doing well. And it takes
training before most people can manage to hit, say, the broad side of
The looter chasing me might think
he was tough, but he'd obviously never gotten the chance to practice
with a gun. I promised myself I'd say a prayer of thanks as soon as I
got out of range of him and his burly friends. I almost looked
forward to the zombies at that point—at least I'd understand their
Someone cried out behind me, and
I risked a glance over my shoulder. One guy lay on the pavement
clutching his ankle, probably a victim of one of the cracks I'd
noticed earlier. Two of the others seized the excuse to quit running,
squatting beside him clutching their sides, gasping, panting, and
coughing. I allowed myself a satisfied smile. The guy with the gun
hadn't tired yet, but he would, as long as he didn't manage a lucky
shot before I finished putting him through his paces.
I lengthened my strides. It felt
good to take my body to its limit, to dig as deeply as I could into
the inner reserves I'd built up over the years... Right up until I
realized I'd forgotten to keep an eye on the littered road.
My foot tangled in a plastic bag,
and I went down hard. It was like something out of
kindergarten—bloody knees, bloody palms, and pain that brought
stinging tears to my eyes. A bullet hit the asphalt a mere foot away
"Let up, man!" I made
my voice as threatening as possible, despite my vulnerable position.
"I got nothing!"
"Give me the backpack!"
Adrenaline forced me to my feet.
I took a deep breath, preparing to push myself back into a run
despite the stiffness already settling into my knees.
That wasn't to be, because my
fall had allowed the big guy catch up with me. He may not have known
how to use his gun, but he sure as hell knew how to use his hands. He
demonstrated on my trachea as soon as he got hold of me.
I hate to say it, but I froze. I
thought about trying to stomp on his foot or something, but I didn't
really expect that to work, and I didn't want to die a traitor to my
own pacifist ideals. I helplessly pondered what to do as he squeezed
my neck tighter, and I started to feel chilled and light-headed.
That was the first time I saw
her, and considering how little oxygen was reaching my brain at that
moment, you can probably understand why I thought she was some sort
of apparition. She was beautiful. Sexy? Yes. She had the sort of
curves that make a man want to spend long afternoons in bed just
tracing the shape of them. Lips to match and ringlets of black hair
that I immediately wanted to feel across my bare chest. But she was
also beautiful in a holy way—some kind of light in the eyes or glow
to the skin that reminded me of pictures of La Virgen. She was
dressed all in blue too, which contributed to my impression that she
wasn't entirely of this world—my mother taught me that blue is
Her small, compact body hurtled
into me and my captor with force far beyond what I would have
expected from her weight. She screamed that he ought to let me go,
and his grip loosened, I think because he was so stunned. Neither of
us knew where she had come from or what she had to do with me.
Unfortunately, the deranged
looter's first instinct after letting go of me was to go after her,
specifically by hooking a finger through one of the big gold hoop
earrings she wore. I stretched my own rules a little and jabbed him
in the ribs with my elbow, hoping to distract him enough that my
rescuer and I could both escape.
She didn't have the kind of
qualms I did. Out of one pocket, she produced a can of pepper spray
and proceeded to administer a healthy dose straight into his eyes. I
covered my face in time, but he gave a high-pitched scream and
clapped his palms to his cheekbones. The gun hit my foot then the
pavement. The woman screamed too, and I wondered if he still had her
by the earring.
I dropped to the ground and
crawled a few feet away, moving through the pain in my knees and
palms. A glance at the woman showed she'd gotten herself free of her
opponent's grip and had grabbed the upper hand by far. She
administered a series of precise and painful-looking strikes to his
Any second, more of the looters
would join this fight. I didn't feel good about running away when
she'd gotten involved in the first place because of me.
Pushing myself to my feet, I went
over and grabbed her elbow, wincing when my scrapes contacted her
skin. "We have to get out of here," I told her. "Try
to keep up."
She rolled her eyes but didn't
answer me. I took off running, feeling so much adrenaline by then
that the pain in my knees didn't really bother me.
She wasn't next to me.
I whirled without stopping, in
time to see her scoop the looter's gun off the sidewalk and toss it
into a glittery backpack she carried, slung too low to be entirely
I took my own turn rolling my
eyes. Just what I needed. Another Rambo wannabe. "Come on!"
I have to admit that despite
annoying me by going for the gun, she'd impressed me so far. The next
thing she did really caught my attention. She grinned at me, as
wicked and gleeful as if we'd gone out racing to settle a bet. Then
she covered the distance I'd put between us so fast it took me a
moment to realize I was being outpaced.
She shot past me and tossed
another smile over her shoulder. "You better hurry," she
said, with a Puerto Rican accent and not a trace of effort. "Ahora,
chacho. Those guys look mad."
Annabeth Leong has written
romance and erotica of many flavors -- dark, kinky, vanilla,
straight, lesbian, bi, and menage. Her titles for Breathless Press
include the contemporary werewolf erotic romances Not His Territory
and Not the Leader of the Pack, and Run for Your Love, a romance set
in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. She lives in Providence, Rhode
Island, blogs at annabethleong.blogspot.com, and tweets
Buy One, Get One Free Offer:
Did you miss Annabeth's previous
titles with Breathless Press? Not to worry. E-mail proof of purchase
of Run for Your Love, such as an Amazon receipt, to annabeth dot
leong at gmail dot com and let her know your e-book format of choice.
Annabeth will buy a copy of her werewolf novella, Not His Territory,
for anyone who sends this information before November 12, 2013.