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Plague Town Pandemic Tour: Stop 8

Posted on April 19, 2012 by Flames

A zombie virus of guest articles, Q&As and excerpts from new urban fantasy novel, Plague Town, will be infecting websites, blogs and social media accounts across the globe to offer readers the chance to win a signed copy of Plague Town and have a character named after them in the next novel in the series!

Flames Rising is the 8th stop on the ‘Plague Town Pandemic Tour’.

Collect the 8th word hidden in CAPS at the end of this article along with a sequence of eight others on blogs and websites outlined in the link below; tweet the sentence you’ve discovered to @TitanBooks and @zhadi1 with #PlagueTown before April 23rd.

Happy Hunting.

    ***

    CHAPTER FOUR

    “Mmmm, baby, you smell so good.”

    I giggled as Matt nuzzled against me, sniffing up and down my neck and shoulders. It tickled, and he sounded like a Saint Bernard with asthma. Disgusting and cute at the same time.

    I thought I heard a rustling sound, and jumped. Pushing Matt away, I ignored his pout, pulled my sweater back down and jeans back up, scanning for any passerby’s wandering the woods behind campus after dark. Not too likely, really, especially when the weather was chilly and overcast. Plus the grove of redwoods where we’d spread our blanket was pretty much private.

    So I turned and shot him my sweetest smile, hoping to salve his bruised male ego.

    “Pass the champagne, ‘kay?”

    Matt still pouted a little, but filled a little glass flute with some Italian bubbly.

    “It’s Prosecco, not champagne, Ash,” he said with a light air of condescension. “It’s not champagne—”

    “—Unless it comes from Champagne,” I finished for him. “I know, I know.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that my ex had exposed me to top quality wine back in the day. I didn’t complain about Matt’s enthusiasm, though. I got to taste some prime stuff without suffering through the cheap white zins of the world.

    Yeah, all in all, I’d rather be seduced with sparkling wine than Pabst Blue Ribbon.

    Right on cue, Matt decided he’d sulked long enough and shot me his winning grin.

    “Enjoying the picnic, Ash?”

    I nodded. How could I not? I mean, how many college guys took the time to pack full-on picnics? We’re not talking a bucket of KFC and a six-pack. Nope, roast chicken, bread, brie, and bubbly. Bread knife, cutting board, and cloth napkins. He’d even brought a small camp lantern, but had turned it down in order to be less conspicuous. My ex had never gone to this much trouble.

    I wonder what Gabriel serves his dates, I mused somewhat guiltily. Soy wine? I took another sip and used my free hand to hide a delicate little belch that bubbled out of nowhere.

    Bubbly burp, I thought, and I started giggling.

    Whoa, tipsy much? I probably should have had more of the food before diving straight into the alcohol.

    Matt didn’t mind.

    “What’s so funny?” he asked, not really expecting an answer. Good thing, ‘cause I couldn’t stop giggling now that I’d started.

    He started nuzzling my neck again, making low growling noises that vibrated pleasantly against the sensitive skin, both tickling me and turning me on. One thing led to another and we were soon happily back where we’d left off.

    Then he added something new to the repertoire. It was a weird, low, moaning sound—but not the usual “Oh, baby” and “You’re turning me on.” No, this noise was strange enough to break through my lust-and-alcohol haze.

    I stopped in mid-kiss.

    “What was that?”

    “What was what?” The sound had stopped, and it was pretty obvious Matt that hadn’t heard a thing. He continued stroking my hips, insinuating his hand between my thighs, stroking me through the denim. I squirmed with pleasure even as my ears strained to pick up anything out of the ordinary.

    Nothing except the cracking of ancient redwood branches. The forest gave off an almost-sour loamy smell tonight, causing me to wrinkle my nose a bit.

    Giving a mental shrug, I turned my attention back to my boy toy, specifically the bulge beneath his jeans. I teased him, rubbing one hand along the outline of his erection while nibbling gently on his neck in a way I knew he liked. His free hand caressed my breasts, first one, and then the other, thumb softly flicking against the nipples, a move guaranteed to drive me wild.

    We were both moaning with desire at this point, all panting with eagerness to take things to the next level… when suddenly his hand squeezed my left breast way too hard.

    Ow! That hurt!” I smacked him on the shoulder, hard.

    “Huh?” Matt lifted his mouth from my earlobe. “What the hell did you do that for?”

    But he squeezed again, nails digging in this time. A rattling moan sounded close to my ear. The ear not next to Matt’s mouth.

    Suddenly the forest smelled rank.

    “What the fuck?” I said. “Get off me!” I shoved Matt and rolled away from the moaning. The hand on my breast stayed there, accompanied by a nasty tearing noise, like the sound of a drumstick being ripped off a whole chicken.

    Matt grabbed the lantern and flicked turned it up. I looked down and gasped in grossed-out disbelief. The glow revealed a rotted hand clutching my 34-C, ragged nails digging into the flesh. Even worse, said hand was attached to an equally gross arm….

    And nothing else.

    “Omigod, that’s disgusting!” I suppressed the urge to hurl the contents of my stomach.

    “Jeez, babe, what is your damage?” Matt sat up, sounding mortally offended.

    I didn’t have time to deal with his petulance. I was too busy dislodging what looked like a cheap Halloween prop from my boob. It didn’t take much effort; the thing seemed to have lost all of its oomph.

    As Matt lifted the lantern, I found out why.

    The top half of what was once a young woman squirmed on the mossy ground next to our blanket. Her torso trailed off into strings of intestines and other bits of unidentifiable organs. Chunks of flesh were missing from her face and neck.

    Two spooky, milky-white eyes stared at me from above a bloody hole, chewed gristle sticking out where her nose used to be. Her mouth opened and closed hungrily as she used her remaining arm to pull herself onto the blanket.

    I choked back a definitely hysterical laugh as I wondered if this counted as a lesbian encounter. Then my stomach twisted in serious knots, and I threw up.

    “Holy shit!” Matt got a good look at our visitor as she pulled herself slowly, relentlessly towards us. “Holy shit! What the fuck is that?”

    I shook my head, holding back my own “holy shits” through a sheer force of willpower.

    “I don’t know,” I said, trying to stay calm. “But it’s ugly and it felt me up and I think it’s trying to eat us.” I fumbled in the picnic basket and grabbed the bread knife.

    “What are you doing, Ash?” Matt’s voice rose an octave as I turned back to what had to be the grossest picnic crasher ever.

    I didn’t say anything, though. I just brought the knife down as hard as I could into one of Miss Thang’s ears, shoving with all of my strength to push the serrated blade deep into whatever was left of her brain… and hoped that the movies didn’t lie.

    Kill the brain, kill the zombie.

    And it worked. She… it… stopped wriggling and chomping, like a really gross mechanical doll with the batteries removed.

    Matt stared at me as though he didn’t know who I was.

    “What did you just do?”

    I shrugged, my body still thrumming with adrenaline. I felt oddly detached from reality, possibly because reality had just received a new and totally fucked-up definition.

    “I think I just killed a zombie.” Yeah, that definitely didn’t sound like something I would say.

    “There’s no such thing as zombies!” Matt’s voice was unnaturally high, as if he’d regressed.

    “Well, what the hell would you call this?” I added emphasis with another shove of the bread knife. Matt winced. He opened his mouth to answer, but suddenly the night was filled with a moaning chorus.

    This could not be good.

    ****

    CODE WORD 8: UP

    For full details of the tour and terms and conditions visit:

    TitanBooks.com/plaguetown

    Plague Town by Dana Fredsti is published by Titan Books and is available now at Amazon.com.

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