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Excerpt from Palpitations
‘Yeah. She’s…’ Charlotte shuddered, and the gun dropped limply to her side as she fell to the ground, cupped her face in her hands and begin to bawl beside the now dead, undead.
He didn’t leave me. I’m not alone!
‘Ohhh… Charlotte! Hey come on now…’ Charlotte heard him rushing to her, but she was up on her feet again and backing away from him before he could lay a finger on her to offer solace.
‘I thought you were dead!’ She screamed, not caring how loud she was, not concerned that that there was anything more violently angry or dangerous on the face of the planet right then, than her. ‘What the hell happened to you?!’
‘I got knocked out!’ Will’s silhouette approached her in an unbalanced fashion. ‘Not for long but-’
‘Knocked out?! Are you kidding me?’ Charlotte’s voice pitched high enough to break class. She braced herself against the ice-cold body of the Hummer as she rose, keeping the gun trained on the centre of Will’s dirty white shirt. ‘I fucking HATE you!’
Will’s eyebrow flew up and he backed up, holding up his hands in a ‘Oh shit’ pose. ‘Charlotte! You’re-’
‘Don’t try and tell me I’m in shock! Don’t try and pretend to know for even ONE SECOND what I am feeling you son of a bitch!’ The gun trembled, but she did not let it sink below his heart. ‘You don’t know me, Will Furlough, not one tiny bit! You don’t know what I’ve gone through, who I am… I’m just another brainless follower to you, aren’t I? Well I’m a person and YOU CANT JUST GET KNOCKED OUT WHEN I NEED YOU!’
Will’s eye was wide. ‘I’m a son of a bitch for getting knocked out?!’
‘You’re a son of a bitch for getting me into this predicament! For coercing me to follow along yet again! I don’t know you either, and that makes me an idiot! You and your old pal Liam were such assholes and you hid it so well! You could be lying to me now! You were always too fucking smooth for your own good! You and your fucking milkshake! That big puppy dog eye making me feel more for your plight than my own! I mean, how freaking messed up is that? I have this awesome, wonderful, sweet guy waiting to protect me twenty k’s back and I followed the one leading me tit-first into danger instead! That’s insane! No actually; that’s shock! Charlotte Swift taking pity on Will Furlough?’ She choked out a laugh. ‘I’m just not that nice anymore, so it’s either shock or insanity, and I am done with it! Do you hear me? One flirty remark from you and a red-eye sneaks up on us! It’s pathetic! I’m pathetic around you!’
Will’s hands lifted higher. ‘Charlotte stop! I-’
‘No! I bit my tongue for four years when I liked you Will and it got me nowhere- so now that I hate you you better believe I’m gonna speak up!’ Charlotte had him in her sights. ‘You’re not Zac Efron and I am NOT dying for you!’
‘Zac EFRON?!’ Will sounded flabbergasted, taking a step towards her as though the gun trained on his chest was less offensive than the celebrity she had just named. ‘You think that he’s hotter than ME? Bitch please!’
‘What did you just call me?!’
Will flung his hands about. ‘I’m just saying, I work out five days a week! Seven, when I was locked up!’ Will’s only eye narrowed. ‘I get that the bruising isn’t very attractive but I’m working the eye-patch, aren’t I? Or I thought I was!’ He crossed his arms and pouted sullenly. ‘But you’d die for Zac Efron and not me? I’m offended! He’s like a twig!’
Charlotte wondered if she’d found herself in the middle of the weirdest possible zombie-apocalypse conversation ever. ‘Haven’t you seen that movie with Chandler from Friends? Zac is as buff as now!’
Will snorted. ‘Why would I watch that? I mean, it’s a Zac Efron movie, for Pete’s sake! I wouldn’t have lasted six days in jail if I’d owned that DVD!’
‘I LIKE that movie!’ Charlotte screeched. ‘Don’t even pretend it’s a chick flick!’
‘Um hello?! If it’s got a guy on the cover wearing clean clothes- it’s a chick flick!’ was Will’s returning exclamation.
‘Oh and you’re some big action hero? Mr beat-down-by-a-female-red-eye-and-napping-in-the bushes? Ha!’
Will cocked his head. ‘Red-eye?’
‘Yes- that thing was not a zombie! Abigail was a zombie. But the energetic ones are something else so I’m calling them-’
Charlotte was so caught-up in her rage that she didn’t have her reflexes aligned with her limbs when Will suddenly ducked, crossed the three feet between them and pinned her against the side of the car. By the time her muscles coiled, ready to smack him down, he had one of her arms trapped to her side, while his other tightened around her wrist- the wrist holding the gun, and forced it back against the passenger door of the Hummer with a hollow clacking sound.
‘That makes no sense,’ Will gasped. ‘They’ve all got-red-eyes!’
‘You’re about to have two black ones!’ She cried, trying to wriggle out of his gasp.
‘I am hotter than Zac Efron,’ Will whispered against her lips, his intense stare flicking from one of her eyes to the other rapidly. His breathing was laboured, and delicious mix of spearmint gum and tobacco made Charlotte’s nostrils flare in appreciation. ‘And I am going to get you and those beautiful big blue eyes through this alive.’ His gaze flickered over hers, burning with intensity. ‘Fuck they’re lovely. I’d forgotten just how easily those guys could lay a man out, but I’m remembering now…’
‘Excuse you?’ Charlotte wondered if she’d died and gone to heaven. Her rage fell away. Had he actually noticed her back after all?
‘You heard me.’ Will grinned. ‘You were like the ultimate jail-bait Char. It’s a miracle that I made it to twenty-four before getting locked up.’ His eyes dropped to her mouth, and it was heated. ‘Your dad probably fired me because he’d read my dirty, nineteen-year old mind…’