Time of Zombies, Book 3
No law enforcement.
No Emergency Broadcast System.
No AMBER alerts.
How do you find a kidnapped child in the zombie apocalypse?
It is no Sunday drive when Commander Jack Canida takes to the open road with his former lover to find their kidnapped daughter in the wildlands of the zombie apocalypse. Lila Sterling was forced to tell lies to protect Jack from her father’s wrath, but in the process denied him the daughter they shared. Now they will confront their distrust, their old feelings, and the undead to bring Selena safely home.
Spring, 1 A.Z. (after zombies)
Outside the RV Yard
A warm breeze blew a lone tumbleweed down the middle of the road. Lila Sterling Morales gathered her tattered rags with hands that shook like it was the middle of winter. Her vision swam in and out of focus, while a gray fog hovered on the edges.
Had she eaten today? Or had it been yesterday. The days clumped together in a montage of starvation and abuse. Relentless. Day after day after day.
She shuddered and dragged her mind away from her husband, Juan. That way led to madness and despair. A cough built in her throat. She covered her mouth as the moans of the undead echoed just beyond the dark, empty road. Her body shook as the cough wracked her too-thin body. Her other hand clutched at her ribs, praying they were bruised and not broken. She had no time to waste being injured. Only the thought at Selena at the mercy of the evil and darkness in the world kept her going. She stumbled as a sharp rock tore open her bleeding foot.
Only have to get to the red line.
The red line.
The line dividing safety and danger.
Finally-dead zombie bodies littered the pavement where a red-painted line had been sprayed across the street. She’d made it. A deep breath and she grabbed her ribs on a groan. She glanced up at the walls of the RV yard and her steps quickened into a stumbling jog at the sound of human voices and a welcoming firelight seen through the gate.
Her fingers tightened around the cold metal bars. She inhaled deeply and opened her mouth to scream.
“Jack.” A whimpering whisper spilled from her tortured, dry throat. Her arms trembled as she shook the gate.
She had to find Jack. Her desperation aided to push strength into her voice. She could do this. She had to—for her daughter.
“Jack.” Her scream echoed across the yard and brought the welcome sound of pounding footsteps.
“Jack,” she whispered, her hands locked on the gate the only thing keeping her standing. The commander rushed to the other side and gave the signal to Paul, his second-in-command. An eternity passed as the gate slowly rumbled open enough for her to stumble inside.
All she saw was his face, his so familiar face as she fell into his arms. Her weight, slight as it was, carried them both to the asphalt.
“Lila,” Jack whispered. “What happened?”
“He took her,” she mumbled through the stinging pain of her split lips. “Juan took her.”
“Juan took who?”
She shook as Jack’s fingers cradled her head with what was left of her chopped off hair. His glance swept over her rags and the tears of anger spilled from her eyes. She didn’t need his pity, she needed his help. There was no time.
“He took Selena. He ran away and took her. You have to get her back,” she yelled, grabbing handfuls of his shirt. She had to make him understand.
“Lila, I told you. I’m not the law. He’s her father.”
“He took her to be his whore.”
Jack’s face whitened and he squeezed her to his chest. “Even so, I can’t do anything. It isn’t my place. I have to take care of my people here.”
“She’s your responsibility, Jack. She’s your daughter, mine and yours, not Juan’s.”
Everyone started talking at once, but she tuned them all out. Her focus was solely on Jack, who looked like a lightning bolt had hit him. His grip tightened on her and the sore ribs ground together.
“You’re hurting me,” she hissed out.
He yanked his hands away as if she were a fire burning his skin. She would have fallen if they weren’t already on the ground. She deserved his look of disgust. She deserved all that and more. Whatever punishment he dealt out, just as long as they went after her daughter.
* * *