Impact - book 8 of The Zombie
Chronicles is up for preorder. The date says March but I plan to have it much sooner when I get it back from my editor. But people have asked for
this option so I did it. Thanks, everyone! I can't wait!
The dreaded night, the first full moon of the new year, has
finally arrived. Will Taylor survive when evil threatens to destroy her life
The release date is for April but I'm hoping to get it out
the beginning of March. Maybe sooner! The entire book is written. I'm just
going over it and shining it up, then sending it to my editor. I can't wait. A
lot happens this book.
My zombie covers really needed one set theme. And it was hard because I really loved some of the covers. I hated to give them up, but the series needed continuity. I decided to base it around my main character, Dean. Book Cover by Design made the fantastic covers.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form,
or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise)
without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above
publisher of this book. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places,
brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination
or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status
and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction,
which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these
trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark
Hudson’s Fifth Charity Ball event had finally arrived
and I was dancing with the man of my dreams. I loved the band. Bag pipes,
flutes, and drums played the most beautiful Celtic melodies. It was a really cool
costume party and everyone dressed up in amazing medieval outfits. I wore a
long, white dress swirled with silver. The scooped neckline, flowing layers of
lace, and ethereal, billowing sleeves were gorgeous. I also had the coolest up-do
with endless rows of spiral curls cascading down into tiny ringlets. A small
tiara sparkled on my head. I looked elegant and feminine, yet bold and daring.
I had smoky eyes, simple eyeliner, eyelashes coated in mascara, and fire-red
Hunter was dressed in a royal-blue tunic with an
emblem of a crowned lion in the center and black satin knickers with knee-high
boots. He was the most handsome knight in the ballroom.
Pam wore a messy bun with a red velvet gown, with an
over layer of flowing silk chiffon decorated with delicate ivory braids and
laces. She was dancing the night away with her own prince, Eric.
“I’m enchanted by your beauty,” Hunter said.
I smiled. “You say the most beautiful things, thank
He shot me that movie star grin, showing off his
gleaming white teeth.
I pressed my lips softly against his as he cupped my
While I danced with Hunter, I truly felt like a
princess, caught in the throes of my own perfect fairytale. We swayed to the
music, and he held me close, so close that there was nothing but our warm
breath between us. I could think of nothing more perfect than being in his
arms. When Pam nudged me, I ignored her; I didn’t want to be disturbed. I just
wanted to relish the moment, to stare into Hunter’s blue eyes forever.
“Zoey…” Pam complained.
Suddenly, I snapped back to reality. We all had a job
to do. I couldn’t do much for the spirits, but I would at least feel better if
I could somehow free them. In order to do that, I needed that medallion, that
precious gold artifact.
“C’mon!” Pam said. “Have you forgotten we’re supposed
to be following Mr. Geo?”
“I know. But Hunter looked so hot, well, I just couldn’t
help myself.” I shot him a look and he smiled once again at my complement.
She pulled me along and I tried not to trip in my
Christian Louboutin Cinderella heels, designed to look like a modern-day
Cinderella slipper. They were gorgeous but very hard to run in.
“I’m gonna lose a glass slipper,” I said.
“How very Cinderella of you,” she laughed.
“Well, I can honestly see how the chick lost her
“You need to switch fairytales…especially since we’re
looking for treasure. Think more along the lines of Jack and the Bean Stalk.”
Hunter and I followed her through the crowd and looked
when she pointed to a woman in a shimmering, gold gown, her hair spiraling down
in layers of curls. I hadn’t seen hair that long in a while; it was even longer
than mine and absolutely gorgeous.
Shantal and Eric broke through the crowd, calling my
“Hey,” Shantal said, straightening out her velvet
“Where’s your date?” I asked.
“Talking with his friends. He’s not going to miss me.”
“You look gorgeous,” I said. “There’s no way he
wouldn’t miss you.”
She grinned. I loved her braided up-do, gorgeous ruby
pendant, and fancy medieval gown.
“So what’s the scoop?” I asked.
She grabbed my arm. “We followed that lady, the one
Pam pointed out. She was talking to Mr. Geo, and I swear I heard her say
something about dropping off a medallion. Mr. Rowens was standing right next to
them, so I think that’s why they didn’t make the handoff.”
“I don’t think she would with the principal right there.”
“Don’t worry,” Eric assured me. “We’ve been watching her closely.”
“It’s a woman,” I said. “I thought for sure it’d be a
“So…which one of us is gonna play purse-snatcher?”
“Are you crazy? Do you know how much attention that
will draw?” Hunter said. “We need to think of another way.”
“Well, whatever we’re gonna do, we’d better make it
fast,” I said. “Mr. Geo is heading this way.”
“I’ll distract him,” Pam said.
Eric glanced over. “What if he gets it before we do?”
“Then we follow him,” I said.
“And do what? Break into his room?”
Shantal looked at Hunter. “Distract the woman, and
I’ll nab the artifact. I’m guessing it’s in that cloth bag of hers. I can
easily slip my fingers in and get the loot.”
Hunter nodded, then walked over to engage the
long-haired stranger in conversation. I had no idea if the plan was going to
work. Shantal had told us she used to be a pickpocket when she hung out with a
bit of a wild gang. I only hoped she was good enough of a criminal to pull it
The woman laughed as Hunter laid on the charm and
told her a joke. I watched anxiously as Shantal slipped her fingers into the
little cloth bag. The woman was so taken by Hunter that she didn’t even notice
what Shantal was up to, but when Shantal hurried over to us, the grim look on
her face was very telling.
I cocked a brow. “Well?”
“Nothing. There was nothing but makeup, no trace of
“Hmm. Well, we obviously got the wrong person,” Eric
said. “Let’s just follow Mr. Geo and see who he talks to. Maybe someone will
slip him something, though getting it from him is gonna prove difficult.”
I could feel the tension knotting up my shoulders.
“We’ve gotta get our hands on that medallion, no matter what. We have to have
it and the stone to free the spirits, and they’re counting on us. We can’t
screw this up.”
Mr. Geo walked over to the beautiful woman and
smiled. She kissed him on the lips, making it quite clear that she was a date,
if not his girlfriend. I wondered if she was in on it, but I really had no
A few seconds later, a man with short-cropped hair
approached Mr. Geo. When he pulled out a black, rectangular box, I knew that
had to be it. I also realized there was no way we could just take it without
“Oh, but you can,” a voice coaxed in my ear. “Just
When I turned to see who had said it, I realized that
no one was standing that close to me. Shivers ran up my arms, but the invisible
voice had made a good point. The only problem was that I would have to go back
and get the stone, and that would be a huge risk; there was always the chance
of the stone being discovered. Still, I really didn’t have a choice.
I touched my tear-shaped pendant and felt a weird
energy coursing through me. I began to concentrate like I did back in the
forest, and when I opened my eyes, I about flipped. “I did it!” I cried to
myself. “I actually did it again! And it wasn’t the blue stone like I
My necklace had the power to stop time around me, but
I could still move around normally. It seemed impossible, but it was happening.
I couldn’t stop the future or rewind the past, but it was still a remarkable
power. I just hoped I was doing it for the right reasons, going about things
the right way. I certainly wasn’t a thief, and I planned to return the
medallion as soon as the spirits were freed from their eternal prison.
I walked over and looked down at the black case. When
I opened it, I was surprised to see a gold pen, with “Hudson’s Fifth Charity Ball” engraved on it. Crap! It wasn’t at all what we were
looking for. I glanced around at all the still, smiling faces, their laughs
frozen in time. I wasn’t even really sure who to look for.
I glanced at the woman who’d been talking to Mr. Geo.
She had a huge grin on her face. When I looked closer, I noticed that she was
wearing a medallion around her neck, one that almost perfectly blended in with
her gold dress. The necklace! That has to
I hurried over and unfastened the necklace. My
fingers traced over the ten-centimeter gold piece. I stared down at the crown
and inscription. It was a wonderful piece of history to have, and I quickly and
anxiously shoved it deep into my purse.
Suddenly, a growl echoed from across the room. My
hands shook as I glanced around. Why
isn’t everything frozen in time? I wondered in a panic. My horror grew
greater when wings fluttered in the air. I couldn’t see anything, but I could
feel the rush of wind hitting my face. My heart started to race, and I knew I
had to get out of there in a hurry. I took a deep, calming breath. I tried to
concentrate, but my nerves were so frazzled because I knew I wasn’t alone. The
hair on my neck stood on end.
“Concentrate!” I whispered to myself.
A bloodcurdling shriek pierced my ears.
What the heck
was that? A shudder rocked my body as my gaze frantically darted in every
direction. I couldn’t see anything, and goosebumps peppered every square inch
of my skin. Something was in the room with me, and I was sure it wasn’t human.
About twenty meters away, a seven-foot black shadow
emerged. Its hooded cloak made me think I was about to stand face to face with
the Grim Reaper himself. It had a muscular physique, but I could see right
through it. Its ears were pointy, and its skeletal fingers seemed unnaturally
long. Its eyes were as red as burning coal, exuding evil, and its black wings
flapped as it hovered there, staring at me. My senses were on overdrive, and my
heart thundered in my chest. I wanted to scream, but I was frozen in complete
For a moment, I wondered if my eyes were playing
tricks on me. I closed my eyes, then
hesitantly opened them again. To my absolute terror, the menace was
still there. It grinned at me, the most evil grin I’d seen in all my life.
I concentrated, trying to will my necklace to work
before I was consumed by the sinister one before me. “Work!” I muttered under
my breath. “Please work!”
Another dastardly shriek came from the darkness.
I shuddered, certain that the thing was going to rip
me apart piece by piece.
Then, after a loud, wailing howl, it lurched toward
When I opened my eyes, the music played, people
danced, and laughter had replaced the dreary silence and shrieks.
Everything was back to normal, the way it was before
I stopped time, and the dreaded creature was nowhere in sight. My shoulders
shrugged in absolute relief, and I let out a long sigh.
“Zoey, what’s wrong?” Hunter said.
I tried to speak, but the words wouldn’t come out. It
felt like the room was closing in on me. I bolted out of the ballroom, with
Hunter hot on my heels. Leaning up
against the wall, I took a deep breath, clutching my chest.
“What is it?” he asked, terrified.
“Air! I need air!” I knew I was safe, but it was hard
to shake off the uneasiness I felt in the presence of that horrific thing.
“Let’s go outside,” he said.
“Wanna go get your coat?”
“No. I just need some air…and to get away from all
“Okay. Let’s go out the back way then,” he said,
putting an arm around me.
We walked down the corridor, toward the back exit. When
we turned the corner, we spotted several men dressed in black, hauling what
appeared to be portraits covered in white linens. A man bumped into me and
muttered something under his breath. The ties came loose, and the silk
coverings fell, exposing the portrait. I recognized it instantly. I wasn’t into
famous artists or anything but there was no way I’d miss recognizing this one;
it would have been impossible for me not to, for it was one of the most famous
pictures in the world, Da Vinci’s much-loved Mona Lisa. I knew it had to be a replica, because the real one was
They struggled with the heavy, framed portrait and quickly covered it and
retied everything securely.
Another of the movers glared at me. “Get out of here!
Can’t you see you’re getting in our way?”
“I thought it was supposed to be clear back here,”
another said. “Where did these teenagers come from?”
We hurried past them and outside. The cold wind sent
shivers down my spine, and I wished I had taken Hunter’s suggestion to go back
and get my coat.
As we rushed by, one of the clumsy moving men dropped
a huge box, and Miss Shila about flipped.
“She needs to take a chill pill,” Hunter whispered.
“Yeah,” I said.
Miss Shila always gave me the creeps, ever since I
had that vision of her with the red eyes when she was teaching class. She tried
to act like a nice teacher, but underneath it all, something was off. I couldn’t
put my finger on what, but something was wrong.
She gave the men directions on how to carefully place
them and threatened to withhold their pay if they broke anything. She was
tapping her foot angrily for a moment, and then her heels click-clacked as she
marched over to the bed of the blue truck, shivering in her black coat.
Just as I went back to sneak inside, she glanced over
her shoulder and caught sight of me. “Zoey and Hunter, what are you doing out
here?” she asked. “It’s freezing, and you aren’t even wearing coats.”
“We just came out to get some fresh air,” I said.
“It’s so hot in there.”
Hunter cocked a brow and stepped toward her. “What
are you doing? Can I help?”
She clicked her tongue. “I’ve got this under control.
We are donating some historical things and artwork to a local museum. This was the
only time the delivery men could pick up our donations.”
“Sorry,” Hunter said. “We didn’t mean to get in the
“Just go back inside. I’ll be rejoining you soon.
We’re almost done here.”
We walked inside and found the others, then went off
to a place where nobody could hear us. I explained everything, from stopping
time and getting the medallion to Miss Shila’s odd moving escapade.
“You got the medallion?” Hunter said, then pulled me
into a warm hug.
“I sure did. Well, I hope it’s what we’re looking
for. But it’s very old, very ancient. And it didn’t look like typical jewelry your
average socialite wears. It has to be the medallion we need.”
“What was that shadow thing?” Pam asked. “Sorry, but
I can’t get over that story. I still got goosebumps.”
I swallowed hard. “My necklace can’t freeze spirits,
I guess, but I don’t think that was a spirit. It was more like…a demon, and
I’ll never forget the way it looked at me.”
“That’s completely freaky, Zoey,” she said. “You
should’ve taken us, like last time.”
“I don’t have this thing completely figured out. I
didn’t want anything to happen to any of you.”
“But you might not have come back,” Shantal asked. “Don’t
go messing with that thing until you know more.”
I bit my lip hard. “I know. I won’t.”
“And please don’t go again without me,” Hunter said.
“It just kind of…happened.”
“We’re here for you,” Eric said, “but make sure you
always consult with us first. We can’t look out for you if you’re always taking
“I’ll be sure to tell you next time. I promise. I
don’t wanna face eerie eyes and evil grins all by myself.” I sighed. “Let’s not
talk about it anymore though. At least I snatched that medallion.”
“Borrowed,” Eric corrected.
“Right. You know I’ll give it back,” I said.
“Let’s see it,” Hunter said, excitement flooding his
I pulled the jewelry out, and we all stared at the
glittering piece in complete amazement. We talked about it for a few minutes
and ultimately decided to stash it in the fake wall in Eric’s room, right next
to the sapphire.
“It’s gorgeous,” Pam whispered.
“It’s antique,” Hunter said, studying it. “Yeah, this
thing is old, maybe thousands of years.”
“I’ve never held an ancient piece of history like
this,” Pam said. “I wonder what kind of mysterious and magical power it holds.”
“Power?” I asked.
She cocked a brow. “It has to have some kind of power
to release the spirits, right?”
I nodded. “I guess so.”
“That makes it mystical,” Shantal said.
“I bet Miss Shila would sell this in a heartbeat,” Hunter
said. “I bet it’s worth a lot on the black market.”
Shantal nodded. “Yeah, we have to keep it well hidden
at all times.”
I stopped and looked at the others. “Why would Miss
Shila be moving stuff during a charity event?” I asked. “I know she said the
moving guys could only come now, but why so late at night? And how did she get
her hands on a copy of Mona Lisa?”
“That’s just it. It’s a copy. It can’t be real,”
Hunter said. “There are a ton of them out there. Heck, I could buy one off eBay
“But what if it is
real?” I asked.
Shantal pondered. “She could be fencing it.”
“Stealing?” I asked. “With all those witnesses?”
“Think about it,” Hunter said, changing his tune. “It’s
the perfect cover-up. Mr. Rowens is completely distracted, entertaining
hundreds of rich guests from all over Scotland.”
“Our principle is clueless,” Shantal said. “Maybe we
should inform him about what she’s up to.”
Eric shook my head. “No, on second thought, she’s
probably not up to anything bad. We can’t just jump to conclusions and get her
Shantal sighed. “Well, if she is running an art theft
ring, she’s could be making thousands, maybe millions off some of those old
heirlooms and treasures.”
I blew out a breath. “It doesn’t make sense. If she
wanted to steal things, she could have done it any other time, when this place
is not buzzing with people.”
“Don’t you get it?” Hunter said. “Nobody would notice
her sneaking off to load a truck during a big party. Everyone is drinking, laughing,
eating, and dancing—far too occupied to realize there’s an art heist going on
“I wonder what she needs the money for,” Shantal
“Something is odd,” I said.
“What do you mean?” Hunter asked.
“I’m not sure, but this one time, when she was
teaching, her eyes turned red. Remember, I told you all about it?” He nodded
and I continued. “It was like the spirits were trying to warn me about her. I
didn’t understand it at the time, but I guess it’s all starting to make sense.”
“Of course it is! They want us to know she’s up to no
good,” Shantal said. “If she is stealing, she could lose her job or even go to
“She’s stealing history,” I said. “And that’s not
Hunter nodded. “She could be tied into a looming
criminal enterprise. The pilfered art could worth millions on the black
“Right there along with rare, exotic pets and organ
snatchers,” Shantal said. “We have enough to deal with, let alone chase an art
thief. We need to figure out why we’re here and what’s going on, and we have to
free those spirits. And in the midst of all this, there’s this little thing
called school. Call Columbo or something. We don’t have time to play
“Yeah, you’re right,” I said, yawning. “I guess our
best course of action is to tell the principle and let him look into it.”
It’d been a long night, and we were beat. After
spending another hour at the ball, Hunter walked me back to my room.
The next morning, we told the principle everything we
knew, and he already knew about it, and he told us he had, in fact, given the
go-ahead for a few items to be shipped off to some museum none of us had ever
heard of. We had to seriously consider that he might be in on it too. For all
we knew, our teacher and our principle were on the take, and the entire school
was a smokescreen for a huge art theft scandal. As horrible as that thought
was, it paled in comparison to my memories of the red-eyed thing that had
stared me down, and I hoped I could find a way to deal with all we were facing.
End of sample.
Enchanted Dreams - Book 3 is out! Yay! :) I'm so excited.