Haven, Part I of the Apocalypse Chronicles
by Laury Falter
Release date: June 22, 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Event organized by: AToMR Tours
Haven, the first book in the Apocalypse Chronicles...
On an ordinary day in early September, Kennedy Shaw leaves for school unaware that within a few minutes the world she knows will be gone - succumbed to an outbreak of epidemic proportions. After finding a safe haven inside the security of her enclosed high school, she learns that four others have survived, one being a bold, mysterious transfer student from Texas whose unruffled demeanor harbors more than a cool interest in her. As they struggle to survive the dead fighting their way inside, will Kennedy discover there is more to life than survival? And will she and the others find a way to live in this terrifying new world?
The first Infected who came into view was balding. The half moon of white hair around the back of his head was severed in half by a gash that left his neck and the collar of his light blue business suit a crusty red. His hand on the railing was the same ruby color. The one coming up behind him was a girl in her twenties with bleached blonde hair and a tattoo that curled up the side of her neck. The Infected trailing her was a woman with an afro and oversized gold hoop earrings. There were more - I could hear their feet on the stairs - but they hadn't located me yet. Once they did, I knew nothing could tear them away. This was why I had the rifle pointed at Mr. Suit. If I hit him just right there was a possibility he would collapse against the wall and topple backwards, into the crowd, momentarily blocking the rest from advancing. That might buy me enough time to run for the next set of stairs and, possibly, to safety.
My heart was pounding so hard that I was afraid it would interfere with my aim, even at this short distance. The muzzle was bobbing so rapidly it reminded me of peaks on a hospital pulse monitor. As I'd been trained, I stopped, took a deep breath, and attempted to steady my heart rate. One of my dad's favorite sayings coursed through my mind, reminding me how to take an accurate shot and calming me instantly. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, Kennedy. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
As I contemplated my plan, biding my time to get the right shot off, something happened on the floor below. It started with a roar, which was odd because I'd never heard a single Infected roar. Then a commotion followed that caused Mr. Suit and the others to seek the source of the interruption behind them. Apparently, their judgment hadn't been so dramatically impaired that they knew enough to turn around. This took their focus away from me and I immediately stepped toward the stairs I'd been eyeing. But then I froze…because Ms. Afro had suddenly been yanked out of sight. I watched as Ms. Biker Girl prepared to lunge but also quickly disappeared down the stairs. Mr. Suit was then yanked away, his head snapping back as he vanished in the same direction as the others. Whatever was making its way up the stairs was cutting through the Infected like they were paper dolls. Then the turmoil came to a sudden end and the warehouse settled back into silence, with only the wind whistling through the openings in the building to fill the void. Beneath that hushed sound came another one. A footstep. It was sturdy, landing solidly and with intent. The sound came again. And again. And then there before me stood Harrison, chest heaving, eyes bulging, lips drawn back in a snarl.
My heart leapt at the sight of him, both because I didn't expect him to appear and because I didn't expect him to appear like this. What I saw in him was the same behavior so visibly obvious in the Infected. Only one word could describe them both: enraged.
"Harrison?" I whispered, which seemed to bring him back to me.
He had been inspecting the upper floor before his eyes stopped on me. He blinked and straightened out of his crouch, relaxing his face until it returned to the same gorgeous Harrison so familiar to me. He came forward, up the remaining step, but no farther, as hesitancy spread across his face. I was vaguely aware of it wavering as I found myself running for him.
Before I knew it, I was in his arms and my face was pressed against his firm chest and his warm, secure arms were encircling me.
"Kennedy," he whispered back, hoarsely, full of the emotion he held for me and vowed he would never show.
Laury Falter is the author of the bestselling Guardian Trilogy. She writes young adult paranormal romances and urban fantasy when she's not taking her stray dogs for a walk or enjoying a date night with her husband.
Laury has released two series, the Guardian Trilogy and the Residue Series (a spinoff of the Guardian Trilogy books), and is currently releasing her third series, the Apocalypse Chronicles.