December 22, 2013

The Ending Beginnings: Carlos

Alright, Endingers...the first novella in The Ending Beginnings, the prequel serial to The Ending Series, is finished and available to read! It's also available for free on AmazonKobo, Goodreads, and Wattpad.


The first novella in the prequel serial to The Ending Series.

A virus changed everything. This is how it began.

High school. Dealing drugs. A secret girlfriend. Carlos thought his life was hard enough...but then the virus spread.

The Ending Beginnings:
I - Carlos
II - Mandy (coming soon!)



“I can’t…I told you,” Carlos said, yanking his wrist out of the larger kid’s clammy grasp. It wasn’t that Carlos was small for his age—quite the opposite, in fact. He was already five-foot-ten and, thanks to the recently wrapped-up football season, nearly 150 pounds, and he was still a few months shy of sixteen. No, the problem was that Julian was just a little bit taller, a whole lot thicker, and really desperate.

Julian raised his hands, running his fingers through his greasy, dirty-blond hair. There was no doubt in Carlos’s mind that the kid needed a shower, and based on his pallid coloring and the grayish-purple, bruise-like circles under his eyes, to lay off the Vicodin. Carlos felt the slightest twinge of guilt for being the one who’d supplied Julian with the pills in the first place. Which, as Carlos’s older brother had drilled into his head, was exactly why the Hernandez boys only dealt the pills; they never sampled them themselves.

“What am I supposed to do?” Julian practically shouted. He took a lurching step forward, hands outstretched like he might grab the front of Carlos’s down jacket.

Carlos side-stepped, easily evading the clumsy maneuver. He spun around in time to see Julian skitter on a patch of ice and crash into the chain-link fence marking the perimeter of Toppenish High School’s snow-covered outfield. Glancing around warily, Carlos backed away, hands in his coat pockets. He hated dealing with this crap at school.

“Next week, man. I should be getting some new stuff this weekend.”

Julian’s fingers curved into rigid, claw-like hooks clutching at the fence to hold himself upright. Breathing hard, he turned his head so his flushed cheek was squished against the frost-coated metal. A thin crimson trail streaked from just under his right eye down to his chin like a single, bloody tear. It added an extra creep factor to the haunting, almost feverish glint in Julian’s eyes.

The final bell releasing them from school for the day had rung a good fifteen minutes ago, and there was no way Carlos’s sister, Vanessa, wouldn’t guess why he’d been late. She would chew him out the whole ride home for being dumb enough to follow in Jesse’s dealing footsteps, then track down their older brother and rip him a new one, too. Carlos started jogging backward toward the student parking lot, where his sister would be waiting for him.

“It’s just a few days, Julian,” he shouted, tugging his black beanie further over his ears. “You’ll survive.”

Turning mid-stride, he broke into a run. Each exhale produced a white puff that seemed almost solid enough to grab. He didn’t stop until he reached his sister’s decades-old, dark green Honda Civic, one of the few cars still sitting in the lot. The temperature was in the low teens, cold even for early December in Toppenish, one of a string of small towns in Central Washington’s Yakima Valley, and nobody was eager to linger in a parked car.

Hand tucked inside his sleeve, Carlos popped the passenger door open and ducked inside. He held his hands up to the vents, grateful for the warmth. “Sorry Nessa, I—” When Carlos looked at his sister, the rest of the sentence died on his tongue.

Vanessa was staring vacantly out the windshield, the skin around her eyes red and puffy, and tears were streaming down her splotchy cheeks.

“Shit…” Carlos reached across the center console and draped his arm over his sister’s shoulders, pulling her into the closest approximation to a hug that was possible in the interior of the small car. It was awkward and uncomfortable, but that didn’t matter. Vanessa almost never cried. She was barely a year older than Carlos, but he’d only seen her cry a handful of times.

“What is it?” he asked, his voice tight with worry.

Vanessa exhaled a gut-wrenching sob and clutched Carlos’s coat. “It’s…it’s Benny.” The baby of their family, Benny was barely two and suffered from a congenital heart condition—the same one that had killed their dad just before Benny had been born.

Benny had come down with a cough and a slight fever the previous afternoon, but their mom had been certain it was just the flu. And she was a nurse; she knew what she was talking about. Of course, influenza could be dangerous to a kid like Benny, which was why their mom had taken Benny to the hospital with her when she’d left for the swing shift the previous night. Just to make sure.

Benny would be fine. He would. He…

Carlos squeezed his eyes shut, holding back tears. There was no use in freaking out before he knew how bad it was. He had to swallow several times before he found his voice. “Is he okay?”

Shaking her head against his shoulder, Vanessa made a low keening sound that was almost too faint to hear.

Carlos felt a single tear escape and inch down his cheek.

“He—he…mom called in the middle of seventh period, but I didn’t answer.” Vanessa pulled away just enough to meet Carlos’s eyes. Hers, a rich chocolate-brown that usually sparkled with laughter—or anger or annoyance—were endless pools of despair. “You know how Mr. Martin is…I couldn’t check my phone. I didn’t know until—” Her chin quivered, and the effort it was taking her to hold back another wave of grief was evident in the hard set of her jaw and the tightness around her blood-shot eyes. “I didn’t know until after…when I listened to mom’s message that—that—” She took a halting breath. “…that Benny’s on life support.”

Her words hit Carlos like a punch to the stomach.

Vanessa closed her eyes, shutting out the world. “They don’t think he’s going to make it.” Her voice was high-pitched and small. Carlos knew she wouldn’t be able to hold it together for long…if what she was currently doing could even be called holding it together. And she wasn’t alone. He was on the brink of breaking down, feeling like someone was shredding his heart while it was still in his chest, but he was determined to maintain the appearance of being strong—at least until he was alone.

“Come on,” Carlos said as he released his sister and pulled on the door handle. “Switch with me. I’ll drive to the hospital.”

Vanessa wiped her cheeks with both hands. Not that it did any good; the tears were still pouring out, if a bit more slowly. “But you don’t have your license yet.”

He shot her a look that clearly said, “And…?”

Without any further argument, Vanessa exited the car and switched seats with Carlos. As he was releasing the emergency brake, she touched her fingertips to the sleeve covering his forearm. “Hold on. Mom said this flu thing’s gotten out of control…said it’s becoming a huge outbreak. We’re not supposed to go to the hospital—it’s bad there. Too many people…” Vanessa shrugged, at a loss for what to do.

Carlos gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes. “What are they gonna do? Keep us out?” Snorting, he pushed in the clutch and shifted into first gear. He might not have had as much experience driving as Vanessa, but he wasn’t a complete amateur. “What about Jesse? Does he know?”

However much Vanessa was bothered by Jesse’s chosen “career” and his choice to involve Carlos in what he called “the family business,” Carlos knew she still loved Jesse and would want him around during such a hard time. Since their dad’s death, Jesse had become the sheltering arms of the family. Helping their mom provide for them was the main reason he’d expanded his illicit business in the first place.

Chewing on her lower lip, Vanessa shook her head. “I called and texted him like a million times, but”—she shrugged—“nothing.” She paused for a moment. “He’s supposed to be back today, right?”

Carlos nodded as he cautiously navigated his way out of the parking lot and onto the icy street. Jesse had gone down to Cali to meet up with a potential new supplier, and he’d been gone for a little over a week. “He said he’d be back this afternoon at the latest.” He glanced at Vanessa, offering a tight-lipped smile. It was a pathetic attempt at reassuring her, but he had to try. “Did you try the house? If he’s not home yet, he should be soon.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Carlos watched Vanessa touch the screen of her phone and, hands shaking, raise it to her ear. Nobody answered.


December 6, 2013

Blog Blitz Today!

Greetings Endinger! Do you want to know more about Team Lindsey? What about the writing process behind The Ending Series? Want to hear what other readers think? 

Today After The Ending will be featured on the following blogs, along with Team Lindsey interviews and book reviews. 

Stop by and check it out! 


Fantasy Book Addict

Pembroke Sinclair. 

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

Spotlight and Reviews

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club

Taking It One Book at a Time

C.W. Book Reviews

Literary Meanderings 

Addicted 2 Heroines 


Booker Like a Hooker

Addicted Readers

Adrienne Woods Books and Reviews

Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews

3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! 

Mom With A Kindle

Buffy's Ramblings

Theresa Stillwagon 

Cover Reveals 

Mythical Books

Paranormal Romance Fans for Life

Tattooed Book Review

Books Direct

Shooting Stars Reviews 

So Much to Write

Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog


Fictional Reality

Curling Up with a Good Book

Thank you Roxanne at Bewitching Book Tours!

And remember, After The Ending ebook edition is on sale for .99 through the holiday!

November 22, 2013

INTO THE FIRE (The Ending Series, #2) Released!!!

Into The Fire, the sequel to After The Ending, is now available!

The book can be purchased from:
In celebration of the release of Into The Fire, we're running a month-long sale of After The Ending, the first installment of The Ending Series. You can find the ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords for only $ .99! Sale ends December 24.

We're also running a release day blog blitz giveaway for a $15 Amazon gift card that ends tomorrow. Enter below!

November 15, 2013

INTO THE FIRE Chapter 1 Reveal!!!

Happy Friday to all you Endingers out there! As promised, there's only one week until the release of the sequel to After The Ending, Into The Fire, and we're giving you the first chapter early! We hope you like it. Only seven more days... :)

CONTENT WARNING: some adult language and themes beyond this point.

March 14, 1AE

No! No! This can’t be happening!

“Dani!” My voice carried throughout the eerily quiet field as I sprinted along the pasture fence, away from the barn and toward Dani’s bone-chilling scream. Jake was right behind me, the light from his flashlight dancing around my bare feet. Each breath was so loud, so raspy, it was like I could hear nothing else.

My mind started to feel odd, momentarily distracting me as I ran, but I ignored the feeling along with the frigid air biting at my skin and the jagged rocks poking the bottoms of my feet. My eyes blurred with unshed tears, and I stumbled over something, barely catching myself before colliding with the unyielding ground. I shook my head, trying to dispel the disorienting fog that was steadily creeping into my mind.

In the darkness a few yards ahead, I could see Jason’s shadowy form. His flashlight and gun were pointed in front of him as he swept into the forest with Jack, Dani’s German shepherd, leading the way.

I slowed, hesitating at the edge of the forest. Seeing Jason’s pistol raised scared the shit out of me. Did he find something? Who’s in there? What’s in there?

“D!” I cried out.

In an instant, a strong hand wrapped around my arm. I whipped my head around to face Jake. “What—”

“We have to be quiet, Zoe.” His voice was low and severe. He pointed into the woods, and I realized all I could hear was the sound of flapping wings and a hoot from an owl off in the distance. Jason wasn’t calling out for Dani; there were no voices.

I nodded, feeling stupid, but I still wanted to call for her. I needed her to know that we were nearby…that we would find her. Why is this happening to us? Why can’t we catch a goddamn break!

Turning back to the woods, I concentrated on controlling my breath and regaining some clarity. Why can’t I focus? Sanchez, Harper, Chris, and Carlos passed me, bouncing flashlight beams lighting their way into the dense forest. I vaguely noticed Biggs, Ben, and Ky following them, Biggs muttering curses under his breath. My head started to throb under the massive influx of foreign emotions. I shuttered myself against the onslaught and rushed into the woods, hardly feeling the scraggly branches poking and scratching me.

“What was she even doing out here?” I rasped. I stopped inside the tree line, wishing I had been levelheaded enough to grab a flashlight and a pair of boots like everyone else.

Jake stopped beside me, but Cooper trotted passed us, his nose skimming the ground for a scent. He locked on to a trail and began to follow it. I heard a barrage of whispers around me before everyone broke off into groups, but I focused on the dogs; they were following two different scent trails.

After what felt like an hour of following, searching, and waiting for Jack or Cooper to find some sign of Dani, both dogs’ trails converged at a narrow, jagged tree stump. Jack whined, and Cooper sniffed the pine needles around the base of the stump. The dogs had found something. Instinctively, my gut balled into a knot.

Ben, who was helping to keep his brother upright, began to say something. “I think—”

“Here,” Harper said, aiming his flashlight at the exposed roots of the stump. Crouching, he shifted a fist-sized stone and picked something up.

Chris stepped up behind him and peered over his shoulder. “Jason,” she said ominously, glancing at my brother.

He moved to her side, and hesitantly, I followed. I stopped almost instantly. Jason’s dread washed over me, a wave of nausea making my insides lurch, and I had to close my mouth and hold my breath to avoid vomiting. Every hair on my body stood on end at the thought of what they’d found. “What is it?” I croaked. Please don’t say a body part…

Stiffly, Jason squatted beside Harper, taking whatever Harper had found from his hand. A yellow piece of fabric?

“It’s just like the ones we saw back at Lewis-McChord,” Chris said quietly. Rising from his seated position next to Jason, Jack stretched out his neck to sniff the cloth and whined.

Chris glanced around at our confused faces and explained, “It’s an armband, or at least part of one. Some of the personnel were wearing these when they put our base on lock-down.” She shook her head. “We stole a few; it was the only way we could get off the base. The people wearing these”—she snatched the armband out of Jason’s hand and clenched it in her fist—“had something to do with the Virus.”

“I’ve seen those before too, on people from the Colony,” Jake said. He’d been trying to convince us that the supposed safe haven was dangerous since we first met up with him at Fort Knox. “It must’ve been them…”

An image of his sister’s dark hair and violet eyes flashed through my mind. He was remembering her. He was remembering the men who’d promised to help her, the men who had frightened her enough that she’d taken her own life before they could.

Everyone looked at Jake, including my dangerously quiet brother. “Why would they take Dani?” Jason asked as he rose and took a menacing step toward Jake. “How would they even know we’re here?”

I didn’t like Jason’s accusing tone, but Jake didn’t seem to notice. Never taking his eyes off the yellow armband, he answered, “I don’t know how they knew we were here, but if they wanted her bad enough to kidnap her…their resources are—were…” He paused. “It wouldn’t have been difficult for them to take her.” The images of his sister’s final breath played through his head…through mine. A gut-wrenching feeling of loss took root in the pit of my stomach.

“You seem to know a lot about them,” Jason probed, taking another step toward Jake. “Maybe you know more than you’re letting on. Maybe you—”

“You think I’d save Zoe’s life back at Fort Knox just to put her in danger again? You really are a piece of—” Jake inhaled and then emitted no further sounds, like he’d decided holding his breath for a while was the safer option. He was probably right.

He met Jason’s challenging stare a moment longer before turning his angry gaze on me. “I warned you not to come here.” His words stung with truth.

“Then how the fuck did they find us?” Jason’s voice was damning, his glare focused solely on Jake. I didn’t like it and felt a sudden desire to punch my brother in the face.

“How the hell should I know?” Jake snapped. “We’ve been here over a month and nothing. You get here and now they know where we are.”

Jason made a noise that was part exhale, part growl. “How exactly do you know so much about them?”

“Because they tried to take my sister, and now she’s dead,” Jake replied hotly.

The two men were standing less than two feet apart, Jason’s rage barely contained. He didn’t lose control often, but when he did…I shuddered, recalling the worst of the fights between him and our dad. Jason cracked his knuckles, an ominous sign I was all too familiar with, and I feared my brother wouldn’t be able to rein in his temper.

I stepped between them. “It’s not Jake’s fault, Jason, so back off!”

My brother ignored me, instead turning his aggression on Chris. “Stay the fuck out of my head,” he ordered, obviously feeling her cerebral fingers trying to manipulate his mental state into something more stable.

Jake and Jason weren’t the only ones on edge. Biggs was worrying about Sarah and their unborn baby, and Ky was in pain, practically folding under the weight of our collective panic. Ky’s Ability to feel volatility—to sense and internalize everyone’s destructive emotions—was physically debilitating him. He reached for the flask in his pocket without a second thought. Abandoning Jason, Chris ran to Ky’s side.

The weight and amount of negativity Ky was picking up on frightened me; it was as if he wasn’t just sensing our group, but all of the fear and hostility surrounding us. From Cañon City? From the Colony? Like Ky, I was pulled in all directions by the mounting unease and fear of everyone around us, as though I were being emotionally drawn and quartered. I wanted to scream.

The looming fog seemed to thicken in my brain, tangling with the barrage of emotions. What the hell’s going on? I searched my convoluted mind for something I could grasp on to—something other than anger and fear and resentment. I’d been so fucking naïve to think everything would be okay once we found each other. Keep it together, Zoe, Dani needs you.

Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of the forest—the sharp smell of pine needles, damp soil, and wood. The fog continued to spread its tendrils through my mind in a horrifyingly familiar way. I felt trapped in my own head, unable to escape the encroaching numbness. The only other time I’d felt such an overwhelming loss of mental control was when my mind had been invaded by Crazies in the hospital back at Fort Knox. What if we’re wrong? What if it isn’t the Colony?

Feeling a sudden jolt of panic, I opened my eyes. I could see the lichen coating the tree trunks in the dim moonlight, like spots on a leopard. But there were no snarls or howls or voices beyond our group. There were no fiendish sounds of Crazies cackling in the distance. There were no signs giving me cause to think anyone was there at all.

But someone took Dani.

A bolt of anger shot through me, jostling me from my statue-like state. I took a step toward my brother. “What the hell was she doing out here, Jason?” He’d always been big, bad, protective Jason—so why had he let Dani go outside, alone, in the middle of the night?

In the faint moonlight dappling his face, I could barely make out the hard set of his features. “Peeing,” he answered lamely.

“Peeing? Alone? In the woods?” My anger flared, fury consuming my disbelief and fear. “I can’t believe you, Jason! I just got her back, and now you—”

“Fuck you!” He pointed at me in warning, his eyes glinting silver in the darkness. “She was just peeing,” he muttered.

“I can’t believe someone was just standing here,” Biggs said and began pacing. “Were they just waiting for us this whole time? Sarah…the baby…” He looked up at Sanchez abruptly. “We need to get out of here,” he said evenly. “It’s not safe here anymore. We’ve—”

“Do what you want,” Jason growled. “I’m going after Dani.”

“You think you can just walk into the Colony and get her? We need a plan first,” Jake said, facing Chris and Sanchez. “We need—”

“Need to what? To wait for them to hurt her? To do worse?” Jason’s tone was scathing as, once again, he took a step closer to Jake.

“Calm down, Jason.” I placed myself between them again. “We need to come up with a plan first. I mean, what if it’s Crazies and has nothing to do with the—”

“It’s not Crazies,” Jake and Jason said at the same time. They exchanged an irritated glance.

I rolled my eyes. “If it is the Colony, they’ll outnumber us and—”

“Then you stay here and plan,” Jason said with a smirk. “I’ll go find Dani.”

“Get over yourself already!” I seethed. “You think I’m not worried about her? Like I haven’t been waiting to see Dani for months? Like I haven’t been worrying about her since all this bullshit started? Like suddenly I don’t care about her anymore because you’re in the picture? She’s my best friend, remember? Or did you forget that, since everything’s always about you?” My voice was riddled with bitterness and jealousy, and my words were laden with twenty-six years’ worth of resentment.

To my surprise, Jason remained silent.

Sanchez cleared her throat. “Look,” she said deliberately. “If we want to find your friend, we need to be rational. So grow the fuck up and stop arguing, and then we can come up with a plan that won’t get us all killed.”

“We can’t do much else in the dark,” Harper said, his voice breaking through the tension. “The sun’ll be up in an hour or so, then we can continue searching for signs of what happened.”

“I’m not finished looking for her,” Jason muttered and turned toward his tent.

“I wasn’t implying that any of us were finished looking for her,” Harper clarified, but Jason continued stalking away. The rest of us dispersed, some making their way back to camp, but Jake, Harper, and I stopped at the edge of the forest, watching…thinking.

“Look how close they were to us,” I said with a shaky breath. I gauged the distance between where we stood and the barn. Although far away, I could see the dim embers of the night’s fire and the outline of the hay bales and chairs surrounding it. I watched the dark figures of my companions as they moved around the camp. “We never even heard them.”

Suddenly, as if my skin had become animated, creeping over my bones and muscles, I shivered. The thought of never seeing Dani alive again after everything we’d been through—journeying across the country, surviving homicide attempts and Crazies—caused a rogue tear to roll down my cheek. Determination, Zoe, I told myself. I hurriedly wiped the tear away.

With my brother out of earshot, I turned to Harper. I recalled the fleeting look of unease that had flashed over his dark, handsome features when Dani had arrived the day before. Whatever he’d seen was startling enough to have made his green eyes flare with apprehension.

“You had a vision earlier…yesterday, when you were hugging Dani, didn’t you?” I knew I wasn’t going to like his reply the moment he closed his eyes in…regret?

Harper didn’t look at me when he spoke. “I saw her in darkness,” he said quietly. “I don’t know if she was sleeping or—”

“Unconscious,” I finished for him, refusing to hear him utter the word “dead.”

November 14, 2013

Map Reveal from INTO THE FIRE

In just 8 days, Into The Fire will be released! Here's a sneak peak at where events in the book will be taking place. The book includes two maps at the beginning, one drawn by Zoe, and one drawn by Dani. Seeing as Zoe's the character with the artistic past, it should come to no surprise to anyone that her map is far prettier than Dani's. :) We're only going to release Zoe's map, seeing as Dani's reveals a little too much about what's happening wherever the heck she is. Enjoy!

November 12, 2013

10 Days until INTO THE FIRE is released!

OMG! OMG! OMG!!! We're so excited to share the next part of Dani and Zoe's journey with you! :) As a "10 days till" bonus, we're releasing two short excerpts tonight, one from Zoe's POV, and one from Dani's.

Here's the Dani excerpt:
After several long, silent minutes, Gabe stood, strode over to the sink, and pulled a lighter out of a nearby drawer. He held the piece of paper over the sink, and with a flick of the lighter, set it aflame. 
“What are you doing?” I screeched, jumping up as I watched the paper shrivel into an ashy ball. 
Gabe dropped it before the tiny flames burned his fingers, and shook his head.

And, here's the Zoe excerpt (ooh-la-la!):
Everything about him was lust and desire, and the acuteness of what he was feeling devastated my composure, making me feel nothing but need—his need and mine. I needed his hands and lips on every inch of my body. I needed him to take me until I had nothing left to give. I could barely breathe…I didn’t want to breathe…I just wanted him.

Only 10 days until you'll be able to get the whole book, and only 3 days until we release the first chapter, which picks up Zoe's side of the story right where After The Ending left off. Squeeeeeeeeellll! :)

November 8, 2013

INTO THE FIRE Goodreads giveaway!

Happy Friday, Endingers! We've set up a giveaway over at Goodreads for 3 paperback copies of Into The Fire! The contest ends at midnight on the 21st, the night before the book's release. Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Into The Fire by Lindsey Fairleigh

Into The Fire

by Lindsey Fairleigh

Giveaway ends November 22, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

November 7, 2013

INTO THE FIRE countdown: 15 days...

...until the release of the sequel to After The Ending.

Today's countdown goody is another longer excerpt, this time from a Dani chapter. Enjoy! Only two weeks and a day to go!!!
Dr. Wesley was holding out her hand, her fingers crooked. “Come here, Danielle. I want to show you something.” She was standing in the shadowed doorway leading into my closet…at Grams’s house. Why is she at Grams’s house? Why am I at Grams’s house? And then it came to me: It’s a dream. 
The doctor turned and disappeared into the oppressive darkness, and tentatively, I followed. Like the small walk-in was actually a magical wardrobe into another world, I pushed through hanging sweaters and dresses—except instead of finding myself in a frozen, winter forest, I emerged into an enormous laboratory filled with a meticulously arranged sea of antique, metal-framed medical beds that stretched as far as the eye could see. It was as though an infirmary from the First World War had been transplanted into an infinitely expansive, modern laboratory. 
“Come,” Dr. Wesley said, walking away from me. 
“Come.” Her voice surrounded me, a whirlwind of sound pressed into the single word. 
She stopped by one of the beds. It was empty, with crisp, white sheets pulled tight over the mattress. “You must choose. We can only make two more Re-gens, but we have three recently deceased to choose from. You must choose.” 
“What are you talking about?” I asked, looking away from her and back down at the bed. It wasn’t empty anymore. A body—a person—lay under the covers, the top sheet a shroud hiding his or her identity. When confusion drove me to raise my eyes, I found that all but three of the beds had disappeared and the walls had closed in around us. 
I shook my head and backed away, but a wall sprouted up behind me, preventing my retreat. 
“Why do you want me to do this? You’re the one who creates them. You choose!” I didn’t want to see the face of whoever was under the makeshift shroud. 
My stomach lurched as Dr. Wesley pulled the sheet back, revealing the face of the nearest bed’s occupant. 
She looked serene, like she was merely sleeping, but I knew better. She was too pale, too still. 
No, no, no, no, no… I couldn’t tear my gaze away from her face. “Her, I choose her!” I whispered fiercely. 
“Are you so sure?”

November 5, 2013

INTO THE FIRE countdown: 17 days...

...until the release of the sequel to After The Ending!

For today's countdown snippet, we're sharing a Zoe excerpt that's a little bit longer than those we've shared previously (other than the prologue, of course!). :) 
Unsure what to expect, we held our weapons at the ready—Jake and I with our pistols, and Carlos with Chris’s shotgun—moving silently and swiftly toward what appeared to be the back of the house. 
The place looked like a junkyard. We passed a few rusted tractors and a mound of bowling balls that had been there so long weeds had grown up out of the finger holes of each ball. Old, splintered doors were piled up in what might have been a burn pile at one time, and a pale pink bathtub from the fifties sat inside an upside-down truck hood, broken in half. 
I began to feel uneasy as we approached the garden. Letting my mind find the offending sensations, I realized there was someone inside the stable. Someone…wrong. 
Without hesitating, I grabbed Jake’s arm and pointed to the dilapidated structure. “There’s someone in there,” I mouthed. My index finger drew a few invisible circles beside my ear to indicate it was probably a Crazy. I looked back at Carlos to make sure he understood, but he was gone. Shit.
That's it for today's countdown snippet. Don't forget that we've promised to share the first chapter early if The Ending Facebook page reaches 400 likes, and the second chapter if it reaches 450. :) Gook luck! We hope you awesome peeps can make it happen!

November 1, 2013

INTO THE FIRE Prologue and Character Introduction: Mase

It's officially three weeks until the release of Into The Fire!!!

As we've already announced (a while back), there's a third, supporting character POV included in Into The Fire in addition to Dani and Zoe. His name is Mase, and he's very different from our MCs, offering some interesting and unique insights to the world after The Ending. And for those of you who are worried Mase will steal page time from Dani and Zoe, have no fear, he only has the prologue and 3 chapters throughout the body of the book, and in all but the prologue, one of our MCs is present.

We'll be releasing the first chapter, which is from Zoe's perspective, closer to the release date (Nov. 22).

Alighty, Endingers...scroll down to read the entire prologue of Into The Fire!

***content warning: some profanity beyond this point***



“I’m just sayin’ the General freaks me the fuck out, Mase, and…” Carter stopped talking—for once—as he shifted the beam of his flashlight to shine down the next aisle. “D’you hear that?”

Carter could be dense, but if he thought he heard something, there was something to be heard. Thanks to the Virus, the guy had the ears of a dog.

Mase lifted his left arm and made a fist, and the other two members of his fireteam froze behind him. Ahead, Carter stood, head cocked to the side. As one, they listened. Mase barely caught it—whimpering. After giving Carter a curt nod, he signaled for all three men to follow him, raised his M4, and crept closer to the noise.

Patrolling the supply warehouses had been their duty for over a month, ever since the Virus had wiped out almost everyone, and they’d yet to find an intruder. General Herodson’s standing order was that only select personnel could enter the warehouses to guard, inspect, and distribute food and other supplies. Unless Mase was grossly mistaken, they were the only patrol on duty at Warehouse F until the shift change at midnight, which was still hours away.

It looked like they’d found their first intruder.

As they crept down the aisle between two towering metal shelving units stuffed with pallets of shrink-wrapped supplies—paper towels, toilet paper, plastic cups—they swept each side with the lights attached to their rifles. Halfway down the aisle, huddled on the cold cement floor, was the intruder. The girl was hugging her knees and hiding her face like she was trying to disappear. Mase scowled.

Slowly, the girl raised her head, and when Mase saw her dirt-smudged face, his breath hitched. It couldn’t be her…not in the Colony. Her long, dark hair was ratted and clumped, tear tracks trailed down her cheeks, and confusion filled her eyes. Mase knew they were hazel from memory, even if he couldn’t see their color in the darkness.

“Stand down,” Mase said to the other soldiers before turning his attention to the young woman. “Camille? What are you doing here? Are you hurt?” His voice was always deep, gravelly, but concern or maybe fear made it even harsher. Hesitantly, he took a step closer to her.

Camille flinched, becoming an even tighter ball of folded limbs and tangled hair on the dirty cement floor.

For the first time in his two years as a Ranger, Mase regretted spending so much time lifting weights. She was afraid of him. But he knew her. He had to help her.

Clearing his throat, he put on what he hoped was a comforting smile and took another step closer.

“We won’t hurt you,” he told the teenage girl as he knelt down in front of her. “I promise.” When he touched Camille’s arm, she flinched again. “I promise we won’t hurt you,” he repeated. Intruders were to be taken straight to headquarters—to General Herodson—but he couldn’t do that. They tended to disappear after that. Of course, if the bastard found out Mase had disobeyed his orders, Mase would disappear himself . . . but it was Camille.

When she finally peered up at him, Mase did his best to look less intimidating by hunching his shoulders, hanging his head, not scowling. She watched him carefully, blank curiosity filling her face.

“What are you doing here, Camille?”

She opened her mouth to speak, but no sound came out. She tried again. “Who—who is Camille?”

Surprised, Mase sat back on his heels and studied her. It is her, isn’t it? She was older—more a woman than a child, unlike the last time he’d seen her. Camille was a few years younger than him, so now she had to be at least seventeen. She still looked like a perfect little doll, though. There was no question in Mase’s mind that he was staring at the young woman he’d lived next door to nearly his entire life.

“You,” he said. “You’re Camille. And I’m Mase.” He remembered the day her parents brought her home from the hospital…the afternoon she fell off her bike and chipped her tooth on the sidewalk…the Valentine’s Day she gave him a card made out of pink and purple construction paper…the day he taught her how to coast on his skateboard without falling…the night she ran away crying after meeting one of his girlfriends. But if Camille could remember any of that, she was hiding it well. She just stared, not responding, and began to shiver.

Mase heard his men whispering and shuffling around behind him. He ignored them. “It’s okay, Camille,” he said, doing his best to soften his voice. “We’re friends. We were neighbors, remember? Back in Minneapolis? I used to look after you when your parents—”

The other men chuckled, Carter bursting into open laughter. Mase flipped them the bird over his shoulder. They only laughed harder.

“You…” Carter couldn’t stop laughing. “You…you used to babysit?”

Rising, Mase spun and pointed threateningly at Carter. “Shut the fuck up.” He glared at each of the men, warning clear in his eyes, until they quieted. “Nobody touches her. Nobody says a fucking word about this. Forget you ever saw her.”

Their amusement vanished, and they stared back at him with identical expressions—fear mixed with pity and regret. They knew what had to be done.

“Mase,” the nearest said. “We have to turn her in. The General’s standing orders are to—”

“I know the orders,” Mase snapped. “Fuck them. She’s not going anywhere near Herodson. Forget. You. Ever. Saw. Her.”

After a brief hesitation, all three men nodded.

Letting out a relieved breath, Mase turned back to Camille. She was watching him with eyes widened in interest, not fear. He knelt in front of her and explained, “It’s not safe for you here. You’re going to have to hide until I can get you registered as a Colonist.”

Surprising him, Camille reached out and touched the side of his face with her fingertips, frowning when he flinched. “Where am I?” she whispered.

Mase glanced back at his men, silently warning them to keep their mouths shut. If Camille didn’t have any memory of the Virus—of nearly everyone dying—he didn’t want to be the one to tell her. At least not yet. “You’re in the Colony. It used to be a military base. You’ll be safe here as soon as I get you registered.” He hesitated for a moment. “You have no idea how you got here?”

Quietly, Camille said, “No. I have no idea.” She studied him with eerily calm eyes.

A metallic bang stole Mase’s attention, and then the overhead lights flared to life. Someone else was in the warehouse. While the others stood nearby, rifles raised, Mase helped Camille hide between two pallets of paper towels. She was barely out of sight when the newcomers rounded the far end of the aisle. Mase’s stomach dropped when he saw him.

“Atwell! How is your patrol going this evening?” asked the man leading a dozen soldiers. Dressed in his usual officer finery, General Herodson strolled down the aisle toward Mase…toward Camille.

“Nothing unusual, Sir,” Mase reported, stepping away from Camille’s hiding place before the General was close enough to see her in the shadows.

General Herodson inspected Mase and his fireteam closely. “So it seems,” he said, giving Mase an instant feeling of holy-fucking-shit. Casually, the General glanced around, his gaze lingering near Camille’s hiding spot.

“How are the Ability transfers going?” Mase asked, hoping to distract him.

The General looked at him with cold, gray eyes.

Mase returned the man’s stare, refusing to look away. “Have there been any new developments? I know some of the men would like to get outfitted with regeneration or telekinesis.”

General Herodson bared his teeth in a smile. “Not yet, no. However, we have had an interesting breakthrough on another project. We’re calling them ‘Re-gens’—they’re reanimated corpses, more or less. They even retain their Abilities, though they’re altered somewhat from what they were during their first lives.” He paused, glancing up at the lights thoughtfully. “But the process wipes their minds completely clean, making them very easy to influence.” He rubbed his hands together briskly. “No need to deal with pesky memories or morals.”

Reanimated corpses. It took effort for Mase to keep his expression blank.

Abruptly, General Herodson said, “As you were,” and turned to leave.

Mase watched him walk away, reluctant to move. Why had the General told him about the Re-gens? Why had he come into the warehouse in the first place? Something wasn’t right.

As they neared the end of the aisle, General Herodson and his guards halted. “CL-one,” the General called out as he turned to face Mase again. “Come here, CL-one.”

Shocking the shit out of Mase, Camille wriggled out from her hiding spot and hurried to General Herodson’s side.

Mase clenched his jaw, realizing he’d just signed his own death warrant.

“CL-one is a particularly amazing Re-gen, don’t you agree, Atwell? We just finished her the other day.” General Herodson watched Mase like he was gauging every minute change in his expression. Mase kept his face hard and cold, like the General’s. “Take their weapons, my dear,” Herodson said to Camille.

Even at a distance, Mase could see the confusion on Camille’s face. “Why, Father?” she asked softly.

The General stiffened. “Because I told you to, my dear,” he said with strained affection. “These men must be arrested and put on trial. They broke the law. My law.”

“Oh,” Camille said, sounding sad, or maybe confused. “What will happen to them after the trial?”

It seemed to take a conscious effort for General Herodson to suppress his simmering anger. The man hated being questioned. “The other three will be banished from the Colony,” he said through gritted teeth. “Atwell will be executed and turned into a Re-gen.”

“Okay,” she said, smiling contentedly. She took a deep breath, then shut her eyes. Her mouth thinned to a flat line.

As Mase looked from her to General Herodson, hatred flooded his veins, quickly followed by adrenaline. His muscles vibrated with the unnatural strength that had increased steadily over the past two years. He was the strongest, fastest person he’d ever heard of—not that it would help him now. The General knew about his Ability. Mase figured that was probably the only reason he wanted to bring him back as a Re-gen: to be used…owned. Mase ground his teeth together and tried to think of a way out of this clusterfuck.

Suddenly, his M4 tugged out of his hands and floated upward. He tried to yank it back down, but it continued to float higher. Moving quickly, he untangled his arm from the rifle’s strap before it forced him up onto his toes. From the sounds of his men cursing behind him, he knew they were being remotely disarmed as well. Mase watched as their weapons glided into the hands of the General’s guards. His attention was drawn to Camille, who was still concentrating. She was doing it.

She opened her eyes and left the General’s side, a coy smile curving her mouth. Mase watched her approach him, frozen in remorse at what he’d caused. His men wouldn’t be “tossed out of the Colony”—they would be executed, regardless of what the General had claimed.

It felt like minutes, but finally Camille reached Mase. She caught his gaze, a spark of sharp intelligence lighting eyes that had once been hazel but were now gray. Almost inaudibly, she whispered, “Do not be afraid, Mase. I will take care of you, just like you used to take care of me. And with my friends, we will take care of Father.”

Mase barely registered her robotic intonation. He couldn’t believe what was about to happen. Soon, he would die, only to be brought back as something else. As someone else.

The reanimated young woman stood on tiptoes and lightly touched her lips to Mase’s cheek. “My friends really do not like Father.”


Alright folks...that's it for the Prologue. You don't hear from Mase again until Chapter 13 of Into The Fire, and, wow, has a lot happened to Dani and Zoe by then! :)

Stay tuned for chapter one!

October 30, 2013

INTO THE FIRE countdown: 23 days...

...until the release of the sequel to After The Ending!

For today's countdown goody, we're sharing Into The Fire's table of contents. Here you go!
Prologue: Mase
Chapter 1: Zoe
Chapter 2: Zoe
Chapter 3: Dani
Chapter 4: Dani
Chapter 5: Zoe
Chapter 6: Dani
Chapter 7: Zoe
Chapter 8: Dani
Chapter 9: Zoe
Chapter 10: Dani
Chapter 11: Zoe
Chapter 12: Dani
Chapter 13: Mase
Chapter 14: Dani
Chapter 15: Zoe
Chapter 16: Dani
Chapter 17: Zoe
Chapter 18: Dani
Chapter 19: Dani
Chapter 20: Zoe
Chapter 21: Dani
Chapter 22: Zoe
Chapter 23: Dani
Chapter 24: Mase
Chapter 25: Dani
Chapter 26: Dani
Chapter 27: Zoe
Chapter 28: Dani
Chapter 29: Zoe
Chapter 30: Dani
Chapter 31: Zoe
Chapter 32: Dani
Chapter 33: Zoe
Chapter 34: Mase
Chapter 35: Dani
Chapter 36: Zoe
There are a couple of really excited elements that are new to the series in this book. First, there are maps! We'll be sharing them with you as we get closer to the release date (11/22), but we will tell you this now--there are two, one drawn by Zoe and one by Dani.

The second exciting element displayed in the TOC is the addition of Mase to The Ending series family. Mase has three chapters in the body of the book, along with the prologue. We'll do a little feature on his character/role in Into The Fire on November 1st...which just happens to be three weeks until the book's release date!

October 28, 2013

INTO THE FIRE countdown: 25 days...

...until the world finally finds out what the heck happened to Dani in the second book of The Ending series.

Today's countdown snippet is a few lines from inside Dani's head. Here you go...
It was mind-boggling that the moves leading to the destruction of mankind had been set in play so long ago, before I was even born. Had anyone known the consequences of their actions? Had the demolition of civilization been the goal even then? Or were the key players just looking to make a new, stronger breed of people?

Any hypotheses?

October 26, 2013

INTO THE FIRE is available for pre-order on Kobo!

Attention Kobo readers...27 days until the release of Into The Fire, and we are very pleased to announce that the book is available for pre-order on Kobo!

After The Ending is also available through Kobo's online bookstore...

...which is awesome for all of you Kobo peeps! 

Ahg! We can't believe Into The Fire is already pre-order-able! It means the release is so soon, and we're so, so, so excited to share the next installment of Dani and Zoe's post-apocalyptic (and romantic) adventures with you guys! Eeeeeek!

October 24, 2013

INTO THE FIRE Release Countdown: 29 days...

...until the release of the second book in The Ending series!

Here's another little Zoe excerpt:

“You had a vision earlier…yesterday, when you were hugging Dani, didn’t you?” I knew I wasn’t going to like his reply the moment he closed his eyes in…regret? 
Harper didn’t look at me when he spoke. “I saw her in darkness,” he said quietly. “I don’t know if she was sleeping or—” 
“Unconscious,” I finished for him, refusing to hear him utter the word “dead.”

October 21, 2013

INTO THE FIRE (The Ending, #2) Release Countdown: 31 days...

...until the release of the second book in The Ending series!

Into The Fire (The Ending, #2)

Here's today's countdown goody:
Evenly spaced lights shone from the ceiling with a bright, artificial glow. They hummed. It was annoying. For several months, I’d been without electricity of any kind. There had been no overhead lights in the middle of the night, no showers spraying deliciously hot water, no microwaves, and no washing machines. My people and I had reverted back to the basics and had grown accustomed to a simpler way of life. I couldn’t get over how loud the electricity was; it buzzed incessantly, threatening to drive me insane.
And yes, this is from a Dani chapter...

October 20, 2013

INTO THE FIRE (The Ending, #2) Release Countdown: 32 days...

...until the release of the second book in The Ending series!

Into The Fire (The Ending, #2)
To celebrate, here's another little snippet from the first chapter (Zoe):
“Look how close they were to us,” I said with a shaky breath. I gauged the distance between where we stood and the barn. Although far away, I could see the dim embers of the night’s fire and the outline of the hay bales and chairs surrounding it. I watched the dark figures of my companions as they moved around the camp. “We never even heard them.”
More to come tomorrow!

October 18, 2013

Into The Fire release countdown: 34 days and counting...

34 days...

Until Into The Fire's release on November 22, we'll be posting some sort of teaser from the book every day!!! Here's today's goody from the first chapter of Into The Fire:

“Then you stay here and plan,” Jason said with a smirk. “I’ll go find Dani.”

“Get over yourself already!” I seethed. “You think I’m not worried about her? Like I haven’t been waiting to see Dani for months? Like I haven’t been worrying about her since all this bullshit started? Like suddenly I don’t care about her anymore because you’re in the picture? She’s my best friend, remember? Or did you forget that, since everything’s always about you?” My voice was riddled with bitterness and jealousy, and my words were laden with twenty-six years’ worth of resentment.

To my surprise, Jason remained silent.

October 15, 2013

COVER REDESIGN: After The Ending gets a makeover

We have two wonderful announcements to make...first, After The Ending has a shiny new cover! What do you think?

And second, and just as exciting...After The Ending is spreading. The ebook version is no longer restricted to kindle readers. It's still available on Amazon, but now it can also be purchased from Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords! Excitement! 

October 6, 2013

COVER REVEAL: Into The Fire (The Ending, #2), sequel to After The Ending

The Virus changed them, but that was only the beginning…
…all that remains is hope.

In the wake of destruction left behind by the Virus, it took Dani and Zoe months to find each other. But their reunion was short-lived. Dani has been taken, and though little distance separates them, they might as well be worlds apart.

From the moment she hears Dani’s scream, Zoe’s only goal is to save her best friend. She and her companions scramble to come up with a rescue plan, but when a ghost from Jake’s past reappears, lines are blurred, decisions become harder, and secrets are revealed…and some secrets are best left buried. To keep heartache and fear from consuming her, Zoe must cling to her determination. She will see Dani again.

Dani awakens inside the final hold-out of civilization: the Colony. Remnants of the former world surround her—electricity, safety, social order—but all is not what it seems. As she faces her most manipulative adversary yet, she loses sight of who she is and who she can trust. Friends become enemies, enemies become allies, and allies will betray her. Dani will have to decide what she’s willing to do and whose lives she’s willing to risk if she is to have any chance of breaking free.

September 27, 2013

After The Ending EXTRA: Scene from Jason's perspective

This is the exclusive extra that featured in the July 2013 edition of THE ENDING NEWS. The scene corresponds with chapter 36 of After The Ending, which was originally told from the perspective of our favorite feisty redhead. What follows is Jason's version of what happened when Dani found him taking out his pent up aggression on a copse of cypress trees. We see inside Jason's head and catch of glimpse of his true feelings for Dani, including some of the reasons why he has those feelings. Enjoy!


Jason swung the ax for the dozenth time, wishing his muscles burned more, ached more. He wrenched the ax’s blade free from the trunk of a cypress tree and swung again, harder this time. He wanted—no, craved—the pain of physical exertion. His goal was simple: eradicate all thought. Usually it was easy for him to enter his preferred state of mental and emotional numbness. Usually the walls went up easily. Usually she wasn’t around. But Dani had a knack for obliterating his carefully constructed walls.

Pausing his relentless attack on the tree, Jason propped the ax against the trunk and tugged off his T-shirt. He had shed his jacket before he’d even started. He was sweaty and breathing hard, but not nearly enough. More. He needed more. After quickly wiping his forehead with the back of his wrist, he picked up the ax and resumed his work. Swing. Thunk. Pull. Swing. Thunk. Pull. Again.

He couldn’t figure out why he was so twisted…so messed up. Why her? Why couldn’t he get her out of his head? Why had he done it—kissed her—when doing so would only hurt her…and him, he admitted reluctantly. He swung the ax again, appreciating the jarring motion as its blade lodged into the tree trunk. Dani didn’t need him screwing with her already screwed-up life—not only had she lost her boyfriend and her grandma, the only family she had left, she’d suffered through death threats that could easily have been laid at his feet, fought off an insane attacker, and was struggling to control some sort of telepathic ability. What she needed was for him to keep her safe, to make sure she didn’t do anything stupid like running away again. She needed him to help her survive this hell.

He’d been so good at keeping women at a distance, ever since the accident. His mom’s car accident. She’d been there one day, then gone the next. He’d never loved anyone so much, and had since refused to let himself ever feel that way again. He refused to make himself weak, vulnerable, because eventually whoever he loved would leave. He refused to feel that pain again. Instead, he swung the ax with more and more vehemence, attempting to push Dani out of his thoughts…attempting to forget the taste of her, the feel of her pressed against him…

“What are you doing, Jason?”

He paused mid-swing. It was her. Dani. Of course it was her. She was behind him, but he didn’t look over his shoulder at her. Couldn’t. She’d asked him what he was doing. Whatwas he doing? Trying to banish her from his mind? Trying to abolish the need to take her into his arms and never let her go? “Chopping firewood,” he said before swinging the ax again. And again.

It was impossible for him to not think about her when she was standing right there. Watching him. He couldn’t help but wonder if she liked what she saw. Most women did. But she’d been different since…everything. She’d become withdrawn and somber, almost fragile. Which was exactly why he needed to keep his distance. He was really good at hurting women—not physically and not on purpose—and they tended to despise him when they realized how little he would allow himself to care. But the problem with Dani was that he already cared. He’d known her since she was a little girl, had looked out for her even if she didn’t know it, but now she was a grown woman. The only woman, according to his heart.

“This is kind of far from the house,” she said behind him. From the sound of her voice, she was moving.

Again, Jason paused. “Yep.” He raised the ax to swing again.

As Dani came into his peripheral vision, he was careful to alter the angle of his swing so wood chips and splinters wouldn’t hit her. He was also careful not to look at her. Maybe if he brushed her off, she’d leave him alone to his exhaustive task. But he could tell how closely she was watching him, even though he wasn’t looking at her.

“How will you get it all back to the ranch?” she asked. Her hands were in her coat pockets, and her shoulders were hunched. She was cold.

He fought the urge to cease his chopping and to wrap his arms around her. “I’ll carry it.”

“It’ll take a long time…lots of trips,” she said.

She wanted something. She was avoiding saying something. She probably wanted to yell at him for the abusive kiss he’d forced on her back in the stable. It would be better for them both if she just went away, let him deal with his emotions until they were once again buried and manageable. “Yep,” he said, keeping his face blank of everything except determination. He swung again. “That’s the point.”

With a huge, adorable sigh—she reminded him of an exhausted kitten—Dani said, “We need to talk.”

“Can’t. Busy.” He hated his dismissive tone.

“Stop being such an ass!” Dani snapped in his mind.

He loathed himself for causing such a reaction from her. The corner of his mouth turned up, giving him the ghost of a bitter smile. “But I’m so good at it.”

“This is important…and difficult enough without you flinging that thing around!” she practically yelled. When he didn’t respond, she stomped her foot and shouted, “Dammit, Jason!” And then she started crying.

If there was one thing Jason couldn’t just brush aside, it was Dani’s tears. And these were tears he’d caused. “Shit,” he muttered, lowering the ax so it rested on the ground near his foot. He looked at her, his eyes wide in horror at what he’d done. He’d hurt her, just like he’d know he would. “Don’t do that…I didn’t mean to…I shouldn’t have done what I did back there.”

“What?” she asked, hanging her head and crying harder.

Reluctantly, Jason approached her. “With Cam and everything…and my sister…I shouldn’t have—”

“Oh shut up!” she shrieked. “This isn’t about that!”

That stumped him. He dropped the ax. “It’s not? Then what?”

Seeing the turmoil so evident on her face, he couldn’t resist going to her, comforting her. He raised his hands to her pale, cold cheeks and tilted her face upward so he could see her eyes. He always felt more alive when he was looking into their emerald depths. At the moment they were bottomless pits of sorrow. All he wanted to do was fix whatever was hurting her. He felt a desperate need to take away her pain. “What is it?”

Dani closed her eyes and spoke in his head. “I…know what happened to your dad.”

In an instant, Jason felt like all the oxygen had disappeared from the air.

Opening her eyes, Dani said, “He’s dead.”

At first, Jason couldn’t understand the meaning behind her words. It unfurled, slowly, and he felt like he was choking. “How do you know?” he rasped.

“Grams left a note for me before she…died.”

He heard so much sadness in her voice that it almost broke through his own torrent of despair—an infuriating mixture of hatred, rage, and regret. His dad was dead. His dad, who he’d been fixing things with, was dead. His dad, who no longer hated Jason for his life decisions, was dead.

“She found your dad sitting near the ocean. He was already gone,” Dani said silently.

“Oh…I…He…We…,” Jason stammered. He suddenly couldn’t stand himself. He should’ve made better time, bypassed all those stops along the way to get to Bodega Bay—to his dad—faster. If he’d arrived sooner, he could have helped his dad, nursed him back to health like he’d done with the tiny woman in front of him. Like she had wanted to do. His dad was dead. He couldn’t help but think it was his fault.

Unable to bear Dani’s pitying eyes on him any longer, Jason turned away, picked up the ax, and threw it as hard as he could. A wordless roar burst out of him from somewhere deep inside, and he watched as the ax crashed against one of the cypress trees.

A gentle hand touched his shoulder, and he spun, bursting with hatred for himself. He fully expected to see his emotions reflected on Dani’s face. After all, her grandma was dead as well, and she likely blamed him. If he’d only moved south faster…

But all he saw in Dani’s eyes was empathy. She grieved, but she didn’t blame him. She understood him. As Jason’s rage dissipated, a single tear escaped from his eye and glided down the left side of his face. She understood him. Only she understood him.

Jason fell to his knees before her, wrapping his arms around her hips. He held her as tightly as he could without hurting her and pressed his face into her down jacket. He no longer cared about his past…no longer cared about the danger of letting himself have real feelings for someone. She would be his.

With her safe in his arms, Jason allowed himself to feel his sorrow over losing his dad. He sank into it, waded through it, embraced it. “I’d hoped…I’d thought maybe, just maybe…but it was stupid. Hope is for fools.”

With surprising firmness, Dani gripped the sides of his head and made him look up at her. He’d never seen this fierce side of her—not even when she’d ambushed him on the lawn back in Gold Hill—but he liked it.

“No Jason,” she whispered. She continued silently, “Losing hope…that’s for fools. What do you think happened to all those people who survived the virus and then killed themselves? They lost hope. They’re the fools. But us…we have wants and desires and people we believe in. We have hope, and when we lose it, we might as well lie down and die.”

Jason stared up at her, thinking she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. He studied her pale, slightly freckled face with its delicate features—her perfect little nose, brilliant green eyes, rosebud mouth, and fiery red hair. He drank in the sight of her, memorizing every detail. It was time; he was ready. He had to have her, and if she wasn’t ready, well, he’d just have to convince her. He smirked. He could be really convincing.

As Jason loosened his hold, moving his hands to Dani’s slender hips, he felt her shiver. At first, he thought it was because things were going well—because she was willing and ready—but then she started swaying from side to side.

“Dani?” When she didn’t respond right away, Jason repeated, “Dani, what’s wrong?” He watched confusion cloud her face, watched her eyelids droop.

“My Ability…used to much…” Her voice was barely audible.

Jason hooked an arm behind her knees as she went limp. He stood, cradling her against his torso and having no idea what was wrong with her. He didn’t think he’d ever been more scared, and he’d experienced a lot of scary shit. Was she just fainting? Or was it something more? What the hell was he supposed to do?

“Cold,” she whispered. “It’s dark.”

With a quick glance up at the overcast sky, Jason muttered, “It’s the middle of the day.” He started walking back toward the ranch. If she was cold, he’d find a way to warm her up. He was fairly certain Chris had mentioned that the water heater at the ranch house still worked.

“So cold…tired,” Dani mumbled. Her head lolled back.

“No Dani. Shit! Stay with me,” Jason urged desperately. It was difficult for him to keep his voice steady; he felt so much rage, he wanted to scream. This was what happened to him—what always happened and always would happen. If he let himself care about someone, that person would be taken away. Not her. “I need you to wrap your arms around my neck. Can you do that?”

“I think…maybe…,” Dani said weakly.

“Good,” he said, feeling her comply. “Now hold on.” Tightening his grip on her trembling body, he broke into a run. He would not lose her, too.


To have early access to the next After The Ending extra, make sure you sign up to receive THE ENDING NEWS directly in your email inbox. The next issue goes out this Sunday (9/29) and includes a scene from Jake's POV.

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September 25, 2013

Don't Forget to Sign Up for THE ENDING NEWS!

The September issue of THE ENDING NEWS is going out this Sunday (9/29), so be sure to sign up for the email list to receive your copy. This edition includes:

  • an update on the next books in the series 
  • exclusive, subscribers-only early access to a brand new alternate POV scene from After The Ending...this time from Jake's perspective. 
  • an inside peek at the weird and wacky words used by LF and LP 
  • and more!!! 

And just in case you missed the last edition (July 2013) of THE ENDING NEWS, we'll be adding it to the website ( as well as posting its feature piece, a Jason POV scene, here on the blog. Squeeeee!

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September 17, 2013

Book Review: Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Reviewer: Lindsey Fairleigh

Title: Born of Night (formerly "Born of the Night")
Series: The League (book 1)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Indie or Traditional: Traditional (St. Martin)
Genre(s): Romance, Science Fiction, Space, Aliens
Main Character(s): Kiara Zamir, Nykyrian Quiakides/Nemesis
Rating: 4/5 stars

Sherrilyn Kenyon's website

In the Ichidian Universe, The League and their ruthless assassins rule all. Expertly trained and highly valued, the League Assassins are the backbone of the government. But not even the League is immune to corruption . . .

Command Assassin Nykyrian Quikiades once turned his back on the League—and has been hunted by them ever since. Though many have tried, none can kill him or stop him from completing his current mission: to protect Kiara Zamir, a woman whose father’s political alliance has made her a target.

As her world becomes even deadlier, Kiara must entrust her life to the same kind of beast who once killed her mother and left her for dead. Old enemies and new threaten them both and the only way they can survive is to overcome their suspicions and learn to trust in the very ones who threaten them the most: each other.

I liked Born of Night quite a bit, though there were a few negatives that kept it from being a five-star book for me. This is my third Sherrilyn Kenyon book, preceded on my virtual shelf by Fantasy Lover and Night Pleasures of the Dark-Hunter series, and I have to admit it's my favorite of her books so far. Though each is engaging and nicely steamy, all three romances left me with the questions: Why do the h/H love each other, and how did that happen so quickly? That being said, BoN is the least guilty of this, and I have to admit to thoroughly enjoying Kenyon's writing style. Okay, let's get down to some details...

WARNING: Spoilers may lie ahead!

  • The world building. Period. It was so fan-freaking-tastic I don't really know what to say. The way I see it, there are two options for introducing readers to a fictional (especially a science fictional or fantastical) world: (1) Let the reader discover the world with the MC(s), or (2) describe it so dang well that even though it's completely different from the world we're currently living in, it's easy to see--it's believable. BoN falls into the latter category, with plenty of alien races and planets and crazily spelled names, but despite those complexities, my mind remained unboggled thanks to the skill with which the world was crafted. 
  • The characters, especially Nykyrian and Kiara. Nyk was the quintessential tortured hero with a very troubled, often gray past, and Kiara, despite being a super wealthy and adored princess/dancer, had about as kind of a heart as a person can have. Her kindness is essentially the balm that soothes Nyk's many devastating emotional wounds, and that makes her character eternally lovable in my opinion.
  • There was an amazing "Oh shit! No she didn't!" moment reminiscent of one from KMM's Fever series, though the succeeding anticipatory "How the hell is Kenyon going to fix this" moment didn't last nearly as long. It was very well done. I shall say no more.
  • The Lorinas. Who doesn't love a temperamental cat-like alien creature that is utterly devoted to its humanoid owner?
  • The super steamy but not gratuitous sex scenes. For not having much experience, Nyk sure seems to know what he's doing!
  • By the end of the book, I was really rooting for Nyk and Kiara to find a way to be together. 

  • The "Oops! I'm pregnant!" phenomenon strikes again. This cross-genre trend is driving me bonkers. Our MC, Kiara, who just happens to be the princess of an entire freaking planet in the future, affording her all the education and social grace that customarily come with such a position, is oblivious to the basic facts of life. Yes, sweetie, when a man and a woman have sex--repeatedly--without using any kind of protection (or even considering it, either in prep or in regret post-coitus), it is quite common for said man to end up impregnating said woman. 
  • Syn's mood swings. First, he thinks Kiara is great, then he hates her with a fiery passion and isn't afraid to show her and Nyk evidence of his hatred at any possible moment, and then...viola! He marches back on page and is the most compassionate, kind, supportive friend to Kiara. I suppose it is possible that I missed something and this abrupt change from "I hate you and hope the assassins succeed in killing you" to "I'll be here for you, whatever you need" is actually explained...
  • Kiara's dad is such an uber-douche. Really? Really? Was it absolutely necessary to order Nyk's immediate execution after he saved your daughter's life about a thousand times and returned her safely to you? Really? Fine, whatever, but would an apology be so difficult? Maybe just a teeny weeny one?

So, despite the negatives listed, this book had strong enough positives and was just so dang enjoyable that it earned four out of five stars from me. I liked it, a lot, and I think it's safe to say I'll be reading Born of Fire, the next book in the series. I would recommend Born of Night to anyone who loves a sexy romance with a reality-bending twist. Fans of PNR would probably find this a good gateway book into the SFR genre.

4/5 stars