UNEDITED – More Vampire Post Apoc for you! (WARNING: Explicit Language)
Wallace entered the barracks floor, as they’d taken to calling the ninth floor of Enforcer HQ, where most of the cops, now Valerie’s soldiers, had been set up with rooms. Some had families and returned home each night, but those who didn’t were asked to stay here in case they were needed for defense.
He walked down the hallway and nodded to the cop on duty, seated behind a desk. The guard was the only one inside wearing his police cap, so you knew he was on duty. Although Valerie had taken to referring to them as her army, it was easier all around to still call them cops, or police officers, since that’s the uniform they all wore. He was still hopeful she wouldn’t change that—for him, the uniform was a grand tradition, and held certain levels of prestige.
“Any sign of her yet?” Wallace asked, glancing at the cop’s name to remind himself. “Buland?”
Buland just shook his head. “They said you’d be by to ask, and that if you did, to watch my back.”
“And why’s that?” Wallace asked with a frown. He didn’t consider himself harsh, or someone known for losing his temper.
“You never seem to like the answer, and now with your friends in power….”
“Hey, I just want to make sure that if anyone hears anything about Ella, I’m the first to know.” He folded his arms, very cognizant of the couple of heads that had poked out of doors. After a moment, he said, “So, nothing?”
“Nothing.” Buland glared. “As I said.”
“Right.” He was about to go and leave it at that, but then paused and turned back to the man. “You do realize I’m in charge here?”
“If you have to say it, maybe it’s not as true as you think.”
“The hell’s that supposed to mean?”
Buland raised an eyebrow, glancing behind him at the others who’d exited from their rooms and were standing by with curiosity. “We’ve been hearing things, right guys?”
The others shrugged while one shook his head but avoided Wallace’s gaze.
“Now might be a good time to tell me these things,” Wallace said.
“Come on, Wallace. You were a street cop, right?” Buland stood now, hand on his arc rod, as if Wallace might attack him for what he was saying. He had to admit, a part of him certainly wanted to. “A sergeant, right? And now you’re suddenly in charge here, because she says so?”
He felt his cheeks flushing with anger. Where the hell had this talk been a week ago when everything was falling apart around them, when Strake’s armies were invading, and when they were fighting the vampires and Nosferatu? They were cowering behind his leadership, that’s where.
“Who’s got a problem with it?” he asked.
“Top brass,” Buland said. “I’m not saying I’m with you or against you, but let’s be honest. We serve the uniform, which means we have no choice but to follow rank.”
“Given the cleanse that happened with the old Enforcers and the few corrupt cops that went with them, I’d say that only leaves Colonel Anderson.” He glanced back at the other cops, thinking hard about this.
“I’m with you, if it comes to it,” one of the cops said. Wallace recognized him as Karl Mason, one of the younger guys who’d started only a couple of weeks before everything fell apart with the arrival of Valerie, Sandra, and Diego.
Wallace nodded his thanks, but said, “Just make sure Major Donnoly is there beside him on that day, and we’ll sort this out.”
He gave Buland a judging glance before turning back and heading for the elevator. About halfway there, Karl caught up and said, “Sir.”
“No need for that,” Wallace said.
“Right.” The kid looked at him, nervously. “It’s just… there have been rumors about her. The others have been told to keep their mouths shut, but I thought you should know.”
Wallace stopped now, conscious of the others who were glancing their way but pretending not to. “What sort of rumors?”
“Threats mostly, of an underground movement that means to strike back at the city. Some are saying she plays a key role in the group.”
Wallace felt his heart clenching. He wanted to believe this wasn’t possible from her, but he’d been with her long enough to know that when she felt strongly about something, she went in with one-hundred percent.
It’s how they had ended up together in the first place—when she’d seen him and decided they would be together. He had tried to protest, given that his partner was her brother, but she wasn’t having it.
So they’d gotten together and soon he couldn’t imagine life without her. He was sneaking off behind her brother’s back so they could go on a date or sometimes more, and now it was like a part of him was simply missing.
To think that she was possibly involved in an underground movement, maybe even an attack against the city, was gut-wrenching.
“Have you seen Peterson?” he asked, figuring that, if anyone could talk to her, it’d be her own brother
The young cop shook his head.
“If you see him, send him my way,” Wallace said, and then thanked Karl before continuing to the elevator.
While it hurt that his lover had run off on him like this, even switched sides, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to handle it if his partner had done the same. The fact that nobody seemed to have seen him in a day or two made Wallace worry.
When the elevator doors opened, Colonel Anderson stepped out and gave him a look of disgust. His white hair was slicked back, his graying black mustache trimmed to perfection, and he stood a good foot taller than the next tallest man or woman on the force.
But none of that mattered to Wallace, because he wasn’t in the mood to take shit from anyone.
“You have something to say to me?” Wallace challenged.
“Soon enough,” the Colonel said.
Wallace glanced back to see Karl there among five others. Him and Karl against the rest, most likely. Not the best odds.
So he stepped into the elevator and turned to stare the Colonel directly in the eyes, letting him know his stance on the matter of leadership. When the elevator doors slid shut between them, Wallace breathed heavily through his nostrils and practically punched the number for Valerie’s office.
This was not going to be fun.
When the elevator let him out, he stepped into the wide, open floor that had Valerie’s desk at the far side along a wall of glass, and curved back behind him for a few offshoot rooms.
“Valerie?” he called out, but could tell by the silence that she wasn’t there.
He walked over to the walls of glass and stared out at the city. It looked so peaceful, in spite of the wall of gray clouds moving in like a tsunami about to crush them all. Anyone on patrol tonight was certainly not going to have fun walking around in that storm.
Several police pods were approaching the building and moved around to the side and out of his point of view, likely going to the floor that opened up as a pod bay. He turned to watch the last of them disappear from sight, then noticed the light on the elevator ding on.
A shot of panic went through him as he considered the possibility of the Colonel making his move like this, with Valerie out. But when the elevator doors opened and it was just Cammie, he sighed with relief.
“I wondered if anyone would be up here looking for her,” Cammie said. “Come on, Valerie has called everyone together and is waiting in the conference room.”
“Finally got it cleaned up, did they?” he asked, remembering the way it had been shot to hell and covered in blood after the attempted meeting with the city’s faction leaders.
“Let’s hope so.” She smirked and added, “If not, you get the bloody chair. I can’t go staining my only set of nice clothes.”
He laughed, looking her up and down. “What is that, stretchy pants and a robe?”
She twirled around for him, showing off her loose pants that came to a close around her ankles and the robe that she’d draped over her shoulders and tied around her waist. “It’s the newest fashion, because I say so.” She stopped and adjusted the shoulder cloth. “That, and it’s super convenient for if I want to transform. Doesn’t rip, though it might fall off, depending on how strenuous my following activity is.”
“Nice,” he said, nodding. “Shall we continue our little fashion discussion, or do you think this Valerie thing is possibly more important?”
“Maybe I just lock you up here and say you changed sides like your girlfriend?”
“Fuck you.” He didn’t mean it, and cringed as soon as the words left his lips. “Sorry, I just—”
Cammie held up a hand, her eyes flashing anger, but then she breathed deep and said, “No, my mistake. Not something to joke about yet, clearly.”
He gave her a nod and walked over to the elevator with her. “Truce?”
“What, like no more crappy joking from me and you don’t talk down to me like I’m some piece of cat-turd you found on your shoe?”
He frowned, not sure how to respond to that, but she laughed and clapped him on the shoulder.
“You need to loosen up, my man.”
“You have no idea.” They stepped into the elevator together and he looked at her, completely serious and somber. “All kidding aside, do you have my back?”
“What?” She looked over and smiled, thinking this was the start of a joke apparently, but then saw he was serious and nodded. “You know I do.”
He pressed the elevator button and he said, “Good. It looks like former leadership among the police might make a move against me. I have a plan, but I need to know you and yours will be there in case it goes south.”
“You can count on us, big guy,” she said. “But if you say the big F-you to me ever again, you’ll be eating your own asshole, got that?”
A chuckle escaped his lips before he saw the wild look in her eyes. “Yes ma’am.”
FROM JUSTIN >>> Here it is! I posted this on the Facebook Group yesterday because my computer was formatting all stupid. Blah! But hey, that gives you a reason to follow the Facebook group, huh?
So book 3 is done and is off to editors, beta readers, etc., just waiting for it to go live! You might not get this in time, but if you haven’t bought book 2, I set up a giveaway for four copies (enter here), and you can get the audiobook of Book 1, narrated by Kate Rudd.
Why is book 3’s launch so exciting for me? Becuase it’s the big test. People bought book 1 because they love Michael and saw something cool. They bought book 2 because they either loved book 1, or were willing to give me a second chance. SOOOO I imagine the book 3 people are those that have decided to stick around. How many of you are out there? Please tell me more than one!!! I guess we’ll see 🙂
And to help out another author this week, let’s share Joe Jackson’s….
In the wake of the Apocalypse, veteran demonhunter Karian Vanador understands that the vigilance of her Order leaves little time for leisure. Even as one paragon of darkness is cast down, Kari knows it won’t be long before another rears its head.
For the Order, after all, the War never ends.
With demons threatening invasion once more, Kari soon finds herself lunging headfirst into danger again. It is the life she’s chosen, the only path she really knows. She fights with savage passion, defending her convictions despite the varied trials awaiting her there in the dark. Tests of friendship. The fires of love. The heat of battle. Even the limits of her own faith. Through these, though, Kari will seek the answer to a question that has ripped at her mind for eight long years:
“Why was I resurrected?”
Salvation’s Dawn is the opening of the Eve of Redemption series, for fans of fantasy in the vein of the Forgotten Realms works of Greenwood and Salvatore or the epic works of Tad Williams, Raymond E. Feist, or Terry Brooks.
Grab it here.