Apocalipstick Excerpt and GC Giveaway

Excerpt

REMNANTS OF TOPPLED CASH REGISTERS, broken carts, card‐ board boxes, and plastic bags littered the floor. 

“Paper or plastic,” Quentin kicked a white bag. It flew across the room like a specter. 

Brazen vermin squealed and scurried in front of Jenna’s feet. Most of the shelves were not only empty but badly deteriorated. Still, Emma and Jackie were able to gather a few cans that had hidden in dark corners or under filth. 

She stepped over a long-dried puddle. It was hard and black. 

“Clean up in isle four.” Quentin’s voice rang out behind her. They wandered through the maze of aisles—skirting empty. molding containers, broken shelving, and avoiding the darkest of places. A noise caught her attention and that of the group, signaling for everyone to stop. Jackie motioned for Jenna and Quentin to fan out. Quentin gave her a thumbs-up before he prowled ahead. A broken sign dangled. The words cereal and bread still attached by thin chains. 

Quentin pulled out a wallet and handed Billy a one-hundred-dollar bill. “Go crazy. Buy whatever you need.” 

“Gee, thanks.” Billy took the money, but a moment later let it slip through his fingers. It sailed to the floor, landing gently. 

They could be dead soon. Why had she never tried to get to know Quentin?

Everyone loved him and his off-beat sense of humor. Something she didn’t understand and shied away from. He’d been part of the group for more than two months. One of the last human survivors she and the rest of them had run across. It was their first scavenging party together. 

Always friendly since day one. 

Did his antics make her feel protected? She couldn’t remember how that worked. 

Why had she remained aloof? 

“Attention shoppers.” His hands cupped his mouth, so the words echoed in the emptiness. “Today’s specials include dented cans of long-expired veggies. Don’t forget those condiments. A bottle of ketchup can spice up any type of zombie brains.” 

“We don’t eat zombie brains,” Jenna blurted. 

He smiled at her. “I know.” 

Exactly the reason staying quiet is best. 

She studied him. He stood at least five inches taller than Jenna, and when he turned back, hoisted his bat, and winked at her, the tight, long-sleeved T-shirt highlighted muscled arms. Tousled brown hair fell into his blue eyes. She’d seen it all before, but it was as if today she took it in and etched his features in her mind.

He waved her forward and she joined him. “The town’s been quiet since you and Caleb vanquished the last batch of Streakers.” Mice, frightened of his voice, surged forward, leaping over Quentin’s steel-toed boots. “Free of the undead types and humans.”

 Jenna jumped back before huffing out a breath. “Yup.” 

So much for practicing those social skills. 

“Looters cleaned this place out long ago.” He ran a long, straight index finger along a shelf, picking up a layer of dust mixed with animal hair. “Nothing’s here but the stench.” 

“And the rodents.” Jenna pointed to the boots the vermin had just run over.

“Those too.” He held her gaze. 

“We should have searched houses. You know how people stockpiled at the end.” 

“Staking out each house, ensuring there are no Streakers, and then searching takes so much longer. Grocery stores are a one and done deal.” 

“Does it make sense to split up?” Emma peeked around a corner. 

“It will make the search go faster. I doubt we’ll find much in here.” Jackie smoothed a lock of hair behind an ear. 

“Not too far apart.” Emma headed away from the group and Jenna. “We can see each other from the ends of the rows. Let’s stay in sight when possible.” “Come on.” 

Emma grabbed Billy and followed Jackie. “You two take the rows at the other end of the store. We can meet in the middle. Yell if you need us.” 

Quentin bumped shoulders with Jenna. “Partner.” 

She ignored him. He repeated the contact. This time more forcefully. 

“Stop.” The growl emerged from deep in her throat. She strode away until she found an interesting store aisle and then meandered through it; Quentin followed a few steps behind. His breath hit the back of her neck and she stopped short. “Do I need to yell over to Jackie for a rescue, or are you going to behave? I like my personal space.” 

What does he mean by all the close contact

Quentin didn’t take the prior hint and started a drumbeat on the back of her jacket. 

“Stop,” she protested. 

“What are you going to do about it?” 

“Are you ten years old?” Posture rigid, exasperation leaked out. “We’re on a mission here.” 

“I’m old enough.” Quentin’s blue eyes twinkled. 

“Good to know you’re so seasoned and battle ready.” 

“Look at these arms.” Muscles bulged under his shirt. “Do they look like the arms of a pre-teen? I’m ready for battle… and other things.” 

“All I see are the lovely and appealing stains on your shirt.” She did a double take. “Actually, I recant my statement.” 

His smile was wicked. “I knew you would.” 

“They look like the arms of a small child. Someone needs to be hitting the gym a little more often.” 

“Ouch.” He shoved her. 

Catching her off guard, she stumbled. He reached out and drew her in. “Sorry.” His whispered word tickled her ear. 

He didn’t let her go and she stood cocooned in his warmth. The heat of his body, close and warm, was confusing. It’s been such a long time since physical closeness with anyone was normal. 

“There’s a pharmacy at the end of the next row we should check out.” She tried to break the spell of the moment. 

“Really?” He didn’t take the hint and relinquish her. “There’s a lot going on right here I want to examine.” 

“I take it back.” She wiggled out of Quentin’s grasp, then punched his arm. 

“What?” His arms went limp at his side. 

“You’re acting like a toddler.” She inched closer to the pharmacy, placing more distance between Quentin, the confusing emotions, and herself. 

“Everyone okay?” Emma’s voice echoed from the next row. 

“We’re good. At least Quentin is good. I’m suffering through his antics.” Jenna wasn’t sure what was going on or why, and she didn’t want to begin to address the sensations careening through her. 

“Try your best not to judge him too harshly.” Muffled laughter filtered through the ramshackle shelving. 

“I’m trying my darndest.” To be over there with the rest of them. Why am I stuck in a teen dating movie? She chalked her bewilderment and awkwardness up to the recent near-death experience with Streakers and nightmares. After some quality sleep, everything would be fine and dandy. “Come on.” Jenna tugged the arm of his T-shirt. He remained planted like a tree. “We have a job to do and not a lot of time to do it.” Jenna edged back. “Let’s get moving.” 

He groaned but followed, kicking at the discarded face masks littering the floor, some flaked with dried blood. She checked the nook of a shelf on the way to the pharmacy. Vermin squeaked, scurried, then scattered.

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Couple’s Court: Jenna and Caleb Style

A hush falls over the courtroom. Spectators stare. A dark-haired woman holds a baseball bat covered in blood and bits of gore. She faces off against a tall, pale man. An ax rests at the base of the table he stands behind.

“It’s about the bloodlust thing.” Jenna declares from her side of the room. Her ponytail whips as she turns her head to face Caleb. “I get it. You’re a New Racer and can’t really resist, but seriously. I love you and all, but we have to focus on my needs too.”

“I control the urge.” Caleb’s eyes spiral into dark red swirls of blood. “I hunt to find snacks that keep me satiated. Don’t forget you freely offered your wrist after I saved you from those crazy New Racers who wanted to kill you.”

“That was different. You were dying. Now it’s all about your fun.”

“It’s not. That’s the reason we’re here. I had to go hunt that other night because nothing else was available.”

Jenna puts her hand over her heart. “I need my blood to stay in this body.”

“I just asked for a sip. With the zombie apocalypse in full swing, don’t I — I mean we — deserve a little fun?”

“Can’t we go kayaking or something? It’s not like the zombies are going to swim to the middle of the lake to meet us.”

Caleb’s lips twitch into a smile. “Never say never.”

“I want some romance.” Her hand thumps the table. “What about a nice dinner back at the inn now that we’re finally safe?”

Judge Baaart bangs his gavel. “This isn’t couples therapy. It’s court. Let’s get back to the issue at hand.”

Jenna faces the judge. “I demand to be reimbursed for the loss of my favorite weapon. Caleb borrowed it to go hunting and forgot it in the woods after he caught a deer and sucked it dry.”

“I said I’d get you another gun.” Ignoring Judge Baaart, Caleb faces Jenna. “ I love you.”

“Not enough to keep my favorite weapon safe.”

“I’d buy you a million weapons if it means you’re happy.”

“You and I both know money is worthless these days.”

“I was trying to be romantic. How about I scour some empty houses for the perfect engagement ring?”

“Ring?”

“Anything for you.”

Jenna’s smile lights her face. “I’m good with that.”

“Case dismissed.” The judge yells. “And just in time. Those damn zombies are breaking down the door again.”

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Apocalipstick Book Release Tour


Tagline: Life is bad after the apocalypse . . . the undead just made it worse. 

Book Description: 
“My dreams pre-pandemic included  a high school graduation party before attending college and marrying an attractive future lawyer. Instead, I’m praying for a long, sharp knife and a big gun to survive the undead.” —Jenna 


Jenna Martin lives in a world gone insane after a mysterious pandemic kills much of the population. Being alive after an apocalypse is bad, but it is made worse when the multitudes killed by the disease return ravenous for human flesh. Jenna, in serious trouble and pursued by undead, heads to the safest place available, a cemetery. 

Ready to give up, she finds the strength to persevere for one more night and meets a group of survivors willing to take her in. The group caravans to Virginia, where they plan to inhabit an isolated inn called High Point, but the undead are always close behind. Packs of zombies, known as Streakers, attack, leaving Jenna and the other survivors battling for their lives and racing toward safety. 


Once safely isolated at the inn, the group rebuilds society and Jenna begins a relationship with Caleb. Although he withstood the virus, he has not come out unscathed. He and some others now labeled the New Race have changed into what many would call zombie kin—vampires. Jenna falls hard and fast for Caleb, which causes more problems that she ever expected in the fledgling society. But there are worse things than vampires and zombies searching for her, and they arrive at the inn’s door ready for destruction.


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Excerpt 1

Glass shattered in the next room and footsteps crunched over the broken splinters. What had once been a tall, middle-aged man in a business suit, was now a bloated corpse in rags crusted over with blood and pus. The baked-by-the-sun Streaker wore a wrinkled face with the consistency of an old raisin. His right arm hung limply, dislodged from the socket, but both hands made continual grabbing motions.

 Lacking any grace, the creature staggered to the bedroom door and stopped. It sniffed, searching out its next meal. Blood poured from Jenna’s lip, where Tundra had hit her. She wiped it away, then retrieving the piece of wood. Sensing the movement, the Streaker turned its undead eyes on her. Some of its skull had been torn away, exposing the rot. It lumbered and stumbled over the chair in its path, giving Jenna desperate seconds to ready herself. Arm raised, eyes dead and unblinking, it came, dancing with death. It reached out to grab her.

Jenna ducked, then swung low and hard. “I must have gone brain dead. I can’t think of one good zombie joke right now.”

The creature staggered back, but then surged forward. Jenna rammed the edge of the board into its stomach.

“No comeback from the undead. There’s a no brainer.”

 It writhed against the constant pressure of the wood. A trail of intestines spurted out, staining the tattered remains of clothing. Jenna gagged at the stench.

“You, my good sir, are too gross for words.”

The undead groaned, plowing forward. Decaying brains leaking from its nostrils and eyes.

“That all you got for me?” She stepped back, hoisting the board, and swung. The head of the creature flew sideways, but it continued forward, emaciated fingers scratching. She drove the Streaker over to the left with a repeated, steady swing. The wood sank into a shallow layer of skin covering the undead’s overripe, bloated belly.

Upon Caleb’s return, he moved to Jenna’s side. She stepped back and leaned against the window. Caleb, hatchet in hand, forced the Streaker into a corner. A noise at the window had her spinning around. A hand shot through the glass and into the room to claw at Jenna’s face. Outside in the darkness, lifeless eyes found her. The undead rammed against the window, spraying glass. Jenna stepped away, and seconds later, a loud crack caused splintered wood and glass to fall to the floor along with pieces of the zombie’s fingers. With a catatonic stare, the Streaker pushed through the opening, tearing its flesh against the jagged edges of the frame.

Jenna flashed back to the cigarettes and matches she saw in the room. Fire was exactly what she needed now. She searched for the matchbook that had laid on the floor, but the room was in disarray thanks to the fight. Something bumped behind her, and panic rose inside her. Dropping to her belly, scanning the floor, her fingers reached under the bed.

 

About the Author:
Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct faculty at a local community college. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, two dogs, and horse. When not writing, she mountain bikes, hikes, and fosters dogs.
Website: https://lisaacerbo.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/apocalipstick_

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.acerbo.5

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laft100/

Amazon GC Give Away

It’s back and the zombies are bigger and badder. Jenna is more kiss-ass.

Apocalipstick is less than your morning coffee . $2.99 on Amazon Kindle. Plus the chance to win an Amazon gift card. https://amzn.to/3c1J4FK


Life is bad after the apocalypse . . . the undead just made it worse.
“My dreams pre-pandemic included a high school graduation party before attending college and marrying an attractive future lawyer. Instead, I’m praying for a long, sharp knife and a big gun to survive the undead.” —Jenna
Order today: https://amzn.to/3c1J4FK

Enter the give away: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251234183/