Trace Monroe doesn't believe in luck. He never has. But when a fiery-headed cowgirl saunters through the saloon
doors, wielding shotguns and a know-how for killing the living dead, he believes he just may be the luckiest man
Trace wants to join Red's posse, but she prefers to work alone--less messy that way. In order to become her traveling
companion, Trace has to agree to her terms: no names, no questions, and if he gets bit, he can't beg for mercy when
she severs his brain stem.
He agrees, knowing only that Red is the sharpest shooter he's ever encountered. The fact she's stunning hasn't
escaped his attention either.
What he doesn't know, is that Red has a very good reason to be on top of her game. She not only has the answer for
how they can all outlive the plague taking over the wild, wild west, she IS the answer.
I hear voices. Tiny fictional people sit on my shoulders and whisper their stories in my ear. Instead of
medicating myself, I decided to pick up a pen, write down everything those voices tell me, and turn it
into a book. I’m not crazy. I’m an author. For the most part, I write contemporary Young Adult novels.
However, through a writing exercise that spiraled out of control, I found myself writing about zombies
terrorizing the Wild Wild West—and loving it. My zombies don’t sparkle, and they definitely don’t
cuddle. At least, I wouldn’t suggest it.
I live on the benches of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains with two lovely children, one teenager, and a
very patient husband. I graduated from Utah State University with a B.A. degree in English, not because
of my love for the written word, but because it was the only major that didn’t require math. I can’t spell,
and grammar is my arch nemesis. But they gave me the degree, and there are no take backs.
As a child, I never sucked on a pacifier; I chewed on a pencil. I’ve been writing that long. It has only
been the past few years that I’ve pursued it professionally, forged relationships with other like-minded
individuals, and determined to make a career out of it.
You can find me at my website, where I blog obsessively about my writing process and post updates on
my current works. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook, but be forewarned, I tweet and post more than a
Blog - www.angelascottauthor.com
Twitter - @whimsywriting
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AngelaScottWriter
Stalk me (I like it) at: Blog . Twitter . Facebook . Amazon . Zombie Book Trailer . Desert Rice Book Trailer
WANTED: Dead or Undead
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Prologue – The Night Knew No Difference
Elisabeth walked the path to the streambed with precise, careful steps. The moon proved enough light to go by as she navigated the familiar brush and rocks. She held a metal pail in one hand, and her father's pistol, pointed toward the ground, in the other.
At the end of the path, she placed the gun on a small boulder and knelt to dip the bucket into the stream. Frigid water trickled over her fingers as she clung to the handle, waiting for it to fill. She struggled to her feet on the muddy bank, weighed down by the heavy bucket, but she found her footing and stood in the slippery mess.
She stopped moving and the bucket slapped against her thigh, soaking her dress. Tortured sounds came from the direction of the cabin—screams and cries intertwined—and wrapped their frozen fingers around her.
She threw the bucket down, grabbed the gun, and ran toward the sound of her brothers' squeals. Sharp rocks tore at her bare feet as she leapt over fallen trunks, clutching the pistol in her white-knuckled grasp.
The deer carcass her father had hung in the barn could have brought a mountain lion or wolves to the premises, but most likely, the smoke from the chimney had attracted unwanted attention from the Natives in the area. Attacks were common. The Smiths on the other side of the hill had been burned out of their cabin just a few months before.
Elisabeth cleared the trees and scanned the grounds around her home. Nothing—no Natives, no animals—only the swirl of smoke that escaped the chimney and the yellow, flickering glow of firelight that illuminated the windows. Silence blanketed the cabin and surrounding woods, which frightened her more than the sound of her brothers' screams and cries. She stood, gun raised, panting heavily as her fingers trembled on the trigger.
"Ma?" She took a hesitant step forward. "Pa?"
She half expected her brothers to come running through the open door and tackle her about the waist, but they didn't. Instead, she heard the sound of a wooden chair being dragged across the floorboards. Furniture tumbled. Dishes crashed. A shadow crossed in front of the window.
Elisabeth cocked the gun and pointed it toward the sky, afraid of accidentally shooting her mother or brothers in a panic. She lifted her foot and placed it on the bottom step.
"You a'right?" She softly placed one foot in front of the other on the weather-beaten boards until she reached the landing. "Ma?"
The door stood open a crack, but not enough to see inside. As she stepped forward to push the door wide, a sticky wetness seeped between her toes. Blood oozed over the threshold onto the porch and Elisabeth stood squarely in the middle of it. She opened her mouth to scream, but clasped her free hand over it and allowed only whimpers to escape through the spaces between her fingers.
She plowed through the door and wielded the gun like the sharpshooter her father had trained her to be. He would have been proud to witness his daughter's steady hand wrapped around the Remington revolver, if he weren't looking down the barrel of it instead. His cloudy eyes stared up at her as he knelt over the dismembered, gutted body of her mother. No sound crossed over Elisabeth's lips, though her mind exploded with terror and her knees threatened to buckle.
She didn't doubt her pa's guilt for a second. Blood drenched him, dripping from his hands, face, and mouth. He threw his head back and grunted, displeased by the interruption. The inhuman sound forced her to take a step back. That man was not her pa. He was hardly a man at all. He reminded her of a wild animal in the forest, feasting on fallen prey. Her mother? Fallen prey?
"Pa?" The word choked her. She couldn't breathe. On crooked limbs, he worked his way to a crouching position, cocked his head to the side, and pinned his gaze on her. He stood and dragged himself forward—one step, then another.
"Pa, no!" Tears wet her cheeks. The man who had hugged his family just hours earlier, who swung each of the boys around until they fell laughing and dizzy on the ground, had vanished. He had called her li'l girl, even though she was no longer little. The hideous monster that slowly lugged itself toward her had replaced the man she knew and loved.
"Please, Pa, don't!"
He snapped his head from side to side and roared a guttural response. Her mother's blood fell from his tongue and lips, splattering the floor at his feet. He reached his arm forward, and Elisabeth didn't hesitate—she wound her finger around the trigger and pulled.
The bullet ripped through his shoulder and his arm fell limp at his side. If anything, the injury stunned him, but didn't alter his progression. He continued his slow, agonizing path toward her. She fired again. The bullet penetrated his right eye and went clear on through, lodging itself in the wall behind him. His knees bowed and he wobbled briefly before collapsing in a broken mess on the wooden floor.
She continued to hold the gun in her hands, but squeezed her eyes shut. This can't be happening. This can't be happening. Her shoulders shook as sobs ripped through her chest and heart. Now she turned to throw her head back and yell into the night, to release the pain and fear that threatened to destroy her.
The sound of whimpering from the loft caused her eyes to fly open. She'd forgotten about the boys.
"Peter! William!" She stepped over her father's broken body and refused to look at her mother's remains as she moved past. "It's okay," she called to them. They must be terrified, hiding in the loft above her. "It's okay now. Everything's gonna be a'right. Come on down."
She released a sob from her constricted throat upon hearing the sound of her brother's voice. "Peter!" She climbed up the bottom rungs of the ladder. "It's okay now. No one's gonna hurt you."
He poked his blond head over the edge of the loft and peered down at her. "I don't feel so good, Beth." Beads of sweat dotted his brow as he wrapped his arms around his stomach. "Pa bit me."
Elisabeth climbed the remaining rungs to reach her brother. He sat on his haunches, rocking in pain. He leaned to the side and retched dark blood onto the floor.
"It hurts!" He removed his arms from around his belly, exposing a gaping hole beneath his bloodied nightshirt.
She grabbed the closest thing she could find—his discarded jacket—and balled it up before pressing it into his abdomen. Why is this happening? It doesn't make sense.
"It's gonna be okay. It's gonna be fine." She looked around the loft, panicked. "Where's William?"
Peter shook his head and nodded toward the shadows. "Willie's sick, too."
She crawled on her hands and knees toward the huddled figure in the corner. "William, you okay? You hurt?" She held her hand out toward her frightened brother. "I know you're scared, but it's a'right now. It's a'right."
The ten-year-old boy lunged forward, leaving her mere seconds to pull her hand back to escape his snapping jaws. He wore the same crazed expression she'd seen on her pa's face.
She fell backwards and scooted away from him, but William sprang forward again and gripped her ankle. He opened his mouth, ready to clamp down, but she kicked at him with her other foot until he released his hold. Once free, she pushed past Peter and climbed part way down the ladder before jumping off and landing on the floor below.
"Peter!" she yelled up at him. "Jump down to me! Come on! Jump!" The sick little boy, still pressing the increasingly bloodied jacket to his stomach, launched himself over the side and Elisabeth caught him.
"Don't look!" she told him, and Peter pushed his face into her shoulder to avoid the gruesome scene of their parents' deaths.
She carried him out the door and ran toward the barn with Peter wrapped firmly around her torso. He dug his fingers into her shoulders, while his tiny body shook and grew hotter by the moment. His warm blood seeped through her dress. She didn't have much time. God, help me!she silently prayed. I can't do this on my own.
The town was ten miles away, and she would have to hitch up the wagon in order to get her brother to help safely—balancing him on a horse would be near impossible—but it would take too much precious time. Time she didn't have.
"It's okay, Peter. Just hang in there."
He let out a low, throaty hum and she quickened her pace. If she didn't hurry, she would lose him, too.
Elisabeth struggled to hold onto her brother while fumbling with the wooden latch that held the barn door closed. As she shifted his weight to her hip, his sharp baby teeth clamped down on her tender flesh and a searing pain engulfed her shoulder. He shook his head like a dog refusing to release its bone.
She cried out, begging him to stop. Agonizing pain radiated down the length of her arm and her fingers splayed to the point of near breaking. She grabbed the back of his head and tugged at his hair in an attempt to pull him off, but his strength rivaled that of a full grown man.
She spun around and slammed his body against the barn door, trying to knock him off with force. He clung to her with greater resolve and tightened his fingers around her upper arms. When she slammed her brother's body into the barn door for a second time, it splintered and flew open, but the boy seemed unaffected. She wound her left hand around Peter's twisted face, pushed her fingers into his eye sockets, and began to pry him off her. He screamed out briefly, but his vice-like jaws clamped onto her shoulder once more and she lost all feeling in her arm.
She stumbled into the barn searching for anything she could use to strike him. A burning pain flowed through her veins and stiffened her joints and muscles, shortening her steps. Her eyes began to blur and she blinked in an effort to restore her vision. Her mouth dried up, as though her body was reabsorbing itself, and her stomach growled and rolled.
Without warning, Peter's head snapped upright. He cried out as his body went rigid, and his grip on her arm slackened. He slipped from her body and sunk to the earth at her feet, crying as his arms and legs jutted out and retracted.
She couldn't see him clearly, but heard everything—his moans, his cries, the sound of him choking to death. She stumbled backward, clutching her useless arm to ease her own pain. When her brother lay still, Elisabeth fell to her knees and looked heavenward.
Crickets chirped in rhythm and an owl hooted its warning off in the distance. The night knew no difference.
Review of Wanted: Dead or Undead by Angela Scott
An Innovative Online Book Tours Blog Tour
I was astounded at the depth and breadth of this totally enjoyable and intriguing book. If you’re expecting your average Zombie-hunts-flesh story, look again: this is a Western like you’ve never seen it before. Deep, well-emphasised characters, unexpected plot twists, well-researched historical backgrounds, romantic tension and conflict, fatalities, danger, injury, danger, zombies, danger: it’s all here and more. I ended this book after reading it in one sitting, eager to read the sequel. Red, Trace, and Wen, as well as the children Rivers and Fisher, and the mongrel Lasso, wormed their way into my heart. There are human villains as well as zombies to jeer at, and plenty of three-dimensional secondary characters too.
Whether or not you’re a Zombie fancier, do try out this series. You’re gonna love it.