This has been an amazingly good year for the Keith Household, and we thank our maker copiously for his abundant blessings.
We actually managed to NOT have anyone die, have a stroke or heart attack, have major surgery, lose a home, lose a vehicle, or anything else in the Annual January Blegh Attack. That's the first time a major catastrophe has not stricken our family in January or February since 1985. I'm not exaggerating, folks. I won't go into the graphic details, but suffice to say this is turning out to be a pretty good year.
Becoming NADIA, my debut novel, has been selling well in paperback. And here's the awesome news:
This June, it will be joined in print by its sequel, Unalive. Is anyone else out there as geeked as I am? I think, as much as the fact that I can hold it in my hands, I'm overwhelmed by the positive response from my readers. I have people asking, "When is the sequel coming to paperback?" Here I am, three novels published in eBook format in international markets, a novella coming out this June as well, and I'm still stricken with perma-grin with every new contract, every new step forward in my writing career. I just can't help it.
Anyway, this week I want to share with you an excerpt from Unalive, for those who are still waiting for the paperback.
The cover is by Delilah K. Stephans. Editing was by Fiona Young-Brown and Greta Gunselman. Gotta give credit where credit is due, BTW. ;-)
Anyway, go ahead and check it out if you haven't already. I think you'll like it.
In the second installment of The NADIA Project, the potential stakes are raised even higher.
The lab where Nadia was built is no more. But when The Pinnacle strikes back at the
government agencies trying to crack its secrets, a horrible truth emerges: The evil cabal of
kingmakers is still building living weapons of mass destruction somewhere on the globe.
Jon Daniels and Nadia Velasquez must find the lab and stop it before a new wave of terror
erupts across the world. In order to succeed, though, they must get through The Pinnacle’s most
deadly weapon: Jenna Paine.
All who stand between evil and the innocent are two ancient warriors, a misfit genius, a
rogue FBI agent, and a living antimatter bomb named NADIA.
The limousine parked across the end of the boardwalk with its doors open. The driver, a
huge Samoan, stood to one side, his hands folded in front of him. Jenna didn’t recognize him;
she didn’t necessarily expect their usual driver on a moment’s notice, but something in the way
he just stood there… Jenna stepped forward, in front of Anna and Sofi. Something was wrong.
The car blocked the end of the boardwalk with no room to get around it. A quick scan of the
trees and the other bungalows in the direct area revealed no direct threats, but this whole scene
“Anna,” she said quietly, trying not to move her lips, “I’m too late; I’m sorry. Get ready to
drop the bags and follow me, okay?”
Anna’s face paled. Sofi stood, silent and blank.
Suddenly, Jenna heard the whisper of a stirring in the water underneath their bungalow.
Then another, and another. She dropped her burden and drew the SIG from its holster. “Run for
the car!” she shouted, and charged the driver, who was drawing his own weapon. She shot him in
center-mass before he could drop behind the limo. The strike of her bullet knocked off his own
aim, and his shot went wide. He went down in the dirt on the far side of the car.
Behind her, Jenna heard a cry of surprise from Anna, and turned to see a man in a wetsuit
advancing along the boardwalk from the bungalow with an SKS assault rifle. She blew his head
open with a shot that hit him between his eyes, and swung the SIG to fire again at a third attacker
who opened up from the cover of the bungalow. Anna cried out in pain as her arm spouted red.
Jenna’s shot missed the man and spanged off the corner of the building. He shrieked as splinters
sprayed into his eyes.
“I said run, dammit! Go!” Jenna screamed. Anna finally started forward. Sofi froze at the
sight of her mother’s blood pouring down her wounded arm. Jenna had to drop out of her combat
stance to grab the small girl and drag her down the boardwalk to the car.
A bullet snapped through the air next to her head and she fired one-handed and off-balance
at the last diver emerging from around the bungalow. The shot missed. He ducked back around
the corner. She threw Sofi into the back seat of the limousine. Anna made it to the car just before
Jenna slammed the door, securing them behind the bulletproof glass. She spun back around as
another bullet pinged off the armored window.
Jenna vaulted over the hood of the car and landed on top of the driver, who had managed to
crawl into a defilade behind the front of the car. Wounded the giant man was, but far from
disabled, even with a .45 round in his belly. He grabbed her ankle as she came down and she
sprawled clumsily onto the sand. The SIG dropped from her hand as she lost her balance.
She hit hard on one knee and he was on top of her in a flash, whipping open a butterfly knife
as he pinned her down by sheer weight. One of Jenna’s hands was pinned behind her back as she
landed, and the driver grabbed her free wrist as he brought the knife down at her chest.
Jenna rolled under him before he could complete the thrust. The blade stabbed down into the
sand. The hand behind her back came free as she rolled, and she thrust her thumb into his eye.
He rose up and dropped the knife with a cry. She wriggled free and tried to get to her feet, but a
huge, wildly-swung fist caught her between the shoulder blades. She flew through the air,
landing on her face in the sand. He was on her again before she could get her breath back. He
grabbed her and rolled her over. She saw his face, a mask of hate and rage, as he swung a fist at
Jenna brought up an arm and blocked the blow, redirecting it across her attacker’s body, and
she rolled again as he came down on top of her with all his weight. She carried the roll through
like a human ballbearing and threw him off her. She found herself suddenly free enough to get
up. Staggering back against the side of the limo, Jenna caught her breath as the driver fought his
way to his feet. Jenna scanned the area, finding the knife and her pistol lying in the sand a meter
from each other.
As she dove for the pistol, a burst of automatic fire erupted on the other side of the car.
Bullets ricocheted off the armored window as the last gunman emptied his magazine at Anna and
Sofi. Jenna grabbed the SIG, snap-rolled up, and popped off two shots over the top of the car.
The first round hit him in the face, the second ripped through his neck, and he collapsed in a gory
heap on the boardwalk. The distraction was enough. The huge Samoan freight-trained her from
the side and sent her flying again, knocking the gun loose.
This time when she hit, she had enough sideways momentum to roll up into a kneeling
position as he charged again. He had size and reach; Jenna had speed and training. She dodged
another ham-sized fist and closed inside his defenses before he could follow up. She punched
him twice in the groin as he reached down to grab her, and he grunted and dropped. As he came
down, her hand came up, driving his nasal bone into his brain. He hit the ground and lay
quivering as the sand around his head and chest blossomed red.
Jenna struggled to her feet. Pain wracked her body. She staggered to the limousine and
opened the back door. Anna’s face was pale, and she was barely conscious. Sofi bawled in terror
as she held her hands over the wound in Anna’s left upper arm. It didn’t do much good. Her
mother’s blood still ran freely down, soaking her blouse, covering Sofi’s tiny hands and the car
“Hang on, honey, let me find something,” Jenna panted. She found the driver’s butterfly
knife lying in the sand and cut a shirtsleeve from his body. She quickly fashioned a pressure
bandage and stuck the folded knife into the wrappings, winding it around twice to tighten the
bandage and put additional pressure on the wound. She used another strip of cloth to secure the
knife handle. She gently lay Anna down on the floor and put her feet up on the seat to treat for
shock. Then she checked on Sofi.
The little girl was covered in her mother’s blood, trembling uncontrollably as she cried. She
didn’t have any open wounds, but she also was going into shock. Jenna tried to take her out of
the back seat, but she couldn’t get Sofi to let go of her mother. So Jenna tried a different
approach. “Sofi, listen to me! Can you understand me, honey?” Sofi stopped crying and nodded,
but the fright in her expression remained. “Sofi, I need you to hold tight onto your mom, okay?
I’m going to get you to a hospital, and I need you to help Mommy stay awake, all right? Don’t
let her go to sleep. Do you understand me?” Once again, Sofi nodded.
Jenna picked up her SIG before she got into the driver’s seat and turned the key. God knew
what might be between them and the hospital.