She has some of the coolest YA reads out there and I couldn't be more pleased to be a part of this awesome event with her. If you are here, then you obviously love YA as much as the rest of us, which means you are adventurous, imaginative, and ready for anything! Afterall, YA is not just for the "young" but for the young at heart. If I have said it once, I have said it 79 times... #YnotYA right?
Now, before I share with you the TOP SECRET, never-before-seen sneak peek from Shauna's upcoming release, AGE OF BLOOD, let's get to know a little bit about this amazing author and see if we can't figure out what makes her tick...
And now, the special sneak peek you've been waiting for...
AGE of BLOOD
"Hope is a dangerous thing..."
“They’re getting pretty loud,” he says, looking over his shoulder.
The voices that brought me out of my reverie are carrying over the hillside, and I realize they aren’t behind us. They’re off to the side, up the hill.
“Weird,” I say, cocking my head to listen better.
Those aren’t seeking voices—those are voices raised in panic. Blue boofs, his whole body practically vibrating as he stares toward the voices, his ears lifted to listen.
“What do you think?” Dylan asks.
“Oh shit,” I whisper.
My hands move faster than my mind, instinctively strapping my thigh holster into place in seconds, then I’m on my feet and running. Dylan is calling out behind me, but Blue is at my side, running ahead of me in another heartbeat. I pull my pistol out of the holster, my thumb finding the safety without me looking. My feet carve into the grass, propelling me faster and faster. With my other hand, I’m pulling my bandana up over my face, covering my mouth and nose. I’ve been inoculated, but I won’t take any chances.
My lungs burn as my breathing becomes shallow, but then I crest the top of the hill and see the source of the screaming. Two boys I’ve walked the perimeter with on plenty of shifts, Edgar and Jeff, are at the fence and screaming.
Edgar’s shoulder is to the fence as I pound toward them, my gun trained on the dark form behind the fence, too close to Edgar. Her rattling breath crawls up my spine, louder in my ears than the boys’ screaming. Her hood billows and collapses in the breeze, and I almost see her face, almost see her milky green eyes. Her fingers reach, knobby and bone thin, the skin sickly and plastic looking.
Edgar screams again, his eyes wide and full of tears. He rips his body away from the fence, stumbling over his own feet, and almost catches the barrel of his rifle on the ground. The fence rattles, reminding me how flimsy it is, how far apart the support poles are. When I look, the Pesta is gripping the chain link, her black nails almost piercing her hands as she clutches the fence.
A cloud of green gas fills the air in front of her face. The sound of her breath is a death rattle. It fills my ears and drowns out the boys’ screams. Blue is jumping and barking but keeping his distance, the noxious gas enough to keep him back.
Panic claws and crawls in my stomach, twisting and reaching. Edgar has dropped his weapon to grab his shirt, pulling it off his head and twisting in every direction to check his body. Jeff screams at him, but I can’t make out his words over the sound of the Pesta and Blue barking. Jeff still has his rifle in his hands, but it isn’t trained on the monster in front of us.
Distantly I think I hear Dylan’s voice, the sound of my name being called, but I don’t answer him. He’s still recovering. He shouldn’t be hiking up this stupid hill to see what these stupid boys are doing—or aren’t doing.
“Kill it!” I scream, my voice ripping from my throat. My voice rends the air, shutting the boys up and making Blue fall to all four paws to look at me, his mouth open in a forgotten bark. “Kill it! Kill it now!”
I feel my gun in my hand, but Jeff is between the Pesta and me. She has cleverly kept herself out of my line of sight, and with Jeff swinging that massive rifle around, I have to keep Blue and me out of his way. But my voice seems to have reached him and pulled him out of his panic. Jeff spins around, lifting the rifle. The cloud of green gas is bigger, reaching for him, so he steps back and pulls the trigger at the same time. The shot is resounding and deafening so close.
My whole body flinches, but my finger isn’t on the trigger, so we’re safe from me at least. Dylan’s voice is louder. I know he’s making his way up the hill, and I could kick myself for not telling him to go back to the encampment for help instead of taxing himself by following me. Blue whines at my feet, and I realize I’ve grabbed his collar with my empty hand, keeping him at my side. I won’t—can’t—let him go yet.
Edgar is dry heaving, his hands braced on his knees, bent double as his stomach tries to give up whatever is inside, which isn’t much. The sounds crawl into my ears and twist my stomach, threatening to make me sick.
“Edgar, answer me,” Jeff screams. How his throat isn’t raw yet, I don’t know.
My gaze travels past Jeff to the crumpled mass on the ground behind the fence. Her black cloak pools around her emaciated body so I can’t see her face—I can’t be sure she’s dead. She looks dead, but they always look dead. I let go of Blue, and thankfully, he runs to meet Dylan as he makes to the top of the hill, pausing to catch his breath when he sees me alive and well.
“Edgar, did she?” Jeff asks, taking a cautious step toward his friend. He’s put some distance between him and the fence, so I can move behind him.
The toe of my boot touches the chain link, and it rattles, shifting with the tiniest of nudges. This fence is complete bullshit—a false sense of security that can and will come down with enough force.
The hem of the black cloak ruffles, but I can’t tell if it was the breeze that moved it or the breathing of the monster hidden in the folds. I can just make out the tips of her black, claw-like nails peeking out of the sleeve, stark against the green clover. My mouth goes dry, and I lift my gun. It’s awkward, but I slip the barrel through the diamond-shaped hole and take aim at where I think the head should be. The report of the shot stops Jeff’s screaming for a moment. The black fabric shreds, and her skull explodes in a mass of green and grey matter, leaving a gaping hole that oozes black and red.
PRE-ORDER LINKS BELOW