Lunatic Fringe [Zombie Exterminators]
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by Sommer Marsden
Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica/Dark Fantasy
Description: Poppy's birthday should be a big, fun, sexy deal. And it is, until the zombie exterminators find out that the creepers in their neck of the woods happen to be switching the game up a bit. They have a new nifty trick that keeps them from being readily recognizable. Something poor Poppy is unlucky enough to find out on her morning run. She goes from fantasizing about her birthday foursome with the boys, to running home to spread the bad news of mutation. Her big day is suddenly full of machetes, a lady from the CDC and news of a new vaccine that might--or might not--work. Lucky for Poppy the boys won't let the new turn of events ruin her birthday, they still take her where she needs to go. Because all four of them know, every day could be your last. Sadly, Garrity, Cahill and Noah can't control what happens next. Things change, possibly forever, for their little group of exterminators. And over the next few days Poppy realizes a few things with perfect clarity: she loves Garrity, the thought of losing one of the boys terrifies her, and she's completely at a loss when it comes to one of her own being threatened. It seems to be the one area in which she can't pull off the bad ass persona. What will she do, she wonders, if their perfect group of four suddenly becomes a group of three? How will she survive?
eBook Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, LLC, 2011 September
eBookwise Release Date: March 2012
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [134 KB]
Reading time: 82-114 min.
"Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you...Happy birthday, dear Poppy Cooper you stunning badass...happy birthday to you!" I wheezed to myself as I ran our back road that was nothing but dirt and gravel.
I was twenty-five today. I was running not so much from my birthday, but toward a new year. Or so I told myself. I had finally found a peaceful place in my life, so who was I to bitch about a change in the final digit of my age?
The Mizpah that Garrity had given me for Christmas banged against my chest under my baggy, stained tee. The tee was unattractive to say the least, but the very-vintage, white Old Navy shirt always made me feel peppy enough to run even when that pep was a big fat lie.
I reached up to stroke the sterling silver half- heart through the cotton. Then my hands, ever vigilant, reached around to check the machete that was hanging in a nifty little back sling. I blew out a big breath and concentrated on running at a good clip without falling down.
I was back to humming Happy Birthday, but more quietly. Feeling the Mizpah on my skin, I realized the jewelry was just a placeholder in Garrity's mind. One day he'd present me with an engagement ring and expect to make an honest woman out of me. I wasn't sure how I felt about that.
My foot slipped a little on gravel, and I turned my ankle just enough to sting but not enough to do any real damage. Still, I slowed my gait a bit.
"I'm more of the girl you have the wild fling with before you get married," I confessed to myself because it was how I really felt, and there was no one here to judge me. "I'm the girl you bang senseless for a year or three before you go out and find the mother of your children."
My throat closed up a little at my declaration.
"No maudlin birthdays, Cooper," I reprimanded myself.
I started to run again, mostly to distract myself. Tonight there would be presents and cake and--I shivered here--possibly the four of us would do the nasty. Now that I had gotten past the guilt I'd felt at pulling Cahill into my long-anticipated three-way back in December, now...oh now, I wanted it to be all of us. I wanted Noah in my bed with the other boys even though he'd made it clear that he would be there for his man, Cahill. That was fine. I could do rules.
I saw the woman coming, and my heart stammered in my chest, doing that floppy fish tango that always makes me think I'm having a heart attack. Running through my mental quick checklist, I realized she seemed okay: pink flesh, eyes alert, pretty normal gait--normal for these uneven, uncertain gravel and dirt roads.
I raised a hand in acknowledgement.
She ignored me.
"Hunh. Maybe she's shy," I muttered under my breath, and I kept running. As long as she wasn't a creeper, I could run past her without fear.
She was human--just rude.
I studied her some more under my slightly lowered lids as I ran. I was running faster than I'd realized because I was coming up on her faster than intended. Her skin was normal, her eyes were normal, her face seemed blank, but I'd met a few of those in my time. People who just mentally checked out and appeared vacant until you talked to them. So I talked to her.
I was about two feet from her when I said, "Hi, how ya doing?"
She sort of twitched, her eyes finding me, and when I was within touching distance, she grabbed my arm. Her skin was cold and kind of soft, and I felt it give as she pressed her fingers to my arm. Then I smelled her.
"Jesus pleesus, holy mother fuck," I growled and grabbed her upper arm both to gain control and keep her from tugging me in.
Her arm came off in my hand, as easy as a chicken leg pulling free of a roasted bird at Sunday dinner.
I felt my stomach roll over and realized I was no longer running. I was standing stock still, clutching this woman's arm. This perfectly normal-looking woman until...now.
She turned to me then, and I blinked, seeing the mottled flesh, the white-rimmed eyes, the gaping mouth, the hunger. I saw it all, and when she moved her face in toward me with that now-mechanically snapping jaw, I hit her with her arm. I clobbered her upside the head, and her dirty brown hair swayed. She made a moan-grunt-sigh sound, and I hit her again--hard.
Her arm fell apart in my hand, and I gagged. Sure, I'm an exterminator, but I'm still human. An arm coming apart in your hand is gross. I don't care who you are.
"Bitch," I grunted, trying to keep myself fired up. Angry keeps you alert. Scared gets you dead.
I stepped back from her--three giant mother-may-I sort of steps and yanked my machete free.
This time when she stepped toward me, I lopped off her head, stuck the tip of the machete in the front of her skull and split it like a ripe watermelon. Why? It was the kind thing to do. If I hadn't punctured the brain, she'd just be a body-less head with some sort of murky awareness. To me, that is the very definition of hell.
I stared at her twitching body and her shattered head. The arm lay to the side of the road in some weeds. "Happy fucking birthday," I said to myself and turned fast to run home.