Today I am sharing a new release from Peri Elizabeth Scott. A dystopian novel that's outside the normal genre of romance but which sounds utterly intriguing. Read on to find out more...
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com//dp/B00KS7B46Y
The quick retreat wasnât totally silent. She could hear the sounds of the others, moving quickly along parallel lines to her own painful effort. Wondering how long she could keep the burst of energy up, she noted the noises diminished as people worked their way outward like the spokes of a wheel. Four hundred paces and the air burned in her lungs. Sh e fought the tough terrain and avoided the thickening flora, the damn sled hanging up at each and every turn. Her arms burned with the desperate efforts to free the runners and the hound whined with pain.
Six hundred paces had her bent doubled over with a stitch in her side. She went to her knees when the ground sloped away into a small ravine, nearly causing her and Gehlert to tumble into its depths, the momentum of the heavy sled a terrible burden. It was the dog who saved them, digging his forefeet in and throwing his body weight back to settle on his haunches. She hugged him fiercely, his pants and thundering heartbeat mirroring her own.
Skirting the ravine took them well away from what she reckoned was a straight path outward from the original starting point. She scanned the treetops in a near futile effort to reorient herself. The filtered light told her the sun was at four oâclock, so she deviated slightly to her right and pushed on, wondering where the strength to do so had come from.
Having lost count of her pacing, she chanced another three hundred, using images of what would happen if they got caught to spur her on. Certain theyâd walked a half marathon, she chose a thick clump of gorse bushes, insanely wondering how theyâd come to flourish this deep in the woods. The hound stepped away from the harness the instant she freed him and staggered sideways to collapse on a bed of leaves and other organic debris. Doggedly working to separate the lower branches of the bushes and wincing at the spiny press of the remaining leaves despite the cover of her thin gloves, she managed to secret the sled, or at least muddle the outline of it. She bent thinner twigs to camouflage it further and made herself take the time to stand back and take as critical a look as she could. Satisfied, she found another clump of the same vegetation and crawled in backward, stopping only when her feet couldnât press any deeper. She then pressed a dog sized space open to her right.
âGehlert.â Even a whisper hurt her parched throat, but she was rewarded with a faint thump of his tail. âCome.â
The hound visibly considered her command, ears lowering and eyes drifting before he levered upward, limping to her. Heâd pulled more than his weight and was clearly on the brink of exhaustion. Even in the dappled light she could see where the harness had cut harshly into his hide, the thick guard hairs rubbed away. She wanted to cry. Blinking hard, she swallowed against the emotion.
âHere.â She patted the small space beside her and he obligingly wiggled in, somehow turning in place three times before he settled down. Draping an arm over him, she tugged a few branches into place over, poking herself in the cheek as she did so, then dropped her head onto the fertile earth.
After a time, her heart slowed and her breathing returned to normal, as did the houndâs, although he hitched from time to time with a little gasping noise. At last, she could focus on her surroundings and actually hear the forest sounds, the faint creak of living wood, the rustle of a small breeze among the remaining leaves, and the occasional call of a bird. The ground was reasonably warm, despite the approach of winter, and with Gehlert pressed close, she wasnât terribly uncomfortable. She only wished sheâd thought to bring one of the water bottles into her makeshift shelter, her body crying out for moisture after the forced march.
Time crept by and she became aware of how her pistol rested with solid intent against her belly, the barrel grinding into her hip. Seeing that her weapon was the only thing between her and whatever was out there hunting them, she cursed fluently under her breath and hitched up enough to worm a hand beneath her. With some judicious pulling and peeling back of the layers of clothing, she was able to free the butt and work the pistol out from under her, blessing her foresight to set the safety. She brought it up beside her head, one finger through the trigger, palm resting lightly against the pommel, before she flicked the safety off.
The hound stiffened beneath her lax arm and she strained her ears, suppressing a shudder. Perhaps it was one of the others, off course and passing by, still trudging those thousand paces, that had alerted him. Or an animal, picking its way through the trees. Alas, it was the base notes of a number of male voices she heard, far off, their words indistinct, distorted by the numerous trees and the uneven terrainâand the sudden escalation of her heartbeat. Stark terror froze her in place, chilling her blood, making her sex draw up in self-defense. Her belly clenched in on itself and goose flesh broke out all along her spine. Air rushed in and out of her nose as she tried hard not to pant, knowing how foreign the sound would be, how easily heard if someone cared to stop and listen. Her dog shivered in response to her angst and made a faint whine.
That whimper awakened her higher brain functions and she gained control. With a firm squeeze, she signaled Gehlert into silence. They huddled together and waited as she held her weapon at the ready.
Disjointed phrases drifted to her ears, accompanied by faint crashing sounds of something larger than a person.
ââ¦signs of at leastâ¦â
She was certain she felt a cold stare focused on their location, something malevolent and inhuman, and remained as still as possible, willing their hidden forms to blend into the surroundings. Nothing to see here. Just more trees and underbrush. She prayed there were no dogs, and cast her eyes down, refusing to risk even that chance of a flicker of awareness.
Minutes passed as she counted the seconds. Three hundred and sixty, then six hundred and sixty. Eleven minutes, give or take. The evil stare lingered in her imagination, or perhaps its owner was still out there, patient as a spider. The adrenalin leached out of her muscles, leaving her spent and far more fatigued than ever. She wouldnât move, wouldnât make it easier for whoever it was out there to find her, but felt as though she had nothing left to defend herself if he did. Her pistol seemed impossibly toy-like against the threat and her knife was still in her boot.
Peri Elizabeth Scott lives in Manitoba, Canada. After closing her private practice as a social worker and child play therapist, she joined her husband in running their season business where they pretend to work well together.
Writing for years, The Time is a departure from her usual romance genre, but it was a story that had to be told!
Peribeth also pens erotic romance under a different pen name and reads everything she can lay her hands on.
About Lost Faith: Gabriella Moreno was just a job, in and out to gain the objective, the death of her father. She turned out to be far more than that to Tobias Casey, however, from the moment he laid his hands on her too hot for words body. Gabriella had just come home from a two-year stint abroad. The first night home she snuck out, never dreaming for even a moment anyone would be stupid enough to take her. Boy, was she wrong. Faced with brutal truths, Gabbie followed her gut, and her heart, which, it seemed, all led to one place, Tobias. The heat of her homeland was nothing compared to the touch of this man. In his arms, she found something she had craved all her life, the other half of her soul. Yet, how can she ignore the fact that the man who owns her heart is also the man who wants to take the last of her family?
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TeaserAnother day, another dollar. Only these days, Tobias and his team were getting paid a hell of a lot more than they had been in the military. Now they could set their own fees for doing the jobs that no one else wanted to do, or maybe couldn’t do, since they did on rare occasion work for their government’s shadier sectors. But there was no oversight, no backseat driving, and they paid big to get shit done. Their current operation was one they’d been working on for nearly three weeks now with no success. The first week had been recon, getting oriented, and making sure they had their exits memorized for when they achieved their strike. The only thing was, as they’d discovered during week two, the target they were after didn’t ever leave his super secure compound. Not that Tobias could blame the guy. Their target was a dictator, an arms dealer, a drug dealer, and a mass murderer. There were people worldwide hoping that Tobias’ team finally managed to do what no one else had to date. Now it was week three and they were still watching the compound to figure out their way in. Or as Tobias was beginning to believe would be easier, how to get the asshole to come out. They’d tried forty different ways to infiltrate the compound. None had worked. Which actually made sense, given the target, Juan Moreno, or Senor X as they referred to him over com, had hired himself an ex-Special Forces soldier to be the head of his security. Tran Quan was American born but had ties to the Yakuza. Extra weight to be brought to bear should it be requested. Taking a small drink from his canteen, Tobias ignored the sweat trickling down his spine. His attention was locked on a small group of vehicles approaching the compound. Binoculars up, he brought the lead car into focus and easily recognized one of Moreno’s drivers. His attention moving to the second car, he was surprised to see Quan in the front passenger seat. The man was normally glued to Moreno’s side so to see him out without Moreno… this was big. “Ripper, we have four cars approaching the compound. I need to know who exits the second car once they stop inside. Get pictures.” “Roger that, Rogue.” Ripper and Cherry were up on the mountain using some seriously high-powered tools to stare down into the compound. Their position was treacherous since they were, literally, dangling off the face of that mountain. One wrong move and they’d be headed straight down toward death. “They’re turning toward the gate now. Not stopping either, they’ve been waved right through,” Tobias reported. The gates slid shut but not before he spotted a slender leg wearing a dainty shoe at the end slipping out of the door being opened by a guard. Instantly, he felt his gut clench in need to see the body went with that limb. A soft whistle came through the com. “Damn, she’s fucking hot. Think she’s banging senor X?” Herc asked. “Too young for him, you oaf,” Cherry said. “Like that would stop the old fucker. We all know he doesn’t care about age. One of the reasons why we’re here to see him shot,” Herc told her. “Personally, it’s my only reason to see his head explode under the impact of my bullet.” “Cut the chatter. Tell me you have photos for everyone that came in those vehicles.” “Confirmed,” Ripper said. “Good, get your asses down from there. Scout will be here to relieve me soon, then we need to get back and review everything.” Tobias was hopeful that somewhere in those photos he might find a way to pull Moreno away from his security blanket. * * * * “It’s his daughter, Gabriella Moreno.” Rainer said. His words had everyone’s attention. Tobias couldn’t figure out who was more shocked. Turning in his seat Rainer shook his head. “I had to dig, and dig deep. The old man has her buried.” “Makes sense,” Winston muttered. “She’s his Achilles.” He was right. “We need to keep eyes on her. If we get the opportunity, she’ll be the one we grab. I have a feeling that even with all his enemies gunning for him, he’ll do anything to protect her.” All they had to do was get their hands on her and use her to bait Senor X. Picking up the picture Rainer had printed out Tobias stared at it. It wasn’t a shot from the compound but one he’d pulled from social media. Gabriella had her head tipped back, laughing at something or someone. She looked carefree and totally at ease. Young, too. The young woman was just over five foot three inches but those come fuck me heels made her closer to five feet seven, she was thin but not waiflike like so many of the women today. Her hair however, was a riot of auburn red curls that seemed to have a mind of their own, and she didn’t bother trying to tame them. Which said something about the woman herself. She might not have the largest breasts that he had seen in his life but hers seemed to work her body perfectly, like a perfect handful, that distracted him completely. “We need everything on her from birth until the moment she went through those gates, Rainer. Leave no stone unturned. I think we’ve just found our hot button for daddy Moreno. We grab her and he’ll deliver himself right to us.” “You sure you want to do that, boss?” Cherilyn asked. At his sharp look, she held up her hands. “I’m down with it, but even if she does leave the compound, you know she’ll have a taskforce worth of guards with her. No way is Moreno letting her out in this country without protection up the ass.” “And we’ll be ready for that. Our best shot will be if she goes into the city. It’ll allow us to blend in and when the time’s right, grab her up.” At Cherilyn’s snort, Tobias turned a glare on her. “What?” “Dude, no offense or nothing, but you do not blend.” Rainer was shaking his head. “I have to agree with her, boss. You tend to stick out.” “I can blend just fine, I’ll have you know.” “You keep thinking that. In the meantime, I think I’ll update the other boys and we can add their hilarity to the vote count against you.” Cherilyn patted his chest, walked past, and promptly burst out in laughter. “I can and will fire your ass,” Tobias called after her. “No, you won’t,” she bellowed back. No, he wouldn’t, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t think about it, in great detail.
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