Today for “Feature Friday” let us welcome the wonderful Jessica Gomez with her book Infected, the first book in the Flash Series
We will have info about the book and Jessica, excerpt from the book, and a awesome Guest Post written by Jessica .
Make sure to check everything out and go and show her some support and add her books to your TBR 😉
Happy Reading 🙂
If the world ceased to exist in one moment in time, would you know what to do?
Lillie thought her life was finally beginning to look up, and for once she seemed in control of her own future. Until a blinding light in the sky ripped that all away. When the luminosity snapped off, it flipped a switch, taking with it almost every human life, leaving behind few survivors… and the Infected. Decrepit and inhuman, the Infected brutalize everything that crosses their path.
The flash has destroyed most people’s humanity, rendering Lillie a target for every horrific situation imaginable. Nine months later, she not only has to worry about herself, but her newborn child.
After a year of living on their own and just making it, Lillie and her daughter catch a break, finding shelter and a new companion in a young boy. The new family dynamic has Lillie letting her guard down. Until one day, they are ambushed. More terrifying and faster than ever, the Infected nearly overcome them, triggering the relocation of their home.
Taking a chance, Lillie and the children head to the mountains of Oregon. Little do they know – what waits there may be worse than the Infected.
I stumbled down the sidewalks crumbled remains, watching the grey and white clouds swirl a daring dance around each other; waiting for rain to descend from their bellies. I couldn’t remember when the last time was that a drop of water touched these lips. Most of the rivers and streams have either dried up, been poisoned, or are guarded by renegade survivors―People you would be smart to stay clear of.
I scanned my surroundings, surveying the dilapidated, deserted city. The same broken cars, buildings, and roads that were once normal pieces of society flooded my vision. Roads and buildings overgrown by trees, weeds, and any other vegetation that wanted to reclaim their land. I always thought it would take longer than a year to erase anything and everything the human race was once proud of.
Buildings had been brought down by the rough year after the Flash, some still stitched together by steel beams, missing their skin. Others still stood, dressing up in vegetation. Either way, they all appeared as if they belonged in a graveyard, left abandoned by all the people who used to go about their daily lives in them.
The worst parts were the bones and tattered clothing left behind by those who perished, laying bleached in the sun. Some of them still held remnants of hair and skin.
I paused to gaze at myself in a broken window. How long had it been since I’d last seen my reflection? I pulled the hood off my head and studied my features. My hair was brushing past my shoulder blades now. The last time I’d attempted to cut it, I’d used a piece of broken glass from a window. I almost severed one of my fingers in the process, so I decided to let it grow out.
My long, blonde hair reflected off the few streams of sun radiating through the clouds, the color resembling shimmering wheat fields. Standing at about five foot two, I was a slight thing–not too short–yet not tall by anyone’s standards. I was always slender, but since the foods scarce, my clothes hang off me like rags. My green eyes sparkled back at me like emeralds, the one and only thing I loved about my appearance, and the one thing that could never be robbed from me in these rough months.
Seemingly, out of nowhere, my eyes locked onto seven men and two women who were standing behind me, smiling vindictively in the reflection on the glass. It was like they appeared out of thin air. I turned to run, but they were already surrounding me in a semi-circle. My breathing slammed in and out of my lungs as I began panting, as if I’d just ran a marathon. My vision was beginning to narrow and I knew that I needed to control myself.
“Go on, Ryan, you know what your choices are. Are you going to save her?” The man that spoke tilted his head back and laughed as if he’d said the funniest thing in the world. Ryan, the man he spoke to, wasn’t much older than me–maybe nineteen to my sixteen–and possibly one of the best-looking guys I had ever seen. His brown hair flopped into his bright blue eyes, his skin tanned and toned.
The man’s words began to register and I knew that I had to get away, but before I could move, I watched as Ryan’s face changed from concerned, scared, and pitiful, to fierce and determined. He began his advance and I watched in horror as his eyes devoured me where I stood…
I bolted upright, my breath sawing in and out of my lungs at a burning rate. I glanced over to check the tiny sleeping bundle next to me. I waited for her blankets to move up and down, making sure she was still breathing before I wiped the cold sweat off my forehead. The dream always had a way of igniting my adrenalin, even after years of repetition. Taking a shaky breath in, I settled my nerves and placed a hand on my little angel, reassuring myself again. Life is completely fucked up. Not only did life as we know it end, but some of the worst events in people’s lives can bring about the best.
I pulled out the cracked mirror I’d found a short time ago from my pack and studied my features, the rising sun giving me enough light to see my reflection. I looked like a vagrant, someone who struggled to survive. I used to imagine being something–someone–a veterinarian, maybe? I always loved animals. Animals never judged you by the way you looked or where you came from. They loved without prejudice.
Growing up in foster care made me want to prove myself and show the world that I wasn’t “foster scum,” as some of the kids called me, but none of it mattered now. I was nobody, just like anyone else who remained in the world.
After the Flash lit the sky, the majority of the six and a half billion people on planet Earth dropped dead, or they mutated and died. When the Flash filled the sky with blindness, nobody expected it. People were going about their daily lives―shopping, working, playing with their children. Most people–the lucky ones–dropped where they stood, as if someone had flipped the off switch on millions of lives.
The ones who didn’t die became the Infected. They were the ones who lived, but were affected by the Flash. They didn’t die immediately, but most died within months. Their deaths were rather unpleasant; they were normal one day, and the next their heads would start to blister. Those blisters became larger, looking more and more like tumors that leaked out bodily fluids resembling thick curdled milk from every part of their bodies.
To make matters worse, these effects began driving them mad. The Infected would brutalize people, terrorize towns, and set buildings on fire, even if they knew people were inside―especially if they knew people were inside. The Infected ran riotously through the streets, harassing, killing, and beating any civilians they encountered. It was their sole purpose to kill and create chaos.
Now, years later, they no longer existed. Anyone who survived was relieved it was over. We were the Immune. We may have survived the Flash and the Infected, but we had the privilege of watching everyone we loved around us perish to various degrees. I went on living and breathing today as I did before the light in the sky ended everything. However, my surroundings were quite different. I never thought I would have to plan my future when no future existed to plan.
Some of the Immune, which were becoming few and far between, turned to killing, robbing, raping, and even cannibalism. It was everyone for themselves. Most of this type died off. There were only so many people available to kill now that most of humanity was already dead, but there were people who had found ways of hiding or so one would believe. The Immune had to find a new way of life, doing whatever they had to do to survive. The new future consisted of only one motive, and that was staying alive.
The news stayed on long enough for the survivors to learn that the Flash was some sort of chemical weapon. Officials never released an official story as to whether it was ours, or if it was from another country, but at that point, it didn’t matter. The damage had been done, and had already Infected the entire world.
Information was never really accurate when it came to the Infected and the Immune. During that time, I wasn’t aware that I was Immune. I kept expecting to wake up with blisters all over me, eventually growing into baseball-sized tumors.
I watched as the news anchor became Infected with growths everywhere. When it was apparent that he was not Immune, he went on air and made a statement that even though he was not Immune, it was still his job to report to all the remaining people who were Immune, as much information as possible. He promised to do this until this infection took over and he could not continue any longer. He bowed his head after that day’s speech and never returned to the air. I’d assumed he died that night, but there would never be any way of knowing. He was a nice man, it seemed, and I had hoped that he had simply died, and that he never had to suffer from the madness that took over so many.
The information he was able to share did help. We knew what had taken place, what the outcome was, an estimation of people who had died, as well as the amount of people who may have survived. Only a small percentage of the human population remaining were assumed to be Immune from the Flash, but that estimation was made before they realized that just because you lived through the initial Flash, didn’t mean you were Immune. The real number of Immune, the people who suffered no side effects, was much lower.
I was one of them.
I’ve always been a drifter, never having any ties to one place for too long. With no family to speak of, I was just a child passed around from foster home to foster home. When I reached thirteen, I ran away and lied about my age to get a job.
When the Flash hit, I was doing pretty well for myself. I worked at a drive-in movie theater and lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Milton-Freewater, Oregon. The place was nothing special, but it was mine. Now, making a living doesn’t mean anything. Keeping yourself alive becomes your main priority, every second of every day.
Occasionally, you run across items that aren’t very useful, but helpful in making life feel somewhat normal. Earlier that morning, I found a calendar from the year 2049, the year the world changed forever. I was fifteen. It also had in the back, a calendar for the next three years, up to 2052. Today was June 19, 2054, meaning that my birthday was tomorrow, June, 20th. Happy Birthday to me. I’ll be twenty years old.
Comparing my handmade calendar to the new pocket calendar, I was satisfied to notice that my calculations of today’s date were correct. When I made my own calendar, I remembered to add a leap year every four years until a century year, which would not be a leap year. Useless information, really, but it’s something that I had learned and I hold on to those little bits of information like my life depends on it.
I woke my little angel and had her eat breakfast before we continued to walk down the broken path toward anything and nothing. I needed water and if the weather was going to cooperate, I would have my canteens filled by nightfall.
Our days consisted of avoiding people, not that that was hard. There weren’t too many of them to avoid. Searching for food and water, making sure our stockpile was full enough to get us through at least three days, but there was never much luck finding anything new to eat.
Food was harder to find in recent months. After so many years had gone by, most of the stored food was now going bad, or already taken. The Flash killed quite a bit of the livestock, leaving only a few stray cats and dogs running around. Soon, the food would become scarcer, and the only way to continue living would be to hunt wild game.
Lucky for me, even though I was a girl, one of my foster parents had taught me a thing or two about hunting. We would do fine enough on our own. For tonight though, finding shelter to sleep in, out of the rain, was my main priority.
The other night I was asked that one question that everyone wants to know… What food would I search for in the Zombie Apocalypse? The idea taken from one of my favorite movies, Zombie Land, is a great topic of zombie conversation.
In the movie their choice was a Twinkie, which is a great choice, but not for me. When I was young I ate an entire box with my girlfriend and then spent about nine hours on a boat in the hot sun. Needless to say, I threw up Twinkie for about twelve hours. Ever since then, not a huge fan.
Now there are a few ways we can take this. Are we talking food, food, like dinner plates? For this I would have to go with ANYTHING pasta. I love me some noodles. Which is great for me, because I feel like this is one of the foods that would not expire for a while. However, if we are talking desserts, I may be a little SOL. My favorite dessert, the one I would LOVE to search for, would be cheesecake. I know, I know, I know what you are thinking… You are soooo screwed. Not only would it be difficult to find, but then finding it intact and not molded and rotten are slim to none. Which I’m pretty depressed over. I mean, what kind of world would we live in if there were no cheesecake? I don’t even want to contemplate that at the moment.
So now this is my questions to you… What would you search for if every food you loved died out?
Jessica Gomez is a bestselling author of Suspense, Romance & Paranormal, Apocalyptic books. She’s best known for her Paranormal novel, Infected. She independently published her first book, After the Before, in 2014, and reached #1 in Bilingual, Suspense, & Romance genres. She’s currently working on book 3 in the Flash series, Evolved, which is to release Fall/Winter of 2017. As well as a new Alpha, Suspense, Romance series, schedule for early 2018. For more about this author, visit one of the sites listed. She enjoys hearing from and chatting with her readers, who have the same passion for reading.