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Authors: Kris Norris

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What Remains_Reckoning

BOOK: What Remains_Reckoning
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Table of Contents

What Remains: Reckoning

What Remains: Reckoning Copyright © Kris Norris

Book Description

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

About the Author

Also Available from Resplendence Publishing

www.resplendencepublishing.com

What Remains: Reckoning

A
New Reality
Story

By Kris Norris

Resplendence Publishing
R·>♦<·P
www.resplendencepublishing.com
Gems of Romantic Fiction

What Remains: Reckoning
Copyright © Kris Norris
Edited by Liza Green and CJ Slate

Cover Art by Les Byerley

Published by Resplendence Publishing, LLC
1093 A1A Beach Blvd, #146
St. Augustine, FL 32080

Electronic format ISBN: 978-1-60735-794-0

Warning: All rights reserved. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Electronic Release: July 2014

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and occurrences are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places or occurrences, is purely coincidental.

A never-ending battle. One final reckoning…

Gunner, Wolfe and Hamilton are accustomed to the rigors of war. SEALs before the world all but ended with the rising of the dead, their unique skill set has proven to be irreplaceable. But their latest mission is putting even their survival instincts to the test.

One girl. One last chance at saving their humanity…

Finding a camp full of humans should have been the shining accomplishment of their new career as reconnaissance specialists. Instead, it turns into something far more sinister.

She didn’t want to fall for one man, let alone three…

Morgan has no reason to trust the three men that stumble into her life. Helping them is a means to an end—a way to gain her freedom. She promises herself she’ll ditch them the moment the opportunity arises. There’s just one nagging little problem—with every day that passes, every ounce of faith they restore—she realizes she’s falling for them. Hard. And in a world where death no longer brings peace, she needs to decide if what remains of her soul is worth saving.

To Jess…what can I say? Without you and the nightly check-ins, this book would still be sitting unfinished on my computer. The laughs, the frustration, the late nights—and I know we’ll be doing it all over again with the next one, lol. Love you to bits, girl.

To Bronwyn…for paddling in the same procrastination pond as Jess and I. As always, your insight means more to me than you can imagine. And I hope we get to complain to each other for the next fifty years! Love you!

And to Liza…for never losing patience with me. Thanks, honey.

 

Chapter One

 

 

 

“It doesn’t matter how long we stare at it, Gunner, we won’t know shit until we walk in there.”

Gunner Hansen glanced at his friend over his shoulder, noting the stubborn press of Wolfe’s lips as the man leaned against a tree, hands tucked in his pockets, focus shifting between Gunner and the fence line a few hundred yards away.

Gunner scrubbed a hand down his face, hating the truth in the other man’s words. He glanced at Hamilton. “I suppose you think we’ve wasted enough time, too?”

Hamilton merely shrugged. “We’ve been watching them for four days and haven’t seen them do more than shuttle one group of women out then back in. And the perimeter’s too big to cover with just three of us, especially with that lake bordering the back forty.”

“There’re at least a dozen guys inside. Not saying we can’t take them, but…doesn’t hurt to be prudent.”

Hamilton shrugged. “You know what they say, bro. God hates a coward.”

Gunner huffed. “I’ve heard He’s not too fond of stupid people, either. Best not to be either.”

Hamilton sighed, glancing at Wolfe. “We’ve been gone nearly two months. Colby’s bound to think we’re dead by now. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hunter isn’t strolling around in my damn leather jacket. Bastard’s been eyeing it forever. And I’d rather get back before they give away our cabin to some family unit. You know it’s only a matter of time before Emersyn makes Hunter realize there’s a woman beneath those fatigues she wears.”

“She’d still be a couple of men short, but I get it.” Gunner followed the easy movement of men beyond the barricades. “I just hate going in blind.”

Wolfe nudged him. “Blind or not, we can’t stay out here. Even sleeping in the trees isn’t going to keep us safe much longer. Those damn infected motherfuckers are getting stronger. Faster. Hell, we should have turned back after we got swarmed on that rooftop back in that hick town. Thank Christ we can all jump.”

Gunner grinned. “You’re just sore because you lost that damn Paracord bracelet you never take off.”

“That bracelet was a godsend. A thousand ways to use that cord. Damn thing has saved our asses more than once.” Wolfe rubbed the bare inch of skin at his wrist. “Could’ve helped us a dozen times since then. And I didn’t lose it. That infected bastard ripped it off my arm before Ham knifed his head.”

Gunner nodded. Once Wolfe got his mind set on something, there wasn’t much anyone could do to talk the man out of it. And Gunner hated to admit it—both men had a point. The camp was too entrenched in the surrounding forest to enable them a direct view. And simply staring at the people as they walked the perimeter wasn’t going to tell them anything they didn’t already know—had known within an hour of finding the compound. Sooner or later, they’d have to venture inside.

Hamilton chuckled. “It’s okay, Gunner. We’ll all still pretend like it was your idea. No need to get those big alpha panties of yours in a twist.”

“Fuck off.” Gunner couldn’t quite hide the smile that tugged at his lips. “Fine. We’ll go say hello. But we should approach from that dirt road. I can’t imagine they’d be too friendly if they thought we’ve been watching them for a while.”

“So what do we do? Just mosey on up the damn trail?” Ham shook his head. “Thinking they’re going to figure it out one way or another. Can’t imagine they get many strangers dropping by.”

“Better safe than sorry, dude. And walking out of the trees might just get us shot.”

“That’s if those good old boys can hit anything.”

“Let’s assume they can to have survived this long.”

Hamilton huffed. “They’ve got a fairly solid enclosure. Pretty damn sure that has a lot to do with their survivability. But you’re right. Most people still breathing have at least some weapon sense.” He glanced at Wolfe. “Anything you want to add before we make nice with the locals?”

Wolfe grinned. “Twenty bucks says they’re some kind of weird cult and we end up shooting our way out of there while they’re deciding which one of us is going to taste better grilled.”

Gunner laughed. “You’re on.” He pointed at the road. “We’ll backtrack a bit. Hit the road beyond any sight lines from their perimeter.”

Hamilton took a couple of steps away. “I’m on it. Hope you two can keep up. You’ve been dogging it ever since the Hummer broke down and we’ve been on foot.”

Gunner swung at the man, but Ham was already darting through the undergrowth, heading toward the bend in the dirt road. Wolfe nudged Gunner’s shoulder, motioning him on. Gunner gave the man a quick nod then struck off, keeping both men in sight as they wove through the trees. Despite their cavalier attitude, he knew the guys were as jumpy as he was. It’d been several months since they’d come across survivors, and never a group. A straggler or two. But nothing organized. And after eighteen months’ worth of fighting, there was no telling how this camp would react to them, threat or not.

Gunner shook off the uneasy feeling prickling the back of his neck as he moved in behind Hamilton. The man had stopped near the edge of the road, his gaze fixed on something in the distance.

Gunner bumped his arm. “You okay?”

Hamilton frowned. “Something doesn’t feel right.”

He resisted the grin that tugged at his mouth. “Besides the usual dead people walking around?”

“I feel like there’s something watching us.”

Wolfe darted in behind them. “My spider sense is tingling, too. Feels like a damn ambush to me.”

Gunner scanned the surrounding area. Hamilton and Wolfe had watched his back for over a decade and he knew better than to question their instincts.

He glanced behind them. “If you two think this is a bad idea…”

The bushes on the far side of the road parted, several infected barreling onto the dirt road, pale skin gleaming in the sunlight. Black, bloody wounds marred their bodies as they pulled their lips back into a snarl.

Gunner yanked Ham into his chest, moving them both behind the trunk of a large tree, peeking at the creatures through the thick foliage. They stared at the area where Hamilton had been standing just moments earlier, tilting their heads as if trying to figure out why he wasn’t still standing there. Gunner motioned to Wolfe, acknowledging the man’s nod with one of his own. Wolfe edged away, weapon raised, focus centered on the infected as they stared at the forest, growling.

Gunner lowered his mouth close to Hamilton’s jaw. “If they make a move, Wolfe will get the front runners. You go left and circle around while I draw them toward us.”

“Or I could just kill the motherfuckers where I stand.”

“And if there’s a horde behind them?”

Hamilton grunted. “I fucking hate this shit. Especially this new breed.”

“You and me both. You ready?”

Ham nodded when the crunch of gravel filled the air. Gunner stilled, holding Hamilton firm as the hum of an engine rose above the other noises. The infected turned, more of them breaking out of the underbrush, the group blocking the dirt road. Headlights beamed through the shadows as a truck bounced around the far corner, wheels skidding to a halt in a blinding cloud of dust.

“Fuck!” Gunner released Hamilton, swinging his rifle up to his shoulder. “Why the hell are they stopping? They’ll never get through without a shit load of momentum behind them. Not against those numbers.”

The creatures tipped their heads back and howled, charging the truck as lurched backwards.

Ham hit Gunner in the chest. “They’ll get overrun unless we help them.”

“Shit!” He whistled to Wolfe, giving the man a series of signals. “Stay close. And if it turns ugly, get up a damn tree. We haven’t lasted this long to die over sheer stupidity.”

“I know the drill. Just make sure you do the same, or I swear I’ll kick your ass.”

Gunner grinned. “Deal. Now move.”

They headed out, Hamilton branching left as Gunner plowed through the brush, reaching the road as the first zombies attacked the truck, leaving bloody streaks along the paint. The driver revved the engine, spitting dirt and gravel into the air as the tires tried to find purchase on the dry road. A series of pops lit the air, those hanging onto the side mirrors dropping in a splatter of blood and bone. Gunner glanced to his right. Wolfe had positioned himself off to the side, keeping the area around him open. With the numbers of infected filling the road, they needed to maintain a viable escape and ensure nothing surprised them from behind.

Pride tightened Gunner’s chest. No matter how many missions he headed, Wolfe and Hamilton’s expertise always made him smile. They were more than his teammates. They were his brothers. Men who had his back. Who he trusted with more than just his life. Men he’d die to protect. Of course, knowing they’d do the same irked the hell out of him. From their first mission, he’d been in command. Had somehow earned their respect long before he’d probably deserved it. And he’d always considered it his place to make the sacrifice if it were ever needed. But Wolfe and Hamilton had broken ranks and saved his ass more times than he could count.

Gunner pushed the unsettling feeling aside and concentrated on the undulating mass in front of them. He lined up his first target, quickly moving to the next as the discharge slammed the stock into his shoulder. They’d used up most of their ammo just getting this far, and if the stream of infected didn’t wane, they’d go through their remaining supply before they’d discovered whether the camp was even worth the fight.

BOOK: What Remains_Reckoning
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