Today we’re thrilled to host Amelia C. Gormley and the Bane Blog Tour! There’re some really exciting things happening on this tour, including Refuge bonus content! Be sure to leave a comment to enter the giveaway. Without further ado, welcome Amelia C. Gormley!
Hi, and welcome to the Bane blog tour!
I don’t think it’s any secret that a lot of readers, in the wake of reading Strain, wanted more of Darius and Rhys. Already by that point I was brainstorming the pre- and peri-apocalyptic story that would become Juggernaut, but the further along I got on that, the more I realized the situation Zach and Nico were in couldn’t be resolved in the timeframe of Juggernaut. They needed developments that would only make sense to happen after the events of Strain. The plot also required Rhys to have matured a great deal since the end of Strain. Altogether, it gave me a beautiful opportunity to bring closure and an HEA ending (or at least as close to one as you get at the end of the world) for both sets of protagonists.
Thus we have Bane.
Over the course of the Bane blog tour, I’ll be sharing a free post-Bane short story, Refuge. How far post-Bane? Well, you’ll have to read and see. Some developments that happen in Bane are referenced, but not in any great detail, which means the reader should only encounter a few very broad, non-specific spoilers. Obviously, though, it will be best enjoyed if you’ve read Bane already (and Bane, of course, is best enjoyed after Juggernaut and Strain.)
Refuge introduces us to three new characters, Kal, Billie, and perhaps my favorite, Zeus. It’s a completely sex-free story, so you’re safe reading it at work. If my nebulous thoughts on how to continue the Strain universe ever take shape, it’s very possible a lot of material in this short story will be folded into a larger plot with Kal and Billie as the protagonists, and if that happens, you’ll find the smut there.
Each day, at least one stop on the blog tour will contain a section of the story. These segments may end or begin a little abruptly or clumsily at times, as I tried to split them in such a way that no one section would be to long and cumbersome for a single stop on the blog tour. In its linear form, it would simply be a five chapter story. By the end of the tour, all the sections will have been posted. If you need to catch up, you can check out the blog tour page (linked above), or my website, or the “Extras” tab on the Bane product page at Riptide for sequential links to all the posts.
Anyone who follows along on the tour will qualify to win store credit at Riptide. To enter the drawing, leave a comment on this post including a way to contact you (email, Twitter, or Facebook.) Each stop along the blog tour that you visit offers you another chance to enter. Be sure to check the Riptide blog tour schedule for a complete list of other stops. The contest will close 9/26/15. Any entries made without a way to contact the winner will be invalidated, so please don’t forget to provide your email, or your Twitter or Facebook address.
Good luck, and enjoy Refuge!
*Author’s Note: Refuge is completely unedited and un-proofed. What you’re seeing here is essentially a first draft, and like any first draft, it often may be clumsy to read or contain extraneous world-building and info-dumping that would be trimmed and streamlined during the editing process. Actually, I kind of like sharing it with you this way, if for no other reason than to allow readers to see just how much world-building happens behind the scenes and in my head, but doesn’t ever actually make it onto the page.
And of course, there will be typos. Oh so many typos.
REFUGE – CHAPTER TWO
Kal woke as the sun was coming up to find Zeus gone. That was typical. The border collie/something mutt sometimes went hunting or roaming or whatever the hell it was he did in the early morning. But he usually returned by the time Kal had stoked the fire and boiled some water to have with his breakfast.
Unease began to prickle the back of Kal’s neck when Zeus failed to appear at the usual time. Kal loved exploring the old, crumbling cities, and Zeus was a great companion for it, alerting him to dangers he hadn’t picked up on. Aside from wildlife, there was little risk, not since the companies had concluded their sweeps of the cities and located every survivor and revenant it was possible to locate. But there was always the chance that they had missed someone, possibly even a revenant if one could have survived this long, especially this far north. Zeus was used to humans, though; did that mean he might try to be friendly with a rev? It had never been a question he’d had to wonder about before.
When Zeus still hadn’t come back by the time Kal was done burying his fire and packing up everything for the next day’s hike, unease had turned to alarm. The weather had turned a couple days ago and he needed to get back to the Refuge before the mountains were impassible. It might already be too late; hopefully this frost was just a temporary cold snap and not the onset of an early winter. If that was the case, he’d be hard-pressed to find shelter and lay away adequate provisions before snow began to fall.
He couldn’t afford the delay to search for Zeus, but there was no way he was leaving his dog behind.
Shouldering his pack, Kal followed the faint track where the overgrown grasses of the countryside had been parted, broken while they were still frosted over and brittle. His breath fogged the air in front of his face, but he had hopes the weather would warm up again soon. Occasionally he shouted for Zeus and once he thought he heard a muted bark responding, but it had been too far off to get an idea where it had come from.
The frost had melted and the day was getting warm enough for Kal to remove his coat and stuff it in his rucksack by the time he heard a familiar bark and saw Zeus charging toward him in the distance. Instead of meeting him halfway, though, Zeus stopped once he caught sight of Kal, barked until he was sure Kal had spotted him, then turned around and galloped back in the direction he’d come from.
Kal had no choice but to chase after him, and since that seemed to be exactly what Zeus wanted, he did.
Zeus checked in several times to make sure Kal was still coming before dashing off, and finally Kal could hear him barking from inside a house. The door had been broken open—not a difficult feat these days when half the buildings around were rotting for lack of maintenance, especially cheap old tract houses like this one. His brain chased that tangent. Not prefab, but poorly constructed nonetheless. It probably dated back almost a hundred years, to the early or mid-21st century, before the corporate tenements had done in what was left of America’s suburbs.
Setting his pack down, Kal pulled out a hammered-tin lantern and a short candle to put in it. It was risky, lighting a candle in one of these old buildings, but he didn’t have much hope of seeing well in there without it, and hopefully the lantern would keep it from torching anything. Zeus’s barking had grown almost frantic now, punctuated by shrill whines as he dashed between Kal in the doorway and whatever was inside. His distress and urgency conflicted with Kal’s need for caution. The floor yielded a little when he stepped on it, springy and creaking alarmingly under his feet. He walked carefully around the edges, where it would be stronger. When he got past the foyer to peer into the shadows of the greatroom, he discovered the massive chasm surrounded by frayed carpeting.
It would figure that Zeus’s barking was coming from that hole.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Rhys Cooper’s unique immunity to all three strains of the virus that nearly annihilated humanity has brought him the unwanted attention of Clean Zone scientists. They’ve summoned him for testing—ostensibly in the hopes of finding a vaccine—but Rhys’s partner, Darius Murrell, has good reason not to trust any government. He and his comrades in Delta Company were unwitting test subjects for Project Juggernaut, the military experiment that gave them superhuman abilities and unleashed the pandemic. Doubting the government’s intentions, Delta Company refuses to let Rhys go alone.
Fear of infection has kept Zach Houtman and his lover Nico Fernández apart for a decade. They meet rarely, just long enough to coordinate their spying on the head of the government’s virus research division. Secretary Littlewood is a vicious predator, and they suspect he’s trying to acquire the strain of the virus that would make him superhuman. To stop him, they need the perfect bait: Rhys.
For Rhys, helping them might cost him his relationship with Darius—or his life. For Zach and Nico, even if their plan succeeds, they still face the ultimate question: can infected and uninfected people ever live together safely?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4thgrade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice issues, and pretty men.
When her husband and son aren’t interacting with the back of her head as she stares at the computer, they rely on her to feed them, maintain their domicile, and keep some semblance of order in their lives (all very, very bad ideas—they really should know better by now.) She can also be found playing video games and ranting on Tumblr, seeing as how she’s one of those horrid social justice warriors out to destroy free speech, gaming, geek culture, and everything else that’s fun everywhere.
You can find her self-published Impulse trilogy almost anywhere ebooks are sold, and check out her catalog of Riptide Publishing releases at their website.
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