Today’s post comes from J. N. Duncan, the mind behind the Deadworld series. The third Deadworld book, THE LINGERING DEAD, is due out in a week and we’ve got a Deadworld April Fools’ story to tide you over until then. For those of you who don’t follow the series *yet*, here are some very brief character descriptions:
Nick is a vampire who works as a private investigator, among other things. He doesn’t drink from people.
Jackie is an FBI agent who gets tangled up with Nick through her work in DEADWORLD, the first novel.
Shelby is Nick’s friend and roomie, also a vampire, but one who does take a sip from a neck every once in a while.
Read on to find out what April Fools’ is like for Jackie and Nick and make sure to enter the giveaway of THE LINGERING DEAD at the end of the post!
April Fools: Deadworld Style
Nick swung the Durango into the driveway of his expansive log-cabin home. Jackie clutched at the bag of groceries in the passenger seat, packed full of steak, shrimp, fresh strawberries and cream, and a very expensive bottle of Merlot. She could already smell the meat on the grill. Inside, Shelby would be putting the finishing touches on the tiramisu. It was a perfect way to spend a glorious April Fool’s Day.
She faced Nick and his beautifully scarred jaw line and smiled. "Think we can get Shelby out of the house before midnight?"
"Midnight?" He gave her a fleeting smile in return, his gaze focused behind her. "Have something in mind did you?"
"Well…what are you looking at?" Jackie followed his gaze to the mail truck stopped at the mailbox on the road. "Expecting something?" She realized a moment later why he was staring. No postal worker. The front door of the house was open, a plain-wrapped box next to it. "That’s odd."
Nick opened the door. "It is, isn’t it?"
Jackie pushed her door open and slammed it shut. "If she’s in there banging the mailman, and that tiramisu is ruined, I’m going to kill her."
He strode quickly to the front door. "Not if I get to her first."
She followed behind and nearly squashed the bag of groceries against him when he stopped abruptly. "Nick–"
"What?" Jackie stepped around and saw what he meant. There were drops of blood on the floor in the doorway. "Holy shit." She set down the bag. "Hold on, gun’s in the glove box."
Nick was at the back door when she came in. "Out here. Down at the barn, I think."
There was more blood on the back deck, a footprint smeared through a small puddle of the stuff. "That’s not a small amount." God, could someone have actually taken Shelby by surprise? The thought was difficult to fathom. Potentially worse, could she have taken the mailman out back for a little drink? She knew Shelby found her sources of blood from somewhere, but a postal worker? She’d always said the sources were deserving of losing a pint or two.
Nick moved at a jog toward the barn, where the big, red doors stood ajar. Jackie ran after him. "You don’t think she’s snagged the mailman do you?"
"She wouldn’t," he said, and then added a moment later, "Not here."
The smell of hay washed over Jackie when Nick swung the doors wide. She had her Glock at the ready, just in case. Dusty beams of sunlight through the windows illuminated the interior.
"Oh, fucking hell." Nick froze in his tracks. Strong words from the old Sheriff. He never said "fuck."
When Jackie stepped around him, pointing her Glock into the barn. She almost dropped the gun in shock.
The postal worker, or what was left of him, lay in a scattering of straw on the ground in the center of the room. His arm dangled from a chain attached to the rafters. Shelby, on her knees over the blood-stained body, turned at Nick’s words, a straight-razor in her hand. Her face was a shiny mask of red. Those Angelina lips broadened into a grin, dark stains outlining her perfect teeth.
"Oops. Hey guys."
"Shel!" Jackie pointed the gun directly at her, stomach tensed in knots. "What the hell have you done? Oh, my god. What have you done?" She was so under arrest.
Nick locked his hands together over his head. "Sweet Jesus, Shel. How could you?"
She brought the razor to her lips and gave it a delicate lick. "I was hungry. Besides," she shrugged. "It’s April Fool’s Day."
The body on the floor shifted and the mailman opened his eyes. He began to laugh. "That was priceless, Shel. Beautiful."
Nick began to chuckle. "Oh, you are so paying for that, Shel. Paying hard."
She giggled, and then broke into laughter. "Got you guys! Jackie looked like she was going to wet herself." Shelby placed a hand against her stomach she was laughing so hard.
"Bitch," Jackie shook her head in disbelief. "You evil, evil bitch."
"So perfect." Shelby couldn’t stop laughing. "The look on your faces…priceless."
"I should so rub your face in that crap," Jackie muttered.
Shelby motioned at her, still laughing. "Bring it on, waif. Bring it on."
Jackie dropped the Glock on the ground and launched herself at the cackling wench.
Enjoyed your taste of Deadworld? You can get more in Jackie’s third outing, THE LINGERING DEAD:
Jackie Rutledge has faced down everything from the darkest sorcery to uber-vengeful revenants. But heading up the Bureau’s special paranormal unit is presenting unexpected challenges. Handling otherworldly egos and politics has never come easy to this loner agent. And opening up to her sexy vampire lover, Nick, is as unnerving as her unwanted new ability to slip between the realms of the living and the dead…
Now an insidious power holding helpless ghosts in thrall is using any means necessary to discredit Jackie and split her team apart for good. The only chance she has means baiting the terrifying Deadworld being stalking her dreams, hunting her every step—and growing ever more hungry for her ultimate sacrifice…
Click on the cover to find out more about the first two books in the series:
You can also check out BLOOD JUSTICE, a free short story about Nick on J. N.’s website:
Kensington is generously offering one (1) copy of THE LINGERING DEAD to a lucky reader!
To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
Ends Sunday, April 15, 2012
(like all of our Paranormal April Fools’ giveaways)
J.N. Duncan is the author of the Deadworld Series, with its third installment, THE LINGERING DEAD, coming out April 2012. He began writing at the age of fourteen thanks to a wonderful grandmother, who was a published mystery writer. Many years, numerous false starts, and a couple of college degrees later, the dream of publication has been achieved. J.N. Duncan has four fabulous children, is an aspiring teacher, a member of the Romance Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers, and garners a lot of inspiration and support from published author and spouse, Tracy Madison. The family currently reside in Ohio, typing away at the publishing dreams, amidst the whims of four children, two dogs, and two cats, who are reasonably sure they are the only sane ones in the household. Learn more at jnduncan.com.