Love With a Chance of Zombies
Lena Stanton’s a sharpshooting zombie hunter with a hot pink rifle and an attitude. Her latest assignment: guard the bitten hero, Doctor Lucas Nye, and be ready to shoot the moment he starts to turn zombie.
In the meantime, considering she’s the last female the man will ever see, Lena’s happy to indulge the doc in hot, steamy sex until he becomes symptomatic. After all, everybody has to do their part to help repopulate the planet. She tries to tell herself that’s all it is, but the good doctor has a way of slipping through her defenses.
When last-minute research and a daring experimental treatment could save Lucas, Lena has to choose. She can follow her heart and give the man a chance to live…or follow her commander’s orders and shoot to kill.
2013 EPIC Award Winner - Best Novella
Excerpt from Love With a Chance of Zombies
Copyright © Delphine Dryden, 2012. All Rights Reserved.
“The admiral says you’re the best at what you do.”
Lena shrugged. “Doesn’t take a rocket scientist.”
“Rocket science,” mused Lucas Nye, the famous doctor. He was still looking at his microscope. He’d barely looked away from it in the ten minutes since she’d arrived. Lena thought his eye might be glued to the viewer. “I wonder if there are any rocket scientists left?”
“If there are, I hope they’ve figured out a way to ditch this place. Is it okay if I sit here?”
“Sure,” he answered with a wave of his hand. The king of the lab, granting a boon.
Lena settled into the plastic chair by the door with a sigh, laying her weapon across her lap.
“That’s an unusual color choice for a gun,” Nye remarked. “I guess what really matters is whether or not you can shoot it, and that you know how to stay alive and find your targets. You’re young, though. I’m wondering how you learned to survive out in the woods. You must have practically grown up inside the fence.”
“I’m twenty-two, and I learned it from my father. It was Before.” There was never any need to explain that time frame. Everyone knew what “Before” meant.
“He taught you to scout for zombies?”
Lena couldn’t hold back a laugh. It was bitter, a little, but still welcome. Any humor was welcome. “No. He taught me—tried to teach me—that the government was evil. That there would come a reckoning, and all the little pissant militias like his would rise up and there would be a whole new world. He didn’t have children; he had soldiers. I still have no idea who he thought was going to take care of stuff like sanitation and mail delivery in his fantasy world. It wasn’t the sort of thing you asked him.”
“He tried to raise you to be that way too, but with you it didn’t stick?” Nye didn’t ask about siblings or about a mother. If that information was volunteered, fine. But you just didn’t up and ask somebody. Not anymore.
“Nope. I was a nerd, so I never really fit in there anyway. Always with my nose in a book. Then later, when he decided to get a computer, I was always the one on the computer. I knew how to find information. That made me useful. Man, I still miss the internet.”
“How old were you?”
“Fucked-up twelve-year-old. Nothing’s changed, I guess.”
It was Nye’s turn to laugh. “At twelve I was picking out a college. That was fucked-up.”
“Are you nuts? If you hadn’t, you wouldn’t be… Well, you wouldn’t be able to do the stuff you’re doing now, for other people.”
“I wouldn’t be ‘Lucas Nye the Hero Doctor’, you mean?”
She grinned at him. “Something like that. Nice that you’re modest about it.”
Nye shrugged and looked up at her, really looked long and hard for the first time since she’d arrived. Lena was startled by the sudden intensity, all aimed her way. She was surprised to realize that behind his glasses and rumpled, poorly cut brown hair, Nye was good-looking. Downright handsome, in fact. She’d never spent enough time with him before to see past the disheveled exterior; now she couldn’t help but notice.
Even without the intelligence and humor behind them, his storm-green eyes would be gorgeous. As it was, he seemed to look at her with some secret knowledge of her soul. It was arousing, which was distracting. The last thing she could afford. Her heart gave a flutter, a rapid double beat, and she admonished herself sternly to get back on her guard.
“I missed a lot, growing up so fast,” Nye said after a tense few seconds. “I never did high school, I never did dating. I never went out and got stupid drunk and did things I’ll regret. It was all just thinking, all the time. I never had fun. I always thought I’d find a stopping place, when I’d get to take a break and do all that. But I never did.”
He didn’t sound resentful, just resigned, or Lena might have taken offense. After all, she had never had those opportunities either, really, though for vastly different reasons. “Regrets? Isn’t it a little late for that? Is that really how you want to spend your last six weeks?”
“You’re giving me six weeks? I’m flattered.”
Lena rubbed the stock of her gun pointedly. “I’ll give you until you’re symptomatic. And then, if I have to, I’ll blow your head off.”
Nye blinked a few times then smiled slowly.
“Well, at least we know where we stand.”