Spotlight: Release Day Blitz Beautiful Corpse by eden Hudson

 

Beautiful
Corpse

A
Jubal Van Zandt Novel
Book
Two
eden
Hudson
Genre: Fantasy – Cyberpunk /
Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic
Publisher: Shadow Alley Press Inc     
Date of Publication: June 9, 2017
ASIN: B072M1HVRG
Number of pages: 167
Word Count: 52,000
Cover Artist: Katherine Kalymniou
Book Description:
The best thief in the history of
the Revived Earth is back, and this time it’s personal.
A deadly plague is ravaging the
world’s population and threatening to kill the only person Jubal Van Zandt
cares about—himself. If he doesn’t find a cure soon, he’s dead.
The most promising lead is buried
in the ruins of an ancient sunken city stalked by savage predators, cunning
parasites, and the twisted souls of long-dead mages. It would take an army to
get Jubal inside … or just one of the most renowned knights in Guild history.
The one Jubal betrayed and left for dead eighteen months ago.
First Jubal has to convince her
not to kill him. Then he has to convince her to help save him.
EXCERPT
FROM CHAPTER ONE
I  motored
the  Mangshan  between
a  pair  of
thorny  locust trees  that
served  as  the
end  posts  for
the  fence  marking
the southern  boundary  of
the  Xiao  family’s
ancestral  holdings.
Carina  thought
she  could  avoid
me  by  ignoring
my  messages  and staying
holed  up  out
here  in  the
middle  of  nowhere.
Pretty ridiculous
considering  how  well
she  knew  me.
At  the
end  of  the
driveway,  the  trees
pulled  back  to
reveal a  traditional  wet-country
house—long  and  low,
enclosed  by  a weathered
wooden  porch  complete
with  steel  sliding-panel
storm walls.  Today  the
storm  walls  had
been  thrown  open
wide,  letting the  meager
sunlight  shine  onto
the  house’s  creamy
parchglass  and wood  exterior
walls.
I  parked
the  ’Shan  at
the  end  of
an  ancient  stone
walkway that  had  been
buckled  by  the
unpredictable  water  table,
and hooked  my  helmet
and  ventilator  over
the  handlebars.  It  had
taken  me
almost  an  hour
to  get  way  the  hell
out  here  from
Taern— and  that  was
running  the  ’Shan
wide  open,  without
any  traffic.
Why  Carina
would  want  to
live  so  far
out  in  the  soggies  that
she could  smell  the  fishshit,  I
couldn’t  fathom.
Fire  threw
open  blast  doors
all  through  my
body.  Heat,  the most
perfect  heat,  swirled
in  my  veins,
warming  me  inside
out. There  was  even
a  taste,  sweet
and  spicy  and
a  little  ashy,
like ember  dust  mixed
with  wrackrath  smoke.
My  eyes  flew  open
and  I  sucked
in  a  damp
lungful  of  country air,
trying  to  catch
up  on  the  oxygen  I’d
missed  while  I  was
out.  I
checked  my  wristpiece.
The  attack  had
only  lasted  a  few
seconds.  Less  than
a  minute,  definitely.
The  PCM  fits
were getting  more  frequent,
but  they  weren’t
getting  longer.  Yet.
If Carina  had  been
watching  me  out
one  of  her  windows  or
via  a security  feed,
she  would  think
I’d  just  been
taking  in  the scenery.
I  headed
up  the  walk,
careful  not  to
trip  over  the
uneven stones,  and  stepped
onto  the  porch.
One  very  handsome
devil  with sculpted  stubble,
perfect  skin,  and
dark,  piercing  eyes
looked back  at  me
from  the  reflection
in  the  house’s
parchglass  walls. I  admired
his  striking  features
as  I  knocked.
Not  that
I  needed  to
knock  with  the
number  of  early
warning systems  Carina  probably
had  set  up
around  her  house.
But  I’m nothing  if
not  polite.  Especially
when  I  want
something.
From  inside
came  the  unmistakable
sound  of  someone
kicking something  heavy  across
the  room.
“You  better
pray  to  God
I  never  make
it  to  this
door,  Van Zandt,”  Carina
yelled  from  inside.
Paperinas  flitted
around  my  stomach,
and  a  crazy
grin stretched  across  my
face.  I  hadn’t
felt  much  of
anything  but  the PCM
attacks  in  such
a  long  time
that  the  excitement
was  making me  giddy.
“Are  you
seriously  still  mad?”
I’m  not  always
great  with time,  but  it  felt
like  centuries  had
passed  since  I’d
last  seen Carina.  I
took  a  guess.
“Soam  was  like…a
year  ago?”
There  was
another  crash  inside.
Then  the  house’s
door roared  open  on
its  track  and
I  was  staring
down  the  business
end of  Carina’s  well-worn
knuckgun.  She  grabbed
me  by  the
jacket collar  and  slammed
me  against  one
of  the  porch’s
thick  wooden columns,  then
jammed  the  knuckgun
up  under  my
jaw.
“Eighteen  months,”
she  said.  A
muscle  in  her
mahogany- colored  cheek  ticked.
If  the  symmetrical
muscle  under  her
other cheek  hadn’t  been
trapped  in  all
that  shiny  pink
scar  tissue,  it probably
would’ve  tocked.
Our  time
apart  had  not
been  good  to
Carina.  Since  the
last time  I’d  seen
her,  crow’s  feet
had  etched  themselves
into  the dark  skin
at  the  outside
corners  of  her
green  eyes.  She’d
been athletic  and  sleek
before,  a  very
successful  feline  predator.
Now  shadows
stood  out  below
her  high  cheekbones.
Where  her  long sleeves
rode  up,  I
could  see  the
veins  in  her
wrists  and  thin straps
of  muscle  in  her  forearms.
The  past  eighteen
months  had whittled  her
curves  and  soft
places  down  to
hard  angles  and razorblades.  She
looked  sharp.  Painfully
so.
Apparently,  in
spite  of  Soam’s  nationwide
obesity  epidemic, good  eats
were  not  a  part  of
their  prison  system.
“It  took
you  eighteen  months
to  break  out
of  a  prison
pit?” I  squinted  at
her  in  disbelief.
“In  Soam?”
“My  femur
was  shattered,”  she
said.  “Two  of
my  vertebra  had to
be  replaced.”
“Pretty  convenient
excuses,”  I  said.
Carina  thumbed
the  knuckgun’s  switch
from  SAFETY  to
BURST, effectively  changing  its
purpose  from  SCARE
JUBAL  to  TURN JUBAL’S
SKULL  INTO  A
BRAIN  GEYSER.
I  tried
to  jerk  away  from
the  deadly  weapon—I
love  myself and  I
don’t  fucking  like
anything  that  has
the  potential  to
kill that  self—but  Carina’s
grip  on  my
collar  just  tightened.
She  had me  pinned
to  the  column.
I  grunted.
“You’re  awfully  strong
for  a  stick
figure.” “It  was  a
miracle  I  wasn’t
killed  on  impact.”
“Exactly,  so
what  are  you
yelling  at  me
for?”  I  said.
“It’s not  like  you
didn’t  know  what
you  were  getting
into  ahead  of time,
hiring  me.  You’re
just  mad  that
I  saw  through
your manipulation  in  time
to  save  my
own  skin.”
Carina’s  dark
eyebrows  twitched  together,
and  her  head cocked
a  fraction  of
a  fraction.  “Manipulation?”
“Don’t  play
dumb  with  me,
Bloodslinger,  it  looks
terrible on  you.”  I
tried  again  to
squirm  away  from
the  knuckgun.  “Will you
put  that  piece
away  already?  We
both  know  you’re
not  going to  use
it  on  me.
It’s  served  its  purpose—I’m
very  intimidated and  a  little  bit
aroused.”
Carina  made
a  disgusted  sound
in  her  throat
and  shoved  away from
me,  lowering  the
knuckgun  to  her
side.  “What  are
you  doing here,  Van
Zandt?”
“What  kind
of  stupid  question
is  that?”  I
straightened  my jacket.  “You
know  why  I’m
here.  You’ve  opened
every  message  I sent
you  since  you
got  back  to
Emden.”
“You  hacked
my  wristpiece?!”

About
the Author:

 
I am invincible. I am a mutant. I
have 3 hearts and was born with no eyes. I had eyes implanted later. I didn’t
have hands, either, just stumps. When my eyes were implanted they asked if I would
like hands as well and I said, “Yes, I’ll take those,” and pointed
with my stump. But sometimes I’m a hellbender peeking out from under a rock.
When it rains, I live in a music box.
 
But I’m also a tattoo-addict,
coffee-junkie, drummer, and aspiring skateboarder. Jesus actually is my
homeboy.
 
 

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