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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Excerpt/Giveaway: The Vaempires: Zombie Rising Bloody Chunks Tour - Chapter 3

The Vaempires: Zombie Rising Bloody Chunks Tour

Hello everyone. Welcome to the Bloody Chunks Tour! 

I’m Thomas Winship, author of Vaempires: The Evolutionary War—a vampire series that explores the question: what if vampires evolved?

For this book tour, I decided to do something a bit different. Instead of sharing excerpts, reviews, interviews, and all the usual accompaniments, I’m giving you the book itself—piece by piece.

Or chunk by bloody chunk!

This tour is the only place where you can read Vaempires: Zombie Rising, the next chapter in the vaempires saga, before its official release! 

The tale of The Evolutionary War resumes in Væmpires: Zombie Rising.

Væmpires have taken control of twelve major cities. Their leader, Vielyn, seeks the atomic weapons that will bring the rest of the world to its knees.

Vampire forces are reeling. As Linq and Ray race to the royal estate to rendezvous with Cassandra and Daniel, the princess is captured and Daniel falls.

With the fate of world shifting to their teenage shoulders, Linq and Ray must deal with tremendous losses while battling a most unexpected—and undeadly—new foe.

 This tour wouldn’t be possible without the time and efforts of a very special group of people, beginning with Silvia and Franny at Dark Mind Book Tours and including everyone on the list below. Please show your support by stopping by, commenting, and spreading the word!

Tour Schedule:

September 10th
Darkest Sins / Book Trailer Reveal

September 11th
GraveTells / Chapter 1

September 12th
Mind Reader / Chapter 2

September 13th
Fictional Candy / Chapter 3

September 14th
Words In Sync / Chapter 4

September 17th
Chapter By Chapter / Chapter 5, Part 1

September 18th
Picked By Poison / Chapter 5, Part 2

September 19th
Reader Girls / Chapter 6, Part 1

September 20th
What's Beyond Forks? / Chapter 6, Part 2

September 21st
Sweet Southern Home / Chapter 7

September 24th
TToria / Chapter 8

September 25th
Kindle and Me / Chapter 9

September 26th
S.M. Boyce's Blog / Chapter 10

September 27th
Happy Tails and Tales / Chapter 11

September 28th
Darkest Sins / Reviews

I hope you enjoy Vaempires: Zombie Rising!


Chapter 3

A white flame of agony raced along Linq’s veins, blistering his core and scorching his extremities. A long, agonized wail exploded from him as every inch of his body burned.

Linq’s knees gave out, but he remained upright, locked in the væmpire’s iron grip. Time slowed to a crawl as the beast fed on Linq’s lifeblood. Linq could feel himself becoming less there. Second by second, sip by sip, he was being rendered into a lesser version of himself.

If the væmpire had been a Reader, Linq would’ve been powerless to stop the man from draining his every thought and memory, leaving him a mindless, dried-out husk. Væmpires claimed such a thing wasn’t possible—hell, they had denied that Reading itself was possible until Vielyn had revealed the truth in such an irrefutable, terrible fashion a year or so earlier—but Linq along with a handful of others knew otherwise.

Of course, having his mind emptied might not be so bad. At least he wouldn’t remember the pain when it was over.

If he survived.

Linq prayed for the ordeal to end, although he didn’t know how it could. He was defenseless. His instincts told him that Ray couldn’t help.

The torture continued as Linq’s body transformed into a supernova of pain. He was being burned alive.

Thanks to a steady diet of synth-blood, today’s vampires were able to withstand the rays of the sun. But it hadn’t been that long ago—a few generations, no more—that exposure to the sun had ensured a vampire a slow, painful death by vaporization. Linq couldn’t imagine it hurting worse than this.

His screams had died down to low whimpers. He didn’t have the energy to do more. He would’ve cried if the tears would come, but his body felt devoid of moisture. Everything of use was being pulled from his veins.

His captor drank deeply and greedily, as if trying to suck the marrow from Linq’s bones. The embrace tightened, crushing Linq further—whether because Linq was weaker or because the beast was growing stronger, Linq couldn’t guess. He could only suffer in a world of blood and fire.

His vision dimmed. His other senses dulled. He felt something inside slipping away. A familiar sound floated in, a slow buzz that started low and got louder. It drew closer, becoming more of a high-pitched whine, before terminating in a wet splash.

The væmpire jerked, yanking his fangs from Linq’s neck and tearing away a large chunk of flesh in the process.

The pain was intense, but nothing compared to the agony of being fed upon.

Linq’s limbs couldn’t support his weight. He collapsed to the floor in a heap, his head striking the sidewalk hard enough for him to see double.

The væmpire landed beside him, reeking of scorched flesh and burnt body fluids. Linq heard the man try to rise and fail before writhing in place while making small choking sounds.

Footsteps approached. Linq tried to stand and couldn’t. He was easy prey, but he was determined to fight on anyway. He waved a hand toward the sound, willing his vision to clear.

Wet, fleshy pops ended the væmpire’s choking sounds, and then Ray was there, brushing Linq’s feeble blows aside. “Do you mind pointing those things somewhere else?” Ray said.

He lifted Linq’s head into his lap, hissing between his teeth when he saw the damage the væmpire had caused. He fumbled in a pocket. Removing a synth-pak, he tore the top off and pressed it to Linq’s lips.

“Drink,” he ordered, squeezing the liquid into Linq’s mouth quicker than the teen could swallow. Linq choked, but only for a second, his need overriding the involuntary response.

The synth-blood wasn’t quite a magic elixir, but it was close. It was the sweetest, most satisfying thing he had ever tasted. The tremendous pain receded as Linq’s body fought to repair the damage.

“Jesus, I can’t take you anywhere,” Ray joked, the timbre of his voice betraying his concern.

Linq would’ve smiled if he had the strength.

“I think you’d better drink another one,” Ray said, digging in his pocket. He’d just snagged the synth-pak when he stiffened, cursing under his breath.

“Linq, buddy, I’ve got to put you down,” he said. “There’s more of them coming.”

Moving with quick, albeit cautious, motions, he shifted Linq’s head from his lap to the sidewalk. Linq grimaced as pain flared in his gaping neck wound.

Ray placed the synth-pak in Linq’s hand and folded his fingers around it. “Drink this if you can, but whatever you do, don’t try to get up.”

Linq looked through slitted eyelids as Ray laid the rifle across his midsection. “The charge is almost out, but there’s a shot or two left for an emergency.”

And then the blond teen was gone.

Linq heard the sounds of battle and realized that his friend was in a terrible position. Not only was Ray fighting alone, probably outnumbered, but he also faced the added complication of trying to fight while keeping the enemy away from Linq’s supine form.

An impossible task for one lone teen.

Yet even so, it seemed so far away. Of minor importance, really, when measured against Linq’s condition. If he could sleep—if only for a few minutes—he might feel otherwise. Linq couldn’t do anything when he was this tired. He couldn’t drink the synth-blood. He couldn’t raise his head. He sure as hell couldn’t help his friend. He closed his eyes, drifting into semiconsciousness.

The rifle clattered to the sidewalk, waking him.

For a second, panic blinded him. He took a deep breath and cold logic prevailed. He didn’t know how long he’d been out, but he still heard fighting. Relief washed over him, accompanied by a strong undercurrent of shame. How could he abandon Ray?

Guilt spurred Linq into action. He sat up, reeling from waves of nausea. Placing one hand on the rough sidewalk to steady himself, he took the synth-pak in his teeth and ripped it open. He drained the contents and tossed it aside.

He felt better. It may have been more mental than physical, but it was real, nevertheless. Climbing to his feet, he turned to see that Ray was battling two newcomers near the corner of the building, some thirty yards away. The men had to be brothers. Both were squat, with olive skin, thin mustaches, and thick black hair. They were dressed in bloodstained tuxedos with old-fashioned bowties; they must’ve been attending an exclusive gathering related to Cassandra’s birthday, because no one in Orion would’ve scheduled a wedding that competed with the royal celebration.

Ray’s back was to Linq. It was also to the tattooed bruiser Ray had battled earlier. The bruiser was stretched out across the sidewalk, as if dead. He certainly looked dead, with his head hanging off the curb and his chest a bloody mess.

Only he wasn’t dead. Ray had put him down, but not out. As Linq watched, the væmpire pulled himself together, lifting his head out of the gutter and rising to a knee like an athlete offering a pre-game prayer.

Linq wanted to shout out a warning, but his tongue refused to work. He headed toward the fray, stumbling from moving too fast, nearly falling but remaining upright. Ray was oblivious to the bruiser. He had his hands full with the tuxedo brothers, whose combined girth was proving difficult to overcome.

The tattooed bruiser climbed to his feet as the blond teen eviscerated one of the brothers. When Ray stepped back to avoid the innards spilling to the sidewalk, the bruiser raised a six-fingered claw and lurched forward.

Linq, sensing that the brute’s claws were headed for Ray’s neck, willed his body to respond faster. Adrenaline surged.

He got there before the væmpire struck, burying his claws between the bruiser’s shoulder blades. With a war cry that emerged as a croak, Linq wrapped his fist around the spongy spinal column and yanked his arm back with surprising savage strength.

The bruiser straightened up as if electrified, his spine exploding from his back with the sound of wet fabric being torn. Tissue and bone splattered Linq’s face and shirt, landing in his open mouth.

Linq spit, trying not to vomit, as the bruiser flopped to the ground no more than a few feet from where he’d previously lain. He wouldn’t be getting up again.

Ray beheaded the remaining tuxedo brother. He turned, taking in Linq’s handiwork and raising an eyebrow at the mess still dangling from Linq’s hand. “You’re not thinking about keeping that, are you?”

Linq tossed it aside with a disgusted face. Thinking about it made his stomach churn. Plus, the adrenaline rush was already fading. “Let’s get out of here before any more—”

The sound of approaching feet cut him off.

Linq and Ray whirled to face the new threat, as a woman barreled around the corner. Something—the bodies or the boys—brought her up short and she froze, wide eyes taking in the scene before her.

Either teen could’ve swept in and ended her life in less than a heartbeat. However, despite the horrors of the day, they were still far from hardened killers.

The dark-haired væmpire looked at Linq, mouth open as she took in quick, shallow breaths. He read panic and fear in her burgundy eyes. Her heartbeat sounded like rapid thunder. He stifled the urge to reassure her that everything was going to be okay. For a second or two, they weren’t potential combatants; they were a teenage boy and a twenty-something woman standing a few feet apart.

With dead bodies cooling on the sidewalk between them.

“You,” the woman semi-whispered, before starting over. “You killed them.”

The horror in her voice sent a flash of guilt through Linq. A wave of indignation washed it away as he looked at the woman. What was this, some kind of trick?

“I’m sorry, what do you think happened?” he asked. “Do you think they stopped to ask for directions and things just got out of hand?” He hoped his sarcasm would shock her into a less sympathetic state.

The woman backed up a step, raising a hand to her mouth as she did. Although her body temperature had already identified her as a væmpire, the six fingers on her hand offered further confirmation that she and Linq were on opposite sides in the struggle. The fact that neither her claws nor her fangs were extended meant little to him.

The stalemate stretched on for brief seconds that felt longer. Through it, Linq remained alert for more threats closing in. A few steps away, Ray watched in silence.

The woman facing him was tall, almost as tall as Linq, and big-boned. Chin-length brown hair framed a round face that stopped somewhere south of pretty. Both her eyebrows and her nose were long and thin. The only extraordinary things about her were the burgundy eyes.

The nails on the hand covering her mouth were the same beige as the pantsuit she wore. She smelled of sweat and grime, but not blood. Likewise, while her cheeks, clothing, and hands were smeared with dirt and grease, there was no blood. It was altogether possible that she hadn’t participated in the slaughter of any vampires.

Linq chose the humane option. “Run,” he ordered the woman.

“What?” she whispered, face screwed up in confusion.

At the same time, Ray took a step toward her. “Linq—”

Linq raised a hand to halt his friend but didn’t look away from the woman. He hardened his gaze. “Run. Now.”

Her face a mask of skepticism and fear, the woman did as she was told. Without a word, she raced back up Eighty-Sixth Street in the direction she’d come from. Ray sighed. “Do you think that was wise?”

Linq considered the question. Just because the woman hadn’t killed anyone yet didn’t mean she wouldn’t. He thought of all the dead they’d encountered so far—Ray’s family among them. His own family was missing, and if he was honest, probably dead, as well. It didn’t matter.

“I refuse to kill in cold blood.”

Normally, Ray would’ve jumped on the opportunity to make a joke out of Linq’s choice of words. Instead, he stared down at the ground for a few moments, lost in thought. Just as Linq began to worry, Ray looked up and clapped a hand to Linq’s muscular shoulder. “I don’t know if that’s a luxury we’ll be able to afford for much longer.”

Ray gazed toward the royal estate as Linq fumbled for a reply. “I hope Daniel and Cassie are okay,” Linq said, his voice thick with emotion. “If we don’t get to the palace soon, I fear we’re going to lose them, too.”

About the Author
Thomas Winship was born in Middletown, NY (USA) and still resides in Orange County. He holds an MBA in Management from St. Thomas Aquinas College, where he serves as MBA Director and adjunct professor of courses in English Composition, Communications, and Business. He also spent fifteen years working for a global pharmaceutical company, specializing in organizational development, talent management, and training.
Tom writes in his spare time. His first novel, a mystery/legal thriller entitled Temporary Insanity (a.k.a. Case Closed), was a 2008 finalist in a national contest but failed to garner industry attention. His second novel, Væmpires: Revolution, was published in October and a follow-up novella, Væmpires: White Christmas, was published in December.
He is an avid collector of books, comic books, music, and movies. His interests are diverse: on any given day, Tom is likely to be found watching a horror movie, attending a hard rock concert, or enjoying a Broadway show.   
He is currently working on the next installment of the “Væmpires” series, which is scheduled for a 2012 release.

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