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Patti Larsen is one of the hardest working writers I know. The woman is quickly building an empire; she is legend. I interviewed her here, so I thought it might be fun to post an excerpt from the heart-pounding first novel in her The Hunted series. To reiterate from what I discussed on the first day of Creepfest, Run is the kind of horror that makes you hyperventilate and start at strange shadows in the corner. In this series, Patti takes you on a wild and amazing ride, so fasten your seat belts and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times. Enjoy!
Excerpt of RUN, book one of The Hunted series
From author Patti Larsen: I’m afraid of the dark. Mostly because of my overactive imagination. And while this is a truth in my life, for some reason my muse insists on sending me scary stuff to write.
The following is an excerpt taken from my young adult thriller series, The Hunted. In book one, RUN, sixteen-year-old Reid has been kidnapped and dumped in the wilderness. A foster kid with only his sister to miss him, he learns his purpose–he, and other kids like him, is prey. Reid must run or die.
Reid encounters a pair of normal men, hunters themselves, but oblivious to those who are trying to kill him. Unsure if they are friends or not, he tries to tell them what’s happening.
Reid is about to run off when he hears it. The howl dissolves his hope, strips away his new found plan of escape and reduces him to a tearful child all over again.
When the last echo of it fades, Reid can barely breathe or stand. His knees quiver so much he is sure he will collapse at any moment. He won’t survive another call, his heart will quit. He looks up and into Mustache’s face. The man is very pale, brown eyes almost blotted out by his pupils, swollen by his own fear.
“What the hell was that?”
“I told you,” Reid whispers. “The hunters.”
Scar is next to them in an instant, voice low and deep, his urgency a cloud that envelops them all. “I’ve never heard anything like that before.”
“Me either.” Mustache chews on his namesake, eyes scanning the trees. “Damn it, we can’t just leave.”
Scar nods. “I’m not running.”
Both men exchange a look before Mustache turns to Reid.
“Come on, kid,” he says. “Let’s go see what all the fuss is about.” His words are confident, but Reid hears the quaver in them. Both men move forward in the gloom.
He can’t go with them. It’s the last place on earth he can go. His feet are lead, legs locked in place. Every nerve and fiber of his body begs him to run the other way. But he only heard one howl, one voice. For all Reid knows, they are surrounded. If he runs, leaves the men with the guns, he could be heading right into a trap. At least with them he has their weapons to protect him.
Swallowing a giant ball of fear, Reid stumbles forward and goes with them.
“Tell us about them.” Scar stays close, eyes never resting anywhere for long.
“They’re fast,” Reid says, flinching from the memory of them.
“They move like ghosts. I’ve never seen anything so fast.”
“But they’re men,” Mustache says.
Reid’s breathing tightens, his chest constricting. “They look like men.”
Scar’s hands adjust on his gun. “Well, we’re ex special forces, kid,” he says. “And nothing is faster than us.”
Reid doesn’t say anything. He can’t. It won’t do any good anyway. They are wrong. He watches them move and he knows in his heart the hunters are faster. But are they quicker than a bullet? Reid does his best to ignore the fact both men are criminals, illegal game poachers. He doesn’t care. As long as they kill the hunters, they can shoot whatever the hell they want.
He considers asking them about rescuing the other kids and for the first time Reid actually lets himself wonder how many of them are out there and how many have already died at the hands of the black-dressed men. Lucy’s beautiful face flashes in his head, but he forces her aside. When the hunters are killed, when Mustache and Scar show him the black-clad men can die just like anyone else, Reid will worry about the rest. But not until then.
Yet again he thinks about running for the fence. But by then they are deep into the forest, almost to the clearing. Reid feels a chill run up his spine. He holds back a little as the two camo-clad men move ahead of him, rifles ready. They go quietly, smooth movers themselves, rubber-soled boots barely making a sound on the littered path. Scar is the deadlier of the two in Reid’s opinion, all sinew and cat-like grace. He feels his confidence rise. Maybe the men are right after all. They certainly look deadly to Reid.
Until he sees a flash of black in the trees and his heart stops beating. He can’t breathe or call out and can only watch in horror as the three hunters drift around his salvation like spiders on a web.
Reid knows it is a trap before the men even notice the hunters are there. But again he is unable to act. Words freeze to the inside of his throat, his blood sluggish in his veins as his whole body sinks into shock.
Mustache finally spots the first hunter and spins, weapon ready, but too late. Reid doesn’t even have the power to flinch as a shower of fine blood droplets arcs out from the man’s throat. Mustache gurgles, weapon dropping to his side, suspended from the thick leather strap, swinging like a pendulum. Both of his gloved hands clutching at the arterial spray coating the nearby trees with red.
Mustache half turns, knees buckling under him in a death dance, graceful as he falls. His eyes meet Reid’s, more blood squirting out between his desperate fingers. The second blow is even faster than the first. Bile surges to Reid’s throat when the hunter severs the man’s head and sends it flying, spinning, spraying blood in a colorful arc. It lands at Reid’s feet, sending more blood up and outward, the weight of the head rolling over to halt face up. Those brown eyes stare into his, the mustache dripping crimson into the dirt.
Scar has only a moment to shout, “Rich!” and raise his own rifle before his left leg is severed in one slice. His mouth gapes wide, the scar on his cheek pure white against his skin from the pressure of his fallen jaw as he looks down at his missing limb, nothing below his knee but air. The cut is so clean he is in perfect balance for a long moment, as though suspended by fine wire, a marionette gushing blood onto the ground. He topples in slow motion, gun swinging around. He fires one shot, another, but they go off into the forest, harmless.
A hunter appears at his side, oozing close as he hits the dirt. Scar is rolled over onto his back in one smooth motion. The hunter’s hand rises over the fallen man’s abdomen.
Reid’s sanity begs him to run, to get away and not watch, but he can’t help himself or them. The first hunter bends over Mustache and together they slice downward, gutting both of the men in synch.
This is enough at last. Reid’s feet are working again, his blood pumping. He turns and dashes into the forest, back on his original path, a new image there to replace the one of the dead boy.
Mustache gapes at Reid in his mind, the severed head his memory’s new companion as he runs for his life.
You can find RUN on Amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble, the iBookstore and on Smashwords.
About the Author: Patti Larsen is a middle grade, young adult and adult author with a passion for the paranormal. Her YA thriller series, The Hunted, is available now. Books one and two of The Hayle Coven series, Family Magic and Witch hunt are also out now, with the sequels, Demon Child and The Wild, due in December of this year. She is a full time writer and a part time teacher of her Get Your Book Done program. Patti lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband and four massive cats.
You can find her:
Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!
Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:
Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.
Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)
Like my Facebook Fan page.
Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.
Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.
Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.
That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.
Spread the word! The more the merrier 🙂