Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Urban
Can the Undead Unit resist the call of the Siren?
Singer/songwriter Briona Solis is one of the top musicians in the world. Her voice is acclaimed as the most radiant on the planet, and she has a gorgeous figure to match. When her band Solace books a two-week tour in Dallas, shows are sold out.
Kirsten Wagner is found in a deserted alley just minutes away from the concert. She’s in shock and barely alive; her eyes have been removed with surgical precision. The team struggles to gather information on their case, hoping to prevent another assault.
And Kirsten isn’t the only one. Each night brings a new victim. The Undead Unit must race against time to catch the perpetrator. Will they be able to resist the call of the Siren, or will these cases go unsolved forever?
The woman awoke slowly, her mind awash in a drug-induced haze. There was an unpleasant smell she couldn’t quite identify, but the scent reminded her of the sanitized odor lingering in hospital hallways. She did not know where she was, or how she’d gotten there. The last thing she could remember was the concert. Briona Solis was her all-time favorite singer, and she’d saved money out of her paychecks for six months to purchase the ticket. But—where was she now?
Even though her entire body was shaking, she resisted the urge to open her eyes, and just… listened. There was the impression of being in a huge space; though she heard nothing other than her own breathing, she was certain her voice would echo if she spoke. The floor beneath her felt hard and cool, and she brushed her fingers against it in an imperceptible movement. It was almost perfectly smooth, though it had minute bumps and pits. Concrete, she realized. I’m on a concrete floor. Before she could ponder the reason she was lying on the floor, she faded into unconsciousness once more.
The next time she woke, Kirsten’s mind was a little clearer, though she still did not understand why she wasn’t safe in her home, where she ought to be. At least, she assumed she’d gone home after the concert. She went alone and had no conscious plans to go anywhere else. Kirsten wanted to rest all day Sunday because she had to work early Monday morning. Oh, good, I’ve remembered my name, at least. The woman had the sense of time having passed and guessed she’d been lying there for quite a while. Experimentally, she moved her arms and legs, wondering if she was tied or otherwise restrained. But her limbs moved freely, albeit with the tingling sensation of pins and needles, as if the circulation had been rudely cut off.
“Hello?” Her voice was raw and scratchy, more than likely due to screaming and cheering at the concert. I did go to the concert, didn’t I? She wondered. After a moment, she decided that she must have; Kirsten could clearly remember what her beloved music star wore during the show. “Is there anybody there?” There was only silence. Kirsten waited several more minutes before deciding to open her eyes.
Why is it still dark? And, why did her eyes feel so—empty and hollow? She tried to blink, thinking perhaps her eyes were just dry, but she couldn’t tell if her eyelids were working right. Tentatively, she reached trembling fingers to her face. The woman felt the wetness on her cheeks and wondered if she’d been weeping. Kirsten didn’t feel sad, so why would she have been crying? Her hands roamed up her face, and a deep fear surged through her, chilling her to the bone. Again, she tried to blink, but then just closed her eyes so she didn’t poke them with her own fingers in the darkness.
It took several moments before her brain comprehended what she felt with her fingertips. The soft skin under the fluff of her eyebrows, the tiny, stiff hairs of eyelashes, the contours of the bones under her eyes. But, under the loose flaps of skin still painted with makeup, where her eyes should have been, she felt only a hollow emptiness. The eyes were missing. Kirsten began to scream, and she couldn’t stop.
About the Author
Markie Madden was born August 19, 1975, in Midland, Texas. She grew up in the small town of Flushing, Michigan. While in high school, she took creative writing and was a photographer for the school newspaper. In 1993, she won the National Quill and Scroll Society award for best photo in a high school paper. She began writing her first novel, Once Upon a Western Way, while still attending school.
Markie is now married with two teenage daughters, two rescue dogs, and her horse, Athena, who is featured on the cover of her horse care guide, Keeping a Backyard Horse. She tried many times over the years to publish her novel, first on her own, and then hiring a literary agent, all without success. In early 2012, after getting her first smart phone and e-reader application, Nook, she discovered the world of self-publishing through a website called Smashwords. She finally published Once Upon a Western Way through this distributor in April, 2012.
By December of 2014, Markie was the successful publisher of three books, her first published work, Once Upon a Western Way, now available in print as well as e-format, as well as a self-help guide to horse care, Keeping a Backyard Horse, available in print and e-format, and her cancer memoir, My Butterfly Cancer, available in print, e-format, and audio-book.
In 2015, Markie enrolled in the world-wide National Novel Writing Month, a challenge to writers everywhere to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days, in the month of November. On November 25, 2015, she crossed the threshold, exceeding her word count goal of 50,000 words. She is a winner of National Novel Writing Month. Her winning NaNoWriMo novel, Souls of the Reaper, was released in March of 2016.
Currently, Markie lives in the small town of Fisk, Missouri, with her family, her dogs, and her horse. She is still writing and is working on her crime/paranormal series called The Undead Unit Series. Book one of the series, Fang and Claw, and book two, Souls of the Reaper, are now available. Book number three, Blood Lust, is due to release in the fall of 2016. Book four, Siren Song, was her Nano 2016 novel and was released in February of 2017. She is also working on something entirely new for her, a historical series called the Pharaoh Queens Series, set in ancient Egypt. The first book is The Pharaoh’s Destiny, is due for release in July of 2017. She is also developing a political thriller called Toxic Seed.
Markie has founded Metamorph Publishing, in order to publish her own books, and she is now working with several other independent authors as well. Metamorph Publishing has released the first of an anthology series by a collaboration of women authors called Gems of Strength (Gems of Sisterhood 1). This first book in the themed Gems of Sisterhood tells the story of strong female protagonists demonstrating the strength of womankind. The second book of the series, Gems of Gratitude, was released in November 2016, and the third book, Gems of Freedom, will be available July 2017. You can find her at her website.
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