Dead World 3: Crimson
ORIGINAL PUBLICATION: Tor Books • November 2009
Dead World 3
Mass Market Paperback–OUT OF PRINT
– Lynn Viehl, New York Times bestselling author
On the run from the law, Gina “Red” Santiago and Sheriff Morgan Hunter search for the proof needed to clear their names. Unfortunately, the danger doesn’t just lie in No-Man’s-Land. Someone close to them is about to betray them for the Other blood running through their veins.
Politician Roark Montgomery is desperate. It’s the eve of the election and he still hasn’t found the fugitives. If the information Red and Morgan have gets out to the public, it’ll destroy his career. Roark will use every resource at his disposal, even if that means bargaining with a traitor.
With enemies all around, Morgan and Red’s only option is to face the assault head on. It won’t be easy, but they know two things Roark doesn’t: Love is worth dying for. And it’s never smart to corner a hungry wolf.
AVAILABLE IN PRINT AND EBOOK!
The Dead World Series — The Story Behind the Story
This whole series started with one simple question: What if Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf turned out to be the same person?
At the time I asked the question, I had no idea the book would be set in a near-future, post-apocalyptic world. I just kept playing with the question in my mind and eventually Red appeared. I knew once I started writing her story that I wasn’t creating a typical shape-shifter book. The world I created isn’t based on magic or fantasy. It has its roots in science, while embracing the fairytale. On the outside, the world appears perfect, but upon deeper inspection cracks become visible. The cracks are dangerous enough to crumble the utopian society.
‘Nothing is at it appears’ is a theme that runs through many of my books. The Dead World series is no exception.
What People Are Saying About The Book:
Jordan Summers did an excellent job of providing just enough back-story to ensure that any reader can enjoy this dark, yet still romantic tale. If you like stories set in worlds unknown, plenty of characters with bite, and enough adventure and danger to make your pulse race, you should get a copy of CRIMSON today.
Lori Ann, Romance Reviews Today
This is the second book I have read in the Dead World series and have been pleasantly surprised with the outcome. As a big fan of the paranormal genre, I find myself reading these futuristic novels from time to time, but they are usually not my first choice. But with this series, I find myself more inclined to give them equal reading time. If this is your niche, be sure to check out RED, the first book of Dead World series.
Reviewed by Lori Sears
The Romance Reader’s Connection, Rating: 4
The third strong post apocalyptic science fiction thriller (see RED and SCARLET) CRIMSON continues the deadly trek in the world of Jordon Summers; this time the journey is into the dead zone of a depleted planet earth. The lead couple is terrific as survival depends in the short run of kill or be killed while in the long run they need to find proof of their innocence before the evil villainous Rourke finds them. Although it helps to read the previous two novels to better understand how devastated the planet is by 2160 due to the pandemic environmental disaster of the early previous century and what has happened to America now divided into independent republics, it is not necessary as CRIMSON stands alone although it also adds to the overall theme of a super saga.
Harriet Klausner, The Merry Genre Go Round Reviews
Read an Excerpt (unedited)
Gina “Red” Santiago crawled out of the dark tunnel straight into the jaws of hell. The hot fetid breath of the desert hit her in the face as something growled near her ear. The hair on the back of Red’s neck stood on end.
Not bad enough that she’d been framed for murder, now she’d have to contend with being eaten alive.
The rumbling growl deepened.
Red gulped and glanced over her shoulder at the men coming out of the tunnel behind her. “Morgan?”
“Don’t move,” he said.
Morgan Hunter and Demery Wilson’s gazes were fixed on something to her left. Red’s heart stammered in her chest, as she forced herself to look at what held their attention.
Please don’t let it be a bear.
A large canid stood a few feet from her. It dipped its head and bared its teeth. Drool hung from its bottom jaw in long, liquid strings that dropped onto the sand. He was big, but he was alone. Thank goodness! Red’s relief was short-lived, as a mixed pack of canids poured over the dunes on silent feet and quickly surrounded them.
“Dung,” she muttered under her breath.
“It’s okay.” Morgan squeezed her hand, but didn’t look at her. “I’ve got this.” He rose to his feet and peeled his clothes off. His movements were deceptively unhurried.
The canid beside Red took a step back to assess the new threat.
She did a quick head count. “There are too many.”
Demery came out of the tunnel and immediately took up position on her other side, so Red was sandwiched between the two of them. He pulled his dreadlocks back and secured them at his nape. As he stared at the circling pack, his dark chocolate-colored eyes took on a red glow and fangs pushed past his blunt teeth.
Without the ability to shape-shift, Red went for the only weapon she possessed—her laser pistol. Morgan stilled her hand before she could withdraw the weapon from its holster.
“Too noisy and far too visible at night,” he said. “We don’t want to give away our position.”
Red’s hands clenched into tight fists and her face flushed. They’d removed their indenti-chips so the satellites couldn’t track them, then she, Morgan, and Demery had slipped across the boundary fence that divided the republics from the lawless area known as no-man’s-land. Thus far, they’d evaded Roark Montgomery and the International Police Tactical Team, but one blast from her laser pistol would change that.
She cursed under her breath at her own carelessness. Red knew better than any of them how IPTT operated. As an officer with the tactical team, it had been her job to enforce the rules.
But there were no rules in no-man’s-land. Here her tactical team training was all but useless.
The largest canid, a coyote hybrid of some kind, stilled, sensing a change in its prey. Something in the canine’s bloodline had given it added size and darker coloring from the rest. It watched them for a few seconds, then yipped excitedly. The sound spurred the whole pack. Soon they were all barking, baying, and yipping.
* * * * *
Morgan watched the alpha break away from the pack. Things were about to get bloody. He’d already identified the animal as the leader. Alphas always recognized other alphas. The canine moved in for attack.
He didn’t want to hurt it if he could help it. The beast was fighting for its pack’s survival. Morgan knew a thing or two about that, but he was fighting for more than survival. He was fighting for his mate. He glanced at Gina.
The warmth and assurance he saw in her hazel eyes fueled his conviction. “Let’s do this,” he said.
Blood painted the sand crimson as Morgan’s bones snapped and his muscles reshaped. He fell to his knees and coughed. His blunt teeth tumbled out of his mouth onto the ground, before quickly being replaced with razor sharp canines. Morgan’s hair and skin thickened over his vital organs and talons sprouted from his fingertips. He let out a pained scream that fractured into a howl, as he became more wolf than man.
The second the change was complete, Morgan took off toward the alpha, ignoring the rest of the pack. If he could take down the leader, the others would fall. He was counting on Demery to protect Gina no matter the outcome of the fight.
Morgan tackled the alpha. The impact sent them tumbling end over end. Sand flew everywhere. The moment they stopped, Morgan lunged for the canid’s ruff. Before he could latch on, the hybrid struggled free and leapt to its feet. Its big head whipped around with surprising speed and its powerful jaws caught Morgan’s arm.
Blood welled in the beast’s mouth and it shook its head, attempting to tear off the limb.
Morgan cried out and clamped down on the canine’s ear.
The animal yelped, releasing him in the process and jerked its head away. Blood ran down the side of its face as it licked the bits of flesh from its teeth. The fur on its back rose higher and its tail stiffened, then the animal attacked again.
This time Morgan was ready for it. He felt the impact and allowed it to carry him over so he could roll the canine beneath him. Morgan grabbed hold of the alpha’s throat and sunk his sharp teeth into its neck.
Blood poured into his mouth. The coppery aroma filled his lungs, making him…hungry. Despite his instant revulsion, Morgan swallowed the warm, tempting liquid. The sweet taste hit his system like a laser blast to the gut. A sharp rush of power followed it.
The feeling spread through him until his body trembled from the onslaught. Morgan clamped down on the animal’s throat even harder. The alpha whimpered beneath him, but Morgan didn’t care as his senses sharpened and the world around him came to life.
What was happening to him? Was this a side effect of Raphael Vega’s vampiric blood pulsing through his wolf veins or was this something else entirely?
Fear slowly replaced Morgan’s euphoria. He had lived with his wolf through war, loss, and pain. His feral nature was as natural to him as breathing. He didn’t know what he’d do if it went away. His wolf was what kept him bound to Gina. If Morgan lost that tie, then everything they’d sacrificed, everything they’d worked to protect would be for naught.
Without his wolf, who was he? What was he?
The animal stopped struggling beneath him and tucked its tail between its legs. A moment later, it exposed its abdomen in defeat. Morgan growled low and deep, then slowly released the canine. It staggered to its feet and dropped its head in submission. The pack’s excited yipping stopped. The silence that followed was unsettling.
Morgan shifted until he could stand like a man, then made eye contact with each of the animals. In turn they ducked their heads and kept their gazes averted. He threw back his head and howled. When Morgan finished, the pack scattered into the darkness. He slowly turned to face Demery, expecting to see the same submission.
The vampire’s red eyes glowed, then Demery grinned, flashing sharp fangs and deep dimples. “Way to go, wolfman,” he said, then clapped.
Some of the tension in Morgan’s body deflated, but not all. He grabbed a canteen and swished water around in his mouth before spitting it out, then he took a drink and swallowed.
“Is it over?” Gina asked.
“It’s done.” Demery glanced back at Morgan. “At least that part,” he amended. “I think I’m going to scout ahead. Be back in a few.”
Blood smeared Morgan’s body as he stared at Gina. He needed to see for himself that his mate was safe. Needed to reclaim what was his, so no one and nothing could ever take her away. Only then would he stand a chance of getting his beast under control.
* * * * *
Red watched Morgan’s body contort. When it finished, the man she loved was standing before her naked.
“Come here.” His guttural voice raked the air, scoring the night.