Shadows Have Gone, the third book in the End of All Things series, will be released on March 26. I'm doing a countdown during the two weeks leading up to its release with a new excerpt every day. Stop back tomorrow for something new!
Justin jumped and spun around. She was standing on the sidewalk, her scarf pulled up around her ears to ward off the chill, her hands stuffed deep in her pockets.
“Hey. I’m . . . I didn’t expect you here.”
“I guess so.” She glanced around the empty, grassy lot where the church had once stood.
They had burned the church after the last of Colby’s residents had died, victims of the plague from which they had isolated themselves until Justin and Carly’s healthy baby convinced them it was safe to open their gates. That was how they had learned they were carriers, that the Infection lingered inside of them. One day, it could mutate again and overcome their defenses. It was like living with a live grenade within, never knowing if or when the pin would be pulled.
“I wanted to know what Bryce had shown you. And I wanted to know why he asked just you to come with him.”
“Because the message was for me.” He rubbed a hand over his face and dropped it down to his side. “It’s Lewis, Carly. I know it. He won’t stop until he gets what he wants.”
A chill gust of wind swept up her hair and tangled it in the air. “What does he want?”
“He says just to talk to me, but I am pretty skeptical to say the least. I know him too well. He didn’t come after me just for a chat.”
“We’ve got to decide what we’re going to do.”
“I know.” Justin shoved his hands in his jacket pockets, not because of the chill but to hide the fists they clenched into. “I don’t know if I can fight him, Carly.”
She nodded. “Maybe you can’t, but I can.”
“Carly, he would—”
“He would what? I said I wasn’t going to let anyone destroy what we’ve built here, and that includes Lewis. I know you’ve built him up in your mind until he has this almost mythological status, but he’s just a man, Justin. And like any man, he has weaknesses that can be exploited. I’d guess in his case it’s overconfidence, since he’s managed to convince the people around him he’s damn near invincible. Am I right?”
Justin chuckled. “You just may be.”
She tilted her chin up. “Well, people tend to underestimate me. I can use that, too.”
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