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Cost of Survival, Book #1
Anger isn’t an emotion anymore, it’s more of a survival mode I can’t afford to let go.
My dad predicted World War III would happen in his life, but he died two years before… with my brother…
…before Mom and I walked in search of refuge from the bombing.
Strengthened by her faith, Mom never feels alone. But me? I don’t know what to believe or where to turn. Someone once said keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but I disagree. Friends scare me the most. They know me and my mom. Nothing about them is safe.
The ones in charge… Control everything…
Crud, I’ve started crying because I’m scared I won’t survive World War III. But a bigger part of me is scared I will.
My mom is bleeding in my arms and she’s making me promise to follow her three rules.
Running for my life and six months pregnant, I’m terrified but confident in my decisions.With my love and family behind me, captured by the same man who chases me, I have only a small window to find help. The baby needs to come out eventually.Nobody said the end of the world would define people so much. Everywhere I turn I have to prove my worth.Mom was gone before I learned my value lay in my eyes. Not others.
But how would that save Bodey? How could my worth change how the world me spins?If I can’t figure it out, everyone I love will die, trapped in a place where even following the rules won’t protect us.
If karma had been a true belief of mine, I would be comfortable knowing I’d shot that guy.
Those men had been about to do something even more horrible than kidnapping and beating my mom and karma had come along and taken my accidental shot and shoved the bullet into a leg.
If I believed karma had a role, I couldn’t say I would feel too bad at that point.
I shrugged. “No, like I said, I aimed for the ground. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, only scare them, you know? Make them think I meant it?” In the movies actions like that always went well. Why couldn’t mine work?
Mom chuckled and bit into her sandwich again. I raised mine, hungry and yet still nervous all at once.
“Your first shot on a living thing is what’s bothering you. Plus, you’re so much like your dad. Let me guess, you’re wondering if that guy had deserved to be shot, right? Or maybe now that you did what you did, what’s going to happen to you?” She watched me, waiting for my answer.
I nodded, hunkering my shoulders in shame I didn’t want to feel. “I wanted to save you, but I was hoping to do it without hurting anyone.” Plus, what if they ignored Mom’s warning and they came after us? Two men against two petite-sized women? We would be screwed.
“Well, you did save me. I’m going to rely on the Old Testament’s teachings right now and hold to the practice of an eye-for-an-eye.” She paused, looking down at her sandwich and inhaling heavily. Lowering her sandwich to her lap, her gaze met mine. “Okay, I’m sorry. That’s not what I meant. I don’t want to exact revenge on anyone. I…” she picked at the seam of her pants, pinching and rolling the small amount of excess material. “You’re not ready to be on your own yet. Those men are nothing compared to what I can only imagine is out there for us to face.” She shook her head. “You’re not ready.”
“Mom, I’m stronger than you think. I promise I can handle more. You don’t need to worry about me.” How did I tell her I’d already been kissed? Kids at school teased me about still having my V-card, but that wasn’t anyone’s business. I wasn’t rolling over for just anyone. And the boys at my school were just anyone. Unless of course you count Bodey Christianson. Seriously, the boy was smart as heck and hot, too. But I didn’t count him because he didn’t go to my school technically. Did he count, if he was dead?
“Why did you leave your sleeping bag? How did those guys get you?” I played with the plastic corner of my baggie. I hadn’t asked yet because the full import of how much danger we’d been in hadn’t disappeared from my nerves.
Mom blushed. “I had to use the bathroom. I told you not to drink too much water and I almost emptied my canteen. I walked a little ways away so I wouldn’t wake you and wasn’t paying attention. Didn’t even take my gun.” She shook her head. “All that preaching about camp rules and safety and I’d abandoned every single one of them.”
About the Author
Bonnie R. Paulson mixes her science and medical background with reality and possibilities to make even myths seem likely and give every romance the genetic strength to survive. Bonnie has discovered a dark and twisty turn in her writing that she hopes you enjoy as much as she has enjoyed uncovering it. Dirt biking with her family in the Northwest keeps her sane.