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WIP-ish Wednesday: Zach’s Choice

Back before the release of Strain, I was posting regular snippets for writerly-type themed days like Seven-Sentence Sunday and whatnot, and I sort of got out of the habit of that. I thought I would try to get back into it.

Technically, Juggernaut isn’t a WIP, but I’m not going to restrict myself on those grounds. I’m just going to set Wednesday aside as a day to introduce people to characters and concepts from Juggernaut, Bane, and maybe some of my already released books they’re not familiar with.

For those of you who aren’t already aware, Juggernaut is a prequel, set roughly ten years before Strain, in which we see the events immediately preceding and following the apocalyptic pandemic from the perspective of two men who are tangentially involved in those events. For a nearly five chapter long excerpt please check out the Juggernaut product page at Riptide Publishing. (note: please read the warnings and additional details tabs and/or be advised that the excerpt may contain objectionable or triggering material.)


They helped destroy the world. Now they have to survive the new one.

For rentboy Nico Fernández, it’s a simple job: seduce a presidential advisor to help cement approval to launch Project Juggernaut. He’s done similar work for General Logan McClosky before, and manipulating people for his favorite client beats the hell out of being trafficked for slave wages in some corporate brothel.

Zach Houtman feels called to work with the most vulnerable outcasts of society. But his father, the Reverend Maurice Houtman, insists that Zach work for him instead as he runs for Senate. Zach reluctantly agrees, but is horrified to see his father leave behind Christ’s mandate of love and mercy to preach malicious zealotry and violence instead. Zach even starts to suspect his father is working with fundamentalist terrorists.

When Project Juggernaut accidentally unleashes a deadly plague that claims billions of lives, Nico and Zach are thrown together, each bearing a burden of guilt. With only each other for safety and solace, they must make their way through a new world, one where the handful of people left alive are willing to do anything—and kill anyone—to survive.

In this scene, rentboy Nico Fernandez has been sheltering in a garden shed in Zach Houtman’s backyard. Zach’s has held his zealot of a father, Maurice, off from driving Nico away at gunpoint. Now Maurice has locked Zach in and is trying to drive Nico away, and Zach is faced with a choice: does he stay and weather the post-pandemic world with his abusive father and brother, or does he risk the safety of numbers and shelter to strike out with Nico?

You can see last week’s excerpt here.

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