Book Tour: Legion of Bats by Shadow Stephens

16 April 2012

I haven't gotten the chance to read this book, although the cover alone is enough to make me want to pick it up. Here a little excerpt for you all:)

Zoe Masterson sat on a merry-go-round in the Tanner Elementary School yard. A slight breeze gently blew her hair, and she used her feet to push herself around as her mind flashed to recent events.

Hearing brutal fights coming from the Conrad house were the norm to Zoe. Their last fight wasn’t held behind closed doors. The Fourth of July should be a happy, festive holiday, but Judy Conrad made the mistake of telling her husband she wanted to stay when he told her they were leaving the town party. That day, Zoe had watched in horror at the violence the man displayed, hoping this would be her last encounter with the Conrad’s, but in a town of three hundred people it was impossible. That Fourth of July the entire town witnessed Mrs. Conrad’s head slam into a paper plate full of food. Partygoers were sprayed with bits of coleslaw and hot dog toppings. As her head came up, catsup and other bits of food dripped down her face. She glared at her husband. The look said she would love nothing more than to return the favor.

Tonight played out differently. Zoe threw on a hoodie to protect herself against the chill, left her apartment to get a pop at the Town Mart. Walking along the road she could hear the screams from inside the Conrad house. Nobody in the neighborhood wants to get involved, but somebody should, she thought as she passed by.

Zoe stopped in the middle of the road and watched the house. A desire to help the poor woman burned inside her. That would only guarantee trouble for me, Zoe thought again then stuffed her hands in the front pocket of the hoodie. As soon as the house burst into flames she ran. It went up so fast it was like the sun had descended from the sky.

Residents of Tanner had a long history of blaming Zoe for anything that went wrong. She knew it wouldn’t take long for all the fingers in town to point to her as an arsonist. They didn’t like her, and she loathed them. Zoe spun the merry-go-round slowly. Her mind filled with tortured cries as Andrew Conrad burned. “I didn’t start the fire. I just walked by the Conrad house. So much for minding my own business,” she muttered to herself, looking up to the cloudy black sky. “I should’ve just stayed home. Wonder how long it’ll take the sheriff to find me?” It was true, she didn’t like Mr. Conrad, but that didn’t mean she torched the place.

Her feet continued pushing the wheel around. As she passed by the wooded area that lined the playground, three men in black suits were walking slowly toward her. They approached like she was a danger to them, not the other way around. Not waiting to see who they were, she sprang to her feet and ran as fast as she could. Footsteps echoed behind her as the footfalls splattered in puddles left from the rain earlier in the day. Running was not Zoe’s forte, and her pursuers were gaining on her. This wasn’t what she expected at all. She knew the local sheriff would be looking for her, but these men looked like federal agents. Fear seized her mind as she struggled to keep her footing.

She heard a loud snap, followed by a groan, and turned to see what happened. One of the men dodged as a large branch from an oak tree plummeted to the ground, hitting his arm. Zoe’s toes caught on a tree root, and she tumbled forward, rolling down a slight embankment. A hand scraped across her arm as one of the men failed to hold onto her.

Zoe forced her feet back to the ground, propelling her body forward. Taking a detour through the outbuildings of the school, she hoped to lose the men. She rounded the main building and took off for the open field. Glancing once to see if the men were far behind her, she smiled—no one was in sight. Zoe kept running with hope of escape. She pushed forward across a small bridge as fast as she could, but the notion of outrunning her pursuers vanished when one of the men hit her back full force. The air in her lungs came out in one gush. He wrapped his legs around her as they both fell to the ground, muddy water splashed all around them. The man slapped her in handcuffs and yanked her off the ground. As he pulled her to her feet, his long, blond hair came loose of his ponytail.

Thick mud dripped from the front of Zoe, and her long, black hair fell in a tangled, lumpy mess around her face. Unable to wipe the mud away she shook it off, mud flying in every direction. The men ducked to avoid the shower, but they couldn’t keep from being splattered. The blond man who captured her tightly gripped her cuffed wrists and pulled her in the direction he wanted to walk. Zoe cried out as pain shot through her wrists. The dark haired pursuer decked the man who had jerked her up then pushed him to the ground.

“I’ll take her from here, Helsen,” he snarled.

As they led her to the car it seemed as if the entire town gathered to see the spectacle. Whispers spread as she walked by. Zoe held her head high, ignoring them, determined they would not get to her.

Judy Conrad pointed at Zoe and cried out, “She killed my husband!”

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