"Sexy, tough, and deftly sprinkled with dark humor.”—New York Times bestselling author Larissa Ione
Before the Scorpius Syndrome tore through North America and nearly wiped out the population, Vivienne Wellington was the FBI’s best profiler. The bacteria got her anyway. But she survived. She recovered. And when she woke up from a drug-nightmare of captivity, her trust in her fellow man had gone from shaky at best to nonexistent. Her mysterious rescuer wants to convince her he’s the exception. But no matter how tempting he is, with his angel’s eyes and devil’s tongue, Vinnie knows she shouldn’t trust him.
If the FBI were still around they would rate Raze Shadow as one of the bad guys. His military training can’t wipe out his association with the Mercenaries, the most feared gang in a thousand miles. His loyalties are compromised. He won’t even tell Vinnie his real name. But there’s no FBI in the new America of fear and firepower, only instinct and risk. And the way his arms wrap around her tells its own story. Whatever else Raze is concealing, he can’t hide his desire . . .
“Thrilling post-apocalyptic romance at its dark, sizzling best!” —Lara Adrian
About the Author
Rebecca Zanetti is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over forty romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, many of which have also appeared on the Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. She is a two-time RT Reviewers Choice Award winner, the recipient of the RWA Daphne du Maurier Award, a ﬁve-time Daphne du Maurier Award ﬁnalist, a PRISM Award winner, and a two-time PRISM Award ﬁnalist. Nearly a dozen of her novels have been selected as Amazon Best Romances of the Month, including Lethal Lies and Mercury Striking, which were also Amazon Best Books of the Year. Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner—only to culminate it all in stories about alpha males and the women who claim them. Please visit her online at RebeccaZanetti.com.
Read an Excerpt
By REBECCA ZANETTI
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Rebecca Zanetti
All rights reserved.
In his own mind, a sociopath is the sanest person in the room.
— Dr. Vinnie Wellington, Sociopaths
The nightmare clawed through Vinnie, ripping and gnashing until she awoke, her mouth opened in a silent scream.
Thank God. Finally, she'd been quiet. They'd had to move her quarters three times already because her night terrors scared the hell out of normal people. Now she lived in the bottom far corner of a sparsely populated residence in Vanguard territory, which was seven square blocks of relative safety in a dark world.
She leaped from the bed, her bare feet slapping ripped linoleum. Her lungs compressed and tremors shook her legs. She couldn't breathe. God, she couldn't breathe.
Bending over, she planted a hand on her chest.
She needed air.
Launching into motion, she ran through the dilapidated tenement to the creaky sliding glass door and yanked it open. Rain, cold and drizzly, cascaded inside on a burst of wind. Undaunted by the storm or the darkness outside, she pushed through weeds choking torn concrete and stumbled onto the abandoned road.
Sharp rocks and pieces of debris cut into her feet, but she paid no heed. Crossing the worn asphalt, she reached the chain-link fence protecting all seven blocks of Vanguard territory.
Her hands wrapped around the chain link near her face, and even in her panic, she remembered not to reach up to the barbed wire.
Thunder bellowed above as what was once the City of Angels gave itself over to the short but devastating rainy season. She held tight and lifted her head, allowing the rain to barrage her.
"You're early tonight." A voice, low and masculine, cut through the storm from the other side of the fence.
She blinked and stared into the darkness. The streets, abandoned to weeds, stretched in every direction across the empty, dark land. "Where are you?" she whispered.
He came into view, silent like any predator, stepping right up to the fence. "You're getting wet, Doc."
She wiped water from her eyes. "I didn't scream this time."
"I know." Raze Shadow, one of the elite Vanguard lieutenants, had rescued her from hell a week ago while on a mission.
If he hadn't heard her scream this time, was he just patrolling nearby? She shivered. "How is patrol going?"
His eyes, such a light blue as to be odd, lasered through the dark, touching on her toes and wandering up her bare legs and soaking white T-shirt to her damp face. Somehow, even in the cold and through the fence, the gaze heated her skin. "Go back inside, Vivienne."
"No." She couldn't. She just couldn't return to the nightmare and that dismal apartment. "I'm fine." Except her left foot hurt. A lot. She lifted her leg and stretched her ankle, squinting to see through the darkness.
Raze tucked an AK-47 over a shoulder, his gaze dropping to her aching foot. His shoulders straightened. "Damn it. Stay there." Long strides took him down the length of the fence until she couldn't see him any longer.
The wind whistled a lonely tune over the barren land, and somewhere in the distance, a lion roared. Probably Marvin. She hadn't seen the beast, but some of the other Vanguard residents had warned her about him. He'd escaped some zoo when the world had died from the Scorpius bacterium, and now he hunted survivors and other predators alike.
Cold blasted through her thin shirt and she trembled.
"Vivienne?" Raze gave her warning that he was near.
She turned, and he came into view on her side of the fence. "That was fast."
"Humph." He reached her in two strides. "It isn't safe out here."
"It isn't safe anywhere," she whispered.
His chest settled. "Inside."
The cold pricked over her skin and she nodded, turning. The second her damaged heel touched asphalt, the injury stung. She sucked in air.
He planted a large hand on her shoulder. "You okay?"
She stiffened. He'd taken great pains not to touch her during her one week in Vanguard territory, always remaining distant but polite. "Yes." She gritted her teeth and took another step, trying to balance on her toes.
He exhaled loudly. Shaking his head, he lifted her and pivoted toward the building. So easily.
Warmth and male surrounded her in the closest thing she'd had to protection in months. Her heart stuttered and her body softened into his strength. For the moment, safety surrounded her in the form of hard muscles. Yet Raze Shadow was nowhere near safe. "What's your real first name?" she babbled, suddenly aware of her thin T-shirt and panties. She should've worn yoga pants to bed.
"Raze." He kept his gaze straight ahead.
No. Raze was short for Razor, which was his nickname from the military because apparently he was a master with a blade. The man didn't owe her his real name, so she refrained from asking again.
His strides were long, and even holding her, he made no sound. She held herself stiff, trying not to brush against his hard body. The second she softened, she'd try to burrow right inside him, and when he rejected her, as he surely would, she'd want to cry. There was no crying after the apocalypse. "Why are you babysitting me?" she asked.
"You need babysitting." His voice was deep and dark with an inflection of power. The voice of a man in control of his environment. She'd heard the same tones from seasoned soldiers, retiring neurosurgeons, and hard-edged survivors. He carried her through the glass door and into the dingy apartment, which was such a far cry from her former condo in Boston that it wasn't even funny. "Lantern?" he asked.
"Um, on the counter?"
He moved the short distance to the L-shaped area that had once served as a kitchen, somehow able to see in the dark. The fridge was gone, the sink didn't work, and the oven now held extra socks. Once electricity had stopped flowing, kitchens for the most part had become useless.
Setting her on the chipped counter, he twisted on a halogen lantern and immediately crouched down, one broad hand wrapping around her ankle. "What the hell, woman?"
She winced. "I panicked."
"No shit." He opened the oven and drew out a pair of socks, having been the person who'd put them there in the first place when he'd helped her to move. Gently, much more gently than a man his size should be able to touch, he wiped grime and blood off her aching arch.
She tried to remain still, but tingles wandered right up her foot to her leg and then to her girly parts. Only Raze Shadow could remind her of her femininity while surrounded by such destruction.
"Seems okay — just scraped." He looked up, all intent. "We're out of antibiotics and you can't injure yourself like this."
A panic attack didn't wait for reason. "All right."
He slowly shook his head. "You need a roommate."
Not a chance. Often she awoke screaming like a banshee and she couldn't do that to another person. Even if she could find somebody willing to stay with her, which was doubtful. "Okay."
"Stop agreeing with me." His voice remained level, always in perfect control.
He sat back, still on his haunches, a shield over his expression. As usual. "You've been here a week and nobody has pushed you, but this isn't working."
She swallowed and tried to sit back. Such complete focus from him launched butterflies — the crazy wild ones — through her abdomen. "I'll be okay."
"Stop saying okay."
His eyebrows drew down. "If you talk about what haunts you, you'll get rid of the nightmares." He placed both hands over her cold knees, instantly warming her legs.
His touch sent electrical zaps through her skin and she tried to focus. "I don't want to talk about it." Hell, she didn't even remember most of her time in captivity. The president of the United States, one of the most dangerous Rippers of all, had held her captive and drugged the hell out of her. "I don't remember."
"You remember." Raze's attention didn't waver.
Yeah, but if she shared the agony of that time, she might reveal too much. "Listen. I was held captive and beaten a little bit, but that's all. In fact, although it sucked, it wasn't so bad until he used the drugs from the CIA to try to get me to cooperate." As odd as it sounded, she'd been given food during her imprisonment, which was more than most people had these days.
Raze cocked his head, just so slightly, to the side. "I saw the vials. Those kinds of drugs rarely get the desired results, so for him to shoot you up like that was crazy."
"He's a Ripper, which by definition means he's insane." The Rippers were survivors of the Scorpius bacterium whose brains had somehow been altered by the disease so they now lacked empathy. They were still humans, still capable of feelings and thoughts. However, some became serial killers ranging from crazy wild to brilliantly deadly. "How do you know so much about those kinds of drugs?" she asked.
"Training in the military." His sharply cut face didn't give anything away. As usual.
Right. She didn't want him probing into her life, so she should offer him the same courtesy, even though curiosity had always been her cross to bear. The rain droned outside, lending intimacy to the room. She cleared her throat. "Thank you for rescuing me last week, by the way."
He shook his head. "I told you to stop thanking me."
She couldn't help it. The president had planned to kill her, or worse, and her time had definitely run out. She'd never forget the sight of Raze Shadow bursting through the door of her makeshift prison to rescue her, so big and strong ... and gentle when he'd released the restraints. "I may never stop thanking you," she mused.
Amusement darkened Raze's eyes. "Any idea what President Bret Atherton wanted from you so badly?"
She hunched into herself, her gaze dropping to her knees. "No." Silence ticked around the dismal apartment. She shivered.
"For an ex-FBI shrink, you're a terrible liar." Lazy contemplation leavened his tone.
She fought another shiver, this one from something other than fear. A tension, one she barely recognized as sexual, heated the air around her. Her gaze slammed up to his face.
He continued to scrutinize her, seeming perfectly comfortable in doing so. The atmosphere shifted with the sense of male intent.
Heat rushed through her, rising up and filling her face. "Stop staring at me."
"Can't help it. You're something to look at."
Look who was talking. Raze Shadow was six and a half feet of hard-muscled badassery with cut features and the most unique light blue eyes she'd ever seen. Add in the thick dark hair, the weird ability to move without making a sound, and an intensity only the most dangerous of people could ever hold? Yeah. She'd stare at him all day if he remained unaware of it. But Raze noticed everything. "Stop watching me."
He straightened and leaned back against the wall. "There's nowhere else to look."
Cold instantly assailed her without his nearby warmth. She shoved herself off the counter, and the second her feet touched the ground, pain sparked along the arch of her foot. "I appreciate your help tonight."
He grinned, transforming his face from predatory to stunning. "That's a brush-off."
Yes, it was. "I should get some more sleep." Not a chance in hell.
"You're done sleeping." He glanced toward the rainstorm outside. "I have another round of patrol to do — any chance you want to get out of here and get some air?"
Her lungs seized. "No." The idea of leaving the safety of the gate stopped her breath. There were Rippers, scavengers, gangbangers, and even Mercenaries out there. The Mercs were a group from northern California who were even more feared than the insane Rippers.
He scowled. "Okay. It'll be dawn in about two hours. Pack your things and I'll help you move to the main headquarters."
She bit her lip. While she'd like nothing more than to leave the apartment, she didn't want her nightmares to keep the elite soldiers at the headquarter building awake. "I don't think —"
"You're about to start working for Vanguard, and being at headquarters makes the most sense." Raze rotated and moved, all grace and muscle, toward the slider. "Be ready in a couple of hours." Without making a sound, he slid into the night and closed the door.
Thunder rumbled outside. She hesitated, looking at her meager possessions. It was lonely so far away from most people, and she did start work the next day.
As she reached to gather her socks, her mind flared awake. There weren't any empty apartments at headquarters.
Just where did Raze think she was going to sleep?
* * *
Raze nodded to a soldier guarding the rear exit of Vanguard territory and strode into the darkness, appearing to be patrolling. The rain drowned out most of the night sounds, but in the distance a wolf howled.
Wolves in east central Los Angeles. How crazy had life become?
With ninety-nine percent of US citizens killed by Scorpius, nature had quickly retaken the earth, and animals now reclaimed territory.
He wiped rain off his cheek and caught Vinnie's scent. Though he'd barely touched her, even now he could smell calla lilies. A soft, sweet, delicate reminder of the woman he'd just left behind.
Her softness, her very fragility, called to him in a time when such traits invited death. She needed protection, and a part of him wanted to provide exactly that. Unfortunately.
Making quick tracks, he scouted the area to the north of Vanguard, moving between abandoned buildings smelling of rot and decay. Most of the Rippers and homeless would be seeking shelter from the storm, but again, because they were nuts, a few roaming Rippers might attack anyway.
His senses remained on alert as he passed a looted jewelry store, an empty quick-loan store, and an abandoned convenience store. Beady green eyes stared out at him from the corner.
Cat's eyes. A huge black cat sat in the still intact window just watching him.
He jerked his gaze away. He might have fought hand-to-hand with knives an ocean away, he might have been tortured and nearly killed on one tour, but cats freaked him the hell out.
He crossed over rubble and dodged around a several-car pileup in the middle of what was once a busy street. Rust covered the vehicles, and part of a decomposed body was visible in a Chevy.
The tiniest of scraping sounds came from Luke's Bar on the corner. No light, no movement, but a couple of breaths. He stopped moving and focused all of his senses.
He could make out the breathing of one person only. His senses had been honed in the military, but he could still be walking into a trap. Yet he didn't have a choice this time, so he crept quietly and remained on high alert.
He reached the heavy metal door and pulled it open, waiting for his eyes to adjust before walking inside.
A lantern ignited.
"You're late," Ash said from behind what was left of the bar. Pieces had been removed, probably for firewood, leaving only a thin strip running end to end, attached with bolts to the floor.
"You're inconvenient," Raze drawled, keeping his expression bored. The door shut behind him and he surveyed the room.
Ash rolled his eyes. The twenty-something former meth dealer still had the blank eyes and fidgety fingers of a man who'd sampled too much of the goods.
A cracked mirror decorated the dingy wall behind him, which was lined with empty shelves that had once held liquor. Dirt, blood, and moss covered the floors, while a couple of tables without chairs were broken on the far side of the room. A jukebox — a real one — still sat in the corner.
It was probably too heavy for any of the early looters to take.
Ash shoved back his jacket to reveal a Glock stuck into his waistband. His greasy hair cascaded out of a knit cap, which didn't cover enough of his long, crusty face. Apparently it was difficult to find medicine for impetigo nowadays. "Well?"
Raze kept his arms loose at his sides. "Well what?"
"Where's the woman?"
"Not here," Raze said.
Ash shook his head, his entire rail-thin body moving with the effort. "We made a deal."
"No. We don't have a deal," Raze said silkily, allowing every violent urge he was feeling to show in his eyes.
Ash swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing. "I represent Greyson and you know it."
Excerpted from Shadow Falling by REBECCA ZANETTI. Copyright © 2016 Rebecca Zanetti. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This series just gets better and better. I am just wondering if there is this many alpha males in the apocalypse I look forward to it. Raze and Vinnie were a great addition to this series. What I loved even more was that we still get to see what is going on with our other favorite couples in this world. Raze has his secrets and Vinnie is a big part of it. VInnie knows she is a big part of why Raze is not telling her everything. But that doesn't seem to matter when Raze looks at her the way that he does. I can't wait to see what comes next in this Scorpius ridden world.
Shadow Falling This second book in the Scorpius Syndrome series, SHADOW FALLING focuses on Raze Shadow and Vivienne Wellington, an FBI profiler and psychologist whom Raze rescued from the Ripper POTUS and his henchmen in the first book, MERCURY STRIKING. A Ripper is someone who survived the alien bacteria that destroyed much of humanity, and then might become a serial killer, sociopath, or practically mindless animal. Raze seems as if he cares for Vinnie and wants to protect her from one of the other survivalist groups known as the Mercenaries who also want Vinnie for their own undisclosed purposes. Jax Mercury, the leader of the Vanguard group Raze has recently joined does not fully trust the man he has made one of his elite lieutenants. He, as well as Vinnie, realizes Raze has a hidden agenda which could compromise everyone’s safety. In the post-apocalyptic North America, the new rules are harsh and unforgiving so one wrong move can cost everything. The characters in this romantic suspense series are interesting, intelligent, and at times, somewhat quirky especially Vinnie, who was given some mind altering drugs by the POTUS in an attempt to get some very important information he believes she has about a game changer for the world where everyone is in a desperate battle to survive. The drugs seem to have eliminated Vinnie’s verbal filter so she comes out with some blatant and often humorous comments that lighten the intense nature of the story where so much loss and destruction has occurred. Vinnie and Lynn Harmony, a main character from the first book, are two very important women who have the potential to help save the survivors figure a better future than the one facing them now. Raze comes across as a deep well of contained emotions combined with military training and physical prowess, who while very attracted to Vinnie, may have to make an untenable choice about her to save someone else. Although the background of this story is quite dire with the few humans left constantly fighting for survival, the humor and romance lighten the load and remind us that joy can be found in the darkest places. This series continues to be quite exciting and intense. While romantic suspense and post-apocalyptic stories abound, this one rises to the top.
Enjoyed it very much
I love Rebecca Zanetti and her books. I am hooked on the plots, the action and people you care about. The detailed sex scenes, not so much. That is my only negative.
Loved it. This is a great series. I have enjoyed watching the Scorpius survivors learn to live in a very changed world. Raze and Vinnie were a perfect couple, both very strong, tough, and a little bit damaged. I can't wait for the next book.
The world Rebecca has crafted in the Scorpius Syndrome series is high-octane... action, adventure, sex, and intrigue are all at the forefront of these stories. Larger than life alpha males and the brilliant, strong women who bring them to heel. Raze - a mysterious man whom no one is truly sure is 100% on their side - is driven to protect Vinnie from the first moment he lays eyes on her, but is his protection self-driven or is there something else behind his interest? Vinnie - a brilliant woman made all the more brilliant by Scorpius - is pulled inexplicably toward Raze despite her reservations about his motivations. Wanted by many, but treasured by one, can she overlook split loyalties to see what lies beneath Raze's rough exterior? Theses stories will suck you in, wring you out, and leave you wanting more! The characters are well-developed. The world they live in is brilliantly crafted. Overall this series screams MOVIE! Don't wait - read this now! **I received a complimentary copy of this e-book from NetGalley.**
I would recommend this series to anyone that likes a well written, post-apocalyptic romance. I honestly knew from the first paragraph of the first book that this would be a great series and I have not been disappointed. I have already pre-ordered the next book which doesn't come out until February. All I can say is "BUY THE BOOKS!" cjbevil
Originally Posted at Ramblings From This Chick Blog http://ramblingsfromthischick.blogspot.com/2016/10/arc-review-shadow-falling-by-rebecca.html I voluntarily and honestly reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher. Picking up right where the previous book "Mercury Striking" left off, we find Vivienne having a hard time recovering from her time in captivity. She is having nightmares, and whenever she wakes up she finds Raze Shadow nearby looking after her. He was the one who essentially saved her, and she struggles to decide whether her feelings are real or if they are only because of his rescue. She used to be a profiler before Scorpius hit. Scorpius is a bacteria that spread across the US like fire where once infected a person either dies, becomes a serial killer, becomes zombie like wanting to kill and bite people (except they're not dead), or with Vitamin B infections stay mostly normal except with enhanced abilities. Because of the high quantity of serial killers forming from the bacteria, Vivienne is a huge asset. And since she survived Scorpius, her profiling skills have been magnified. Raze is a man with a hidden agenda, and so he isn't completely trusted by the leader of the sanctuary he and Vivienne currently reside. He struggles with an internal dilemma, because he is being forced to do another person's bidding. He is strong and capable having some past military experience. While he secretly knows he has to basically kidnap Vivienne, he has this need to protect her and he can't help starting to fall for her. Rebecca Zanetti knows how to make an intense fast paced romance. I again was on the edge of my seat for the entire book. The romantic struggle was well written and it corresponded fluidly with the Scorpius plot. Raze's struggle to do the best thing in a situation with no straightforward right solution was interesting to read. I am excited to read the next in the series!
The story keeps getting better and better. It blew me away. The book is such page turner. It is intense funny unpredictable great. I loved Raze and Vienne. Both well develop interesting with their own agenda. Vienne and her mouth are so funny. Raze is so hot. And their relationship hot hot hot. I loved how possessive was Raze for Vienne and thoughtful. And of course he would do anything for the one he loves. I cannot wait to see what happens next. Great book. Recommended! *ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Shadow Falling is the second book in Rebecca Zanetti's Scorpius Syndrome Series, and though I haven't read the first book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to go back and read Mercury Rising. Set in a post-apocolyptic world where the majority of the human race has been infected by a mysterious virus that has killed many, left many completely crazy and out of their mind, others partially insane, and some sane, but dependent on vitamin B to survive. The few that haven't been infected are few and far between. Raze is a mercenary and the hero of this book. Vinnie is the female lead who he has rescued and is falling for, despite his attempts not to. He has a secret agenda, however, one he doesn't want to carry out, yet one he has to, despite his growing feelings for this woman. They live on a compound which is comprised of those not infected, and those sane, but dependent on the serum in order to continue to be that way. Danger lurks at every corner and requires constant vigilance, determination, and battle in order to survive. Raze finds himself in one of the fiercest battles of all, along with his new companions, as they work together to both save and keep safe those they love. They find themselves in an alliance with those they aren't sure they can trust, in the middle of a battle they aren't sure they can win. Shadow falling has danger, excitement, suspense, and romance all wrapped up into one. If you enjoy post-apocolyptic novels, then the Scorpius Syndrome Series by Rebecca Zanetti is one you most definitely will want to check out.
This book is the perfect follow up to the first Scorpius Syndrome book. It had just as much energy and excitement, just as much unlikely romance and lots of suspense! I love the whole concept, this is by far one of the best dystopian series I've read in a long time and there are no limits to where it can go. I'm looking forward to the next installment!
NUMBER OF HEARTS: 4 Shadow Falling is the second book in Mrs. Zanetti’s Scorpius Syndrome series. I thoroughly enjoyed this second installment. In SF we pick up shortly after the events of Mercury Striking (bk 1 *you need to read book 1 before this book) with Vinnie trying to find her place in this new world. Not an easy thing to do when you are not right in the head anymore. And you have a hulking babysitter that follows you around like a shadow. Raze has been on a mission since the moment he stepped in to Vanguard’s territory. A mission that involves one Dr. Wellington. But the more that Raze spends with Vinnie the harder it gets for him to complete his mission. As I said earlier I really enjoyed this book. I liked the twists and turns the book too. There were a few questions answered, a few problems solved but many many more just surfaced. I can’t wait to see what is next in this series and how everything will work out. If you have not given this series a try and like post-apocalyptic stories you need to pick up a copy of Mercury Striking (and Shadow Falling. Oh and the novella found in On the Hunt) and get to reading. Until next time Vanguard!!!! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley & Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.
Even more action and intensity than the first one. Loved it, didn't want it to end. Can't wait for the next one. The survivors of Vanguard are incredible characters, their hearts are huge, their bravery intense, and they continue to surprise me with their open caring for strangers and once trust is gained, they’d lay down their life for everyone around them. Rebecca Zanetti has conjured an incredible cast of characters, a dangerous and somewhat terrifying post-apocalyptic world akin to other plague driven themed stories such as Richard Matheson’s I AM LEGEND and television’s The Walking Dead, but with an intensity that keeps me glued to the pages and wishing the next book was ready as soon as I finished the current. SHADOW FALLING, book two in the Scorpius Syndrome series pulls us deeper into the characters, the atmosphere, the craziness, and need to survive that would most likely exist after an apocalyptic event such as Rebecca Zanetti has created. Life isn't easy, danger exists around every corner and trust is hard to come by, but those under the charge of Jax Mercury become more than just good soldiers, they become family. This is something that Vinnie is seeking, but that Raze had never expected to find. It’s wonderful to see how both these characters, who want opposite things, journey to the point where they find the same thing and it satisfies them in a way neither expected. I highly, highly recommend SHADOW FALLING by Rebecca Zanetti if you’re a fan of The Walking Dead. I’m not, by the way, but I am of this amazing series…it is way better! SHADOW FALLING is an action-packed, character-driven, emotional adventure that will have you turning the pages late into the night and hanging on the edge of your seat so many times that you wonder if you’ll survive along with the characters. Although this is a series where it’s somewhat necessary to read them in order, it’s not impossible to pick up along the way but I wouldn’t advise it. SHADOW FALLING hooked me, took me hostage, infected me with the adventure and relationships, and then delivered me to the end of this book still wanting more. January is a long way off to get Tace and Sami’s story in JUSTICE ASCENDING…I hope I survive the wait. ***eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
**Disclaimer: I highly recommend reading the prequel and first book in the series before reading this one. The Scorpius Syndrome has swept through and annihilated pretty much everything and the way of life for the one percent, yes, one percent, that survived, has quickly adjusted as they adapt to a new way of life...continued survival. After being helped captive, by the most powerful man in the United States, Vivienne, aka Vinnie, the FBI's best profiler before the bacterium hit, is struggling to survive the nightmares that plague her far too frequently, so much so that her desperate attempts after every one to have fresh air have become a routine as Raze, one of the Vanguard lieutenants, and more importantly the man who rescued her the prior week, can set a watch by her appearances at the fence around the property. Raze makes her feel safe and not so alone. She knows him being her rescuer has something to do with those feelings, just as she knows it isn't the only reason. Raze, former military and current lieutenant for Vanguard, tries to deny the protectiveness he feels for Vinnie, but it's hard to continually tamp down. The thing is, he knows it isn't just because he rescued her, it stems from various reasons. Reasons he can't act on because he's keeping secrets, secrets that concern Vinnie. Which means he needs to keep his distance, regardless of how increasingly hard he finds that to do, because he knows the secrets he's keeping will destroy anything that may start between them. You see, it wasn't exactly by chance that Raze found her. Oh the way he found her was, but not the fact that he did find her, as he had been searching for her for quite some time. What happens when Vinnie, and everyone at Vanguard, realizes Raze isn't the man he portrayed himself to be? Can Raze go through with his mission, knowing he genuinely likes Vinnie, and that like is deepening into so much more? How will Vinnie feel when she learns the man who made her feel safe may present the greatest danger to her? How will people react when learning how contracting, and surviving, the Scorpius Syndrome, as well as all the drugs her captor forced on Vinnie, impacted her brain and the abilities that resulted from the combined "attacks" on her system? Can Vinnie reconcile her feelings for Raze once she learns of the task he was given, the one he fully intended to complete or at least gives the illusion that he is? Will they forgive Raze once they discover why he had to do it? Does his completely legitimate reason trump the betrayal or the possibility of it? What happens when one "citizen" inside the Vanguard complex starts creating dissension among the group? How will that impact everyone and their supplies? Will Jax and Vinnie work through everything and come out together on the other side? Do they have a future with one another? What member will find love next and what type of journey will their HEA take us on? One-click now to see how these survivors continue to try and persevere when confronted by numerous obstacles and the hope, the love, that keeps them going. **I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
I am not usually a fan of post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction. Rebecca Zanetti’s Scorpius Rising books are a very strong exception. I am a huge fan of Zanetti’s Sin brothers series so I opted to give her new series a try. I am very, very glad I did. Mercury Rising, the first book in the series pulled me fully into the world. The second book, Shadow Falling only reinforced how much I love Zanetti’s world building and writing style. She’s crafted a world that is recognizable, with shades of the Stand and Firefly, while still making it totally fresh and new. The characters are well-developed and each book adds more to the overarching story. Once I start I want to keep reading.
SHADOW FALLING is the second full length installment in Rebecca Zanetti’s THE SCORPIUS SYNDROME cross genre Sci-Fi/ UF/Dystopian series focusing on a biological pandemic sweeping the world that has already killed 99% of the US population. This is former US soldier and mercenary Raze Shadow, and FBI profiler Vivienne (Vinnie) Wellington’s story line that looks at life in the aftermath, and the fallout from an unknown bacteria-from space. The story line advances the series approximately one week. For more background information and some history, there is a prequel novella-SCORPIUS RISING-which can be found in the ON THE HUNT anthology (August 2015). SOME BACKGROUND: Some of those infected with the biological virus have survived to become something known as a Ripper, but there are two types of Rippers inhabiting the world-one is a zombie like creature who feasts on the living; the other is a survivor whose brain has been altered resulting in a stronger, more powerful enhanced human being sometimes bordering on the sociopath ideology. If you are a fan of the series The Walking Dead, you will see many similarities in the story line premise including the search for food and supplies, attacks of the ‘undead’, and various groups of survivors vying for power and control. Told from several third person points of view SHADOW FALLING focuses on Vinnie Wellington’s recovery following her harrowing ordeal as a prisoner of the newly self-declared President of the USA. A couple of weeks earlier, Raze Shadow rescued our heroine, and in the ensuing time found himself oddly attracted to the woman suffering with PTSD, hallucinations, an unfiltered brain to mouth loss of control, and some supernatural side affects following a regimen of drugs used to control her mind. What ensues is the building relationship between Vinnie and Raze, and a potential act of betrayal when Raze’s reason for returning to the Vanguard compound is soon discovered. Compound leader Jax Mercury doesn’t trust the newest arrivals, and Raze’s presence starts sending out too many red flags for the current team leader. Raze is a dominant force whose protective nature finds our hero struggling between right and wrong. The relationship between Raze and Vinnie is one of mutual benefit. Vinnie suffers with PTSD, and Raze’s attraction to Vinnie finds our couple roommates in a compound with very little extra space for new arrivals. Vinnie needs the reassurance of Raze’s presence, and Raze is a man determined to complete his mission, and Vinnie is vital to the job. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense. There is a large ensemble cast of characters including Jax and Lynn (Mercury Striking #1), medic Tace, soldier Sami, and a host of secondary and supporting survivors at the Vanguard compound. There are three other factions vying for control including the current self-imposed US government; a group hoping to keep themselves ‘pure’ of the virus; and another compound that will come under fire when Raze sets out on his personal mission. SHADOW FALLING is a fast paced, action packed story of survival in a post apocalyptic world destroyed by a space-born pathogen of unknown origin. The premise is imaginative and inventive; the characters are flawed and broken, energetic and dynamic-survivors in a world that challenges everything they had ever known; the romance is captivating, emotional and electric. Keep your mind open to the possibility that life as we know it can be gone in a blink
This was a great follow up to Mercury Striking! Vivienne Kennedy used to one of the best profilers in FBI, helping track down sociopath/serial killers was just a normal day for her but that was before Scorpius Syndrome destroyed almost all of the population leaving a few survivors, even fewer sane ones. After being kidnapped and abused at the hands of the current President who believes that she’s some psychic who can help him find the bunker where the answers to Scorpius Syndrome lies. She is no longer the same person as she used to be. Infection with Scorpius and later the chemical concoctions used has left her thinking she’s crazy. Now rescued, Vinnie has no idea how difficult her life can get. Raze Shadow is one of the Vanguard’s Lieutenants (a camp of survivors in LA), he also happens to between a rock and a hard place. He doesn’t want to betray Vanguard or hurt Vinnie but he would do what he needs to be done. No matter what the cost. His conflicting loyalties between the Vanguard and the mercenaries and his growing feelings towards Vinnie are making everything difficult. Everything on earth can be explained in terms of atoms and matter…… except love. – Dr. Franklin X Harmony Vinnie and Raze had a abundant of chemistry. Vinnie is extremely attracted to intense and brooding Raze, she knows she shouldn’t trust him but can’t help but be compelled and comforted by his presence. Raze couldn’t help but fall for this little blonde with her feisty attitude and a kind heart. They were very good together, an unlikely duo with one hiding so much while the other has no filter at all which made for some fun banter between the two. They were at times intense, other times sweet and then passionate. I really liked their relationship, Vinnie bought out the softer side of Raze and Raze made Vinnie feel less crazy. I really liked Vinnie, the girl has been through a lot but she’s a fighter. Jax giving her position of the compound psychiatrist helped her feel useful, settled and made her like she finally belonged I loved her blurt out moments, they made for hilarious moments and lowering the tension in the some situations. Raze on the other hand, was possessive and protective. ….Whatever happens, Vinnie. It’s you and me. Forever. – Raze Shadow. There is action and adventure as usual, with suspense peaking in the second half. With internal conflicts arising as well as the enemies beyond the border of Vanguard, finding the cure, protecting the survivors as well as finding the bunker with limited supplies and information is getting harder by the minute. I really like the way the action and suspense is written, it made me feel the urgency of the situation. I also loved the budding camaraderie between Jax and Raze as well as the dynamic between the secondary characters. I also loved those quotes at the start of each chapter! Only the insane truly fall in love. -Dr. Vinnie Wellington, Perceptions. Quibbles: I do wish that Vinnie’s whether or not she’s psychic bit was explored a bit further as well as maybe some information about how Scorpius is effecting people in different ways giving them unique abilities? and less time on the issue with the preacher. Also at times Raze’s behaviour was quite close to being barbaric towards Vinnie which I wish was slightly toned down. But apart from that it was great addition to the compelling plot line of the series. I’m really looking forward to the next one! Can't wait for more from this serie
I really enjoyed it. I loved the characters. You'll feel bad for both Vivienne and Raze. What they have been through and what's still to come is challenging for any relationship. How they get through it is what makes them the strong couple that they'll be. Not only do I think you'll love them but that you'll enjoy all the characters in this series, or at least the good ones. The whole idea of this series is different yet not. I know, what do I mean? Well I'm pretty sure the idea of the world coming close to the end had been done, but the was Zanetti is doing it is what makes it different. Shadow Falling is one of those books that once you start you won't want to put down because your afraid you'll miss something. And even though I read it in one sitting I'm sure I missed things. It was that good and I read it that fast. I also loved how she came up with Raze's name. Very clever. The only thing that had me a little bummed is that Shadow Falling isn't the first book in the series. There is a novella and a mass market before it. I'm sure I would have learned more about what happened instead of being dropped into the mayham. It might have slowed me down in the beginning of the story but I quickly caught on.
This series just keeps getting better and I love reading about this dystopian world that has been changed forever due to the Scorpius Syndrome. This story picks up shortly after Mercury Rising and this time focus's on Vinnie who was just rescued and Raze the military man with a secret. Vinnie and Raze are great for each other and you can see that they are meant for each other very early in the book, I loved the connection they had and how Vinnie maintained her independence and the chemistry. In addition to the romance elements there was also storylines around Razes secret, a development within the compound as well as continuation of the main story arc that keep the suspense and action moving along as well as keeping in touch with the other characters on the compound. I would highly recommend this series and the author who has yet again delivered an extremely well written and captivating book. Looking forward to reading the next book to find out what happens next
After reading Shadow Falling I knew I had to take a couple days to think about my feelings for this book. I obviously LOVED it, there is no doubt about that. But there is more to it then that and I hope I can find someway to express it. First off, This fantastic Scorpius Syndrome series by Rebecca Zanetti is dark, edgy, sexy, and completely AWE-MAZING! The characters are intense and wonderfully intriguing and are both intelligent, fun, tough, caring, and are irresistible. They are the kind of characters I would be excited to know in real life, but they are intimidating enough (especially the men) to where I would be stuttering and shy around them. And the descriptions from Scorpius and the science behind a possible cure, to the way the men protect and go on missions is really something. Everything seems so realistic that once I put the book down, it took a few minutes to realize that that world is fiction. I really loved that feeling. The romance...oh my god the romance and sex, are both sizzling! The post apocalypse brought out the barbarian in our hero and to be honest, it was brilliant and sexy, and just the right amount of dark. Its hard to resist a man that will do anything to protect the woman he falls for, even if it means tying her up to keep her safe. Raze is strong, commanding, all-consuming and full of sexiness! Vinnie is sweet, surprisingly strong after everything she endured, and determined to belong and help those that need it. I loved her bit of craziness and her loyalty and love of Raze. This book is just one stunner after another. Shadow Falling gets a SIZZLING FIVE SHOOTING STARS! Its a dark, tempting, action packed ride that will leave readers hearts pounding and their knees weak. A MUST MUST READ!!
I had not read the first in this series, but I will now. Characters interact from the previous story, but I did not feel lost in the story. All aspects are explained as this book unfolds. This story is mainly about Vinnie and Raze. Vinnie wants to find a purpose after surviving her torture. She is not intimidated easily, and Raze is intrigued. There are many adventures and dangers in this world they live in, and I loved how they worked their way to admitting love for each other. I look forward to the next installment, and I highly recommend this book. I received a copy of this story through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The set up of this book at the end of Mercury Striking was fantastic but had set the bar pretty high on if it would live up to that ending. I am happy to say for me it did. Shadow Falling continues the post-apocalyptic world that was ravaged by the Scorpius virus wiping out 99% of the populations and leaving the remaining either a Reaper which there are two types – sociopaths or totally insane and the others which are left with heightened senses. The main location of each book is at the Vanguard compound in California which is run by Jax along with his lieutenants. They are constantly threatened by the President who is a Reaper and the Twenty gang. In this book we are introduced to a new group called the Mercenaries who we dont know whether they are friend or foe. Raze Shadow true intentions were a mystery in the first book even though he was one of Jax's top lieutenants. We finally get to find out what secrets he has been hiding and where his true loyalties. There are so many pieces that make up this book from the old threats to a new one from within their own camp. The fight is still on to find find a cure or to be able to make enough of the Vitamin B serum to keep everyone from becoming a reaper when they are infected along with trying to find the Bunker where hopefully all these things can be found. The heroine in this one was a new character and in her pre-virus life she was a FBI profiler that helped to catch many serial killers. Jax decided to use her psychological skill to talk to the residents of Vanguard to see how they are adjusting to life in the post-apocalyptic world. This was an interesting addition to the already military and medical aspects which we've already seen. Raze and Vivienne were just as hot together as Jax and Lynne were. One thing this author can write is sexy couples who have great sexual chemistry and hot hot sex. I love this dystoptian world the author has created and look forward to getting the next couple/chapter in this crazy world.
Just like book 1, the action starts from the very first pages of this story and doesn't let up until the end. Relationships are at the crux of this story - some by blood, some by choice, some by necessity. In the survival world these characters live in, trust is paramount and must be earned. We learn right away that Jax, leader of the Vanguard and Raze might work together for the good of their community, but there is a lack of trust between them for good reason. Raze is working on his own agenda, and he knows that when Jax finds out what it is, it'll likely mean his death. But it doesn't stop him from doing what he must. Raze comes across as a solid, ruthless man. If he feels any qualms at the killing he's had to do, both in the military before scorpius and now, he rarely lets it show. He soon finds that Vivienne is his weakness, both a blessing and a curse. He needs her in more ways than one. Their sexual chemistry is explosive and there are several steamy scenes between them that cement their bond. Ultimately Raze is one of the good guys and his decisions reflect that, though not without consequences. Vivienne is a strong female character. She survived her captivity and though she sometimes feels as though she's going insane, she will survive this too. Having Raze around as her protector isn't half bad either. I really liked seeing her find her self confidence again by being able to assist others needing therapeutic help (she's definitely qualified) and in her profiling of some of the other survivors. She needs to feel like she's doing something useful again, and being part of the leadership team of the Vanguard definitely helps. There are some quite funny scenes with the conversations she has with a dead relative, a hallucination that keeps showing up, particularly when Raze is around. To his credit, Raze takes this clear mental problem of Vinnie's in stride, chalking it up to just another crazy part of the life they are living. The story takes some major twists and turns even as Vinnie and Raze grow closer. There are internal and external conflicts to contend with. Not every person in the compound has suffered from the disease and there is a plot afoot to keep the 'pure' segregated in fear that they will be the only ones who can bring a pregnancy to full term and continue the human race. The president is still on the hunt for Lynne and now Vinnie too. There are other mercenary groups fighting for survival. And there is the hunt for 'The Bunker' believed to hold some of the answers to fighting the disease. Plus, we learn a little bit more about some of the secondary characters who will be featured in upcoming stories in the series. Honestly, I can't wait to see where things are headed next! With a super sexy romance, a bad guy hero with a good heart, and survival on the line, Shadow Falling will keep you well entertained. 5 stars.
This is a great book; this is the second book in the Scorpius Syndrome series written by Rebecca Zanetti. Before the Scorpius Syndrome tore through North America and nearly wiped out the population, Vivienne “Vinnie” Wellington was the FBI’s best profiler. The bacteria got her anyway. But she survived. She recovered. And when she woke up from a drug-nightmare of captivity, her trust in her fellow man had gone from shaky at best to nonexistent. Her mysterious rescuer wants to convince her he’s the exception. But no matter how tempting he is, with his angel’s eyes and devil’s tongue, Vinnie knows she shouldn’t trust him. If the FBI were still around they would rate Raze Shadow as one of the bad guys. His military training can’t wipe out his association with the Mercenaries, the most feared gang in a thousand miles. His loyalties are compromised. He won’t even tell Vinnie his real name. But there’s no FBI in the new America of fear and firepower, only instinct and risk. This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night. If you are looking for a great book, then you need to read this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.