Today I am so pleased to welcome Taylor Brooke to Joyfully Jay. Taylor has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Omen Operation. Please join me in giving Taylor a big welcome!
The cabin door swung open. Sunlight poured over the floorboards straight onto Brooklyn’s face. She scrunched her nose and smashed her cheek against the pillow, groaning as heavy hiking boots kicked the side of her bunk.
“Come on, sleeping beauties, I let you have an extra twenty minutes. It’s time to get up,” Terry said.
Brooklyn cracked her eyes open. It was still surreal waking up in a world without the daily news or an up-to-date magazine to read. No celebrity gossip to catch up on. No Super Bowl halftime show to watch. No new album releases. No job interviews to prepare for. The static behind Brooklyn’s everyday life had gone silent, and she was left in an empty, unfamiliar world. When people talked about the apocalypse, about viral outbreaks and man-made monsters, they never mentioned the beginning. The first few hours—being taken, being stripped and re-dressed, being alone. She remembered the car ride. The helicopter. The smell of rubber and antiseptic. She remembered asking for her parents and the silence that followed. She remembered being afraid.
Terry’s short, platinum hair caught the light. She swatted bunks and jostled mattresses until sleepy groans filled the cabin. No one knew much about her. The basics were spoon-fed to them upon arrival: Terry was a nurse, recruited by the government to help manage one of the recovery lodges set up around the country—Eleven. She was the eyes and ears of the outside world, but whenever someone asked where exactly they were, when they got to go home, the status of the outbreak containment, she answered with vague scripted lines.
You’re safe and you’ll be back with your families soon.
The virus has to burn itself out before we can start to rebuild.
You have everything you need.
I am here to keep you safe.
You’re the future.
Terry curled her fingers into a fist and knocked on the edge of Brooklyn’s bed.
“Up,” she shouted, “and running in ten minutes. Don’t be late for breakfast.”
Strands of brown hair fell in front of Brooklyn’s eyes. She huffed, toes curling when she stretched her legs and lifted her arms over her head. She rolled both her wrists then her ankles, flexed her hands, and sighed. Another morning in remote nowhere. Another day waiting to be notified of their clearance to dispatch. Another day waiting to go home.
Home was different for everyone besides Gabriel and Brooklyn.
Gabriel was a junior when Brooklyn was a senior. They had been like ghosts haunting different parts of the school. Brooklyn had played soccer and Gabriel had been on pep-squad. They’d run into each other in the locker room. Gabriel had been wiping lipstick that wasn’t hers from her mouth. A hickey decorated her midriff. She’d winked at Brooklyn and said, “Have we met? I’m Gabriel.”
Brooklyn had mustered enough confidence to ask, “Like the angel?”
Gabriel’s laughter that day two years ago was seared into the back of Brooklyn’s mind.
It’d been four weeks after the initial outbreak in southern California when a gunmetal truck dropped Gabriel off, three days after Brooklyn had arrived. She’d raked her eyes across the grounds in search of anything relatively familiar. Brooklyn, shy and reclusive, had waved.
“Hey, I know you, right?” was all Gabriel had said, and halfway through the question she was linking her arm around Brooklyn’s elbow.
They’d lost years to this place. But at least they’d found each other.
An epidemic hits the country, and Brooklyn Harper is stolen from the life she knew.
Implanted in a rural camp, Brooklyn and her friends are severed from their families and the outside world. Each day is filled with combat training to assure their safety against a mysterious virus and the creatures it creates—violent humanoids with black blood.
Two years later, Brooklyn’s cabin-mate, Dawson Winters, finds a letter that shatters the illusion they’ve been living in. There is a world outside Camp Eleven, and the virus that supposedly destroyed their country seems non-existent.
After a daring escape, Brooklyn finds the world they’ve left behind harbors the normalcy she remembers. But when they are attacked by a black-blooded creature in the city, Brooklyn and her friends realize there is more to Camp Eleven than they thought.
Someone took them, someone trained them, and now someone is trying to find them.
As their exploration continues, the group is faced with impossible feats while betrayal, love, and secrets force Brooklyn and her friends to fight for their life, their freedom, and most of all, each other.
Taylor Brooke (she/they) worked as a special effects makeup artist for many years before she wrote her first book. When she’s not writing, she’s exploring the Pacific Northwest, backpacking, or reading. She is the author of The Camellia Clock Cycle and writes #ownvoices Queer books about love, secrets and magic.
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