BeyondTheNight_tinyYou’re seeing it here first, folks:  An online excerpt from the upcoming new series from Joss Ware, AKA Colleen Gleason.  And, even better, the author is offering AAR readers a chance to win an ARC of Beyond the Night, the first book in the series and a January release.  The next two books in the series – Embrace the Night Eternal and Abandon the Nightwill be released in February and March.

The series is set in a devastated post-apocalyptic world that Joss/Colleen says feels a bit like I Am Legend, with the essence of Lost and a paranormal component reminiscent of Heroes.  Sounds intriguing, yes?

Read on for the excerpt.  And, once you’re done, put your name in the hat for your chance to win an ARC of Beyond the Night. All you need to do to enter for your chance to win is add a comment to this post by midnight eastern time on Thursday, November 26th. The randomly selected winner will be announced here on Friday morning.  The usual caveats apply:  This contest is designed to get an advanced copy into the hands of a reader, so if you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  Also, due to high postage costs, the contest is open only to U.S. residents.

But, first, a few words from the author and the tantalizing sneak peek await…

– Sandy AAR

Elliott and his friends awaken after what they thought was a weekend caving expedition in Sedona to find that it’s fifty years later…and the world has been destroyed.

After six months of traveling around on foot, searching for answers—and other people—they arrive at the large city of Envy after saving a group of teenagers from zombie-like gangs.

In this scene, Elliott and the very sexy, very intriguing Jade have just left the safe walls of Envy on a mission to find one of her friends who has disappeared. Beyond the walls are wild animals, zombies, and, apparently huge snakes—like the one Elliott just battled and killed inside the underground tunnel they have been slogging through.

– Joss Ware

Beyond the Night Sneak Peek:

“That was a big-ass snake,” Jade said, trying to keep her own breathing under control. Elliott was very close to her, and the torch made everything soft and muted. Deep breath.

“A big-ass snake?” he said, his eyes crinkling at the corners. They were dark and penetrating in the flickering light.

“Yeah. I don’t like snakes, so when I say thank you, I really mean it.”

Elliott gave a light laugh as their eyes caught. “You and Indiana Jones.” Then he frowned, looking back at her. “Do you even know who that is?”

“Of course I know who Indiana Jones is. Who doesn’t?”

In the flickering torchlight, she could see Elliott raise his brows as if in surprise, then lowered them. “I guess if people’re watching Jason Bourne videos, they’re also watching Raiders of the Lost Ark. Glad to know that at least some pop culture survived.”

Then he frowned, looking at the shirt wadded up in his hand. “This is the third shirt I’ve ruined in the three days since I’ve met you. Considering the fact that I’ve only got two more, I’m not sure that’s a very good track record.” He cast a quick look at her, a flash of humor in his eyes. Then, holding the ruined shirt, he started sloshing through the water.

Jade allowed him to lead—in case there were any more big-ass snakes—and lifted the torch high as she watched for a sign of rippling water. “You need to take better care of your shirts, then,” she said archly, giving him the same sidelong look. “I don’t see how you can blame me for the zombies and a snake attack. What happened to the third shirt?”

“I got some blood on it,” he said.

Just then they came to the elbow turn around which came a dim glow of light. When they finally reached the entrance, Elliott took her arm and helped her keep balanced as she climbed up and out the crude steps.

At the top, they found themselves in a wide cement culvert that opened from the side of a small hill. Grass and trees covered the ground, with bits of concrete showing in patches where nature hadn’t quite overtaken man’s footprint. Buildings long abandoned and destroyed stood in uneven rows, with jagged brick half-walls covered by vines and moss, windows broken and bushes sprouting. Trees and bushes abounded. Birds sang, and the distant whinny of a horse reached her ears. A common scene to someone like Jade, who often ventured out from Envy’s protective walls.

They emerged into the sunshine, which was welcome and warm after the dank of the tunnel. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust, and when they stopped watering, she noticed that Elliott was staring about him as if he’d never seen such a sight.

“It’s funny,” he murmured as if to himself, smoothing the toe of his boot over a small cement area.

Jade moved closer. “What is?”

He shook his head, looking down at her with a sort of bleakness in his eyes. That anguish again. “I always expected it’d be like the Thunderdome. Empty, arid, cold…a wasteland. But it’s not. It’s…green and overgrown. Sort of wild. Not what I would have expected.”

Before she could reply, his mood changed abruptly. “So now we have to find a horse,” he said, looking around again, but with a sharper gaze trained toward the horizon.

“That’ll be easy,” she told him. “The mustangs run wild all over the hills out here.”

“And catch one.”

She shrugged. “I have a way with horses.”