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Dearly, Beloved

Cover of Dearly, Beloved

Dearly, Beloved

Dearly, Departed Series, Book 2
by Lia Habel
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Can the living coexist with the living dead?

That's the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as "The Laz" hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.

Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.

Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren't the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder's crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.

As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora's scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of "The Laz" and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the illness--and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.

Lia Habel's spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.

"A realistic and exciting world with a swoon-worthy romance . . . The plot is addictive, the characters well-rounded."--RT Book Reviews

"Nora and Bram's touching and tender relationship, with its emphasis on equality and living in the moment, feels particularly special."--Publishers Weekly, on Dearly, Departed

From the Hardcover edition.

Can the living coexist with the living dead?

That's the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as "The Laz" hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.

Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.

Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren't the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder's crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.

As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora's scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of "The Laz" and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the illness--and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.

Lia Habel's spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.

"A realistic and exciting world with a swoon-worthy romance . . . The plot is addictive, the characters well-rounded."--RT Book Reviews

"Nora and Bram's touching and tender relationship, with its emphasis on equality and living in the moment, feels particularly special."--Publishers Weekly, on Dearly, Departed

From the Hardcover edition.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Habel / DEARLY, BELOVED

    1 Nora

    When I got to the top of the hill, the zombie caught me. I dropped my parasol and leather-­bound digital diary in shock. He pulled me to his body from behind, imprisoned my tiny hands in his so I couldn't fight back, and parted his cold lips at the nape of my neck.

    I squealed with delight, even as I drummed my boot heel on his shin. "Bram, let go!"

    "Never," he growled against my skin following the kiss, his voice causing me to flush. Before I could protest further he actually picked me up, starting to spin. Laughing despite the ridiculousness of it, I kept my eyes open, watching the scenery fly by--­especially the hilly area to the east that eventually rose into the city of New London, Nicaragua. The capital of New Victoria. The heart of all the world I'd ever known, now transformed, somehow shattered--­half dead and half alive.

    Dawn was just beginning to cup the earth in her pale hands. To the west, miles off, the mansions of the rich and titled lay mostly abandoned; only the odd light dared to advertise the presence of people. A few lights shone from the city, the shimmering of holographic building facades and electrified advertisements, but for the most part New London still slumbered on, dimmer than I ever remembered it being. There was only the red-­tinted lantern on the top of my fallen electric gas-­lamp parasol to light our way upon the low hump of earth that marked the location of the Elysian Fields, the underground housing complex my family called home. I might've chosen one of the colors meant to advertise the romantic availability of young ladies--­pink for dating, etc.--­but I wasn't romantically available.

    I was spoken for by the zombie, and the leaders of feminine teenage trends had decided red should be the color for that. The color of sympathy for the dead. I normally didn't care about such things, but in this I was willing to be trendy.

    Bram freed me, and I staggered away from him, eventually falling to the ground amidst my skirts. "That's the only way to make you be still sometimes."

    "So . . . unfair," I panted as he limped over to join me. As he did, he glanced at the city himself. The view was spectacular, and the area landscaped to invite enjoyment of it, with circular pathways and benches crafted of the same marble used for the gated entrance located at the base of the hill. Although it was exposed, it was also isolated--­and thus the perfect place to sneak away to every morning. "You're bigger than me."

    "I enjoy the walk up here as much as being here, you know. When you run ahead--­that's unfair. Besides . . ." He sat and fixed me with his cloudy blue eyes. "You think you'd know by now that when you run from me, every instinct I have wants to chase you."

    As I caught my breath to reply, I found myself staring at him. Bram Griswold was two years dead and still so handsome and full of life, his ghost-­white features expressive, his body tall and strong. The light atop my parasol didn't chase the shadows off his face fully, didn't highlight his brown hair, and I was reminded of the first time I'd seen him, cloaked and lit by streetlamps.

    Then, I'd thought him a monster. Now, I loved him so much I didn't know what to do with myself.

    "The zombies came from here," I reminded him. "We should probably walk yards and yards apart. If anyone was watching us, they could get nervous."

    "I should be the one in front, if we're going that route." Picking up my digidiary, he handed it to me. "And I'd rather not think about that."

    Chastened, accepting the book, I felt the warm April breeze stirring my...

About the Author-
  • Lia Habel is in her twenties and lives in western New York State. She is fascinated by zombie movies and Victoriana, interests that eventually led her to write Dearly, Departed. When she first got an agent, she was literally opening envelopes for a living. By the time the auction for Dearly, Departed was held, she was considering food stamps--which, thankfully, are no longer a consideration.

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    Random House Publishing Group
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