Half Past Dead is an anthology by Zoe Arcer and Bianca D'Arc about zombies. Each author has a very different take on how zombies are made, what they are and how to kill them.
The Undying Heart by Zoe Archer is set in Victorian England. Cassandra Fielding is an operative for the Blades of the Rose, a secret organization dedicated to protecting sacred objects called Sources from an evil group called the Heirs of Albion that wants to take over the world. Cassandra is immersed in her second mission, to recover a source from one of the Heirs, when she runs into a man she believed was dead, and she was right he is...kind of. Samuel Reed was killed on the field of battle and reanimated by a power hungry officer who used his own men, dead and not so dead, to advance his military career. Sam has finally broken away from his "master's" control, but he is determined to stop the man from making any more men into monsters like himself. When he realizes that he and Cassandra are after the same man, can he keep her safe and help her complete her mission or will their enemy destroy them both?
In Simon Says by Bianca D'Arc, the zombies are the result of a military experiment gone horribly wrong. Simon's team was called in to try to exterminate the resulting zombies, but they weren't having much luck, especially because if the zombies bit someone, they died and became a zombie too. That is everyone except Simon. After he was bitten he fell into a fever for days and when he woke up he was changed. He is stronger, faster and he heals rapidly now. He is more determined than ever to stop these monsters, especially when it appears that they have begun to chase the woman he loves, Dr. Mariana Daniels. Even though he left her three years earlier when he was bitten, and never returned, he still cares for her and is determined to protect her. But protecting her means drawing close and he may not have the strength to leave her again.
I have to say that zombies have never been my thing, I think they are icky and much prefer a sexy shape shifter or vampire, but this was a suprisingly good book. Both of these stories are prequels to new series for these authors. This is my first time reading anything by Zoe Archer and I'm not big on historicals, but I loved the characters that she created and the intricacy of the Blades of the Rose's society. My favorite part about the society was how completely the differed from classic Victorian era mind set by allowing women to be operatives and hold high positions. This was a great introduction to Ms. Archer's writing style and I will definitely be buying more of her books. On the other end of the spectrum Bianca D'Arc is a long time favorite author of mine. I own just about all of her books and lover her style and turn of phrase. This book was different from most of her others in that it has a much darker vibe to it than you would normally find in her writing, but it works. Her hero, Simon, is by turns rough and sweet. Her heroine, Mariana is an accomplished woman of the world who goes after what she wants. I'm looking forward to reading both of these series as they are released. Kudos to both ladies for making the icky sexy again!
There are good guys, there are bad boys, and then there are men with a danger all their own—these are the ones who take you places you never imagined. . .and will never forget.The Undying Heart by Zoe Archer
Samuel Reed had no idea magic existed, until it almost destroyed him. Thirsting for vengeance against the enemy who made him something less than human, Sam returns to England and crosses paths with Cassandra Fielding. His best friend's little sister has become a fearless woman on a dangerous mission of her own. And against all odds, she sees past what he's become, and stirs a desire he thought he'd lost forever. . .
Simon Says by Bianca D'Arc
Special Forces soldier Simon Blackwell ended his affair with Mariana Daniels three years ago, but he hasn't stopped protecting her. Mariana has no knowledge of the dark, deadly creatures that lurk in the forest surrounding her clinic, or of the mysterious powers that make Simon the only one who can defeat them. But soon he'll have no choice but to reveal the truth, and urge her to trust in an explosive passion that never faded. . .
Both novellas are prequels to upcoming series by each author.