Have you ever had a really bad day, in which you were forced to fend off a hungry T rex with a pitchfork? If not, you should meet Kit Daniels, the heroine of Dinosaur Wars: Earthfall. She’s one plucky young lady. Try reading the excerpt from Earthfall, below, for a quick study in Kit’s particular abilities and also an inkling of a budding romance.
As you may know, Dinosaur Wars: Earthfall is available for a limited time as a free ebook. The excerpt:
Kit had only a fleeting second to wonder what Chase was doing before she sensed the creature directly over her. Acting on instinct, she leaped sideways to the ground and the heavy jaws clamped shut just inches above her back. For the second time today she went down flat on the ground and was forced to turn over and look up into that horrible scaly face. And as before, she rolled away just as it lashed out sideways with its fangs snapping at her. On an impulse, she got up and ran straight under the beast. Just for an instant she was directly between the huge taloned feet and legs that rose on either side of her like tree trunks. Then the monster wheeled with incredible agility and stepped to the side fixing its red eyes upon her again. A sickening dread filled her heart. This time there would be no escape. The animal could take her easily if she sprinted for either the house or the barn. She hesitated for just an instant but that was sufficient for it to lift one foot and knock her to the ground. She sprawled out headlong and the foot came down, pinning her thighs under a single taloned toe. Then the tyrannosaurus lowered its great head and eyed her for a moment. She struggled, but her arms and legs had gone all rubbery.
Saliva dripped from rows of fangs. Kit’s heart pounded as fast as that of a trapped mouse. The creature slowly opened its jaws to take her.
Suddenly Zippy was beside her, snarling and charging in to snap at the end of the creature’s nose. He succeeded in drawing the tyrannosaurus’s attention, dashing away just as its jaws snapped shut behind the tip of his tail. The old dog wasn’t finished. He spun and scurried in again, barking ferociously as the monster wheeled to take a giant step after him. When it lifted its foot from Kit’s legs, she somehow found the strength to get to her feet and run the short distance to the machine shed. Inside, she threw herself down between the tractor and the cultivator and looked out from behind the tractor’s wheels.
To her right, Zippy had outrun the monster and disappeared around the side of the barn. To her left, Chase was out of the truck and kneeling with his rifle slung across his knee. He fumbled frantically with the bolt, dropping a cartridge case and scattering dozens of glittering metal shells across the ground. While he scrambled to pick one up, Kit saw the tyrannosaurus coming after her again. It had abandoned its charge after Zippy and returned its attention to her. Lowering its nose to the ground and sniffing, it came toward the machine shed, on her scent like a bloodhound moving unerringly toward the spot where she crouched between the farm machines. Realizing her hiding place was useless, Kit got up and ran for the back of the shed. The tyrannosaurus immediately spotted her and rushed to pursue her. Bending low it thrust its head inside. She retreated to the back wall of the shed, looking futilely for a path to safety. The creature opened its jaws for her again and she turned and pressed herself against the wall. Beside her was a tool rack and her hand touched a pitchfork. She grabbed it off the rack and wheeled just in time to swing its tines into the beast’s jaws. Summoning every bit of strength, she drove the tines in under the tongue. Simultaneously, the tyrannosaurus’s momentum forced the handle back until it jammed against the shed wall and the entire length of the tines sank deep into the animal’s maw.
Uttering a hideous roar the tyrannosaurus reeled backward out of the shed, shaking its head violently from side to side until the pitchfork dislodged and went flying through the air.
There was a momentary pause while the beast cocked its huge head and glared at her, working its massive jaws to and fro as if measuring the damage done. But it wasn’t finished. It took a pace forward again and she shrank back against the wall. At that instant there was a boom from Chase’s rifle and almost simultaneously she heard a sharp thwack as a bullet hit somewhere on the flank of the beast. The animal flinched at the impact and reared its great head away from the shed, uttering yet another deafening roar. This roar from the tyrannosaurus, however, was answered by another equally powerful roar from Chase’s rifle. Again, Kit heard a bullet hit the animal.
Flinching again at the second bullet’s impact, the tyrannosaurus turned and glared at Chase, issuing another bellow that shook dust loose from the rafters above Kit. But the beast took a step backward this time as if it were registering real pain from the bullets. Zippy charged in while it was distracted by Chase and bit down on the tip of its tail, snarling and shaking the tip in his teeth until the beast issued another enraged roar and whipped its tail, flinging Zippy through the air and slamming him into the side of the house. Howling in pain, Zippy’d had enough. He limped away around the corner of the house and the tyrannosaurus turned to square off against Chase again, but Chase was ready with another bullet. This shot hit the animal in the breast, throwing out a spatter of bloody flesh. Now it was the tyrannosaurus’s turn to decide it had had enough. It let out one final rumbling growl and then wheeled and thundered away, disappearing behind the barn. A moment later it crashed into the nearby woods, its thunderous footfalls fading into the distance accompanied by the snapping of tree branches. Kit stood and moved toward the front of the shed, but her legs were wobbly. A wave of faintness swept through her and she stopped to brace herself against a fender of the tractor.
Chase ran to her side with his rifle in hand. “Come on,” he shouted, putting an arm around her waist and half-carrying, half-dragging her toward his truck. He helped her into the passenger seat, ran and jumped behind the wheel, started the engine and tore out of the driveway in reverse. Kit closed her eyes, feeling spent and nauseous as the lurching truck tossed her head from side to side. She was trembling, shocked and drained, her heart sore from nearly bursting.
In a moment Chase had the pickup careening along the blacktop road to Red Lodge at eighty miles an hour. Kit had never been so glad in all her life to be leaving the ranch behind.
With every turn of the road he put between them and the tyrannosaurus, Chase’s mood lifted. To have fought with such a creature and survived was incredible. Going through it all with Kit Daniels somehow thrilled him beyond words. As seconds went by and their distance from the ranch house increased without further sight of the monster, he began to chuckle. Overdosed on an excess of adrenaline, his laughter quickly escalated to semi-hysterics.
“Can you believe that?” he shouted at Kit. She’d sunk into the corner of her seat and was staring at him.
“What’s your problem?” she asked.
“Pretty good rescue, huh?” he asked with his mirth fading.
“Rescue? Seems like I did quite a bit of it myself.”
“Oh, sure,” he agreed. “You’re quite a hand with a pitchfork. I’m impressed. I want you with me next time I take on a T-rex.”
She let out an exasperated sigh. “What’s so funny about me almost getting eaten?”
“Sorry,” he said. “I just can’t quite believe we’re still alive.”
She wore her sour face resolutely. “It wrecked my house.”
“Yeah,” Chase agreed. “But you wrecked his mouth pretty good with that pitch fork. And I got a couple of good shots in, even if I do have to say so myself.”
“Ooh,” she said, growing sarcastic. “My hero.”
“C’mon,” he said. “Lighten up. Think what a team we make. This is one hell of a first date if you ask me.”
“Date?” She clucked her tongue. “I don’t know what in the world you’re talking about. This is no date. It’s a struggle for survival.”
Chase sighed. He couldn’t explain his feelings any better than he already had. Despite doing eighty on a straightaway he took his eyes off the road for a second and smiled at her. Kit kept her eyes on the road and suddenly she flung herself at the steering wheel, grabbing it and pulling hard to the right, shouting, “Turn!”
Before Chase could react they were off the road and careening over rough ground at sixty miles an hour. The truck heeled up on one side and Chase yanked the wheel the other way and the tires crashed back down. As they came to a halt on a small two-rutted dirt road, he caught his breath and stared at Kit in disbelief.
“You trying to get us killed? Again?”
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