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The Cohesion - Book Three: The Melting, #3
The Cohesion - Book Three: The Melting, #3
The Cohesion - Book Three: The Melting, #3
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The Cohesion - Book Three: The Melting, #3

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It began in the north, in the ancient cold before the birth of man. Whether from the actions of man or the cycles of the planet, the primordial ice is melting and bringing back to the atmosphere a virus. One with no known cure for modern day humans.

Rachel Gerhart has been a survivor her whole life, now she's been changed by the virus that destroyed civilization. She trying to keep her differences under wraps, but Sid Saylor knows her secret. He's been changed as well. Can their new abilities help with the rebuilding of a human civilization?

PublisherDonna Steele
Release dateSep 1, 2018
The Cohesion - Book Three: The Melting, #3
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Donna Steele

Women strong enough for love. Donna writes science fiction, paranormal and small town romances about women coming into their strength and having the courage to find and accept love. Now that she has retired from going into an office every day, she created an office at home and writes full time. Talk about living the dream! She was the girl at the party who was yearning for the quiet corner and a book to read (go Rory Gilmore!), and has been writing in her head since she learned to read. Getting those stories down on paper (or in her laptop) has been more fun than she ever imagined it could be. The possibilities of science fiction have always drawn her and she's read them all, there just needed to be a little more romance in them. She finally got up the courage to write them herself and is delighted to be able to share these stories with you. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter of RWA and the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. She can be reached at www.steelestories.com, www.facebook.com/donnasteeleauthor, or https://twitter.com/steele_donna

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    The Cohesion - Book Three - Donna Steele

    Praise for The Melting Series

    Ms. Steele does it again with The Melting, Book 3: Cohesion. This third book in the post apocalyptic series has more characters and a stronger paranormal element and it will not disappoint. As the groups from book one and book two come together in an attempt to rebuild civilization, we catch up with David and Amanda, Jim and Meg, and other characters from the first book while getting to know Sid and Amanda. As their tentative friendship grows, will it be a purely a mental connection? Or will their union be the start of a love story beyond all others?   Lilly Gayle, author of historical and paranormal romance.

    Ms. Steele's depiction of a fatal contagion being spread by the retreat of the glaciers due to global warming is plausible. So much so, I'm surprised Ms. Steele hasn't been flagged by the Alaska Department of Tourism, and the cruise lines that sail the inner and outer passages, as persona non grata. Ms. Steele leaves you hanging on the precipice with a promise to continue just as things get interesting. I can't wait to see how her heroine and hero succeed in a post-pandemic world.~

    Cyn Hadyn, author of paranormal romance

    If you enjoyed Nora Roberts’, Year One, you’ll love this series!

    L. Ford

    The idea behind the contagion was very original. And a very appropriate look at our wonderful leaders who all felt that they should be entitled to the vaccine. Let's see who is the first to change a light bulb when it burns out. Loved the first segment, can't wait for more. ~

    P Bryant

    Science fiction and paranormal aren't usually my favorite stories, unless Donna Steele writes them. She is able to make science fiction and paranormal seem so normal you just go right along. The Melting, book 2 - The progression, like many of Ms. Steele's works, is comfort reading to me, a wonderful story with vivid characters that I simply don't want to put down until I ‘know what happens next.’ I would love for this series to continue on for several more books. I won't say read this only if you're a Sci-fi fan or a paranormal fan, I'll just say read this if you are a fan of great story writing! ~

    PK Corey, Author of the Cassie Series

    Love these characters, and love where the story is going. Only one complaint - Donna, please don't end this with book three!!! ~

    S. Mavis

    Copyright @ 2018 Donna Steele

    No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system-except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the Web without permission in writing from the publisher.

    All characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or name. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

    Cover Artist: Robert Steele, Second Edition ©2018

    Previously published by Rebel Ink Press LLC


    To Hubby for your unflagging support,

    and to my intrepid beta readers – Lynne, Travis and Joy. Thank you so much for making this series so much richer and more real.

    The Melting Series

    Book Three

    The Cohesion


    Donna Steele

    Meg looked back at the squat building that had kept them safe through the winter, then over at the small white cross under the tree to the right. Leaving Lorene behind was painful. She was the one that had led them to this temporary sanctuary. Maybe it was fitting that she remain and possibly lead the next survivors in.

    Jim's hand closed around hers and she smiled. Yes, time to go.


    It began in the north, in the ancient cold from before the appearance of man. Whether from the actions of man or the cycles of the planet, the primordial ice was melting and releasing a virus to the atmosphere. One for which modern day humans had no immunity.

    Tourists and crewmembers alike were exposed to the disease and when the enormous cruise ships docked back at their home bases and dispersed their inhabitants, the virus traveled with them. To Italy, Japan, Southern California and Mississippi, to New York City and Jakarta, Indonesia. And this miniscule life form continued to spread and bring down the top of the evolutionary scale.

    David Morrow, world-renowned scholar in global warming and sustainability, and Amanda Sutton, physician turned researcher were swept up in the pandemic. She received one of the precious doses of a vaccine that was developed too late. But he recovered, the only one found to have done so.

    Both lived at what used to be the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, but civilization as they had know it was gone and their safety depended on their escape.

    Meg Adams, former office manager at the CDC and Jim Stephens, former army sniper led more survivors in an exodus from the CDC when the new regime began an attempt to take power there. The first winter, with little time for preparation and no civilization to rely on, has ended.

    Through currently inexplicable means the two groups have found one another and civilization may yet be reborn.

    Chapter One

    Former Center for Disease Control

    Samson Brown moved cautiously and silently to look around the corner of the last building. He was a large man, but he knew how to be quiet. His dark skin helped to keep him invisible in the gloom of near twilight. The guards had gotten lax with their sentry duties. He couldn't really blame them. There were no refugees clamoring to come into the compound. They should be watching for escapees. There were plenty of potentials there. Besides the nights were still cool and who wanted to be outside in that?

    He had recruited Chip and Lindsay after working with both men. Neither was afraid of hard work and had more sense than a lot of the people that now lived together in the CDC compound.

    Chip Kyzer was behind him with Patti Seldon and Gayle Brown. Chip was a doctor and Patti and Gayle both worked in the labs. Lindsay Putnam worked in the labs as well. Samson could only hope whatever they had done in those labs wouldn’t matter now.

    Lindsay was a little farther back with Natalie Powers, who had worked for one of the Congressmen when they had first arrived. Keithley, Samson thought, one of the dead ones anyway. Samson didn't know any of the women well, though he’d had a couple of short conversations with Patti. They had wanted to leave. The safety of the place no longer held the appeal that had once seemed assured. He thought Lindsay and Natalie were involved with one another, which made sense.

    Chip might be a doctor, but he wasn’t part of that crowd at the CDC. He preferred to hang with the staff. Samson hadn’t asked a lot of questions. Chip was a hard worker and steady, good to have along. He was probably six feet, with sandy hair he somehow managed to keep short. He was quiet a lot. Samson saw the sadness in his eyes and wondered if that was why he stayed away from the other doctors. Whatever had happened, Samson was grateful for his presence now.

    Lindsay was the class clown, but great for morale. At five foot eight, he wasn’t a powerhouse, but he certainly didn’t shirk any work either. Samson, at six foot six, well over two hundred pounds was the muscle of the group. People stepped aside for him, between the baldhead and the tattoos on his right arm and shoulder, he could look intimidating. He rarely needed to do more than glare.

    For now, Samson was just glad he couldn't hear his companions’ footsteps. They knew to be careful.

    Dusk was falling and most people had already turned in. There was no energy to waste on lights without a strong reason. Besides, everyone would be up at dawn to use what light there was to get their daily assignment done. The days were already longer and winter was becoming a memory, a horrible one, but a memory nonetheless. There could still be weather problems, but Samson was pretty sure precipitation would be rain rather than snow and sleet.

    The sentry had started his rotation and would be out of the way for at least twenty minutes—if he came back this way at all. He might stumble upon a poker game and forget. Samson had worked with the jerk before. Discipline was breaking down and now was the time to bug out.

    Samson waited until the sentry was out of sight four full minutes, then motioned to Chip and Lindsay. They all moved forward quietly. The ground was clear here and they kept to the grass for even less sound than the pavement, even in their sneakers. There were sturdier shoes in their packs for later.

    Once Samson felt they were truly out of danger from being seen or heard, he moved everyone back to the pavement and began jogging. The house he had chosen wasn’t far. They needed to get out of sight and check the supplies he'd squirreled away there.

    Natalie was puffing by the time they reached the house, but had kept up. The house was nondescript, a ranch with a two-car attached garage, nothing to draw attention. Samson led them in the back and did a quick perimeter check to ensure no one had disturbed the house since he'd last been there. None of his devices had been tripped and the bundles he'd placed in the pantry were still there. Not even rats had found the place.

    Check your bundle and eat a little. Then find someplace to bed down, Samson said. We'll be moving out at first light. We need to be moving before they realize we're gone.

    We can't run to wherever we're going. Natalie had her breath back, but she was clearly uneasy. The woman was only five foot two. Keeping up with Samson’s strides was impossible for her. Lindsay put his arm around her and everyone looked at Samson.

    We won't. I have an SUV for us to use. It's in the garage and full of gas. We'll be crowded with six of us, but we'll make do.

    The scouts left a working SUV in a house this close?

    I was a scout, Samson looked over at her. Didn't like the place from the beginning.

    Lindsay grinned. Always did like you. He took Natalie's hand and nodded to the others. They took a couple of energy bars and wandered toward the bedrooms.

    Samson and Chip exchanged glances but kept quiet. Patti handed Samson an energy bar, then took a seat in the easy chair.


    Chip had gotten comfortable in the recliner and Gayle was asleep on the couch, Patti was dozing in her chair.

    Samson glanced at Patti once more. He was glad she’d decided to join them, though he hadn’t asked her directly. Chip had handled that. Patti had beautiful strawberry blonde hair and a killer body. At least leaving with this group she would be safe from those morons at the compound. Samson rose and headed to the front of the house to look around once more. There were no lights visible, but he opened the door and stepped outside to listen.

    The night was quiet, no sign of anyone, nothing following them. Hopefully, no one even knew they were gone yet. They were still too close to the compound, but waiting for daylight was the correct thing to do. The SUV was already loaded. He should try to get some sleep himself.

    He froze as he heard the slight creak of wood.

    Samson? Are you okay?

    He relaxed as he recognized Patti's voice.

    Yes, making sure no one followed us.

    Should we leave now?

    Samson shook his head. We're okay. You should be getting some rest.

    You too. Her response was crisp and he liked that. Samson, thanks for bringing us along. I know you could have gotten away a lot sooner and probably with a lot less trouble without us.

    I don't think anyone could make it alone anymore. Those two guys have treated me right, better than most. Besides, I'm a pretty scary looking dude. They can be my PR.

    Patti chuckled. Well, I'm glad to be in the group with you. Lindsay's a nice guy. He’s been a big help to Natalie, and she adores him, but he's not really alpha and I think having strong leaders is important these days.

    Samson looked down at her. She thought of him as a leader? Savvy lady and pretty. Was that a good thing, or bad that he noticed?

    Finally he nodded. Go get some sleep.

    Chapter Two

    Verde Vita

    Rachel Gerhart lay in her bed. Morning was still distant and she'd regret lying here awake when dawn arrived, but she couldn't sleep.

    They were coming—she could feel them. They had left the camp in Tennessee. Sid was coming. No one knew how long the trip from Tennessee would take or how the roads had held up during the winter, but they were on their way.

    She'd never admitted she was having the dreams. David and Tim talked about the ability so matter-of-factly, like what they were feeling was normal or something. How could something like this be normal? How could she see into anyone else's dreams? But she did.

    Amanda thought the ability was a leftover from the virus that had killed everyone after the glaciers in Alaska had melted. She thought Rachel’s brain chemistry had been altered when she was merely a child by a form of the virus that had killed her parents. If she was right and Rachel had always done this, which would explain a lot of her problems in the myriad foster homes she'd survived. She had known

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