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Dove Strong by Erin Lorence

Dove Strong Blurb  
Dove Strong loves God. She loves standing chin up, fists clenched when facing Satan’s attacks. But there’s one thing she doesn’t love—other people. So when this spiritually-gifted, antisocial teenager is chosen to join other believers in a trek across Satan’s territory, rattlesnakes and evil-intentioned Heathen aren’t her biggest challenges. But failure isn’t an option. In a month, the Christian Councils will decide the Reclaim, a vote on whether there’ll be a war between Christ’s and Satan’s followers to take back America. It is up to Dove, God’s messenger for peace, to reach her Council in time. Because if she doesn’t, things could get bloody.

Dove Strong Extract:
I smashed against the boulder’s baking contour. Sun-blinded, my eyes darted back and forth uselessly as I attempted to see any hunters. At Melody’s nudge, I shifted to the boulder’s edge and dangled my feet off while she inched the heavy-sounding shard back into its place to conceal her family’s secret exit.
“From now on, we’re always on our guard, Melody. Every step. Every sound you make. It may be the reason you live or die. Until you get the hang of being above ground, follow my lead. Do exactly what I do.”
I wiggled off the boulder. The drop lasted longer than expected, and the landing jarred me, heel to spine.
Stunned, I blinked around at the unexpected mammoth pit I’d landed in. Then I leaped to my feet and flung myself against the pit’s crumbly side.
Using an exposed tree root, I was able to haul myself over the lip in time to see Melody’s descent. She went off a different side of the boulder and avoided the pit. But she landed sprawled like an upended turtle on its shell.
After struggling up, she joined me at the edge of the man-made pit. We panted, hands on our thighs, next to a hole at least forty-feet long and almost as wide. Its depth was jagged and varied. The place where I’d landed reached only a couple of yards down.
I pointed at a neck-breaking drop in the middle. “This was part of your home once.”
Now it made sense—her explanation about coming here to watch the sky...even if it wasn’t safe.
I followed her gaze to where the enthusiastic hunters had started digging for the underground Christian home at the heap of broken pine trees. Ripped-up stumps with mud-caked roots were scattered about. Another giant boulder—half the size of the cracked one we’d exited—rested at the pit’s bottom nearest us, the exact point where they’d given up. And all around, bulldozer tracks etched deep in the baked mud.
How had my family missed the racket of trees going down? And of the machines roaring around out here? The tunnel must have taken us further than I’d guessed.
Yeah. There were no familiar tree-filled slopes in any direction, out to the horizons. The always visible, mammoth rock column, Steins Pillar, was missing. But I caught sight of a paw print next to Melody’s boots.
I touched it and straightened.
We were leaving our scent like crazy here. And scent was the most likely reason people with dogs and a bulldozer had hit on this isolated spot in the first place.
“Keep up.” I sprinted around the pit with Melody at my heels. By the time we made it to the pines we’d lagged to a jog, and I held my side.
I’d been suspicious of it at the time, but now it was confirmed. All those brutal, muscle-building exercises of Gilead’s had been a big, fat waste of time. I wasn’t even a shadow of the ferocious athlete-warrior hybrid he’d tried to remake me into.
Given Melody’s condition, I could be worse.
We dragged in air while plowing through juniper and bitterbrush. Because I was listening for it, I identified the sound of another body moving through the bushes not far away.
Human? Or animal?
“Get down. Freeze. And hold your breath.” I dropped into a crouch and scanned the terrain.
She obeyed. Together our chests heaved like silent bullfrog throats.
It sounded like a human. Moving nearer. From the east, from the side of the slope where we’d been.

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I loved this one. It's YA fiction, but a real page turner. Right now I'm reading Book 2 in the series - Fanatic Surviving - which is just as good.


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