My books are about...
the Passion and Devotion between
a man and a woman, Love the way
God originally intended it to be, 
and Commitment that lasts a lifetime.

Zena Wynn, 
Romance Author

Passionate Love that Lasts a Lifetime

Works in Progress

Readers frequently ask, Why does it take you so long to write? We've been waiting forever for the next True Mates, Fantasy Island, or (insert series name here) book. 

The answers are as follows:

  1. Writing is not my first priority. I work a full-time job and fit writing in when I can.
  2. There are so many ideas in my head. More than I have time to write. Unfortunately, this means  reader favorites will sometimes get pushed to the back of my schedule. 
  3. Last reason, as a writer, I dislike being placed in a creative box. I love the freedom of being to pursue whatever story or characters that incite my muse. 
I hope, as a reader, you enjoy the diversity of my books and characters as much as I do.

Updated 5/6/20.

Mate Run is a 3 book, post-apocalyptic, futuristic/sci-fi romance series I began that I hope to release in 2020. If all goes well, I'll release one book a month. I've completed book 1 and am working on book 2. It combines quite a few of the sci-fi romance elements I like: matings, a bride match agency service, and things that don't quite go as the heroine intends. Book one will be Mate Run: Pia and book two is Mate Run: Cherise. If you give them a chance, I believe you'll enjoy them. When I began writing this last year, I had no idea the world would go through a pandemic. What's happening now mirrors some of the back history in my series.

Mate Run: Pia  (unedited)

(c) 2020 by Zena Wynn  All rights reserved


Chapter One


I sat in a high director’s style chair high that left my feet dangling. Behind me was a ceiling-to-floor black curtain. Overhead was a boom microphone that picked up every word. What made me nervous was the mounted video camera pointed directly at me. The interviewer, Jillian, sat facing me but to the side, just out of camera range. The bright lights created a glare that made it hard to see her.


“I didn’t realize this interview would be videotaped,” I said.


“We find videotaping the interview gives the reviewer a much better idea of the candidate’s true personality. It’s so easy to simply check an answer box on a computer screen. This was is more personal,” Jillian said.


Eyes narrowed against the lights, I didn’t respond. Jillian knew I wasn’t happy. I’d been given no warning and barely little time to freshen up before being stuck in front of the camera. I still had on my scrubs from work, for goodness sake, and wore no makeup. The most positive thing I could say about my appearance was that my hair was neat, and there was nothing in my teeth.


“Let’s start with the basics. What’s your name?” Jillian asked.


“Pia.”


“Last name?” Jillian asked.


“Just Pia.” I wasn’t stating my first and last name. The agency, Mate Match, had it in their records.


“Okay, Pia, how old are you?”


“Forty-three.”


“Are you single as in never been married, or divorced?”


“Never been married,” I said.


“And why is that?”


I thought of all the answers I could give: Never met the right guy. It never seemed to be the right time. I’m too picky. All those were true. Finally I said, “For the past twenty years, I’ve been focused on advancing my career. It hasn’t left time for anything else.”


“What is it that you do?”


“I’m a trauma nurse.”


“That sounds very stressful,” Jillian said, sounding impressed.


I rotated my neck from side to side. “It can be.”


“Tell me about your job,” she encouraged.


“I work in the emergency department of Mercy General, taking care of patients with critical, sometimes life-threatening injuries. I triage patients as they come in, making sure the most critical are seen first. My work hours are seven p.m. to seven a.m. That’s what the schedule reads, but I frequently go over. If the ER is hopping, I can’t just up and leave because the clock says it’s time to go,” I said.


“No, I don’t imagine you can. Why come to Mate Match?”


Trying to see past the glare hurt my eyes and I blinked, wishing I wore sunglasses. After working a fourteen-hour shift, my eyes were tired and the lights felt like abuse. “The reason most women do, I guess. I’d like to share my life with someone. Waiting for someone to find me hasn’t worked out too well. It’s time I became more proactive.”


“I understand, but that doesn’t answer the question. Why Mate Match in particular?”


“You mean why come to a dating agency that specializes in finding matches for the Infected?” I asked.


“Yes. Most people fear them. Or think they’re animals,” Jillian said.


“First of all, I’m a medical professional. I know exactly what the Infected are, and what they’re not. I’ve treated my share of the newly infected and know how the virus attacks the body. Despite having many animal characteristics, the Infected are not animals. They don’t change into werewolves, or whatever animal they’ve been infected with. Are they stronger, faster, smarter, and more cunning than the average human? Yes, they are. Their emotions are more volatile, and they’re driven more by instincts than the uninfected population,” I said.


“Sounds like you know what you’re talking about,” Jillian said.


It took all I had within me not to roll my eyes. “I have a master’s degree in nursing. In order to treat the Infected, we had to learn all about them.”


“So again, why seek out the Infected?” Like a dog with a bone, Jillian kept coming back to that same question.


 “I’ve seen the Infected with their mates. There’s a bond, a sense of loyalty and commitment I don’t see in uninfected couples. Maybe it’s due to their animalistic nature? Scientists say wolves mate for life. That’s the type of relationship I want.”


“Thank you, Pia. That’s all I need.” Jillian pushed her remote control and the red light on the video camera winked out. Another button switched off two of the overhead lights.


“That’s it?” Somehow I thought there’d be more. Where were the questions about my likes and dislikes, hobbies, and what I looked for in a man?


“Yes. We want to leave something for your match to discover on his own. There is one more thing I need from you,” Jillian said. Something in her voice told me I wasn’t going to like it.


“What?”


She handed me a plastic zip lock bag. “I need you to take off your panties and seal them in here.”


I blinked at her, certain I’d misheard. “Do what?”


“Your panties. In this bag,” Jillian patiently repeated.


Slowly, I reached out and took the bag from her. “Why?”


“The Infected determine compatibility on the basis of scent.”


Just like an animal, I thought, but didn’t say.


Reminding myself I was the one who’d initiated this process, I went into the bathroom to do as instructed. As I placed the plain cotton inside the bag, I gave a mental shrug. My undies tended toward comfort and practicality. Again, had I been given warning, I might have chosen something more feminine and appealing.


I exited the bathroom, happy the next stop was home. Going pantyless in public wasn’t a feeling I enjoyed. “What’s the next step?”


“If you’re selected, we’ll be in contact,” Jillian said.


I didn’t like her answer. “So, I don’t get to look at any photos?”


“No, the choice is all on the part of the male. Infected males like chase, not be chased,” she said with a laugh.


“What are the odds of my being selected? I imagine I’m older than your usual clients.” It was something I’d given a lot of consideration and one of the reasons I’d hesitated to take this final step. Jillian was a young, attractive woman in her twenties. I didn’t think she’d understand my concern.


Jillian placed a reassuring hand on my arm. “Infected males don’t worry about things like age, race, shape, or size.” She held up the plastic bag and gave it a shake. “It’s all about the pheromones. One sniff and they know. Don’t worry. I’m sure we’ll find a match for you. The males far outnumber the available females. That’s why Mate Match was created. We have agencies all over the world.”


This brought up another question. What if my match lived in another city, state, or even another country? Was I willing to move to be with him?


One step at a time, Pia.


A yawn caught me by surprise. “Sorry. The long night is catching up with me. You have my contact information?” I’d listed my name, phone number, and email address on the application.


Jillian smiled reassuringly. “Yes. Go home and rest. We’ll be in touch.”


“Okay.” Another yawn racked my frame. “Thank you for seeing me, even though I was late for our appointment.”


Jillian grinned, her kind face crinkling at the eyes and around her mouth. “Like you said, when things get hopping, you can’t just walk out of the hospital because the clock says it’s time for you to leave.”


I gave her a tired smile in return. “Now, I really have to go before I fall asleep on the train and miss my stop. I’ve done it before. It’s no fun. Have a nice day. I hope to hear from you soon.”


Mate Run: Cherise  (unedited excerpt)

(c) 2020 by Zena Wynn  All rights reserved



 Chapter One


I parked and sat for a moment, carefully observing my surroundings. It had been twelve years since my mother sacrificed herself to free me from the cult into which I’d been born. Twelve years and countless moves, steadily working my way east and north, until two years ago I’d landed in New City, Maine.


As one of the infected living among the uninfected, it had been incredibly difficult, but I’d taught myself to deal. Always being on guard was a way of life. So was living a lie. The underground organization that had rescued me had trained me well. In return and as a way to say thanks, I’d used everything they’d taught me to stay free and live. Not just survive.


It was a tribute to my mother. A way to honor her both her life and her untimely death. A necessity to prove to myself, if to no one else, that her gift of life had not been in vain.


This last year had been the most difficult. I believed I’d finally put enough distance between me and cult that still hunted me openly and on the dark web. Hiram, the cult’s leader, was still alive and he wanted me back. I didn’t know if it was because I got away and he wanted to make an example of me. Or, if in his own twisted way, he really had feelings for me. Either way, I’d become the object of his obsession and could never allow myself to forget it.


Life on the run was difficult and became harder every year. I wanted a home. A place to settle where I could be my authentic self, not the facade I showed the world at large. I wanted a family, and friends, and most of all, a place to belong. To that end, I was taking a risk. One some might call foolish.


This morning, I was registering with a mate-matching agency that specialized in matching the infected with the uninfected. Mate Match was considered one of the best, their reviews were outstanding, and their results couldn’t be argued. I was nervous as hell, and it had taken six months of arguing with myself to gather the courage.


After taking another deep breath to calm myself, I exited my car and cast a reassuring glance at the trunk where my go bag was located. Owning a private vehicle was a luxury most city-dwellers didn’t possess. However, for me it was a necessity. It was hard to flee in the middle of the night when you were dependent upon public transportation. I hated that owning it drew unnecessary attention when my goal in life was to live under the radar.


Walking around to the front of the building, after another brief hesitation, I entered the double glass doors with Mate Match etched on the glass. Going from bright sunshine to the dimmer interior caused me to exchange the mirrored sunglasses for the plain black framed glasses I wore as a disguise.


I walked to the receptionist desk, knowing what the woman saw. The only thing flashy about me was the gold and black box braids I wore in my hair. My clothes were nondescript, most often gray, black, or neutral in color, worn a size too large and in styles that didn’t flatter my figure. Thanks to contacts, my eyes were a plain, ordinary brown. I wore makeup not to enhance, but to downplay my natural beauty. My mother had been gorgeous, and unfortunately for me, I’d inherited her stunning looks.


The receptionist glanced up with a practiced smile. “Welcome to Mate Match, where your perfect match is just one test away. How may I help you?”


The waiting area held women of various ages. There were office workers seated at desks, most on the phone or with clients. Off to the side in an alcove were more women on computers. Business was booming.


“I have a ten o’clock appointment,” I said.


“Name?” she asked.


“Cherise Golden.” At the age of fifteen, scared and alone for the first time in my life, I’d stumbled over the new name I’d been given. The team of women to which I’d been assigned had been wise enough to keep the new name close enough to my real one that if I made a misstep, it could be easily corrected. Now it flowed easily from my lips.


She glanced down at the mini computer screen on her desk and her black hair, cut in a sleek bob, swung forward. “I see your appointment is with Stephan. He’s with a client right now but will be with you shortly. Have a seat. There’s coffee, tea, and danishes for your enjoyment. Feel free to help yourself.”


“Thank you.” I turned and took a seat with my back to the wall, nearest the exit. My foot wanted to tap with nerves, but I forced myself to stillness.


The other women waiting all stared at their communication devises. Mine was stashed inside of my bag and only turned on when absolutely necessary. For me, a phone had never and could never be a source of entertainment. It was a tracking devise. A means of communication, yes, but also a source of personal danger if the wrong people learned my information.


My gaze drifted to the women in the alcove, sitting at computers, completing their mating profile. The questionnaire was long and detailed, asking a myriad of questions that ran the gambit from personal preferences, personality traits, background and family history, and your ideal mate.


I’d lied through my teeth on most of it, sticking to the background that had been created for me and embellishing wherever necessary. The only parts that were true were my address, occupation and work history, and what I desired in a mate. I’d seen the worst of men. Men who preyed on the weak. Who craved power and didn’t care what they had to do to get it. Men whose savagery made wild animals appear humane. 


I craved someone different. A man with honor and strength of character. A man with his own level of danger but used it to protect, not harm. I could never forget that I was a hunted woman, and anyone I aligned myself with would also be in danger.


“Ms. Golden?”


I glance up as my name was called. “Yes?”


“I’m ready for you now,” Stephan said. “Please follow me.”


I stood and followed him to a small room in the back set up with a camera, two high stools, and enough lighting to hurt my eyes. I blinked a few times and squinted, hoping my discomfort didn’t show.


Stephan glanced at me and gave a sympathetic smile. “I know the lights are uncomfortable, for me as well. Too long under them and the heat becomes unbearable. We’ll make this as quick as possible. Have a seat.”


I sat while he fiddled with the camera. When he joined me, he looked into the camera and said, “Interview with Cherise Golden begins now. Ms. Golden, tell me about yourself.”


I repeated the background I’d given them in my profile, keeping it short and to the point.


“Thank you. Can you tell me why, with all of the options available to you, you’ve chosen to seek an infected male as a life partner?” Stephan asked.


“My mother raised me in a rural area.” Truth. “After her death, I moved to the city where there were more opportunities for a young woman to survive on her own. I’ve decided I don’t really enjoy being a city dweller and long to return to my roots. However, the rural areas are controlled by the infected. You have to either be infected or mated to one to live there.”


He tilted his head to the side. “What about family? Did no one take you in after your mother died?”


This part was easier to talk about, because most of it was true. “My mother’s father died in the first outbreak of HSP179. Her mother was killed in the panicked aftermath, trying to get herself and her children to a family member that had offered her safety. My mother completed their journey. She and her brother were raised by a distant cousin whose farm was located far enough out that the initial wave missed him. My uncle left as soon as he became an adult, and my mother never heard from him again. My cousin would have allowed me to continue living with him, but he had enough mouths to feed. I didn’t want to be a burden,” I said.


“I see. You didn’t mention your father. What about other family members?” he asked.


“I never knew my father. He left before I was old enough to know him.” Lie. “As for other family, there’s none that I’m aware of,” I said.


Stephan asked what qualities I wanted in a mate and I answered him. Then he said, “One last thing before we’re done. I need you to go into the restroom, take off your panties, and place them in one of the baggies inside. Give them to me when you’re done.”


Inwardly, I froze and a pulse began beating in my throat. I allowed myself a small frown and lied. “I’m sorry. I don’t wear panties. Is it important to the matching process?”


Stephan’s eyes widened before he, too, frowned. “Hmm, in all of my years as an intake analyst, I’ve never had this happened. Give me a second.”


I waited to see what he’d do, outwardly patient but inwardly fretting. I could pass for uninfected with everything but my scent. Lotions and body sprays could cloud the senses, but one sniff of my underwear by an infected and it would be all over.


“What about a bra? Do you wear those?” he asked.


“Yes.”


“I’ll take it. The scent marker won’t be as strong, but it’s better than nothing. Maybe being under these bright lights triggered your sweat glands enough to give us what we need,” he muttered.


They had, but mingled in with my sweat was the body lotion I’d used after my shower this morning.


“May I ask what this is for?” I said as I stood, playing ignorant.


“The infected can tell a lot about a person based on their scent. It’s the first thing they look for to determine compatibility. If the bra doesn’t contain enough of your natural pheromones, we may need you to come back in with a pair of panties or we’ll work out some other option. The bathroom is down the hall to the right.”


I left the room, praying the bra would be enough.