Cover & Excerpt
Living Dead World Book One
Jen MacLellan has hit a dead end…
Jen knows tattooed, blue-haired Jack Norris is trouble the minute he opens his front door. And being a mortician in the avante garde East Side of Providence, Jen has seen a lot. Jack has recruited Jen’s teenage brother Drew to play drums for his less-than-respectable punk band, and Jen has no choice but to follow their gigs to keep her little brother out of trouble. But when Drew goes missing, she finds herself in the awkward position of asking for Jack’s help. Shocked that he agrees, Jen decides she may have misjudged him. Worse, she might even like him.
But when Jen is brutally attacked, she awakens in the hospital where a Sid Vicious look-alike greets her with the news: she’s dead, and he’s the reaper assigned to take her away. Yeah, not so much. Refusing to leave, Jen’s spirit watches helplessly as her loved ones suffer, powerless to ease her family’s grief or prevent the police from accusing Jack of her murder. Desperate to help them, Jen convinces the reaper to bring her back. But reanimating corpses isn’t as easy as it looks, and neither is finding a killer before it’s too late…
Genre: Urban FantasyPurchase links: Amazon ARe Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Zombies, Musicians, Telepathy, Reapers, Ghosts
Release Date: January 15, 2014
Publisher: Etopia Press
Excerpt & More
Providence, Rhode Island
Was it a full moon? Because it seemed like crazy hit town and we got flooded. The funeral home was packed with more bodies than usual. I’d spent the past half hour explaining to a grieving family why an open casket really wasn’t the best option for their grandmother who’d been dead for over two weeks. Believe me, it wasn’t. I’d never been so happy to lock the front door.
Dad and I were cleaning up the prep room when my nineteen-year-old cousin Ethan appeared in the doorway with his hand shoved in a bag of chips. Like all the men in the family he towered over me, a height that was punctuated by another three or so inches of reddish-brown white boy ’fro. “You guys want the bad news or the really bad news first?”
The beginnings of a migraine pulsated in my right temple, growing more insistent by the second. It was now after ten o’clock at night. The only thing I wanted was to shower and get ready for bed.
Dad closed the stainless steel cabinet where we kept all the bottles of embalming chemicals. “Just lay it all out there.”
“Man, you guys are no fun.” He stuffed another chip in his mouth, then wiped his hand on the front of his Naruto T-shirt. “All right. We got another stiff, and Drew’s at some shady party getting hammered.” Ethan grinned.
“What?” I said. “Drew is…what?”
“You know, getting sloshed, shitfaced, cocked, drunk—”
“I know what it means, you ass.”
Dad looked at me, frowning. “Isn’t he supposed to be working on a science project?”
“What, like how many beers does it take to get to the center of a—?”
“Ethan, knock it off,” I snapped. “Yes, he was supposed to be working on a science project. I should’ve known.”
“Right? Nobody does homework on Friday nights.”
“You’re really not helping.”
Dad sighed and slumped his shoulders. “Well, one of us will have to go get him.”
“Why don’t you guys flip for it?” Ethan held a quarter between his thumb and forefinger and waved it in front of my face. “C’mon. Heads, Jen gets him; tails and Uncle Andrew does it. It’s foolproof.”
Foolproof? Ha. Right. Try suckered. Dad and I looked at each other and shrugged. My sixteen-year-old brother deserved the mother of all ass-kickings. Was it wrong that I was hoping for tails? Tails meant filling out some paperwork and escorting a body from the hospital morgue. It meant no aggravation. That body wasn’t going to argue or give me an attitude. My brother?
Yeah, different story.
Ethan slapped the quarter onto the table and lifted his hand. “Heads, my lovely cousin.”
. . .
. . .
. . .
Jack pulled me toward him and circled his arms around me. “Are you going to clock me if I kiss you right now?”
I shrugged. The thought of it sent my stomach fluttering.
He lowered his head and whispered in my ear. “I take it that since you’re here with me right now, it’s because you want to be with me.”
I angled my head back to meet his gaze and his lips brushed against my cheek.
“Yes,” I whispered back.
He smiled wryly. “So you do feel that way about me.”
I bit my lip and nodded.
When he did kiss me, it was slow and gentle. His arms tightened around me, and we just stood there, hugging. It was liberating. Like I could finally relax and allow myself to admit that I was doing something I wanted. It wasn’t for anyone else. I’d fought it for so long, but I knew without a doubt that this was where I was supposed to be. His body was so warm. Finally, he broke the embrace and turned around and got down on one knee with his back facing me. “Come on,” he said.
“Get on. I don’t know how you’re still walking in those things.”
I glanced down at my feet. The blisters on the backs of my ankles were raw and my toes felt crunched. I’d been so hopped up on adrenaline that I hadn’t even noticed how bad my feet hurt. I climbed onto his back, locked my arms around him, and he hoisted me up.
. . .
. . .
. . .
It was as if I’d been jerked out of a sound sleep by a nightmare and I was stuck in that brief couple seconds of wondering if it had been real or not.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Well if you’d let me explain before you went bolting outta the room, then you’d know, wouldn’t you? It seems to me that you’re quite dead. So I’ve come to collect you.”
“Is this a joke?” It had to be a joke.
“No joke. No one survives wounds like that. You were stone dead soon as soon as they wheeled you in here.”
Honestly, I had no idea how bad those injuries really were. It had happened so fast. One minute I was worried what Jack was going to do and the next thing I knew, I was lying in a pool of my own blood. I’d always thought I’d react differently if I was attacked. But in reality, my mind just shut down. Hell, it didn’t even hurt while I was being stabbed. After? Well, that was something completely different. It was pure agony.
So how exactly was I supposed to wrap my head around the whole thing? I wasn’t entirely sure I could trust this guy. I mean, this was it? Really? My life ends and some creep in a grungy leather jacket takes me away? No, I couldn’t accept that.
Jack needed me.
“I’m not going anywhere with you.”
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