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Archive for February, 2016

Plateful of Murder

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Plateful of Murder (A Terrified Detective Mystery – 1) by Carole Fowkes

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Claire DeNardo is scared of a lot of things. Ordinary objects like roller coasters and men’s hairpieces make her knees knock loud enough to be a band’s rhythm section. Unfortunately, the only job Claire can find is working for her Uncle Gino in his seedy detective agency. Until now, her cases have all be middle-aged men with trophy wives who needed watching. But when Gino retires and leaves her in charge, Claire gets swept up in a murder case despite her fears. Both the client who hired her and the handsome police detective want her off the case. When the wrong person is charged, it’s up to the terrified detective to summon all the courage she can to find the true killer.

Book

My Review

4 stars

Claire has inherited her uncle’s private investigators business. She used to just film cheating spouses but if she wants to keep the business going she is going to have to accept the job that just walked into the door. Michael comes to hire her because someone has been threatening his sister Constance. But before Claire can really start investigating, Constance is discovered murdered.

Constance worked for a big pharmaceutical business and was clear that she was going to work her way to the top through all the CEO’s. Claire is going to have her hands full trying to figure out who the killer is, especially when they start threatening her. But with the help of Michael, her big family, and lots of food she will save the day.

I really liked this story. Claire clearly is in over her head but she keeps fighting. I wouldn’t say Claire is afraid of everything, that makes me think she neurotic. But she does have a healthy sense of awareness. I loved her family; they are big, loud, and full of love. And the mystery will have you guessing until the end.

If you like cozy mysteries you need to check out this book. As for me, I can’t wait for the next book in this series.

To purchase Plateful of Murder make sure the check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Carole Fowkes’ website.

TourButtonI received Plateful of Murder for free from Sage’s Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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The Samsaric


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The Samsaric by GW Lwin

(Excerpt from Goodreads) SAMSARA: The cycle of birth, death and rebirth within the realms of existence …

The plague of 1918 A.D.
The mortal world is in a state of devastation.
A woman wakes up in an abandoned temple of Kali, the goddess of darkness, in the ancient city of Gaya.
She does not know where she is.
She does not remember the events leading to this.
She only hears the familiar voice of a tormented man who has haunted in her dreams.
He tells her a story – of a time of souls and suffering, of immortality and gods, of life and death.

This, he says, is Mesopotamia.

The SAMSARIC is a fast-paced fantasy-horror novel full of history, horror and vampirism from an ancient era.

Author GW Lwin

I love anything that comprises the old and the ancient full of rich history and spirituality. For me, reading and learning from our ancient past is truly a beautiful, unique and intriguing journey.

From a young age, I have felt that there were two versions of me: the old spiritual one and a young soul who still lives in his fantasy world.

However, both of these versions share one commonality – my interest in vampires from the ancient mythology and beliefs. I was mesmerised by their folklore since young.

The need to express is very strong within me. Writing, for me, provides this gateway and helps me to grow as a person. It is a life-long learning path that I gladly embark.

As a writer, I would like to improve each and every stage of writing, to possess the art of crafting words to communicate the emotions that arise from within to the readers … a vision shared by many authors.

Contact Links

Website: www.greglwin.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GWLwin/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/greg_lwin

Blog: www.greglwin.com

Book

My Review

3 stars

This book takes place in two times. We start in India 1918. A young lady awakens in an underground chamber not knowing who she is and who she is with. A guy called Eden tells her he is protecting her, calls her Inanna, and starts to tell her about the past. We then find ourselves in Assyrian Era 1813 BC. There we follow Shuri, a spoiled girl, and her adopted brother, Druga.

We learn that Eden is a Samsaric, an immortal being that is protecting Inanna and trying to help her regain her immortal form. We also follow along with Shuri and Druga and there several run-ins with vampires, who want to stop the Samsaric.

I admit that at first I was not impressed with Shuri, you can tell she had an easy life and it takes a while for her to wake up. Druga seemed to be trying as best as he could but it seems that he ended up getting them into more trouble.

The story is based in Mesopotania and I don’t really have any background knowledge so this was a good learning experience. You can tell that there is a lot of thought and research went into the story. You learn about things when Inanna does so it’s easy to get wrapped up in the story and had a hard time putting the book down. I don’t know what to make of the ending, it was confusing and didn’t really wrap everything up in a happy ending.

This was a good book and I would recommend it to those that like fantasy stories.

To purchase The Samsaric make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

Reading Addiction

I received The Samsaric for free from Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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Little Red Ridding Hood

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Little Red Riding Hood (Merlin’s Hoods – 1) by Carl Waters

(Excerpt from Goodreads) The legend is true. Beware the red cloak…

Sixteen-year-old Giselle has never strayed far from the watchful eye of her mother. While she’s always looked up to the nurturing, yet powerful Adela, she wonders about the true significance of her mother’s title: the Red Hood.

Giselle dreams of donning the red cloak herself some day. When the forces of evil gather to seek her mother’s blood, the untrained Giselle is left on the sideline.

After a whirlwind of werewolves and tragedy strike the family, Giselle must quickly learn the true powers of the red cloak. Failure to do so will doom her to a fate much worse than death.

Book

My Review

5 stars

Giselle has been training with her mother for years and cannot wait to wear the Red Hood with her. But her mother is insistent that she has not been trained enough and Giselle is not happy to hear this. But after foraging they return home to find Giselle’s Aunt Alison who is getting married and wants both Giselle and her mother at the wedding.

But Alison is clearly scorned that she didn’t inherit the Red Hood and wants one last fight with Giselle’s mother. Alison doesn’t play fair and Giselle has to go on the run. But when she is chased by a werewolf, which is not supposed to exist, she is going to learn that there is more to the Red Hood than she knows.

This is a great story. I love the twist on the classic Red Riding Hood story including Grandmother and the woodcutter. This is a short story but it packs a big bunch and has lots of action. I really liked this story and can’t wait to read the next ones in this series. If you like dark twists to original fairytales then this is one book that you need to read.

To purchase Little Red Riding Hood make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

Story Cartel

I received Little Red Riding Hood for free from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.

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Young Adult / YA Mystery
Date Published: February 2, 2016

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Memories make us human. Are we still alive if we can’t remember?
Seventeen-year-old Zoe Laleigh has accepted that sometimes the only way to survive today is to wipe away the past. That’s what her loving parents and dedicated psychiatrist are helping her do—forget. What, she’s not entirely sure. All she knows is when an entire year of recollections goes missing, there’s definitely something wrong.
Sometimes the past isn’t so easily forgotten…
Through a flood of dreams, Zoe realizes something happened. Something terrible and tragic. Her lost year is a monster hiding in the shadow of her nightmares, taunting her, but unwilling to reveal itself. When her family relocates, she hopes a new town and new school will help her regain a sense of normalcy. If only it were that easy.
Strangely enough, only her dog, Rin, seems to understand her…
He is somehow connected to her lost year—connected to why she keeps doing things her mother calls reckless, foolish, and dangerous. And when she starts to hear voices and sees things no one else can, she is forced to question her own sanity.
The monster of her nightmares has returned, bringing with it the single question that plagues her at night…
What is there to remember?
Excerpt
                Did I say how much I hate Dr. Bazely’s office? It starts with the reception area, which always has this citrusy smell. It’s like cheap perfume, and it gets into my hair and my clothes, so I smell it for days. Of course, there are magazines to read during the wait, and there’s always a wait no matter when you arrive, but the magazines come in two flavors: National Geographic and People. Right, gawk at animals or gawk at humans, your choice. Before we sit, we have to deal with Martha, the receptionist.
                    “Hello, Martha,” Mom says, as we approach her desk.
                “Zoe,” Martha responds with faux pleasure. Her smile is like a Halloween mask she slides down over her face whenever she has to interact with clients. For some reason, they refer to us as clients, not patients. Whatever.
                      “Dr. Bazely will be with you momentarily,” Martha states, as she always does.
                I sit next to Mom and scroll through the texts on my phone. Sara has texted me 10,000 times, Hannah and Tory only slightly less. According to Tory, she spent all first period this morning answering one of two questions: Does Zoe have a brain tumor? and Is Zoe rabid? I also have a text from Derek, but strangely nothing from Alex.                
Hey, fox ninja warrior, the wildlife around here wants to know if it’s safe to come out, Derek texted.
                I laugh out loud at this and text back, Tell the animals crazy girl is in Boston for the day.
                    He immediately replies. You looked kind of sexy holding that shoe, you know.
I roll my eyes. That’s what I was going for all right—the sexy, scared shitless look.
                “The doctor will see you now,” Martha says, rising to lead me back to his office. 
I stow my phone in my back pocket, and Mom gives my hand a gentle squeeze of encouragement. My sessions with Dr. Bazely are one-on-one. No Mom. No Dad. Bazely usually does confer with Mom after we’re done, but he’s made it clear to me many times he will not breach the confidentiality of our sessions with anyone. So even if it turns out I’m an axe murderer, my crimes will remain a secret from my mother.
                Dr. Bazely’s office is like a nice den, all wood paneling, comfy, an overstuffed couch, and two wingback chairs. I sit in my usual chair and he sits in the other one halffacing me. A round table is strategically located between us. His shiny, bald head reflects the overhead light like a mirror. Dr. Bazely is never mean with me, but I resent him. He never tells me anything. He knows stuff about me, but he won’t share it with me.  
About the Author

 

Young adult writer K.D. Van Brunt has authored four books, including the widely acclaimed Win the Rings.  Residing in Rockville, Maryland, he loves all things dogs, the civil war and books.
Contact Links
Purchase Links
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Voice of the Spirit

Tobias and Lauren have been together for four months since the end of Do You Want to Play. They’ve found rhythm in their relationship, but that rhythm comes to an abrupt stop when a body is found nailed to a cross inside Pious Church.

As they dig through possible suspects—from religious fanatics to resentful Satanists—they also find themselves reexamining their relationship, trying to figure out if two people with opposite beliefs can stay together. As time begins to run out for their kidnapped singer and the murders begin to pile up, they will have to find a way to resurrect what they had doubted and sacrifice what they had believed.​

Buy the book:  Amazon

Charlotte Raine

Charlotte Raine is a best selling suspense author. Charlotte gets inspiration for her writing from the scenic mountains around her home near Vail, Colorado.

When she is not writing you will find her after a long day of skiing at one of the many lodges in Vail. She will most likely be next to a warm fire, drinking a glass of wine and telling stories.

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook

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Death of a Nurse

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Death of a Nurse (Hamish Macbeth – 31) by MC Beaton

(Excerpt from Goodreads) James Harrison has recently moved to a restored hunting lodge in Sutherland with his gorgeous private nurse Gloria Dainty. When Hamish visits Mr. Harrison to welcome him to the neighborhood, the old man treats him very rudely. Gloria apologizes for her employer’s behavior, and Hamish takes the plunge and invites her out for dinner. On the appointed evening, Hamish waits for Gloria at the restaurant. And waits. Gloria never shows up. Four days later, Gloria’s body washes up on the beach near Braikie. Now without a date and without his former policeman Dick Fraser (who left the force to buy a bakery), Hamish must find out who killed the beautiful new resident of Sutherland, and why, before the murderer strikes again….

Book

My Review

4 stars

Hamish Macbeth works as a police sergeant in the small village of Lochdubh in the Scottish Highlands. He is a little lazy, doesn’t want to leave his little town, an interested in the new nurse in town. He asks Gloria Dainty out on a date but she never shows. Then a couple days later her body is found. It’s now up to Hamish to figure out who killed Gloria without the help of a new constable that is more of a bumbling klutz.

I have seen several of MC Beaton’s books but have yet to have read any, although I do have them on my list. Or course I jumped at the chance to review Death of a Nurse, who wouldn’t. Hamish is a clever man yet he has a bit of a lazy streak and no luck with the ladies. And when he finally has a chance at a date she ends up dead. It is up to him and his bumbling partner.

This is a great cozy mystery. I didn’t really know who did it until the end and I had a hard time putting the book down. Although it is part of a series this book could be a stand-alone. Now I’m going to go back and catch up on this series from the beginning.

To purchase Death of a Nurse make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and MC Beaton’s website.

I received Death of a Nurse for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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I’m Traveling Alone

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I’m Traveling Alone (Holger Munch & Mia Kruger – 1) by Samuel Bjork

(Excerpt from Goodreads) A six-year-old girl is found in the Norwegian countryside, hanging lifeless from a tree with a jump rope around her neck. She is dressed in strange doll’s clothes. Around her neck is an airline tag that says “I’m traveling alone.”

A special homicide unit in Oslo re-opens with veteran police investigator Holger Munch at the helm. Holger’s first step is to persuade the brilliant but haunted investigator Mia Krüger to come back to the squad–she’s been living on an isolated island, overcome by memories of her past. When Mia views a photograph of the crime scene and spots the number “1” carved into the dead girl’s fingernail, she knows this is only the beginning. She’ll soon discover that six years earlier, an infant girl was abducted from a nearby maternity ward. The baby was never found. Could this new killer have something to do with the missing child, or with the reclusive Christian sect hidden in the nearby woods?

Mia returns to duty to track down a revenge-driven and ruthlessly intelligent killer. But when Munch’s own six-year-old granddaughter goes missing, Mia realizes that the killer’s sinister game is personal, and I’m Traveling Alone races to an explosive–and shocking–conclusion.

Book

My Review

4 stars

The story starts out with a broken Mia Kruger hiding, addicted to alcohol and pills, and thinking about killing herself. Her former boss, Holger Munch has troubles of his own. But when a 6 year old girl is discovered hanging from a tree with a tag saying “I’m Traveling Alone” Holger calls Mia in to help him investigate the murder.

Mia notices something that makes her think that there are more murders to come. They don’t have to wait long until another little girl is found. Then when Holger’s granddaughter is kidnapped things really get moving. Hopefully they can find her and stop the killer before she is the next victim.

I was instantly drawn into this story from the beginning. You have a killing right away and two people that are spiraling downward that need this case to find a purpose in life. Then there is a large group of people that you follow that although they have their parts each section will add up to the whole of the story. There is a great, deranged killer and lots of red herrings to keep you guessing. If you like psychological thrillers you will want to get this book.

To purchase I’m Traveling Alone make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

I received I’m Traveling Alone for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Aegis: Incursion

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Aegis: Incursion (The Aegis League – 2) by SS Segran

(Excerpt from Goodreads) On a bright July morning in 1948, a B-29 Superfortress flying a top-secret research mission over Nevada crashes into the calm waters of Lake Mead and sinks, remaining lost for half a century.

It has been nearly a year since five friends – Jag, Kody, Mariah, Tegan and Aari – mysteriously reappeared in a small town in Yukon several weeks after their small plane went down in Northern Canada. All were found in good health but with no recollection of what happened to them after the crash.

A baffling contagion is spreading across the bread-basket of North America destroying vital crops. As this dark shadow marches across the globe, widespread famine and riots bring desperate nations to the brink of war.

These seemingly unrelated events set the stage for a battle between the forces of darkness and those destined to become the ‘bearers of light’. From ravaged fields in the Great Plains to clandestine installations around the world, the Aegis League must race against time to save humanity.

Book

My Review

5 stars

I has been a year since book 1 and we find Jag, Kody, Mariah, Tegan and Aari doing their own things. Although they had been trained, worked together, and developed abilities they had their memories clouded so they don’t remember any of this. They have drifted apart and decide to go on a trip to be closer like they used to be. There is a group that has been affecting the crops of the world and the kids have a run in with them that brings all their memories back. It is now up to the kids to fight for humanity and stop the nanomites that have been released.

I really liked this book. I admit that I have not read the first book in the series but that didn’t matter. I had no trouble keeping up with the happenings, this could be a stand-alone book. There is a great story with lots of actions and adventure. I got wrapped up in this book and had a hard time putting it down. And the destruction of crops for the greater good, creepy if something like that actually happened and written in a way that I could feel the possibilities.

I will be eagerly waiting the next book in the Aegis League series but in the mean time I will make sure to read Aegis Rising to catch up with what I have missed.

To purchase Aegis: Incursion make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and SS Segran’s website.

Reading Addiction

I received Aegis Incursion for free from the Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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Angel Hands

Angel Hands was released on February 14th. Clearly I’m late as usual but I still wanted to share about this book.

Angel Hands

by Cait Reynolds

Sometimes, it is best to begin at the end.

Angel Hands, by Cait Reynolds, begins at the end of The Phantom of the Opera, revealing, for the first time, the true story behind Leroux’s fantastical tale and the real fate of the Phantom himself.

When the Opera de Paris is purchased and renovated, years after a mysterious fire nearly destroyed it, the Phantom finds himself unexpectedly resurrected – in the form of a young boy hired by the manager’s daughter to play pranks on the cast, crew, and audience. After all, the return of the infamous “Opera Ghost” can only be good for ticket sales, and Mireille Dubienne is determined to see her father’s investment become profitable.

Plain, shrewd, and proud, Mireille pours the rage of her disappointed hopes and looming spinsterhood into helping her father manage the Opera de Paris and making it a success. What she doesn’t count on is the real “Opera Ghost” deciding he no longer wishes to be an understudy in his own domain, the theater that Mireille believes is hers.

The Phantom and Mireille push each other to the limits of their cunning to control and manipulate each other, with no game too low to play. With each passing day, the stakes get higher, until surrender is no longer an option for the Phantom or Mireille.

Every trick and betrayal drives them toward a startling truth that will change more than one life forever: you can’t love what you hate…but you can desire it.

Available in Print and eBook format. Free on #KindleUnlimited

Amazon US: http://goo.gl/8nez1P

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Amazon AU: http://goo.gl/kc67p0

Amazon CA: http://goo.gl/2AW7Vc

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Thirst

~ Kira Sutherland ~

After a near fatal accident (and getting cheated on by her ‘boyfriend’), and beating up the lead cheerleader (with whom the boyfriend cheated…), and being labeled as having ‘issues’ in her school because she, uhm, sees ghosts, Kira is left with two choices:

  1. Continue her ‘therapy’ (where she’s told the ghost is a hallucination and also gets her legs ogled too often…)

Or

  1. Go to Starkfield Academy, a boarding school for “Crazies and Convicts” (as the social media sites call them.)

She chooses the latter…

~ Cory Rand ~

Cory Rand has not had an easy life. His mother died in a car accident when he was twelve, and so did his mother’s best friend…sort of. You see, Janice made a promise to take care of Cory just before she died, and so she lingers. Undead. A ghost that watches out for him.

Brought up in an abusive home, Cory quickly falls into a life of disreputable behavior. After his third offense (which was prompted by a girl, as usual – he has a weakness) he’s left with two choices:

  1. Be tried as an adult and share a cell with a guy named Bubba (he thinks…)

Or

  1. Go to Starkfield Academy, which Cory is pretty sure is run by vampires. But, hey, at least he’ll get an education.

He chooses the latter…

It’s at Starkfield that Kira meets Cory Rand, a boy with an insatiable Rage who sees ghosts, too. As well as other things, other things from his past, things that confuse him, things like fire and witches and demons.

Things he’s always ignored.

Until now.

Genres:

Young Adult Romance

Paranormal Romance

High School

Vampires, Demons, Witches

Dark Fantasy

Horror

Buy Links

Amazon US     Amazon UK

$20 Amazon Gift Voucher Giveaway

At the back of the book there is a giveaway link. Once the book hits fifty reviews on Amazon, one of those reviewers will win a $20 (US Dollars) Amazon Gift Voucher!

Author Bio

R P Channing started writing three years ago, but never published anything even after churning out over a million words of fiction. Thirst: Blood of my Blood is the first book he dared to publish. When asked why, he said, “Because it’s the first thing I wrote that my wife actually enjoyed reading.” When not hammering away (most literally) at his keyboard, he can be found buried in a book, reading anything from romance to horror to young adult to non-fiction to comedy.

Author Links

Website     Twitter     Amazon

Excerpt

PROLOGUE

-1-
The Puppy Eyes

My life was perfect.

I had the perfect shoes and the perfect friends and I lived in the perfect house. My nails were perfect and my hair was perfect (except on Sundays, it was always windy on Sundays) and I had the perfect clothes. My lips were a perfect red and my hair perfectly straight. My eyeshadow was perfect, my hips were…okay, and my waist…well…also okay. Nothing was wrong in my life.

But then there was Jack.

Jack was a problem.

He needed to go. I mean, when you’re dead, you’re dead! I had told him this endlessly. Somehow, Jack didn’t get it. I mean, I felt sorry for the guy. Sure. Being stuck between this life and the next. But just because I found him, does that mean I needed to keep him?

I think not!

Sadly, when Jack got that look in his eyes, that weary, almost teary (if his tear-ducts worked) look, I melted. I just couldn’t send him away. Not even Jack knew where he would go after he died.

Would he, like, die? As in — dead, nada, kaput, finito, gone, no more? Bye bye, sayonara, ciao, hasta la vista baby and all that?

I couldn’t have that on my conscience. No way.

I lay on my bed, wondering what to do about him. “Jaaaaaaack,” I hollered.

“Jaaaaaaack!”

Still no answer.

“Jack!”

Jack…materialized.

His eyes rolled down to the ground. He was making those puppy eyes again. “Jack, I told you not to do that. I told you not to play on my sympathies.”

His puppy eyes became worse.

His skin was gray and, well, dead.

“Oh, brother,” I said. “I have to do something about you. If mom finds out I have another ‘imaginary friend’ — at my age — well, I’d die of embarrassment. But, like, really die. Not like you.” I wondered about this. Would I die? Was Jack a freak accident, or did all people live on like him? Think of the cemeteries…

The idea excited me somewhat.

What would you have me do, Miss Kira?

“Knock off the Miss Kira crap. I told you it’s just Kira.”

Yes, Miss Kira.

The dead. There’s just no reasoning.

“Fine, Miss Kira it is then.” Rover barked like a lunatic in the garden. No one else might be able to see Jack, but I was sure my dog could.

“I have to do something about this,” I mumbled.

-2-
The Rat

Mike knocked on the door before I had time to leave the house. Mike was the guy I thought (at the time) was perfect.

“Who is it?”

“It’s me, baby.”

Baby, urgh — I wasn’t his baby. I dated Mike because he was the quarterback, because girls are supposed to like the quarterback, because it’s just so darn perfect to be seen with the quarterback, like we’re brainwashed into thinking these things from the first romantic doll set mom buys us.

This was my previous life.

“Mike.”

“Uh-huh. Gonna let me in?”

So you can try rub me up and then complain when I don’t let you? This, dear reader, was the big problem with Mike. The second we first kissed, his hand went way too far south for me to be comfortable — and I pulled back.

Mike suddenly wasn’t so perfect.

“Uhm, I was just on my way out,” I said.

“Kira? C’mon, open the door.” He sounded upset. “Is there someone in there with you?”

Boys. As if.

I didn’t know much about love (nothing, actually) but I knew this wasn’t it.

“Uhm, now’s not the time, Mike.”

“C’mon, Kira, what’s going on?” He banged harder.

When in doubt…lie. I opened the door a crack. “There’s a dead rat in the house, Mike. Been here for days. I gotta go get some detergent and stuff to handle the stench.”

Mike stepped back. He peered through the crack of the door.

“It’s really bad,” I said.

“I’ll drive you.”

“I’m afraid the smell” — I stuck my armpit to my nose — “has found its way all over me. I’ll drive myself.”

“O — okay. Fine.” And then he grinned like he wanted something. “Later? My place?”

Urgh. “Uhm, sure…er…later. Not sure when though.”

“Six.”

I fought the urge to roll my eyes. According to girls at school, he was apparently so damn good looking — theoretically. But for me personally, he did nothing. Moved nothing. Twisted nothing. “Look, I gotta go, Mike. I gotta — ”

“Kira.” His eyes grew stern. “You’ve been avoiding me…”

Bingo! Well done contestant number one! And what have you won? A brain!

I tilted my head. “Mike, look, this…rat — I need to deal with it. We’ll talk later, okay? Bye.” I closed the door, not waiting for an answer, and peered out the peep hole. Mike hung around for a second, shoulders wide and eyes glaring straight at me through the door. Could he see me? Did he know I was looking at him?

He kicked something off the ground, and I had the distinct impression he mouthed the word Bitch before leaving. But I wasn’t sure…

-3-
The Mack

“Roll down the window, Jack.” Jack was recently dead, so he still had a smell about him. (Which only I could smell…)

I had purposely skipped breakfast. Maybe Jack would help me lose weight. I was (still am) a little wide, although it had never stopped guys flirting with me. I know how to dress.

But I could be skinnier.

Lucy Rogers was skinny. All bones and no boobs.

Charlene Carverton was a babe. Cheerleader. Big chest (which she pushed out generously with a push-up — if only guys knew). Toned thighs. Charlene only dated college boys (back then), which I still think is pretty gross for a girl her age.

He’s not for you,” Jack said out the blue.

“Hmm?”

This…Mike — he’s wrong for you, Miss Kira.” For all Jack’s faults (mainly, being dead), he has a good heart. Factually, probably it’s why I kept him around at first.

“You think I don’t know that?”

Then why don’t you dump him?

I braked at a stop sign. Looked left and right. “Because I’d look like an idiot. I flirted with him and showed interest, and one kiss later I can’t stand the sight of him.”

So dump him.

“It’s not that simple. Kids at school — they can be vicious. I have to let it fade slowly. If I drop the bomb on him, I’ll never hear the end of it through senior year.”

“And you care?”

Yes, I did. Forget Guantanamo, schools are rough. “You don’t understand, Jack. Maybe school was different in your day. But in mine, well, we walk through metal detectors.”

Schools weren’t too different in my day.” I noted the sadness in his voice.

“You okay?”

I’m dead.

Right. “You miss…your life?”

Jack shrugged. “I like being with you, Miss Kira. And I don’t remember much of my life. I think I’m in limbo.

“Limbo?”

Yes, like I have some unfinished business. If only I could remember…what…it is…” He scratched his head.

“Any ideas?”

Well, it can’t be love. If it were love, I’d be a vampire. That’s who teenage girls fall in love with these days.”

“A vampire? That’s just what I need — two undead beings stalking me.”

I feel I have something to do around you, Miss Kira. I don’t know what, but something. Something important.

I looked over at him. “Me?”

I was still looking at him when I missed the stop sign.

The Mack truck drove straight into us.

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