Not Quite Dead by Lyla Payne
(A Lowcountry Ghost Story)
Publication date: April 1st 2014
Genres: Mystery, New Adult, Paranormal
A broken engagement sends Graciela Harper crawling back to Heron Creek with her tail between her legs, but finds the sleepy little town too changed to set her life right. Not even her budding drinking problem can obscure her Gramps’s failing health, or erase the mental picture of her first love happily married to her childhood best friend. To top it all off, she’s having a heck of time convincing the town’s dashing young mayor of her unfit-for-dating status.
When the ghost of 18th century lady pirate Anne Bonny starts insisting on a near daily audience, Graciela has to confront something else she never expected—being certifiably nuts at twenty-five years old.
Her brand new “I don’t give a crap” attitude makes it easy to dismiss the mysterious threats that seem to be tied to her search for more information on the long dead pirate, but when her family becomes a target, Gracie knows she needs to find out why the ghost insists on being a constant, reeking companion.
If Graciela can put aside her prejudice against people without a pulse, she may discover that Anne Bonny’s problems are intricately linked with her own. The past harbors answers could help the cantankerous spirit find closure, but she is, after all, already dead. If Graciela doesn’t move fast, she might find herself doing the haunting, instead of the other way around.
No one notices me leave the sidewalk and traipse around to the rear of my place of employment. It’s darker back here, away from any street lamps and lit signs. The unlocked window slides up under the pressure of my palm with no resistance and, most importantly, no noise. I have to jump a few times before my hands hook the sill, and it’s clear that I need to do more than walk to work if I’m going to get back into shape.
My grunts don’t carry far, and after a few more minutes of trial and error, I manage to hoist my hips over the painted wooden lip. It digs in, scraping hard enough that it’ll leave a bruise, but there’s no time to worry about that while my body is dangling half in, half out. The chance that anyone will wander back here seems slim, but there’s no excuse in the world that will work if I get caught like this.
I kick my feet and use my forearms to tug my body forward, which doesn’t work, until it does. I fly through the rest of the way, toppling face-first into the edge of the toilet.
“Holy shitballs, that’s gonna leave a mark.” Quoting Tommy Boy, even to myself, is usually good for a chuckle, but at the moment my face feels as though it’s made of broken glass and pulsing pain.
My nose throbs, my vision blurs, and it takes more than five minutes of sitting still with my head between my knees before the dizziness subsides enough to allow me to stagger to my feet. The mirror reveals a weeping red line across the bridge of my nose, which promises to turn into at least one black eye. So much for Gramps not noticing I went out.
Oh, well. Onward and upward.
There’s no alarm system in the library, and no one else is in the building. Neither fact makes me slow down or feel less watched, and my steps move quickly toward the front desk. Mrs. LaBadie keeps her key in the locked top drawer, but she doesn’t know about my long and storied career picking locks with nothing but unbent hairpins. Another Nancy Drew–inspired talent. The multiple Carolyn Keenes had no idea what kind of delinquents she would spawn with those books.
Lyla Payne has been publishing New Adult romance novels for a little over a year, starting with Broken at Love and continuing with the rest of the Whitman University series. She loves telling stories, discovering the little reasons people fall in love, and uncovering hidden truths in the world around us – past and present. In her spare time she cuddles her two dogs, pretends to enjoy exercising so that she can eat as much Chipotle as she wants, and harbors a deep and abiding hope that Zac Efron likes older women. She loves reading, of course, along with movies, traveling, and Irish whiskey. Lyla’s hard at work, ALWAYS, and hopes to bring you more Whitman University antics and at least one more Lowcountry ghost tale before the end of the year.
Lyla Payne is represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
If you want to know more, please visit her at http://lylapayne.com
If you’re a fan of Young Adult fiction–science fiction or otherwise–please check out her work that’s published under the name Trisha Leigh. http://trishaleigh.com
Book Blitz organised by Xpresso Book Tours.