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.
Find Not Quite Dead on Goodreads.
About Lyla Payne
Lyla Payne is represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
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
Excerpt from Not Quite Dead
Maybe it’s lingering fear of Anne’s ghost, or a sudden urge to burn some fat, but my feet find the sidewalk instead of my butt finding the driver’s seat of my car. I have an hour, and the walk will take fifteen minutes. I’ll regret it later, when the trek home in a hundred muggy degrees drenches me from head to toe, but that’s then.
I’m out to prove that I don’t give a shit about consequences after all. Fuck adulthood.
Avoiding my car turns out to be a moot point when, less than two blocks from Gramps’ house, the scraggly redhead from my backseat joins me on the sidewalk. Her gait matches mine, but her feet don’t make any sound on the concrete despite her clunky, knee-high leather boots. Lord if she doesn’t smell bad enough to gag a maggot, even outside.
Yesterday, I ran. Today, for some reason, it’s as though none of this is happening in real life and I don’t go faster, or slower, just keep going, eyes forward, clinging to the hope of waking up. It’s like swimming through the air with my blood pumping through me ten times too fast, depositing a chilly sweat on my brow and palms.
She doesn’t talk, but based on my sideways glances, the premise that she’s Anne Bonny seems legitimate. The smell and her stiff men’s shirt, trousers, and boots, combined with the sword and dagger belted at her waist, convince me that she’s Anne Bonny or that I’m going nuts. Or both.
The expression on her face wavers between frustration and sorrow, but nothing about it or her posture suggests causing harm is on her agenda. We walk side by side a few more steps, me and my reeking ghost, before my nerve returns out of nowhere.
Dead or not, she’s kind of starting to bug me.
“What do you want?” The question would sound more at home in the mouth of the first victim in a horror flick, but it has to be asked.
Even so, Anne—if it is Anne—doesn’t reply. Maybe she thinks it’s a dumb thing to ask, too.
“Okay, obviously you left your tongue in your grave. Let me guess, you want to grab a coffee and a bagel? I’m thinking about stopping at Westies, but I’m not sure…Oh,” I gasp as my body turns to ice.