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Sunday, November 9, 2014

FREE EXCERPT from Resurrection

Bargaining her soul had literally cost her .... her life. 

As always, I love my readers and I really appreciate checking my blog stats to note that PEOPLE ARE READING.  Soooo, since y'all are reading, here is an excerpt from my brand-new novella, Resurrection (Returned, Part 1)

I hope this main character is loved (or hated) by many; she's going to be around for a while.
 Meet Sionne Webster:

Get Resurrection on Amazon HERE.


     My funeral was held on a Saturday; that way, all the kids from Country Day High School could attend.  It was a decent service, minus the fact that my mother was sobbing uncontrollably throughout, and my father sat stock still, as still as a statue.  

     I was there too, pissed because of the irritating kill-joy seated next to me, mockingly wearing black.  

     “Do you have to be here?” I whispered hotly to the friggin’ 6 foot 7 tall demon, who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself. 

     “Mm-hmm,” Katse murmured absently, ogling my friend Khloe’s backside as she bent over my coffin, tears streaming down her face.

     Katse was a chaos demon, with a quarter of incubus thrown in somewhere, so for him to have the day off from Hell and come topside to a funeral, was like a spring-breaker headed to South Beach.  Good sights, good eats.

     I sighed for the twelfth time.  “Please, Katse.  This is a really personal moment for me.  Can you just leave so that I can spend it with the people that mean the most to me?”  Begging could sometimes work, if you were dealing with one of the kind-hearted guys from the second level.

     Finally tearing his eyes away from Khloe, he glanced down at me and cocked his head quizzically.  “You, of all people, don’t have personal moments anymore, Sionne.”  

     AND I’d forgotten that Katse had graduated to a fourth level demon last summer.  No compassion there.

     Grateful that the crowd gathered at the gravesite couldn’t hear our terse conversation or see the furious look that I knew had just rolled over my face, I stood and stomped over to inspect my body.  Again.  Why not?  Looks had gotten me into this mess.  I should enjoy them.

     Even in death, my pouty lips seemed to have a seductive quirk.  Standing just a few inches away, I could appreciate the smoothness of my skin, velour as expensive cedar wood.  Full eyes that had closed, never to open again to reveal the brown velvet irises that I begged so hard for; the same ones that had a small twinkle in them that defied logic and human understanding.

     It had only been two years ago, that I had sold my soul, literally, for eternal beauty on Earth, figuring that I still had high school days, college days and a real-life grown-up career to enjoy before I would have to pay my due.  All to catch the eye of Aaron Aikens.  No complaints there; I had caught his eye and hooked up with him several times after that over the two years that Aaron and I were together.

     Just….dying at eighteen had really effed up my plans.

     Next to me, a woman sniffled into the wreath on top the coffin and I turned, ready to tell her off, already forgetting that Katse and I were super invisible.  Mrs. Ramos, my Spanish…former-Spanish teacher.

     “Huh…wouldn’t have thought I’d see you here.”  Spanish hadn’t exactly been my best subject.  Not that I didn’t know the language; my neighborhood was pretty much English-Spanish mix, I just hated the actual course.

     She wasn’t the only teacher here though.  Two more, Mr. Malcolm, my homeroom teacher, and Coach Wilson, did alternating scripture readings.  Mrs. Rolston, the principal, was in attendance, dabbing her eyes with a crumpled handkerchief, and murmuring to a faculty member seated next to her.

     (Isn’t it funny how people that give you a hard time alive, cry when you are dead?) 

     Country Day’s choir even sung, all dressed in their gold robes with emerald green stoles.  The choir director matched the students, decked out in a similar robe.  

     “Where’s Shana?” I wondered aloud.  Searching the faces, my frown grew as I searched for my sister.  Then I spotted her, way in the back row of the seats, red-eyed and looking as if she was barely holding it together.  My sister was holding up well, though.  She didn’t cry in public.  But since I had a ghostly unfair advantage of spying, I had already seen her vomiting all morning before my family left to come to the service.

     Moving toward my little sister, I decided to watch the service from her side.  There wasn’t anything that I could do for her now, but at least we could have these last moments together.  The chaos demon would wait; we couldn’t do anything until the service finished, and besides that, he was having a better time than he would be having in Hell at the moment.  As the service proceeded, I scanned the crowd to see who else had showed.  A lot of my parents’ friends, my teachers, and even Shana’s little crew of friends were crying, I noticed.  Especially Pip who, Shana had told me in confidence, always had a crush on me, and who was convinced that he and I would get married one day.  Sorry, Pip, it’s not gonna happen now; you’re a cute kid, you’ll find someone else.

     Even Anne McCall was there, looking somber.  I’ll never forget the smug look on her face as I ran out of the condo.  She had known all the time about Della and Aaron, and she had set up her little party, so that I could find out in front of everyone else.  For that, I couldn’t forgive her.  Their cheating wasn’t her fault, but she had been hoping that I would get embarrassed.  Well, I was stone-cold dead.  I hoped that was good enough for her.

     Ryan Nichols sat in the front, lined off along the front row of seats.  He and five of my cousins were pallbearers.  ‘How’d he get that gig?’ I wondered.  Ryan was stone-faced, and other than when he carried my casket in and out, he sat still.  But it surprised me to see him place a calla lilly in the casket before it was closed.  It was my favorite flower.  I was shocked that he even knew that. Usually, Ryan was mostly a happy, go-lucky partying guy, so I never thought he could be sentimental.  We’d grown up in identical houses next to each other, and he was basically my boy-next-door type.  As kids, we’d known everything about one another, but since growing into teens, had wisely given each other needed space.  ‘Otherwise,’ I’d always joked, ‘who knows what could happen?’

     A pang struck as I thought of all the times he’d asked me out, insisting that Aaron wasn’t the man for me.  Guess he was right.

     The funeral was held in the yard behind my parents’ church.  Everything was open-air, and the sky buzzed with the sounds of birds and rustling trees.  It was a sad event, but for me viewing from the outside, the scene was strangely beautiful.  Even Katse lurking in the back row of seats, waiting for me so that we could finish the next part of my request, didn’t ruin the serenity of the moment.

     I looked around at all the sad faces, and thought to myself, ‘I can’t believe this.  I should be here and alive.’  I moved around to stand in front of each and every person, to see if anyone could actually see me, if even just a little bit.  

     No one could.  Not one person.  I was a ghost, and I was standing amongst my family and friends at my own funeral.

     But all the searching I did at the service pointed out one horrible, glaring fact that hurt almost as bad as seeing Della and Aaron wrapped up together.  Della, my childhood bestie, my best friend in the entire world, even more than Khloe, hadn’t come to my funeral.  


     The funeral was over, had been for hours, and yet I’d sat there in the noonday sun, then in the fading afternoon light, and into hours of the night as the day had stolen by.  Lost in thought.  It was one of my friends, I knew, but it was all I knew.

     One of them had killed me.

     Moonlight sliced across my face and I shivered at the chill in the air.  Not because I was cold, but just because I could sense it and that sort of thing was still instinctive, even though I was dead.

    “Do you want some time to reflect on the day or anything?”  Katse stepped onto the concrete mausoleum landing next to me.  Who knew whether he was being sarcastic or not, sometimes with demons, you couldn’t tell.

     “No,” I shook my head.  “Just get it over with.”

     He touched my hand lightly, indicating that I needed to turn to him and I did, reluctantly.  Our ruling demon in Hell, the youngest of the Seven Princes, Tevit, had allowed me the chance to live again.  In truth, I had begged for the chance to return to Earth and not enter Hell as yet.

     For many reasons, but one glaring reason stood out: one of my friends had killed me and I needed to know who so that I could bring them to justice, Hell-style.

     The scent of teaberry wafted up to my nose and looking down, I discovered that Katse had already spread the herbs around the platform and over the tomb.  As I watched, he sprinkled a handful of neem seeds over it all.  Then he extended his hand to me.  

     Placing my hand in his, I stared at the uncontrollable shaking of my hand with his, my brown against his paler brown.  Why I was shaking?  This was a part of every major Hell ceremony, and there was none more major than raising a soul from the Hell realm to Earth. 

~the raising ceremony happens~

     Nope.  There was no way Katse could be even mildly interested in me, not when every nymph and sprite that crossed the fiery threshold had set their sights on him.  I’d drawn him on a mere technicality.

     ‘Still,’ I considered as rationally as my desire-induced thoughts would allow, ‘maybe he feels a little spark.  Can’t hurt to ask.’  “Ka-,”

     “Well, that was certainly not the most exciting raising ceremony I’ve attended.”

     My eyes snapped all the way open with a start, and Katse lifted his head with a jerk.  Tevit sat on top of the mausoleum, idly swinging his legs, looked as bored as he claimed.  Involuntarily, my teeth gnashed.

     ‘Really, you jerk?  My first and probably only time kissing Katse, and you had to ruin the mood.’  I could’ve slapped him, only that would have gotten me at least a hundred years in the fiery liquid of River Styxx, no canoe provided.

     The second thought bouncing around in my head was, ‘Has he watched Katse with other girls out here in raising ceremonies?’  Stupidly, I had thought that it was Katse’s first time doing a rising, but maybe not.  ‘And he says that he’s seen better…..,’

     Straightening my clothing the instant Katse pulled away, I addressed the demon prince.  “What is next, Tevit?”  His red eyes gleamed down at me cockily, and I could feel his eyes roving over my disheveled appearance.  With a flick similar to the last time, Katse shifted us both to our feet, but I didn’t even bow my head in the customary greeting.  It never paid to show cowardice to your demon ruler, so if I had to pretend that it didn’t bother me to have Tevit eyeing me up and down, then so be it.

     Following his gaze upward to the heavy fluorescent green cloud above our heads, my brows rose.  Beside me, Katse whistled.  “Never seen one that big,” he commented.

    “Clearly, you raised the energy needed,” Tevit shrugged.  “Let’s go.”  

     “Wait,” I interjected, “do I get some sort of guide or whatever?”  Of course, now I wanted Katse to journey back to the world of the living with me, especially after the past hour.  We needed a little more time to explore these feelings between us, a huge fluorescent green cloud’s worth.  Funny how it was the exact opposite of what I’d felt as I’d glared at him earlier in the day at my funeral.

     Tevit gave what, for him, was a smile.  

     “Oh yes, did you really think a screw-up like you would be going alone?”  

     The voice came from behind me and I whirled, jaw already tense.  There stood Jeanni, a full-blood chaos demon, fourth-level graduate, and also Katse’s ex-girlfriend.  Also the same demon that I both admired, and hated, with a passion.

And that was .... Resurrection!  Liked Sionne? 
Grab it on Amazon. 

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