Declan Saves the Day
I fell clumsily into his guest chair. If Declan was giving up on love, then the world was a scarier place than I thought.
Declan snorted. “Now who’s being dramatic?”
I stared into his eyes, searching for the cause of his sadness. In our many years together, I had seen him experience a wide range of emotions. Happy Declan ruled the roost, but appearances were made by Angry Declan, Embarrassed Declan, Irrational Declan and even Mortified Declan. I had never seen Bereft Declan before. I felt completely out of my element.
“But…” I sniffled. “You’re the ray of sunshine in this relationship.”
He brought his hand to his forehead in his best Southern Belle imitation. “Glowing praise indeed.”
“I’m a terrible friend.” I reached for his hand. “I’m so sorry—”
“Stop!” He squeezed my hand and smiled. “You were so young when you went through such unimaginable pain. The experience left you…”
“Beaten?” I supplied helpfully. “Shattered? Not fit for human interaction?”
“Wounded,” he said softly.
“Another brilliant assessment,” I murmured. “What can I do to help you?”
“This is what you can do. Forget you ever saw my maudlin display and tell me something good.” He clapped his hands together. “I know! When do you see Mmmorgan again?”
“You have to stop saying that. It makes me want to hurl.”
“All the more reason to keep saying it!” he sang.
“You’re the reason the word ‘incorrigible’ exists.”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way.” He took a long pull of his coffee. “Spill!”
I did my best to push the guilt aside, knowing Declan would rather gossip than discuss his personal woes. “He’s coming here for lunch today.”
Declan gasped. “And you chose this…ensemble?”
I glanced down at my black long-sleeved shirt, jeans and black lace-up boots. “What’s wrong with this?” All of my garments were hole-free for once!
“I don’t have time to explain, Meri.” He stood up, opened one of his overhead cabinets and removed a makeup kit and a selection of scarves. After giving me a final once over, he selected a deep purple scarf with bright blue flowers on it.
“You can’t be seri—”
He held up his hand. “No one asked you.” He then performed some kind of magic with this scrap of fabric which I will never be able to repeat. The scarf somehow draped carelessly across my shoulder, a series of intricate knots holding it in place. It was gorgeous.
Declan was clearly on a mission. He rifled through the makeup kit, pulling out tubes and wands in various colors, muttering to himself the whole time. I’m pretty sure I heard “hopeless frump” in there someplace. I thought about responding, but he was right. I had never cared about looking good for anyone. Until now.
Ten minutes later and a few eyebrow hairs lighter, Declan released me from my chair prison. He held up a mirror triumphantly.
I peered in tentatively, afraid he had given me more style than I could pull off, but was pleasantly surprised. Declan had evened my skin tone with a light foundation, added a hint of blush to accent my cheekbones and dusted my eyelids with shimmery pink eye shadow. He had also applied a light coat of mascara and the most beautiful shade of purple lipstick I had ever seen.
“Didn’t know you could look so good, did you?”
“No.” I giggled. “You’re a miracle worker.”
He snapped his fingers in jubilation. “That’s how I know this guy is different. You didn’t bitch and moan the way you normally do. You want to try this time. You’re ready.”
The intercom crackled to life and Courtney’s bored voice filled the office. “Meri to Dan’s office. Meri—” After a series of loud grunts, Dan’s voice reverberated through the office. “Meri, get your ass to my office now!”
Declan laughed. “Well, at least you’ll be a gorgeous corpse.”
Excerpt from Gamer Girl by Glynis Astie, Copyright 2016
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Chapter 1 (cont'd)
“Well, for starters you interrupted my morning routine,” I began. I checked the clock on my iPhone. “Can we make this quick?” I needed to make sure I got to school on time that day. “Today is my first day of my senior year of high school, and I really don’t want to be late.” The last thing I needed was a tardy on my record. I was desperately trying to keep my grades and performance up to par, especially since I'd be applying to colleges soon, and I wanted to keep my spot as the school paper's journalist.
Lucas huffed, and gave me a dirty look. “Are you serious?” he asked, with too much attitude. “What do you think I was supposed to be doing today? I should be starting my first day of my senior year, too. Instead, I'm sitting here, arguing with you.” He continued to glare at me.
“I’m sorry,” I muttered, as I tried to compose my anger. I had to remember that even on my worst day I wasn’t a dead kid trying to figure out what I was doing still on earth.
“Well, you should be,” he snapped angrily back at me and ran his hands through his perfectly styled hair.
“Okay, bye,” I stated, and I waved him away. I'd had enough of this guy. He could go find another mediator, for all I cared.
“Sorry,” the guy said, sounding quite sassy. He was obviously mocking me, which wouldn't bode well for him. “Man! Girls and their coffee,” he said, shaking his head.
“You can get out of my car and find another mediator if you don’t like my attitude,” I suggested.
He placed his hands in the air as if suggesting a peace offering. “Okay, I'm sorry. Let’s start over. My name is Lucas,” he said, extending a hand for me to shake. Once he said his name, his face registered with me. I recognized him from my AP English class last year. He had failed miserably, but because his dad owned one of Salem’s largest premiere car dealerships, he had sailed through with a D in the class. His name was Lucas James and he is–I mean was–the star player of Salem High’s Lacrosse Team. Not to mention that he'd been one of the boy toys of my arch nemesis, Melinda Carlisle, for a while.
I gave him a strange glance, and he quickly pulled his hand back. The thing is, ghosts and humans usually can’t touch each other. Well, they can’t shake hands and have actual physical contact. “Yeah, we can’t really shake hands, but, my name is Sadie,” I said.
“Well, Sadie, I think you can help me,” he said arrogantly.
“That’s what I do,” I said. “So, tell me: how did you die and why are you unable to move on? Sorry if I sound rushed, but I have school to attend.” I glanced at myself in the rear-view mirror. My auburn hair glowed virtually red in the sunlight. It was curled to perfection, and cascaded down my shoulders just the way I'd intended. I'd grown my hair out over the summer and wanted to show it off, but it looked as if I'd have to wait on that, too.
Lucas ran his hands through his hair and sighed. “I died in a car accident. I was drag racing with a group of college guys. We had a lot of money up for grabs. I guess I lost control as I was shifting gears and ended up wrapping my precious V-8, 2015 Mustang around a stupid tree.” He shook his head in mock anger.
“Okay, that sucks,” I said, not sure of what else to say.
“Yeah. I completely totaled my precious baby. That car was so sweet.” He looked as if the loss of his car was worse than the fact he'd died in the wreckage.
“So, do you want me to relay some message to your parents or something?” I asked, trying to hurry up the conversation.
“Yes. Can you just let them know I want my car keys and the Mustang emblem from my car placed in the casket with me? You know, in case I get to take something with me in the afterlife. I want to make sure I have the things that are most important to me.” He checked out my car again, his face twisting in disgust. “You know, you really should look into getting a better car. This one is fine for a girl’s car, but you would look really hot in a GT.”
Anger boiled deep inside my veins, and I felt the urge to punch this guy straight in his pretty boy face. He can have his Mustang any day; I'll keep my Eclipse. Sure, it didn't have the turbo or nifty gadgets, but it was cute, and could push the speed limits if needed.
I rolled my eyes again and checked my phone for the time. If I left at that moment, I could make it just in time for first hour AP English. “Okay, thanks for the tip. I'll make sure your message is relayed to your family and the funeral home. I'll write an anonymous letter on your behalf,” I said, eying the passenger's side door.
Lucas seemed to notice my antsy behavior and understood that I wanted him gone.
“Well, thanks,” he said, and he disappeared from my car. Man, what I wouldn’t give for the ability to just transport myself to a different place or realm. I could definitely get to school much faster with that power.
I checked my phone, which was ringing like crazy during my conversation with Lucas. When I looked at the screen, I wasn't surprised to see there were a million texts from my best friend, Lucy.
Lucy: Where are you?
Lucy: You were supposed to meet me at school 10 minutes ago.
Lucy: You need to answer your phone!
Lucy: I will not talk to you again if you do not get to school on time today!
Noah: Where are you? Lucy's mad…she's scaring me!
Lucy: Noah is annoying me. GET TO SCHOOL NOW!
I knew the moment he walked through the door he wouldn't leave unless I gave him my soul. His ice cold, blue eyes watched me intently, as he took note of our surroundings. His smug grin showed he had me right where he wanted me. He clenched his hands at his sides, proving himself a natural predator who'd found his prey. For a brief moment, my natural instincts to react took hold of me. Should I freeze and pray he didn’t spot me? Should I run and hope to get away before he could catch me? Or should I stay and fight, proving to him and myself that I was much stronger than he was?
Knowing I wouldn’t be able to get away, I gave in and decided to fight. Let’s face it, this wouldn’t be my first fight with a dead guy, so what would I have to lose? Standing in line at Coffee Times Coffee House, my favorite local coffee shop and now employer, I rolled my eyes and sighed as I realized my morning was about to take a turn for the worse. I glared daggers at the dead guy waiting impatiently by the exit as I took a step away from the counter, on which perched the precious coffee I so needed on this, the first day of my senior year of high school.
On most days, being a mediator to the dead was kind of a cool job. However, today my role was seriously interfering with my need for caffeine and to get to school on time–both equally important factors.
“Seriously?” I said, agitated as I brushed past him and walked straight to my cherry red Eclipse parked next to the curb, outside the coffee shop. The smell of sweet coffee lingered, even outside the small coffee shop, taunting me with its alluring fragrance.
Following close behind, the guy in the baby pink polo shirt with the collar turned up sauntered into my car. “I don’t know what you are so upset about,” he began as he inspected the inside of my car. “I'm the one dead here.” His cocky attitude and obvious annoyance with me were not helping the situation any.
I glanced over at him and rolled my eyes. I had heard that same line dozens of times. Sure, every dead teenager expected me to jump when they asked me to help, and with a perky smile plastered across my face, of course. Unfortunately for them, I was not perky but laced with more attitude than this kid could probably endure, especially since I'd missed my morning caffeine intake.
I noticed his eyes taking in my outfit, and by the almost disgusted look on his face, I could tell he didn't approve. One look and I could tell, Lucas preferred girls in cheerleader uniforms, or clothes that revealed way more than I was willing to share. He was the type of guy I had purposely avoided my entire high school career. Go figure, my senior year would be the time I had to deal with a guy like him. I glanced down at my dark skinny jeans, cuffed at the ankle, and my flowing, plum-purple t-shirt, and didn’t understand what was so wrong with my outfit.
He was really starting to make me mad, and he definitely didn’t want to mess with me when I was angry and without caffeine.
Death seems to follow seventeen year old Sadie Sanders everywhere she goes--literally. As a mediator to the dead, she must constantly face fighting demons and the occasional angry dead girl. In WICKED TRUTHS, the third instalment of the WICKED CRIES series, Sadie learns that some secrets are meant to stay dead, for the truth, once it has been uncovered, may be wickeder than she could have ever imagined.
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Paranormal, Clean Romance
Release Date: 1 Oct 16
Blog Tour Date: 1 – 8 Oct 16
Death seems to follow seventeen year old Sadie Sanders everywhere she goes–literally. As a mediator to the dead, she must constantly face fighting demons and the occasional angry dead girl.
After a dangerous and almost deadly first year in Salem, Sadie’s parents decided to send her away for the summer to visit her Aunt Morgan in the small town of Nicholasville, Kentucky. After uncovering a murder hidden for centuries, she embarked on a deadly mission to solve the crime while trying to enjoy her summer vacation.
Now back in Salem, Sadie has found another hidden secret in the wicked town. Secret underground tunnels are hidden under the streets of Salem, beckoning to those with wicked souls. When Sadie encounters a ghost named Laura roaming the streets of Salem, she and her friends Noah and Lucy must uncover the clues leading to Laura’s death, which is made even more complicated by the fact that Laura has no memory about her life or death. To make matters worse, Sadie must also track down the person who has been sending her threatening messages in an effort to stop her mission for justice.
In Wicked Truths, the third instalment of the Wicked Cries series, Sadie learns that some secrets are meant to stay dead, for the truth, once it has been uncovered, may be wickeder than she could have ever imagined.
Michelle Areaux is the author of the Wicked Cries series. Her love for literature began at an early age and flourished over the years into a passion. Currently, she resides in Nicholasville, KY with her husband Anthony, and sons Connor and Cooper.
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Also by Michelle Areaux – Coming Soon!
Wicked Cries – Book 1 of the Wicked Cries Series
For 16-year-old Sadie Sanders, dealing with the dead is growing tiresome, especially when they expect her to be their messenger from the afterlife. But when her family moves to Salem, Massachusetts, and she finds the diary of a young girl named Elizabeth who was accused of witchcraft, she may need some help. Soon, Elizabeth begins to haunt Sadie, first in her dreams and then when she’s awake. As Sadie delves into Elizabeth’s journal, she slowly uncovers the secret Elizabeth needs to reveal, and it’s one that could change the course of history. Sadie needs help, and she wonders whom, if anyone, she can tell about it. Worried that her friends and family wouldn’t believe her, or worse, prevent her from continuing her journey to find the truth, Sadie has a choice to make...and it’s not going to be an easy one.
Check out the excerpt in the next post!