We proudly present our first ever Book Whammy!
A whammy is a kind of spell. They’re fast! They’re powerful! They get right to the point.
Eye of Newt and hanged man’s toe.
Success and fortune I bestow.
The charm’s wound up, the spell is cast
A potent whammy meant to last.
After Me by Joyce Scarbrough
After she’s murdered by a sexual predator, 18-year-old Jada Gayle arrives in the Afterlife Admissions office and discovers that her account’s on “Administrative Hold.” Florence—Jada’s Afterlife Advisor—informs her that she must stay among the living until she finds and stops the Internet stalker who killed her. The now “transdead” Jada assumes the identity of a homeless teen and gets assigned to a nice foster home in Miami’s Coconut Grove, where she’s expected to simply fit in as she hunts down her killer. But blending in isn’t so easy when you’re a hot zombie chick channeling Chuck Norris.
To make things worse, Jada hasn’t felt normal human emotions since she was thirteen years old, when a tragic event leaves her unable to cope, so imagine her surprise when she discovers an addendum to her termination agreement was inadvertently left out of her paperwork and means she must now learn to deal with real feelings. How can a dead girl be expected to feel anything when life had left her so empty?
Then she meets Lew Stanton—captain of the chess team and computer whiz who makes her dead heart beat phantom rhythms in her chest. How is any self-respecting dead girl supposed to focus on stopping scumbags when she’s got the hots for a nerd? And as if all that is not bad enough, Jada’s new friend Annalee secretly likes the same guy.
While Jada deals with all this unwanted teenaged angst, the man who murdered her is closing in on more foolish girls. Jada thinks she has plenty of time to handle her predicament until the night she gets a terrifying message: I HAVE YOUR FRIEND.
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(Warning: While this excerpt is not offensive in any way, it’s an intense scene. Enjoy.)
When I heard the car doors unlock at the first red light I came to, I knew I’d made a fatal mistake. For a second I thought I’d accidentally hit the button, then I heard the Ferrari’s trunk pop open and looked in the rearview mirror just in time to see a man running around to the passenger side.
“Drive!” He got in and jammed the nose of a freakishly big pistol into my ribs. “Go to the intersection and make a U-turn. Keep going until you get back to where you picked up the car.”
If I’d still felt emotions like normal girls, I probably would’ve been scared shitless, but all I could manage was irritation that he’d tricked me.
“Look, you don’t need the gun,” I said. “I’ll do whatever you say.”
“You sure as hell will.”
Even more than his words, the laugh that came from him told me I wouldn’t live to see nineteen. Dang, I’d need my fake ID for all eternity. And it wasn’t even a good picture.
I drove until I reached the remote spot where Courtney had dropped me off half an hour earlier.
“Pull between those trees,” he said. “Cut the engine and lights.”
I did as he ordered, wondering if I should try to open the door and make a run for it as soon as the car stopped. Before I could decide whether or not I wanted to risk it, I felt the gun dig deeper into my side.
“Don’t even think about trying to run,” he said in my ear. “The door locks are programmed, and I got the only remote.”
He snatched the keys from the ignition and put them in his pocket, then he pressed the gun into my neck.
“Now we’re gonna do all those things you liked telling me about so much in your messages.”
I tried to swallow, but the gun was pressed too hard against my throat. “Hey, you know none of that stuff was true, right? I made it all up because you said you liked that kinda sh—”
“I know you made it up! I’m not a fool, you little tramp!” The nose of the pistol slammed against my cheekbone and set off fireworks behind my eyes. “Well I bet your friends won’t think it’s so funny when they find out what it got you. And you sure as hell won’t be laughing at anybody ever again!” He reached across me and opened the driver’s side door. “Get out! And remember what I said about trying to run. I’ll shoot you before you take a step!”
I stumbled out of the car and immediately tried to run anyway, but my legs had turned into cooked spaghetti. I fell to my knees on the bank. Gasping for air on the ground like a dying goldfish, all I got was a mouthful of sand.
“Get up!” He yanked me to my knees. “Take off your clothes, then get in the back seat!”
“Shut up and do what I tell you!” The gun smashed against my other cheekbone and knocked me sideways. “I’m the one in charge, not you.”
I knew I was close to blacking out and didn’t really care, and that gave me an idea. If I made him mad enough to hit me again, maybe it would knock me out so I wouldn’t have to know what he did to me before he killed me. I struggled to my hands and knees and managed to lift my head so I could say something that would piss him off for sure.
“You’re right, you know. I did laugh at you, you pathetic bastard. The only way you’d ever get laid is at gunpoint!”
After a brief flash of pain when the butt of the gun smashed into my skull, I welcomed the darkness.
But my oblivion didn’t last long.
When I opened my eyes again, I was sitting on an upholstered chair in a room that almost looked like the guidance counselor’s office at my school. But everything was painted such a bright white that it almost hurt my eyes, and the sign on the door to my left leading into the inner office was lettered in some kind of glowing gold paint.
When I got up to read the sign, I realized I was wearing some kind of weird white dress. Had somebody found me and taken me to a hospital?
I knew that wasn’t the case when I read the sign on the door: AFTERLIFE ADMISSIONS OFFICE.
“Oh, crap. I’m dead.”
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Meet Joyce Scarbrough
Joyce is the author of seven novels. She’s the mother of three children and a blind Pomeranian named Tilly, and she’s married to the love of her life.
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