by Melissa Pearl
4.7 average rating from 71 reviews
Word count: 62,600
Beautiful, wild-child Nicole Tepper is hit by a car and left for dead. But when she wakes the next morning, Nicole finds herself in bed without a scratch. Perhaps she was more intoxicated than usual, as her mother is giving her the silent treatment and her friends are ignoring her as well.
Things take a turn for the weird when Nicole soon discovers she is actually hovering between life and death. Her body is lying in the forest while her spirit is searching for anyone who can hear her. Unfortunately the only person who can is Dale Finnigan, the guy she publicly humiliated with a sharp-tongued insult that has left him branded.
Desperate, Nicole has no choice but to haunt Dale and convince the freaked-out senior to help her. Will he find her body before it’s too late? Or will the guy who tried to kill her with his car beat him there and finish her off before anyone finds out?
Excerpt from BETWIXT by Melissa Pearl
“I’m not dead.” I call across the room again.
Dale’s eyebrows pucker and he’s obviously making a concerted effort to keep reading.
Grabbing my bag, I weave around the tables and squat down next to him. I wave my hand in front of his face, but he doesn’t move. His eyes keep scanning the pages of text as if nothing is trying to block them.
Holding my breath, I slowly stand and lean down so my lips are right next to his ear.
“Can you hear me?” I whisper.
The book drops onto the table with a loud bang. Dale looks as though he’s about to go into cardiac arrest. Everyone in the library looks his way. The librarian frowns and shushes him, while my table of friends all start to snicker.
I want to crumple to the floor with relief. Who cares if it’s Dale? Someone can hear me.
“Dale, I…” Tears make my voice quiver.
He stands up and with shaking hands gathers up his things.
He doesn’t even bother to pack his stuff away properly, just shoves it in his bag as he makes a beeline for the exit.
I follow him and manage to squeeze through the door before it closes on me.
“Where are you going?” I have to run to keep up with him.
He keeps walking, gripping the shoulder strap of his bag as if it’s a lifeline.
“Dale, please stop. I can’t keep up with you.”
We speed down the corridor and turn another corner. Why won’t he listen to me? I know he can hear me. Does he really hate me that much?
His pace is getting faster and I finally have to stop. Leaning over, I let out a little scream and stamp my foot.
“Damn it, Dale. STOP!”
His pace slows. I draw in a couple of deep breaths and keep walking towards him.
“Look, if this is about the Scarface comment, I’m sorry. Okay? I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to say it and I felt really bad afterwards.”
I can see his shoulders heaving as he goes to turn the next corner.
I raise my voice even higher as I run to catch up to him. “I know I should have said it months ago, but it’s not like you’ve given me any chances.”
He shakes his head. I know what he’s thinking, even if I had had the chance I probably wouldn’t have. I hate that he’s right.
Desperation floods my system as he strides around the next corner. I stop in my tracks and am on the verge of tears. Slumping to the floor, I wrap my arms around myself.
“Define irony,” I mutter. “Someone can actually hear me, but they don’t want to listen.”
I shake my head and sniff. Liquid burns my eyes and I know if I shut my lids, big fat tears will soon be rolling down my cheeks.
This isn’t fair.
I glance up at Dale’s whisper. His face is pale and he looks pretty edgy, but he is walking down the corridor… back towards me.
Rising from the floor, I brush off my jeans and clear my throat.
His eyes dart my way and he starts speaking to the locker just right of me.
“It’s not about the comment,” he looks over his shoulder before stopping a few feet from me, still facing the lockers. “It’s about the—”
“I’m standing to your left.”
He turns his head, obviously annoyed at the interruption, but at least he’s facing me now… pretty much. Two slow breaths rush in and out of his nose then he swallows. “This isn’t real.”
“It is. I swear I’m not messing with you. I don’t know why you can hear me, but you seem to be the only person who can. Please, I need—”
He suddenly laughs, not a happy sounding laugh, but one of those verging on hysteria ones.
“I’m talking to a ghost, right? You’re a ghost or something?”
“I’m not dead.”
“I heard. What are you? Why can I hear you?” He points to his head with a shaky finger.
“I don’t know.”
He shakes his head and turns to leave.
“Please, Dale, I’m not dead, but I will be if someone doesn’t help me!”