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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Excerpt/Giveaway: Don't Fear The Reaper by Michelle Muto

Don't Fear The Reaper
The Netherworld Series, Book 1
Michelle Muto

Grief-stricken by the murder of her twin, Keely Morrison is convinced suicide is her ticket to eternal peace and a chance to reunite with her sister. When Keely succeeds in taking her own life, she discovers death isn’t at all what she expected. Instead, she’s trapped in a netherworld on Earth and her only hope for reconnecting with her sister and navigating the afterlife is a bounty-hunting reaper and a sardonic, possibly unscrupulous, demon. But when the demon offers Keely her greatest temptation—revenge on her sister’s murderer—she must uncover his motives and determine who she can trust. Because, as Keely soon learns, both reaper and demon are keeping secrets and she fears the worst is true—that her every decision will change how, and with whom, she spends eternity.

Here I was—seventeen, dead, and thoroughly nostalgic.

I got an email from the author, Michelle, about this post a few weeks ago.  She was extremely nice and helpful, giving me an armload full of information I could use for this post which is scheduled to be a promo post.  As I look through everything, I'm really thinking I wish I had signed up to do a review instead!  This book looks incredibly good, I'm tellin' ya.  I can't post every teaser and excerpt I've received, but I can tell you - they all sound good.  Very good, in fact.  In the end I chose this one because it actually brought a tear to my eye, just from an excerpt.  I have a feeling this book deals with a lot of hard subjects; love, death...suicide.  For those of us who have dealt with suicide in their lives, it might be a hard read - or it could be so beneficial.  As one of those people who have dealt with it in their lives multiple times, as a person who faces their fears, I am going to buy this book as soon as I'm done with this post.  And I'm going to cut my ramble short here, before I say more than the post does!  
Love and Candy, *Liz


When class ended, I followed Gina and Miles into the hallway. 

Miles put an arm around Gina. “It’ll be okay,” he told her.

Why did people keep saying that?
Granted, Miles was the resolute type. It’s why we’d dated—we were a lot alike. Yet, I’d hoped for something...else. I ached to be in his arms again. Our relationship had ended six months ago on friendly terms. Friendly enough that we’d hooked up a couple of times since then, including the few times we’d doubled with Jordan and Pete.

Miles and I had still called each other almost every week. When we’d dated, neither of us had ever said we loved one another. That came after the breakup. Somehow, we’d worked out a better relationship when we hadn’t expected each other to always be there on a weekend night or between classes. Sometimes, as I’d lain in bed at night, I’d wondered if we’d ever wind up with each other again. Miles had thought we would. He’d even asked me to senior prom if neither of us was dating anyone else when next May rolled around.

I stuck with Miles when he and Gina went different directions at the end of the hall. Gina had World History, Miles had English. He acknowledged a couple guys he hung with in the hall as he made his way to his locker. My locker was across the hall from his. Pictures, notes, and photos had been taped to it, just as Daniel had said. Miles glanced at it, then turned away. He punched his locker, denting it slightly. He twirled the combination lock, popped the locker open and shoved his books inside, took out two more, and slammed the locker shut. He walked across the hall and stood in front of my locker.

If anyone in life had a chance of sensing my presence, it was Miles. I stood behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Damn it, Keely!” He ruffled his already perfectly mussed light brown hair—a habit of his whenever he was frustrated.

Gently, I leaned into him, resting my head against his back.

“Why?” Miles whispered.

For a moment I almost imagined he knew I was there. “I’m here,” I replied. “I’m sorry. I guess I just… I guess I got lost.”

“Why? Why, dammit!” he repeated. He touched my photo taped among the letters, lightly stroking it.

I caught a glimpse of Banning and Daniel talking at the far end of the hall. Banning was partially turned away from me, but Daniel didn’t pretend to give me such privacy. I pulled myself away, and positioned myself between Miles and my locker. I had hoped for too much. Miles couldn’t see me. No one could.

“I miss you,” I said, reaching up to kiss his cheek. Miles continued to stare through me at my locker, his lips pinched tight in frustration and confusion.

“No matter what you think of me now, this was never about you. Not ever,” I told him. “But it should have been. I should have stayed.”

Miles turned and walked down the hallway, the gentle tap of his boots against the floor echoing back to me.

“Miles!” I called out. I felt Banning and Daniel staring at my back, but I didn’t care.

Miles stopped and turned back toward me and I held my breath, hoping against hope. Banning said the living rarely saw the dead—that they usually shrugged off any sign we were right there. I bet Miles had that feeling now—something had told him to turn and look for me. For a moment, I swore my heart held perfectly still.

“I’m right here,” I whispered. “Right here.”

We stood there, staring. Except that Miles looked past me, to my locker instead. He crossed his wrists in front of his chest and signed—something a bunch of us did. Signing enabled us to talk in class or across a crowded, noisy room.

I love you.

A tear spilled down my cheek. I signed back.

I love you, too.

Until right then I didn’t realize how much I’d miss him, miss his touch, his sexy smile, the way I felt around him. The way his hair was always perfect, even when he ran his hands through it. Miles turned and walked off in that low-key kind of shuffle of his. Was he mad at me for what I’d done, or mad that I was gone? Before today, I’d have said he was just mad at the situation.

Before he turned the corner I signed to him again.

Take care.

Helplessly, I watched him walk out of my life.

As I stood there in the breeze, in the absence of my other self, I understood there were lessons I still needed to learn. I knew this with such force, such clarity. I had a lot to learn about the afterlife, and I had to accept that my past and present would never again be the same. But, the hardest lesson of all? That there would always be people in my world who I loved beyond everything else, people I couldn’t live without, but had to let go of.
For now.

Michelle Muto lives in northeast Georgia with her husband and two dogs. She loves changes of season, dogs, and all things geeky. Currently, she’s hard at work on her next book.

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