~ Kira Sutherland ~
After a near fatal accident (and getting cheated on by her 'boyfriend'), and beating up the lead cheerleader (with whom the boyfriend cheated...), and being labeled as having 'issues' in her school because she, uhm, sees ghosts, Kira is left with two choices:
1. Continue her 'therapy' (where she's told the ghost is a hallucination and also gets her legs ogled too often...)
2. Go to Starkfield Academy, a boarding school for "Crazies and Convicts" (as the social media sites call them.)
She chooses the latter...
~ Cory Rand ~
Cory Rand has not had an easy life. His mother died in a car accident when he was twelve, and so did his mother's best friend...sort of. You see, Janice made a promise to take care of Cory just before she died, and so she lingers. Undead. A ghost that watches out for him.
Brought up in an abusive home, Cory quickly falls into a life of disreputable behavior. After his third offense (which was prompted by a girl, as usual - he has a weakness) he's left with two choices:
1. Be tried as an adult and share a cell with a guy named Bubba (he thinks...)
2. Go to Starkfield Academy, which Cory is pretty sure is run by vampires. But, hey, at least he'll get an education.
He chooses the latter...
It's at Starkfield that Kira meets Cory Rand, a boy with an insatiable Rage who sees ghosts, too. As well as other things, other things from his past, things that confuse him, things like fire and witches and demons.
Things he's always ignored.
Young Adult Romance
Vampires, Demons, Witches
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R P Channing started writing three years ago, but never published anything even after churning out over a million words of fiction. Thirst: Blood of my Blood is the first book he dared to publish. When asked why, he said, âBecause itâs the first thing I wrote that my wife actually enjoyed reading.â When not hammering away (most literally) at his keyboard, he can be found buried in a book, reading anything from romance to horror to young adult to non-fiction to comedy.
My life was perfect.
I had the perfect shoes and the perfect friends and I lived in the perfect house. My nails were perfect and my hair was perfect (except on Sundays, it was always windy on Sundays) and I had the perfect clothes. My lips were a perfect red and my hair perfectly straight. My eyeshadow was perfect, my hips were...okay, and my waist...well...also okay. Nothing was wrong in my life.
But then there was Jack.
Jack was a problem.
He needed to go. I mean, when youâre dead, youâre dead! I had told him this endlessly. Somehow, Jack didnât get it. I mean, I felt sorry for the guy. Sure. Being stuck between this life and the next. But just because I found him, does that mean I needed to keep him?
I think not!
Sadly, when Jack got that look in his eyes, that weary, almost teary (if his tear-ducts worked) look, I melted. I just couldnât send him away. Not even Jack knew where he would go after he died.
Would he, like, die? As in â dead, nada, kaput, finito, gone, no more? Bye bye, sayonara, ciao, hasta la vista baby and all that?
I couldnât have that on my conscience. No way.
I lay on my bed, wondering what to do about him. âJaaaaaaack,â I hollered.
Still no answer.
His eyes rolled down to the ground. He was making those puppy eyes again. âJack, I told you not to do that. I told you not to play on my sympathies.â
His puppy eyes became worse.
His skin was gray and, well, dead.
âOh, brother,â I said. âI have to do something about you. If mom finds out I have another âimaginary friendâ â at my age â well, Iâd die of embarrassment. But, like, really die. Not like you.â I wondered about this. Would I die? Was Jack a freak accident, or did all people live on like him? Think of the cemeteries...
The idea excited me somewhat.
âWhat would you have me do, Miss Kira?â
âKnock off the Miss Kira crap. I told you itâs just Kira.â
âYes, Miss Kira.â
The dead. Thereâs just no reasoning.
âFine, Miss Kira it is then.â Rover barked like a lunatic in the garden. No one else might be able to see Jack, but I was sure my dog could.
âI have to do something about this,â I mumbled.
Mike knocked on the door before I had time to leave the house. Mike was the guy I thought (at the time) was perfect.
âWho is it?â
âItâs me, baby.â
Baby, urgh â I wasnât his baby. I dated Mike because he was the quarterback, because girls are supposed to like the quarterback, because itâs just so darn perfect to be seen with the quarterback, like weâre brainwashed into thinking these things from the first romantic doll set mom buys us.
This was my previous life.
âUh-huh. Gonna let me in?â
So you can try rub me up and then complain when I donât let you? This, dear reader, was the big problem with Mike. The second we first kissed, his hand went way too far south for me to be comfortable â and I pulled back.
Mike suddenly wasnât so perfect.
âUhm, I was just on my way out,â I said.
âKira? Câmon, open the door.â He sounded upset. âIs there someone in there with you?â
Boys. As if.
I didnât know much about love (nothing, actually) but I knew this wasnât it.
âUhm, nowâs not the time, Mike.â
âCâmon, Kira, whatâs going on?â He banged harder.
When in doubt...lie. I opened the door a crack. âThereâs a dead rat in the house, Mike. Been here for days. I gotta go get some detergent and stuff to handle the stench.â
Mike stepped back. He peered through the crack of the door.
âItâs really bad,â I said.
âIâll drive you.â
âIâm afraid the smellâ â I stuck my armpit to my nose â âhas found its way all over me. Iâll drive myself.â
âO â okay. Fine.â And then he grinned like he wanted something. âLater? My place?â
Urgh. âUhm, sure...er...later. Not sure when though.â
I fought the urge to roll my eyes. According to girls at school, he was apparently so damn good looking â theoretically. But for me personally, he did nothing. Moved nothing. Twisted nothing. âLook, I gotta go, Mike. I gotta â â
âKira.â His eyes grew stern. âYouâve been avoiding me...â
Bingo! Well done contestant number one! And what have you won? A brain!
I tilted my head. âMike, look, this...rat â I need to deal with it. Weâll talk later, okay? Bye.â I closed the door, not waiting for an answer, and peered out the peep hole. Mike hung around for a second, shoulders wide and eyes glaring straight at me through the door. Could he see me? Did he know I was looking at him?
He kicked something off the ground, and I had the distinct impression he mouthed the word Bitch before leaving. But I wasnât sure...
âRoll down the window, Jack.â Jack was recently dead, so he still had a smell about him. (Which only I could smell...)
I had purposely skipped breakfast. Maybe Jack would help me lose weight. I was (still am) a little wide, although it had never stopped guys flirting with me. I know how to dress.
But I could be skinnier.
Lucy Rogers was skinny. All bones and no boobs.
Charlene Carverton was a babe. Cheerleader. Big chest (which she pushed out generously with a push-up â if only guys knew). Toned thighs. Charlene only dated college boys (back then), which I still think is pretty gross for a girl her age.
âHeâs not for you,â Jack said out the blue.
âThis...Mike â heâs wrong for you, Miss Kira.â For all Jackâs faults (mainly, being dead), he has a good heart. Factually, probably itâs why I kept him around at first.
âYou think I donât know that?â
âThen why donât you dump him?â
I braked at a stop sign. Looked left and right. âBecause Iâd look like an idiot. I flirted with him and showed interest, and one kiss later I canât stand the sight of him.â
âSo dump him.â
âItâs not that simple. Kids at school â they can be vicious. I have to let it fade slowly. If I drop the bomb on him, Iâll never hear the end of it through senior year.â
âAnd you care?â
Yes, I did. Forget Guantanamo, schools are rough. âYou donât understand, Jack. Maybe school was different in your day. But in mine, well, we walk through metal detectors.â
âSchools werenât too different in my day.â I noted the sadness in his voice.
Right. âYou miss...your life?â
Jack shrugged. âI like being with you, Miss Kira. And I donât remember much of my life. I think Iâm in limbo.â
âYes, like I have some unfinished business. If only I could remember...what...it is...â He scratched his head.
âWell, it canât be love. If it were love, Iâd be a vampire. Thatâs who teenage girls fall in love with these days.â
âA vampire? Thatâs just what I need â two undead beings stalking me.â
âI feel I have something to do around you, Miss Kira. I donât know what, but something. Something important.â
I looked over at him. âMe?â
I was still looking at him when I missed the stop sign.
The Mack truck drove straight into us.