Grave Robbing and Other Hobbies by Jayce Carter
General Release Date: 20th April 2021
Word Count: 72,680
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Ghosts, corpses and four hot men—what’s a girl to do?
Abandoned at three—whose parents want a kid who sees ghosts?—I learned the world is quick to punish misfits. I try my best to be a normal, boring human, but the call of the supernatural just won’t be ignored.
When a stranger shows up on my doorstep in the middle of the night, it’s no sexy tryst. Instead, I’m off to the graveyard, digging up the corpse of a murder victim at the demand of the local vampire coven—and that small felony is just the start.
The spirit of the woman has gone missing—something that shouldn’t be possible—and everyone is looking to me for answers. There’s Kase, a vampire who’s both terrifying and secretive. Grant, a mage with a bad attitude and a lot of power. Troy, the possessive werewolf-detective next door and Hunter, a mysterious bad boy who isn’t even close to human.
It’s a race not just against time but against everything to figure out where the spirits are going, who’s behind it and if I can trust the men who now share my bed.
And all because of a little grave robbing…
Reader advisory: This book contains violence, bloodshed, and death. There are references to parental abandonment and tattooing a child, as well as vague references to pedophilia and the threat of child sexual abuse by a foster parent.
I wished a floating, nearly headless body at three in the morning were an unusual thing for me, but this was the fourth time this one had visited me in as many weeks.
A squinty gaze at my watch made me groan. At least she’s punctual.
“Avenge me!” the apparition demanded in an over-the-top ghostly voice.
I pushed myself upright to offer an annoyed look. “Don’t pull that scary crap with me, Melinda. I’m not some kid trying to contact spirits at a sleepover.”
The spirit shimmered then crossed her arms and gave me the same dirty look back. Ghosts have the worst attitude. “Well, if you did what I wanted the first time I asked, I wouldn’t have to keep bothering you.”
“You want me to kill a teenager.”
“He killed me. How is that not a fair reaction?”
“You ran a red light because you were trying to get your caramel macchiato to mix while complaining the barista didn’t make it right. Can’t really blame him for that.”
She pursed her lips as though she’d blown out a huge sigh, but with her being incorporeal, no actual air escaped. “If he hadn’t been driving, it would have been fine. Isn’t this your job? To make things right? You were given this gift for a reason.”
“I don’t know why I was given this gift, but I know I won’t be using it to murder innocent teenagers.”
“Can I talk to someone above you? Like your boss?”
I groaned and rubbed my eyes as it became clear I wasn’t going to be getting back to sleep any time soon. “Did you really just ask to speak to my manager? Look, if you can find whoever is responsible for me, please, be my guest and speak to them. While you’re at it, tell them I’d like to quit.”
Melinda jammed a bony finger at me. “Do you know who I am?”
“Someone who has ruined my sleep for four weeks.”
“And I’ll keep doing it until you agree to help.”
The threat was good, as far as threats went. Most ghosts tried to scare me into doing what they wanted, but after a person had seen as much as I had, those tactics fell flat. The worst an apparition could do was annoy me until they lost their hold on this world and went to the afterlife. A poltergeist could do some damage, but they were few and far between, luckily.
Melinda’s outline had already lost its sharpness. She’d dimmed until she was more of a shimmer than a clear picture. Another week—maybe two—and she’d drift to a whisper, then to nothing.
“And I’ll keep ignoring you until you’re no longer in this realm.”
An entitled huff came from her. “Look at me! I can’t believe I’m sitting here being ignored by some short, frumpy girl with bad hair.”
I considered pointing out that my hair didn’t normally look quite so wild, but she had woken me up in the middle of the night.
“Make peace with what happened,” I told her as I rolled over, my back to her. “Because I’m not going to help you.”
The bed didn’t sink, but an electric feeling that said she’d neared ran along my back. “It wasn’t supposed to happen like this,” she whispered, some of that sureness missing. “I wasn’t supposed to die like this.”
“Well, that’s how it always goes. Everyone thinks their death will be some great sacrifice, some noble leap, but that isn’t what it is.”
“Harrison already moved his mistress into our home.”
Okay, so I wasn’t entirely jaded, because an ache ran through my chest at that. Being dead sucked, I was sure, but being forgotten so quickly? Replaced? Far worse.
“The world keeps moving. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that no matter what, no matter who dies or how, the world doesn’t stop for any of us.”
“Then what’s the point? Why does any of it matter if as soon as we’re gone, it all goes away?”
I cuddled into the warmth of my bed, unsure what to tell her. She wanted to be reassured. She wanted me to tell her there was some great plan, that at the end of the day everything, made sense. I would have loved to tell her that because I’d love to hear it—to believe it.
The reality was that despite having spent my life surrounded by death, I had no stunning pieces of wisdom about it. I didn’t know why we were all here, or what the great purpose was, or why any of it meant a damn thing.
Instead, I told her the only thing I could. “Make your peace, Melinda, because you don’t want to end up where you’ll go if you don’t.”
She wailed, the screeching of a soul that few could hear and even fewer could survive. It made my ears want to bleed, so I grabbed my headphones and cranked up the music to cover it.
She’d be gone soon, since she only ever stayed for twenty minutes or so. I’d done this long enough to know which ones would cross over and which ones who would get stuck. Melinda?
She’d get stuck. She’d cling and try to bargain until the last moment, when she faded to nothing and ended up in purgatory. Even I didn’t like to think about that, about the place I’d glimpsed a handful of times that sent a creeping, gnawing terror through me.
The deep bass and rhythmic drumming drowned out her wailing, and I fell back to sleep. Eventually.
About the Author
Jayce Carter lives in Southern California with her husband and two spawns. She originally wanted to take over the world but realized that would require wearing pants. This led her to choosing writing, a completely pants-free occupation. She has a fear of heights yet rock climbs for fun and enjoys making up excuses for not going out and socializing. You can learn more about her at her website.
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