Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Ghost Files Blog Tour: Excerpt

  The Ghost Files, Volume I
by Apryl Baker

Published: August 13, 2013
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Cherry blossom lipstick: check
Smokey eyes: check
Skinny jeans: check
Dead kid in the mirror: check

For sixteen year old Mattie Hathaway, this is her normal everyday routine. She’s been able to see ghosts since her mother tried to murder her when she was five years old. No way does she want anyone to know she can talk to spooks. Being a foster kid is hard enough without being labeled a freak too.

Normally, she just ignores the ghosts and they go away. That is until she see’s the ghost of her foster sister… Sally.

Everyone thinks Sally’s just another runaway, but Mattie knows the truth—she’s dead. Murdered. Mattie feels like she has to help Sally, but she can’t do it alone. Against her better judgment, she teams up with a young policeman, Officer Dan, and together they set out to discover the real truth behind Sally’s disappearance.

Only to find out she’s dealing with a much bigger problem, a serial killer, and she may be the next victim…

Will Mattie be able to find out the truth before the killer finds her?


The party is in full swing by the time we get there. Everyone is milling around, laughing, talking and drinking. Jake lays an arm around my shoulders and I snuggle close. It’s freezing! Why Meg decided to have a party outside in the dead of winter is beyond me. We make a beeline for the bonfire raging out back. Jake grabs a beer, but I decline.

I never, ever drink at parties. The only thing I’ll drink is water I run from the tap myself. I’m not stupid enough to set myself up to get drugged and raped. Jake is a pretty decent guy, but I’ve only known him a couple of weeks, and have no idea what he’s like when drunk. I’m a smart cookie. I never take chances like that.

“Mattie!” Meg waves her beer bottle at me. She’s already buzzed; her eyes are a bit glassy. See? Not a smart cookie. She’d be an SVU nightmare. Don’t get me wrong. I really, really like Meg. She’s one of the first people who accepted me when I got here last month. That girl’s got a closet full of clothes I’d sell an organ for, but her personal choices are not always the best ones. She’s the town’s sweetheart, the golden girl expected to do great things. I guess she doesn’t think anything bad could ever happen to her.

“Hey.” I smile and shake my head when Tommy offers me a beer.

“Aw, come on Mattie, have a drink, loosen up a bit,” Tommy wheedles. His eyes are on my chest. Such a jerk. Meg hasn’t noticed and I’m grateful. I’d hate for her to get mad at me because of her idiot boyfriend.

“Leave off, Tommy,” Jake glares. He has noticed where Tommy’s eyes are. “You know Mattie doesn’t drink.”

“Chill, man. I’m only trying…”

I roll my eyes at the rising testosterone. Change the subject. “Meg, didn’t I see Ava over there wearing knock-offs?”

“I know! Can’t believe she thought she could pass those boots off as designer. I mean, really.” Meg nods. “And that handbag… O-M-G!” Nothing upsets her more than a knock-off. She is a fashionista in the worst sense of the word. She plans on going to a New York design school after graduation.

“The stitching is all wrong on the bag, too.” I am not a fashionista, but I’ve heard that stitching can prove if something is original or not.

“It’s atrocious!” Meg laughs. “I can’t believe she thinks anybody will buy that nonsense.”

“Maybe her folks aren’t rich and it’s all she can afford?” Jake asks, voice dripping with sarcasm. Jake’s parents are pretty close to poor. His dad is often out of work and his mom’s a housekeeper for the local hotel. Jake will work part time this summer to pay the bills. It’s one of the reasons I liked him to begin with. He’s not like the usual high school boy. He understands that life is hard, and you do what you have to do.

Meg’s catty remark did sound a little snarky, I must admit. Not everyone’s father is the mayor and can afford to dress in high fashion. Look at me. I wear Wal-Mart clothes. I don’t pretend to be anything I’m not. That’s probably why Meg and I get along so well.

Meg sighs. “That sounded really bitchy, huh?” She’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever known, but when she’s drunk, the girl can get a little mean.

“Just a little,” I tell her, “but I started it.” I’d tried to stop a potential fight between Tommy and Jake, but ended up dissing someone else. I felt bad. It’s a new feeling for me. I typically don’t let myself get attached enough to people to feel anything for them, but being around Jake and his family made me start rethinking my whole me-myself-and-I mentality. Not that I don’t have reason to keep people at arm’s length, but Jake is thawing me just a bit. I don’t know if I like it or not.

“Know what you’re gonna do for your public speech on Friday, Mattie?” someone asks behind me. I turn around. Oh, joy. Sam Jenson. She and I are competing for the only junior spot on the debate team. I need it for scholarship purposes; she wants it only because I do.

Since day one, Sam and I disliked each other. She’s a snob and I’m a smartass. Put us in a ring and I’d knock her on her snotty arse in 2.5 seconds. Does she honestly think I’m gonna tell her what I’m doing? But… considering that I’m standing with people who are nearly drunk or well past that state, she probably assumes I am, too.

“Sure I do,” I tell her, “but you’ll have to wait until Friday to hear it.” I smile sweetly at her and snuggle under Jake’s arm. Sam has a huge crush on Jake. This I discovered from her friend Mimi. The snuggling only makes her mad and she stomps off. Good riddance. I so don’t want to get into a cat fight tonight.

“You know that spot is yours,” Jake whispers in my ear. “I’ve heard you practicing. Don’t worry about it.”

“Do I look worried?” I breathe in Jake’s rich scent. He smells clean and woodsy. I’m not sure what kind of cologne he uses, but it’s addictive. I could stand here forever basking in the warmth of the fire, enjoying Jake’s arms around me. This is as close as I’ve ever come to being well, maybe not so much happy, but I guess maybe content is the right word. It’s another new feeling for me, but it’s one I sorta like.

“No,” Jake grins down at me, “but you do look very, very kissable.”

I smile as he lowers his head and kisses me until my toes curl. Jake kisses better than any boy I’ve ever met. Not that I’m a slut, mind you; I don’t sleep around. I’m still a virgin, but do enjoy the whole kissing aspect of dating. Jake’s kisses make me want to rethink the whole not-sleeping-around thing, which worries me. Not that he’s even said anything, but if he did, I’d have to think really, really hard and I don’t know what my answer would be. It’s always been ‘no’ before, but I’ve never met a guy I liked this much, either.

“Get a room,” Tommy grouches, breaking up our little interlude.

Jake and I both laugh at Tommy’s obvious disgust. He’d hit on me not more than an hour after I’d arrived at school my first day. Tommy has never understood why I didn’t jump at the chance to let him in my pants. Why does Meg put up with his crap? Again, not my business.

The joke rattling on my tongue dies as a girl steps into the firelight. She’s turned away from me, dressed in a bummy-looking gray nightshirt, hands bound behind her back. Long, stringy brown hair is matted with a dark sticky substance.

Not here. Oh, please, oh please, oh please, not here.

I want to avert my eyes, but can’t. She’s turned to face me; her eyes are so lost and scared. There’s a small bullet hole in her head, almost exactly where it was on the other dead kid I saw earlier. Her mouth is covered in duct tape, so she can’t speak, but I don’t need her to. I know her.

It’s Sally.

So who am I? Well, I'm the crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up. I LOVE scary movies. My friends laugh at me when I scare myself watching them and tell me to stop watching them, but who doesn't love to get scared? I grew up in a small town nestled in the southern mountains of West Virginia where I spent days roaming around in the woods, climbing trees, and causing general mayhem. Nights I would stay up reading Nancy Drew by flashlight under the covers until my parents yelled at me to go to sleep.

Growing up in a small town, I learned a lot of values and morals, I also learned parents have spies everywhere and there's always someone to tell your mama on you. So when you get grounded, what is there left to do? Read! My Aunt Jo gave me my first real romance novel. It was a romance titled "Lord Margrave's Deception." I remember it fondly. But I also learned I had a deep and abiding love of mysteries and anything paranormal. As I grew up, I started to write just that and would entertain my friends with stories featuring them as main characters.

Now, I live Huntersville, NC where I entertain my family and watch the cats get teased by the birds and laugh myself silly when they swoop down and then dive back up just out of reach. The cats start yelling something

I love books, I love writing books, and I love entertaining people with my silly stories.