READ THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS: Dead Rockstar by Lillah Lawson
Stormy Spooner is at her wits' end. Careening towards bitter after a nasty divorce, she sometimes wonders what her life is becoming.
After unearthing a cryptic set of lines from a dusty album cover, Stormy tries the impossible: to resurrect Phillip Deville, enigmatic former frontman of the Bloomer Demons. Stormy's love for her favorite dead rockstar knows no bounds...but it was all supposed to be a joke.
When she answers a knock on her door the next day and finds herself face to face with the dark-haired rock god of her every teenage fantasy, her entire world is turned upside down.
Turns out, she’s awakened more than just Philip, and Stormy will have to do battle against a cast of strange characters to keep herself and her new undead boyfriend safe.
Take a peek into Stormy and Phillip’s lives with this exclusive sneak peak into the first two chapters of Dead Rockstar, by Lillah Lawson. Come for the dreamy undead boyfriend, stay for the rock n roll. Dead rockstar is out TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3rd!
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OH, you think your life is complicated? Try falling in love with a dead rock star. One you've brought back—totally on accident—from the dead.
I mean, a good man is hard to find, right? Sometimes you've gotta get a little creative.
Let me start over.
My name is Stormy Spooner. I’m a lifelong atheist, a vegan, a librarian—and I’m a necromancer.
How did I get into this mess? I wear glasses, for fuck’s sake. I’d like to say that your guess is as good as mine, but it was my own fault.
You wouldn’t be the first to tell me that it’s impossible to be a necromancer and an atheist. As my best friend, Sloan, loves to tell me, “You don’t even, like, believe in anything. How can you practice magic if you don’t believe in it?”
And once I would have agreed. I didn't believe in magic, and I sure as hell didn't practice it. What I did was more of a pathetic, drunken fumbling that accidentally hit the mark. It was supposed to be a joke.
When I announced to Sloan, between sips of our dark-mint-and-mocha iced coffees, that sweltering, humid summer day, that I was going to become a necromancer and raise the dead—well, one dead, specifically—I was just kidding around. I have a dark, twisted sense of humor. It gets me into trouble a lot. But this time, it got me some dead guy with pretty green eyes and hair so black it absorbs the light.
Oh, come on. Haven’t you ever had a crush on a dead guy? You know you have. Jim Morrison, maybe? Jimi Hendrix? James Dean?
All the hot dead guys have names that start with J, seems like. Except for my dead guy. The guy whose green eyes stared down at me from the posters on my wall all throughout my lusty teenage years, the guy whose voice ignited a million fantasies, the guy whose death at the maddeningly-young age of 38 had haunted me for years. The guy who had faded into an enigma, just another dead rock star in a sea of dead rock stars. Pick your poison, they’re a dime a dozen. My dead guy was never really famous, not the kind of famous that John Lennon was (another “J”), or Madonna or Prince. He was a blip, a cult-favorite, a moment in time. More people these days haven't heard of him than have. My dead guy is what you call “obscure” (and why Sloan loves to joke that I'm a hipster). My dead guy, the enigmatic, dark and mildly terrifying Philip Deville, former lead singer and bassist (and sometime harmonica player) of the Bloomer Demons, is my favorite musician of all time and the orchestrator of my sexuality. I can’t put too fine a point on it, really. He was the guy. My dead guy.
Well, until he wasn’t. Dead, I mean.
You’re going to have to just trust me on this, and I’ll tell you the story, but let’s just get it out of the way right out of the gate. There's no hiding the dude; he did his best, it's just not in his essence to be hidden, and honestly? What's the point? My dead guy is no longer dead. He’s very much alive – or undead, which I think he’d prefer, because it has that gothic sort of feel to it, and that’s what gets him all hot and bothered, and that's how I like him.
Believe it or don’t, but I raised the dead. I’m a necromancer. And unfortunately, because of a certain hot, (un)dead rock star, I'm going to have to do it again.
I remember the moment when the thought first came to me. I was guzzling my mint-mocha whatever on my lunch break, enjoying the sweet iciness on my tongue, letting it flow down my throat until I felt the first pangs of brain-freeze in my temple.
“I’m going to become a necromancer,” I announced. Sloan, my best friend since childhood, was sitting across from me at the Jitter Bug, our favorite coffee shop and the place where we usually met on our breaks, which we always took together. It was the only place in town that made a reasonable knock-off of a Frappuccino that's vegan.
“Well, that’s fucking stupid,” she replied without missing a beat.
“Why?” I demanded.
“For starters, genius, you’re an atheist. A smug atheist. It’s all you talk about, Sagan and Hawking and shit and how religion is the opiate of the masses. Necromancy is magic. How many times have you told me you don't believe in anything remotely spiritual or paranormal?”
“It's all about intention,” I countered. She, as a relapsed Christian—her term—couldn’t be more knowledgeable on this subject than me. I’m a tad haughty about my intellect. It’s a librarian thing.
“But how can you have the intention if you don't believe in it?” she argued, and I sniffed. “Not to mention it’s utter hock-and-booey,”
“Hock and what?”
“Hock-and-booey.” She smirked at me from beneath her perfectly coied blonde bangs. Sloan is your usual nightmare—long blonde hair, blue eyes, her parents loved her enough to get her braces, blah blah blah. All of that and her ass is absolutely huge. She has the gall to complain about it, too. Meanwhile, I'm sitting on my pancake bottom, hating her.
“Ok, you were either going for cock-and-bull or boo-hockey and you didn’t land on either.”
“Fuck you,” she said, popping a chocolate covered espresso bean in her mouth. Caffeine junkies, the both of us. We lived at the Jitter Bug year-round. We'd decided back in college, while in the midst of the 90s Friends craze, that we needed our own Central Perk. While the shenanigans of Phoebe and Chandler had become dated and cheesy, Sloan and I had retained our love for coffee and snark at our favorite artsy table. People write song lyrics on it in sharpie and that's the kind of overly sincere kitsch that I can appreciate, especially since we’re right on the outskirts of bumfuck, aka Brunswick, Georgia, where creativity goes to die.
I decided to change tactics. “If you could bring one dead celebrity back to earth for one night,” I asked her, scooping a dollop of chocolate-tinted coconut cream on my spoon and plopping it on my tongue, “who would it be and why?”
She didn’t miss a beat. “Mister Rogers,” she said, taking a somehow prim sip of her drink. “He likes me just the way I am. And I bet he gives the best hugs.”
“I was thinking more along the line of dead rock stars, you girl scout.” I spooned up more cream. “Like one you'd want to fuck.”
“Oh. Hard pass, then,” she said, pulling out her chap-stick and running it over her lips. She did that about fifty times a day. Chap-stick addiction is a real thing and it’s weird.
“Come on, you're a slut. You must have one.”
She smirked. “Be that as it may, I have no desire for a night with some bloated, booze-soaked addict who croons in my ear off-key while he’s trying to get his flaccid dick up. I've dated enough live musicians to know I don't want a dead one.”
This was horribly unfair, but I let it slide. Sloan is a mean bitch at heart, and it does no good to point it out. She gets worse by the hour. I swear, she wakes up Suzy Sunshine and by the time she uses her withered claws to pull down her bedclothes she’s turned into a cackling old crone. Why she’d want to meet Mister Rogers I’d never know. She’d have him running, screaming for the hills. She eats gentlemen for breakfast and burps up their bones. She's the perfect muse for an angsty, boy-man songwriter, which is why it was so irritating that she wouldn't play along.
“I actually have someone in mind,” I began again. I don't like being derailed when I'm on a thought-bender.
“Of course you do,” Sloan said with a groan. “Philip Deville, aka the Turquoise Devil, aka the Robert Plant wannabe that you’ve been wanting to bone since you were fourteen years old. Who has been rotting in his grave for over twenty years, and newsflash, Stormy, wasn’t even that famous when he was alive” She said, smirking. “ God, if you’re gonna be one of those obsessive fan-girls about this shit, couldn’t you pick somebody everybody likes so that we can at least relate?”
“Like who?” I demanded. “John Lennon?”
She rolled her eyes. “Get with this decade, man. No, he's too sincere—too serious, just like you. You need somebody fun, somebody to dust the cobwebs from your ass. How about a live person? Hmm. What about Steven Tyler?”
I glared at her. “Steven was an androgynous fox back in the day, I'll give you that, but he's what, seventy? He's old enough to be my grandfather.”
“It's not like Phillip Deville was a millennial,” she pointed out. “If he was in his late thirties when he died, and it's 2019 now...”
“You are missing the point entirely,” I said, irritated. “It isn't what age he'd be now—he's been on ice, so to speak, for over twenty years. If I raised him—you know, from the dead—he'd still be thirt-eight. That's older than me, but not, like, Woody Allen level creepy.” I flashed her a look. “Some people I know don't mind a little May-December, but—”
“So you’re going to become the world’s first atheist vegan necromancer,” she interrupted me. I didn't like her tone. She made it sound crazy. “And you're trying to make it non-creepy?”
“Yes.” I smiled. “Precisely.” I sucked the dregs of the icy coffee from my cup and tossed it across the table towards the trash bin where it bounced off the lid and hit the floor, spraying mint-mocha everywhere. This kind of stuff happens to me a lot. I jumped up, muttering apologies to the bored-looking cashier, and grabbed a handful of napkins. “I’m going to raise the dead.”
“You're going to reanimate all 6'5” of Phillip Deville's mostly decomposed, festering corpse?”
“You understand rightly.” I grabbed another wad of napkins.
“You’re an idiot, Spooner.” She peered at me sideways. “Did you bring the flask to work today? Nipping a little Jim Beam in between shelving boring textbooks?”
“I resent that.” I did have my flask with me that day, but she didn’t need to know that. “Remember that vinyl I got? I just found these weird printed lyrics and I thought maybe—” I shrugged, mopping up puddled coffee. “It’d be fun. To try. You in?”
“If it means I have to listen to fucking Bloomer Demons one more time—on my night off—then no. I am decidedly not in.” She finished her own beverage and tossed it at the bin. As expected, it sailed right in. “Nah, I love you, Stormy, but I’m out. Anyway, I’ve got a date tonight. I plan to get laid. By, you know, a live dude.”
“Sorry. I’ve been trying to cinch this guy forever. He’s in med school. Studying to be a surgeon. He might actually be able to find the—”
“Dude,” I interrupted her, gesturing with my head towards the legging-clad soccer mom at the counter, holding up her gold Amex like a trophy. “You're kinda loud.”