Prom Nights
From Hell
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HC ISBN: 978-0061253102
MM ISBN: 978-0061253096

Madison Avery and the Dim Reaper is the ODTSintroduction of an entirely new world, so if you have readers who are not quite ready for theHollows, this might be perfect.  The first full-length volume is titled Dead Once, Twice Shy.

Madison has been translated into a few different languages. Click covers for larger image


 

Available just about everywhere, and a few places I'd never expect, but if you're having trouble:
Where To Purchase Online.

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Copyrighted Material
Excerpt of the first chapter of


Prom Nights from Hell

by
Kim Harrison

 
One

            A British general, a damsel in a dress, and a pirate walk into a gym, I thought as I gazed over the bodies moving in a mind-numbing chaos of pent-up, teenage, inexperienced lust.  Leave it to my mom and her over-the-top reactions to turn prom into a joke.  What was I doing here?  Prom was supposed to be real dresses with a live band, not rented costumes with canned music and streamers.
           “You sure you don’t want to dance?” Josh yelled in my ear, sending his sugary breath over me.  I tried not to grimace, keeping my gaze fixed on the clock beside the gym’s scoreboard and wondering if an hour was long enough to stay and not get the third degree from my dad.  The music was dull—the same rhythmic thump over, and over, and over.  Nothing new in the last forty minutes.  And the bass was way too loud.
           “Yep,” I said, edging away in time with the music when his hand tried to creep to my waist.  ”Still don’t want to dance.”
           “Something to drink?” he tried again, and I cocked my hip, crossing my arms to hide my cleavage.  I was still waiting for the boob fairy to show up, but the dress’s corset shoved everything up and together to make it look like I had more than I did, making me self-conscious.
           “No, thanks,” I said with a sigh.  He probably didn’t hear me, but he got the gist, seeing as he looked away, watching everyone move.  Long ballroom gowns and skimpy barmaid costumes mixed with swashbuckling pirates and sailors.  That was the theme of the prom.  Pirates.  God!  I had worked for two months on the prom committee at my old school.  It was going to have been freaking fantastic with a moonlit barge and a real band, but no-o-o-o.  Mom got scared when she caught me sneaking out for a late cappuccino and shipped me back to Dad and Dullsville USA.  Okay, so it had been after midnight.  And I might have been after more than coffee.  And yeah, I’d already been grounded from staying out too late the previous weekend, but that’s why I had to sneak out.
            Running the stiff lace of my colonial dress between my fingers, I wondered if any of these people had a clue what a real party looked like.  Maybe they didn’t care.
            Josh was standing a little in front of me, bobbing his head in time with the music and clearly wanting to dance.  Nearby at the food table was the guy who had come in after us.  He was looking this way, and I gave him a stare, wondering if he was after me or Josh, seeing as he hadn’t said anything to either one of us after buying his ticket.  Seeing my attention on him, the guy turned away.
            My gaze fell back on Josh, who had begun to almost-dance halfway between me and the moving people.  Actually, I mused as he shifted and bobbed his head to the music, his costume made his thin, awkward height work for him—a traditional British general’s red and white, complete with fake sword and epaulets.  His father’s idea, probably, since he was the VIP of VIPs at the research facility that had kept everyone employed when the military base moved to Arizona, but it did go with the overdone lace and corset thing I had on.
           “Come on.  Everyone else is dancing,” he coxed when he saw me look at him, and I shook my head, almost feeling sorry for him.  He reminded me of the guys in the photography club pretending the dark-room door had locked.  It just wasn’t fair.  I had spent three years learning how and trying to fit in with the cool chicks, and now I was right back with the nice but unpopular guys, mowing down cupcakes in the gym.  And on my birthday, too.
           “No,” I said flatly.  Translation: Sorry, I’m not interested.  You may as well give up.
            Even thick-headed, awkward, broken glasses Josh got that one, and he stopped his almost-dancing to fix his blue eyes on me. “Jesus, you’re a bitch, you know that?  I only asked you out because my dad made me.  If you want to dance, I’ll be over there.”
            My breath caught, and I gaped at him as if he had punched me in the gut.  He cockily raised his eyebrows and walked away with his hands in his pockets and his chin raised.  Two girls parted so he could walk between them, and they hunched into each other in his wake, gossiping as they glanced at me.
            Oh my God.  I’m a pity date.  Blinking fast, I held my breath as I fought to keep the room from going blurry.  Crap, not only was I the new girl, but I was a freaking pity date!  My dad had made nice to his boss, and he made his son ask me out.
           “Son of a dead puppy,” I whispered, wondering if everyone was looking at me or if it was just my imagination.  I tucked my short blonde hair behind my ear, and backed to the wall.  Leaning against it with my arms crossed, I tried to pretend Josh had gone to get some pop.  Inside, I was dying.  I had been dumped.  No, I had been dumped by a geek.
           “Way to go, Madison,” I said sourly, just imaging the gossip on Monday.  I spotted Josh at the food table, pretending to ignore me without being obvious about it.  The tall guy in the pirate outfit who had followed us in was talking to him.  I still didn’t think he was one of Josh’s friends, even though he was jostling his elbow and pointing at the girls dancing in dresses cut too low for the gyrating they were doing.  That I didn’t recognize him wasn’t surprising since I’d been avoiding everyone for the simple reason I wasn’t happy being here and I didn’t mind anyone knowing it.
            I wasn’t a jock or a nerd—though I had belonged to the photography club back home.  Despite my efforts, I apparently didn’t fit with the Barbie dolls.  And I wasn’t a Goth, brain, druggie, or one of the kids who wanted to play scientist like their mommies or daddies at the research facility.  I didn’t fit anywhere.
            Correction, I thought as Josh and the guy laughed.  I fit with the bitches.
            The kid followed Josh’s attention to another group of girls, who were now giggling at something Josh had said.  His brown hair was frizzed out under his pirate ’do rag, and his billowy outfit looked like everyone else’s.  He was tall, and there was a smooth grace to his movements that most of the kids here lacked.  He looked older than me, but he couldn’t be too much older.  It was the prom.
            And I don’t have to be here, I thought suddenly, shoving myself away from the wall with my elbows.  Josh was my ride home, but my dad would pick me up if I called.
            My motion to weave through the crowd to the double doors slowed in worry.  He’d ask why Josh wasn’t bringing me home.  It would all come out.  The lecture to be nice and fit in I could deal with, but the embarrassment . . .
            Josh was watching me when I glanced up.  The kid with him was trying to get his attention, but Josh’s eyes were on mine.  Mocking, me.
            That did it.  No way was I going to call my dad.  And I wasn’t getting into a car with Josh, either.  I’d walk it.  All five miles.  In heels.  And a long cotton dress.  In a damp April night.  With my boobs scrunched together.  What was the worst that could happen?  A run-away cow incident?  Crap, I really missed my car.
           “Way to go, girl,” I muttered, gathering my resolution along with my dress, head down as my shoulders bumped into dancers on my way to the door.  I was so out of here.  People were talking, but I didn’t care.  I didn’t need friends.  Friends were overrated.
            The music melted into something fast, and I brought my attention up when the crowd seemed to shift, awkwardly changing rhythm.  I jerked to a stop when I realized I was a step away from running into someone. “Sorry!” I shouted over the music, then froze, staring.  Holy crap, it was Mr. Sexy Pirate Captain.  Where had he been the last three weeks, and were there more where he came from?
            I’d never seen him before.  Not in the entire time I’d been stuck here.  I would have remembered.  Maybe exerted myself a little more.  Flushing, I dropped my skirt to move my hand to cover my cleavage.  God, I felt like a British tart with everything shoved up like that.  The guy was dressed in a clingy black pirate costume, a pendant of gray stone lying on his chest.  I could see it where the collar parted.  A Zorro-style mask hid his upper face.  The wide silk tails of it trailed down his back to mix with his luscious wavy black hair.  He stood taller than me by about five inches, and as I ran my gaze over his tight figure, I wondered where he’d been keeping himself.
            Certainly not the band room or Mrs. Fairel’s US Government class, I thought as the spinning lights played over him.
           “My apologies,” he said, taking my hand, and I caught my breath, not because he was touching me, but because his accent wasn’t Midwest.  Sort of a slow, soft exhalation laced with a crisp preciseness that told of taste and sophistication.  I could almost hear the clink of crystal and soft laughter in it, the comforting sounds that more often than not had lulled me to sleep as the waves pushed on the beach.
           “You aren’t from around here,” I blurted as I leaned to hear him better.
            A smile grew, his dusky skin and dark hair almost a balm, so familiar amid the pale faces and light hair of the Midwest prison I was in. “I’m here temporarily,” he said. “An exchange student, in a manner of speaking?  Same as you.”  He glanced disdainfully at the people moving around us with little rhythm and even less originality. “There are too many cows here, don’t you think?”
            I laughed, praying I didn’t sound like a brainless flake. “Yes!” I almost shouted, pulling him down to talk into his ear over the noise. “But I’m not an exchange student.  I moved here from Florida.  My mom lives out there on the inner coastal, but now I’m stuck here with my dad.  I agree.  You’re right, it’s awful.  At least you get to go home.”
            And where is home, Mr. Sexy Pirate?
            A hint of low tide and canal water drifted to me, rising from him like a memory.  And though some might find it unpleasant, my eyes pricked.  I missed my old school.  I missed my car.  I missed my friends.  Why had Mom gone so ballistic?
           “Home, yes,” he said, and an intoxicating smile showed a hint of a tongue when he licked his lips and straightened. “We should leave the floor.  We’re in the way of their . . . dancing.”
            My heart pounded harder.  I didn’t want to move.  He might go away, or worse, someone might slip their arm into his, claiming him.  “Do you want to dance?” I said, nervous. “It’s not what I’m used to, but it has a good beat.”
            His smile widened, and relief sent my pulse faster.  Oh God.  I think he likes me.  Letting go of my hand, he nodded, and then dropped back a step and started to move.

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Revised: 08/29/2014       Copyright © 2003 by Kim Harrison.  All rights reserved.