Confessions of a Punk Rocker (Living Dead World) by Nessie Strange - Romance>Paranormal/Horror eBook
The dead should stay dead...
Jack Norris has just lost his best friend—who also happened to be his band's drummer—to a drunk driving accident. As he struggles to deal with the band's uncertain future and his own personal demons, those issues soon become unimportant. His dead friend has come back. And he's not showing any signs of going away. Questioning his own sanity, Jack finds his life spiraling out of control. But when a new acquaintance not only hooks him up with a drummer, but promises to help get rid of his ghostly stalker, Jack's life does a one-eighty.
Drew MacLellan, the new drummer, is more than just a new set of sticks—he's the brother of the insanely hot Jen MacLellan, who's definitely not Jack's biggest fan. Jen is nothing like the women Jack's dated in the past, but the more he gets to know her, the deeper he falls. The only problem is she's got a boyfriend. Caught between his growing attraction and the desire to do the right thing, Jack does everything he can to keep his distance. But the more he sees of her, the more he realizes he can't. He's determined to win Jen's heart, if only he can figure out how to help his dead friend rest in peace...permanently.
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CHAPTER ONEMy eyelids strain against gravity. Last night’s binge hangs in the back of my throat, threatening to reappear. Maybe. All I know is the inside of my mouth tastes like a used tissue and my head throbs, right between the eyes. I don’t even remember how I got home.“Hey, Jack, get up.” The door swings open and my brother Ashton pokes his head in. A beam of light cuts through the darkness and stabs me square in the face. Am I still drunk? Groan. I shouldn’t have had those last three beers. Or that shot of whiskey to top it off. Right now, any sudden movement would be a bad idea.“Dude?” Ashton widens his eyes at me and jerks his head to the side, a move that’s one part impatience, but mostly asshole.I fold my arms behind my head to show him I’m not in a rush to do anything. This will piss him off even more, I’m sure of it. It’ll also give me time to scrape the fuzz from my brain. “What.”“Uh, funeral?” He looks at his watch. “It’s nine-thirty and we need to be there in forty-five minutes.”As if I could forget something like that. My buddy Eben got tanked a few nights ago and lost control of his car. It flipped over, skidded across the median, and smashed into the concrete barriers on the other side. They say he died instantly.“And?”His eyes look like they’re ready to roll back into his skull. “And you need to get your lazy ass out of bed. Now.”Right. Get out of bed. It doesn’t seem possible that I’m burying one of my closest friends today. A wave of dizziness washes over me as I try to sit. My eyes snap shut. That’s it, I’m never drinking again. “Chill the fuck out. I’m getting up.”“Yeah, well, get a move on.” He stands in the doorway with his arms folded across his chest and watches me. Could he be any more annoying?“What?”“If I leave the room, you’re just gonna sit there instead of coming out to the kitchen. Where the rest of the band is already waiting, by the way.” He cocks his head to the side. “They’re pretty much always waiting on you, aren’t they?”“Go fuck yourself,” I mumble while I untangle my legs from the blanket. I’m holding my breath now. It’s funny how smells like stale air and dirty laundry seem magnified when you feel like you’re gonna puke.Ashton shakes his head. “Grow up.”I shoot him a dirty look, but don’t answer.“Sometime today.”“Do I at least have time to shower, or are you gonna stand there with the stopwatch if I do that too?” I grab a towel from the floor and brush past him, slamming the bathroom door behind me.“Hurry up, Jack.” His voice is thankfully muffled by the door.The shower turns cold after the first couple minutes. I stay under the water anyway, tilt my head back and focus on the mosaic of peeling paint and mold spots above me. Man, I never realized what a luxury hot water was until I moved in with my brother. I’m shivering to the point my teeth chatter together by the time I get out, but I couldn’t possibly be more awake.Everyone is sitting at the table when I enter the kitchen. While the mood is a little more low-key than usual, it doesn’t feel like we’re headed to a funeral. Nobody’s crying. Nobody seems bummed out. If Eben was watching, he wouldn’t have wanted it that way. The dude always joked how he wanted his funeral to be one big party. It was typical Eben talking out of his ass. Nobody ever thought we’d actually have to bury him.I make a beeline for the coffee, sniffing as I pour the sludge from the bottom of the pot into my mug. My stomach gurgles and moans in protest.“That water’s fuckin’ cold.” I drop into the only empty seat. “I still got tittie hard-ons.”Ashton rolls his eyes, but the other guys laugh. My buddy Scott leans back, balancing his nearly three hundred pound weight on the chair’s hind legs. Gravity is being defied beyond all logic. “You could be like Mark and just not shower at all.”Mark flips him off, but he’s grinning, showing off the gap where his top right canine used to be. When he first joined the band, Mark had been going through a rough patch, sleeping in his car, bumming food and money off people. Let’s just say hygiene was low on his list of priorities.“Huh.” I squint and look up at the ceiling. “I might try it. It’d be wicked punk rock. Maybe people would even fuckin’ leave me alone.”“Doesn’t work.” Mark shakes his head solemnly and another round of laughter follows.“How ya feelin’, anyway?” Scott slaps me on the back hard enough to rattle my teeth.“Like ass.” I sip my coffee. Even with all the cream and sugar, it’s bitter. I can feel acid hitting acid as it reaches my stomach. “I can’t fuckin’—”“Guys,” Ashton interrupts, sounding annoyed. “We’ve got to leave in like fifteen minutes. Jack, don’t you have something…nicer to wear?”“What? It’s black.” I’m wearing Dickies work pants, a button down shirt, and combat boots. It’s about as close to dressed up as anyone’s ever going to see me. I’m not sure why he’s picking on me when the rest of the band is dressed pretty much the same. In Marc’s case, much worse. “You think Eben’s gonna give a shit that I’m not wearing a suit?”His eyes roll to the roof. I’m pretty sure I’m not his favorite person right now, but between the hangover and coming to grips with the reality of our situation, I’m also pretty sure I don’t care. Having my brother as the band’s manager is a real grind on my patience. It seems like he’s always on duty. Sure, he’s organized and driven and he gets things done. He’s also like the camp counselor from hell driving the short bus right off a cliff.I turn to him. Pushing buttons is my specialty. “But you would know better, wouldn’t you, boss?”“Obviously it doesn’t matter, because you won’t listen anyway,” Ashton says. “Do you think you can behave yourself?”Yep, he’s a dick.“I don’t know.” I smile. “I think so.”“Fantastic.” There’s only a hint of sarcasm in his reply. “Then let’s get going, m’kay?”We pile inside the van and I immediately pop in my ear buds and scroll through the tunes on my iPod. Ashton bought this piece of crap 1975 Ford Econoline to help cart the band’s equipment around—or pedophile van, as I’d called it when he first showed me, because those sick bastards always seem to drive vans, don’t they? But it was only five hundred bucks, he said when I asked him why. Plus, it’s vintage. As if that somehow makes it suck less. Rusty brown on the outside, and—get this—covered with this burnt orange shag carpeting on the inside that reeks of patchouli. I can’t believe the thing still runs.Traffic is heavy and the van crawls from street to street, shuddering each time we’re stopped like it’s about to give its last, dying breath. I lean my head against the window and close my eyes. This fucking sucks more than anything. I’m trying to forget, but it’s looping around my head: Eben was supposed to give me a ride home that night. I’d been too busy sucking face with…what was her name? Anna? I hadn’t even been that into it, I was just shitfaced and one thing progressed to another.I was on the front porch with her and we were kissing, drunk and clumsy. The next thing I knew, Eben was there, wrapping his scrawny, tattooed arms around both our shoulders.“Hey, Jack,” he said, his words slurred together. “S’time t’go.” He staggered back a step, pulling us with him.“Naw man, I think I’m gonna hang a while longer.”“Hey, Jack.” He looked down at Anna, then leaned toward my ear as if he was going to whisper something. Thing was, Eben didn’t do quiet. “Bro, she’s not even that…cute. Whatchoo doin’, man?”The look on his face got me, and I couldn’t help it. I laughed, and it quickly snowballed into one of those drunken fits of laughter where you couldn’t even remember what you were laughing about. Somewhere between that and Eben singing Social D’s Sick Boy loud and out of tune, Anna launched an impressive kick to my shin and took off. Eben and I shot the shit for a while longer. Then, I said three words that’ll probably haunt me for the rest of my life.“Take care, man.”I didn’t stop him. I knew he was fucking ripped out of his mind, and it didn’t even occur to me to make him stay, that he shouldn’t be driving.“Jack.” Someone’s shaking my shoulder. I open my eyes, and Scott’s nodding toward the open door. I hadn’t even realized we stopped.