A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Wednesday, June 25, 2014



Not Quite Dead

by Lyla Payne



A broken engagement sends Graciela Harper crawling back to Heron Creek with her tail between her legs, but finds the sleepy little town too changed to set her life right. Not even her budding drinking problem can obscure her Gramps’s failing health, or erase the mental picture of her first love happily married to her childhood best friend. To top it all off, she’s having a heck of time convincing the town’s dashing young mayor of her unfit-for-dating status.

When the ghost of 18th century lady pirate Anne Bonny starts insisting on a near daily audience, Graciela has to confront something else she never expected—being certifiably nuts at twenty-five years old.

Her brand new "I don't give a crap" attitude makes it easy to dismiss the mysterious threats that seem to be tied to her search for more information on the long dead pirate, but when her family becomes a target, Gracie knows she needs to find out why the ghost insists on being a constant, reeking companion.

If Graciela can put aside her prejudice against people without a pulse, she may discover that Anne Bonny’s problems are intricately linked with her own. The past harbors answers could help the cantankerous spirit find closure, but she is, after all, already dead. If Graciela doesn’t move fast, she might find herself doing the haunting, instead of the other way around.



Maybe it’s lingering fear of Anne’s ghost, or a sudden urge to burn some fat, but my feet find the sidewalk instead of my butt finding the driver’s seat of my car. I have an hour, and the walk will take fifteen minutes. I’ll regret it later, when the trek home in a hundred muggy degrees drenches me from head to toe, but that’s then.

I’m out to prove that I don’t give a shit about consequences after all. Fuck adulthood.

Avoiding my car turns out to be a moot point when, less than two blocks from Gramps’ house, the scraggly redhead from my backseat joins me on the sidewalk. Her gait matches mine, but her feet don’t make any sound on the concrete despite her clunky, knee-high leather boots. Lord if she doesn’t smell bad enough to gag a maggot, even outside.

Yesterday, I ran. Today, for some reason, it’s as though none of this is happening in real life and I don’t go faster, or slower, just keep going, eyes forward, clinging to the hope of waking up. It’s like swimming through the air with my blood pumping through me ten times too fast, depositing a chilly sweat on my brow and palms.

She doesn’t talk, but based on my sideways glances, the premise that she’s Anne Bonny seems legitimate. The smell and her stiff men’s shirt, trousers, and boots, combined with the sword and dagger belted at her waist, convince me that she’s Anne Bonny or that I’m going nuts. Or both.

The expression on her face wavers between frustration and sorrow, but nothing about it or her posture suggests causing harm is on her agenda. We walk side by side a few more steps, me and my reeking ghost, before my nerve returns out of nowhere.

Dead or not, she’s kind of starting to bug me.

"What do you want?" The question would sound more at home in the mouth of the first victim in a horror flick, but it has to be asked.

Even so, Anne—if it is Anne—doesn’t reply. Maybe she thinks it’s a dumb thing to ask, too.

"Okay, obviously you left your tongue in your grave. Let me guess, you want to grab a coffee and a bagel? I’m thinking about stopping at Westies, but I’m not sure…Oh," I gasp as my body turns to ice.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lyla Payne has been publishing New Adult romance novels for a little over a year, starting with Broken at Love and continuing with the rest of the Whitman University series. She loves telling stories, discovering the little reasons people fall in love, and uncovering hidden truths in the world around us - past and present. In her spare time she cuddles her two dogs, pretends to enjoy exercising so that she can eat as much Chipotle as she wants, and harbors a deep and abiding hope that Zac Efron likes older women. She loves reading, of course, along with movies, traveling, and Irish whiskey. Lyla's hard at work, ALWAYS, and hopes to bring you more Whitman University antics and at least one more Lowcountry ghost tale before the end of the year.

Lyla Payne is represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

If you want to know more, please visit her at http://lylapayne.com

If you're a fan of Young Adult fiction--science fiction or otherwise--please check out her work that's published under the name Trisha Leigh. http://trishaleigh.com


Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lyla_Payne

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lyla-Payne/355992971175349

Website: http://www.lylapayne.com/

Goodreads: mailto:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6903785.Lyla_Payne

Buy Links for Not Quite Dead:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Quite-Dead-Lowcountry-Ghost-Story-ebook/dp/B00JASQGFQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395975127&sr=1-1&keywords=lyla+payne+not+quite+dead

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/not-quite-dead-lyla-payne/1119006258?ean=2940149282371

iBooks: C:\Users\Michele\AppData\Local\Temp\Macintosh HD:\If you've been waiting for NOT QUITE DEAD to go live on iBooks, they've finally decided to join the party!!!! https\--itunes.apple.com-us-book-not-quite-dead-id849991979?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/not-quite-dead-a-lowcountry-ghost-story

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Not Quite Dead (A Lowcountry Ghost Story)Not Quite Dead by Lyla Payne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not Quite Dead ( A Lowcountry Ghost Story) by Lyla Payne is a 2014 publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Graciela is dealing with inner demons , an ill grandfather, tense family relations, old memories, and the mayor of Heron Creek , and one stinky and persistent ghost. That's a lot of for anyone, but Grace is tougher than she knows and she will need every last ounce of her strength to survive.

Graciela has lots of regrets and is nursing a broken heart and deep humiliation. Now she is face to face with her old boyfriend, Will and his wife, Melanie who was once Grace's bestie. Awkward. Being back in Heron Creek has also stirred up old memories for Grace. Her cousin who was like her sister growing up hasn't spoken to her in years, her relationship with Will which was a sure thing has her feeling like she missed out on something great with him, and to rub salt in the wound she has to watch him and her former best friend live the life she could have had. Instead she ended up with a guy that cheated on her countless times and left her in rotten state of mind. But, now the most important thing is her grandfather. Her elderly grandfather is struggling with his health and trying to maintain his dignity. He worries about Grace a lot, but tries not to show it. When the new mayor in town takes an instant liking to Grace, she puts up all her defenses. However, Beau refuses to give up on Grace. The town has decided that Grace may be one brick shy of a full load and she suffers odd looks and is the subject of much gossip. When the ghost of Anne Bonny shows up ,Grace has her memory refreshed about the legend of Anne and the reports of seeing her ghost from time to time.
It becomes apparent that Anne wants Grace to help her and if Grace wants any peace she will have to go along. As Grace begins to feel a little sympathy toward her ghost the history about Anne begins to put many things into perspective for Grace. But, before she can get all the facts she needs, her grandfather takes a turn for the worse and Grace has to deal with her bitch of Aunt, Melanie warning her away from Will, and before long a dreaded reunion with her cousin, Amelia. Not only that but Beau has found a way to break down some of Grace's walls but a disturbing story about Beau has left just a niggle of doubt in Grace's mind as to whether or not she can trust Beau in general, much less with her heart.

Grace is quite a character. Snarky, sarcastic, funny, and flawed, but you will root for her from start to finish. Gramps is also a great guy, but the other characters in the story all had me wondering who to trust or like . Melanie was kind of an odd duck I thought, Will was wishy washy, Beau was too tight lipped about his past, but didn't have any trouble pumping Grace for information about hers, Aunt Karen made me want to reach through the pages and slap her, Amelia was just in a really bad situation and I couldn't help but feel for her. Another of Grace's old friends from Heron Creek provides a mystery that we don't get to the bottom of in this chapter of the series, but I have a feeling we will learn a lot more about that soon. Then Anne Bonny and her sadness, determination, and her back story made her one of the best characters in the book. Of course she doesn't speak out loud, but her story is still told in her own words.
There is a lot going on in this book. The ghost story was really interesting as we get to hear about events of over 200 years ago from Anne herself. The family dynamics are really heavy and frankly realistic. Not all families are just perfect and Grace has pretty much been left on her own except for her grandfather due to some delicate situations in the past. An old curse that threatens all the descendants of Anne Bonny comes to light but Grace is having a hard time getting to the bottom of it because of a librarian who is overprotective of the archives. The relationship with Beau seems like a good one for Grace and I thought she deserved some happiness after everything she had gone through. While a part of me was glad to see Grace shrug off her doubts about Beau, another part of me wondered if that was a good thing or not. The reader will have to decide that for themselves and of course I'm sure the next book will reveal more about Beau and his all so secret past. There was closure for everyone thankfully on all other fronts. Amelia and Grace are going to finally be alright with each other, Will and Melanie are on solid ground and maybe Grace and Melanie's friendship will regain some of it's strength now that Melanie is not as insecure. But, it looks like Grace's job is not over just yet.... so stay tuned.
This is a New Adult Mystery/Ghost story with mature themes and some romance. The heat level is a one, there is some language sprinkled throughout and some mild violence.

This one gets a 4 star rating.


  1. Great review, thank you. The book sounds very intriguing.


  2. Good review. Plot sounds quite involved with the ghost and other issues in her life.


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