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Petit Morts #17: Immortal Coil

Immortal Coil by Jordan Castillo Price

Immortal Coil by Jordan Castillo Price

Series: Petit Morts #17
Release date: October 25, 2011
Length: Novelette - 18,100 words - 60 page PDF
Cover artist: Jordan Castillo Price - see larger cover
ISBN: 978-1-935540-34-2

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Buy the Bundle and Save • Petit Morts Dozen

Hue Tint & Shade, Moolah and Moonshine, Spanish Fly Guy, Pretty Ugly, One Less Stiff at the Funeral, Wishink Well, Happily Neverafter, London Eye, Spirits and Second Chances, Loose Change, Media Naranja, Immortal Coil

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Summary

Chance wasn’t sure he even had a heart—until he felt it breaking.

Richard Hill should be grading papers, but a dilapidated roadside carnival distracts him from his clipboard full of essays on the function of the human heart. The weather is cold and the carnies are dour, but the cotton candy is good enough to lure him back for more.

It doesn’t hurt that former student Joel Weaver, all grown up, is working there too—and not only is he quirky and cute, he seems to be putting off an “interested” vibe.

Chance is accustomed enough to the love gig by now to get The One situated without breaking a sweat—until he finds the fates of the newfound lovers are more tangled than he’d anticipated.

The only thing left to do is take the situation up with management.

 


EXCERPT

The heart is made of a special muscle called the cardiac muscle. The brain controls it through the nervous system. The heart pumps blood. The blood carries oxygen to the cells. When you get fat, cholesterol builds up on the walls of the blood vessels and you get high blood pressure and strokes. Smoking is bad for your heart.

Preachy, but not bad. Too short, though, and no mention of the rest of the circulatory system. A-minus. Richard Hill propped the clipboard on his steering wheel and jotted the grade on top of the sheet. Just as he turned to the next essay in the stack, his mother tapped on his window, holding on to the fanny-pack at her side as if she was afraid it might rupture. He turned the key in the ignition and powered the window down. “They don’t pay you to do that at school?” she said.

He let the criticism roll off his back, and simply said, “You done already?” He had no idea what happened during baby showers or how long they lasted. But it was no big hardship to grade papers while his mother put in an appearance at Carrie-Ann’s house. “I thought you were gonna be here a couple hours.”

“My cousin Ruthie, you remember her? She’d be your second cousin. Anyway, she saw your car was still outside and thought you might want to come in and say hi.”

He knew he should’ve waited for his mother at Stadium Dogs like he’d originally planned. “Ma, it’s a shower.”

“I know, I know. But they’re your family—well, most of them are, some kind of distant relatives—and they want to see you’re okay. Most of them only know what they saw on the news, that horrible clip they kept airing over and over.”

It occurred to Richard then that his mother could have just as easily carpooled with one of his north side aunts, and this was the real reason he’d been drafted into driving her to Carrie-Ann’s baby shower, maybe even the only reason she’d accepted the invitation. To show his extended family he was still alive and kicking. It’d been three years now, but gory news like that was always sure to be a big hit. Even at baby showers.

“Just say hi. For five minutes.”

“You know it won’t be five minutes.”

His mother gave a long-suffering sigh. “Your uncle Bob stopped in.”

Likely Uncle Bob had just been gunning for the snacks—and he wouldn’t have needed to wade through a dozen curious distant relations, old neighbors, and friends of friends to get there.

When Richard made no move to stand up, his mother said, “If you could just get out of the car, then. Wave to them.”

He glanced at the house. The windows of the bungalow were filled with eager faces of women he didn’t recognize, even though many of them were supposedly related to him. Distantly.

“If you just waved to them, they could see how good you’re doing now. So tall and handsome, like nothing ever happened.”

He considered rolling up the window, driving away, and leaving his mother standing there on the sidewalk in her dressiest sneakers. But it seemed like a small enough thing to ask for, just a wave. Finally, he said, “So long as they don’t get any ideas about trying to set me up with anybody. Unless they’re studly guys. Then I’ll consider it.”

Richard’s mother managed to land a whack on his shoulder before he climbed out of the car, stood beside her, and spared a wave to the ladies ogling him from inside the house. They waved back, and while he couldn’t hear it from out on the street, he suspected they were tutting as they compared him to the way he used to look in his Coach Rick days, pumped up with caffeine, adrenaline and weight training. Or maybe just remembering the bloody shot of him from the news clip they’d all seen eight million times.

How surreal. As he drove off to wait for his mother a few blocks away where he could shake the uneasy feeling of their scrutiny, he realized he’d had fantasies of performing precisely that kind of wave in front of a crowd—but those daydreams had involved wrestlers and championships, not relatives and baby showers.

Things change.

Petit Morts Set 3

 

The Petit Morts Series

#1: Hue, Tint and Shade by Jordan Castillo Price
Yellow is as yellow does.

#2: Slings and Arrows by Josh Lanyon
It's a fine line between "secret admirer" and "stalker".

#3: Moolah and Moonshine by Jordan Castillo Price
If you ever go to France, watch out for those ticklers.

#4: Other People's Weddings by Josh Lanyon
Pulling off the perfect wedding can be murder.

#5: Spanish Fly Guy by Jordan Castillo Price
A new twist on liquid courage.

#6: Pretty Ugly by Jordan Castillo Price
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...usually.

#7: Sort of Stranger Than Fiction by Josh Lanyon
They always say to write what you know.

#8: One Less Stiff at the Funeral by Sean Kennedy
Chocolate makes everything better. Even a eulogy.

#9: Critic's Choice by Josh Lanyon
It was a dark and stormy night. No, really, it was.

#10: Wishink Well by Jordan Castillo Price
You can't get something for nothing.

#11: Happily Neverafterby Jordan Castillo Price
All's well that ends well.

#12: London Eye by Clare London
Give credit where credit is due.

#13: Spirits and Second Chances by Sean Kennedy
The past can come back to haunt you.

#14: Just Desserts by Josh Lanyon
Pick your poison.

#15: Loose Change by Sean Kennedy
If there's one thing you can always count on, it's change.

#16: Media Naranja (Other Half) by Clare London and Jordan Castillo Price
There's someone for everyone.

#17: Immortal Coil by Jordan Castillo Price
Love is more than skin deep.


 

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