1 Dead Girl's Guide to Style

 

DEAD GIRL’S GUIDE TO STYLE

Copyright © 2014 by Rose Pressey

 

 

Praise for Me and My Ghoulfriends by Rose Pressey

 

“Rose Pressey spins a delightful tale with misfits and romance that makes me cheer loudly.”

Coffee Time Romance

 

“Her characters are alive and full of quick witted charm and will make you laugh. The plot twists keep you turning the pages non-stop.”

ParaNormalRomance

 

“I absolutely loved this book! It had me chuckling from the beginning.”

Fallen Angel Reviews

 

Rose Pressey’s Complete Bookshelf (click title to preview/buy)

Maggie, P.I. Mystery Series:

Book 1 –
Crime Wave

Book –
Murder is a Beach

 

The Halloween LaVeau Series:

Book 1 –
Forever Charmed

Book 2 –
Charmed Again

Book 3 –
Third Time’s a Charm

 

The Rylie Cruz Series:
Book 1 –
How to Date a Werewolf
Book 2 –
How to Date a Vampire
Book 3 –
How to Date a Demon

 

The Larue Donovan Series:
Book 1 –
Me and My Ghoulfriends
Book 2 –
Ghouls Night Out
Book 3 –
The Ghoul Next Door

 

The Mystic Café Series:
Book 1 –
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Spells
Book 2 –
Pies and Potions

 

The Veronica Mason Series:
Book 1 –
Rock ‘n’ Roll is Undead

 

A Trash to Treasure Crafting Mystery:
Book 1 –
Murder at Honeysuckle Hotel

Book 2 – Honeysuckle Homicide

 

The Haunted Renovation Mystery Series
:
Book 1 –
Flip that Haunted House
Book 2 –
The Haunted Fixer Upper

 

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form, (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, incidents, places, and brands are the product of the author’s imagination and not to be construed as real. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

Dedication

This is to you and you know who you are.

Acknowledgements

To my son, who brings me joy every single
day. To my mother, who introduced me to the love of books. To my husband, who encourages me and always has faith in me. A huge thank you to my editor, Eleanor Boyall. And to the readers who make writing fun.

Chapter One

“Does this dress make me look too dead?” Mona Patton stood at the dressing room door, staring at me with her big brown eyes.

My new client expected an answer and I had to be honest. After all, it was my job. She’d hired me to bring her style into this century.
Literally.

I dealt with this kind of thing all the time though. I’m Hadley Wilds, stylist to the undead.

Mona’s blonde hair had been recently cut into a trendy shoulder-length style. Blood-red lipstick colored her lips. The color matched the dress that clung to every curve of her body. I’d picked out the shade because it would hide any drops of blood if she spilled her lunch.

Mona still hadn’t mastered the vampire dining thing quite yet—either finding a living donor or buying the bottled stuff. It wasn’t because she was new
to being a vampire though. She had been turned around the same time as me, but for some reason she’d just now decided to join this century. Her normal wardrobe looked like she had been cast for an episode of
Little House on the Prairie
.

“I think the dress makes me look too pale.” She brushed a golden lock of hair from her shoulder.

I brushed off her comment. “No, the color is perfect on you, and besides, you are a vampire who has been around for over a hundred and twenty years. You’re going to be a little pale, that’s a given.”

“A woman never reveals her age. We agreed never to speak of our turn dates
,” Mona warned with a wave of her finger.

“Fine, but I thought it was okay since we are the only two in the shop,” I said.

She released a deep sigh. “Whatever. I guess you are the expert.” She grabbed her gold clutch purse. I’d helped her select it just the other day at TJ Maxx. “I have to go and take care of some other vampire stuff.”

I
hadn’t been aware that Mona had other vampire stuff, but I digress. She owned the local gym. It seemed like an odd match for her because I’d never known her to enjoy working out all that much—her idea of exercise had always been flirting with guys at the gym. Even though I’d known Mona for some time, I still didn’t know a lot about her.

“Call me if you need anything before our next appointment, okay?” I picked up a blouse that Mona had tossed on the floor.

Mona waved over her shoulder and headed out the door. She was a strange girl and kind of hard to read. I’d been working with her for two weeks and I still didn’t know how she truly felt about being a vampire. I’d seen her around town and met her a few times, but she’d never been that friendly.

My best friend Caitlin Rejoyce burst through the door holding a long, slinky blue dress. “I found something for you to wear to the wedding.” She
swayed the dress back and forth.

Caitlin had shiny chestnut
-brown hair, big dark eyes, and long legs. She’d never needed my style advice. Her natural flair for fashion was evident in every outfit she put together. Like today—she wore white jeans, a long beige shirt and a leopard-print scarf with cute black flats. Caitlin wasn’t a vampire, but she never cringed when I drank my daily bottle of blood. That was what I called a true BFF.

“I told you I don
’t want to go to the wedding without a date. It’ll be embarrassing sitting there by myself twiddling my thumbs while everyone else is dancing.” I folded a shirt and pretended not to notice the dress.

My first excuse
for why I couldn’t go to Caitlin’s cousin’s wedding had been that I didn’t have anything to wear. As a stylist, I knew that was a pitiful excuse. I was around fashion every day. Obviously, it hadn’t worked because Caitlin had taken it upon herself to buy me a little sapphire frock. The dress wasn’t completely hideous with its rhinestone encrusted bust and delicate straps, but I wanted to avoid a wedding at all costs. The couple should just elope and get it over with.

In case
the first excuse hadn’t worked, I’d given Caitlin my next excuse: I didn’t have a date. It was a good thing I’d done that too considering she’d actually bought me a dress. The fact that I didn’t have a date wasn’t a lie either. I was too busy to round up another lousy date on such short notice anyway. Surprisingly I hadn’t learned a lot about men in my many lifetimes
.
I hadn’t met one good candidate in all of Savannah, Georgia in years. Yes, Savannah wasn’t exactly a fashion Mecca, but the vampires in the area needed me. And darn it, I was going to be there for them.

Anyway, back to the point: my dating life was disastrous. I kept trying though. As a matter of fact, I had a date lined up for Friday night. Normally, I wouldn’t agree to a first date on a Friday night, but the guy worked a lot and it was his only available time. Fingers crossed that he didn’t turn out to be a freak like the rest of them.

“I know what you said about not having a date, so that’s why I found one for you.” Caitlin studied her perfectly manicured pink fingernails.

I knew what Caitlin was thinking. She figured if she acted casual that I wouldn’t freak out. Unfortunately for her, she was wrong.

“A blind date to a wedding? No way.” I waved my arms through the air. “That’s the worst thing possible. What if he’s a complete ass? I couldn’t get away from him. I mean, if it was just a coffee, or a lunch date, but an entire wedding? No way.”

She scowled. “Okay, I heard you the first time.
But he’s a great guy and I know if you meet him you’ll think he’s fantastic. He loves shopping.”

I busied myself picking up the clothing that Mona had left on the dressing room floor. “Do you remember that last date you set me up on? He talked about his hair all night long. What kind of shampoo he uses
, what kind of conditioner, how many times he combs it per day.”

Caitlin leaned against the dressing room door. “He’s really into hairstyles. He liked your hair
, by the way.”

“I’m sure he did. He wanted to chop it off and make a sweater out of it.”

She snorted.

Yeah, I was one hundred percent right. He’d been a freak. Where did she find these guys?

More than anything I just wanted a boring, simple life. Being a vampire was strange. The whole drinking blood thing, having fangs, and… well, it wasn’t so bad now that I thought about it. I’d learned to like the synthetic blood. As a matter of fact, it had a tangy flavor that I found rather tasty. When I started drinking the stuff I had pretended it was V8 Juice. Of course before they invented the synthetic stuff I’d had to drink the real thing. I hadn’t liked that much.

Interestingly,
unlike in the stories, we vampires were able to go out into the sun. Well, only the vampires in Savannah. And only the ones who had been here for a long time. No one knew why, but I wasn’t complaining. Every so often a vampire would come to the city and step out into the bright sunshine. Then said vampire’s ashes had to be cleaned up from the sidewalk. It never worked. That would stop other vampires from trying it for about twenty years, but then they’d forget and another one would try all over again. But anyway, more about that later. The silver and holy water stories were correct though. And stakes. Those things could really mess us up.

I
n all honesty, being a vampire was why I wanted everything else in my life to be drama-free. I worked, I had friends, I read, and I shopped. Just normal human things. No weird vampire stuff.

My job was to help newly turned vampires
adjust to their new life—well, I helped some of the ones who had been around for a while too, like Caitlin. I had a small storefront presence as Vamp Style in the middle of town, but I made a lot of house calls too. Mostly, I just handled the fashion part. When a vampire was turned, sometimes it could take up to two hundred years before they returned. Adjusting clothing styles for the current time period could be confusing for them. When I’d become a vampire it had only been two days before I’d returned, but I had been a rare case. That didn’t surprise me because my life was nothing but one big rare case.

I had been turned a long time ago, but as Mona said, a lady never revealed her true age.
I’d lived in Sleepy Hollow, Georgia all my life until I’d been turned at the age of twenty-seven. Vampires had raided my parents’ home and turned us in the wee hours of the morning, just before the sun had peeked out. I never knew why the vampires had invaded our home, but vampires weren’t always civilized and sometimes they just did stuff like that for the hell of it. Then after a few years living with my parents, who had been turned at the same time, I’d moved away to the big city.

At first, I’d had a rough time of the undead lifestyle, but the elder vampires had forgiven me for throwing my hissy fits. Could they blame me for being freaked out? After all these years, I still didn’t know who had turned me.

On that fateful morning I’d finally planned a trip away from the watchful eye of my parents and then all hell had broken loose in the house. Back then I had lived with my parents because it was expected of me; everyone had assumed that I’d be a spinster. Anyway, one minute I was trying to decide between which dress to wear and the next I was clawing my way out of a pine box. I’d been stuffed into a coffin until I was ready to return.

I should have been more appreciative of the vampires who had helped me at first, but I had been freaked out at the time.
My dear friend James Ireland had helped a lot. He had always been there for me, but I tried not to ask for his help often. I hated bothering him for every little vampire problem that popped up.

B
ack when I’d woken up, I’d made a mess of my parents’ neighbor Frida Henderson’s kitchen too. She should have known I’d wake up hungry. But that brought me back to the fact that they’d had no way of knowing that I would come back so soon. For all they’d known, it could have been two hundred years. I was glad it hadn’t taken that long because I would have missed out on a lot of good events like Elvis Presley and the invention of the grilled cheese. But enough about me for now.

Caitlin shoved the blue dress at me. “Try this on.”

“I told you I’m not going.” I pushed the dress back at her.

She placed her hands on her hips and glared at me.

“Fine, but you owe me one.” I grabbed the dress and inspected the tag. “This is a Zac Posen dress. Why did you spend so much money on me?”

She
waved her hand. “I got it at Off Saks for seventy-five percent off.”

The words
‘seventy-five percent off’ always made my insides dance. I stuffed the dress under my arm and closed the dressing room door in Caitlin’s face.

Caitlin worked at one of the
many ghost tours in town. She was a tour guide, but she said she’d never actually seen a ghost. I’d met Caitlin when she came into my shop with a poor vampire who’d been turned by her boyfriend. The jerk had turned her and then left. I’d given the woman a cup of O negative and a jelly doughnut. After that, Melissa, Caitlin, and I had been the best of friends, although since Melissa had moved away we’d grown apart. But Caitlin and I were as close as always.

I slipped into the dress. It fit snug through the waist and hips, then flared out below the knees. The tiny straps came down into a gathered neckline. After smoothing down the fabric, I ventured out of the dressing room.

“The dress looks great on you. The color looks great with your dark hair and brings out the blue in your eyes.” She reached out and brushed a lock off my hair off my shoulder.

I pulled at the hem. “Don’t you think it’s a little too stretchy?”

“It’s supposed to stretch.”

“Just because a piece of clothing has stretch to it doesn’t mean it should be stretched,” I said as I studied my reflection in the mirror.

She stared for a moment, then said, “Now here’s the guy’s number. Give him a call and let him know where to pick you up.” She shoved a piece of paper toward me.

I paused, then finally took his number. “
I don’t know anything about this guy. Is he a vampire?”

She shrugged and then
brushed off my question. “I didn’t ask.”

“That
’s kind of important, don’t you think?”

Caitlin adjusted her purse strap on her shoulder and avoided my gaze.

“You know nothing about this guy, do you?” I asked.

She looked up and frowned. “Of course I know about him. He works with Clark at the bank.”

Caitlin had been dating Clark for the past two years. He loved his sofa and remote control. I never knew what she saw in him, but I wasn’t dating him, so it was none of my business. I did want her to be happy though.

“Just call him, okay?” She gestured toward the paper.

“I’ll get right on it.” I waved the paper through the air.

She smirked and then bounced out the door.

After changing back into my jeans, I sat at my desk and stared at the number. Did I really want to call this guy? It looked as if I had no other options. Caitlin wasn’t about to let me get by without contacting Clark’s friend. I wondered if he wore a goofy hat like Clark’s too.

I tapped my fingers against the desk and stared at the phone. To call or not to call. Finally, I released a deep breath and picked up the phone. I punched in the numbers and then slammed the phone down when it rang once. I stared at it again, waiting for it to ring. If he saw my number then he m
ight call back. What could be the worst that could happen? I’d hate the guy and have to suffer through a whole night of looking at his hideous outfit? Based on past experiences, how much worse could this date be?

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