The PSS Chronicles consist of 2 books so far Ghost Hand (PSS Chronicles #1) and Ghost Hold (PSS Chronicles #2). To celebrate the one year anniversary of Ghost Hand, Ghost Hand will be free and Ghost Hold will be for sale for $0.99.
Ghost Hand (PSS Chronicles #1)
By Ripley Patton
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Age category: Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Olivia Black has a rare birth defect known as Psyche Sans Soma, or PSS. Instead of a right hand made of flesh and blood, she was born with a hand made of ethereal energy.
How does Olivia handle being the girl with the ghost hand? Well, she's a little bit morbid and a whole lot snarky.
Her mother thinks her obsession with death, black clothing, and the local cemetery is a bid for attention. But when Marcus, the new guy in Olivia's calculus class, stares at her like she's a freak, Olivia doesn't like it. And when her hand goes rogue, doing things she never imagined possible, Olivia finds herself running for her life with Marcus from a group of men bent on taking the power of her hand for their own nefarious purposes.
Five minutes into my Calc test, I glanced up and caught the new guy staring.
I looked down, following his gaze, and saw that my fingers were shimmering around the
I yanked my hand into my lap and my pencil flew out of it, clattering to the floor.
It landed in the aisle and rolled toward New Guy’s desk. He put out a foot, trapping it, and kicked it back my direction, his glance following its progress as it came back to me, bumping up against the thick sole of my boot. His eyes rose up my multi-buckled calf to my thigh, then to my lap, stopping at the spot where I was doing my best to hide my hand under my desk.
But we could both see the pool of blue PSS energy, shapeless and pulsing, writhing at the end of my wrist stump.
I looked up again, locking eyes with him.
His expression was unreadable. He didn’t look surprised, or afraid, or alarmed. He just looked, his eyes fixed on my wacked-out hand, as if curious to see what it would do next.
I gritted my teeth and tried to focus my PSS back into shape. I was not going to be this guy’s personal freak show. I could fix this. It was just mind over matter.
But it didn’t work. If anything, the more I tried, the worse it got, expanding and losing even more definition. The burning sensation grew so intense I squeezed my eyes shut against it.
All around me, I could hear the scrape and shuffle of students getting up and handing in their tests. I bent over my desk, trying to block my hand from view. For a moment, I thought about getting up and running out of class, but someone would see my hand for sure if I did that.
Maybe if I took a deep breath, and calmed down, it would go back to normal on its own.
As if in response to that thought, the pain suddenly eased off.
I opened my eyes.
New Guy was leaning over the edge of his desk, and there seemed to be something wrong with his neck. He kept jerking his head toward Passion Wainwright, the girl who sat in front of me. What did he want? An introduction? If so, his timing was utter crap.
“Leave me alone,” I mouthed past clenched lips.
He shook his head and gave an exaggerated nod toward Passion again, rolling his eyes in her direction.
This time, I turned and looked.
Something was crawling up Passion’s back.
Not just one something. Five somethings. Five elongated, wisp-thin tendrils, winding their way up Passion’s chair, climbing her back, fluttering at the strands of hair that had escaped from her ponytail, making a moving, barely-perceptible pattern of bluish light on the back of her white turtleneck so faint I could almost convince myself it was an optical illusion.
Except it wasn’t.
It was my hand, my five fingers stretching impossibly and rising from under the front of my desk, groping the back of Passion Wainwright.
I yanked my wrist in toward my body, but it made no difference. I couldn’t feel my hand, couldn’t control those fingers or call them back.
Passion shivered, as if she felt a draft, and absently brushed an undulating tendril away from her neck.
The thickest finger, the one in the middle, rose up along her spine, stopping at a spot right between her shoulder blades. It held level for a moment, weaving back and forth like some ghostly snake dancing to the tune of an invisible flute. Then it dipped forward, slipping silently through the thin cotton fabric of Passion’s shirt and straight into her back.
She didn’t make a sound as she went limp, her torso gently slanting toward her desk; the tendril of PSS embedded in her back the only thing holding her up.
I didn’t make a sound either, didn’t move, didn’t dare. What if moving made it worse? Oh my God, a voice yammered in my head, you think this could get worse?
I could feel New Guy’s eyes boring into the side of my head. Obviously, he could see my
PSS skewering Passion. Why didn’t he jump up and scream and point? How could he just be
sitting there so calmly?
I had to get away. From Passion. From everyone. But if I bolted, would my PSS come with
me or stretch between my wrist and Passion like some horrible, incriminating rubber band?
What would that do to my hand? What would it do to Passion?
I had no idea.
And before I could figure it out, the bell rang.
Ghost Hold (PSS Chronicles #1)
By Ripley Patton
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Age category: Young Adult
Olivia Black is back.
Only this time she's not the one in need of rescue.
Samantha James, rich, popular, and an award-winning composer at age seventeen, is the next target on the CAMFers' list. In order to convince Samantha to come with them, Olivia and Passion must pose as cousins, blend into the most affluent high school in Indianapolis, and infiltrate a mysterious cult known as The Hold.
Olivia doesn't expect it to be easy, even with the PSS guys backing them up. But what she discovers over the course of the mission will call into question everything she ever believed about herself, her family, and especially about Marcus, the guy she is undoubtedly falling in love with.
Marcus crossed back to the faucet of the now-full tub and turned it off. He bent over and turned on the jets, which kicked up a lot more steam and a lot more noise. I was starting to melt inside my own clothes, and he must have been too, because when he turned back to me he was slipping his t-shirt over his head.
"What are you doing?" I asked, my voice coming out a little strangled.
"You and I need to talk," he said, letting the shirt drop to the floor.
"Yes," I said, trying not to gawk at his chest and the way the steam swirled into it, his PSS shining back and coloring the mist a soft blue hue. "But can't we do that with our clothes on?"
"We need to talk where I'm sure no one can hear us," he said, his hands going to the snap of his jeans. The zipper was next. He had on red tartan boxers. He slid the jeans down his legs, turned, slipped off the boxers, and stepped into the tub, sinking down into it with an audible moan.
I stood there stunned. I had just seen Marcus naked. He'd just stripped to his beautiful bare ass right in front of me as if it were nothing. Yes, we'd been sleeping in a tent together for weeks, and making out, but when one of us changed clothes, the other still looked away. Marcus and I had not gotten naked together. We hadn't even come close, because I always held back. I couldn’t even bring myself to reach my hands inside his shirt. What if my flesh hand accidentally went into his chest and disrupted his PSS? Even worse, what if my ghost hand reached into him and pulled something horrible out? I was pretty sure either of those scenarios would be a serious buzz kill to our intimacy.
"Do you have any idea how long it's been since I've had a bath?" he said, almost a purr, laying his head back on the edge of the tub and closing his eyes.
"I—no—I haven't had one for like a month," I stammered, looking down at the tile floor, completely flustered.
"Olivia," he said softly, and I looked up to find his eyes boring into me, dewy drops captured on those thick dark lashes. "Come here."
I crossed obediently to the side of the bath, both relieved and a bit disappointed to find that the burbling of the jets obscured most of what was in it. Except his PSS chest. It glowed and pulsed like some half-submerged, cerulean, underwater treasure.
Marcus put his hand out for mine. The invitation was obvious.
This was crazy. There was no way we were going to be able to talk, coherently, in a bathtub together.
"It's a big tub," he said, nodding at the other end, "and I promise to be good."
Yeah, but it wasn't just him I was worried about. If I got in the tub with Marcus, I would be in the tub with Marcus. "But I—" I looked down at myself. I had on my sleeping tank with no bra underneath, my sweatpants, and underwear.
"You have no idea how relaxing this is," he said, slipping his hand back into the water and closing his eyes. Either he was taunting me, or giving me a chance to undress without him watching. Probably both.
"You bastard," I muttered under my breath. I slipped off my shoes and sweatpants and padding barefoot to the far end of the tub. I was not going in completely naked. I wasn’t that much of a fool. I kept my tank and underwear on and stepped into the hot swirling water. As I slid down into it, jets pounding my butt and back, the wet heat rising up and swallowing all my aches and pains in its pure liquid magic, I couldn't keep the moan from escaping my lips either.
And I didn't miss the effect that sound had on my bath mate.
One of his lean, muscular legs brushed mine, trembling. And his eyes widened. And his breath came a little faster across the water, far less relaxed then it had been only a moment before.
Ripley Patton lives in Portland, Oregon with one cat, two teenagers, and a man who wants to live on a boat. She is an award-winning short story writer and author of The PSS Chronicles, a young adult paranormal thriller series.
Ripley doesn't smoke, or drink, or cuss as much as her characters. Her only real vices are writing, eating M&Ms, and watching reality television.
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