How to Experience Death for Beginners by Jessica Branton – Excerpt

How to Experience Death for Beginners


A clairvoyant introvert can enter the minds of people at their moment of death. When a serial killer emerges in her small town, she receives audacious advances from an enigmatic newcomer. While dodging detectives and falling in love, she joins forces with the FBI to take down the killer.






How to Experience Death for Beginners goes on sale 12/14/19. No plans for Valentine’s Day? Maybe this new young adult fantasy (I LOVE the title!) will fit the bill. Read on for a sneak peek into the book…

How To Experience Death For Beginners

By: Jessica Branton




I opened my front door and the musty smell invaded my nostrils. Mom was passed out on the couch. A single note sat on the table beside her.


Dinner on the stove. Wake me up at 7 please. Have to work.


Well, at least she is going to work. I glowered. Christina walked over to our mom and touched her shoulder. She didn’t move. “I doubt she’s dead, Christina, so why don’t we eat?”

The food on the stove consisted of poorly spiced hamburgers and plain potato chips. Wishing I could bury my head in a pillow and disappear into a blithe dreamland, I fixed us a plate. I could hardly stomach her bubbly silence. When Momma got a job, a job I helped her get, Christina seemed more vivacious. It bothered me that she rarely talked but would stretch her emotions to the max. I waited for the day she would crack.

“So, Christina?” I eased into what I knew would probably be a one-person conversation. “I never said thank you for the compliment this morning. So . . . thank you.” A big smile stretched over her face. I shifted in my seat. “Did something bad happen today? I thought you were going to have a good day today.” She bit her lips and focused intently on her hamburger. Methodically ripping at the bun, she rolled the tiny bits of dough into balls between her fingers. “I don’t mean to pry but . . .” I didn’t know how to finish that sentence. I stared down at my own burger. The silence was overflowing. My stomach momentarily protested. Closing my eyes briefly, I opened them once more and ate most of my chips and burger in a rush.

“I’m going to bed.” Her face contorted with worry. “Don’t look at me like that. I’m just tired.” I cleared my plate and put it in the dishwasher. When I turned back around, I saw that she was only halfway done with her food. The plate was covered in circles of bread. “Don’t forget to wake Momma.” She gave me a quick nod but didn’t say anything. I walked quickly to my room.

I fell onto my maroon bedding in a clump. Christina had to know how much she infuriated and worried me. Just how much I could take, I didn’t know. The soft gold and maroon pillow blacked out the world and allowed me a silent wall against the wail I let out. With that off my chest, I flipped onto my backside and stared at the ceiling. A single crack crept from the far corner of the room to right over my bed. One day the ceiling was destined to creak slowly and fall right in.

My mind traveled to the Golden Boy. I didn’t know if I wanted another friend, but he seemed persistent. But maybe we could be friends since he seemed nice enough. Maybe even my boyfriend? I laughed out loud at the thought of me having a boyfriend. Yeah, I was sure that a girl who could experience people dying was a real turn-on for a California boy. Besides, I barely knew the guy. Sleep called for me and made me sink. But it wasn’t sleep that dragged me from my room. It was someone.

My mind took me outside. It was crisp and cool. Shock and worry clouded my thoughts. A girl was in front of me. She had dark brown hair and darker brown eyes. She walked calmly to her car. Darkness covered the world as the day turned to night. The pale girl didn’t mind the darkness. Actually, she enjoyed the darkness. Yet so did the man who crept behind her. He was dressed head to toe in black.

There was no empathy in what he was about to do. After leaping forward and grabbing her from behind, he raised the knife and pressed it deep across her throat. She was down on her knees in stark terror, convulsing in front of the man who had just slashed her. In her mind, I saw that her last regret had been that she hadn’t told her parents she loved them. The man in the ski mask seemed to stare right down at me, because I had become that poor girl in that moment.

I screamed as I was pulled back into my bedroom. My breath raced out of me with the thought of the man’s haunting blue eyes, which would follow me for months. I had just witnessed a murder for the first time in my life.

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