Skye Sebring is a hospitality greeter inside the pearly gates of an unorthodox Heaven, where carefree and lusty angels get tipsy in the Live A Little Lounge, practice cloud art, and are guided by a brassy female deity who sounds and looks like Bette Midler. During the course of her duties, Skye meets lawyer Ryan Blaine, who has a brush with death due to a motorcycle accident.
It’s not Ryan’s time to die yet, so he returns back to Earth, but Skye can’t get him out of her mind. Why does Ryan seem so familiar to her and why does she feel an unexplainable attraction to him? She begins spying on Ryan’s life from her perch in heaven and even manages to follow him down to Earth. There she finds a world very different than Heaven, where drinking too much champagne results in hangovers, roses can prick fingers, and hearts are capable of being broken. All seems lost until she remembers that most of life's lessons can be learned from the lyrics of five Beatles songs and one of the Fab Four’s songs might actually help win her the love of a lifetime.
Divinely Yours is a celestial romantic comedy about a love that crosses all dimensions.
“Gillespie leads readers on a merry chase in this deceptively thought-provoking and addictive tale that will be a hit with romance fans. The lit fic crowd? One never can tell.” – Library Journal (on Love Literary Style)
“There is really no way to explain the joy of reading this book...The end product is a beautiful story of a love between two people who absolutely shouldn’t fit, and you will find yourself remembering it often with a smile in your heart.” – Jackie K. Copper, Huffington Post Book Reviews (on Love Literary Style)
“Mistaken identities lead a literary snob and a romance writer to fall into bed and in love. Readers...will enjoy Gillespie’s humor, some heartfelt moments, and a journey into the convoluted world of 21st-century publishing.” – Kirkus Reviews (on Love Literary Style)
Related subjects include: chick lit, women’s fiction, humor, humorous fiction, Southern humor, friendship, paranormal, second chances, romantic comedy, rom com.
Books by Karin Gillespie:
GIRL MEETS CLASS
LOVE LITERARY STYLE
The Bottom Dollar Girls Series:
BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR (#1)
A DOLLAR SHORT (#2)
DOLLAR DAZE (#3)
Part of the Henery Press Chick Lit Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.53(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The red light on Skye Sebring's computer blinked rapidly, announcing the arrival of her first client of the day. Within seconds a girl with darting eyes entered the cubicle. She wore a spiked leather wrist cuff and a t-shirt with the logo "Hustle or Die."
Skye barely made note of the vivid splash of red dripping down the front of the girl's shirt. In her line of work she saw more blood-soaked and broken bodies than an ER physician. Her main concern was the young age of her client. She didn't have a lot of experience processing teenagers, and this one looked like a handful.
"Welcome, Chelsea," Skye said. "My name's Skye Sebring. I hope you had a pleasant journey."
The teen swept a suspicious gaze around the cubicle, taking in the utilitarian wooden desk, the metal wastepaper basket, and the bare walls. Skye had just been reassigned to a new cubicle and hadn't done anything to fix it up yet. Usually she had a couple of cheerful posters hanging — photos of blue-eyed kittens or smiling dolphins seemed to have a calming effect — and she generally kept a dish of Hershey's Kisses on her desk.
"Where the hell am I?" the girl said.
"Not Hell, thank goodness. You've arrived in the Hospitality Sector of Heaven. Sorry it doesn't look very celestial around here."
Chelsea slouched against Skye's desk, her hands jammed into the pockets of a pair of scruffy blue jeans. "If this is heaven," she said in a low measured voice, "where's Morrison?"
"Morrison?" Skye shuffled through the papers on her desk. "Is Morrison a relative of yours, Chelsea?"
She jerked a corner of her mouth downward. "What about Hendrix or Cobain?"
Skye studied the girl's information sheet. "Sorry, Chelsea. I don't see any of those people in your record. There is, however, your great-aunt Ethel, who's very anxious to see you."
"Aunt Ethel?" Chelsea's hair had a severe part in the middle, and was so fine and pale it looked like sheets of cellophane. "The one who sent me a Little Mermaid sleeping bag for my last birthday? That Aunt Ethel?"
"The very one." Skye chuckled. "Unless you have more than one Aunt Ethel."
"What's so funny?" Chelsea said. "I'm taking a dirt nap, and you're laughing?"
"I apologize. I didn't mean to make light of your current situation. About your aunt Ethel —"
"I don't want to see her." Chelsea punctuated her statement with a stomp of her clunky tennis shoe.
"It's just that you died so young, there really isn't anyone else —"
"And whose fault was that?"
Actually, it was Chelsea's fault. According to her death report, the thirteen-year-old had been practicing skateboarding stunts in a church parking lot and had sailed over a brick wall, falling onto the blacktop below. Chelsea would almost certainly have avoided her fatal acute subdural hematoma had she been wearing the hundred-dollar helmet her mother bought for her. Instead, she'd filled the helmet with ice and used it to cool a half-liter bottle of Mountain Dew.
"Chelsea, I know you're upset —"
"No kidding. I'm worm food."
"Being dead isn't the end of the world, Chelsea. In fact, it's a wonderful new beginning. Heaven is very ..." Skye cast around in her mind for some current teenage slang. "... epic?"
Chelsea shoved a balled fist in the crook of her waist. "So what's there to do here? Play harps?"
"That's a common fallacy, Chelsea. Let's go over this pamphlet, 'What to Expect When You're Expired.'"
Skye held out the pamphlet, but the girl ignored it. "Can't you just give me a straight answer? What are you hiding from me?"
"I'm not hiding anything."
The newly dead were a notoriously suspicious bunch, always half expecting Satan to leap from behind the desk like a rubber snake out of a can.
"You can do whatever you want in Heaven. It's surprisingly unstructured." Skye picked up the remote for the television. "I have a DVD that will answer —"
Chelsea startled Skye by snatching the remote from her hand and lobbing it across the cubicle. "I don't want to watch some stupid DVD." Her kohl-lined eyes glittered like chips of mica, daring Skye to challenge her.
Page seven, paragraph four of the Hospitality Handbook had several specific suggestions for dealing with belligerent clients:
1. Speak in soothing, even tones.
2. Validate your clients' feelings with active-listening techniques.
3. If a client cannot be calmed by other means, administer a dose of Tranquility In a Can. (Should be kept in right-hand desk drawer at all times.)
When faced with client insubordination, Skye generally skipped the first two directives and went right for the TIC. Why put up with unpleasantness when tranquility was so close at hand?
Skye eased open her desk drawer, but the canister was missing. She'd forgotten to stock the drawer when she'd switched cubicles. Now she was forced to reason with the girl.
"That wasn't very nice, Chelsea, but I understand this is a big change for you and —"
"Get me out of here now!"
"Chelsea, please, if you'll just —"
The girl's pale skin flushed crimson; spittle dotted her bottom lip.
"Shut up. I hate you!"
"I realize you're dead," Skye said calmly. "But I didn't kill you. Would you stop being such a pain in the ass and let's get on with this, please?"
The girl's eyes grew so wide Skye could see the gold flecks in her irises.
"You said ass," she whispered.
All traces of toughness drained from her body, leaving behind a wide-eyed child with a quivering lower lip and a nose on the verge of running.
"If the shoe fits."
"You're allowed to call me a name?"
Skye glanced at the ceiling. "I don't see any lightning bolts."
Chelsea tugged at her pimpled chin. "And people in heaven swear?"
"Damn straight we do."
"Thank God." She bit her knuckle and glanced around the cubicle. "Oops. Do you think He's eavesdropping?"
"He happens to be a She. And of course She's eavesdropping. They don't call Her omniscient for nothing." Skye opened Chelsea's file and made a brief notation. "Hopefully She won't hold this ugly little incident against you."
Chelsea dropped into a swivel chair in front of Skye's desk and twisted back and forth in it as if it were a piece of playground equipment. "I'd never fit into a place where everyone's a goody-two-shoes. You'd have to send me to you-know-where." She winced as she pointed at the floor.
"Nobody's perfect in Heaven. Well, maybe a few high-ranking angels in Headquarters, but they're not very much fun at cocktail parties." Skye laughed at her own joke. The teenager blinked blankly, the quip zooming over her shiny blonde head.
"You'll also be glad to know there isn't a 'you-know-where,'" Skye continued. "Just Heaven."
"No Hell?" Chelsea looked astonished. "Where do all the bad people go?"
Skye dreaded such questions. The Hospitality Sector functioned primarily as a welcome wagon. There wasn't time for lengthy discourses on complex theological issues.
"There's an FAQ in your orientation packet, which will answer your question better than I can," Skye said. "For now, let's just say that 'bad' people have a very hard time getting into trouble once they're in Heaven. Nobody to kill. Nothing to steal."
"I thought Heaven would be like church," Chelsea said. "I figured I'd have to hang out in a pew all day, singing hymns and saying prayers." She caught her fingers in her long hair. "Do girls get their periods here?"
"Absolutely not," Skye said. "You'll never have to worry about that bloody nuisance again."
"Oh. Did you want your period?"
The teen toed the carpet with the tip of her tennis shoe.
"I've been waiting for it since I was eleven, and I'm the only one of my friends who hasn't gotten it yet. I'd even picked out the tampons I wanted to use, Tampax Satin Teen in the pink and blue box."
"I'm sorry about that. I never imagined someone would actually want —"
"What about cute boys?"
Skye frowned. Teenage boys were surprisingly durable and didn't make frequent appearances in the Hospitality Sector.
"I may be able to scare up a couple of guys for you, but right now, let's stream your orientation video, shall we?"
She dimmed the lights and hit play. All orientation videos were customized for the client. The cubicle filled with a voice saying, "Chelsea, welcome. I know this is a scary time for you, my dear, but you're going to adore Heaven. It's a lovely place for little girls. In Heaven, all of your wishes can come true."
It was Chelsea's Aunt Ethel. She held up a device that looked like a BlackBerry and jabbed at the keys. In a flash, an oversized teddy bear appeared in her arms. "Isn't that a darling trick?"
Chelsea almost tumbled backward in surprise. "How did she do that?"
"She used a WishBerry." Skye handed Chelsea a similar device. "In Heaven, you can wish for anything you want, and, abracadabra, it appears."
"Go ahead, Chelsea. Give it a whirl," Aunt Ethel said from the screen. "Baby dolls, jacks, party dresses. Anything your heart desires."
Baby dolls? Skye raised an eyebrow. Aunt Ethel was going to have quite the shock when she reunited with her niece.
"Can I try?" Chelsea asked.
"Sure," Skye said. "Type in whatever you want in the box."
"I know exactly what I want. My dream skateboard. A Flip New Wave HKD Red deck with Grind King trucks and Pig wheels." Chelsea's fingers flew over the keyboard of the handheld computer, and in seconds, the skateboard appeared in all its glory.
"Snap!" Chelsea said, running a finger along the edge of the shiny deck. "Wait until I show it to my skating buddy Horsemouth. He'll have kittens."
It took a second for the reality of her situation to come crashing down upon her. Chelsea's eyes glazed over and a panicked look crossed her face. Skye knew the "look" only too well. It was when the newly dead realized they were not only dead; they were positively, absolutely, undeniably, and reliably dead.
"Horsemouth won't see it, because I'm ... I'm ..."
Skye appeared at her elbow with tissue in hand. "It's okay to say it aloud, Chelsea. Being dead is not as awful as you think."
Chelsea wrenched away from her. "Yes, it is. And I don't want to be —" She stopped for a moment and her lips twitched into a sly smile. Immediately she gritted her teeth and scrunched her eyelids closed. When she opened them, disappointment darkened her face. She banged the WishBerry with the palm of her hand as if it were defective.
"It didn't work," Chelsea said.
"Of course it didn't. Heaven is your home now. You can't go back to Earth."
"How did you know what I wished for?"
"I've been doing this job for a while now."
"What about my mom?" Chelsea said. "And my little brother, Andy. I can't see them either? They're lost to me forever?"
"Not forever. You can see them very soon on a special television channel we have in Heaven called Earthly Pleasures."
"Let's watch it now." Chelsea lunged for the remote on Skye's desk. "I want to see if they're okay."
"Not yet, Chelsea." Skye gently pried the remote from her fingers. "Newcomers are barred from watching Earthly Pleasures until they've been here for at least one week."
"We want to discourage unhealthy attachments to those left behind. You have to understand, Chelsea. You and your family are now on two separate planes of existence."
"In other words, I'm plant fertilizer and they're not," Chelsea said with a glum nod.
"I wouldn't put it exactly like that, but yes."
Chelsea's expression brightened. "Could I back home and do a little recreational haunting? Maybe put a little scare into my younger brother? Make his Matchbox cars float in midair?"
Oh, the newly dead and their preoccupation with ghosts. Truth was, there were no such things. What the living mistook for specters were just residual energy fields. The dead could only return to Earth under very special circumstances.
"I'm sorry. That won't be possible. Shall we finish watching the DVD?"
"Do we have to?" Chelsea said with a frown. "I'm kind of jetlagged from the trip."
"I suppose you can watch it later in your room. I'll take you there."
"Where exactly are we going?"
"Newcomer quarters, where you'll be able to relax. Counselors are on hand at all hours to assist you should you feel sad or start to miss loved ones."
Chelsea fiddled with a large shark's tooth hanging from her neck. "When am I going to be interrogated?"
"Never. Contrary to what you may have been taught in vacation Bible school, Heaven isn't a place of judgment."
"Are you sure?" Chelsea said. "Because there might have been a time or two on Earth when I accidentally broke one of the Commandments. None of the really important ones, but —"
"But if Heaven isn't about judgment, what is it about?"
"Contentment," Skye said with a smile. "Heaven is like that old Corona beer commercial — the one where the people on the beach toss their cell phones into the ocean without a care in the world."
"Are you trying to tell me there aren't any cell phones in Heaven?"
Skye suppressed a laugh. "Of course there are cell phones. There's just never any bad news or telemarketers on the other line."
Skye led Chelsea out of her cubicle, and the two of them stepped into a hall that contained a glass elevator. When they boarded, Joy, another Hospitality worker, was already inside, comforting a young woman garbed in a satin wedding dress with a long white train. Skye nodded a greeting as the bride sobbed into a bouquet of daffodils.
"Three hundred guests and not one of them knew the Heimlich," the bride said. "I told Arnold we should have ordered salmon for the wedding dinner."
"Chicken bone," Joy mouthed.
"Skateboard mishap," Skye mouthed back.
The elevator pinged when they reached the ground floor, and Skye and Chelsea exited and hopped onto a moving sidewalk.
"You are now entering the Newcomer Sector," said a soothing disembodied voice. "Average newcomer stay is from five to seven days, Earth time. Concierge is located on the ground floor and manned twenty-four hours a day. Join us for a mixer in the Divine Ballroom at seven p.m. with piano stylings provided by Ray Charles."
The sidewalk teemed with clients and their greeters. Some of the newly dead still looked pale and drawn from whatever ailment had claimed them. A group of high-school students in torn and bloodied formal wear rode the sidewalks in stunned silence.
Skye had forgotten it was prom season. Chelsea might meet some cute guys after all.
Chelsea scrutinized the knots of bedraggled people traveling with her on the sidewalks. She glanced at Skye with a questioning look. "Are all of these people ... Are they all ..." She made a cutting motion across her throat and emitted a gagging sound.
"Yes, Chelsea. They're all dead. And while they might look shell-shocked right now, they'll perk up soon enough. As your aunt Ethel said, Heaven is a fantastic place to be. It's a lot like Earth, but with all the kinks ironed out."
The sidewalk ended, and they entered a vast atrium that looked very much like the lobby of a luxury hotel. A black-suited bellhop, dressed in a white bow tie and gloves, greeted them and bowed at the waist.
"Welcome, Chelsea. You're in guest-room suite 302. I hope you enjoy your stay."
The elevator doors parted, and Skye and Chelsea boarded. There were more efficient ways to travel in Heaven, teleportation for instance, but many familiar elements of Earth were incorporated into the sector to make the newly dead feel at home.
They traveled to the third floor and strode down a lilac-scented hallway lined with several ornate gold mirrors and heavy wainscoting. When they arrived at room 302, Chelsea said, "We forgot to get the key."
"No keys necessary in Heaven," Skye said. Skye switched on the light in the bathroom. "This is a very special bathtub. It allows you to soak in anything from Perrier to rose petals to buttermilk. The controls are on the faucet."
Chelsea stood behind her, glancing around as if looking for something. "Excuse me, but wheres the ... you know?"
"A toilet is just one more thing you won't need in Heaven."
Skye stepped into the bedroom and drew the blinds to reveal the ocean lapping against an expanse of white sand.
"This is your view remote," she said, picking up the oblong device. "You can change your view with a click of a button. Mountain vista, Paris skyline, Bavarian village, or you can program in your own preferences."
She pointed to the four-poster king-sized bed covered with a down comforter, heaps of frilly pillows, and an assortment of stuffed animals.
"There's a turn-down service every night. You can also use your WishBerry computer to redecorate this room any way you like, or you can put the room into mood mode, and your outer world will reflect your inner world. Why don't you try it?"(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Divinely Yours"
Copyright © 2017 Karin Gillespie.
Excerpted by permission of Henery Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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