Dead Heat

A battered teen. A devoted mentor. A bond that transcends the grave.

Alex is a machine whisperer. He can diagnose a broken-down car with a touch. But he’s trapped in a dead-end life, exploited by a father who’d sooner slap him upside the head than say good morning.

For two years Cole mentored Alex, providing a glimpse of kindness and hope. All that vanished with Cole’s death. It’s a broken comfort when he reappears in spirit form, but Alex is willing to take what he can get—until he learns Cole’s efforts to protect him may have doomed his soul.

Caught in a deadly spin, Alex can’t get traction until an ailing ’59 Studebaker steers Jade into his life. With a love of the paranormal and the disarming ability to see the good in Alex, she assures him Cole can reach the Other Side—if Alex escapes his father. But a previous terrifying attempt has convinced him it’s impossible. Can he drum up the courage to try, or will Cole be earthbound forever?

If you like gritty, compelling stories with true-to-life characters who make you cry and cheer, you’ll love Lisa Nowak’s Dead Heat. Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, and Chris Crutcher.

Download a copy today for a pulse-pounding story that’ll haunt you long after you turn the last page.

Dead Heat blew me away. It’s a gritty ghost story interwoven with all-too-real subject matter that will make you cry for Alex, ache for Cole, and thank God for Jade. I was invested in these characters’ lives and you will be too.”

~ Stacey Wallace Benefiel, author of the Zellie Wells trilogy

Free Excerpt: (CAUTION! Dead Heat is darker than my other books and not recommended for kids under 15)

Chapter 1

Now . . .

He’s dead when they pull him out of the car. I know it sure as I know my old man would sooner slap me upside the head than say good morning. Oh, they throw him in the meat wagon and all. Try to make it look good for the people in the stands. But it’s too late. I know it. Everyone standing around knows it. By the end of the race an hour later, the fans know it too. The announcer’s the only one pretending he doesn’t, saying they ain’t had word back from the hospital yet.

I feel like I been dipped in Freon. So cold and rigid I could crumble in a million pieces. What am I supposed to do? I help the tow truck guys load his car on the trailer, cram all the tools and stuff in the back of his pickup, and drive to the hospital, where no one will tell me shit.

So I take the truck back to his place. Torey’s Prius is in the driveway. She don’t like me, but I gotta know what happened. I rap at the door.

“Alex.” The word is flat. She ain’t wearing her normal look that tells me to get the hell out of Cole’s life. She ain’t wearing any look at all. Her eyes are as dead as her voice.

“He didn’t make it,” she says. “He had a traumatic aortic rupture.”

Even though I’m expecting it, the words slam me hard. Whatever the hell they mean. How am I supposed to understand her stupid nurse talk?

I stand only half breathing. For once, she takes pity. “The big artery that carries blood away from his heart tore loose. He died within minutes. It happens sometimes with that sort of impact.”

I don’t know what to say. The Freon-numb that got me this far is fading. “I brought his stuff back.” I jam the keys into her hand and take off. It’s a long walk to the speedway where I left my bike, but I don’t bother with the bus. I need to move, need to feel my body working. The rain’s starting by the time I get there.

I don’t go to the parking lot, where my motorcycle’s sitting all by its lonesome. I walk around the grandstands, out onto the track.

I go to turn four, to the end of the wall, where Cole’s car hit.

Even with nothing but streetlights, I see the streak of red paint. Concrete crumbles under my fingers. The pain comes fast and hard, tearing at me from inside. It rips me open, claws its way out. I stumble away and fall to my knees. I can’t remember the last time I cried, so it takes a minute to figure out that’s what’s happening. Animal noises spill out. My throat’s like flame. I curl in a ball, the wet asphalt rough on my cheek.

Nothing my old man did—not the cigarettes he put out on me, not the times he bashed my head against a wall, not the night he pimped my 8-year-old ass out for a fix—none of it ever hurt like this.

The rain drills into me.

It’s over.

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