Ayanna died and went to Heaven – or so she’s been told. She was working on advanced nanotechnology at her university job when a blast outside of her office building transports her to a utopian world, where her new job is to integrate advanced nanotech into the new world. There’s just one problem: Heaven shouldn’t need nanotech, and the more she finds, the more she sees that this Heaven may be a lie. When another new arrival discovers that the settlement isn’t stable, Ayanna and her team discover that things aren’t what they seem, and she wonders what on Earth brought them here.
Is this really life after death? Or is it something else?
I'm excited to announce that my next novel, Trigger, A The Earthside Trilogy Novel, will publish in November! The cover arrived today, and like the others, it's awesome. Here's hoping the novel is as well!
Today, I'd like to offer you a sneak peek at the Prologue and Chapter 1. Enjoy!
Dr. Ayanna Gracern rubbed her eyes as she closed out the death certificate in the medical database. It was ridiculous. They were on the verge of the twenty second century, with advanced nanotechnology to heal the human body, and people still succumbed to death too soon.
It shouldn’t be this way.
But it was. Despite their technology, people died.
Ayanna sighed as she peered into the empty office across the hallway. That was the worst loss. He would have found a way. He was on the verge of solving the riddle to degenerative diseases and accidents, but that wasn’t to be. A lab fire took him during an experimental trial six months ago.
Has it already been six months?
She had been promoted to continue the task and still, she failed.
“Dr. Gracern,” a voice shocked her out of her revere. She looked up to see her new lab assistant standing in the doorway.
“It’s seven thirty. Why are you still here?”
“I’m completing the autopsy report and death certificate in the National Medical Database.”
“You hired me to do that, remember?”
“Of course,” Ayanna rubbed her eyes again. “It’s been a long day. Is it really seven thirty?”
The woman nodded, her blonde ponytail bobbing. “You haven’t eaten dinner yet, have you?”
“Go home. I’ll finish the reports in the morning.”
Ayanna tapped her computer into shutdown mode. “You’re right. This isn’t going anywhere.”
“I’ll see you later.” The woman disappeared down the hallway.
Ayanna pulled her purse from the bottom drawer of her desk and walked downstairs. She couldn’t remember her assistant’s name. Was she that tired, or had grief muddled her memory that badly?
Did I hire her?
She didn’t recall hiring an assistant, but it had chaotic in the lab since Dr. Tyner died. She had been pulled into so many meetings and consultations with the University to keep these nanotech experiments running that they melted together into long days and twisted details.
Ayanna entered the code to lock the building, set the alarm, and stepped into the humid evening. Great, it was raining, and she forgot her umbrella. Heck, she forgot to check the forecast. One more detail melting into oblivion.
A click behind her caused her to pause.
The door doesn’t click when it locks.
She peered over her shoulder and was shocked to see a figure standing in the shadow of the entryway to the building.
“I’m sorry, Ayanna,” a soft voice said.
The misty erupted into white fire.
“She’s waking up.”
Soft light pressed against Ayanna’s eyelids. She slowly opened her eyes, taking in golden sunshine filtering through tall trees. The fragrance of earth and woods filled her nose.
“Easy there,” two faces appeared over her. One was a man with dark hair and blue eyes; the other was a woman with blonde hair and green eyes.
Ayanna pushed herself up, surprised to find she was lying in leaves. “Where am I?”
“You’re home, Ayanna,” the man helped her sit up. “Don’t be alarmed. We’ve found that allowing people to wake up surrounded by nature helps them adapt to their environment better than waking in a laboratory.”
“Why would I be in a laboratory? The last thing I remember –“ Ayanna paused. “It was a misty winter night.” She looked around. “This is strange. Is it spring? Was there an accident? Have I been in a coma?”
The woman looked at her sympathetically. “I was confused when I woke up here, too. It’s shocking, but you’ll get used to it.”
“What’s going on? Where am I?”
“You like the woods, right?” the man said. “You often went on hiking trails in your spare time.”
“How do you know that?”
“You don’t remember me?”
Ayanna stared at the man. He seemed familiar, but she couldn’t place his name. It was the same with the woman. She shook her head.
“You’ll remember us,” the woman said.
“You never told me what’s going on,” Ayanna said. “Who are you? Where am I? What happened?”
The man smiled at her. “I’m Virgil Tyner. I was your mentor at the University of South Carolina. We were doing research on the nanotechnology.”
“I’m Cherilyn Foisy. I was your lab assistant,” the woman said.
Ayanna stared at them for a moment. “Dr. Tyner. You were my academic advisor while I worked on my doctoral thesis on nanotechnology. You hired me once I got my doctorate to continue nanotech experiments on late stage cancer and dementia patients.”
She looked at the woman, her stomach churning with anxiety. “You look familiar, but I don’t remember you.”
“We only knew each other for a couple of months.”
“Why?” She looked at Dr. Tyner. “Why do you talk about this in past tense?” She closed her eyes as fragments of memory swirled in her head.
The bodies in research chambers.
The cellular scans.
Ayanna’s eyes popped open. “There was an accident in August. You died. And then the whole world went crazy. Strange things happened with the nanotech.”
Virgil nodded slowly. “Yes, I died.”
“Then how are you here?”
Cherilyn took her hand. “There was an explosion when we left the lab.”
“What do you mean?”
Virgil put his arm around her. “We’re dead, Ayanna. Welcome to Paradise.”