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I do love monsters. Don’t even make me pick a favorite. Vampires, shifters, aliens…reapers. I love them all.
Meet Deacon Walker, the reaper hero of Reap & Repent, Book One of my Reaper Series:
What does a guy have to do around here to get some service? Deacon Walker marveled as he glared at the undulating queue of grotesque reapers in front of him.
For all that’s holy, move the hell along already.
It had been a long week, and it wasn’t over yet. He needed to make at least one more pass through the hospital circuit before he could call it a day. He could already feel the tug of a freshly departed soul. Again. People were dropping like flies lately.
He massaged his brow, trying to soothe his exhausted patience as the line inched forward at a snail’s pace.
He was worn thin. Over the past few weeks, three demon soul poachers had popped up in his fair city of Meridian like poisonous mushrooms after a hard rain.
While it wasn’t unheard of for one to slip out from Hell every now and then, three was a nightmare.
When it got topside, a demon’s M.O. was to steal a human body, poach a few souls from the dead and dying, and then make its merry way back to Hell, taking its host’s soul along for the ride. The only way to save the souls a poacher was carrying was to behead the host with a scythe. Not a pretty thing to do, but the poor suckers were too far gone by then to survive anyway. No human could withstand the pressures of being ridden by a demon. And it was worth it to save a handful of souls, not to mention inconveniencing the demon.
Deacon refused to lose any souls from his territory. At all. So far the score was Deacon, 3. Demons, 0.
As a reaper, carrying souls to Purgatory for judgment was his job and he wasn’t about to cede his territory to poachers who used up their hosts like they were disposable Tupperware. So now, in addition to his normal day job, he also had to keep an eye out for more demon invaders.
While demons burned through most human hosts in a matter of days, some in a matter of hours, they had discovered long ago that under the right circumstances they could ride a reaper. Of course, they couldn’t just worm their way in like they did with humans—they had to be invited. But once a deal was struck? They were in.
And reapers? Yeah, they could hang on for decades inside a reaper. Deacon knew that fact firsthand. His stomach twisted at the thought, but he shook it off, looking ahead with a heavy sigh.
Seriously, this line? Still. Not. Moving?
God, he needed a freakin’ vacation. Extended. He dragged a hand through his hair in frustration as his mind flipped through postcard-esque locations of reapings past. He snarled at the thought of New Orleans in summer. He would definitely want to go someplace cool—cool as in frigid, not hip. He was sick of the heat, and it was only the beginning of summer in the semitropical Midwest.
Come to think of it, he was sick of a lot of things.
This place was high on the list. It was as hot as…well, Hell actually. Or at least what he imagined Hell to be, although he’d never actually been there. Thank God. Steam rose from random cracks in the stone floor of the underground station, veiling the place in a humid sulfur stench.
He pushed forward, finally making his way to the front to deposit his cargo of souls. He didn’t bother chatting. In. Out. Move on. It was a motto that served him well.
Mission completed, he hustled through the crowd, forgoing the bar-side frivolity of some of the more socially inclined reapers and their small talk about their glory days in the field or—even better—the missteps of the newest reapers. Newbies often tested their limits to humorous if not disastrous effect at least once in their early careers. That was exactly why new reapers had mentors or at least worked in teams. From all the laughter, he could tell that the stories were good ones. It didn’t tempt him.
He slapped his palm against the black granite monolith and flashed out of Purgatory to what he prayed was his last stop of the day.
You can read the Reaper Series for free on Kindle Unlimited or find all of my books on my Amazon Author Page.
Want MORE monsters to love? Click on the author links below and take a walk through the world of the paranormal. It’s dark in here. Bring a flashlight.
|1.||Precious Monsters||2.||The Antrim Cycle|
|3.||Barefoot at Midnight||4.||Ani Gonzalez|
|5.||Marilyn Vix’s: Stories From My Soul Blog||6.||Lisa Kessler’s Blog|
|7.||Allison Merritt||8.||Marci Baun|
|9.||Paranormal Romance That Sizzles||10.||From Invisible to Indie-Author|
|11.||Cassandra’s Journey||12.||Author Sherry Soule|
|13.||Wicked Red Stories||14.||Robin Wainwright|
|15.||Defender of the Realms||16.||Selena Kitt|
|17.||Rose Wynters||18.||Stormie Kent|
|19.||Michelle Irwin||20.||Regina Shiderly Erotica Author|
|21.||Lucy Felthouse||22.||Lily Harlem|
|23.||Victoria Blisse||24.||Lisa Medley|
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Nate is an EMT, a witch and a newly inducted member of the Reaper Authority Force. What he’s not is a reaper. With unexplained abilities, his true nature lies somewhere in between the angels, demons and reapers he finds himself involved with. When he’s paired with the reaper Maeve, he struggles to find his place in the rising war to save the souls of Meridian and the world.
Maeve has tried to hide her reaper handicap–her toxic reaper energy–from her colleagues. But when she’s possessed by a fallen angel and forced to poach souls for Hell, her greatest weakness might be the only thing that saves her.
Nate uses his growing powers and his innate magic to find Maeve. He’ll do whatever it takes to save her, revealing more than he ever imagined in the process.
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I wanted to give you a little taste of REAP & REVEAL, book three, in The Reaper Series but the problem is, I don’t want to REVEAL too much if you’re just starting the series. With that in mind, I thought Chapter Four was reasonably safe.
The reaper kitchen was part Animal House, part Army mess hall, and part The Waltons. It was clear to Nate which part the reaper Raguel fell into as he tried to impress the three women of the household by tossing pizza dough into the air.
“You see? Nothing to it. A child could do it.” Ragu caught the dough over his arm and let it slide gently to the granite tabletop.
“A child is doing it,” Samkiel offered, accepting the full wrath of Ragu’s playful glare.
“Ah, but you’ll be begging for more very soon, my friend. Once you’ve had Ragu’s saucy meat and dough, you won’t go back to any other.”
A brief moment of stunned silence followed, and then laughter exploded around the room. It had been a long time since most of them had had anything to laugh about. Even Ruth was in the kitchen tonight, although in a wheelchair, visibly pregnant and under the fierce eye of Temperance, her guardian angel. Or more accurately, the unborn child’s guardian angel.
Even though Ruth was only four-and-a-half months along, she was advancing quickly. Maybe reaper pregnancies were different. Deacon had been no help in that department. Being born himself was his only source of knowledge on the matter. Besides, the guy was scared to death with worry over her most of the time, so even gentle questioning nearly pushed him into full-blown paranoia. Nate had learned to get his answers elsewhere.
He’d been caring for Ruth as best as he could, getting occasional advice from the OBGYN at Oakland Hospital since St. Mary’s Hospital was out of commission. Permanently.
The media has pegged the disaster as an earthquake along the New Madrid fault line. It was the biggest disturbance that had been measured since 1811. The building wasn’t even salvageable and demolition had already begun. The place was sorely missed in the community.
Being at the city’s epicenter, it had also cared for a steady stream of homeless people who were now so far from Oakland’s ER, the EMTs and several off-duty docs and nurses had formed a team of their own to offer triage and minor care in an empty warehouse clinic nearby the former hospital’s location.
Olivia had been a mitigating force behind the group’s formation, and she had even set up a free kitchen that fed the homeless downtown. Kylen had forbidden her to conduct any nighttime visits. Not that Nate could blame him after what had happened the last time she was downtown alone.
Nate sat heavily on a chair, as exhausted as if he hadn’t slept at all. Of course, with those dreams of Maeve, it almost felt as though he hadn’t.
“’Bout time you turned up in here.” Deacon crossed the room and took a seat next to him. “What happened to you last night? We debriefed after everyone got in, but Oreo said he saw you head straight to your trailer. What gives?”
Bo circled, chasing his tail three times around, then settled onto the floor beside him, resting his head on Nate’s lap with a sigh.
Nate threaded his hand through the hellhound’s fur. “Just didn’t feel like recapping a night full of failure.”
“It’s more than that. We need to keep track of how many demons we see, how many we kill, how many are potentially left. We’ve made a real dent these past few months. We need to keep the pressure on. Which means every pair of eyes is important. Yours included.”
Nate felt every pair of said eyes in the compound settle upon him.
“You know Bo and I weren’t looking for demons, Deacon.” Nate stared hard at the reaper.
They’d had this conversation several times. Deacon was the leader of the reapers now. The Powers. But he wasn’t Nate’s boss. Not really, because Nate wasn’t a reaper.
The rest of the Authority crew could now enter and travel through the consecrated subway from unconsecrated ground. They could also consume the unhosted demons, destroying them in a permanent manner as a result of their allegiance to the Authority. And a few had other gifts. Like the ability to transport the wanderers to a holding cell in Purgatory.
Those gifts were a little bit special. While Nate had always been able to travel through the consecrated subway from wherever he pleased, he did not share most of their other gifts. The dreams were new, however, and he needed to tell Deacon about it… Still, he couldn’t bring himself to lay it bare before the entire group.
“Don’t start with me, Deacon. If it was Ruth out there, your priorities would be elsewhere, as well.”
“It’s not just that we need you and Bo to track demons for us, Nate. We can’t protect you if you’re out there doing the Lone Ranger thing.”
“Bo is with me. He can protect me. You’ve seen him shred a demon.” Bo gave a little whine in agreement and licked Nate’s pant leg.
“I agree that finding Camael is imperative. It’s your methods that worry me. What will you do if you do find her without us to back you up? Bo may be enough to protect you from a few demons, but you won’t stand a chance against Camael alone. At least stay within sight or sound of one of the teams. Promise me that.”
Nate shook his head. “I don’t make promises I can’t keep.”
“Pizza’s ready! Dinner…is served.” Ragu pulled a steaming pizza out of the former fireplace turned wood-fired oven to cheers of appreciation.
Nate’s stomach growled. Deacon gave him one last hard look and retreated back to Ruth, filling a plate with pizza for her as he made his way through the food line. Nudging Bo’s twenty-pound head off his lap, Nate joined the back of the line. He was starving.
Ruth’s close encounter with a reaper coma had been all he needed to convince him to take care of himself. So far, knock on wood, he hadn’t needed to replenish anyone since they’d set up the new compound. Even though the other reapers acted like a bunch of frat boys in their free time, they were dead serious about maintaining their health and their strength.
Each had been chosen for their particular skill set by Grim himself and recruited to the Authority. Except for Maeve, who was fairly new, and Ruth, who was brand-spanking-new, the rest of them had been reapers for well over a hundred years each. Deacon and Kylen were two hundred plus some change. The only active reaper older than them was Grim. Yes, the Grim Reaper. Grim had enjoyed the sunset of his career mostly free of demon activity. But now that was in the past.
Thinking of nasty demons brought Nate full circle, back to the puzzle of what to do about Maeve. How was he ever going to be able to anticipate where she would be next? He certainly wasn’t going to be able to capture her and exorcise the angel if he couldn’t lay physical hands on her. Camael was too smart to walk onto a demon trap even if it could hold him. Besides, Nate had only successfully accomplished that once—with a demon. He’d never trapped an angel. Didn’t even know if it was possible.
It had to be possible. After all, for every yin there was a yang, right?
Last in line, he grabbed a slice of pizza and tossed it over to Bo, who snatched it from the air and swallowed it in one gulp.
Damn, that dog can eat.
Nate piled three more face-sized slices onto his own plate, stacking them like pancakes and headed back to his chair. He almost made it, too.
Then his head exploded.
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They see death. Can they share a life?
Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.
Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.
A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.