Monday, February 20, 2012

Sneak Peek: A Grave Full of Stilettos

It's finished!! Proofreaders are going over it now and the third Reapers in Heels book, A GRAVE FULL OF STILETTOS, should be out by the 29th. Worried that you might miss the release date? Just fill out that form to your right and you'll get an email just as soon as the book is available for purchase.

Now, to get you all excited, here's a peek at the first 1,300 words. Be sure to tell all of your friends to buy the book, okay? Thanks.

Lori Standford settles in to her chair with a hot cup of tea and good book in hand, preparing herself for a quiet night at home.

Wisps of steam drift off her tea and swirling around, filling her nose with the scent of chamomile. The purple mug reminds her of times past when she graduated from college. Her mother had stood there so proud and clapping so loud as Lori accepted her diploma. The purple mug was waiting for Lori when she got back to her dorm that night. “Word’s Smartest Daughter” is emblazoned on it in thick gold letters.

The memory makes her sad. 

It’s only been a few months but the wounds are still raw and not for the first time, Lori wonders if she shouldn’t have just sold her mother’s house, rather than moving in.

It’s a big house, filled with nooks, crannies and ghosts of memories.

Lori shakes her head. No, she did the right thing. It was bad enough to lose her mother. But her childhood home? Lori wasn’t ready to part with everything just yet.

She gently blows on the hot tea, trying to cool it down to a bearable temperature. Hot tea before bed with her mother is a fond memory.

Lori sighs and gives in to the sadness. She misses her mom.

She sets the book aside, there wouldn’t be any reading tonight. No, tonight she is going to let her memories keep her company. Maybe she’d rediscover a forgotten nugget of wisdom her mother had passed down her to her.

Lori smiles. Maybe she’d figure out how to boil water for her tea without burning the roof of her mouth. She’s pretty sure her mother told her once or twice how to get that right.

The noise startles her immediately. At first she thinks it’s a bird flying into one of the upstairs windows.

But then it happens again.

Lori sets her “Word’s Smartest Daughter” mug and gets to her feet.

It’s a pounding noise. A heavy noise, as though someone was dropping a bags of bricks against the floor above her.

Lori walks carefully to the entrance of her living room. She hears whispers now.


“Hello?” Lori calls out. “Is anybody there?”

She feels immediately silly. Of course there’s no one there. It’s just Lori. All alone in the empty house.

Except the pounding noise isn’t coming from outside.

And the whispers aren’t in her head.

“Hello?” Lori says again, stepping into the hallway.

She catches sight of it for a second out of the corner of her eye. It’s a fleeting image, flickering away like a broken movie reel. She forgets about it almost immediately.

The blood dripping from her walls has Lori’s complete attention.

After that, the night’s a blur of screams and nightmares.

The lady shrieks, “You can’t have him!” and then she slams the door in Brooke Graves’ face.

Brooke is standing about half an inch in the doorway and the heavy wood door actually does smash against her poor nose.

Ow!” she snaps, stumbling back. She kicks at the door with her boot heel. “Open the damn door, lady!”

The door suddenly swings open again and there is a large man dressed in a sharp business suit. The suit’s stretched across his wide frame, looking like the tailor’s measurements were off just a few inches. His face is flat and his arms are about the size of tree trunks. He’s either world’s toughest butler or special house security.

“Please do not bang on the door,” he says, his lips hardly moving as he speaks. “It disturbs Mrs. Withers.”

“Oh, well, we wouldn't want to do that, now would we," Brooke says, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "God forbid we disturb Mrs. Withers."

The flat-faced man doesn't respond.

"Hey, you know what? If Mrs. Withers hadn’t slammed the door in my face like a crazy lady,” Brooke says, rubbing her bruised nose, “I wouldn’t have to bang on your stupid door. Now get out of my way.”

The man doesn’t move.

“Hello? Did you hear me? I said move it.” Brooke pokes him in the chest. It’s like poking a concrete block. “We’re here on official business.”

He exhales through his nose. “Mrs. Withers does not recognize your official status. Please leave.” 

He closes the door, far more gently than Mrs. Withers had.

From somewhere inside the house there’s a shrieking wail of a moan.

Nooooo!” the lady howls from inside. “You can’t have him!”

“Oh, my-" Brooke starts.

Avery cuts her off. “Come on, cut her some slack.”

Brooke whirls around to face her older sister. “Excuse me? Cut her some slack?”

“That’s what I said.”

They’re standing in the driveway of a eleven thousand square-foot mansion. It’s home to the recently deceased Daniel Withers, the man who made billions from inventing a cooler sleeve for hot drinks so you didn’t burn yourself when you picked them up. He passed away this morning at the ripe old age of ninety-three and a net worth of one point three billion.

Daniel’s wife, Lori Withers, is fifty years his junior. Daniel’s her fifth marriage. Her four previous marriages ended in financially beneficial divorces, for her.

This time, with Daniel, though, it had been for love. Or, at least, that’s what she would have the Graves sisters believe she as she shrieks at them from her palatial estate.

Brooke steps down to her sister who’s waiting by their pink sedan. She’s taller than Avery with black hair that could use a good brushing, but is instead pulled up in a sloppy bun. Her eyes are dark brown and she’s got a smile that never ceases to bend men to her will. Today she’s wearing a rock band t-shirt turned inside out and a pair of professional tattered jeans. The outfit flatters her slender figure, hugging to her curves tightly. The brown coat that covers her used to belong to their father, William Graves. It’s one of Brooke’s few prized possessions.

Brooke points to her bruised nose. “She could have broken my nose and did you see the size of her thug? The man has hands that would crush my head like a tomato. So, no, I’m not going to cut her some slack. You know what happens if I get a broken nose?”

“No,” Avery replies. “but I have a feeling you’re going to tell me.”

“Of course I’m going to tell you,” Brooke says. “If my nose gets broken, I get ugly.”

“You’re assuming you’re not already ugly.”

“I’m laughing on the inside,” Brooke replies dryly. She waves at her face. “My nose is what ties this all together. It’s the lynchpin of my face.”

“I’m pretty sure I’ve heard a few men describe your mouth as the lynchpin of your face,” Avery replies with a smirk.

Brooke folds her arms. “Okay, I see what you’re doing there. But you know what? I’m going to own that.”

“I bet you will,” Avery mutters.

“I am know in some parts for my exceptional oral skills,” Brooke continues. “But no guy is going to want a blowjob from a woman that looks like a survivor from a meat grinder accident.”

“I told you to not go up to the door until I was ready,” Avery says.

“Well, you were taking, like, two thousand years,” Brooke replies.

Avery looks at her sister, “Really? A Thousand years?”

"Two thousand years," Brooke corrects her.

"Because it's the extra thousand that makes a difference." Avery rolls her eyes.

Brooke simply folds her arms. “Well, that’s what it felt like.”

“I hope you’re not going to be the one responsible for teaching your kids how to tell time,” Avery says.

“I don’t plan on ever having kids.”

“And the entire world breathes a sigh of relief,” Avery replies.

Avery gazes up at the mansion, raising a hand to block out the noonday sun. The curtains on the second floor ruffle from the inside. Somebody’s watching them.

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