Seventh Grave and No Body Page 2

No, wait. No chance of that. It was him. A side effect of being created by the most beautiful angel ever to fall from the heavens, forged in the fires of sin and degradation. All the stuff one’s mother warns one about.

I struggled to keep from taking a peek every few seconds myself. But just for good measure, I decided to risk a quick look-see. I took out my phone, flipped the camera for a selfie, and focused it on the man riding in the middle seat. He leaned into one corner, sitting spread-eagle across the seat, one arm thrown over the back of it, watching me from underneath his lashes. Studying me.

I raised my chin a notch, refusing to be affected by his shadowy, brooding gaze. I was just as mad at him as he was at me. For two weeks now, he’d insisted on escorting me everywhere, forgoing his responsibilities at that bar and grill he owned to be my babysitter.

Of course, I was now carrying his baby, and she was kind of a big deal. Destined to save the world and all. So I couldn’t be too angry. And he was damned nice to look at, even when he scowled. In fact, if I were totally honest, that scowl only added to the allure that was Reyes Farrow. Damn it. When I scowled, I looked constipated. Leave it to the son of Satan to turn a scowl into the stuff of fantasies.

It wasn’t like he had a reason to be mad at me, though. Not that mad, anyway. I’d tried to sneak out of the apartment without him, to go on this case with Agent Carson alone and get some one-on-one girl time. I soon found out that was the wrong thing to do. He told me so repeatedly before she’d arrived outside my apartment building entrance, reminding me that the Twelve, aka the aforementioned hellhounds, were hot on my heels. But even if they made it through the void of oblivion that resided between hell and this plane, and even if they did manage to escape into this dimension, they would still have to find me. And demons, even hellhounds, had their limitations on this plane.

So, after a ten-minute lecture that involved Reyes reiterating – repeatedly – and me tapping my foot in impatience, Agent Carson pulled up in her SUV. We’d thrown her when we both climbed into her official vehicle, but I quickly explained that Reyes, my affianced, had separation anxiety.

She took it well. She was supercool like that. Most of the time. There was one exception, when she’d threatened to have me arrested and promised I’d spend the rest of my life in prison if I didn’t cooperate fully. Like I wouldn’t have cooperated without her threats. Besides that one tiny incident – and maybe two more where I’d thought she was going to either shoot me in the face or drop-kick me to China – she was full of marshmallowy goodness. And Reyes seemed to be the campfire that melted her creamy center. She was warm. Really warm. And her warmth was making me warm. Like a lot. I couldn’t be 100 percent, but I was pretty sure we were in the midst of a ménage.

“As if” – Jessica the departed banshee said from the backseat – “that weren’t bad enough, I will never get married. Never! Do you know what that feels like?” Her long red hair shook almost as bad as my hands. Caffeine withdrawal sucked, as evidenced by the quivering of my limbs. But she was vibrating with anger. A vindictive, spiteful kind of rage that turned her hazel irises to a bright shade of green.

Jessica and I had been besties in high school until I made the mistake of telling her not only what I could do – see dead people – but also what I was – the grim reaper. I’d learned that last bit myself only when a robed figure, an incorporeal being I used to call the Big Bad, approached me in the girls’ restroom and told me. That robed figure turned out to be Reyes, I found out a decade later. I had yet to confront him on that. What was he doing in the girls’ restroom in the first place? The perv.

Jessica didn’t handle my admission well. I’d thought her made of kindness and strength before the day she turned on me. Fear transformed her into something I didn’t recognize. Her vehemence, her wrath and betrayal, stole my breath. I cried for days – not in front of her, of course; never in front of her – and sank into a deep depression that took me months to recover from.

When she started showing up at Reyes’s bar and grill, I hadn’t seen her since high school. Lots of women started showing up at the bar and grill when Reyes bought it from my dad. Sadly, Jessica hadn’t changed. She still hated me and took every opportunity to be spiteful and manipulative in front of her friends. When a notorious crime lord mistook her for a close friend of mine and abducted her, holding her hostage to force me to do a job for him, events had not ended well. And I thought she’d hated me before!

So, in a vehicle with four people, three of us were angry. I felt like breaking into a chorus of “One of These Things (Is Not Like the Other),” but I doubted anyone but me would get it, especially since Agent Carson didn’t know the truth about me. And she had no idea there was a departed crazy woman hitching a ride with us before her inevitable trip to hell. Surely she was going to hell. Jessica had not been a nice person. There must be a special, less volcanic portion of hell that was partitioned off and set aside for people who weren’t all bad, just a little vindictive. They could call it the drama queen ward. It would be a huge hit.

Listening to Jessica’s rant about how she was going to be a spinster forever – did people still use that word? – I decided to text my sulking affianced:

Can you do something about this?

He dug his phone out of his pocket, an act that was so bizarrely sexy, it mesmerized me for a solid three seconds, then read my missive. His face remained impassive as he typed.

Prev page Next page