As every Grim Reaper knows, the end is the best part.
It’s HERE!!! Summoned to Thirteenth Grave is finally out!
Wow. This is it. I can’t believe Charley’s story is coming to an end. What a wonderful journey this has been, and I have all of you to thank. Without you, without your inspiration and enthusiasm, this journey would have been a lot shorter.
Thank you for sharing Charley’s adventures with me. For witnessing the power of her love for Reyes and vice versa. For sticking with her through thick and thin. No matter what I threw at her, you guys were there, cheering her on.
Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper extraordinaire, is pissed. She’s been kicked off the earthly plane for all eternity – which is exactly the amount of time it takes to make a person stark, raving mad. But someone’s looking out for her, and she’s allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Is it too much to hope for that not much has changed? Apparently it is. Bummer.
She’s missed her daughter. She’s missed Reyes. She’s missed Cookie and Garrett and Uncle Bob. But now that she’s back on earth, it’s time to put to rest a few burning questions that need answers. What happened to her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? And are cupcakes or coffee the best medicine for a broken heart? It all comes to a head in an epic showdown between good and evil in this final smart and hilarious novel.
It wasn’t until I felt the sun on my face that I knew, really knew, I’d made it back. The bright orb drifted up off the horizon like a hot air balloon, blinding me, yet I couldn’t stop looking at it. Or, well, trying to look at it. After giving it my all through squinted lids, I gave up and closed them. Let the warmth wash over me. Let it sink into my skin. Flood every molecule in my body.
God knew I needed it. I hadn’t had a drop of vitamin D in over a hundred years. My bones were probably brittle and shriveled and splintery. Much like the current state of my psyche.
But that’s what happens when you defy a God.
Not just any god, mind you. No siree Bob. To get booted off the big blue marble, one had to defy the God. The very One a particular set of children’s books called Jehovahn.
The Man had some serious control issues. I bring one person back from the dead and bam. Banished for all eternity. Exiled to a hell with no light, no hair products, and no coffee.
Mostly no coffee.
And, just to throw salt onto a gaping, throbbing flesh wound, no tribe.
In this dimension, the one with the yellow sun and champagne-colored sand on which I now walked, I had a husband and a daughter and more friends than I could shake a stick at. But in the lightless realm I’d been banished to, I’d had nothing. I floated in darkness for over one hundred agonizing years, tormented by dreams of a husband I could no longer touch and a daughter I could no longer protect.
She would be gone by now. Our daughter. I will have missed her entire life and that made me just the teensiest bit testy.
But I’d missed more than her life. It had been prophesied that she would face Lucifer in a great battle for humanity. That she would have an army at her back and, fingers crossed, a warrior at her side. And that she would stand against evil when no one else could.
I’d wondered for dozens of years if she’d won, the pain of not knowing, of not being able to help, driving me to the brink of insanity. Then I realized something and a peculiar kind of peace came over me. Of course she’d won. She was the daughter of two gods. More to the point, she was her father’s daughter, the god Rey’azikeen’s only child. She would’ve been wily and cunning and strong. Of course she won.
That’s what I’d told myself over and over for the last thirty-odd years of my exile. But now I was back. An exile that was supposed to be for all eternity stopped just short, in my humble opinion, of its goal.
Unfortunately, I had no idea why I was back. I’d felt myself being drawn forward, pulled through space and time until the darkness that surrounded me gave way to the unforgiving brightness of Earth’s yellow sun. That big, beautiful ball of fire I’d complained about so often as a resident of New Mexico where sunshine was damned near a daily occurrence.
And here it was, bathing me in its brilliance, as my feet sank into dew-covered sand with every step I took. I walked toward it. The sun. Craving more. Begging for more.
“I will never complain about you again,” I said, tilting my face toward the heavens, because the thought of my daughter growing up without me wasn’t the only thing that had driven me insane. Nor the heartbreak of missing my husband. His hands on my body. His full mouth at my ear. His sparkling eyes hooded by impossibly thick lashes.
No, it was the perpetual darkness that pushed me so far inside myself I could hardly stay conscious.
I’d tried to escape. To find my way back to my family and friends. Boy, had I tried. But it seemed like the harder I struggled, the deeper I sank. The realm in which I’d been cast was like an inky, ethereal form of quicksand. If not for the wraiths …
I stopped and bent my head to listen. Someone was following me, and for the first time since materializing on the earthly plane, I tried to take in my surroundings. With my vision adjusting, I could just make out the sea of peaches and golds that stretched out before me. Sand as far as the eye could see.
Then it hit me. The Sahara. I’d been here before. With him.
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