Usually, I do not participate in Teaser Tuesday, because I'm not really a fan of teasers...like, I seriously HATE sharing anything from a new book until it's completely finished. But, since I'm so in love with Raven and her story, I thought I'd give in and give you a small taste!
Since I've shared the prologue before, below you will find Chapter One of
RAVEN'S BREATH, with a link back to the prologue as well.
After guiding the man to the pearly gates, I returned to the earthly plane and flew to the highest point of the Holy Cross Cemetery. It was the oldest and largest in the "city of cemeteries," Colma, California, located just south of San Francisco. I tucked my wings into my back as the heels of my boots sank into the dirt that surrounded the large mausoleum atop the hill. The name over the ornate stone entrance read Richard Payman, Born 1892 - Died 1962. I placed my hand on the door's handle and the letters R. and P. became highlighted. I smiled as the numbers shifted and transformed into the sum of their total; 1+8+9+2+1+9+6+2, equaling 38. In other words...Reaper Portal, Thirty-eight.
There were thousands of portals, each one located in a cemetery tomb that read Richard Payman, Born "something" – Died "something else," to indicate which location you were entering.
The seam of the stone door glowed blue before opening to reveal the shimmering orb waiting within. If a human opened this door, however, all they would see was a stone sarcophagus holding Mr. Payman's remains.
The portals were the only entrance to our world; the world of Death and his Reapers, a.k.a. Purgatory. I stepped through and the city greeted me, extending as far as the eye could see. A wide expanse of dark stone buildings and gothic turrets dotted the light gray sky as inky black tendrils swirled and floated through the air.
The black smoke-like wisps were the souls that refused to move on––the wraiths. When a soul tried to flee, they would instead "stick" to the Reapers until we returned to Purgatory, then get sucked into the sky to wander aimless for all eternity.
I flew towards the main building, hoping to check-in and be done before I started my long weekend. When I touched down on the slate steps, I took a moment to compose myself before entering the massive castle. At present, I was the only female Reaper in Death's employ, but according to rumors, I didn't know how long that would be the case. It didn't surprise me; I'd been a huge help in lowering the numbers of lost souls, but to be honest, I wasn't sure if I wanted to share the title of "one and only."
"Good evening, Raven. How are you?" Death asked, polite as always.
All Reapers worked for Death, but I doubted anyone in Purgatory actually liked being in his presence. My eyes were drawn to his long bony fingers as they wrapped a staccato beat against the round heads that made up the armrests of his creepy skull throne.
"I'm great, thank you. I was just checking-in before I headed home."
"Of course, and while I always enjoy seeing you, you shouldn't feel required to check-in with me. Your numbers are consistent and you haven't let me down yet."
His words carried an edge that left me worried I'd somehow done exactly that. I swallowed hard against the lump in my throat, then nodded and turned away.
"Raven, a quick question before you leave?"
My head dropped ever so slightly as a puff of breath escaped my lips. So much for a quick escape. I slowly turned around with a smile plastered on my face.
"Sure. What's up?"
"I've been wondering how you'd feel about sharing the spotlight? I'm thinking about bringing on another female Reaper, since you've proven to be such a valuable asset." His leer made my skin crawl. "But of course, I wanted to talk to you first before I made my final decision."
Ha! Like he gave a damn what I thought. He'd do whatever he wanted and I knew without a doubt, this was just his way of watching me squirm.
My smile never faded as I tossed my hair over my shoulder. "Actually, I think that's a great idea. I've been playing clean up for so long, it might be nice to have a little help around here."
Hmph. I don't squirm.
Thank you so much for stopping by for Teaser Tuesday. If you haven't had a chance to read the prologue yet, you can follow the link below to find the dramatic beginning to Raven's story.