Waking the Dead

The Dead Series Book 2

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WARNING: BLURB CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1 – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Hyacinth always assumed dying would simplify her life. But when her new boss, Archangel Michael, sends her on her first official mission—to retrieve a powerful rock from a collector in Germany—things go downhill fast. For one thing, the Dead keep popping up, expecting her to guide them to the Afterlife. For another, her part-demon nephew Geordi’s powers are starting to leak out, at age seven. What if Michael finds out about him? Worse, what if Satan does?

Then there’s her love life-after-death. Rooming with a dead French cop no one else can see is complicated enough. But when Jason, Geordi’s lying Dioguardi Demon cousin, resurrects himself—so to speak—all Hell breaks loose. Literally. Can Hyacinth get Michael’s rock back before Satan steals its powers and breaks free of his prison? Or will her single-minded pursuit put those she loves—and the rest of the world—in the path of Satan’s fury?

Page Count:  341
ISBNs:  978-1-5092-2539-2 Paperback   /  978-1-5092-2540-8 Digital


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Excerpt

As most of the tourists had come to Trier to drink their days away, not to sightsee, we had less trouble renting a car than we’d had finding a room. The concierge at the hotel helped us out, and within the hour, we were on our way in a cute little Peugeot 107 that was still huge compared to my own car. Geordi and I just fit in the front, with Eric crammed in the back. You’d think an advantage to being a ghost would be the ability to fit in small spaces, but apparently not. Or at least, not without more energy than Eric wanted to expend.

The country outside of Trier is hilly and forested. Lots of evergreens, so not a lot of fall color, but beautiful nonetheless. It was cool and cloudy, the bits of sky we saw between the trees a dull, lowering gray. It almost felt like snow, but I didn’t think it was that cold. Still, between the clouds and the trees, the drive was dark, if short. Thirty minutes, tops.

Michael had given me the man’s address, so all we had to do was drive to the house and knock. Or rather, to the mansion.

When we got to the turn, at first I thought the navigation app was wrong. It showed a road, where clearly this was a driveway. Then I realized, the driveway was the road.

My stomach twinged. If he was this wealthy, he might not be accustomed to giving up his trinkets. Back in Marseille, I’d had plenty of truck with the über-rich—they were my main clients. In a constant game of one-upmanship, they regularly hired my former partner, Vadim, to steal each other’s best pieces. Then they hired me, in my capacity as a fence, to negotiate complex deals back and forth until the collections were evened out. Sometimes, I did the stealing and the fencing, especially now that Vadim was gone.

None of it made any logical sense, but it netted me some hefty commissions—and one absurdly valuable car—and gave me a certain insight into the minds of people who lived in ginormous mansions. Namely, that they liked their stuff, liked getting their own way, and did not like anyone interfering in either of the above.

Then again, this was “just” a rock Herr Burke had found in Turkey. If he liked money, maybe he’d give it up for a price. A small price, since that was all I had with me.

I pulled off to the side of the drive, across from the mansion itself. Geordi, Eric, and I got out of the car and stared at it.

Mansion was an inadequate term. Castle would be more apt. It was huge. Royalty huge. Great-big-stone-pile, impossible-to-heat-in-the-winter, but nice-and-cool-in-the-summer, huge. I was clearly under-dressed. I have all kinds of Visiting the Rich clothes, but I didn’t bring them to Turkey, and hadn’t bought any new ones since landing in Switzerland.

I glanced down at my jeans and sneakers, and the ratty hooded Shetland sweater I’d dragged on in deference to the weather. Then I examined Geordi. Apparently, Fun Aunts skipped baths. It must’ve been two or three days since he’d washed more than his hands. Plus, I’d forgotten to make him change his clothes, which he’d slept in on the train.

Eric said, “Mon ange—it is just a house, and he is just a man.”

“Easy for you to say,” I said. “You’re invisible.”

Eh bien. But it is still true that you have nothing to worry about.”

His gaze travelled over the appropriate parts, and he gave me a slow, wicked smile. I would’ve swatted him, but, well, it was flattering. And…there was still a touch of sadness in his eyes. He wouldn’t believe me if I said his being dead didn’t matter to me, but before I could figure out what to say instead, he shuttered his expression.

“Perhaps he is not even the owner,” he continued. “Perhaps he merely works here.”

“I suppose that’s possible,” I said doubtfully.

Geordi regarded me curiously. I didn’t think he’d heard Eric since this morning, but we were pretty much talking openly in front of him now. If nothing else, I thought it might make the adjustment easier when Eric did “break through,” or whatever happened.

Bending down, I did my best to straighten Geordi’s clothes. He twitched and squirmed in typical seven-year-old fashion, balking completely when I tried to run my fingers through his hair. I gave up and switched to picking at the worst of the pilled yarn on my sweater.

Eric said, “Come. You are stalling. You will not escape Mass that easily.”

I threw him a look. “I’m only thinking of you. After all this time, I’d hate for you to vanish in a puff of smoke.”

“Is Eric going away?” Geordi asked.

“No, sweetie. He just wants us to go to church with him.”

That piqued Geordi’s interest. “Ghosts like church?”

“This one does.”

He thought about that. “And you think he might get hurt when he goes in? Because he’s not supposed to?”

Smart kid. I sighed. “I’m a little worried. But I’m sure it’s fine.” I didn’t bring up my concerns for myself—Geordi didn’t need that adding to his nightmares, too.

Mon ange. I have already been inside a church.”

“You have?”

“Not to Mass, but to see if I could. There are not so many places I can go, without finding myself in someone’s way. Most churches are open all day, but empty. They are an excellent place to sit and think.” One side of his mouth quirked up. “Even for disreputable ghosts such as myself.”

Geordi now watched the place where Eric stood, listening intently. I was about to ask if he’d heard Eric or could see him, even partially, when across the drive, the castle’s heavy mahogany double-doors were flung open with a muted thud! and a woman stepped onto the spacious entablature that served as the castle “porch”….