Grave # 3
By: Lori Sjoberg
Releasing Jan 19th, 2015
Handsome and haunted, he's a reaper who prefers to work alone. But Fate has other plans for him and the sassy secret agent who shot him in another life—if their pasts don't catch up with them first.
Dmitri Stavitsky has never played well with others—a Soviet KGB spy in life turned reaper after death, his work of bringing souls to the other side is best done alone. But orders from the top soon place him alongside fellow reaper Gwen Peterson, the American counter intelligence agent who took his life so many years ago.
Now, as a ghost from Gwen's past resurfaces with the power to steal reapers' souls, the two have no choice but to set aside their differences and apprehend the rogue together. But their cross-country mission soon ignites feelings Dmitri thought he was no longer capable of—for the woman who helped destroy him. With an ancient force and a small army against them, he'll have to let go of old grudges or risk his future with Gwen...as Fate hangs dangerously in the balance.
When he made a grab for the driver’s side door handle, she hit the gas and the car lurched forward a few feet.
“Uh-uh,” she said with a shake of her head. “I’m driving.”
The vein in his forehead felt like it was going to burst as he stomped down the parking lot after her. “I’m not riding shotgun in my own car,” he snarled.
“You are tonight.”
He made another grab for the door handle and the car shot forward again. The thought of wringing her neck flashed through his mind, but then he thought of what Samuel would do to punish him and the notion lost its appeal.
“I could do this all night, but we’re running low on time. The big boss is expecting usin less than an hour.” The smile fell away from her face, revealing the no-nonsense bitch he’d known during his Cold War days. “Get in. The passenger side’s unlocked.”
Some men were nice to look at. Others, you couldn’t look away from. And then there was Dmitri Stavitsky.
He was taller than her, around six foot four, and had the powerful build of a gymnast. The shirt he wore did nothing to conceal his thick, corded arms or the broad expanse of his chest. His thighs strained against the confines of his jeans. He carried himself with an air of confidence that most men found intimidating and mostwomen found irresistible. And even though Gwen despised him as much as he despised her, she had to admit he wore it well.
Gwen could feel his eyes moving over her while she drove, and she resisted the urge to squirm in her seat. “What?”
The passing streetlights played over the planes of his face. He hadn’t shaved in a day or two, and his jaw was shadowed with stubble. It made him look almost as dangerous as he was.
Back in the day, he’d been one of the KGB’s top agents. For nearly a decade, he worked within the borders of the United States, stealing some of the country’s most valuable secrets. What he couldn’t steal he usually destroyed with calculated and ruthless efficiency. He killed defectors before they could spill their secrets as well as killing anyone else deemed an enemy of the Soviet Union. The full extent of his treachery was never determined; he’d taken those secrets to the grave.
“You cut your hair.” During the Cold War, he’d spoken with a flawless American accent to mask his true identity. The habit died when the Iron Curtain fell, and now his rich, deep voice contained a blend of both Russian and American, with the former growing more pronounced when he got pissed off. Like now.
“So nice of you to notice.”
One corner of his mouth twitched. “It makes you look like a boy.” Bastard. Her grip tightened around the steering wheel. “Like I give a damn what you think.”
He laughed under his breath. “I think you do.” The smirk on his face vanished when she ground the gears. “Careful! It took me two days to rebuild the transmission.”
“Sorry.” Not really. She totally meant to do that. “Third’s a little sticky.” She held back a smile as she hooked a right onto Alafaya Trail.
Dmitri raked his hands through his short, dark hair. He was a few weeks past the time for a cut, and the ends curled around the nape of his neck. “Why are you here, Gwen?” Her name sounded like poison on his tongue.
Good question. Her current base of operations was on the opposite side of the country, along the American side of the border with Mexico. Samuel had been vagueon the details when he contacted her late last night with orders to fly to Orlando for a special assignment. She hated the idea of working with Dmitri, but knew better than to refuse an order. After all, the Big Kahuna wasn’t known for his gentle demeanor. The quicker they got the job finished, the quicker they could return to their normal routines and forget the other existed.
“Samuel sent me,” she replied with a shrug, knowing he’d understand the way the boss operated.
He nodded, his expression grim. “And why did you steal my car?”
“Because I could.” And because she knew it would piss him off. It was the way things had always worked between them. They’d lost their humanity and become reapers together, and had been at each other’s throats ever since. Two Cold War relics, passing through the modern age. “You really need to install a better anti-theftsystem. Anybody with a screwdriver can hot-wire this thing in less than five minutes.” She’d done it in three.
She could have sworn he growled.
Lori was a born a coal miner’s daughter. No wait, that’s not right. Actually, she was born a carpenter’s daughter. Her mother was a housewife/homemaker/stay-at-home mom – whatever the politically correct term is these days. Basically, she made sure Lori didn’t get into too much trouble, a task easier said than done.
Growing up the youngest of three girls, Lori never had control of the remote. (Not that she’s bitter about that. Really. Okay, maybe a little, but it’s not like she’s scarred for life or anything.) That meant a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy. Star Trek, Star Wars, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits – you name it, she watched it. It fed her imagination, and that came in handy when the hormones kicked in and she needed a creative excuse for being out past curfew.
After completing her first manuscript, she joined the Romance Writers of America and Central Florida Romance Writers. Now she exercises the analytical half of her brain at work, and the creative half writing paranormal romance. When she’s not doing either one of those, she’s usually spending time with her husband and children of the four-legged variety
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