Grace had finally gotten used to her new afterlife as a “Made” – a Reaper who used to be human. When Made Reapers and souls begin disappearing, however, Grace and her mentor Tully suspect demons. Grace’s worst fears are confirmed when her living family is threatened.
She’ll have to break every rule in the Reaper book to save them, including using a little magic to become temporarily human. With the help of Tully and her witchy friend Tessa, Grace goes undercover to save the fates of kidnapped souls – only to discover that demons aren’t working alone. Betrayal and distrust runs deep and Grace discovers that sometimes even Reapers are prone to humanity.
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Read an excerpt of A Reaper Made…
Death created Reapers to collect souls. My mentor told me most of these Reapers have been around since the dawn of time, watching over humans and ensuring their souls are appropriately handled. As the population increased, the number of souls needing help to pass over became too great. Because Reapers can’t procreate, however, Death gave his first Reapers – “the Trues” – the ability to create new Reapers. We were called “the Mades,” and originally began as humans. We are born, then we live, and when we die, some of us are chosen (offered, really) to carry on with these immortal duties.
I was still relatively new to the whole Reaper gig, so I’d been assigned the older souls at a retirement home. In life, I’d been in nursing school and spent most of my free time volunteering at the hospital, so working with those who were already expecting death was easier than say, those who fought against leaving this earth. In time, I would learn how to calm those souls and help them pass over, but until then, I was happy to help with the souls who already had their bags packed.
I’ve always felt I was one of the lucky ones, being asked to be a Reaper – I think being chosen for such an important duty says that I did well in my short human life. It’s not to say Mades were unusual, because we’re not. My mentor said the increasing population in the last few centuries had led Reapers to regain control and bring Mades to our world. Mades and Trues alike could select humans who would be worthy of helping with their purpose. With more of us around, we could be sure souls were cared for and passed on rather than left to hang around the earth – or worse.
I was nineteen when I died; a drunk driver hit me while I headed home one evening after a volunteer shift. The drunk driver walked away without a scratch. I, on the other hand, died instantly upon impact, my soul jerked from my body to wander around the scene and wonder what the hell happened. I screamed for help, trying to reason with every deity I knew as I watched the blood trickle down my still face.
“No one can hear you screaming, child,” a voice had sounded from behind me.
I’d whirled around to see a strange looking man standing there. He was stout, with a boxer’s build, but his gentle expression gave no hint of aggression. His attire, while not unusual, still seemed from a different era: his shoes worn, pants that stopped short at the ankles, thin white shirt, and black suspenders. Perhaps in his mid-thirties, he had a shock of messy ginger hair and a thick, wiry beard to match. His bright blue eyes popped against a ruddy complexion.
I couldn’t hide the waver of fear in my voice when I asked, “Who are you?”
He took another step toward me, a slow, fluid movement that I hardly noticed. “My name is Tully.”
“I don’t want to die, Tully.”
“You weren’t supposed to go this soon,” he’d said. His voice had an Irish lilt that almost sang to me as he spoke. “But I’ve seen you at the hospital, watched you with the patients. You have a way about you.”
“Doesn’t help me much now, I’m afraid,” I’d responded. His calm demeanor somehow put me at ease despite the situation.
“Oh, but it does, child. You have a gift. Do you know what I am?”
“I was sort of hoping you were an angel.”
He had shaken his head, an amused smile on his face. “No, I am what’s called a Reaper.”
“Reapers are not Death, nor do we carry it wherever we go, according to certain tales. We appear to the dead and take their souls home.”
“That I cannot say; only they will know once they pass into the afterlife. We are, however, allowed to make certain…offers to those we deem worthy.”
I’d crossed my arms over my chest and given my body another stricken glance. “You can bring me back to life?”
“No, child, you are no longer meant for that life. Do you want to continue helping others?”
“You could be a Reaper, like me.”
I’d scoffed. “How does that even work?”
“There’s a whole world out there you don’t know about, child. I can show you, teach you how to be one of us.”
“What’s the other option?”
He shrugged. “To move on.”
Liz Long is a ridiculously proud graduate of Longwood University with a BA in English. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her fabulous day job as a social media strategist includes writing for a publishing company in Roanoke, VA.
Her first book, Gifted, is the first book in the Donovan Circus series. Burned is the second adventure. (Best described as “X-Men meets the circus with murder mysteries.”) Her standalone book Witch Hearts is a story about a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. Her newest release, A Reaper Made, follows a Reaper as she tries to save her family’s souls from demons. All titles are available at Amazon on Kindle and paperback.
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