Death and stilettos, p.1

Death & Stilettos, page 1

 part  #1 of  Reapers in Heels Series

 

Death & Stilettos
 



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Death & Stilettos


  DEATH & STILETTOS

  Reapers in Heels

  Volume 1

  JASON KRUMBINE

  One Stiletto in the Grave

  Death Wears Stilettos

  A Grave Full of Stilettos

  Copyright 2011 by Jason Krumbine

  A Diamond Before Dying

  No Diamonds Upon Death

  Diamonds & Death

  Only the Dead Wear Diamonds

  Death, Debutants, and Diamonds

  Copyright 2012 by Jason Krumbine

  All rights reserved.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, or locales is entirely coincidental

  Smashwords Edition License Notes

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  about this book

  Grim Reapers are real. And they are bounty hunters of the dead.

  They are governed by the Council of Reapers and are responsible for the capture and containment of dead souls that refuse to or cannot move on to the afterlife.

  Avery and Brooke Graves are two such reapers in Century City.

  For them, hunting down a renegade dead soul is easy. Hunting for a good man, however, is a whole 'nother challenge.

  Sex, love and death. It's everything you could possibly want.

  This is the complete first volume of Reapers in Heels. It collects 3 previously published installments:

  ONE STILETTO IN THE GRAVE

  After what was supposed to be a simple double homicide at the Kirkland Motel the Graves sisters end up with more than they bargained for.

  DEATH WEARS STILETTOS

  Jack and Cindy were a happily married couple. She was an elementary school teacher. He was an aspiring children's book author. They had the perfect life together, until the day they decided to kill themselves. Their souls never arrived in the afterlife and now it's up Avery and Brooke to find out where these deceased lovers have wandered off to.

  A GRAVE FULL OF STILETTOS

  Lori Standford's mother died six months ago, but she's too terrified to grieve properly. It seems Mommy Standford is back, haunting Lori out of her home. With nowhere else to go, Lori turns to the Graves sisters for help.

  Table of Contents:

  Book One

  One Stiletto in the Grave

  Book Two

  Death Wears Stilettos

  Book Three

  A Grave Full of Stilettos

  Book One

  One Stiletto in the Grave

  one

  The two women enter the elevator.

  “I have a date in an hour.” The taller of the two pushes the button for the sixth floor.

  “I know,” she says. She’s the older of two, with lighter, shorter hair, and her mother’s light blue eyes. Her jeans are newer, comfortable, but not so comfortable they make her look like a tomboy. The green t-shirt she’s wearing has a low scoop neck, but she manages to wear it without thrusting her entire chest out. The black jacket is fitted and her shoes are a pair of practical, but sparkly sneakers. “You know how I know? I know because you’ve been going on about it since you got in the car.”

  “I keep telling you so you don’t forget,” the taller woman says. She has a slender figure, standing about two inches taller than her older sister, but that’s because of the thigh high boots she’s so fond of. Her dark hair is longer and carefully styled to get that just-out-of-bed look. Her jeans are worn, with a golden, rusty look to them and the tank top she’s wearing is a dark red. There’s of a hint a lacy, black bra peeking out from the top of the tank top. The brown overcoat that she’s wearing is about three sizes too big and looks like it’s been to Hell and back; it originally belonged to their father, with whom she shares the same dark brown eyes.

  The older sister watches the numbers above the door light up as they pass each floor. She taps the rolled up manila envelope against her thigh in beat with a silent tune. “You keep telling me because you take some kind of perverse pleasure in tainting my soul with your tales of sexual debauchery.”

  The younger sister laughs. “Oh, that’s good. Which one of us lost our virginity to Ricky Mason, the star quarterback, behind the bleachers after the championship game?”

  “One time,” the older sister says, holding up her finger. “One time.”

  “You can only lose it once.”

  “Oh? Because, as I recall, you managed to lose it three separate times to three different men over four years.”

  “But that was long after your dalliance with the star quarterback,” the younger sister argues. “As the youngest, I took my cues from you. I was very impressionable.”

  “Is that what they call it?”

  “All I’m saying is, I’ve got a date in a hour,” the younger one says. “I have a date with a very attractive man who does something with numbers.”

  The older one looks at her sister. “Something with numbers?”

  She shrugs. “Honestly, I wasn’t really paying attention. The man has an ass that won’t quit. What else matters?”

  “Being able to pay the bills.”

  “I don’t need to pay the bills if I get cute men to pay for my bills.”

  “It’s not exactly a free meal for you, though, is it?”

  The younger sister shrugs. “I don’t know. It seems like a pretty good deal for me. Free food, free sex. Sounds like an excellent night to be a woman.”

  The elevator reaches the sixth floor and the sisters step off. The eldest takes a moment to get her bearings and then heads left. “You’re going say something about being a feminist now,” she says.

  The younger sister nods her head. “Lipstick Feminism.”

  “That’s not a thing,” the older sister replies, checking apartment numbers.

  “It’s a thing.”

  “You made it up.”

  “I read about it online.”

  “Oh, I take it back,” the older sister says. “If it was online, it must be true.”

  They stop in front of 610. The door is already open.

  The younger sister checks the hallway. “Nobody’s here yet.”

  “It’s a fresh one,” she replies. “We’ve got at least twenty minutes before the police show up.”

  “Twenty minutes?”

  “Horrible response time around here. Remember that cop I dated a few years back?”

  “The one with the funny face?”

  “He did not have a funny face,” the older sister says.

  “It was all scrunched up,” the younger sister replies. “Like he was always in the middle of a stroke.”

  The older sister shakes her head. “You’re so mean.”

  Shrugging, the younger sister replies, “He had a funny face. Not my fault.”

  “He used to patrol out here,” the older sister continues. “The roads are so twisted up, takes cops at least twenty minutes to get anywhere.”

  “So, what you’re saying is...”

  “We’ve got twenty minutes.”

  “Thank goodness for scrunchy face,” the younger sister says with mock sincerity.

  She shakes her head. “You’re so bad.” The older sister pushes the door to 610 all the way open and they step inside.

  “What the hell?” the guy
on the floor says, appropriately freaking out.

  The two sisters are standing over him. The older one gives him a little wave. “Hi there. I’m Avery.” She points to her younger sister standing next to her. “This is my sister, Brooke. Our last name is Graves. It’s funny, you won’t get it right away, but you will in a minute.”

  “And you’re dead,” Brooke points to the man on the floor impatiently.

  Avery shakes her head. “Come on.”

  “What?” Brooke holds up her wrist to show Avery the watch. “Do you see what time it is?”

  Avery looks at the face of the watch, then at Brooke. “Yeah. It’s a quarter past three.”

  Brooke’s face scrunches up. She checks the watch herself, tapping the faceplate with her other hand. She looks out the window as though to confirm it. It’s dark out and the moon is starting to rise.

  “That’s not right,” she says.

  “I know,” Avery replies. “That watch hasn’t been able to tell the correct time ever since you got it.”

  “It was Dad’s watch,” Brooke says, like that was supposed to kill the argument.

  “Which explains why he was always late.”

  “Whatever,” she runs a hand through her hair. “I have a date and I have no intention of missing it.”

  Avery rolls her eyes.

  “Excuse me, but what the hell?” the guy on the floor asks again.

  The sisters give him their undivided attention.

  “Sorry,” Avery says. “My sister has a problem with focus.”

  “You’re dead,” Brooke says. “D-E-A-D.” She pulls out a small of bag of chips from her jacket pocket, one of those one-ounce bags, and tears it open.

  “Are you threatening me?” the guy on the floor asks.

  “We’re not threatening you,” Avery insists, trying to calm him down. “Do you have to eat that right now? she asks Brooke, pulling out the crumpled paperwork from her jacket pocket.

  “Yes, Ash, I have to eat it right now,” she says between very loud bites. “You never want to stop for dinner.”

  “That’s because you never stop eating.” Avery crouches down next to the guy on the floor. “Hi,” she says to him again.

  “I never stop eating because I’m always hungry,” Brooke says.

  “And yet, you look the way you do.”

  Brooke smiles and catches her reflection in the mirror. “I know, it’s great.”

  “Your metabolism is going to shoot to Hell the minute you hit thirty,” Avery says. “Then you’ll be singing a different tune.”

  “Well, Mom’s been forty-seven for about fifteen years now,” Brooke replies. “So, I’m not too worried.”

  Avery rolls her eyes and checks the name on the paperwork. “Paulie?” she says to the man on the floor. “That’s your name, right? Paulie?”

  The man’s eyes twitch back and forth between the two sisters. He’s confused and probably more than a little freaked out. His face glistens with sweat.

  Brooke sneezes and Paulie jumps a little.

  Avery gently pats Paulie’s cheek. “Hey, Paulie, I need you to focus.”

  He looks back at Avery but his eyes are still glazed over.

  “Your name’s Paulie, right?” Avery tries one more time. She likes to be sure.

  He blinks, shaking his head. “Yeah. Yeah, I think,” he trails off. “What happened? I’m dead?”

  “Yeah. You got yourself shot at point blank range with a double barrel shotgun,” Brooke chimes in helpfully. “Boom. Instant death,” she mimes a shotgun with her hands. A handful of chips spill out of the bag.

  “Come on,” Avery chastises her sister. “Do you mind?”

  “Yes, I mind,” Brooke says. “In one hour I have a date with a gorgeous man. I planned to be wined and dined by this gorgeous man and then I’m going to go back to his place and screw his brains out. It promises to an exciting and climactic evening that I don’t want to miss. I promise to coddle the next one.”

  “You’ll be lucky if I bring you along on the next one,” Avery says under her breath.

  “What?”

  “Just stand there,” Avery says aloud. “Just stand there and eat your stupid chips and look pretty.”

  “Gladly.”

  The older sister shakes her head and turns back to Paulie “Do you remember what happened?”

  Paulie’s face scrunches up. He’s clearly thinking real hard, but it’s not something he’s used to doing. His face almost looks like it’s mimicking someone else.

  “I, uh,” he stutters and trails off.

  “It’s okay,” Avery says softly. “Most people who suffer this kind of trauma tend to have temporary amnesia.”

  “You’re saying I’m dead?” he asks again.

  “Buddy,” Brooke cuts in again, “you’ve got your legs violently separated from the rest of your body. I can see parts of your entrails on the fireplace. It is not possible for you to get any deader.”

  Paulie’s eyes go wide and suddenly he seems to be aware of his surroundings.

  It’s a middle-class suburban apartment, about six blocks from the A-Line. They’re in the living room and it’s in shambles. It’s obvious there was a fight with a clear winner and loser. And, sure enough, Paulie’s upper half is separated from his lower half.

  And his entrails are definitely on the fireplace.

  “What the-” Paulie breaks down into a stream of obscenities as he twists his neck around, trying to take it all in at once.

  Avery lets him go on for a few seconds before clamping her hand down over Paulie’s mouth. She immediately regrets it. It’s like touching a thousand tiny ants all moving around together at the same time. She shudders. She hates touching dead people.

  Avery looks back at her sister. “Thank you.”

  Brooke tosses her the cuffs. “No problem. Can we please get going now?”

  Avery catches the cuffs with her other hand. Paulie eyes them and they’re not making him any calmer.

  Avery keeps her hand securely over his mouth. The tiny invisible ants squirm around, like they’re trying to burrow themselves into Avery’s hand.

  “Okay, this isn’t what it looks like,” Avery tries one more time. “We aren’t who you think we are. And these,” she shakes the cuffs, “aren’t normal handcuffs,” she twists them around so Paulie can see his name, PAULIE COATS, etched into the metal. “I would like to explain everything to you in a calm manner, but I can’t do that if you’re going to freak out and swear like a sailor trying to impress his buddies. So, do you promise to calm down?”

  Paulie hesitates a moment but nods his head.

  “Good, I’m going to remove my hand now,” Avery pulls her hand back and immediately feels better. She fights the urge to wipe it against her pants. Paulie keeps silent. “So, here’s what happened, Paulie. This place belongs to Steven Waldo. Mr. Waldo walked in on you trying to steal his priceless collection of porcelain Indian clowns. He subsequently shot you in self-defense.”

  Paulie’s brow furrows. “I was stealing from this guy?” he asks.

  “Yes.”

  He thinks about it. “I don’t carry a gun? I don’t carry a gun,” he repeats it more definitively.

  Avery checks the paperwork again. “No, you didn’t have any weapons on you.”

  “Then how the hell does that count as self-defense?” he snaps.

  “Yeah,” Brooke says. “You totally got a raw deal. But, you did try to steal from the guy.”

  “He blew off my damn legs with a double barrel shotgun!” Paulie shrieks.

  “I think it’s coming back to him,” Brooke looks at her sister.

  “Look, Paulie,” Avery starts, but Paulie has other ideas.

  He starts shrieking and flopping around on the floor like a half eaten merman. One of his hands smacks Avery’s face.

  Avery looks at Brooke. She shrugs. “Not my fault. You’re the one that wanted to talk to him.”

  Brooke steps forward and sets a foot on Paulie’s
chest, planting her heel right under his chin and holding him in place. That stops him from bucking around, but he’s still shrieking. Avery clamps her hand back down over his mouth.

  “Look, Paulie, we’re not unsympathetic to your plight,” Avery starts.

  “I am,” Brooke interrupts. “I have a date with a Greek god of a man that I don’t want to miss.”

  “As I was saying,” Avery resumes. “Your death was particularly traumatic and incapacitating. Even though you have no real physical body to speak of, subconsciously you’ve amended your soul body to match your physical body. Which means you have no legs to carry you to the afterlife. And that’s why we’re here,” Avery pulls out the dull brass badge from her pocket. “We’re dead soul collectors. Grim Reapers for souls who can’t or won’t find their way to the afterlife and that’s what we’re here to do: escort you to the afterlife. But before we do that, I just want to give you the opportunity to share with us any good-byes you wanted to make or see if there are any unresolved issues that we could help you with before we send you on your way.”

  “She keeps saying ‘we’,” Brooke says, trying to check out her butt in the reflection on the window. “But it’s all her. I have a date.”

  Paulie seems to have calmed down again so Avery removes her hand.

  “Unresolved issues?” he says. “I’ll give you unresolved issues. I’m dead over some stupid Indian clowns!” he shouts and his face turns bright red.

  “Okay then,” Avery says. “Right to the afterlife.”

  And then she slaps the cuffs on him.

  two

  The afterlife is an empty waiting room. Only that’s not quite true.

 
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