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Death Times Two

By´╝ÜBoone Brux

Chapter One

I stare at Constantine, certain I heard him wrong. “What do you mean I have to do this reap alone?”
He continues to scan the green blips on the radar. I still haven’t gotten used to the idea that those dots are people who are about to die. “Nate is on another assignment and this reap needs to get done—ASAP.”
Reaping, that’s my job. I’m an Angel of Death, a grim reaper of idiotic spirits for GRS, Grim Reaper Services. People who die in stupid ways are my clients. Lucky me. Nate, my partner, reaps violent criminals. Way more impressive than my job, and more dangerous. Admittedly, I’ve grown to depend on Nate and the thought of doing an important reap on my own is daunting. “Where am I going?”
“North of Fairbanks, near Coldfoot.” Constantine straightens and looks at me. “These are...special clients. I’m trusting you’ll get this done quickly and quietly.”
“Special? As in particularly stupid?”
“Far from it.” He steps past me and heads toward a desk. “The inn you’ll be traveling to is owned by a friend of mine.” He tears off a sheet of paper from a small tablet and hands it to me. “Finesse and discretion are mandatory.”
I give an unladylike snort. “I’m sorry, have we met? Finesse is not my greatest skill.”
He places his hands on my shoulders and slowly rubs. Sparks of electricity shoot down my arms. “I have faith in you, Lisa.” My heartbeat quickens. I’ll admit I’ve imagined Constantine and me in a few hot and heavy positions, but I’ve never told anyone. Not even my best friend Vella. There are two problems with my fantasy about Constantine. First, I’m not sure he’s human. Secondly, if he’s not, getting jiggy with him might be like supernatural crack. What if he ruins me for other men? It’s not a chance I want to take. Plus, he’s never offered.
A sigh slips from me and my shoulders slump. “I’m not getting out of this, am I?”
He lowers his hands. “Nope.”
I look at the paper. “The V V Inn. Never heard of it.”
“It’s very upscale. Only the most elite clientele stay there,” he says.
I’ve lived in Alaska all my life. There are a lot of expensive remote lodges that serve the wealthy, but I’m surprised I’ve never heard of this one. Not even a mention. “When do I leave?”
Constantine hands me another sheet of paper. “In three hours.”
My mouth drops open when I look at the electronic ticket and charter flight information. I give a huff of protest. “I’ve got to make arrangements for the kids. I can’t just drop everything.”
My argument falls on deaf ears. Constantine stares at me with his beautiful, but unwavering, silver eyes. “You’ll figure it out.”
When I agreed to be a grim reaper they told me there would be village travel. But I didn’t think I’d be venturing out so soon—and so alone. “I’ll see if my mom can watch the kids.” I fold the flight information and shove the paper into my pocket. “I got this.”
He gives me a soft punch in the arm like we’re buddies. “I knew you’d come through for me, Carron.”
“Yeah,” I grumble. “That’s me—reliable.”
With only three hours until my flight I walk to the elevator, the list of things I need to do already swirling in my mind.
I glance back at Constantine.
“Remember, discretion.”
My brow furrows. “Yeah, I got it.”
What does he think? I’m going to tell my mom I have souls to reap so I’ll need her to watch my kids? Hardly. When my parents found out I took the plunge and got a job at GRS after my husband died, they weren’t all that thrilled. What would they say if I told them I was actually an angel of death and not a case manager at an employment agency? Either I’d be medicated and committed, or my mother would be. Lying by omission was the best course of action.
On the way home I call Vella and make arrangements for the kids. I also pull into a convenience store and buy some junk food. It’s a guilt purchase. Yes, I’m not above bribing my kids into compliance.
By noon I’m sitting on the jet, trying to relax. For some reason this job doesn’t feel right. Why such a rush? Why me? And who are these special clients? I hate not knowing what I’m getting into. Hopefully Constantine’s request for discretion is because the spirit is rich or famous. Maybe I’ll be reaping a sheik or a movie star. My mind delves into all sorts of possibilities. Maybe I’ll be reaping Elvis. Now that would be cool.
The flight to Fairbanks is uneventful. The airport is packed from all the tourists and I have a hard time locating the charter service I’m to take to the inn. I stare at a small glassed-in kiosk in the far corner. There’s no discernible marking to indicate this is the company I’m to use, or that it’s a charter service at all. But from the vague directions on my instructions this has to be the place.