The Grave Series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Kensington Books
Date of Publication: January 19, 2015
Number of pages: Approx. 284
Word Count: Approx. 93,000
Cover Artist: Kensington Books
The past doesn’t like to play dead…
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 counterintelligence 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.
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 most women 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 spoke 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 whenever he got pissed off.
“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 Boulevard.
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 vague on 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-theft system. 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.
An uneasy silence fell between them. She darted a quick glance in his direction and saw the unwashed hostility darkening the blues of his eyes. The muscles along his jaw clenched and unclenched, his full lips pressed into a thin white line.
The light ahead switched from green to yellow. After checking for cops, she punched the gas to make it through the intersection before the yellow turned to red. “You know, I’m not happy about this either. The sooner we do whatever Samuel wants, the sooner we can go our separate ways.”
With a huff of annoyance, Dmitri rolled down the passenger side window and propped his arm on the sill. “Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
For once, they were in perfect agreement.
Character Name: Dmitri Stavitski
Character Bio: I was mortal, a long time ago, back when the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union brought mankind to the brink of annihilation. After my death at the hands of the Americans, I was given a chance to avoid damnation by working for Death as a reaper. Now I harvest the souls of the recently departed and send them to their proper destination. And even though I’m in charge of a unit of seven reapers, I prefer to work alone.
Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?
I’m loyal. Some might say it’s a good quality to possess. But since it led to my death, I beg to differ.
What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?
Knowledge is power, so the less people know about me, the better.
What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?
I’m a former spy. Do you honestly expect me to share my biggest secret?
What are you most afraid of?
I’ve been beaten, tortured, and stripped of my humanity. At this point, nothing frightens me.
What do you want more than anything?
Revenge. Against the wife who betrayed me, the people who tormented me, and the woman who ended my life.
What is your relationship status?
Single. I’d be a fool to let anyone get close enough to betray me again.
How would you describe your sense of fashion?
I don’t give a damn about fashion. I wear whatever’s comfortable and what allows me to blend in with my surroundings.
How much of a rebel are you?
In my book, rules are guidelines. I’ll do what it takes to get the job done, and if that means bending some rules and suffering the consequences, so be it.
What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?
I’m not at liberty to disclose that kind of information.
What is your idea of happiness?
A tall glass of vodka, a plate of blinchiki, and seeing my enemies crushed before me.
What is your current state of mind?
Determined to endure. I’m Russian. We’re used to hardship and hopeless situations. We bend, but we never break.
What is your most treasured possession?
In my line of work, it’s best to travel light. I have no treasured possessions, only treasured memories.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I never give up. Never. Once I set my mind to something, the devil himself cannot stop me.
What is it that you, most dislike?
Which living person do you, most despise?
That would be Gwen Peterson. Back when we both drew mortal breath, she worked as a counterintelligence officer for the FBI. We were sworn enemies then, and that sentiment hasn’t changed since we both died and became reapers.
What is your greatest regret?
Trusting the wrong person.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Strength. Integrity. Intelligence.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Strength. Integrity. Intelligence
Who is your favorite hero in fiction?
James Bond. His stories make me laugh.
Which living person do you most admire?
Vladimir Putin. It’s good to see a former KGB operative claw his way to the top, even though he could use to dial back on the shirtless horseback riding.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
What’s the point of the question? We are what we are. If I haven’t changed at this point, it’s not going to happen.
What is your motto?
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
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 novel, she joined the Romance Writers of America and Central Florida Romance Writers. Now she exercises the analytical half of her brain at her day job, and the creative half writing sensual paranormal romance. Grim reapers are her specialty, but she loves to write about all creatures of the night.