Posted by Darynda Jones Jul 10 2013, 12:01 am in Charley Davidson, Darynda Jones, Fifth Grave Past the Light, Reyes
Never underestimate the power of a woman
on a double espresso with a mocha latte chaser high.
Charley Davidson isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper. She’s more of a paranormal private eye/grim reaper extraordinaire. However, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. To further complicate matters, Reyes is her main suspect in an arson case. Charley has vowed to stay away from him until she can find out the truth…but then dead women start appearing in her apartment, one after another, each lost, confused, and terrified beyond reason. When it becomes apparent that her own sister, Gemma, is the serial killer’s next target Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes’ help. Arsonist or not, he’s the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return. Charley. All of her, body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay.
WOOHOO!!! Fifth Grave Past the Light has officially dropped!!!
Oops. Okay, sorry for the multiple exclamation points. I have such a blast writing about Charley and her antics that I kind of get caught up her world. Possibly a little too much. I get a little sassy when she’s in my head. A tad brazen, to which the server at Macho Taco can attest. In my own defense, anyone could have misinterpreted the question “Do you like it extra spicy?”
I’m telling you, it’s Charley’s fault. She’s infectious.
To prove my point, I thought I’d offer an excerpt, a snapshot from the life of a reaper who believes sarcasm should be made the official language of congressional sessions and divorce court. Not sure why.
Fifth Grave Past the Light
Ask me about life after death.
—T-shirt often seen on Charley Davidson,
a grim reaper with questionable morals
The dead guy at the end of the bar kept trying to buy me a drink.
Which figured. No one else was even taking a second look and I’d
dressed to the nines. Or, at the very least, the eight- and- a-halves.
But the truly disturbing part of my evening was the fact that my
mark, one Mr. Marvin Tidwell, blond real estate broker and suspected
adulterer, actually turned down the drink I’d tried to buy
Turned it down!
I felt violated.
I sat at the bar, sipping a margarita, lamenting the sad turn my life
had taken. Especially tonight. This case was not going as planned.
Maybe I wasn’t Marv’s type. It happened. But I was oozing interest.
And I wore makeup. And I had cleavage. Even with all that going for
me, this investigation was firmly wedged between the cracks of no and
where. At least I could tell my client, aka Mrs. Marvin Tidwell, that it
would seem her husband was not cheating on her. Not randomly,
anyway. The fact that he could’ve been meeting someone in par tic ular
kept me glued to my barstool.
“C-come here often?”
I looked over at the dead guy. He’d finally worked up the courage
to approach and I got a better view of him. I figured him for the runt
of the litter. He wore round- rimmed glasses and a tattered baseball
cap that sat backwards on top of muddy brown hair. Add to that a
faded blue T-shirt and loosely ripped jeans and he could’ve been a
skater, a computer geek, or a backwoods moonshiner.
His cause of death was not immediately apparent. No stab wounds
or gaping holes. No missing limbs or tire tracks across his face. He
didn’t even look like a drug addict, so I couldn’t tell why he’d died at
such a young age. Taking into account the fact that his baby- faced
features would make him look younger than he probably was, I estimated
him to be somewhere around my age when he’d passed.
He stood waiting for an answer. I thought “Come here often?”
was rhetorical, but okay. Not wanting to be perceived as talking to
myself in a room full of people, I responded by lifting one shoulder
in a halfhearted shrug.
Sadly, I did. Come here often. This was my dad’s bar, and while I
never set up stings here for fear of someone I knew blowing my
cover, this just happened to be the very same bar Mr. Tidwell frequented.
At least if it came to a knockdown drag- out, I might have
some backup. I knew most of the regulars and all of the employees.
Dead Guy glanced toward the kitchen, seeming nervous before he
refocused on me. I glanced that way as well. Saw a door.
“Y-you’re very shiny,” he said, drawing my attention back to him.
He had a stutter. Few things were more adorable than a grown
man with boyish features and a stutter. I stirred my margarita and
pasted on a fake smile. I couldn’t talk to him in a room full of living,
breathing patrons. Especially when one was named Jessica Guinn, to
my utter mortification. I hadn’t seen her fiery red hair since high
school but there she sat, a few seats down from me, surrounded by a
group of chattering socialites who looked almost as fake as her boobs.
But that could be my bitterness rearing its ugly head.
Unfortunately, my forced smile only encouraged Dead Guy.
“Y-you are. You’re like the s-sun reflecting off the chrome bumper of
a f-fifty- seven Chevy.”
He splayed his fingers in the air to demonstrate, and my heart was
gone. Damn it. He was like all those lost puppies I tried to save as a
child to no avail because I had an evil stepmother who believed all
stray dogs were rabid and would try to rip out her jugular. A fact that
had nothing to do with my desire to bring them into the house.
“Yeah,” I said under my breath, doing my best ventriloquist impersonation,
“I’m D-Duff ,” he said.
“I’m Charley.” I kept my hands wrapped around my drink lest he
decide we needed to shake. Not many things looked stranger to the
living world than a grown woman shaking air. You know those kids
with invisible friends? Well, I was one of those. Only I wasn’t a kid,
and my friends weren’t invisible. Not to me, anyway. And I could see
them because I’d been born the grim reaper, which was not as bad as
it sounded. I was basically a portal to heaven, and whenever someone
was stuck on Earth, having chosen not to cross over immediately after
death, they could cross to the other side through me. I was like a giant
bug light, only what I lured was already dead.
I pulled at my extra- tight sweater. “Is it just me, or is it really
warm in here?”
His baby blues shot toward the kitchen again. “Hot is m-more
like it. S-so, I— I couldn’t help but notice you t-tried to buy that guy
over there a drink.”
I let my fake smile go. Freed it like a captured bird. If it came back
to me, it would be mine. If not, it never was. “And?”
“You’re b-barking up the wrong tree with that one.”
Surprised, I put my drink down— the one I bought myself— and
leaned in a little closer. “He’s gay?”
Duff snorted. “N-no. But he’s been in here a lot lately. He l-likes
his women a little . . . l-looser.”
“Dude, how much sluttier can I get?” I indicated my attire with a
sweep of my hand.
“N-no, I mean, well, you’re a l-little—” He let his gaze travel the
length of me. “—t-tight.”
I gasped. “I look anal?”
He drew in a deep breath and tried again. “H-he only hits on
women who are more s-substantial than you.”
Oh, that wasn’t offensive at all. “I have depth. I’ve read Proust.
No, wait, that was Pooh. Winnie- the- Pooh. My bad.”
He shifted his non ex is tent weight, cleared his throat, and tried
again. “More v-voluptuous.”
“I have curves,” I said through a clenched jaw. “Have you seen
“Heavier!” he blurted out.
“I weigh— Oh, you mean he likes bigger women.”
“E-exactly, while I on the other hand—”
Duff ’s words faded into the background like elevator music. So
Marv liked big women. A new plan formed in the darkest, most corrupt
corners of Barbara. My brain.
Cookie, otherwise known as my receptionist during regular business
hours and my best friend 24/7, was perfect. She was large and in
charge. Or well, large and kind of bossy. I picked up my cell phone
and called her.
“This better be good,” she said.
“It is. I need your assistance.”
“I’m watching the first season of Prison Break.”
“Cookie, you’re my assistant. I need assistance. With a case. You
know those things we take on to make money?”
“Prison. Break. It’s about these brothers who—”
“I know what Prison Break is.”
“Then have you ever actually seen these boys? If you had, you
would not expect me to abandon them in their time of need. I think
there’s a shower scene coming up.”
“Do these brothers sign your paycheck?”
“No, but technically neither do you.”
Damn. She was right. It was much easier to just have her forge my
“I need you to come flirt with my mark.”
“Oh, okay. I can do that.”
Nice. The F-word always worked with her. I filled her in and told
her the deal with Tidwell, then ordered her to hurry over.
“And dress sexy,” I said right before hanging up. But I regretted
the sexy part instantly. The last time I told Cookie to dress sexy for a
much- needed girls’ night out on the town, she wore a lace- up corset,
fishnet stockings, and a feather boa. She looked like a dominatrix. I’d
never been the same.
See what I mean??? But while we’re on the subject, have you ever dressed as a dominatrix? Worn a feather boa? Fishnet stalkings? All anecdotes welcome.
Fifth Grave Past the Light is available everywhere! Click here to get your copy of the latest in this New York Times bestselling series at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Thanks for stopping by!
Posted by June Love Oct 30 2012, 12:01 am in Charley series, Darynda Jones, new releases, Ruby Release
FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET IS HERE!
I have both the honor and privilege of hosting the celebration for the latest installment of the Charley series, which is authored by the lovely and talented Ruby sister, Darynda Jones.
This book is the fourth, and yes, I do like stating the obvious, book in the Charley series. It follows FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT, SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT, and THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD. If you’ve never read any of the Charley series, then I’m sorry for you because you’ve missed a boatload of laughter, romance, and entertaining relationships.
I must admit I’ve been concerned about Charley. Seriously. After what she went through in THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD, who wouldn’t be? Right? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to read the book.) I’m not only talking about her physical well-being, but also about how she’s dealing with the men in her life. Her father’s betrayal was bad enough, but Reyes? So heartbreaking. How will he ever redeem himself? How will she ever forgive him? And, then there’s Garrett. I want to know how he’s coping. And, I’m excited about Artemis. You gotta love Artemis.
In case you don’t know anything about Charley, (seriously, after reading and commenting on this blog, get the series and read it) I’ll introduce you. Charley is the Grim Reaper. Yeah. Really. She is. And, she’s a damn good one. She’s also a great juggler. Look at her relationships. They run from borderline psychotic to one with a devotion so intense it transcends the corporeal world. Speaking of corporeal, Reyes is so hot. I’m not saying that just because he’s the son of Satan. Although, he is. As in, he grew up in Hell. But, I digress. We were talking about the release of FOURTH GRAVE. You know I just realized Charley’s ADD could be why I like her so much. Not that I’m ADD or anything like that.
Now, where was I? Oh yeah. The interview. I decided since Charley was recuperating, I wouldn’t bother her with a bunch of questions. (If you’re wondering why she’s recuperating, then <sigh> read the series.) Instead, I decided to interview the men in her life. Although, I’ll have to admit some weren’t very cooperative. Far be it from me to be petty and mention names, but like father, like son comes to mind. Anyway, I gave it my best shot.
Me: LELAND, as Charley’s dad you’ve known about her gift for years. When she was only a child, you used her to help you solve cases for the APD. Now that you’ve retired from the force and your little girl is grown, you’re not too happy with her career choice as a private detective. Seriously, dad, what did you expect her to do with her life? Yes, it’s dangerous. Yes, she’s had her share of bruises. However, let’s not forget you almost got her killed when you painted a target on her back and sent a parolee her way. That was all on you, Daddy Dearest. We know you love and care for her, but trying to have her arrested and her license revoked wasn’t cool. A parent will do whatever to protect their children, but seriously, what were you thinking? Without giving us any spoilers, can you give us a hint if you’ll work to repair your relationship with your daughter, or if you still think you did the right thing?
Leland: I agree and couldn’t be more saddened by my own behavior. Would it help to know that I had my reasons? One actually. And it’s a pretty good one. Without explaining completely, I will say that I just wanted to make sure she would be okay if anything were to happen to me. I wanted her out of that business (yes, the business I practically forced her into) and I just didn’t know what else to do. Charley is stubborn. I knew that if she was arrested and convicted of a crime, she couldn’t be a licensed PI. So I went about trying to get her to quit the wrong way. I am trying to make amends. Not an easy thing with my daughter, but I am trying.
Me: UNCLE BOB, as an APD detective, like your brother, you call upon your niece to help you solve cases. The difference is you respect what she does, and you don’t coddle her. You’re more aware of the extent of her gift than her father is. I know you were upset with your brother for the stunt he pulled in the hospital. However, let’s face it, Charley is the Lucy Ricardo of detectives. If it’s going to happen, you can rest assured it will happen to Charley. How do you deal with her on-the-job pain and suffering while using her as her dad did?
Uncle Bob: The way I see it, Charley is going to do what Charley wants to do. I worry about her, especially after what she’s gone through. But she has this way of pulling through the most life-threatening situations virtually unscathed. At least until recently. And her gifts have saved countless lives. I do call upon her but she does the same with me. I see our relationship as mutually beneficial. She helps me solve cases and I come to her aid in legal situations. It works out well, albeit more for me than her. And I not only respect her but am in awe of her. While I would love to know what she isn’t telling me, the whole story of who and what she is, part of that respect is recognizing her right to privacy. I figure she’ll tell me when she’s ready.
Me: GARRETT, you’ve come a long way, baby. When you were first told about Charley’s gift, you tormented her. You really were an S.O.B. Yet, underneath all that closed-minded derision, you were like a schoolboy afraid to let a girl know he likes her. Between coming to terms with her being the Grim Reaper and having to deal with her obsession over Reyes, you still toyed with relationship thoughts. You still adored her. Above all, you still had her back. Oh, how I love a man who has a woman’s back. Things drastically changed in THIRD GRAVE. You saw first-hand her Grim Reaper capabilities. Heck, you even saw Mr. Wong. With this huge insight into Charley’s world, how will this change your relationship with her?
Garrett: That is a very loaded question, one that even I can’t answer. I saw a lot more than Charley as the grim reaper. I saw a lot more about this love interest of hers. Of what he’s capable of. Of what he was sent to do. I am still coming to terms with everything I’ve seen and learned, but I will say one thing: If Reyes Farrow thinks he will use Charley in the way that his father wishes, he will die knowing otherwise. <Interviewer’s comment: See? What did I tell you? He has her back.>
Me: REYES, aaah Rey’aziel. Son of Satan. Where do I begin? I know you love Charley. I mean, you defied your heritage and took on a human form just to be with her. Maybe things didn’t turn out exactly as you’d planned, and yes, maybe she did bind you for all eternity, but in spite of all that, you love her. I know it. You know it. Yet, you don’t trust her. In fact, your distrust brought her a pain that no one should have to bear. Why was it so difficult for you to trust her? That is something that has me baffled. And, don’t give me some cop out by saying it was because she bound you. Son of Satan or not, that won’t fly, buddy. Oh, and notice I let you off the hook by not asking how you plan to woo yourself back into her heart. You just better be sure you do.
Reyes: I’m surprised you’d talk to me in such a way knowing what you know, but I’ll let it slide for now. You seem to have Charley’s best interest at heart, something we have in common. Trust does not come easily for me. Her binding me did affect my perception of her, but not in the way that you think. I thought she knew what she was capable of, what she could do to me with the slightest wish. She didn’t. She still doesn’t realize her true potential, but at the time I was afraid she did. Or would soon. And I had that one blinding goal driving me, to find the man who sent me to prison, to prove my innocence, to sever his spine. I was afraid she would stop me. She is the only one who could. I’m not out to woo myself back into her heart. I have ruined that and I know it. But I am out to keep her alive. To keep her safe from others like me, others from my world. She may not like it, but when she sees what has come after her now, she won’t have a choice. And if she just happens to end up in my arms in the process, if my mouth just happens to find hers, then that just makes my job all the more pleasurable, because while I want her safe, I want her just a little bit more. <Interviewer’s comment: Fanning self…and that’s why I LOVE Reyes.>
How do you feel about the men in Charley’s life? Aside from Charley, who is your favorite character in this series?
One lucky non-Ruby commenter will be placed in a drawing for an autographed copy of FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a RITA®, and a Daphne du Maurier. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.