I am very excited about my new release of the long awaited sequel to THE GRIM LIFE.
THE WOUNDED HEART is now available!
Readers will finally get to learn what special destiny teenage grim reapers Max and Kody have in store. THE WOUNDED HEART is as emotional and as angsty at the first book in the series, but with one real difference. When a couple first meets all the wonderful “first times” make it so incredibly romantic, but in THE WOUNDED HEART reality sets in for these two young men. They must learn to trust each other, deal with family issues, jealousy, secrets and danger. They also have to learn that dying didn’t change either of them, and all of the issues they had while alive haven’t necessarily gone away.
And they have to do it all with the threat of evil wraiths threatening them and their human charges Kody and Max are supposed to deliver to heaven.
Enjoy this excerpt where Max and Kody have a meeting with their boss, the rough edged angel, Slade.
If you haven’t started the series. THE GRIM LIFE is FREE on #kindleunlimited. Get your copy of THE WOUNDED HEART today!
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THE WOUNDED HEART:
Teenage reapers Max and Kody thought they were settling into their afterlife, delivering souls to be with God in heaven. Until their boss, the mysterious Slade, tells them that spirits stuck in limbo have taken an interest in Kody.
And the spirits’ evil counterparts—the wraiths—aren’t that far behind.
Max would be livid if he found out Kody was still checking up on his family, but Kody’s sister Britany is struggling, her heart broken. She blames their mother, religion, and God for her brother’s death. Though it breaks all the reaper rules and may put him in danger, Kody wants to help heal her spirit before she’s lost forever. Unfortunately, the wraiths have found a doorway to the land of the living, bringing death and destruction with them. Max and Kody hope to stop them before anyone gets hurt, but they may not be strong enough.
Through devastating losses, an ominous prophecy, and a heavenly destiny revealed, Max and Kody must find a way to trust and accept each other if they ever want to heal the wounds of their past. Their enemies are powerful, but there’s a single force they cannot stand against—love.
“Let’s talk about your first crossover, Kody.” A file appeared in Slade’s hand out of nowhere. He opened it and perused the first page, muttering, “What was his name again?”
“Louie,” Max and I said at the same time, glancing each other. “Jinx!” we both called, then laughed.
Slade ignored our laughter. “How did it go?”
He addressed me, so I answered. “It was great actually. He was a little cranky, but he was ready to go and came with us pretty easy.” My eyes misted for a moment, and I quickly brushed at them with the back of my hand. “He was really happy to see his wife again. I’ll never forget it.” I’d only caught a glimpse of his wife in the distant light, but the joy on his face had been so beautiful.
Slade continued to study me, those gray eyes like microscopes, peering right into me.
Considering how Max and I met, any emotional attachment to my first assignment might not be the best thing to present to Slade. The three biggest rules to being a reaper had been drilled into my brain during my training:
Do not interfere.
Do not get attached.
Do not tell a charge anything they do not need to know.
In other words, keep it professional. It seemed more attention was paid in teaching reapers to be cold and impersonal than compassionate, which bothered me, though I hadn’t voiced the irritation. I wanted to be kind to my charges, even if that wasn’t necessarily in the job description. I never wanted to forget they were people too, with real fears and emotions that could not be ignored. If Max had seen me as nothing but an assignment, then I would be just another shade lost in limbo.
I shivered thinking about that awful place.
“Empathy is a good quality, Kody,” Slade said, still studying me. “But you need to be careful. You feel things more strongly than others. Your empathy is both your greatest gift and your greatest weakness.”
Confused, I tilted my head. Wasn’t compassion and connecting with someone else’s situation or feelings a good thing?
Even as a small boy, I’d always tried to put myself in other people’s shoes, longing for everyone around me to be happy. When I saw kids being bullied at school, I made a point to be nice to them and include them in my prayers. I would get so distraught when a picture of animal abuse popped up in my newsfeed on Facebook that I’d be upset for hours, unable to get the image out of my mind and wishing I could do something. Hearing my friend from Camp Purity, Cody with a C, weeping at night had torn at my heart. Even though I’d been punished for holding him while he cried because the brothers thought I was trying to have sex with him, I would never regret my actions. He’d needed that comfort.
Did all of that mean I felt things stronger than other people?
Mom always told me I needed to stop being so tenderhearted and it used to upset me because I thought it was just one of her euphemisms for being gay and effeminate or something. But maybe that’s not what she meant at all.
I did wear my heart on my sleeve, but I couldn’t just switch off my feelings.
I glanced at Max, and he smiled as if in agreement with Slade’s assessment of me.
Ashamed, I quickly turned away from the tender, proud twinkle in his eyes. I felt terrible for keeping secrets from him.
“You can tell him later. It’ll be okay,” Slade assured me in my head, making me jump. Aloud he said, “You showed kindness and empathy with your second crossover too.”
“He did,” Max said, beaming at me and making the guilt worsen. “And you should see how easy it is for him. He even made a door like Heather and Meegan do.”
It hadn’t been all that easy.
I was still tired.
Slade’s brows shot up. “Did they teach you how to make a door?”
“Um, no,” I began, hesitating because Slade looked more than curious. “I thought Jeremy needed something tangible. He’s an engineer, they like that kinda stuff… right?”
“Yes, I suppose so,” Slade said.
Feeling small under his all-knowing gaze, I studied my ring again, spinning it.
When he finally turned away, the pressure of his gaze departed like a physical weight. I looked up and found Max the new recipient of that stare.
“You did a great job training Kody to be a reaper these last three months, and you executed your first two crossovers beautifully. Better than I expected actually.”
He smiled at us and I couldn’t stop the swell of pride. Maybe I was a better reaper than I thought.
“That being said,” he went on. “You’re not ready for more than one crossover a day, Kody.”
“Why not? The others take care of more,” I protested, not liking the idea of being odd man out, different once again from my fellow reapers.
Slade gave me a wry smirk.
Did he know how drained I still was after Jeremy’s crossover?
Who was I kidding?
Of course he did.
Slade must think I’m the worst reaper ever.
“I don’t. Trust me, you’ll get there soon enough,” Slade assured me. “But for now, just one a day. And I want the two of you to keep working as a team.”
Max grinned, obviously liking the idea, but the news only upset me further. Fighting back my emotions, I forced a smile for Max. What if the rest of the crew thought I couldn’t hack it as a reaper? As much fun as it would be to spend all day with Max, I didn’t need a babysitter.
“Did you encounter any shades or wraiths when you were in the human realm?” Slade asked, oblivious to my disappointment. Or ignoring it, who knew?
“Nope,” Max answered.
Slade arched his brows. “Now you wouldn’t be keeping anything from me, would you?”
“Do you think we saw wraiths and just decided not to tell you?”
“I know you’re telling the truth,” he said with a smug grin. “I was just seeing if you were gonna lie to my face or not.”
“Not cool,” he muttered and Slade chuckled.
“Well, you’re probably going to start seeing them soon enough,” he told us bluntly. “I can’t always send you on safe cases during the day.”
My stomach twisted, but Max sat up straighter. He might be physically and visually younger than me, but he was a lot wiser. He always had a tendency to pick up on the things Slade left hanging between the lines. “Wraiths can only come out at night?”
“No,” he said with a sigh. “Not necessarily. But they are more active at night. Being a black entity, it’s easier to hide in the shadows. Make sense?”
We nodded, absorbing the information. Piercing gray eyes surveyed us. “On the other hand, shades are leaving limbo and wandering this realm constantly, day and night. And I can’t keep them away from you much longer.”
“What do they want?” Max asked.
Slade turned his gaze on me, chilling my undead body to the proverbial bone. “They’re looking for Kody.”
K.D. Worth has always considered herself to have the heart of a teenager with an old soul. When not talking to the characters living in her head, she loves to hang out at her favorite townie bar, then go dancing and partying with her husband and friends. There is always music playing in her home, and if it’s too loud, you’re too old! On the flip side, K.D. enjoys spending time in her vegetable garden, canning the food she grows, and making homemade jams and jellies. She also is known to crochet washcloths and blankets for her closest friends and smiles when they tease her for her “grandmotherly” ways. These two different sides to her personality create a layered tapestry of life experience that brings depth and believability to the characters she writes. She loves to hear from her fans almost as much as she loves her cocker spaniels. You can find her on Facebook or get updates about upcoming books on her website.
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