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If one door closes and another one opens,
your house is probably haunted.
As a Part-time PI and fulltime grim reaper, Charley Davidson has asked a lot of questions throughout her life: Why can I see dead people? Who is the hot supernatural entity following me? How do I get gum out of my sister’s hair before she wakes up? But, “How do I trap not one malevolent god, but three?” was never among them. Until now. And since those gods are on earth to kill her daughter, she has little choice but to track them down, trap them, and cast them from this dimension.
There’s just one problem. One of the three stole her heart a very long time ago. Can the Razer, a god of absolute death and destruction, change his omniscient spots, or will his allegiances lie with his brothers?
Those are just a few of the questions Charley must answer, and quick. Add to that a homeless girl running for her life, an innocent man who’s been charged with murdering the daughter of a degenerate gambler, and a pendant made from god glass that has the entire supernatural world in an uproar, and Charley has her hands full. If she can manage to take care of the whole world-destroying-gods thing, we’re saved. If not, well…
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The Curse of Tenth Grave
By Darynda Jones
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Darynda Jones
All rights reserved.
Maybe she's born with it.
Maybe it's caffeine.
Ignoring the dead girl standing next to me, I crossed my bare feet on the cool windowsill, took a sip of piping-hot coffee, and watched the emerging sunrise from my third-story apartment window. A soft yellow scaled the horizon and stretched across it like tendrils of food coloring suspended in water. Ribbons of pinks and oranges and purples quickly followed, the symphony a slow, exquisite seduction of the senses. Or it could have been if there weren't a dead girl standing next to me.
She jutted out a tiny hip, anchored a fist onto it, and let loose a lengthy sigh of annoyance for my benefit. I continued to ignore her. There were few things in life more irritating than other people's children. Hell, perhaps. Been there, done that. But for the moment, the only thing complicating an otherwise serene morning was a tiny blond-haired, blue-eyed beast in Strawberry Shortcake pajamas.
"Are you going to read it to me or not?" she asked, referring to our recent ventures into Harry Potter land.
I stopped what I was doing, which was basically trying not to drool into my cup. As a master mixologist, I felt the need to experiment from time to time on my morning elixir. To liven it up. To create new concoctions of greatness to which others could only aspire. This morning, however, I'd done good just to push the right button on Mr. Coffee. At least I think I pushed the right button. I could have started a nuclear war, for all I knew.
"I've already read it to you 7,843 times."
She pursed her bowlike lips, causing dimples to emerge on either side of her mouth. But these weren't happy dimples. They were dimples of disappointment. Dimples of frustration and irritation and fury.
I hung my head in shame.
I turned back toward the window and ignored her.
"You've read it twice."
"Which is two times too many in my book," I said, focusing on the spectacular display before me, realizing that, to the everyday passerby, my apathy toward the tiny creature might've seemed cold. Aloof. Cruel, even. But I'd just come from an all-night stakeout that involved a woman, a.k.a. my client, who swore that her husband was sneaking out at night and meeting his personal assistant for some very personal assistance. She wanted proof.
After showering, the only thing I wanted was to drink the key to life itself, enjoy the colors bursting before me, and figure out how to tell my client that her husband was not cheating on her with his personal assistant. He was cheating on her, in a sense, with the college kids who rented out their above-garage apartment. He snuck out to play video games and enjoy a little plant-based medicinal stress relief. After getting to know his wife, I could hardly blame him. She turned high maintenance into an extreme sport.
Now I just had to figure out how to tell her what her husband was up to. Even though there was nothing sexual about her husband's exploits, a woman like that would still feel betrayed. If, however, I could put just the right spin on it, I could lessen the sting when I gave her the news. So, instead of my original plan of saying, "Your husband is escaping you for a few blissful hours of recreation because you are cra-cra and he needs a break," I figured I could say something like, "Your husband is sneaking out to tutor the struggling college kids who rent out your apartment. He counsels them on how to stay focused no matter what life throws at them (or who throws it), advises them on how to shake off a bad day (or a bad marriage) and push through. He even cautions them about the dangers of illegal drug use."
Yeah. I nodded my head, quite proud of myself. That's the ticket. By the time I was finished with her, she'd see her husband as a paladin of the pawn. A defender of the downtrodden. A savior of the suffering.
I took another sip, ignored yet another sigh coming from the irreverent beast beside me, and let myself slip. Just a little. Just enough to see the other side. The supernatural one. Because there was nothing more spectacular than watching the sunrise in the mortal world, the tangible one, from the vantage of the immortal world. One seemed to affect the other. The raging, powerful storms of the supernatural realm grew even more vibrant. Even more brilliant. As though somehow our sunlight spilled into the domain of the preternatural.
Made sense. Preternatural inhabitants tended to spill into our world as well. On occasion.
The marvel that I could shift from one realm to the other was not lost on me. For a month, I'd lived on the crux between the two worlds, having no idea I could control where I stood in each.
In my own defense, I had amnesia at the time. Had no idea who I was. What I was. The fact that I was a god from another dimension who'd volunteered to be the angel of death in this one, to be its grim reaper, was the furthest thing from my imaginings, and even as an amnesiac, I was pretty darned imaginative.
Now that I had all my memories back — both good and bad — I saw my mission as a celestial version of the Peace Corps. Volunteer work for the good of another people and, in turn, for the good of all.
That was a week ago. I'd been back in Albuquerque a week. I'd had my memories back for a week. And still I felt disoriented. Unbalanced. Like a Weeble that wobbled but wouldn't fall down. That couldn't fall down. I had too much to do.
My best-friend-slash-receptionist, Cookie, was worried. I could tell. She put on a happy face every time I walked into her office or strolled into her apartment unannounced, an action my uncle Bob, a.k.a. her new husband, did not appreciate. But one of the advantages — or disadvantages, depending on one's point of view — of being from the supernatural side of things was that I could feel others' emotions. And I could feel the worry that ate at her every time she looked at me.
She was right. I hadn't quite been the same since I got back, but for good reason. Three, actually. Three main ones, anyway.
First, my daughter had been taken from me when she was barely two days old. It was for the best. To keep her safe, we had no choice but to send her away. But that didn't make it any easier. Probably because the fault lay at my feet and my feet alone.
I was apparently made of this bright-ass light that lured the departed, those who did not cross when they died, to me. Cool beans, right? I'd always considered the light a pretty nifty side effect of being grim. But that was before I had a child who was destined to defeat Satan and save the world. Now that same light worked only to lead our vast and powerful enemies straight to me. And in turn, straight to my daughter.
Thus, it wasn't so much that we had to send Beep away to be safe. It was more that we had to send her away from me to be safe. Her mother. Her matriarch. The woman who bore her. At the bottom of a well, no less. Long story. So the torment of heartbreak I felt was a constant weight on my chest and, unfortunately, my mood.
Second, in an attempt to restore my memories, my departed father crossed through me. When people cross, their lives flash in my mind. When my father crossed, I was flooded with memories of myself through his eyes. I saw the love he felt every time he looked at my sister and me. I felt the pride that swelled his heart to twice its normal size. But as wonderful and surreal and life affirming as all that was, I'd still lost him. He was now safely tucked on the other side of this dimension, a realm to which I had no access. None that I knew of, anyway.
But his crossing was only the predecessor of the second reason for my melancholy state. When my father's life flashed in my mind, he also made sure I saw what he'd learned since he died. In an instant, I learned secrets of an underworld I never knew existed. Spies and traitors. Anarchists and heretics. Alliances lost and nations won. And wars. A thousand wars that spanned a million years. But the most salient thing he wanted me to see was the fact that Reyes — my husband, my soul mate, and Beep's father — was a god as well.
But not just any god. He was one of the three gods of Uzan. Three brothers who knew only death and destruction. Who devoured millions. Who ate worlds like others ate corn chips. Worse, he was considered the most dangerous of the three, the most bloodthirsty, before Satan tricked him, trapped him, and used the god's energy to create his son, Rey'aziel. Otherwise known as Reyes Alexander Farrow.
So my husband was a god — an evil god — who'd destroyed worlds and obliterated life wherever he went. Who was known across a thousand dimensions as the Razer. And I was married to him.
But there was still so much I didn't understand. I'd had no idea I was a god. Not really. Not until I learned my celestial name. When that happened, all the memories I had as a god came rushing back to me. I wasn't supposed to learn my celestial name until my earthly body passed. Until I died and took up my reapery duties. But an unfortunate series of events forced a friend to whisper my name into my ear. Now I had the power of creation itself at my fingertips and only an inkling of what to do with it or how to control it, a fact that set Jehovah, the God of this dimension, a little on edge. This according to His archangel Michael.
Michael and I don't really get along. He tried to kill me once. I refuse to be friends with anyone who's tried to kill me.
But Reyes has heard his celestial name. He's even met the other two brothers. Was lent out by his father to fight with them side by side during a particularly nasty war between two realms. Does he know he is a god? Does he know the most important ingredient his father used while creating him, the one that made him so powerful, was a god? Even if he doesn't, how much of the god Razer controls Reyes's actions? How much of him is god? Demon? Human?
In a nutshell, is he good or evil?
All evidence would point to the latter. It was hardly his fault. He was forged in the fires of sin and damnation. Did that affect him? Did the evil that forever burned in his home dimension leach into him as he grew up? As he fought to survive the cruelties of being raised in hell by a bitter fallen angel? As he rose through the ranks to become a general in his father's army? To command legions of demons? To lead them into war and sacrifice?
After all this time, after everything we have been through, I thought I knew my husband. Now I wasn't so sure.
One thing I was sure of was the fact that I needed to learn his true godly name. It couldn't be Razer. That term had to be an interpretation of his true name. Or perhaps a nickname. If I knew Reyes's godly name, I could do what Satan did. I could trap him, if need be, in the god glass I kept with me always.
I shifted back onto this plane, patted the pendant in my sweats pocket, and turned to the girl beside me. The one who clearly had no intention of leaving.
After forcing my biggest and brightest fake smile, the one made of irritation and paint remover, I asked, "Why don't you have Rocket read it to you?"
Rocket was a mutual friend who'd died in a mental asylum in the fifties. He was also a savant who knew that names of every human being on Earth who'd lived and died. Ever. Strawberry crashed with him and his sister, Blue, though I'm not sure the departed actually sleep. I hadn't seen Rocket in weeks, and his place was first on my list of places to hit for the day, now that my one and only case was almost over.
Strawberry crossed her arms over her chest. "He can't read it to me."
I was expecting her to say, "Because he's dead, and he can't turn the pages." What I got was, "Because he can't read."
I finally leveled a semi-interested gaze on her. "What do you mean, 'he can't read'? He writes the names of the departed all over the walls."
That was his main gig. Rocket scratched thousands and thousands of names into the walls of the abandoned asylum, all day, every day. It was fascinating to watch. For about five minutes, at which point my ADHD kicked in, and I'd suddenly have places to be and people to see.
She rolled her eyes. "Of course he can write names. Duh. It's his job. Doesn't mean he can read them."
That made about as much sense as reality TV.
"They aren't there for him to read, anyway," she added as she picked at the sleeve of my T-shirt that read MY BRAIN HAS TOO MANY TABS OPEN. "They're for her."
As intrigued as I should've been, intrigue was not as intriguing as one might imagine at six o'clock in the morning. Especially after pulling an all-nighter. I took another sip. Studied the steam rising out of the cup like a lover. Wondered if I should use my powers over the next twenty-four hours for good or evil. Evil would be more fun.
Finally, with the patience of a saint on Xanax, I asked, "For who, hon?"
Her large irises bounced back to mine. "For who what?"
I shifted toward her. "What?"
"What did you say?"
"For who what?"
I fought the urge to grind my teeth into dust and asked, "If not for Rocket, for who — whom — are they written?"
She pursed her lips and went back to lacing tendrils of my hair into her tiny fingers. "For whom is what written?"
I'd lost her. And I suddenly had a raging desire to sell her on the black market. It would do me little good, though. Poor thing drowned when she was nine. Not many on Earth could see her. My luck I'd have to take her back and give the buyer a refund. Then I'd have to mark the perv's soul for hell for trying to buy a child on the black market. Seriously, what the fuck?
I took another sip for strength and then explained as simply as I could. "The names Rocket writes on the walls of the asylum. If he can't read them, who are they for?"
"Oh, those!" Suddenly excited, she tried to disentangle her fingers and took half my scalp with her. She spread her arms like wings and began running in circles around the apartment making engine sounds. No idea why. "Those are for Beep."
I paused mid-scalp-rub. "Beep?" A tingling sensation racing over my skin. "My Beep?"
She stopped just long enough to shoot me a look of exasperation before flying around the apartment again. Not literally. "How many Beeps do you know?"
I blinked at her for a solid minute with my mouth slightly agape. Drool slipped from one corner as I tried to wrap my head around what she'd just said. If only I had more brain cells at 6 A.M. They didn't even begin to amass until around 7:12, and the all-nighter didn't help.
As I sat pondering Strawberry's statement, the son of Satan walked in from our bedroom wearing only a gray pair of pajama bottoms and a sleep-deprived expression. The bottoms rode low on his lean hips. The expression darkened an already dark face. Black hair sat at charmingly unnatural angles. Thick lashes hooded sparkling brown irises. The boy defined the popular phrase sex on a stick.
But I had to remember what he was. It was bad enough that his father was public enemy number one, but to be an evil god from another dimension? That was a lot of evil to pack into one body, no matter how succulent.
I should have guessed long ago that he was more than met the eye. Even barely awake he had a powerful stride. Sleek. Graceful. Like that of a big cat. I slipped into the outer edge of the supernatural realm and saw the darkness billowing out of him like a cloak to cascade over his shoulders. To wash down his back. To pool at his bare feet.
The fire that bathed him in yellows and oranges and blues licked over his smooth skin like a layer of sin. It dipped between the valleys of hard muscle. Shifted with every move he made. As though it were as alive as he.
Strawberry noticed none of that. Her harried little mind, like her body, spun in circles as though she hadn't just dropped a bombshell on me. Why would those names be meant for Beep? It made no sense.
"What do you mean, hon?" I asked her, suppressing a giggle when Reyes spotted the little beast coming in for a landing near his rubber tree plant. It wasn't like she could actually knock it over.
Instead of answers, I got, "I love cotton candy. I'd marry it if I could." She swooped in for a landing, taxied just long enough to catch a second wind, then took off again. "I can smell it sometimes. There was a house on fire once, but I couldn't smell it. I can't smell perfume or paste or oranges, but I can smell cotton candy. Only sometimes, though. All pink and fluffy. Do you like cotton candy?"
I'd been busy watching my husband head for the kitchen, trying not to let the soft grin he tossed me ease the turmoil roiling inside me.
"Cotton candy daiquiris," I said, unable to take my eyes off him.
Excerpted from The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones. Copyright © 2016 Darynda Jones. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Awesome can't wait till next one comes out .
Love it, favorite series of books. Can't wait for the next one
I loved every minute of the book... I swear I spent the entire book trying to figure out who did what before Charley did! ;) Already dying for the next book in the series!!
This series always leaves me wanting more
Cant wait for the next one!!!!!!!!
I absolutely love this series! Darynda Jones writes one hell of a story.
Absolutely loved this book. I have enjoyed the entire series and this was just icing on the cake. Charley always manages to get herself in a lot of things all at once. Reyes is usually there to help out but not so much this time. They had their own problems to deal with. The storyline was entertaining from the beginning to the end. And how can you not love all the characters? Just a great series that the author just keeps pushing with great success. Highly recommend this series.
Such great characters in an amazingly unique story. Love Charleys snarky attitude
To all those who said I could not do it I say "Hah!!!" I forced myself to NOT read it in one sitting. (Almost impossible - but I was DISCIPLINED - and my eyes were playing up - but that's besides the point!) This was not another rehash of the previous books. The story claimed new dimensions and highlighted new characters. Although, I must say I love what the future holds for a major recurring character. (Not telling) Also, a bit nervous about someone new (Or old....depends on how you look at it) that she seems to be getting ready to pick a fight with. Totally deserved...but EEK! Loved, loved, loved the whole book.
Whoooo Hoooo Charlie is back... and I am thrilled.... I absolutely LOVE Charlie and the gang...... I think that we are moving forward and getting some answers.... There are a whole new set of questions but that's what keeps us coming back for more... The fact the Reyes and Charlie actually sat down and talked all night long, well talked and other things... Shows the growth in these characters.... Reyes has always been closed off, and kept most things close to the vest.... They still have their secrets.... But they are making so much progress.... I can't wait until book 11 is released....
I think this series gets better and better as it goes!!!
The Curse of Tenth Grave is another gem in the Charley Davidson saga! Darynda Jones will take readers to new exciting heights. Charley and Reyes sizzle off the pages with both their passionate and gut wrenching moments. Once again you think you know, but you have no idea. Darynda Jones will pull the rug out from under you. Chances are you will never see it coming. Filled to the brim with intoxicating descriptions, narratives, action, and mystery, The Curse of Tenth Grave will keep you on the edge and up all night. Charley and Cookie are off the hook. Their friendship shines and allows readers to experience the bond of friendship right along with them. Oh, and did I mention there are ghosts, demons, and gods for your reading pleasure? For every question answered new and exciting discoveries are made. I am on the edge of my seat for Eleventh Grave in Moonlight this coming January.
Yay!!! Reyes and Charley are BACK!!! Man, I just love this series! I can't get enough of it! Mystery + action + hilarious scenes + bad*** characters, what's not to love, right? I know some say that the plot is always the same with Charley solving crimes but she's a private investigator so...it's kinda her job, people! I love that in each book we get that and more. Sure, crime solving is fun but the best part is for sure seeing more of Reyes, at least that's how it's for me. He's just so perfect and damn Charley for snatching him up before I could *sad face*. But oh well, they make an awesome team, so it's all good. The other fun part of this series is always the cool and funny (even sometimes true) memes and sentences that you wish you had on your T-SHIRT. I love them. They make me crack up and even when there's tension in the plot because someone wants to kill Charley and Beep again. Of course they always fail but hey, you can't say they didn't try. And that's something, right? Anyway, the whole plot is awesome. You get two murders (or so it seems), one insane god who's up to no good, the funky Cookie, some near death from Osh (not only once, the poor fella), crazy guys with EMFing and of course lots of Charley and Reyes. Their scenes together were so cute and sexy. Oh right, there might be a second child from Reyes, but who cares about details. There always seem so unimportand. Yeah...on the other hand, that might be a lot to take in but I loved it anyway. We get to know some crazy secrets that both Charley and Reyes have been keeping from each other and from the rest of their friends and lets just say they are HUGE!!! Also, we lose one beloved character and I'm sure gonna miss her. But I do have a feeling we'll see her again. All in all, the continuation of this series is what I'm used from Darynda and she definitely did not let me down with this story. If anything, now I'm even more curious what's in story for the next chapter in Charley and Reyes's lives. Can't wait for the next book!!!
Title: The Curse of Tenth Grave Author: Darynda Jones Genre: Urban Fantasy Format: Ebook Pages: 352 Rating: 5 Heat: 5 Thoughts: Wow, part of me wishes that I could spend all my time immersed in the world of Charley while the other part of me can't put the book down until it's done. Even 10 books in, there's always something new that we learn about Charley or Reyes (swoon.... he is so drool worthy). What's even more amazing is that it's so unexpected, it comes out of left field and leaves you reeling. Major book hangover! And as usual, cliffy.... argh!!! I demand to know what happens next, right now!!! Oh, but it is so worth the wait! I love all the characters in this series! They each bring their own uniqueness to the story that will make you laugh, sigh, cry, scream or just sit back in awe. I love how Charley still calls her daughter Beep, and I can't wait to get to know her as she gets older. I hope she's just as funny as Charley. Reyes (still not sure how to pronounce it lol) is still one of my favorite book boyfriends, even though he's the son of Satan. All the crazy ideas that Charley comes up with always amazes me that they work, granted it's usually with the help of others but somehow she makes it happen (I know, it's a book.... of course it's going to work. But still, it's not always obvious how it will work). If you haven't started this series yet then I suggest you do! Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
Charlie was a P I but more importantly she was a Grim Reaper. Charlie had lost her memory for a month and had only been home for a week. Her best friend/co worker Cookie was now married to her uncle Bob. Charlie could feel others emotions and if they were lying as long as the individual knew they were lying. Charlie was still feeling out of sorts even though she was home and now had her memory back, but there were a couple of reasons for Charlie feeling this way. First: her new born daughter had been taken to a safe place and being raised away from Charlie and Reyes when she was only two days old. Charlie was a bright light that attracted souls of dead people that had not crossed over. Charlie and Reyes daughter had been fated to take out Satin and save the world when she was older and needed to be kept safe. Charlie is a God as is Reyes her soulmate and husband Reyes so that weighed on her. Also Charlie had lost her father not too long ago but he had passed through Charlie and he had revealed alot she had not known. Another great story I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought at first Charlie may have to go against Reyes and that broke my heart but didn’t happen so I was real happy as far as I am concerned I don’t want to see Charlie and Reyes never apart for any length of time. Charlie and Reyes belong together. I had problems putting this story down. It was like visiting old friends : Charlie, Reyes , Cookie. Pari, Uncle Bob, Osh, Rocket, just like I am right there with them all again. My heart broke a little when Charlie and Reyes had to leave beep after so little time but we knew why. So story and plot was great. Characters were great I loved all the twists and turns they went through especially Charlie and Reyes. I loved all the twists and turns in the story. I highly recommend. I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.
Love the Series. This is the 10th Book in the series and I can't seem to get enough of all the fun characters, another great read for me. I jumped into the series with the 4th book, and even though the Author does a great job of providing backstories as you read along, I would recommend that you read the series in order because there are so many little nuances that a quick backstory misses. And lucky for me since I discovered the series late I can read all the books right away and don't have to wait until the next one comes out. It had plenty of action and mystery, some steamy love scenes and I can't wait to see what will happen next. Charley and company is never boring that is for sure.
The Curse of Tenth Grave is book 10 in the Charley Davidson series. I've really been enjoying this series and decided to play catch up finally. The humor mixed into these novels makes this series a must read, at least for me. If you enjoy paranormal with humor mixed in you have to try these books out. In this installment Charley is facing some major changes. We have her dealing with her daughter being kept out of her life, knowing her hubby is a god and not a good one, and that there are two more gods that are gunning for her. Toss in that she's trying to solve two cases and you have one heck of a book. The first case is trying to prove a guy suspected of killing his girlfriend is innocent. All signs point to him being the killer but Charley knows that's not the truth. And her second case is helping a little girl who thinks she's cursed and next to die. The Curse of Tenth Grave was a whirlwind of action that I couldn't put down. The characters in DJones' books really shine and make the story unique, even the secondary characters are detailed where the reader knows them. Charley is quirky as always and she makes me laugh out loud while driving and listening to the audiobook. I am questioning where the series is going to take us, are we going to fast forward years so see Charley's little girl grown up more sometime soon? Guess we'll wait and see, until then I recommend this series if you're a fan of Urban Fantasy with some steamy scenes.
So good, I really look forward to every chapter.
Love it. Sitting on the edge of your seat as you turn the pages.
Love Darynda Jones and Charley Davidson! I can't wait for the next one!
Awesome book. Awesome series.
Can't wait for part eleven to come out
Darynda Jones is my absolute favorite!!!! <3
Darynda Jones did it again! This series is awesome and this book is right there with the rest. (note: If you have not read the other books in the series I would start at the beginning so you have the entire back story.) When you are a part time PI and the grim reaper life is never what Charley dull. Now Charley has learned one other thing about herself, she’s a God. Now her newest adventure is that she needs capture 3 other Gods that were sent to kill her daughter. To save her daughter Charley has others watching her and does not know the location for her safety. If the other Gods win the world will be destroyed. If she can then the world is safe and she can have her whole family together again. However, there is just one little problem. Her love is one of the other Gods and she is not sure if he knows or not. If he doesn’t know she doesn’t want to be the one to tell him. Charley also has her PI job that is to find the killer of a girl. The man the police have for it didn’t kill her, so who did. There is a lot of guilt in the way to find this woman. Charley also found a runaway that says she is sick. Charley wants to help her and finds out the girl is not sick. So she wants to find why other kids at the home she ran from died and why she was sick. So Charley needs to find a killer, clear a man’s name, help heal a girl, find out who or what is killing children at the home of kids, and stop a God from killing her daughter. That all should be easily done, Right?