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Grave Vengeance

Grave Vengeance, January 2015
The Grave Series Book 3
by Lori Sjoberg

Lyrical Press
Featuring: Gwen Peterson; Dmitri Stavitysky
257 pages
ISBN: 1601832699
EAN: 9781601832696
Kindle: B00M01756O
Paperback / e-Book
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"A Fantastic Series that Keeps Getting Better!"

Fresh Fiction Review

Grave Vengeance
Lori Sjoberg

Reviewed by Monique Daoust
Posted December 30, 2014

Romance Paranormal

Dmitri Stavitsky and Gwen Peterson met and died at the height of the Cold War. Dmitri and Gwen are reapers: they harvest the souls of the newly dead in order for the souls to be sent to their proper destination, be it Heaven or Hell. Some people are chosen to become reapers because, although originally destined for Hell, they are seen as being deemed worth of salvation. Dmitri was KGB, and Gwen FBI; they were mortal enemies, they share a very dark past; and they still hate each other's guts. But fifty years later, they have no choice but to work together on a mission in order to find a reaper gone rogue, Patrick Ziegler; what he's out to do could have unimaginably disastrous consequences. GRAVE VENGEANCE is the third book in theGrave series, and it can easily be read as a standalone. I fell in love with this series from the first book, and I had been awaiting with bated breath GRAVE VENGEANCE, which is about Dmitri, whose story I was dying to read. And to put it mildly, Lori Sjoberg does not disappoint. The reapers' world is a fascinating one, and with every instalment, new layers are added, even more metaphysical ones in this case. Characters from previous books make cameo appearances, and some even have important roles to play in this story. All the characters are very complex, but none more so than Dmitri, whose destiny has been linked with Gwen's for half a century, to their utter dismay. GRAVE VENGEANCE is a terrifically exciting book, action- packed and very fast-paced. I find particularly fascinating that the three books are completely different even though in the same world. Both protagonists are totally unlike those from the previous books, and the story is as different. I also loved that Ms. Sjoberg researched thoroughly the Cold War era as well as the Russian language; Dmitri is unapologetically Russian, and he was a true Patriot just as Gwen was. The author is known for her especially strong female characters, and Gwen is no exception; she is everything a counterintelligence agent has to be, even taking into account how different things were in the sixties for women. Dmitri's background story is one of the most interesting I have ever seen, especially in a paranormal romance. Dmitri and Gwen are a fantastic pairing. Their story spans half a century and I think it was a stroke of genius from the author because everything that defines Gwen and Dmitri is connected with events of the era. I loved how their romance progressed; everything was believable, convincing, and never easy. There are a few very ingenious plot twists, an ending I never expected and a few surprises as well! GRAVE VENGEANCE has exceeded my expectations; yet again, I cannot wait for the next book in this series!

Learn more about Grave Vengeance

SUMMARY

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 counter intelligence 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.

Excerpt

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.

Almost.

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.

Like now.

“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.


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