Book Cover Reveal: Grimmer Intentions by Jodi Hutchins
by Brittany B. | 10/30/2019
The Queerblr is honored to present the cover art for Grimmer Intentions, the second installment of the Tales from the Grim series by Jodi Hutchins!
She screwed up. She broke protocol. She saved a life. Grim Reaper Margo Petrov may have resurrected a drowned surfer on the brink of death, but she isn’t earning any awards or receiving employee of the month from Corporate; she’s under more scrutiny from the Grim governing body than ever before. Since she has a massive secret that could spell disaster if revealed, she sure as hell doesn’t want to be in the spotlight, in any form.
Margo vows to keep her head down and stay out of trouble, reaping her quota of spirits lest she cause more problems for herself and the woman she saved with an illegal blood bond. She certainly shouldn’t be opening doors to the Fae lands or offering her neck to an Empusa woman suffering from bloodlust, but Margo’s laundry list of bad decisions keeps growing. With the threat of becoming decommissioned by Corporate looming in her periphery, Margo stumbles deeper into the politics of her people and soon realizes their intentions are far worse than she initially thought.
I MEAN LOOK AT IT!
I don’t normally talk about the cover art of a book in my reviews, but when I read The Grim Assistant in July, I remember really enjoying the cover art because it is vastly different than most of books in its genre. The wispy Grim Reaper on the horizon and the singular silhouette of a woman along the water is starkly different than often scantily clad, provocatively posed women of both the romance and paranormal genres. The cover is not only refreshing, but intriguing to new readers, too. The old saying goes “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but when the cover is refreshing to look at, chances are you’re going to be more inclined at least flip through the pages. And when you flips through the pages of this one (or read the excerpts available online), I promise you won’t be disappointed.
And when you place the cover art of both books side by side, it is abundantly clear that you’re reading the same series because we have the same wispy reaper and a woman silhouetted on the water’s edge and small details on both women that are crucial to their particular story arcs:
I’ve had the pleasure of reading Grimmer Intentions and, let me tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed it! The book takes place immediately after the ending of The Grim Assistant. Grimmer Intentions follows the perspectives of two characters that readers met in the first book who couldn’t be more opposite and they both have substantially different and dire circumstances they deal with throughout the book.
My two second review of Grimmer Intentions is that the tension is on point, the characters are unique and varied, the main two protagonists have distinct individual character arcs and organic chemistry that grows from frenemies to lovers with the help of some precarious situations. This book further develops the world the Hutchins established in The Grim Assistant and sets up the series for another installment and introduces a fun new cast of diverse queer characters. Grimmer Intentions isn’t even out yet and I’m already excited for the whatever book three holds for the Tales from the Grim series.
Without further ado, here is an exclusive excerpt from Grimmer Intentions:
Jodi Hutchins © 2019
Published by NineStar Press
All Rights Reserved
A gentle breeze caressed her face, soft and rippling like the ocean that lay beyond the sandy beach. The sand nearly scorched the bare soles of her feet, and the sun poured warmth over her back. Glancing up, Jackie took in the otherworldly hues of the sky, visible brushstrokes lining the silver clouds.
A lucid dream, she realized. Months had passed since she’d experienced one, and the revelation along with the strange recent events of her life left her with a deep foreboding. Glossy water licked the shore, spilling over the sand before receding back. She’d been to this dream beach before, nestling herself under the ever-present warmth from the sun and enjoying the calm. Meditation brought her to the same place.
Serenity. Peace. Tranquility. These qualities kept bringing her back to the only place she could find her balance. She was free from the physical stressors of keeping her beast at bay, holding back the bloodlust associated with her being, and splitting her two lives apart. Nothing bad would come of her here in her safe place, and she didn’t have to veil herself in a disguise, depending upon who she was around.
A murder of crows flew overhead before dipping into the ocean. With each wave, they bobbed along with the oddly colored water. Streams of dark blue swirled with gray dappled with white brushstrokes. The painted landscape elicited a smile from Jackie, and she continued her walk down the beach. Puffy white clouds obscured the tangerine-tinged sun, causing thick rays to shimmer over the sand. Oh, how she wanted to paint the scene in front of her, to capture the elegance of the orange-glazed sand or the crows afloat on the water’s surface. Light flickered in her line of sight, and she yanked her gaze from the bobbing black birds to the assaulting ray.
Jackie squinted to see where the glint had originated from. None other than Margo the Grim lounged against an overturned lifeguard stand, shaving a piece of driftwood with a thick pocketknife. The sun reflected on the metal surface and shone into Jackie’s eyes again as she started toward the enigmatic woman.
The scenario was very similar to when the two women met for the first time in Brent’s home. Margo’s lip ring had caught a glimmer of light, shining directly in Jackie’s eyes. Shortly after that, Margo had accidentally called her a vampire, and upon Jackie correcting her, Margo’s response had been rude, leading Jackie to kick her in the leg. She assumed this is where her subconscious conjured the action from.
But this is different, Jackie thought. She’d dreamt of people before but couldn’t recall the last time she’d brought someone within her place of serenity. Of course, Margo was Jackie’s own doing, her own mental depiction of the Grim, dressed in red flannel pajamas, not that Jackie could ever imagine Margo wearing such an outfit to bed. Margo appeared so out of place but completely where she belonged.
“Hi,” Jackie said as she stopped next to the lifeguard stand.
Margo looked up and smiled wide. “Well, isn’t this fucking weird?” Her cerulean gaze was the strangest color Jackie had the pleasure to see. Margo’s eyes reminded her of a precious stone she found at the beach one day, the vibrant azure kyanite calling to her from beneath the tawny sand. She still had the rock, tucked away in the tiny tin box beside her pillow along with a few other gems. However, a fire shifted alight within the woman’s eyes, casting flames in the irises, something Jackie had never witnessed before meeting Margo. Whimsical. The last word Jackie would ever associate with the woman sitting on the ground had become the only descriptor relatively close to defining Margo in that moment.
“Sit with me,” Margo offered, scooting over.
Jackie settled beside Margo, who lifted her arm and wrapped it around Jackie. Surprisingly, she found the contact incredibly comforting, and she nestled into Margo’s side. This was definitely new.
“There’s something to be said about the beauty of a crow’s shadow,” Margo muttered, her voice far off.
Jackie smiled. “What does that mean?”
Turning to face her, Margo offered her a crooked smirk. “I don’t know but it sounded good, didn’t it? It makes about as much sense as me being here. I feel like I stepped into one of your paintings.”
The black bird hopped over, tilting its head to gaze up at Jackie. She held out her hand and the creature jumped onto the presented palm with a flutter of their wings. “I have to admit, I love crows. I think my background is to blame for that. Pretty sure all good Empusae have to love black cats and crows.”
Margo chuckled. “I think that’s a prerequisite, yeah?” The crow fluttered away.
Sighing, Jackie relaxed against Margo, placing her hand on Margo’s thigh, surprised when warmth spread through her from their contact. “Usually when I have these dreams, I’m the only cognitive individual. I mean, besides the occasional talking animal. Why are you here?” Jackie didn’t expect an answer because she didn’t know why Margo was here. Obviously, the woman beside her wasn’t really Margo, not in her dreams. The woman next to her was nothing but a figment of her own imagination, no matter how her subconscious rendered the real Margo.
“I don’t know.” Margo averted her gaze. “I wanted to be with you.”
Margo blinked, her lower lip disappearing between her teeth. “Yeah. I don’t know what any of this means. Fuck, maybe I’m having an existential crisis.” Margo laughed loudly to her own inside joke that Jackie didn’t get. “There’s just something about you, and I can’t figure out what it is. I don’t think it’s only because of the whole bitey thing, which is amazing, by the way.” She smirked, cupping her hand under Jackie’s jawline. “You’re incredible.”
Jackie flung her hair over a shoulder. “You’re just addicted to me.”
Sincerity passed Margo’s face. “Yeah, I think I am. I wanted to text you but thought that would’ve been too weird.” She smirked. “Not that this is any less weird,” she said, glancing around at the painted seascape in front of them.
Jackie also gazed out at the water lapping at the shoreline, noting the soft brushstrokes of white foam lingering on the water’s edge, the textured grains of sand at her feet. The calming rush of the ocean lolled Jackie into a comfort, one she sought when she came to this spot to be alone, to meditate. To share the intimate location with anyone besides the occasional talking animal was something she wasn’t accustomed to.
She turned to Margo again. “Yeah?”
“We can’t be a couple.”
A painful pang drenched Jackie’s brief serenity. “What are you talking about?”
Margo frowned, her expression uncomfortable. “I have to leave; well, I might have to leave the country.”
Leaning forward, Margo wrapped her arms around her knees, bunching up her pajama pants. Jackie never imagined witnessing fear on Margo’s features, but she couldn’t deny the dread marring her expression. “I can’t tell you, but I have to leave America. There’s so much going on with Corporate, and leaving might be my best option, for everyone’s sake.”
“You have to leave here?” Jackie whispered. No, she rationalized, this all stemmed from the talk she had with Ezra—the conversation about weird things happening with the Grim. Jackie shook her head, as if to shoo away the weird dream. It didn’t work.
Margo peered up at the textured sky as a cotton candy cloud drifted by, her face pensive. “Yeah, maybe. Probably.” She lowered her head and looked at Jackie. “If it comes down to it, I won’t have a choice, Jackie.”
“Yes, you do, there’s always a choice. Why can’t you just stay?”
“Seriously, you have no idea. That’s not your fault; it’s mine.” She paused, shaking her head, then parting her lips as if to speak again but glanced down at her hands instead. Firelight twinkled in her eyes before she vanished from Jackie’s dream completely, a vapor of mist left in her wake. A chill crept into Jackie’s being, and she wrapped her own arms around herself as the cloud where Margo sat dissipated.
“I have some sick sense of creativity,” she said to the crows meandering in the sand a few feet from her.
One of them bobbed its head at her and winked a black button eye. “I concur,” the crow rasped.
Jackie withdrew her flip-flop from her right foot and threw it at the crow, rolling her eyes as she forced herself to wake up.
Grimmer Intentions will be released on December 9th and is available for pre-sale on NineStar Press. If you choose to pre-purchase the book through NineStar Press, you’ll get access to the book three days in advance (December 6)!