Reaper's Pack (All the Queen's Men #1) - Rhea Watson

Reaper’s Pack

All the Queen’s Men, #1

Rhea Watson

One grim reaper. Three hellhounds who refuse to bow down to her. A monster hunting them in the shadows…

Ten years ago, I was judged worthy of life after death and returned to the mortal realm as a grim reaper. Scythe in hand, I guide souls to deliverance—and it’s time for a promotion.

My new territory is triple the size of any I’ve worked before. High death rates mean one busy reaper, and the only way to keep up is with a pack of hellhounds. Faithful. Strong. Merciless. Hellhound shifters are a reaper’s right hand in the field, shepherding and guarding souls until they can be reaped.

We get our pick of the litter from the best breeders in Hell, but for some reason, I’m drawn to the pack no one wants.

An alpha who refuses to yield.

A beta who doesn’t take me seriously.

A runt who flinches at every command.

I want them—even if they don’t want me.

Because the hunger in their eyes tells a different story. But the fact that they can’t decide whether to love me or hate me, fight me or screw me, is making our situation way too complicated.

Still, I refuse to give up. If this infuriatingly handsome trio can’t be trained, if we don’t pass the trials, they go back to a cage and a cruel demon master.

Yeah. Not happening.

Reapers and hellhounds are natural allies, and the sooner we secure our bond, the better, because as it turns out…

All our lives depend on it.

1

Hazel

“Place your scythe on the table and register your identity in blood, please.”

Please. Rather polite for a demon. My grip tightened around the handle of the weapon gifted to me ten years ago by Death. I knew it better than I knew myself, every groove of the yew staff, the glyphs carved into the shimmering curved blade forged from a star—one of the Corona Borealis constellation, unique to my scythe and mine alone. There was literally no greater weapon in the universe, a herald of doom, the deliverance of death, a reaper’s right hand.

And this little boy wanted me to hand it over?

Ha.

I drew a breath, ready to tell him, no, in fact, I would hang on to it, when Alexander placed his scythe on the onyx table before us without a second’s hesitation.

“Just a formality, Hazel,” he mused, flashing me a handsome smile. My reaper mentor, the one who had been minding Lunadell for nearly a decade on his own as the human population exploded from a suburb to a bustling metropolis, had a knack for quieting my concerns with nothing more than a grin. With the looks of a sinner but the mind of a saint, he probably had human souls swooning over him when he showed up. None of the screaming, wailing, begging that I had dealt with for the last ten years.

Still. My scythe was a piece of me—my only true companion since I had been chosen by Death to reap. And this was the first time someone—a demon, specifically—had asked me to just hand it over. I nibbled my lower lip for a moment, indecision gnawing at me, before finally delicately placing my weapon on a surface that looked better suited as a sacrificial altar than a check-in station at one of Hell’s top hellhound breeding facilities.

Beside me, Alexander flipped open an enormous tome, swiping through yellowed pages until he reached the last used. Golden fingerprints gleamed back at us, catching the light of the gaudy crystal chandeliers above. I glanced up, scanning our new locale with raised eyebrows. White marble stared back, floors, walls, ceiling, flecked