Title: Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes
Series: Actors and Angels, Book 3
Author: Kevin Klehr
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: June 19
Heat Level: 1 – No Sex
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, performance arts, drug/alcohol use, contemporary, established relationship, angels, demons, over 40
Adam is dead, but that’s not his only problem. His husband, Wade, is still alive and sleeping with losers. His guardian angel, Guy, has grown fond of the liquor cabinet. And Adam suspects his demise was the result of foul play.
Meanwhile, in the depths of the Afterlife, the devil forces Adam to put on a play for the sinners. If he fails to entertain them, Guy’s parents will spend eternity in the Underworld.
As he gambles with the freedom of the damned angels, Adam comes to terms with infidelity, friendship, and the reason why he was the victim of a double murder.
Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes
Kevin Klehr © 2017
All Rights Reserved
It was like being in a Hollywood remake of The Jetsons, suspended in air and surrounded by cloudless sky, with interweaving conveyor belts shifting us farther to the front.
Behind me a couple of lesbians fidgeted while peering forward, trying to see where we were going. Below, another mix of curious folk deliberately moved forward on this mechanical mess of pathways. Above me, the same.
“Do you have any idea what’s going on?” asked one of the women behind me.
While she could pass for the girl next door, all made up with lips as red as a 1950s advert model, her checkered dress spoiled the effect with its huge smoldering burn mark.
“What happened,” I queried.
Her partner stuck out what was left of her tongue. It too was charcoal black with a melted piercing smeared all over it.
“Let’s just say, never get frisky outside while there’s a thunderstorm.”
She reached for her skirt and was about to lift it to prove her point. I clutched her wrist just in time.
“I get it. Your girlfriend’s stud became the conductor. I don’t need to see something that will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Her eyes widened. “Your life? Look at your chest!”
I released her arm and felt my heart. It was like someone had used too much starch while ironing my shirt. I examined a rusty brown stain on the crisp white cotton.
“I’ve returned, but this time for good,” I muttered.
“Wha uw ya awing awout?” said the one with the brittle tongue.
“What did she say?”
“I think she wants to know what you’re talking about.”
I stood on tippy-toes to see farther ahead, but all I saw was a long row of people waiting patiently.
“I’ve been here before, I think. I’m not sure.” I jumped high on the spot but still couldn’t see where we were going. “I guess that’s why I’ve got this frantic ink blot on my chest.”
“Sweet cheeks, it’s blood.”
“Yes, I know that.”
“So what’s your story? How did it get there?”
I felt it again. Its sandpaper texture began to crumble. “I wish I knew.” Bending sideways, I tried to steal a glimpse, but it was no use.
“Well, it’s not quite how I imagined it. I’m not sure it’s how you saw it either, Frida.” She held her girlfriend’s hand. “I was expecting tattooed angels parked on clouds with big black motorcycles ready to take us to Heaven.”
“What did you expect, um, what’s your name?”
“Hi, I’m Sue.” We shook hands. “And this is Frida.”
“Ice oo eet yoo.”
“So, is this the way you pictured it?”
“No, I can’t say it is. My partner isn’t here.”
“What’s his name?”
“Wade. We’ve been together for nearly nineteen years. Or at least, we were.”
“I’m sorry he’s not with you.”
I felt my bloodstain once more.
“Well, at least he survived, if what happened to me happened to him, if that makes sense?” I bit my bottom lip. “Actually I really don’t know what I’m talking about.”
“Aw leees ee awive…”
Sue raised her hand like a cop stopping traffic.
“Don’t try to speak, darling. It looks like hard work.”
“Yeah, but I get what Frida’s trying to say. At least Wade’s alive instead of here.”
“A silver lining in the cloud.”
“That’s one way of looking at it.”
Below me a young chap in a Second World War uniform peeled off his gloves. His conveyor belt had stopped. An African woman wearing more colors than a rainbow tried to speak to him, but he seemed too traumatized to reply. She raised her arms in disappointment and began talking to the gray-haired woman behind her.
“Leopard print,” said Sue.
“Check out the middle-aged woman in the leopard print, far behind us. Wow! She’s wearing more jewelry than a 1960s movie star.”
I looked. “I think she is a 60s movie star. Look at that beehive!”
“Jackie O she ain’t.”
“And look at the older woman next to her. A lollipop in a pantsuit.”
“Adam, how can they be from the 60s?”
“Now I know I’ve been here before.” I glanced ahead and saw the tip of a wing obstructed by the others on my conveyor belt. I couldn’t hold back my smile. “Sue, let me ask you something. What era are you from?”
“Nineteen ninety-three. Why? Aren’t you?”
I pointed to the man in uniform. Sue’s jaw dropped steadily.
“And what country?”
“Poland. And you?”
“Australia, twenty-first century.”
“You speak Polish well for an Australian.”
“Sue, I’m not speaking Polish.”
She shared stunned looks with Frida.
“Wha iz ee alking avout?”
“Girls, you’re about to enter a world I’ve been dreaming of returning to since I was last taken from earth before my time.”
“Maybe you should try Polish. I have no idea what you mean.”
Frida rotated her finger by the side of her head; a gesture to make out I was loony. Sue shrugged before carrying on a private conversation with her girlfriend about the family they’d left behind.
A few drops of water splashed on my face. I looked to the moving path above. A group of teenagers also from the 60s flower-power days stood shivering, saturated to the core. One long-haired guy, with enough swirls on his shirt to send you into a trance, saw me.
“Never do your own plumbing when you’re tripping, man,” he called. “I flooded the apartment.”
“Why didn’t you run outside?”
A naked girl with waist-length long hair clutched onto his arm. “I thought I was swimming in candy floss,” she replied.
“Candy floss!” he said. “I thought the sky had fallen and there was no escape.”
“Weren’t we in space, floating?” asked another.
I chuckled before bending sideways to look ahead. I saw half his body. My guardian angel, Guy. He acknowledged me with a kind grin. I was eager to jump to the head of the queue. I took a calm breath, stood up straight, and closed my eyes.
I already sensed his comforting hugs, letting me know I’d returned to safety. I could feel his strong wings wrap around me like an extra layer of armor. Nothing would harm me here in the Afterlife, not with him by my side.
“Adam’s here,” said another voice I recognized.
“Yeah,” Guy replied. “There’s something I need to explain.”
“Mannix?” I mumbled to myself.
Many passengers later I was at the front. I stepped off the conveyor belt onto thin air, and before a word was uttered, both the angel and my old friend wrapped their arms around me. I clutched them tightly, never wanting to let go. Huge smiles engulfed us all. Behind me were bewildered murmurs, as a stray tear from Guy softened my cheek.
“I’ve missed you,” I said to my angel. I kissed him tenderly on the forehead. “And I missed you too, Mannix.”
“Welcome to the Afterlife again,” said Guy.
“Why am I here?” I whispered. We stepped apart.
“I think this time you’re actually dead,” Mannix replied.
He sounded unsure, like a wife telling her tired husband that there might be a burglar in their house. He was still in his early thirties, just as he was the last time I was whisked off to the Afterlife six months earlier.
His sensual demeanor still warmed me in places I’m too polite to mention, even though his boyhood looks had faded slightly since we last met. A man was taking his place. A man wise beyond his years, wearing older-sexy like a stylish coat.
“Where’s Wade?” I asked.
“Sadly mourning your demise, my friend,” Guy said in a hushed tone. “Adam, we’ll talk about that later.”
I touched the dried blood on my shirt, crumbling it into tiny pieces that fell away.
“Guy, I need to know what happened.”
He turned to Mannix. “I’m releasing you from welcoming duties to show Adam his new home.”
“Which is where?” the young man asked.
Guy pulled out a key from his trouser pocket. “The apartment under mine.” He had a devilish grin. “Adam’s not the only one who needs a friend at the moment.”
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Meet the Author
Kevin lives with his long-term partner, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.
From an early age, Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his work commitments changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, secretly passed the notebook to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his story. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.
His first novel spawned a secondary character named Guy, an insecure gay angel, but many readers argue that he is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. Guy’s popularity surprised the author.
So with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.