Prologue to my Fantasy LGBTQ Romance Novel

Where you don’t have to worry about the ‘kill your gays’ trope because, oops, they are already (mostly) dead. Also, if you too are gay and angry, feel free to comment the lgbtq+ show cancellation or character death that made you angriest. Mine is spoiler-y, but hint hint it was a victim of Netflix (not that that really narrows it down).

The very existence of the other woman threatens everything each has worked for. Elian is, arguably, still alive, and she likes it that way. So what if her body now feels more like a mascot costume that’s constantly buffering? She’s worked too hard to let a little fatal accident and a glorified paper pusher of the afterlife wreck everything now.

Dell’s desk job is perfect for delegating all her work to the two rotting frat boys she’s been stuck with. At least it was until the two said idiots lost the most anticipated (and apparently fastest) dead girl of the year. Now the board’s looming down her neck and the should-be-dead girl is refusing to die already. Worst of all, Dell might actually have something in common with the frat bros, because she can’t seem to stop letting Elian go.

As luck would have it, men somehow found a way to become even more intolerable after they died. Dell’s fingers twitched as she stared up into the incompetent faces of the two morons in front of her. She was pretty sure she had never felt more annoyed at being dead than she did now, knowing that not a single promise of maiming, torture, or murder would phase her worthless assistants. Threats didn’t have quite the same ring to those whose real bodies were already worm food.

The taller of the two stepped forward. Dell had written learning their names off as a lost cause after half a century of working together.

“It wasn’t our fault,” he said. Dell made even less effort to suppress her snort than she did trying to learn their names.

“It wasn’t,” the other one said, nodding along eagerly and pushing the swoop in his hair around in a move she suspected was supposed to be sexy. “This situation was not covered in the handbook, a complete oversight by corporate.”

Killing was off the table, but surely a good punch in the nose wasn’t too much to ask. Dell could work with a punch in the nose if it gave her even 10 seconds of silence…and the tall one was speaking again.

“We dealt with a situation exactly like this in my time at Harvard,” the tall one said. Jesus Christ, not this again. “I would be happy to prepare a presentation for the board with a few suggestions.” Dell let her legs slip from where she’d flung them over the arm of her chair, her boots landing with a resounding slap against the ground.

“No,” she said.

“Really, as a business major, I would be more than willing t-”

No,” Dell said again louder. They hadn’t completely mastered the command, but even these two idiots knew better than to involve the board. She suspected the tall one, who seemed at least moderately capable of talking and thinking at once, had just been unwilling to pass up another opportunity to shove his academic achievements, which had been bought by his parent’s money, down their proverbial throats.

“Honestly it would have happened to anyone,” the one with the swoop said. “She was almost as sneaky as my bitch of a-” Dell exploded out of her chair, foregoing any sort of attempt at composure or maturity in favor of lobbing one of her shoes at their heads. They ducked out of the way at the last moment, a true tragedy.

“Sneaky?” Dell laughed in his face, barely restraining herself from leaping over the desk to claw his should-be-rotting eyes out. “She’s immobile.”

“If we’re being technical about it, that’s not quite accurate,” tall-pain-in-the-ass said. Dell walked calmly around the desk, threaded her way between moron 1 and 2, and left the room. They could have her office. It wasn’t like she couldn’t find another closet-sized, windowless, mold-infested place to not do her work in. Although this plan seemed a little stupider with each lopsided step she took down the hall, limping through purgatory with one boot on.

Dell was relatively young in dead years, but death was simple as long as you upheld the status quo. Keep your head down, follow orders, ignore any and all blatant corruption, and do not draw the attention of the board. If you did just enough work to fly under the radar, the lower and middle tier managers were happy to overlook a missing human here and there. Spirits were slippery by nature and the paperwork was a bitch. The board, in their (metaphorically) wrinkled raisin skins, were only too happy to swoop in and demand an investigation if they got even the slightest whiff of a potential to demote someone.

And lucky for her, oh glorious Mr. Tall and Mr. Hair had just all but painted a target on her back and set up spotlights on it. If there was anything the board was more passionate about than demotions, it was their yearly brochure. A brochure with a face of a new spirit they spent months searching for. A face that Tall and Hair had just let slip between their thick fingers. Dell might have actually stomped her foot if it wouldn’t have upended her careful, teetering tread. Sometimes she really wished she were still alive and not dealing with this crap.

Dell leaned against the wall to kick her other boot off. She slipped her glasses off to rub at her eyes, several of her rings catching in her hair in the process. Typical. She flipped through the file in her hand for the seventh time that day. Elian Harold stared back at her from a mass of thick, curly hair knotted with flowers, and acres of caramel skin. She was wearing some sort of lace jacket-like thing, a flowing skirt, and an actual choker. Dell could see why they’d picked her even if Elian wasn’t the board’s usual back-to-school ad for polos and khaki shorts type. She was…overwhelming, intriguing. And utterly ‘in the wind’ as Dell’s mom would have said.

She shoved her glasses back on her nose and tucked as much of her hair behind her ears as she could manage – most of it immediately springing back out and settling around her sharp chin. Dell snapped the file shut and let it disappear without a trace.

She actually liked this job, or perhaps more accurately, liked the freedom it gave her to not have to do the job. Under no circumstances was she going to be audited right out of her role by two overqualified underachievers and an obnoxiously pretty stubborn ghost.

Dell was going to Earth, and she wasn’t coming back without Elian Harold.

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