TITLE: The Reaper Project
GENRE: Adult - Spec Thriller
Self-centered entrepreneur Roth Cooper is finally on the verge of success, until a dark creature derails him. It repeatedly comes in the night and steals his life, one year at a time. To survive, Roth must befriend and save a teen druggie—who just might be planning a mass murder.
The man facing Roth didn’t just look like death—he smelled like it. A rotten-food stench flowed off him, the stink of a garbage can in the alley behind a restaurant. This close to him, the smell overpowered even the rich scent of Sumatra coffee and toasted ham sandwiches in the coffee shop.
Bile rose in Roth’s throat. He gagged, then covered it with a cough.
“Married with a kid. That’s…great, Alex.”
The coffee line inched forward and Roth moved with it, taking the opportunity to put some space between himself and his old college roommate.
“Yeah. My kid’s nine. Pitcher on his baseball team. Loves sports.” Alex grinned. His lips were dry and cracked. Brown spots mottled his teeth.
Roth tore his eyes away from the sight.
“Good for you.”
Something was wrong with Alex. The last time Roth saw his roommate—over a decade ago—he’d had a stocky, muscle-builder physique. That was gone, replaced by a scarecrow figure. Alex was thin-skinned and gaunt. His once thick, blonde hair hung lank and gray.
Roth shoved his hands in his pants pockets, waiting for Alex to say something. After all, the man had ambushed him in the Starbucks. He must want something. But Alex just stood there, smiling and nodding. The pause between them grew like a shadow, casting its awkward silence, forcing Roth to speak.
“I’m surprised to see you here.”
Alex’s smile faded.
“Yeah, about that. Look, I hate to tell you like this, but I thought you should know.” He hesitated, then said, “I’m dying.”