In Ternekill, Terne House was said to be haunted. Auction house researcher Byron Shepley knew that all too well because he’d broken into the then-vacant, ominous mansion when he was sixteen, and he’d never forgotten the chilling experience. Or perhaps it was the house that never forgot him. Now, the old estate is no longer vacant, and on this night, the delivery of an expansive instrument has Byron returning once more. Will the house let him leave this time?
Ravol Nova appeared in Ternekill and took up residence at the Terne House two years ago. Once a well-known guitarist, Ravol formerly played his music for no one but his lover, the flamenco dancer Francisco Caspar, until the man died a horrible death at the hands of an unknown killer. Ravol, now a recluse with a dark, mysterious past, came to Terne House for a specific purpose, and has been waiting a long time.
On a dark and stormy night, one man may trade his soul for passion, while another may find the redemption he’s been seeking for so very long. What dangers await these two men when they finally unite and come face-to-face with destiny?
Genres: Gay/Contemporary/Gothic/The Arts/Paranormal/Ghosts/Hauntings/BDSM (Light)Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (15k words)
Read a short excerpt...
...I turned to look at the stained glass walls. They glowed as brightly from this side of the glass as they did from the hallway. On this side of the panels the red glass seemed to shine far more intensely than the other colors. And those lofty, powerful angels with their black eyes, appeared to glare down at me.
“Ramon says these panels came from your home in Spain.”
“Yes, they did. I had them shipped here. Heinrich put me in touch with someone who could restore them to their former beauty. He did an excellent job. I was very pleased.”
I couldn’t help myself, perhaps it was the historian in me, or just that I needed to distance myself from Ravol. The man’s personality was strong enough to make anyone’s head spin. I stood and walked over to one of the panels, staring up at the black-winged angel with the glowing sword. I reached out to trace the silvered lead, zigzagging my index finger along the channel. “Beautiful work,” I murmured. “Sixteenth century?”
“Fourteenth,” he said from right behind me. I never heard him cross the room. “I understand you were a history major in college.”
“Yes,” was about all I could manage. I wanted to turn around, but I didn’t dare. I knew if I did, I’d do something I shouldn’t.
“And you were on soccer scholarship.”
“Yes. Until I busted up my knee.” Just then said knee began to throb. “I-I—”
“Tell me,” he said softly. “It must have been a great disappointment to you to lose the scholarship. Things like that change us. We set a path for our life and then suddenly everything alters. Just that quickly.”
Then slowly I did turn to face him. He was a tall man. And he was a beautifully dangerous man with a strange, sad and bloody history.
“You’ve faced loss,” I said. “A lot worse than my knee injury. But we recover, don’t we?”
His expression told me little. I stared at his mouth, his sculpted lips. They looked too perfect. His eyes kept me mesmerized. Kept me from moving away. I saw the flash of pain come into his expression. It flitted quickly and then the look of anguish was gone as fast as it had appeared.
“Yes, I have known loss.”
“I’m sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything,” I said.
“It was a long time ago,” he murmured, even as he lifted a hand to cup my jaw. His thumb, long and shapely, caressed my bottom lip. I caught my breath and tried to steady myself. The man was intoxicating. Was he really making love to me? We’d only just met and yet—and yet, his touch seemed familiar to me. I welcomed it. And I didn’t want to leave.
Someone cleared his throat. The realization that someone else had entered the room broke the trance. Ravol dropped his hand away and stepped back. The shock of sudden disconnection had me reeling just for a moment. The ghostly sensation of his touch still warmed my jaw as I watched him turn to Ramon.
He didn’t seem embarrassed by being caught flirting with me. Maybe they weren’t lovers after all. Maybe they were just a man and his servant. I found myself hoping that was the case.
“What is it, Ramon?”
“The river has taken the bridge out. I just heard it on the news. And they say the power has gone out in town. There’s some concern about flooding and they’ve put the town on alert to evacuate. Mr. Shepley won’t be able to leave tonight...”