For Tony and Carter, room number 9 in the Galaxy Gold motel on Seattle's seedy Aurora Avenue is a refuge. There, the two young lovers have found a place to hide away from a world that would condemn them for their love. Within the darkened, summer-hot confines of room number 9, Carter and Tony can explore their love and lust for one another, free of the burdens of the outside world.
But room number 9 holds a terrible and tragic secret, one that dates back to the Galaxy Gold's opening back in 1962, when Seattle was hosting its World's Fair. There's a ghost in room number 9, and he has a message for Tony and Carter, a message about the consequences of shame and hiding love behind a closed motel room door.
Will Tony and Carter listen to the ghost's message and have the courage to bring their love out into the open? Or will this long-ago story, one eerily similar to Tony and Carter's, be ignored?
The answer awaits in room number 9...
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (11k words)
Read a short excerpt...
...When he returned to the bedroom, a man was sitting in one of the chairs opposite the bed. His legs were crossed and he made Carter think of the TV series, Mad Men. He had that perfect Don Draper look: dark hair neatly parted at the side, a crisp white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to reveal hairy forearms, a pair of gray slacks, creased, and a pair of black wingtips. The man was smoking a cigarette and blowing the smoke into the air in rings.
He looked over at Carter as though he had been expecting him. He smiled.
For Carter’s part, he didn’t know whether to scream, laugh, run, or question his sanity. “How did you get in here?”
The man sighed. “I’m always here. I was here when you and your boyfriend were fucking today and every time before.”
Carter cast his gaze around for an unnoticed closet where the man could have hidden himself, but there was only the freestanding wardrobe in the corner and Carter doubted he could secret himself there.
“Look, I don’t know who you are or what you want, but I’ll give you a minute to get out of here or else I’m calling the cops.” Carter edged a few steps closer, so that he could snatch his pants from the floor. He felt in the pockets, relieved when he grasped the outlines of his wallet and phone.
He struggled into the khakis, almost losing his balance. All kinds of creeps walked up and down Aurora, at all hours of the day or night, and all Carter could think was that this one had gotten in when Tony left, forgetting to lock the door behind him.
Yet, didn’t the door lock automatically? And what did the man mean about always being in the room?
And while it was true there were prostitutes and thugs that regularly walked the lengthy north-south traverse of Aurora Avenue, none of them looked as neat (and neat was the best word) as this character.
Carter shivered, even though the room had no air conditioning. He grabbed his shirt off the floor and put it on, buttoning it with trembling fingers.
“You know what? Forget it. I’ll just leave and I’ll let the guy at the front desk know you’re here.” Why not? Carter had all his important belongings now. He needed only to slip into his wingtips.
“Grab a seat on the bed, bud. You know I’m not real.”
“Not real?” Carter neared the man. “You look real to me.” He reached out to place a hand on the guy’s chest and it was like his hand passed through a fog of cold air...