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DescriptionGenre: LGBT Paranormal Suspense
Charlie Harrington not only speaks with the dead and sees the dead, he
can give them form. Lucky for him, because the love of his life,
Ethan, is dead. Charlie helps Ethan possess complete strangers so
Ethan can use their bodies for sex.
Things are good between them until Charlie is accused of murder and
Detective Daniel Briggs walks into his life. For the first time in
years, Charlie is attracted to someone who is living. Ethan knows he
should step aside and let Charlie live his life, but he just can’t
give Charlie up--even if staying with Charlie eventually may
eventually kill him.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices.
Reader Rating: (3 Ratings)
Excerpt:I don’t remember much about my life, just bits and pieces, small snapshots, faces, sometimes parts of conversation. I don’t remember any places, any names, not even my own.
But I remember my death.
There isn’t a detail not etched into my mind. Everything from how the pavement burned my cheeks to how my knees ached from falling when I tried to run to the sound of my screams. I died alone, in some back alley, behind some unnamed building, after being destroyed inside and out.
The sky above me was full of stars and the night smelled wet and the air felt damp on my skin. There was no moon, so even with the streetlamps just down the way, twinkling points created a glorious blanket above--like diamonds scattered across a sea of black velvet.
It seemed stargazing should have been the last thing on my mind while I lay there with a knife wound in my chest, drowning in blood. But the pain had dulled, and my limbs had gone numb, and the man who’d killed me had taken off, so there wasn’t really much else to think about.
Some nights the memories ate at me like a cancer, and I’d ache with a longing to know about the world I’d lost, the people I’d left behind. A maddening state of being, never knowing, and knowing you never would.
Apparently it’s like that for the dead. Most of us never get over being taken from the living.
But not tonight.
On nights like tonight the memories were drowned out by the heavy throb of music pouring over the mass of people clogging the club floor. Strobe lights, glow sticks, and bodies slick with sweat churned around me, creating a sea of living forms.
I’d lost sight of Charlie when he headed over to the small, circular booths near the back wall. I moved toward him through the crowd, feeling none of the bodies I passed through. Whether or not any of them felt me, I don’t know. Sometimes the living sensed my presence--a cold chill, a soft touch--but the majority dismissed me as a draft or a figment of their imagination. None of them ever saw me, really saw me.
Not like Charlie. But then, there just weren’t many living like him. I wish I could remember my life, so I would know whether or not my death had been worth meeting him.
I’m willing to bet it was.
I came out on the other side of the crowd and found Charlie standing near a booth next to a dark-haired man. The man was average height, average build, but his eyes were something dark--brown, gray. According to Charlie mine are green. Being dead meant I couldn’t see my reflection, or touch, taste, or smell anything anymore. Those were gifts only bestowed on the living.
Charlie always picked ones who looked as much like me as possible. Knowing his reasons warmed my heart and made me feel sad.
Charlie’s smile widened when I floated up behind the man. Dark Hair was already pawing his way into Charlie’s clothes. It was hard for me to believe how shy Charlie had been when we first started this. He was still hesitant most the time, because he saw himself as an awkward young man. Charlie had been a late bloomer. I’d watched him change over the past eight years, going from a knobby-kneed twenty-year-old who looked like a teenager to a lithe-bodied man who belonged in a Calvin Klein ad.
Okay, maybe not a Calvin Klein ad, but he was definitely hot.
The men in the bars thought so too. He never had a problem finding one. I think it’s what convinced him I wasn’t just telling him what every guy wants to hear. Charlie knew I loved him either way, so I think he just chalked up my compliments to him owning my heart.
I watched Dark Hair in his desperate attempts to relieve Charlie of his clothing. There was no reason for me to be jealous. I mean, being willing was really the only rule I had about doing this. Not the part about willing to be possessed--because it wasn’t like we could get permission first--but the sex. Even though I would be in control, the man would still have memories, hazy, but still there. The thought of making someone do anything they didn’t want to just didn’t sit well with me. Not all dead felt that way. Good thing taking over the living isn’t something the dead can do whenever we please. No, we need a conduit, a medium, a person who lingers between the living and the dead.
Someone like Charlie.
There are entities who can possess without a conduit. We--meaning the dead--referred to them as sedit.
Dark Hair slipped a hand into Charlie’s hair and pulled him closer. Their mouths met, and they exchanged a sloppy kiss. Charlie’s gaze stayed locked on me while he kissed back. Deep. Probing. As if drinking this man down would bring me back to life.
I didn’t even try to pretend how it made me feel. Hungry. Starving. Yearning for the touch of the world. I could experience those things through Charlie, when I was a part of him, sharing his body, or when he breathed life into me. I didn’t know what else to call what he did, and as far as I knew, no one else could do it. Sure there were mediums, and there were channelers--rare gifts, but real nonetheless.
But Charlie could make me real. He could make anything dead real by somehow extending what made him alive and sharing it. Charlie is careful about letting anyone know what he can do, dead or alive. The dead already bother him enough--if they knew he could bring them from beyond, they’d never leave him alone.
Charlie pulled away, and both of them were panting. He touched the other man’s cheek, swept his thumb over the man’s lips.
Dark Hair tried to kiss him again, but Charlie turned his head. “Let’s go to the back.”
The fire in Dark Hair’s eyes practically blazed as he followed Charlie out. I’m sure he thought the smoldering look Charlie threw over his shoulder was meant for him, but I knew it was meant for me.
While they jostled their way past dancing people, I followed close behind. Not too close. I had to be careful about touching Charlie, or I could tap him.
I’m not sure if his ability was how I found him or if our meeting had been some divine intervention--if you believe in divine intervention. All I know is when I drew my last breath, I saw him. A glowing point in the darkness. One moment there had been nothing, then the next I found myself next to two EMS people shocking Charlie back to life.
Not exactly the most romantic way to meet the man of your dreams, but I’m not going to complain.
Charlie stepped into one of the back rooms. There was a black vinyl booth in one corner, and a wood bench off to the side. Voluptuous, wine-colored drapes hung on the walls. The door was marked for private dinner parties, but the men who came to the Grind weren’t looking for a meal. At least not the kind that came on a plate.
Dark Hair tugged at Charlie’s pants.
Charlie looked at me. “You ready?”
Dark Hair answered, “God yeah. I’ve got a condom. Hang on.”
Charlie ignored Dark Hair and held his hand up to me. I reached out with my hand, or at least, sort of my hand. Like this I really don’t have limbs or a body or even eyes, a mouth, or nose. I have no skin. I have no lungs and no heart to beat in my chest. I should have those things, and my memory sometimes plays tricks on me and tempts me with ghostly sensation. On occasions I can almost be fooled into believing those sensations are real, but when I possess or when Charlie breathes into me, I realize just how lonely being dead is.
I touched him and my essence, my ghost, spirit, whatever I was, slid into Charlie and I possessed him. The sudden rush of my senses sometimes stunned me. Taste, touch, smell, come back online and then the sounds, which are different, as well as how I see--all the colors brighter and clearer. When Dark Hair stepped back to Charlie, he held up a condom. I took it and slipped it into Charlie’s pocket. I tugged the man’s shirt off, opened his pants. This is always easier when the other person’s guard is completely down.
When I pulled Dark Hair by his shoulders and smashed our mouths together, to Charlie I said, “Push.” Not so much with words as with a thought. Like this we don’t really need to speak.
As I said, it isn’t possible for the dead to possess the living without help. We aren’t strong enough. The soul occupying the body will naturally resist. When we do, it is only temporary.
Charlie can somehow force the dead into the living. It isn’t easy, and it always takes a lot out of him. It only took a few seconds for my vantage point to change. I went from looking at Dark Hair to looking at Charlie. There is less disorientation when Charlie pushes me through. I think it’s because I’ve already experienced the shock of living senses through him. It’s a good thing, because Charlie is usually knocked off his feet. This time it was no different.
Charlie’s knees buckled, but I was able to catch him before he fell. I helped him over to the bench.
“Hey?” I picked a strand of his dark brown hair from the corner of his mouth, and his eyes fluttered. “You okay?”
Charlie smiled, and his hand slid over my chest to my neck. His fingers played along my pulse. My heart stuttered, or at least the heart of the body I currently occupied. I let myself pretend it was mine. At least it made existing this way tolerable.
Charlie tugged on my pants. “You have too many clothes on.”
I laughed. “Don’t you want to rest first?” His reply was to pull me down to him. Unlike the kiss between him and the stranger, ours wasn’t rushed or sloppy. It’s nice to know Charlie saves his real kisses for me, just for me, because God, he’s so damn good at it.
I groaned and pressed myself closer. Charlie tweaked my nipple, sending a sharp bolt of pleasure to my groin.
“You still have too many clothes on, Ethan.”
I kicked off my shoes, pushed off the tight jeans, the black silk boxers, then began peeling Charlie free of his clothes. Baggy jeans, boxers, a simple cotton shirt, it all wound up on the floor.
Skin to skin, the warmth of his body against me. Even when Charlie shares his life force, it doesn’t feel like this. The dead are cold, and no matter how real Charlie makes me, without a living body I can only leech heat from him.
His fingers played through my hair, slid down my neck, and drew circular designs between my shoulders. When he sighed, it was warm, so warm. I kissed his throat, licked a line to his chin. He hadn’t shaved, and the new hairs were rough on my tongue.
“I’m right here.” I picked up his hand and kissed his palm. His dark gray eyes were almost silver in the bluish light from the scone-shaped fixture right above us. I touched his cheek, his neck, ran my fingers down his ribs, and he touched me. Kissed my shoulder, nipped at my pulse.
The body I’d taken over was already aroused; the ache in my cock turned into a throbbing pain. Yet I couldn’t make myself stop. Just being with him, feeling him like the living feel each other, smelling the scent of his clean skin, his male musk, the faint cologne clinging to his skin from the myriad of bodies he’d rubbed against pushing himself through the crowd. When I sucked on his pulse, I tasted salt and it made me crave more.
Charlie moaned. “I need you, Ethan.”
© Adrienne Wilder, July 2012
All Rights Reserved
Reader Reviews (1)
Submitted By: amie/1968 on Jan 7, 2013Great bittersweet love story. The reader is really drawn into The mystery. Defiantly a twist to the usual romance. Personally I liked the ending and was glad the author chose to go that way,
He Speaks DeadBy: Adrienne Wilder