Foster comes to the rescue of elderly and eccentric Horace Daly, the
legendary film star of such horror classics as Why Won’t You Die, My
rumored to be haunted. But as far as Perry can tell, the scariest
thing about Angels Rest is the cast of crazy tenants–one of whom
seems determined to bring down the final curtain on Horace–and
anyone else who gets in the way.
learns that things can always get worse when he returns home from San
Francisco to find a dead body in his bathtub. A dead body in a very
ugly sportscoat — and matching socks. The dead man is a stranger to
Perry, but that’s not much of a comfort; how did a strange dead man
get in a locked flat at the isolated Alton Estate in the wilds of the
“Northeast Kingdom” of Vermont? Perry turns to help from
“tall, dark and hostile” former navy SEAL Nick Reno — but
is Reno all that he seems?
fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic
Game was the first Male/Male title to be published by Harlequin
Mondadori, the largest romance publisher in Italy. Stranger on the
Shore (Harper Collins Italia) was the first M/M title to be published
in print. In 2016 Fatal Shadows placed #5 in Japan’s annual Boy Love
novel list (the first and only title by a foreign author to place).
The Adrien English Series was awarded All Time Favorite Male/Male
Series in the 2nd Annual contest held by the 20,000+ Goodreads M/M
Group. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary
Award finalist (twice for Gay Mystery), and the first ever recipient
of the Goodreads M/M Hall of Fame award.
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
A scream split the hot autumn afternoon.
Perry, precariously perched on the twisted limb of a dying oak tree, lost his balance, dropped his sketch pad, and nearly followed its fluttering descent into the tall, yellowing grass growing on the other side of the chain-link fence that was supposed to keep people like himself from trespassing on the grounds of the former Angel’s Rest hotel.
The voice was thin and hoarse, sexless. There was no sign of anyone, but the cries bounced off the chipped gargoyles, crumbling stairs, and broken fountains, echoed off the pointed towers and mansard rooftops of the eight-story building.
Recovering his balance, Perry scooted along the thick branch until he was safely over the barbed top of the fence, and then jumped down into the waist-high weeds and grass.
Heart pounding, Perry ran toward the voice—or at least where he guessed the voice was coming from. He still couldn’t see anyone.
This back section of the property had never been landscaped. Thirsty scrub oaks, bramble bushes, webs of potentially ankle-snapping weeds covered a couple of sunbaked acres.
When he reached the wall of towering, mostly dead hedges, he covered his mouth and nose with the crook of his arm and shoved his way through, trying not to inhale dust or pollen.
Small, sharp dried leaves whispered as they scratched his bare skin, crumbling against his clothes. He scraped through and found himself in the ruins of the actual hotel garden.
Which meant he was…where in relation to the voice?
Without his leafy vantage point, he had no clue. Rusted lanterns hung from withered tree branches. A couple of short stone staircases led nowhere. An ornate, but oxidized, iron patio chair was shoved into the hedge, and a little farther on, an overturned patio table lay on its back, four legs sticking straight up out of the tall weeds like a dead animal. A black and white checkered cement square was carpeted in broken branches and debris. A giant gameboard? More likely an outdoors dance floor.
Too bad there was no time to get some of this derelict grandeur down on paper…
Finally, he spotted an overgrown path leading through a pair of moribund Japanese cedars—so ossified they looked like wood carvings—and jogged on toward the hotel.
The voice had fallen silent.
Perry slowed to an uneasy stop, listening. His breathing was the loudest sound in the artificial glade. Should he go on? You couldn’t—shouldn’t—ignore a cry for help, but maybe the emergency was over?
Or maybe the emergency had gotten so much worse, whoever had been yelling was now unconscious.
Far overhead, the tops of the trees made a distant rustling sound, though there was no breeze down here in the petrified forest. He could see broken beer bottles along the path, cigarette butts, and something that appeared to be a used condom.
At last—well, it felt like at last, but it was probably no more than two or three minutes—he reached the bottom of the first of three wide, shallow flights of steps, which surely led to the back entrance of the hotel.
Aside from his own footfalls and raspy breathing, it was eerily silent.
He began to feel a little foolish.
Had he misunderstood those cries? Maybe he’d been fooled by the noise of a bunch of kids roughhousing. Maybe what he’d heard had been the rantings of a crazy homeless person. There was a lot of that in LA.
“Just do it,” Perry muttered, and started up the steps toward the hotel.
Halfway up the first flight, a scrape of sound—footsteps on pavement—reached him. Perry raised his head as three figures crested the top. He froze. His breath caught. His heart seemed to tumble through his chest as he stared in disbelief.
Three figures. They wore long black capes and skeleton masks. They carried swords.