Twilight, book three in my Bay City Paranormal Investigations series, is now available from Samhain Publishing! I'm very excited, I really enjoy writing this series and I want everyone else to love it too :D Here's the blurb and an excerpt, enjoy!
© Copyright 2007 Ally Blue
In the twilight shadows, nothing is what it seems, and not all the monsters have claws.
(Book Three in the Bay City Paranormal Investigations series)
While leading an amateur ghost-hunting expedition in Asheville, NC, Bay City Paranormal is called to investigate Sunset Lodge, a rustic inn situated on a remote Smoky Mountain peak. In recent weeks, employees and guests alike have seen a weird, frightening creature in the forest near the lodge. A creature which sounds all too familiar to the BCPI team.
Sam Raintree doesn’t want to deal with another interdimensional gateway. The last one they faced nearly took the life of Sam’s employer and lover, Dr. Bo Broussard, and Sam can’t stand the thought of it happening again. Especially now that he and Bo are finally together and working through their problems. But Sam’s psychokinetic abilities give him the power to permanently close the gateways, and he can’t bring himself to ignore that. With the safety of the Sunset Lodge staff and guests at stake, Sam, Bo and their colleague, Dean Delapore, make the trip to the Lodge to determine if it indeed hosts a portal to another dimension.
Once at Sunset Lodge, a missing man, a grisly discovery and a moment of carelessness converge to reveal secrets much different—and far uglier—than any the BCPI team expected. Secrets which not only put their lives in danger, but which might provide Sam with an escape from the portals. If he’s willing to take it.
Sam Raintree shifted in his chair, his video camera trained on the faint outline of the door to the large room. He glanced at the fluorescent hands of his watch. Eleven-thirty p.m.
Come on, he thought, his foot tapping an impatient rhythm on the carpet. We can only stay in here until midnight, then we have to meet the rest of the group. Please show up.
As if in response to his thought, a glowing mist began to gather against the closed door. In a few seconds, it resolved itself into a wispy female figure with short, sleek black hair and delicate features. She wore a deep red dress which brushed the floor and left her white shoulders bare.
“Holy shit,” whispered the young man sitting at the other side of the little round table. “It’s her. It’s the Lady in Red.”
Sam nodded, his gaze flicking between the camera’s display screen and the apparition drifting toward the bed. “Sure enough.” He flashed a grin at his companion. “Exciting, isn’t it?”
The young man—Toby something, Sam could never remember his last name—didn’t say anything, but the look on his face was answer enough. His awestruck expression was obvious even in the faint light cast by the camera. Sam swallowed a laugh. He understood how the boy felt. Hell, this was only the second true apparition Sam had ever seen. He was nearly as excited as Toby.
The Lady in Red had been haunting Asheville, North Carolina’s Kimberley Inn for eighty years, ever since she was murdered in her bed back in the nineteen-twenties. She’d been seen by countless guests and most of the staff. According to the Inn’s owners, she had interacted with some of the witnesses but had never harmed anyone.
The same could be said of the other spirits rumored to inhabit the one hundred and twenty-five year old building. Which was why Bay City Paranormal Investigations had decided to make the Kimberley Inn one of their biannual investigation trips for amateur ghost hunters. They could teach a group of interested—and paying—guests the basics of paranormal investigation, with almost guaranteed ghost sightings and no chance of anyone being harmed. At least not by ghosts.
Toby squeaked when the Lady turned her blurry white face toward him, stopped and hovered in the air at the end of the bed. “What’s she doing?” he hissed, cutting a panicked glance at Sam. “Don’t let her hurt me!”
“She won’t hurt you,” Sam murmured, keeping the camera rolling. “Just stay calm, Toby. She’s been known to interact with people before, you know that. She’s never hurt anyone, she’s just being friendly.”
The Lady floated closer. She smiled, her lips stretching a bit too wide and revealing yellow, uneven teeth. The effect was rather ghastly. Sam shuddered, even though he didn’t believe for a second she would hurt either of them. The psychic energy he sensed from her was perfectly benign.
She stretched out a translucent hand to Toby, who cringed away. “Sam…”
“Relax.” Sam zoomed in for a close-up on her face. “Come on, this is why you’re here, right?”
“I didn’t think any of the ghosts would touch me.”
“She won’t hurt you.” Panning out again, Sam shot Toby an irritated look. “Just hold still and don’t engage her. Maybe she’ll leave you alone and go to the bed like she usually does.”
Toby looked doubtful, but he froze in place, lips pressed together. The Lady, it seemed, wasn’t giving up so easily. Her hand shot out, and slim white fingers grasped at Toby’s arm. They passed right through, insubstantial as they were, but Toby shrieked as if he’d been skewered.
“Fuck!” He leapt from the chair, sending the EMF detector which had been on his lap crashing to the floor, and ran across the room. Flinging the door open, he dashed down the hallway as if a pack of rabid dogs was after him.
Sam sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Amateurs.” It was an unkind thing to say, but he didn’t care. Toby had been nervous and jumpy every step of the way so far. They’d only been here two days, but Toby’s attitude was already getting on his nerves.
Worst of all, Toby’s hysterics had apparently disturbed the Lady in Red. Instead of lying down on the bed and slowly disappearing as witnesses said she usually did, she abruptly vanished from the spot where she’d been hovering in front of Toby’s chair.
“Well, that’s just great.” Switching the camera off, Sam set it on the table, leaned back in the chair and shut his eyes. He’d taken Toby along to investigate the Lady in Red’s room because he thought she’d scare Toby less than any of the other spirits they’d potentially encounter. Boy, was I ever wrong about that.
He wondered if he had any ibuprofen left. The headache coming on promised to be a monster.
The door swung shut with a faint squeak. The lock snicked, and light footfalls sounded across the room. Sam smiled. “Hi, Bo.”
“How’d you know it was me?” A warm body straddled Sam’s lap, knees pressing on either side of his hips. “Could’ve been anyone.”
Opening his eyes, Sam smiled at the silhouette of Dr. Bo Broussard’s head. “I recognized your walk.”
“Yeah.” Sam slipped his arms around Bo’s waist and aimed a kiss at where his mouth should be, landing half on and half off his bottom lip. “You walk like a cat. All quiet and slinky.”
Bo laughed. “What did you do to Toby? He ran out of here like a horde of demons was chasing him.”
“I didn’t do a damn thing. He scared himself, like always.”
“Does that mean the Lady in Red showed up?”
“She sure did.” Sliding his hands lower, Sam grabbed Bo’s ass and squeezed, drawing a surprised sound from his boss and lover. “She liked Toby, but he didn’t like her much.”
Bo wriggled his ass in Sam’s grip, settling more firmly astride him. “You know, if I’d had any idea that boy was going to be so easily spooked I would’ve given his spot to someone else.”
“I hear you. It’s kind of hard to screen people just from emails and online forms, though. He said in his application that seeing a real ghost was his lifelong dream.”
“Maybe we should revamp our screening process for these trips.” Bo began rocking his hips back and forth between Sam’s grasping hands and his belly. “I don’t want to end up with someone really unstable one of these days.”
Sam licked his lips, trying to concentrate on the conversation. It wasn’t easy, with Bo’s butt muscles flexing in his palms and Bo’s crotch rubbing against his abdomen. God, the man knew just how to drive him crazy. “Um…they have to sign a waiver.”
“Yes, but Toby’s behavior has me rethinking the whole process.” Bo dipped his head, brushing his lips against Sam’s neck. “Maybe we should only bring people local to Mobile, so we can meet them beforehand.”
“Or just conduct all these amateur investigations locally.” Sam groaned when Bo’s teeth sank into his flesh at the juncture of neck and shoulder. “Bo, unless you’re prepared to throw me on that bed right now and explain to the group later what we were doing all this time, you’d better stop it.”
Bo laughed, but Sam felt the sudden tension in his body. No one except their coworkers and friends at Bay City Paranormal Investigations knew they were a couple. It wasn’t ideal, as far as Sam was concerned. He’d much rather be completely open in their relationship. But Bo had what he felt were valid reasons to keep their secret from all but their closest friends, and Sam respected that. After nearly losing Bo during the South Bay High investigation two months earlier, Sam had decided he could deal with a little secrecy as long as they were both alive, and together.
“Sorry,” Bo said, moving off Sam’s lap. He stood, outlined in the faint light bleeding around the door. “I can’t get you off my mind today.”
“Just today?” Sam rose to his feet, crossed the room and flipped on the lights. “Seems to me like you’ve been all over me ever since we got here.”
“I think it’s being here at the Inn. Being alone in a room with you every single night.” Bo tugged on the waist-length black braid hanging over one shoulder. “You’d think all that sex would calm my libido down, but it seems to be having the opposite effect. I can’t get enough of you.”
The reminder that soon they’d be back in their room, alone and horny, made Sam’s groin twitch. He loved the frequent sex, but what he loved more was simply having Bo with him. Being able to hold him close while they slept, to wake up with Bo in his arms and make love in the early morning light. It was a rare thing for them, and Sam cherished every second.
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