Walk Among Us
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by Vivien Dean
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica
Description: The only man he can trust is the killer he can't stop thinking about. A Calling of Souls story As an artist in New York City, Calvin Shumacher finally has the life he's always wanted. In fact, only one thing can get him to come back to Illinois--his father's funeral. All he wants is to bury his dad and hightail it back to New York, but a sniper at the graveyard puts those plans on indefinite hold. So does Matthew Soto. The gorgeous gunman who speaks of monsters wearing human faces. And predicts there won't be a body for police to find. Calvin doesn't know what to think when Matthew claims he didn't do anything wrong. All he knows is that this man's haunted eyes seem to pierce right into his soul. But as each of Matthew's assertions comes true, Calvin slowly realizes this killer could be the only thing standing between him and an unspeakable evil? Product Warnings Contains explicit m/m sex, violence, and an ex-priest wondering how he can change the world.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2008
eBookwise Release Date: December 2010
7 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [127 KB]
Reading time: 77-107 min.
Another voice whispered, What's he going to do to you in such a public place?
As Calvin slid into the booth, the man waved for the waitress again. "Don't get the vegetable soup," he warned. "It's too salty."
Calvin sat up a little straighter. "Who said I was eating with you?"
"You joined me."
"Mostly because I'm not sure you're not a ghost."
Ripples floated across the surface of the soup as the man held his spoon in front of his mouth. "A ghost wouldn't have burned his tongue on his damn dinner."
The man's smile threatened to shake Calvin's resolve. Casting a glance around to make sure they weren't going to be overheard, he lowered his voice anyway. "Aren't you afraid of being caught by sticking around here?"
The man took a bite. "Did you tell the police about me?"
"Then why should I be afraid?"
Calvin hesitated. He couldn't figure out if the guy was cocky or just really stupid. "You really don't think you're going to get in trouble for what you did."
The lines returned where the man's full mouth turned down. "Ah, now I never said that."
The soft tread of the waitress's tennis shoes approaching their table prompted Calvin to tilt the menu up and scan it. His stomach growled. It didn't care that he was about to eat dinner with a murderer, apparently.
He ordered the pork and red cabbage, handing back the menu with a polite smile.
"You've been here before," his dining partner commented.
"Why do you say that?"
"Because that could be considered dangerous to order. Easy to mess up. Only someone who knows they won't will risk it."
Calvin eyed the soup the man still toyed with. "I grew up here. But I don't remember you."
Sad eyes weighed Calvin for a few seconds before the man shrugged. "I've always moved a lot. But I've been in the area a couple years now."
"Helping at the Y."
"How'd you know that?"
"People around here talk. A lot." Calvin frowned. "You live here and you don't know that?"
"I don't get into town nearly as often as whoever told you I did." The man set down his spoon in order to reach across the table. "Matthew Soto."
Now he had a name. If he spoke with the police, he'd know exactly where to point them. Except then they'd ask why he didn't tell them in the first place.
The clasp of their hands was firm and even. Expected. Normal. The heat leaping from Matthew's was not. His skin felt flushed with fever, far warmer than the diner's interior should have allowed, like it might combust at any moment. It enflamed Calvin's flesh and charged up his wrist, into his arm, only dissipating when it hit his chest.
His eyes leapt to Matthew's. A small line had appeared between his thick brows, and he stared at Calvin as if it was the first time they'd met.
Pulling away was like turning his back on a new painting that had stolen his breath. When Matthew picked up his spoon to resume eating, Calvin fought the urge to reach across and twist their fingers together again. As it was, he couldn't stop staring at the bronzed skin, or how delicately Matthew held the utensil.
"So did you sneak out of the wake?" The calm question shattered Calvin's stasis, and he lifted his gaze to meet Matthew's. "I can understand that. Too many people have good intentions. They don't realize they end up doing more harm than good."
"No, there wasn't a wake. Or if there was, I wasn't invited." Truth be told, he hadn't even considered the fact that someone might have a party after the funeral.
Matthew frowned. "I thought it was your father who died."
"It was. We weren't exactly on speaking terms. For about the last decade."
"Oh." This seemed to resolve whatever disconnect he had with the idea. "It's a shame that it took his death to bring you back together. Though not unusual, unfortunately."
He sounded like he knew a lot of mourners. And Eli had said he talked to the kids at the Y. Maybe he was a psychologist? A psychologist out on a rampage. Maybe he showed up at the graveyard to kill off a patient he particularly hated. It made as much sense as agreeing to eat dinner with a murderer.
That reminded him of something Matthew had claimed earlier.
"You said there wasn't going to be a body." Calvin lowered his voice even further. "What did you do?"
"So you have an accomplice?"
Matthew snorted and shook his head. "I wouldn't wish my life on anyone else."
"But then who's taking care of the body?" He couldn't let it go. He needed an answer to this, if nothing else. "That's why you're not worried about the police, you said."
His spoon clicked against the bowl, the only sounds between them as Matthew continued to eat. "Did you know the man?" he asked without looking up.
Calvin frowned. "No, but I don't know a lot of my father's friends."
"I'll bet nobody else knew him either."
"How did you know that?"
Matthew scraped the last of the soup from the bottom and ate it before pushing the empty bowl to the edge of the table. "Because he wasn't human." He smiled. He actually smiled. It wasn't broad, and he didn't show any teeth, but the curve of his full lips was most definitely upward. "Now aren't you glad you asked?"