Closer: Bay City Paranormal Investigation, Book Four
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by Ally Blue
Description: Dreams don't always come true. But sometimes nightmares do. A Bay City Paranormal Investigation, Book 4 After nine months of tumult, Sam Raintree is ready for some peace and quiet. A beach vacation with his boss and lover, Dr. Bo Broussard, promises to provide the serenity and reconnection they both need. Bo's business and his children command a good deal of his time, and Sam is looking forward to two weeks of his lover's undivided attention. Then a new case for the Bay City Paranormal Investigations team puts a crimp in Sam's plans. Fort Medina, a seventeenth-century citadel guarding the mouth of Mobile Bay, is less than five miles from their vacation beach house. Bo invites the group to stay with them while investigating the place, promising Sam he won't get involved. But Sam knows better. Sure enough, Bo can't resist joining the investigation, and talks Sam into doing the same. Events take an alarming turn as Bo's behavior becomes more erratic each day. Puzzled and frightened, Sam scrambles for an explanation while the man he loves turns into a volatile and unpredictable stranger. When the truth comes out, it may already be too late to save Bo from a force neither of them can control. This book has been previously published. Product Warnings This book contains explicit male/male sex (including spanking and rimming), graphic language, violence, ghosts and monsters.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2010
eBookwise Release Date: December 2010
5 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [305 KB]
Reading time: 197-276 min.
With that, the group claimed the necessary equipment from the table and broke up to begin the night's work. Sam fished a notebook and pen out of a canvas bag lying beside the table. He trailed behind Bo as they crossed the five-cornered courtyard. The place looked eerie and mysterious in the moonlight.
On the other side, they stopped at the bottom of a flight of steep, narrow stone steps. Sam gazed up at the shape of the brick rampart against the night sky. "I think I'll leave off tuning into the psychic channel until we get up there."
"I think that's a good idea." Bo looked the steps up and down, lips pursed. "Look at this, Sam, there's a trough worn right down the middle."
Sam looked. Bo was right. Each step dipped in the center, the stone glinting where centuries of passing feet had worn it smooth. "We'd better be careful climbing these."
"Absolutely." Tucking the audio recorder into the front pocket of his jeans, Bo took Sam's hand and squeezed, then let go. "I'll go first."
Sam ascended the steps behind Bo, one hand clutching his notebook and pen and the other pressed to the wall for balance. The brick was cool and rough under Sam's palm. He let his psychic senses stretch just a little. The residual energy from hundreds--maybe thousands--of deaths swirled through him, making his head swim. He closed his mind to it. Falling down the stairs was not an idea which appealed to him.
Bo turned a stern look to him as he stepped out onto the wide rampart running the full length of the high wall. "I thought you were going to wait until we got up here."
Sam widened his eyes. "I just wanted to see if I could sense anything. How'd you know what I was doing, anyway?"
"I looked back and you didn't notice. You had that spaced-out look in your eyes."
"Did you feel anything?"
Sam smiled at the excited sparkle in Bo's eyes. "Nothing unexpected. Just the normal energy from all the people who've lived and died here."
Bo's relief was clear, even in the dark. "Good. Let me know if that changes." Switching on the video camera, Bo panned slowly from the steps out over the courtyard. "This is Sam and Bo, Fort Medina, Alabama, walkway on top of the wall," he recited for the record. "Date is May sixteenth, two thousand and five. Time is nine forty-two p.m."
While Bo filmed, Sam wandered over to a deep, narrow notch in the wall. Pressing his free hand against the cool brick, he shut his eyes and let his awareness expand. Years upon years of death left behind a crackling energy which crawled over Sam's skin like a swarm of ants. As odd and uncomfortable as the sensation could be at times, it was by now a familiar one to Sam. There was nothing sinister in it.
"There's a lot of energy here," Sam murmured, opening his eyes and pacing down the walkway away from the steps. "But nothing specific. Have there been sightings here?"
"According to Andre, a headless male figure is often seen here, just standing at the top of the steps for a moment before fading away."
"Yes. According to the stories, a soldier was beheaded here during the Civil War. His head rolled down the steps and left bloodstains you can still see in the daylight."
Sam turned to face Bo. "Do bloodstains last that long?"
"I have no idea." Bo glanced away from the camera and grinned. "David thinks they paint over the stains from time to time so they can show people and tell the story of the soldier and his ghost."
"You know what, for once I think David's cynicism might be right on target."
"Maybe so. I--" Bo staggered, his shoulder hitting the wall. "Oh. Damn."
Alarmed, Sam hurried to his side. "What's wrong? Is it your leg?"
"No. It aches a little, but no more than it usually does. I just..." Bo leaned against the wall, brow furrowed. "I don't know."
Sam took the camera from Bo's shaking hand and switched it off. "Tell me what happened."
Bo closed his eyes, his head resting against the bricks behind him. "I saw something. Or rather, I suppose you could say I saw nothing. For a split second, I felt like I wasn't here, but someplace else. Someplace cold and dark, where the air was too heavy to breathe." He opened his eyes, staring at Sam with a blend of wonder and dread. "It was so strange, Sam. I felt like I was there forever, but it was all over in less time than it takes to blink, and I knew that."
The hairs stood up on the back on Sam's neck. "I had a dream like that earlier. It woke me up when you were downstairs talking to everyone else after they came back from last night's investigation."
Bo's expression hardened. "We're both getting too much sun and not enough rest, and it's causing us to hallucinate."
Sam frowned. "Maybe so, but we don't know that. After everything we've experienced in the past few months, we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss this as imagination."
"Not imagination. Hallucination. There's a difference." Pushing away from the wall, Bo held out his hand. "Give me the camera, and we'll continue our sweep up here."
Sam handed over the camera, then grabbed Bo's arm to stop him from moving away. "Bo, come on. Don't you think we ought to at least consider the possibilities here? You just had a...I don't know, a vision or something, that was exactly the same as my dream. Don't you think that's enough to act on?"
"Act on how, exactly? What do you suggest we do?"
"Leave," Sam said with a sudden rush of conviction. "Right now. And stay away."
The look in Bo's eyes told Sam what he was going to say before he ever spoke. "No. That's ridiculous. We're not leaving. Whether we come back or not is another question, but at this point I think we should, if only to prove to you that there's no danger here."
Anger and frustration heated Sam's cheeks. "I don't know why you bother to ask my opinion, when it obviously doesn't matter to you what I think."
Bo snatched his arm away from Sam's hand. "Did you sense anything when I had that hallucination? Anything at all?"
"No. Not that that proves anything." Sam crossed his arms and glared at Bo. "And I notice you didn't even bother to try and convince me you do care what I think."
Bo's eyes narrowed. For a second, Sam thought the argument was about to degenerate into blows. Then the hard, angry expression melted from Bo's face. He closed the distance between them, wound his free arm around Sam's neck and kissed him.
"I do care what you think," Bo declared, his voice soft but firm. "I know I'm opinionated and overbearing at times, but your opinion is always important to me. You are important to me. Never doubt that."
Sam nodded and forced a smile, but his heart wasn't in it. He knew Bo loved him, and that he was important in Bo's life. But when it came to this particular incident, it was clear that his opinion didn't even register with Bo.
It wasn't the first time, and it wouldn't be the last. When Bo made up his mind about something, there was no getting through to him. Either he talked himself into changing his own outlook, or it didn't happen. Sam knew that and accepted it as one of the less endearing aspects of Bo's personality, but accepting it didn't make it any easier to deal with.
If Bo noticed Sam's strained smile, he didn't let on. He kissed Sam again, fingers caressing his neck, then stepped back. "Okay. Enough of that for now. Let's finish this up."
Sam pretended to fall into the half-trance from which he normally connected to the realm of psychic energy, but he couldn't concentrate enough to actually do it. Instead, he watched Bo through slitted eyelids.
Something wasn't right. He couldn't pinpoint what, exactly, but the certainty that everything had just changed in a fundamental way hooked its talons into his gut and wouldn't let go.
The worst part was, he knew he would figure it out eventually, and part of him very much didn't want to know.