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ANNOUNCEMENT: Ghost Trapped, by BL Maxwell

QSFer BL Maxwell has a new MM bi/gay paranormal romance out in the Valley Ghosts series: “Ghost Trapped.”

Wade and Jason are back. They’re settling into their new relationship, from friends to lovers, and trying to navigate the paranormal business they now find themselves in. And Jimbo has joined the team too.

It seems Sacramento has a wealth of restless spirits needing a nudge to move on their way. Taking a job in Old Sacramento, they soon realize there’s a more than average haunting at The Hitching Post restaurant. Built over the old tunnels and hidden under many of the businesses, they find a world of spirits that have been forgotten. Until now.

Jason is excited to take on one of their first big jobs as an official paranormal research group. Running Scared Paranormal is open for business, but this case is different than anything they’ve encountered before. He reaches out for help from someone connected to the spirit realm who has first-hand knowledge on what it’ll take to ensure their safety and complete the job, but will it be enough?

Wade is thrust into a world he’s tried to stay on the edges of. He’s been to haunted houses with Jason in the past, but he doesn’t consider himself an expert. His newfound abilities will be tested in ways he never imagined, and only he knows how much he can handle, both physically and mentally. After being injured, he once again faces the fact that the spirits he’s always feared have the ability to hurt them. In this situation, the person who can help the most, may not be a person at all.

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“I guess it’s official, we’re in the ghost hunting business.” Jason smiled over at me as we drove away from the restaurant in Old Sacramento.

“So, do we get to have matching jackets? Maybe shirts?” I teased, then turned in time to see Jimbo roll his eyes.

“We need a name first, a really good name.” Jason rubbed his chin in thought.

“Oh boy,” Jimbo breathed out as he turned to look out the window.

“Basement Dwellers Ghost Hunting?” Jason suggested.

“Little long, don’t you think?” I commented, but he didn’t stop suggesting even more names that were no better than the first few.

“Unchain the Spirit.”

“Specter Squad.”

“Specter Detectors.”

“Mostly Ghostly.”

“Spooks R Us?”

He really had lost his mind, but that didn’t stop him.

“Spectrally Challenged, Haunt Helpers, Soul Chasers, Phantom . . . something.” 

“My god!” Jimbo commented.

“Apparition Alleviation, Kelpie Keepers . . .”

“What the hell’s a kelpie?” I asked. “No matter what name we choose, we’re basically running scared as soon as shit happens—wait, that’s it! Running Scared Paranormal Research.” I slapped the steering wheel and nodded to punctuate that decision. 
Jason and Jimbo both rolled their eyes in answer. “Yay, so it’s official, we’re Running Scared?” I said.

“Fine. But we won’t be running this time,” Jason said.

“Speak for yourself, Jason,” Jimbo added with a sniff.

“Dude, you do realize we had to drag you into The Vineyard House, and then one of us had to keep a hand on you at all times to make sure you didn’t run screaming into the night,” I reminded Jimbo as I met his narrow-eyed glare in the rearview mirror.

“Fine, whatever. Running Scared it is,” Jimbo snapped back.

“Fine,” I countered.

“So, do I get no say in this whatsoever?” Jason asked.

“No,” we both barked at him. 

“I guess it works. It describes you two perfectly,” Jason said with a huge grin.
Jimbo rolled his eyes again, then muttered, “Whatever. But I’m not wearing a shirt that has Running Scared printed all over it.”

“Who says it would be ‘printed all over it’?” Jason asked, and settled back into his seat.

“Yeah, we just need a logo, nothing huge,” Jimbo added from the back seat.

“Just a logo? You two have lost your freaking minds.”

“We’ll see what your mom thinks.” Jason effectively ended the conversation with that statement. There was no way my mom wouldn’t absolutely love the idea, and knowing her, we’d have shirts, business cards, and pens printed up within twenty-four hours. 

We had just finished our first official meeting with a client about a haunting in his business. Dean was the manager of The Hitching Post, a popular new restaurant in the Old Sacramento area. The whole time the business had been open he’d suspected they had a ghost, but so far it had been more mischievous contact than harmful—moving a glass or napkin to a different spot, hiding a fork, only to have it returned the next day to the exact spot. That kind of nonthreatening stuff. 
It was only after one of the waitresses was trapped down in the lower level for hours and left terrorized by what she’d experienced that he decided he needed our help.

He explained he’d seen a story about our adventures on the news and was desperate enough to find out exactly what he was dealing with, so decided to give us a call.

“Hey, Jimbo, what’s up with you and Dean, the manager?” I asked, looking back at him.

He stared straight ahead, not bothering to act like he’d even heard me talking to him. 

“Jimbo? What the fuck?” Jason turned and looked at him. “Is there something you need to tell us, about how you know Dean Peterson?”

“I don’t need to tell anybody anything. It’s my own damn business.”

Jason stared hard at him for a full minute, before Jimbo squirmed a little then started to speak. “Fine, we may have been in culinary school at the same time.”

“No way, what was that, like, fifty years ago?” I asked, knowing full well it would get a reaction.

“Fuck you, Wade. It wasn’t that long ago,” he snapped back in his usual snarky way.

“And that’s all you need to know.”

“Oh, so there’s some history there, huh?” I pressed, knowing it would piss him off. 

He folded his arms and once again clammed up, looking out the window as we drove back home. “I wonder if Mom knows about your history with Dean?” I said as nonchalantly as I could, and held in a grin when I saw Jimbo’s gaze snap away from the window to stare a hole into the back of my head. He noticed I was watching him through the rearview mirror, and he huffed out a breath while doing his best to ignore me again. 

I smiled over to Jason and put my hand on his leg. “So, do you think we can help Dean? No one seemed to be in a hurry to go down into the basement there.”

“I think so, we’ll need to do some research and find out what all those people are doing down there. Jimbo, would your sister help us if we need it?” 

We’d found out that Jimbo and his sister were both powerful in their own right—Jimbo was a beacon, someone ghosts were drawn to, where his sister was a strong psychic, and able to communicate with the spirits in a way neither Jason or I could. 

“I have no clue, you’ll need to ask her yourself,” he huffed, actually huffed. 

I stopped at a light and turned to look at him straight on and laughed. “Jimbo, you make it so hard to take you seriously when you’re always in such a grouchy mood.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” He squinted. “I’m always Mr. Personality, ask anyone. Your mom would be pretty pissed if she knew you were giving me shit.” He raised his chin to accent the line of crap he was trying to sell us.

“Just because my mom thinks you’re ‘adorable,’ doesn’t mean I agree. And you’re way nicer to her than you are to anyone else. Even Dean, who you lied to us about knowing.”

“Leave him alone, Wade,” Jason said as he patted my shoulder.

“Yeah, listen to your boyfriend,” Jimbo snapped at me; taking full advantage of the situation.

“You know your mom will get it out of him, and she won’t be able to keep it to herself. The things that woman has shared are truly embarrassing,” Jason said, and turned around to look right at Jimbo.

Jimbo tried to give him a dirty look but ended up looking horrified. “That woman has told me details about the two of you I’d rather forget,” he mumbled.

“Yep, that’s my mom. And just imagine what she’ll tell us after you tell her about Dean—and you know you’ll tell her. She should work for the government, that woman can make anyone talk,” I said. 

“You have no idea,” Jimbo mumbled, again with a huff.

We pulled up to my house, and Mom was right out front, watering the plants as usual. 

“Hey, Mom,” I called out as I closed the car door and walked toward her.

“Hey, baby, how’d it go? I want to hear all about it.” She turned off the water and rushed over to the front door. Jason and Jimbo followed us in, and we all took our usual seats in the living room.

“Well, don’t keep me waiting,” she said, waving her hands in anticipation.

“Oh, we thought of a name for the business. What do you think of Running Scared Paranormal Research?” Jason asked.

“Can we have shirts?” she asked immediately, sitting on the edge of her seat.

“Sure, whatever you want,” he answered.

“I thought we agreed no shirts,” Jimbo said. 

Jason gave him a slow smile before he spoke. “You might want to ask Jimbo about who our new client is first,” he said, changing the subject and throwing Jimbo under the bus with one sentence. 

My mom’s gaze locked on Jimbo and he squirmed a little. “Fuck you, Jason.”

“James, you know I don’t want to hear that language, now spill, who was the client?” 

“His name is Dean Peterson, he’s the manager of The Hitching Post, and him and Jimbo have some super-secret past that he won’t tell us about,” Jason revealed as he threw Jimbo further under the proverbial bus. 

Mom’s head whipped back around to face Jimbo, and she pinned him with a stare he visibly flinched away from.

“So, James, care to tell us the whole story?” she asked, voice as sweet as could be.

“Oh for the love of—fine! I met him when we were in culinary school. He was just starting out, and I was just beginning my last few courses. That’s it.”

“There’s nothing else you want to tell us?” Mom pushed, moving to sit next to Jimbo. She took his hand in hers, and he melted a little; he really had a soft spot for her.

“Well, we might have had a moment,” he said with a fond smile and a shake of his head.

“Come on, James, you know I want all the details.” She smiled at him then and leaned on his arm, and to my surprise, he smiled back at her. A rare occurrence for this professional grouch. 

“We might have hooked up once or twice,” he said, his hand partially covering his mouth and muffling his words.

“What?” Jason jumped up. “Why didn’t you tell us that? I thought maybe you two worked together, or you had a bad time with him at culinary school. And why are you grinning, Wade?”

“This is gonna be so good,” I breathed out and tried to hide my excitement with a wide smile.

“I hate you all so much,” Jimbo grumbled, before smiling at Mom, who smiled back at him and looped her arm with his then rested her head on his shoulder.

“Okay, James, I want all the details, now.”

Author Bio

BL Maxwell grew up in a small town listening to her grandfather spin tales about his childhood. Later she became an avid reader and after a certain vampire series she became obsessed with fanfiction. She soon discovered Slash fanfiction and later discovered the MM genre and was hooked.

Many years later, she decided to take the plunge and write down some of the stories that seem to run through her head late at night when she’s trying to sleep.

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