Noel Chandler had a good reason for leaving the L.A.P.D. for New Orleans, but when he walks into a burned out Garden District mansion, he discovers there are some things he can’t outrun. The spooks can find him anywhere.
As the resident historian for the cable show Haunts and Hoaxes, Professor Adam Morales keeps an open mind about the supernatural. Or that’s what he tells himself, until he meets a man who puts that principle to the test. Noel’s smart, sexy, and has killer cop instincts. One glance from his bedroom eyes has Adam ready to believe anything.
But is Noel haunted, crazy, or just another hoax?
Haunted is set in the Hours of the Night universe but follows new, separate characters and can be read as a standalone.
Haunted is only $1.99!
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(This is in Noel’s POV, and if you’ve read the other Hours of the Night stories, you might recognize the house he’s exploring…)
He crossed to the door the other man had come through. It opened into a dining room. His mother’s voice cataloged the furnishings: Regency table and chairs, matching credenza with a large fish statue, and cream porcelain displayed in a glass-doored armoire. Classic, comfortable, and trashed. Clots of ceiling plaster obscured the chandelier, covered every flat surface, and mixed with mud on the wool floral rug. Cleaning up was going to take work.
The next door opened into a posh living room, the furniture the same vintage as the dining room and just as ruined. Underneath the muck, he saw the hand of someone with distinctive taste. Two men living together. Gay? Maybe, though one of his mother’s interior designers would have played with the furniture styles or mixed in some incongruous modern art. These rooms were more restrained.
He’d checked out the kitchen on his way in, so the only other room on the main floor turned out to be sort of a media room, with two oversized, leather-covered couches and a flat-screen TV on the wall. A well-worn wing chair sat next to an end table stacked with water-logged books. Everything had been chosen more for comfort than flash, and under different circumstances, Noel could have crashed on one of those couches and flipped on the TV.
The only jarring note was a small picture hanging right above the light switch. The gilt frame encased a graphic, bloody heart wrapped in a band of thorns and surrounded by a halo of gold. Catholics. Noel had been raised a Performance Anglican with good California-Agnostic values, but no one got far in NOLA without tripping over the Church of Rome.
Which pretty much ruled against this Thaddeus Dupont and Sarasija Mishra being boyfriends. Anybody Catholic enough to hang the bleeding heart of Jesus next to their big screen wouldn’t be out and proud.
But this observation did underline his initial question. Who was Sarasija Mishra, and how had he happened to be at the scene of an explosion right before his house burned down? Hoping he’d find something pertinent, he headed for the stairs.
On the second step, the quiet wrapped around his head like a boa constrictor, muffling the distant sounds of traffic, of life. On the fifth step, the air heated, and under the stench of old smoke, he smelled…gasoline.
On the eighth step, two from the top, the quiet gave way to an insidious crackling, and he almost turned back. “This is stupid,” he murmured. “The fire is out.”
And on the top step, a wave of flame swept around him.
“Shit.” He stumbled down the steps. Midway between floors, he stopped. Quiet pressed against his ears, and the air was clear of any smoke. No more flames. No more gasoline. Just heat, enough to draw beads of sweat down his temples and between his shoulder blades.
No. His mind rebelled, a fierce protest against the input from his senses. In the aftermath of that defiance, his will flagged, sucked down by exhaustion. He took another step, half-ready to head for the nearest bar, where there was a gin and tonic with his name on it.
Again a refusal, but this was accompanied by a surge of determination. There’s no fire, dumbass. He stormed back up, fighting through coils of smoke and the rising heat. Shadows flickered on the walls, sparks flew through the air, and smoke seeped from under the nearest door.
He reached for the knob, the crackling in his head louder than any thought. The knob glowed, red hot. He stretched. He straightened. He…
…couldn’t do it.
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About Irene Preston
Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.
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About Liv Rancourt
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at work or at home. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.
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