QSFer Ally Blue has a new paranormal mystery book out:
Something evil is going down in Atlanta…
Adrian Broussard and Greg Woodhall are attending OutlantaCon, Atlanta’s annual gay geek conference, and are looking forward to a weekend of cosplay and general nerdy fun. As they mingle with other conference goers, though, Adrian feels a strange, cold energy emanating from a man dressed as a satyr.
Encounters with storybook creatures roaming the streets only increase the chilly tendrils teasing Adrian’s sixth sense—strong enough to cause disturbing visions of Greg’s existence being erased.
When a girl at the conference goes missing, then turns up dead, clues literally drop in their laps as Adrian begins to fear the cold, alien energy is engulfing the whole city. And in danger of swallowing up his lover.
To Adrian’s horror, his worst nightmare is realized. Now both he and Greg must call on reserves of strength and resourcefulness they never knew they possessed to save Atlanta, and each other.
Warning: This book contains weird critters, Hell-Lanta, regular Atlanta, a creepy escalator, awesome cosplay geeks, temples that aren’t (but totally are), and liberal use of mojo mind powers.
Either this was the best costume Adrian had ever seen, or he was looking at a real live—
“Satyr!” Adrian’s partner, Greg, grabbed the man’s wiry arm, grinning from ear to ear beneath the ridiculous rainbow-striped cat ears he’d insisted on wearing. “Wow, dude, awesome costume. Did you make it?” He indicated the fur, the hooves and the whipping tail—not to mention the frighteningly realistic backward bend of the squat legs—with a sweep of his hand. “’Cause I gotta say, I’ve never seen anything like that.”
The short, hairy man shot Greg a goat-eyed glare and waddled off, blowing a weird tune on his reed flute.
Greg gaped at him. “Well. Fine, then. Asshole.” He turned away and marched down the hall in the other direction. Wounded dignity trailed after him like a rare perfume.
Adrian followed, trying not to smile. Poor Greg. He’d never met a stranger in his life. It still surprised him when other people didn’t respond in kind to his friendly overtures.
Of course, you’d think if a person went to that much trouble to create such a realistic satyr costume specifically for the OutlantaCon conference, he would want to have his efforts recognized. Which made Adrian wonder about this one.
Actually, it wasn’t the only thing unusual about this particular cosplayer. A strange, cold charge lingered in the air even after they’d parted ways. Adrian cast a surreptitious glance behind him. The satyr was gone, lost in the crowd of furries, Doctor Whos one through fourteen, and dozens of characters Adrian didn’t recognize, mingling with the occasional person dressed in street clothes.
A sharp pain in his arm yanked him out of his musings and back to the hotel lobby. He blinked at Greg. “You pinched me.”
“You zoned out and almost ran into somebody.” Greg took his hand and wove their fingers together. “I swear, Adrian, I love you more than anything, but I worry about how you get lost in your own brain sometimes.”
Adrian eyed the colorful paint striping his boyfriend’s bare torso and the clingy dance shorts with the attached tail that matched the kitty ears. “Not saying a word, sweetheart. Not saying a word.”
Greg sighed the sigh of the deeply misunderstood as the two of them wound their way through the costumed throng to the bar. “For the last time, I am gay Rum Tum Tugger. Mister I’m-too-cool-for-cosplay.” He wriggled into the space between the cloaked Assassin’s Creed character he thought was hot and a man in his underwear who looked like Thranduil, and beckoned to the bartender. “Mint julep, please, ma’am,” he shouted over the bass throbbing through the air like an enormous heartbeat. He glanced backward at Adrian. “What d’you want, babe?”
Adrian wormed his way closer and raised his voice so the woman could hear him. “Jack and Fresca, please.”
The bartender looked at him like she’d never heard that before, but went off to mix it anyway. Greg shook his head. “Where the hell did you get Jack and Fresca?”
“Physics department Christmas party. The one you couldn’t go to, remember? Doctor Alejandro’s wife was mixing them. I liked it.” Adrian grinned at Greg. “Mint julep?”
“Atlanta, man. Southern gentility and all that shit.”
Adrian wanted to laugh at the irony of a native North Carolinian talking about the south as if it were a foreign country, but the odd chill he’d felt in the satyr’s company crawled up his back again and killed his urge to laugh. He turned in a circle, scanning the crowd for yellow goat eyes and hunched, hairy shoulders.
He saw nothing out of the ordinary, considering the circumstances. This was a geek-centered conference. He expected to see lots of people dressed as their favorite fictional characters. But damn, that made it hard to spot anything out of place.
Greg handed him a rocks glass with a little square napkin stuck to the bottom. “What’s up, babe? You okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Adrian took his drink and sipped. It was stronger than he’d expected from a hotel bar, cold and refreshing. The strange, icy thrill ran up his back again. He tried to look around without being obvious. “I was just thinking how, if something…well, unusual was going on here, you wouldn’t be able to easily tell in this crowd. Because of all the costumes.”
Greg’s gray eyes narrowed. “Okay, spill. What’s that mojo of yours picking up?”
Adrian tried to smile around the inexplicable dread pooling in the pit of his stomach, but it was a poor attempt, and he knew Greg saw. After five years together, Greg had developed a finely tuned radar for when something pinged Adrian’s psychic senses.
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Ally Blue is acknowledged by the world at large (or at least by her heroes, who tend to suffer a lot) as the Popess of Gay Angst. She has a great big suggestively-shaped hat and rides in a bullet-proof Plexiglas bubble in Christmas parades. Her harem of manwhores does double duty as bodyguards and inspirational entertainment. Her favorite band is Radiohead, her favorite color is lime green and her favorite way to waste a perfectly good Saturday is to watch all three extended version Lord Of The Rings movies in a row. Her ultimate dream is to one day ditch the evil day job and support the family on manlove alone. She is not a hippie or a brain surgeon, no matter what her kids’ friends say.