QSFer T. Strange has a new MM (gay/trans) paranormal BDSM thriller out: Rattling Chains.
Ghosts are popping up where they shouldn’t. Harlan, a ghost janitor for the police, suspects there’s a serial killer on the loose—but no one believes him.
Harlan Brand is a medium who was abandoned by his parents at a school for the psychically gifted. He grew up lonely but safe from the ghosts that terrorized his childhood.
But now, at twenty-one, he’s out in the real world. He works as a ghost janitor for the Toronto Police Service, cleaning up after crimes and hauntings in the Greater Toronto Area. Adding to the anxiety of leaving the ghost-warded safety of his school, the cop assigned as his partner seems to hate him, he’s having confusing feelings for a BDSM club owner who brings out his deepest fantasies and ghosts are popping up where they shouldn’t.
Using the ghosts as clues, Harlan begins to suspect there’s a serial killer loose, but no one believes him. Harlan will stop at nothing to discover who—or what—is preying on his city.
Warnings: Brief mention of implied rape and implied violence, references to murder, torture and body horror.
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Harlan stared at the scuffed, dented metal strip across the bottom of the doorway. Behind him was worn linoleum, with a pattern so familiar that he could have drawn it from memory. Ahead was a concrete sidewalk. It was scribbled with cracks, and there were piles of sodden leaves gathered anywhere the wind couldn’t touch them, dark spots where people had spat out their gum, cigarette butts, candy wrappers and so many people.
Inside—order, sameness, routine.
Outside—chaos, change… Excitement.
Harlan wasn’t looking for excitement or change. He wanted very much to turn around, away from the physical and mental threshold the doorway represented and vanish into the building that had housed him since he had been five years old.
“Do you need a push?” Tom asked, gently.
It was still difficult for Harlan to think of him as Tom. He’d known the man since he was eight as ‘Mr. Addison’.
Mr. Addison had called Harlan into his office a few days before. There had been a paper on his desk with an official-looking stamp that Harlan hadn’t been able to identify before the man had covered it with his broad, hairy hand.
‘Am…am I in trouble, Mr. Addison?’
Mr. Addison had laughed and said, ‘No, of course not! Please, call me Tom. You’re an adult now, and I’m no longer your teacher.’
Those words had dropped something heavy and poisonous deep into Harlan’s guts and it had stayed there for the last three days. It had been there while he’d packed his few belongings, while he’d said goodbye to everyone he’d ever known his whole life—everyone who gave any kind of shit about him, anyway.
Harlan shook his head. No, he didn’t need—didn’t want—a push. He wanted that letter to have never arrived. He wanted to stay in the Centre, the only home he could really remember.
After leaving him there, his parents had visited for a few years, and it had been strained for all three of them. Then Harlan’s parents had had a new baby, one without ‘the’ ability. They’d visited once a month, then twice a year—his birthday and Christmas—then just sent cards. And after a few years…nothing. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d heard from them, but it wasn’t a relationship he intended to pursue, in or out of the Centre. They’d made it clear that they wanted nothing to do with him—and the feeling was mutual.
He didn’t really consider anyone at the Centre his family, but it was his home, and he was being forced to leave with only his tiny, overstuffed duffle bag. Most of the things inside were just silly little presents the other kids had made him, not even personal items. He was also holding an envelope that Mr. Addison—Tom—had pressed into his hand with great importance, telling him there was three thousand dollars in it.
Harlan had never had to worry about money before. The resident children were given allowances, to spend or save as they chose, and some kids snuck out of the Centre to buy candy—or cigarettes and alcohol when they were older—but Harlan had never been tempted to leave. He’d been given everything he needed there, and they’d kept him safe. A cigarette that smelled bad and made him cough or a beer that made his head swim and made him sick in the morning weren’t worth the risk of stepping beyond the Centre’s encircling walls. He would have been happy to stay forever, maybe even eventually become a teacher like Mr. Addison… Tom. But apparently that wasn’t his decision to make.
“Harlan? Is everything all right?” Tom asked.
No. Everything was not all right. It would never be all right again.
T. Strange didn’t want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn’t stopped reading—or writing—since. She’s been published since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM. T.’s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue. Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She’s very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine.