Thursday, October 26, 2006

EXCERPT: Oleander House by Ally Blue


Sam Raintree has never been quite normal. All his life, he's experienced things
he can't
explain. Things that have colored his view of the world and of himself. So
taking a job as a
paranormal investigator seems like a perfect fit. His new co-workers, he
figures, don't
have to know that he's gay.

From the moment Sam arrives at Oleander House, the site of his first assignment
with Bay
City Paranormal Investigations, nothing is what he expected. The repetitive yet
work, the unusual and violent history of the house, the intensely erotic and
dreams which plague his sleep. But the most unexpected thing is Dr. Bo
Broussard, the
group's leader. From the moment they meet, Sam is strongly attracted to his
alluring boss. It doesn't take Sam long to figure out that although Bo has led
heterosexual life, he is very much in the closet, and wants Sam as badly as Sam
wants him.

As the investigation of Oleander House progresses and paranormal events in the
escalate, Sam and Bo circle warily around their mutual attraction, until a
single night of
bloodshed and revelation changes their lives forever.

Excerpt ( *denotes italics):

One turkey-and-Swiss sandwich and a plate of pasta salad later, Sam and Bo
their equipment and headed out back to explore the old outdoor kitchen. The heat
smacked Sam in the face like a damp, sticky hand the minute he left the relative
of the back porch. Insects droned in the pines that clustered behind the

"Jesus, David wasn't just kidding about it being hot out here." Sam squinted up
at the deep
blue sky. The sun's disc seemed to waver in the heat-shimmer. "Is it always like
this down

"In the summer? Pretty much, yeah." Bo gave him a sidelong smile. "The upside is
that the
winters are relatively mild most years."

"You mean there's no snow?"


"Good. Fucking hate snow."

Bo gave him a startled look, then burst out laughing. Sam laughed too. It felt
good. He had
to remind himself that it didn't mean anything. Just two guys having a laugh.

The outdoor kitchen, a long, low brick building with massive chimneys on each
end, was
dim inside and wonderfully cool. Grimy windows broke the sunlight into a soft
haze that
failed to illuminate more than a few feet of the earth floor. Here and there,
broken panes
let in a single ray of fierce molten gold, all the brighter for the otherwise

Sam switched on his flashlight and swept the beam around the room. Dust and
lay thick on every surface. In the far corner, something squeaked and scuttled
across the

"Mice," Bo said, unnecessarily, as he turned the EMF detector on.

Switching the flashlight to his left hand, Sam thumbed on the video camera and
started the
tape rolling. "Why's it such a mess in here? Didn't Mr. Gentry open the
outbuildings for

"No. He had plans to at some point, but as you can see, they'd need a lot of
work before it
would be safe to let the public in. He hadn't gotten that far yet when he had to
close the

"Hm." Sam panned around the room, stopping when Bo's face came into frame.
you getting on the EMF?"

"It's a little lower than it is in the house. I've got one point two right now,
pretty steady."
Bo glanced at the thermometer he held in his other hand. "Temp's seventy-two

"And that's nice and cool compared to outside. Damn."

"Yep. It's probably pushing a hundred out there." Bo started walking slowly
around the
perimeter of the room, his gaze fixed on the EMF detector. "Are you feeling

*Nothing you want to know about.* Sam licked his dry lips and tried not to stare
at Bo's
ass. "Not like last night. I assume that's what you meant."

Bo glanced at Sam, the corners of his mouth curling up in a slight smile. His
eyes flicked
down and back up, glittering in the gloom, and suddenly Sam couldn't breathe. If
gotten that look in a bar, he'd have turned on the charm and bought the man a
He squashed the bright flare of hope before it could burn out of control. It's
imagination, idiot, he scolded himself. This isn't a pick-up joint, and Bo isn't

"Hm. That's odd," Bo said.

Sam swallowed and forced himself to focus. Bo was walking in a small, slow
frowning at the EMF detector. "What's odd?"

For a moment, Bo didn't answer. Then he sighed and looked up. "The EMF spiked
for just a
second. But it's gone back down now. Did you get anything on the camera?"

"No. And before you ask, I didn't feel anything unusual either."

Bo grinned. "You're already reading my mind, Sam. That's scary."

Sam laughed. "I've been working on my psychic powers."

"Oh, really?" Bo took a step closer, smiling into the camera. "So what am I
thinking now?"

Sam gulped, keeping the camera up to hide his reaction. If he didn't know
better, he'd
have sworn Bo was flirting with him. But that, he knew, was impossible. *Maybe
that's just
how he is with everyone. You don't know him at all, really. Don't start reading
into things.*

"Let's see," Sam said, lowering the camera and hoping Bo couldn't see him
blushing in the
dimness. "You're thinking that we should note exactly where the EMF spike
occurred, and
after we finish sweeping the room, we should see if we can make it spike again.
Then, we
should search this room and the surrounding area outside to see if there's
electronic that could've caused it. That right?"

Bo smiled. "Close enough. Let's get to work."

Oleander House by Ally Blue
© Copyright 2006 Ally Blue
Available Now from Samhain Publishing, Ltd.


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