Read The Haunted Heart: Winter Online

Authors: Josh Lanyon

Tags: #Erotic Romance, #Paranormal, #GLBT, #gay romance, #ghost, #playwright, #vintage, #antiques, #racism, #connecticut, #haunted, #louisiana, #creole

The Haunted Heart: Winter

BOOK: The Haunted Heart: Winter
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Still grieving over the sudden death of his
lover, antiques dealer Flynn Ambrose moves to the old, ramshackle
house on Pitch Pine Lane to catalog and sell the large inventory of
arcane and oddball items that once filled his late uncle's
mysterious museum.

 

But not all the items are that easy to
catalog. Or get rid of...

 

The Haunted Heart
series. Four
seasons. Four ghosts. Two hearts.

 

Winter. Since Alan died, Flynn isn't eating,
isn't sleeping, and isn't spending a lot of time looking in
mirrors. But maybe he should pay a little more attention — because
something in that 18th Century mirror is looking at
him
.

 

THE HAUNTED HEART: WINTER

Smashwords edition August 2013

 

 

Copyright (c) 2013 by Josh Lanyon

 

Cover by Lou Harper

Cover photos by ArtFamily, IronFlame and
Marafona licensed through Shutterstock

 

All rights reserved

 

No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage
and retrieval system, without written permission from Just Joshin
Publications.

 

 

ISBN: 978-1-937909-48-2

Published in the United States of America

 

Just Joshin

3053 Rancho Vista Blvd.

Suite 116

Palmdale, CA 93551

www.joshlanyon.com

 

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to
persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER
TWO

CHAPTER
THREE

CHAPTER
FOUR

CHAPTER
FIVE

CHAPTER
SIX

CHAPTER
SEVEN

CHAPTER
EIGHT

CHAPTER
NINE

CHAPTER
TEN

CHAPTER
ELEVEN

CHAPTER
TWELVE

CHAPTER
THIRTEEN

CHAPTER
FOURTEEN

CHAPTER
FIFTEEN

CHAPTER
SIXTEEN

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

 

THE HAUNTED HEART
WINTER

 

JOSH LANYON

 

 

 

 

Let us be grateful to the mirror for
revealing to us our appearance only.

 

— Samuel Butler

CHAPTER ONE

 

I
didn’t see him until it was too late.

A tall, faceless figure looming up out of
the shadows. Even if I had seen him, I’m not sure it would have
made a difference. My only thought was getting downstairs and out
the front door as fast as possible. It turned out the fastest way
was crashing headlong into someone bigger, and letting my momentum
send us both hurtling down the staircase.

My…er…companion yelled and cursed all the
way down the first flight. Well, in fairness it was one long yelp
and a prolonged curse. “
Yooouuu’ve gotta be fu-uh-uh-uh-uh-cking
kid-ding me!

We landed in a tangle of limbs on the
unswept and none-too-plushy carpet. My elbow whanged one final time
into the balusters and my head banged down on the floor. I saw
stars. Or maybe that was just the dust, which had probably
crystallized with age.

“What the hell was
that
?” moaned
someone from the ether.

Good. Question.

What the hell
had
that been? It sure
wasn’t a trick of the light. Though I’d done my best to tell myself
that’s exactly what it was — and had kept telling myself that right
up until the moment the murkiness in the mirror had begun to take
form.

“Sorry about that,” I mumbled. His bare foot
was planted in my gut, and I couldn’t blame him when he dug his
toes in for leverage before lifting off me. “
Oof!

“What do you think you’re doing running down
these stairs in the middle of the night?”

I groped for the railing and pulled myself
painfully into a sitting position. “I…thought someone was in my
room.” Lying was second nature to me by now, but that was a stupid
lie. I knew it, the instant the words left my mouth.

404-A — What was his name? Something Murdoch
— got to his knees and gaped at me in the dingy light. “Why didn’t
you say so?”

“I am saying so.”

We both turned to stare up at the wide-open
door leading into my rooms. My lamp-lit and noticeably silent
rooms.

We looked at each other.

404-A was older than me, bigger than me,
shaggier than me. He had a beard and shoulder length black hair.
His eyes were dark and sort of hollow looking — that was probably
lack of sleep. He looked like those old posters for
Serpico
,
but he wasn’t a cop. He was some kind of a writer.

And a crap guitarist. Then again, I wasn’t
anyone’s dream neighbor either. As indicated by current events.

“You think someone’s up there?” He asked me
slowly, skeptically.

I weighed a possible visit from the local
fuzz, and opted for resident whacko.

“I did. But…maybe I was wrong.”

“Maybe?
Maybe?
Why don’t we find
out?” He was on his feet now, yanking his red plaid flannel
bathrobe shut and retying it with a couple of hard, businesslike
tugs that vaguely suggested a wish to throttle something. Without
waiting to see if I was following or not, he stomped up the flight
of stairs. Guiltily, I noticed he was limping.

It was actually amazing either of us hadn’t
been seriously injured or even killed in that fall.

“Coming?” he threw over his shoulder.

“Uh…”

He muttered something, and not pausing for
an answer, disappeared through the doorway.

I admit I waited.

He couldn’t fail to see the mirror first
thing. It was as tall as I was, cartouche-shaped, mounted on an
ornate, ormolu frame. It stood propped against a Chinese black
lacquer curio cabinet. The slight angle created the effect of
walking up a slanted floor to peer into its silvered surface.

An icy draft whispered against the back of
my neck. I shivered. This dilapidated four-story Victorian
monstrosity was full of drafts. Drafts and dust. And shadows and
creaks. All of them perfectly harmless. I shivered again.

Footsteps squeaked overhead. “It’s clear.
Come on up. There’s nobody here,” 404-A called at last.

I let out a long breath and jogged up the
stairs. The elfin faces carved in the black walnut railing winked
and smirked at me as I passed.

I reached the top landing and walked into
the jumble sale of my living room. “Living room” was kind of a
euphemism. It was more like the entry hall of a failing museum,
complete with battered statuary and oil paintings of morose Flemish
people. And in fact most of these objects had been in a museum at
one time. My late great Great-Uncle Winston’s museum of
weirdness.

My gaze fell on the mirror first thing, but
the surface showed only me, tall and skinny and pale in my Woody
Woodpecker boxers. My hair looked like Woody’s too, only blond, not
red. Definitely standing on end, whatever the color.

“I guess I dreamed…it,” I said by way of
apology.

“First time living alone?” 404-A asked
dryly. He stood right beside the mirror, his own reflection off to
the side.

“Ha,” I said. “Not hardly.” But come to
think of it, he was right. I’d lived at home until college and then
after college, I’d lived with Alan. This was my first time totally
on my own. “Anyway, sorry about dragging you out of bed and
knocking you down the stairs. Are you sure you’re okay?”


I’m
fine.” He continued to eye me in
a way that seemed a bit clinical.

Yeah. I got the message. Maybe I
had
dreamed it. What a relief to realize it was just a nightmare.

If only I slept.

“Come to think of it, you were already on
your way up here,” I remembered.

He said bluntly, “I was going to ask you to
stop pacing up and down all night. The floorboards creak.”


Oh.
” My face warmed at this rude but
effective reminder that I wasn’t alone in the world. Not even this
crumbly and dimly lit corner of the world. “Sorry,” I mumbled. To
be honest, I forgot he was even in the building most of the time.
He was pretty quiet, other than the occasional fit of guitar
picking, and it was just the two of us here at 404 Pitch Pine Lane.
We were neither of us the sociable type.

I glanced at the mirror again. Just me and
the edge of my neighbor’s plaid bathrobe in its shining surface.
The reflection of the ceiling chandelier blazed like a sunspot in
the center, obliterating most of us and the room we stood in.

I looked more closely. Had something moved
in the very back of the reverse room?

404-A glanced down at the mirror and then
back at me. He said, “I have to work tomorrow.”

“Sure. I didn’t realize you could hear
me.”

He unbent enough to say, “I mostly can’t.
Only the floorboards. Mainly at night.”

“I’ll make sure to pace in the other
room.”

“Great.” He pushed away from the cabinet and
headed for the door. “I’ll let you get back to it.”

His reflection crossed the mirror’s surface,
large bare feet, ragged Levi’s beneath the hem of the bathrobe.

“Night,” I said absently. I remembered to
ask, “What’s your name again?”

“Murdoch. Kirk Murdoch.”

Kirk Murdoch? Try saying that five times
fast. Not that I planned on making a habit of calling for Kirk.
“Right. Night, Kirk.”

“Goodnight, Flynn.”

I watched the mirrored reflection of the
door closing quietly behind him.

CHAPTER TWO

 

S
leep. That’s what I
needed. A good night’s sleep.

I continued to stand there watching the
mirror.

Nothing moved. Not in my room. Not in the
mirrored room.

I waited.

Waited.

It could have been clouds drifting past the
window. Or the way the drafts pushed the shadows around the
room.

Maybe I
had
dreamed it.

Or, more likely, the lack of sleep was
catching up with me.

But what if — just maybe — I’d got it all
wrong? What if what I’d seen, thought I’d seen, had been the answer
to a prayer?

BOOK: The Haunted Heart: Winter
7.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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