All of the Voices
The body might be reluctant, but there's more than one spirit willing to step in and keep two stubborn men from walking away from each other forever…
Deputy Matt Nixon has had a rough time of it lately. He's put up with the spirit of his boss's dead lover, been stabbed, and had his fledgling interest in another man cruelly flung back in his face. His only close friend is an elderly woman who gets her kicks from calling in false prowler reports then greeting the responding deputies with a lewd proposition and little clothes.
When he finds her dead, Matt grieves for the old woman so many people snickered at—and he fumes at the idea of her snooty nephew from New York who never bothered to visit her. Matt is going to give Carlin Douglas a piece of his mind if he does show up.
Carlin Douglas hates the small town of McKinton, Texas. The only other time he'd been there was years ago when Zeke Mathers was almost killed in a gay bashing. Now Carlin has obligations that keep him tied to New York, but he doesn't mind.
Until he clashes with Deputy Matt Nixon, a man who seems determined to hate him. But McKinton is a different place, and there's always a spirit or two lingering, just waiting for an opportunity…Or meddle.
Wait Until Dawn
Beware of what follows you back from the dead…
Detective Rich Montoya was attacked by Sheriff Stenley's stalker in When the Dead Speak. A year later, Rich is having a rough time, haunted by a malevolent spirit that's making his already fragile existence hellacious.
Rich, who's kept to himself for the past year, is scarred more than physically. The last thing he thinks he needs is a lover, little does he know…Chris Neeland is a big guy who drives a big rig, and all it takes is one look at the sexy, wounded man driving the cute little Miata and Chris is sunk. His mystical mother always told him love would hit Chris like a bolt of lightning, fast and hard and not without pain, but he kind of hadn't believed her until he meets Rich.
Publisher's Note: This book has been previously released under the same title. It has been expanded and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing,
General Release Date: 8th September 2015
Excerpt from All of the Voices
The call from dispatch had Deputy Matt Nixon groaning and rolling his eyes even as he tossed aside his half eaten burger and started up the cruiser. Ten-fourteens occurred regularly at Mrs. Hawkins’ place, and Matt, like every other employee at the Sheriff’s department, dreaded being on the receiving end of the call. All of the times he had been unlucky enough to be on duty when old widow Hawkins claimed a prowler was on her property, not once had there been anyone other than the woman herself waiting for him when he arrived.
And every single one of those calls, Matt had cringed when he’d knocked on Mrs. Hawkins’ door. Well, maybe not the first time. He’d been inexperienced and idealistic and kind of thought the other deputies were full of shit and trying to pull one over on him. It wasn’t until he heard the raspy-voiced widow hollering for him to ‘come on in’ that Matt had faced the slowly dawning horrific reality. After all, who, if there was a prowler about, would leave the damn door unlocked?
He still shuddered with the memory of that first call, because he’d been so sure the gossip had been just that—gossip and not truth—until he started turning that unlocked door knob. Matt had scrambled frantically to recall the rest of the crap the other deputies had teased him about when he was sent to Mrs. Hawkins’, and remembering his fellow officers warnings was about the only reason he didn’t pull his gun when he finally opened the door and was promptly attacked by about two hundred pounds of nearly-nude, quivering old woman.
“Better watch yerself, boy,” Deputy Sparks had sneered, “that crazy ol’ bitch will be on ya the second ya get in the door. She’ll be humping ya like a dog in heat and—” Matt had walked away, his stomach quivery over the sheer amount of disdain in the former deputy Sparks’ voice.
“The man was a bigoted fuckwad anyway,” Matt muttered, pushing aside the anger thinking of Sparks always brought. As for Mrs. Hawkins, the old woman was just lonely, and granted, her means of getting attention were more than a little startling, but in the past few months, Mrs. Hawkins and Matt had come to a sort of truce. She still called in complaints about prowlers, but she no longer dressed in frilly lingerie when she greeted Matt.
Most of the time she had a plate full of cookies and a glass of milk waiting for him. Matt had offered to stop in and check on her when he wasn’t working, but Mrs. Hawkins had declined. She had her routine, and he wasn’t the only deputy who got called out to her place. He was just the only one who got cookies. The only one who’d befriended the old widow instead of mocking her. The only one who saw the lonely, scared elderly woman hiding under the facade Mrs. Hawkins presented to everyone else.
It hadn’t been that way between them before Matt had nearly died, but that traumatic event seemed to have been what made Mrs. Hawkins see past the laid back persona Matt usually affected. And so between them, they’d forged an odd friendship.
Mrs. Hawkins lived alone a few miles out of town on the remains of an old farm that used to be productive. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Hawkins had sold off most of the farm land, equipment and livestock, keeping only an acre or so surrounding her house.
She also kept several chickens, and Matt hated those damn birds. There was one in particular, a Rhode Island Red rooster, who seemed determined to emasculate him, either physically or through humiliation. If Matt thought he could get away with blowing that damn bird to bits, he’d do it. Maybe he could accidentally back over the evil avian on his way out. No doubt the red menace would be chasing after him, trying to peck and claw at any part of Matt he could reach. God, he hated that rooster!
Matt floored the gas pedal as a wave of unease washed over him. He’d been about half an hour away from his destination when the call came through. Normally he hauled ass to the widow’s place, because you just never knew, but this time, he needed to get there faster. His spine seemed to ice over, sending chilly tendrils throughout his body.
The red rooster was forgotten as fear dug its claws into his gut, spearing him in the same spot he’d been stabbed four months ago. He couldn’t say why or how he knew it was so, but everything in him clamoured and screeched in alarm, much like it’d done right before he’d had that knife driven into him.
Matt gasped as his vision dimmed, the memory of the attack springing to life in his mind, the hot slice of the blade through skin and muscle, the agony that ripped right along with the knife. Blinking rapidly to clear his vision, Matt willed the cruiser to go faster even as he took a turn at a speed that nearly caused the vehicle to roll.
He had to hurry, before it was too late. Whatever was going on in his head, Matt couldn’t let it distract him, not now. Not when he knew in some inexplicable way death was coming.
Excerpt from Wait Until Dawn
So much anger. Rich Montoya squeezed his eyes tightly shut as the nerve endings in his fingers and toes burned, sending pin pricks of pain up his limbs. He tried to will back the evil he felt roiling inside him, but as had happened every time before, it hammered away at his control until bright spots danced behind his closed lids and the foreign presence that haunted him wreaked havoc on his body and mind. It exploded inside him like a geyser, pressurised hatred shooting up and spewing throughout him, splattering his soul with inky black streaks of the malevolent being that tormented him.
“You know who I am.”
Rich grunted as he fought the crushing waves of fury, the twisted desires and memories that were forced into his mind. Images of mutilated bodies, his own and another man, seared into his memory. A whimper slipped free as Rich pressed the heels of his hands to his temples, trying to push out the hated invader If he could pop his head right open and put an end to this now, he’d do it.
Screams of pain, dark eyes filled with horror, the sadistic glee as the invader forced helpless victims to bear the brunt of his twisted games. Rapist, victim, murderer, victim—Rich was shunted back and forth, experiencing each. His own shouts mixed with the ones shared by the invader, filling Rich inside and out with sounds of terror and denial. Rich’s body jerked at the vision of a brutal penetration, agony ripping through him as if he were being torn into with the force of a jackhammer. His back bowed as he cried out, his hands alternately pulling at his hair and pounding at his head.
“S-stop it! Jesus, God, oh fuck, help me...” Rich pleaded, knowing it was useless. His fears and begging only ever spurred the invader on. Curling into a foetal position, Rich trembled, his teeth chattering as he was mentally subjected to more atrocities. He couldn’t do this, couldn’t experience this again and again and stay sane. And if he didn’t keep his sanity, then the invader would win, maybe even take Rich over and have a willing body in which to act out the sick desires.
“No,” Rich whispered, then yelled as his own fury erupted, “No! You won’t win!” He rolled off the bed and hit the tiled floor with a loud smack. The pain of the fall helped centre him, giving him something physical to focus on when his mind was in such turmoil. Pushing himself up to his knees, Rich pried his eyes open, unsurprised to find himself shrouded in darkness. The invader always came in the early morning hours—the witching hours, Rich’s grandma would have said.
On the nights the invader didn’t come, Rich was always wide awake, unable to sleep for fear of having his mind hijacked and filled with horrors no one should ever have to see or experience. He’d wait until dawn, then try to catch a few hours’ sleep. It was a pattern that drained him of his energy—and his will to live. What was the point of living if he no longer had a life of his own?
Even without the presence that insisted on shredding Rich’s mind, his nights were filled with his own memories of pain and fear, the glint of light off a sharp-edged knife, the searing fiery agony as it sliced into his skin over and over again. His skin was striped with his experience at the hands of a mad man, lines smooth and jagged etched forever into his flesh. He’d never forget, never have peace, never be who and what he was before.
Another wave of images streamed through his head, more screams and agony, more sick delight from the one inflicting the torture.
“No more, you fucking evil bastard,” Rich muttered. He grabbed the nightstand with one hand to steady himself and pulled the top drawer open with his other. Even in the darkened room, a sliver of moonlight slipped through the curtains and caressed the cold steel, giving off a subtle glow that seemed to promise salvation, if not respite. Rich picked up the gun, his hand steady despite the rapid beat of his heart. He’d had enough, couldn’t deal with it any more. If he went to Hell, it couldn’t be any worse. He wasn’t sure he’d want to go to Heaven anyway, if such a place existed, not if God was real and let shit like this happen to people.
Flick-flick-flick. Images skipped and sputtered like a film reel misaligned in its projector. Memories or fantasies that weren’t his own, would never be his no matter how deeply branded into his mind they were, faded in and out.
“Enough,” Rich rasped, flinching only a little when he pressed the barrel under his chin. It wasn’t fear of death that made him twitch, only the shock of how very cold the steel felt against his skin. Rich closed his eyes and took a deep breath, already feeling a sense of peace at having found a way to escape. He slipped the safety off and tucked his finger against the trigger before remembering that finger wouldn’t work. He shifted his hand a bit until his middle finger touched the trigger.