The only thing more frightening than murder might be navigating their first holiday season as a coup
A Badlands Novella
RELEASE DATE: 11.01.18
Cover by Natania Barron
Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his boyfriend, Myrtle Beach homicide detective Vic D’Amato, find that the only thing more frightening than murder might be navigating their first holiday season as a couple.
A trip back to Pittsburgh to spend Thanksgiving with Vic’s large, exuberant family means dodging old frenemies and a bitter ex-boyfriend. A cold case comes back to haunt Vic when the murdered man’s ghost begs Simon for justice. Then a new murder in Myrtle Beach looks suspiciously familiar, and the dead woman’s ghost isn’t playing nice. When Simon gets a vision of the next victim before the crime occurs, he realizes that all the murders are supernaturally linked. Catching the murderer will take his psychic sleuthing skills along with Vic’s street smarts to avert a tragedy. Can they do right by ghosts past, present and yet-to-come without ending up in the crosshairs of a killer for Christmas?
Lucky Town is 1.5 in the Badlands series
“Remind me why we decided to repaint right before Thanksgiving?” Simon Kincaide wiped a smear of paint off his forehead after he put down the roller.
“So all the new paint stink can go away while we’re in Pittsburgh,” Vic D’Amato replied.
Simon paused to admire the view. His boyfriend’s ass looked mighty fine up on that ladder, and the old jeans and t-shirt were just a little too snug. The tribal tat sleeve always made Simon’s heart race, and he lost a few seconds thinking about the other places Vic had ink and how much he wanted to lick those spots, later that night.
“Simon! Focus!” Vic sounded fondly annoyed as if he knew exactly where Simon’s mind had wandered.
“I was focusing,” Simon grumbled with a smile.
“Yeah, on my ass.”
Vic grinned. “You were, weren’t you? Let’s finish the room and clean up, and I’ll give you something to focus on in the shower.”
“Hell, yes!” Simon adjusted himself in his jeans and went back to work with a renewed sense of purpose. Normally, painting didn’t put him in such a good mood, but the reason for the spruce-up certainly did.
After months of dating, Vic was finally moving in with him and they had decided to get a jump on making some updates. That suited Simon just fine, since the “blue bungalow” still was largely in the shape it had been when he bought it from his aunt and uncle three years ago. They had stopped wintering in Myrtle Beach for health reasons, and Simon, who had fled to the beach after his life in Columbia, SC fell apart, needed a place to stay. They’d sold it to him for a fraction of the value, insisting he take it, and Simon had fallen in love with the retro fifties vacation home only a few blocks from the ocean and from his shop, Grand Strand Ghost Tours. Now, it proved lucky that the bungalow was close to the Myrtle Beach Police Department, so that Vic could also walk to work.
Simon hummed as he painted. He reached up to adjust the bandana he had tied to keep the paint out of his chestnut-brown man bun. During the summer, the sun added golden streaks to his hair, but now that it was nearly Thanksgiving those had faded, and he was seriously thinking about getting highlights to replace them. Vic would probably never let me live it down, even though he’d secretly love it.
He and Vic were a study in contrasts. Vic’s black hair was cut in a fade, buzzed on the sides and longer on top. His olive skin still hadn’t lost the dark summer tan Simon could never acquire, even if he spent all day, every day, baking on the beach. Vic was all muscle, with biceps and thighs that made Simon hard just thinking about them. Add the gun and badge, and homicide detective Lieutenant Vic D’Amato was one hot honey.
Simon still wondered how he got so lucky. At five foot, ten inches, he was a solid four inches shorter than Vic, and his hair fell to his shoulders when he didn’t put it up. Simon had a slender build with lean muscle, and while Vic let him know in a million ways that he found Simon very attractive, Simon had spent more time focused on academics than the gym. He’d earned a Ph.D. in Folklore and Mythology and looked like he had it made, with a tenure-track teaching position at the University of South Carolina and a handsome fiancée. Then the father of one of Simon’s students had a fit about the “occult” subjects Simon was teaching, and his gifts as a psychic medium sealed his fate. He’d been fired, and Jacen, his fiancée, decided that Simon was a liability to his own ambitions, cutting him loose. Simon had come to Myrtle Beach to lick his wounds, then decided to stay and open Grand Strand Ghost Tours. Three years later, he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else, and didn’t want to be anywhere without Vic.
“I hope you like the way the new paint looks,” Vic said as he climbed down the ladder, bringing his nearly empty tray and roller with him. He sounded hesitant, and Simon knew his lover was worried about making too many changes.
“I love it,” Simon said, pulling Vic in for a kiss. They were both sweaty and reeked of paint. That just gave the whole thing a “naughty handyman” vibe in Simon’s mind. “And I love that you’re moving in.”
“Love you, too,” Vic replied, returning the kiss. “And the neighbors already think I live here. The only stuff left in my apartment are the boxes I never unpacked from Pittsburgh.”
“Saved you from doing it twice,” Simon joked, although the mention of Pittsburgh dimmed his mood, just a little.
They pitched the disposable liner trays and rollers, put the lids on the cans and washed out the brushes, then headed for the bathroom, careful not to touch any of the wet paint on the walls. The bungalow wasn’t that big, but trying to paint several rooms in one weekend felt like it had expanded to be a McMansion.
Vic chucked his paint clothes at the laundry room door, and walked the rest of the way naked, shooting a mischievous glance at Simon over his shoulder. Simon wolf whistled, then did the same, sprinting to catch up.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.
On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.
Other books include Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers, and Badlands. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!
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