Mostly because he stuck it firmly in his mouth when his lover, Tristan Pryce, accidentally drugged him with a batch of psychotropic baklava. Needing to patch things up between them, Wolf drags Tristan to San Luis Obispo, hoping Tristan’s medium ability can help evict a troublesome spirit haunting an old farmhouse.
With Wolf’s sister handling Hoxne Grange’s spectral visitors, Tristan finds himself in the unique position of being able to leave home for the first time in forever, but Wolf’s roughshod treatment is the least of his worries. Tristan’s ad-hoc portal for passing spirits seems to be getting fewer and fewer guests, and despite his concern he’s broken his home, Tristan agrees to help Wolf’s cousin, Sey, kick her poltergeist to the proverbial curb.
San Luis Obispo brings its own bushel of troubles. Tristan’s ghost whispering skill is challenged not only by a terrorizing haunting but also by Wolf’s skeptical older cousin, Cin. Bookended by a pair of aggressive Kincaids, Tristan soon finds himself in a spectral battle that threatens not only his sanity but also his relationship with Wolf, the first man he’s ever loved.
Available from Dreamspinner Press on Sept 8. Preorder Here.
Duck Duck Ghost by Rhys Ford ©
EXCERPT: “Suppose we fuck this up again?” Tristan let Wolf pull him into a hug, and something plastic rolled against Tristan’s arm as he tightened his embrace around Wolf’s torso. “One of the things… what is that? Lube? It just hit me. It’s huge. Did you bring a dildo? I sure as shit didn’t order one.”
“Forget about that. Let’s talk about us—fucking this up, okay?” The cold had returned, but it was held back by Wolf’s heat and the soft cotton duvet he’d thrown over them both. “We’re both going to mess up. Hell, I’m going to say it’ll be eighty-twenty, with me fucking up eighty percent of the time, and you’ll probably growl and snap at me because you’re working, and I’m getting in your shit.”
“You do get annoying.” Tristan spat a piece of his own blond hair out of his mouth. “And you chew on my pencils.”
“You’ve got some great-tasting pencils.” Wolf sniffed imperiously. “All hard and sweet, dangling erotically from your—”
“Pencils. Not dick.”
“Fingers,” Wolf finished. “I like watching you play the pencils.”
“Well, stop biting them. It fucks them up, and they feel weird when I use them.”
Tristan didn’t think Wolf needed to know it was because the bite marks made him think of other things Wolf’s teeth were good for. The man’s ego was inflated enough as it was.
“Duly noted,” Wolf said gravely. “No biting pencils. Only Tristan. Tell me what’s really bugging you. Deep down inside. And don’t tell me nothing. Just because you’ve never had anyone to talk to before doesn’t mean you don’t have me to listen to you now.”
He lay there, breathing and listening to Wolf’s body move and shift. Since he’d first seen Wolf stroll into the Grange as if he owned the ghost-infested mansion, Tristan knew his life would change because that man had walked into it. He just didn’t realize how much it would—or how much he’d need the man lying next to him. Tristan couldn’t come up with anyone he’d spent more time with than Wolf. Even now, with the possibility of Ophelia Sunday helping him at the Grange for extended periods of time, Tristan was scared—frightened of stepping out into the world and finding Wolf was no longer by his side.
“You make me stronger,” Tristan admitted. “Kind of. No, you do. I like having you with me. Even when you piss me the fuck off.”
“Bullshit about the stronger part,” Wolf snorted. “You’re one of the most stubborn sons of a bitch I’ve ever met. Pull the other leg, Tris.”
“I’m serious.” He lifted his fingers up to Wolf’s mouth to shush him. “Just shut up for a moment and listen.”
“No, babe, you listen.” Wolf’s hands were warm on his face when they cupped Tristan’s cheeks. “You kick ass. In your own way. In a pretty geeky hot-bodied artist way.”
“You can’t ask me to talk to you, then tell me I’m saying things wrong,” Tristan pointed out. “Kind of defeats the purpose of this talking thing.”
“Fair enough,” he conceded. “Can I keep your face? I can kind of make out the squish I did with your mouth. It’s kind of cute.”
“Let go of my face and let me talk.” He gave one of Wolf’s palms a kiss before they were pulled away. Tangling his legs around Wolf’s, Tristan got comfortable and gathered his thoughts. “You make me feel like I’ve got wings. Sure they’re just wax and feathers, and I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing with them, but I can go places… or at least try to go places with you. You make me want to see what’s outside in the world. Hell, I’ve been thinking it would be cool to go see other hauntings—maybe even help you figure this whole thing out. I couldn’t have done that before if I hadn’t met you. Your family, and I know they drive you crazy, but Meegan and Ophelia Sunday really make me feel… good. And normal!”
“Well, that’s got to be the first time my mother and the word normal have ever been uttered together in the same sentence.” Wolf didn’t avoid Tristan’s light smack. “It’s true. But it’s nice for Ophie too. She’s always been—sensitive. We just never had any way of really kind of proving it. Hell, she was stoked when you asked her to be there. Thank God you’re gay, or I’d be fitting you for a tuxedo and helping you pick out rings.”
“She said a lot of your family is sensitive to ghosts. And don’t call her Ophie.”
“Secretly, deep down inside her blackened little Smurfy heart, she likes it. And yeah, they are attuned, or some of them are,” Wolf admitted softly. “And a lot of them are fakers too. That’s what really made them kick me out. I didn’t want to perpetuate the family’s charlatans. There are real ghost hunters out there, Hellsingers like Cin, but a lot of them are like Gildy. They tell a family their problems are over, when in reality, the place might never have been haunted, or worse, they’re left with a very pissed-off ghost like Winifred.”
“That’s… messed up, Wolf.”
“Yep. Liars on either side of the fence. And I hate to admit it, but there are quite a few in my family. It’s how they make their money. We’re pretty much what people imagine as gypsy stereotypes but without the whole covered caravan nonsense. A few Winnebago, though. And you can never go wrong with an Airstream.” He kissed Tristan’s nose, leaving a small wet spot behind. “It’s complicated. There are so many reasons I want you to be with me, and there’s one really big reason I don’t.”
“What’s the really big reason?” Tristan asked softly, dreading what the man’s answer would be.
“Because I don’t want you hurt, Thursday,” Wolf whispered into Tristan’s ear, then nipped down his throat. “I’d rather die than see you being hurt.”
About Rhys Ford: Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.
And at the Starbucks down the street. No really, they’re 24/7. And a drive-thru. It’s like heaven.