New Release Giveaway
Soul Searching by AJ Rose
2 Lucky Winners!
1 Winner Will Receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card and an ebook copy of Soul Searching
1 Winner Will Receive an ebook copy of Soul Searching (or any book from AJ Rose’s backlist)
**Giveaway Eligible in US Only**
Something lurks within the walls of the house Trevor Mathews and his best friend Merrick Taylor share. It watches them and their friends. It needs them. It knows their weaknesses.
Trevor’s in love with Merrick and hasn’t got the nerve to tell him. Merrick’s relationship is already failing, but he doesn’t believe he deserves what he truly desires. And the dark presence enjoys their suffering.
The entity wants to exploit them, push Merrick’s boyfriend into fits of jealousy and possessiveness, encourage Trevor to avoid the man he’s stood by most of his life, and frustrate their friend Tempest who’s tired of knowing Trevor and Merrick are perfectly matched souls, but they’re too scared to try.
The entity needs them to fight, to hurt, to scream at each other in anger and pain. It thrives on their helplessness and targets their insecurities. And it won’t stop until it has devoured their joy, destroyed their hope, and eventually, shattered their souls.
“Merrick, hit the lights.”
He didn’t move. “What if Trevor and I don’t want to do this?”
“Don’t you want to know if you’re the only ones living here?” Tempest wouldn’t be dissuaded.
I put my hand on his knee this time. “Maybe it would help if we knew for sure something was here. I mean, if we get nothing, we can shut her up about it.”
Tempest scoffed but said nothing, turning off the lights herself. Only the light from the loo upstairs trickled down, and even then, it didn’t penetrate past the hallway. The flickering of the candles made the living room seem ominous.
Merrick looked at me, his ice blue irises darker in the candle glow. “I feel no need to know if there’s anyone else here, but I’ll play along.”
Tempest left the room to rummage in the kitchen for god knew what, and I tried to keep my expression neutral. The shadowy fog had me more freaked than I realised, because where even a few days ago, I’d doubted the existence of ghosts or spirits, now I wasn’t so sure. If there were such things, I couldn’t decide if I was better off knowing or staying ignorant.
“Not like I’ll be able to sleep at night either way. If we don’t do this, I’ll be sat there wondering, and if we do find something, I’ll be too freaked out to sleep.”
“Orrrr.” He dragged the word out. “We do this, find nothing, get Pest to drop it, and go on with life as usual.”
“I like that option best.” My voice shook, and I chuckled at my uncertainty, blaming it on Tempest’s mood-setting.
Merrick brought his good hand up to chuck my chin. “Then that’s what we’ll do. It’s not like it’s easy to get evidence on video, even with good equipment, so this amateur ghost-hunting thing will show absolutely nothing, right? Otherwise, everyone in England would have proof of them in their house.”
He was right. A lot of buildings were old and full of history, but that didn’t mean they were loaded with spirits, or there’d be no question about the existence of an afterlife.
Tempest returned with a couple of our emergency tapers she’d poked through paper plates to catch the wax. “Dave, do you mind recording on your mobile? I want to try and get audio on mine.” She held out the second candle to Merrick, who didn’t move. “Oh, come on! Either you hold a candle, or you take video. I don’t care which of you does what, but I only have two hands.”
Reluctantly, he took the candle.
“I guess that leaves me to get video, too.” I leant back to dig my phone from a pocket and opened the camera. I pointed it at a corner of the living room, away from people but where enough candlelight penetrated that it wasn’t pitch black. “Tell me what to do.”
“Just record.” She settled herself on the floor, crossing her legs lotus-style, and spent a minute fiddling with her phone. “Okay, I’m going to try to talk to whatever might be here. Let me know if you see or hear anything.” She cleared her throat, closed her eyes, and spoke in a loud voice infused with drama. “Are there any spirits here? Can you talk to us?”
Nothing happened. I exhaled, letting go the breath I held. Beside me, Merrick snickered.
Tempest opened one eye and glowered at him, then continued. “If you’re here, can you let us know? Maybe knock on a wall, give us more footsteps, or move something?”
Outside, the wind picked up, and the all-day drizzle grew into heavier rain, splattering the windows. But inside, there was nothing but our breathing, mildly flickering candle flames, and expectation.
“Did you once live in this house?” She paused between each question, giving whatever might be here time to answer. “Are we intruding on your space?”
On the steps, there was a creak, but given the wind outside, and how we were on the end of a street of semi-detached homes, we took the brunt of every storm blowing through, so the sound wasn’t out of place.
“What do you want?”
And on it went. Tempest dragged us from room to room, asking the same questions with slightly different wording, but if there was anything, we didn’t hear or see it. A couple of times, I thought I caught movement in the corner of my eye, but when I looked, it was either nothing or a shadow of windblown branches against a window.
The one good thing about the whole “investigation,” as Tempest called it, was Merrick sticking to my side. He even threaded an arm through mine while I held my mobile up with the other hand, so I was never without light to see by. I took comfort from his warmth and leant into him as often as I could, and not just because I liked how his body felt against mine. This ghost-hunting business was all about the power of suggestion, and we were wide-eyed and jumpy.
“Are you here to harm us?” Tempest asked, standing at the top of the staircase while we formed a semi-circle behind her on the landing. “If so, push me down the stairs.”
“Okay, that’s enough.” Merrick handed me the candle and grasped Tempest’s arm, pulling her away from the steps. “Are you mad?”
The smile she gave him was knowing and sharp, the candlelight casting ominous shadows across her features. “Either you believe something is here and would push me, or I’m perfectly safe calling out like that, because nothing will take me up on the challenge. Which is it, Merrick?”
“If you don’t quit trying to freak Trevor out, I’ll push you down the stairs, you daft bint.” He didn’t let go of her arm as he moved toward the loo and flicked on the light. “You believe in this stuff, so why would you ask to be tossed down the steps?” He gestured to me. “And look at your best friend. He’s not happy with this. We’ve got nothing on video after an hour, and you just asked something to pass through or very near Trevor to give you a shove. We’re done with this.”
About the Author:
It began with a Halloween themed short story assignment from a second grade teacher, and from then on, AJ Rose fell head over heels in love with writing. Time has seen the beginning and end of many things, college and graduation, a finance career, and a marriage, and through it all, writing has been her first love. Now, AJ is also head over heels for her wife, fellow author Kate Aaron, who gets it, the twitchy fingers when word counts are low too many consecutive days, the thousand-yard stare when an idea turns AJ’s vision inward, and the jitters when the word-babies go out to meet the world. Nothing could stop the tall tales about imaginary people that refused to be ignored. With a life full of this much passion, it’s no wonder AJ chose romance. The voices in her head are mostly of the male persuasion, so m/m romance was about the only option. But don’t be surprised if the occasional ghost still pops up.