Tales of Love & the Supernatural
Just in time for Halloween! Immerse yourself in four tales of love and gothic horror in this anthology by Eli Easton. Each story is novella length.
“The Bird” Colin Hastings is sent to Jamaica in 1870 to save his father’s sugar cane plantation. If he succeeds, he can marry his fiancée back in London and take his place in proper English society. But Colin finds more than he bargained for on the island. His curiosity about Obeah, the native folk magic, leads him to agree to a dangerous ritual where he is offered his heart’s most secret desire—one he’s kept deeply buried all his life. What happens when a proper English gentleman has his true sensual nature revealed and freed by the Obeah spirits? "Reparation" On the harsh planet of Kalan, weakness is not tolerated. When young spore farmer Edward suffers a carriage accident that kills his mail-order bride and his factory manager, Edward has little chance of survival, until Knox—an enormous “reconstitute” slave—plucks him from disaster.
Recons are part machine, part human remains from executed Federation prisoners. But Knox is different from other recons. He can read and has flashes of brilliance. With no one else to rely on over the bleak winter, Edward forms an alliance with Knox, and against social taboos, they become friends. Edward struggles against his growing lust for the large humanoid, and while Knox thrives in his new life, memories of his past torment him. A twist of fate brought Knox and Edward together, but there will be a price to pay in blood when they learn how deeply their lives truly intersect “Among the Dead” Ever since his accident, Neil Gaven sees dead people. He’s isolated himself, unable to bear the constant barrage of sadness and grief. But a gentle ghost grabs his attention on the bus one day. He seems to understand, to have some secret to impart. Neil works to interpret the ghost’s clues. Then they lead him to Trist, a homeless young man who is also tormented by spirits. Are they two of a kind? Maybe together they can find a way to live among the dead. "The Black Dog" Constable Hayden MacLairty is used to life being dull around the tiny hamlet of Laide on the north Scottish coast. They get occasional tourists, “monster hunters” interested in the local legend of the Black Dog, but Hayden thinks that’s only a myth. A rash of sheep killings, a murdered hiker, huge footprints, and sightings of the Black Dog force Hayden to rethink the matter. With the help of Simon Corto, a writer from New York doing research for a book about the Black Dog, Hayden tries to figure out why the enormous hound is reappearing. Hayden finds himself strongly attracted to another person for the first time in his life. But between the danger stalking the hills, Simon’s inevitable return to New York, and Hayden’s mother’s illness, true love may be more of a phantom than the Black Dog.
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From The Black Dog by Eli Easton
Hayden had had an uneasy feeling the past few months now, something not right, something threatening hidden just out of reach in the shadows of the rocks. Fanciful bollocks. But the dead sheep were not his imagination, nor was the stranger. His hand went to the strap of the shotgun slung over his back. He didn’t normally carry a gun, but tonight he’d taken the weapon earmarked for vermin control from the locked safe in his office in case he came across any rogue dogs. He crept forward fast, stooping low.
The figure seemed to be wandering aimlessly, oblivious to Hayden’s approach. Hayden was only twenty feet away when the figure turned and spotted him. The man startled, then ran.
There was nothing for it. Hayden dropped the shotgun from his back, broke into a run, and tackled the man. The pair of them sailed through the air before they hit the ground hard.
“Jesus Christ, I think you broke something!” the man gasped. He sounded winded—and American. Hayden felt a twinge of guilt for landing on him so hard, but the man was where he oughtn’t be and when he oughtn’t be there. Hayden pushed to his feet and grabbed the man’s elbow to drag him upward.
“Who the hell are you? And what in God’s name are you doin’ out here?” he demanded, anger making him sharp.
The man straightened as much as he could whilst clutching his diaphragm. He looked up at Hayden with resentment and did a double take, his eyes getting round. “Dear God, you’re big. I was… I was just taking a walk. I sincerely hope you don’t intend to kill me.”
“Well, I might do. This here is private property, ye ken. And it’s a helluva cold night for walkies.”
“You’re telling me!” The man shivered. “Look, Dylan said I could come.”
The man sighed. “Fuck, it’s colder than a snowman’s ass out here. Look, Dylan was in the pub tonight, and we were talking about the Black Dog. He said he’d seen it out here. I asked if I could come look around and he said ‘sure.’ So I—”
So the man was a monster-hunter and Dylan had been shooting his mouth off again. Typical. “Aye? He was probably three sheets to the wind when he said it.”
“Yes, but so was I, so it doesn’t count,” explained the American. He winced. “Christ, I think you broke a rib.”
Coming from a background in computer game design, Eli has written over 35 books in m/m romance since 2013. The Mating of Michael (2014) and A Second Harvest (2016) both won The William Neale Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance, and Eli’s books have won many awards from the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Reader’s Choice Awards. She is best known for her Christmas romances, the Howl at the Moon series of rom coms featuring dog shifters, and her Sex in Seattle series, which revolves around a sex clinic in Seattle.