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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Book Day Wednesday - Haunted

So a little background to this latest Hammer Club book. I actually started this last year. I wanted to do a Halloween story and I thought it would be fun to make it a Hammer book as there hadn't been a new one of those in a while. Well, I start the book and Rusty, a new character, steps up to the plate. That should have been my first clue that this wasn't going to be a light short story. Then Karl, a man who creates haunted houses for clients around the country, claims Rusty. Okay, I think, instead of a 5000 word short story, maybe this will be a 10000-15000 shorter novella. Yeah, once I'd hit 12000 words and had plenty of story left to tell, I knew that this was not going to make it out for Halloween. So I put it aside to work on for next Halloween and informed the men in my head that I needed a short story and one of the existing pairs had to star in it so that I could make sure it stayed short. Trick or Treat featuring Jim and Marcus happened and that's the Halloween story I put out last year. Then I went back to writing Rusty and Karl's story and tada - I bring you Haunted for Halloween this year.

It's currently up for pre-order (see links below) and will be out on October 27. It will go to KU on Friday October 30 at midnight.

There's an excerpt below - look for a smutty one on Saturday.

Will Halloween bring a trick or a treat for two lonely men?

Rusty’s had a hard time of it. Six months ago he walked in on his master with another man in their bed and left with little more than the clothes he was wearing and his laptop. Since then he’s been staying with Marcus and Jim, working and saving up for a place of his own. When Halloween rolls around, he’s not feeling the spirit of the holiday, but Jim and Tanny convince to come to the club with them.

Master Karl loves coming to the Hammer’s Halloween party as it marks the end of his work year. A designer and builder of haunted houses, he spends most of the year on the road for business with November and December as his time off. 

Marcus and Billy invite Karl to join their table at the Halloween party and he’s attracted to Rusty immediately. When sharing a meal leads to a dance which leads to Rusty going home with Karl, it could be the start of something special for both men. Can some Halloween magic bring Karl and Rusty the happy endings they deserve?

Pre-order links:


“I don’t want to go, y’all.” Rusty looked at Jim and Tanny, shaking his head. “Please.”

“Honey, it’s a party. Nothing scary. No one will mess with you.” Jim patted his hand. “I don’t want you to be alone all night.”

Rusty had run away from home six months ago, hiding out at friends’ houses while he tried to figure out what to do. He’d caught his lover in bed with another man, and he just…panicked. He’d run and now…

Now he was alone and scared, but he had a steady gig making corsets with Master Gage; he had a car. He was saving for an apartment.

He was making it on his own.

“Come on, boys. We’re late enough to make a very fashionable entrance.” Master Marcus—Jim’s Master—came around the corner and whistled. “Baby, you look good enough to eat.”

Jim was dressed like a Beatnik, complete with a little red goatee, gorgeous curls slicked back and pulled into a tight braid. “Thank you, Master. Is Master Billy meeting us here?”

Tanny, on the other hand, was dressed like a llama—not sexy but unbearably cute.

“The llama Master will be meeting us at the club. You look adorable, Montana. Which is not something one usually says.” Marcus chuckled, then turned to Rusty. “You’re not wearing a costume this evening?”

“I thought I’d stay home, but the guys asked me to come, Sir.” He supposed it would be fun to sit in the corner and look at the costumes.

“I’m glad they did. And you’re certainly welcome to come as you are, but if you’d like to have a costume, the boys could rustle something up for you, and if not that, we can stop somewhere on the way to find you something.”

“I don’t want to be any trouble. Thank you though. I do appreciate it.”

“It’s no trouble, boy.” Marcus held his arm out, and Jim slipped his hand through it. “Let’s go. I’m hungry and eager to see what the menu is. Hopefully, no eyeballs this year.”

“Or tongue!” Jim said.

“I just want chocolate.” Tanny hooked arms with Rusty. “And coffee.”

“Sounds like a plan, man.”

“There’s more to life than coffee,” Marcus noted. “Right, Jim?”

“That’s the rumor, Master.”

Marcus chuckled.

Rusty knew that Jim’s Master had some weird thing about coffee and Jim hardly ever got to drink it. Well, he didn’t either if he wasn’t working, because they just didn’t keep it in the house.

He spent a ton of time at the coffee shop next to Master Gage’s shop. Enough that he had his own cup.
Marcus ushered them all into the car. Rusty sat in the back with Tanny. Once they were on the road, Marcus glanced at him through the rearview mirror. “Last chance to stop for a costume.”

“I’m fine, Sir. I just want to watch, not be watched.”

“Whatever you want, Rusty.” Marcus focused back on the road.

What he wanted was for the world to not be so goddamn mean, to not feel like a loser, like a skinny asshole who was easy to cheat on.

Which wasn’t these guys’ fault, they’d been nothing but kind to him. He probably shouldn’t have come out with them. He tried not to sigh.

The car came to a stop and Marcus turned off the engine. “Here we are. I hope everyone is ready for a bacchanal.”

They trooped in, and Master Billy caught Tanny up in a hug. The Masters hugged one another next, and Rusty snuck away to a small table in the back of the room, hidden in the dark.

The costumes were amazing, and none of them looked like the kind of thing you could find Walmart.
They were all sexy and wonderful, and he drew into himself, feeling dull and unremarkable. He saw a number of his corsets though. A bunch of them.

That was cool.

Jim came over, somehow finding him in his dark corner. “We’re going to eat. Why don’t you come join us?”

“Oh, are you sure? I don’t have to…” He was afraid he was going to cry.

“Of course I’m sure. We’re your friends, right? We want to have dinner with you. Come on.” Jim didn’t sound at all hesitant.

“Okay. Yeah. Thank you. I’d love to.” He found a smile for his friend, took Jim’s hand, and stood. 

“What are we eating?”

“Bat wings, lizard tails, werewolf steaks, and blood and fingernails pudding.” Jim shrugged. “I’m sure it’ll translate into something actually edible.”

“God, I hope so…” It sounded awful.

Jim laughed and pulled him down into the chair next to him. The two Masters gave him a smile, then Marcus’s eyes narrowed to somewhere behind him.

“Karl? Is that you in that top hat?”

“Marcus! Looking good.”

“So are you. Are you on your own?”

“Yep. Still riding solo.”

“We have an extra chair.” Marcus pointed to the seat next to Rusty and the up-until-now unseen Karl came into view.

The guy was tall and broad, wearing dress pants, a black vest that contrasted with his muscles—so hot—and a top hat on his head.

Rusty offered the man a tentative smile, smoothing down his auburn hair. He had long hair like Jim’s, but it wasn’t curly or bright. It was just hair.

His smile was returned, and a big one at that. “I’m Karl.”

“Rusty. Happy Halloween, Sir.”

“Thank you, boy. And back at’cha. I have to admit, while I enjoy Halloween, I’m a little hesitant about this menu they’re producing. I’m hoping I don’t have to sneak into a diner on my way home.” Karl had clear blue eyes that seemed to look right into him.

“Yes. I may offer to buy Marcus and Jim McD’s.”

“But not Billy and his boy? Is it the llama suit?” Those blue eyes were twinkling away.

“I don’t think they’re riding home with us, is all.” His cheeks were on fire.

“Oh, you’re staying with Marcus and Jim, are you? Very nice. They’re good people.”

Before he could reply, a vampire waiter put a huge platter in the middle of the table. “Bat wings, Sirs.”

Karl leaned toward him and murmured, “Those bat wings look an awful lot like chicken wings. I’m also betting that bat tastes a lot like chicken.”

“Yes, thank goodness. Bats don’t seem very tasty. Or legal.”

Karl chuckled. “No, I imagine not. Can I dish you up some? I have a longer reach.” Marcus and Billy were already putting wings on plates.

“If there are enough after everyone has had some, please.”

“Stop that, boy.” Karl shook his head, took his plate, and put some wings on it. “You’re not less than anyone else at this table.”

“Th-thank you. Seriously. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, boy.” Karl put a half-dozen wings on his plate, some of the bat’s blood dipping sauce and some carrots and celery, then set it down in front of him before filling up his own plate.

Oh. That was…oh. He looked at Tanny, who nodded at him, smiled, and gave him a thumbs-up.

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