The Ghost Had an Early Checkout
Sequel to The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks
by Josh Lanyon
Genre: LGBT Mystery
To live and draw in L.A.
Now living in Los Angeles with former navy SEAL Nick Reno, artist Perry Foster comes to the rescue of elderly and eccentric Horace Daly, the legendary film star of such horror classics as Why Won't You Die, My Darling?
Horace owns the famous, but now run-down, Hollywood hotel Angels Rest, rumored to be haunted. But as far as Perry can tell, the scariest thing about Angels Rest is the cast of crazy tenants--one of whom seems determined to bring down the final curtain on Horace--and anyone else who gets in the way.
Nick was brooding over this, staring out the window over the kitchen sink at the smog-dimmed stars, when he heard the smothered sound of Perry’s cough outside the apartment door. He stepped out of the kitchen as Perry’s key turned the lock.
Perry opened the door, clearly surprised to find the lights on. His thin, pointy face lit up as he spotted Nick. “Hey, you’re home!”
Nick retorted, “One detective per family is e—” but the rest of it was cut off as Perry launched himself. Nick’s arms automatically locked around him, and his mouth came down hard on Perry’s eager one.
What was it about Perry? He was cute enough, sure. Medium height, lanky, boyish-looking. His hair was blond and spiky. His eyes were big and brown and as long-lashed as a cartoon character’s. In this town where two out of every three guys looked like they were trying out for a role in a major motion picture, Perry was almost strikingly ordinary. Maybe that was it. The fact that Perry didn’t look like everyone else. That he didn’t act like everyone else.
It was funny, though, because Perry was almost the complete opposite of what Nick had always thought was his type. Not that he had really thought of himself as having a type—beyond wanting someone with a penis.
Even after nine months, that unstinting…what the hell would you call it? Sweetness sounded too sappy, but there was something so honest, so generous in Perry’s responses. It made Nick’s heart feel too big for his chest. Closed his throat so that he could rarely say the things he wanted to say, things that Perry deserved to hear.
I love you. It scares me how much I love you.
Instead, he said gruffly, “Where the hell have you been at this hour?”
Perry didn’t seem to hear the gruffness. His wide brown eyes smiled guilelessly up into Nick’s. “I was sketching—”
He had to stop, though, starting to wheeze. He threw an apologetic look at Nick and dug out his rescue inhaler. He took a couple of quick puffs while Nick watched, frowning.
This was not good. He didn’t like the sudden alarming reappearance of coughing and wheezing. He put a hand on Perry’s shoulder. Under Nick’s tutelage, Perry had built up some muscle, but he had not really put on much weight. His shoulders were still bony, his collarbones sharp.
Perry put the inhaler away—he didn’t like using it in front of Nick. As if he thought Nick looked down on him for it?
He said, “It was so dusty up there!”
“Where? Where’ve you been?” Nick hoped he didn’t sound as accusatory as he did to his own ears.
“I drove up to Angel’s Rest.”
“That old hotel in the hills. Remember at Dorian’s exhibition last Saturday? The 1920s hotel in those photos?”
“The abandoned place on Laurel Canyon?”
Jesus fucking Christ. He remembered Perry had seemed fascinated by those photos. But hiking around those hills on his own? Anything could happen to him, from being bit by a rattlesnake to running into some crazed homeless person.
Nick didn’t let any of that show on his face. That was one thing he had decided early on. He was not going to undermine Perry’s confidence or self-resilience with his own fears. Perry was not his child, he was his partner. Physically frail or not, he was a grown man.
“Right,” Perry said quickly, as though he sensed everything Nick was determined not to say. “Only it’s not abandoned. Well, not completely.”
Now, studying him more closely in the lamplight, Nick noticed Perry’s T-shirt was smeared with dust and torn at the collar. And—more alarming—his knuckles were scraped and cut.
Perry said, “Anyway, I’m sorry I’m late. I didn’t know you’d be home tonight. I bought pork chops for when you got home.”
“Were you in fight?”
Perry’s eyelashes flicked up guiltily. “Kind of.”
Nick felt as winded as if Perry had punched him. Trying to picture him in a fight was… Well, yes, Nick had been showing him some moves, tried to prepare him a little in case he ever had to defend himself, but still, Perry in a fight?
“I’ve got a lot to tell you,” Perry said. “Should I cook the pork chops?”
“I’ll fix us something to eat. You talk.”
The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks
by Josh Lanyon
His romantic weekend in ruins, shy twenty-something artist Perry Foster learns that things can always get worse when he returns home from San Francisco to find a dead body in his bathtub. A dead body in a very ugly sportscoat -- and matching socks. The dead man is a stranger to Perry, but that's not much of a comfort; how did a strange dead man get in a locked flat at the isolated Alton Estate in the wilds of the "Northeast Kingdom" of Vermont? Perry turns to help from "tall, dark and hostile" former navy SEAL Nick Reno -- but is Reno all that he seems?
Josh Lanyon is the author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance.
Her work has been translated into eleven languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first Male/Male title to be published by Harlequin Mondadori, the largest romance publisher in Italy. Stranger on the Shore (Harper Collins Italia) was the first M/M title to be published in print. In 2016 Fatal Shadows placed #5 in Japan's annual Boy Love novel list (the first and only title by a foreign author to place). The Adrien English Series was awarded All Time Favorite Male/Male Series in the 2nd Annual contest held by the 20,000+ Goodreads M/M Group. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist (twice for Gay Mystery), and the first ever recipient of the Goodreads M/M Hall of Fame award.
Josh is married and lives in Southern California.
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