Cover reveal: Contact (Gothika vol. 5)

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I’m very excited today to get to show you the cover of Contact, the 5th volume in the Gothika series. If you’re unfamiliar with the series (gasp!) each volume features novellas on a particular gothic theme. This time it’s aliens, and you can see what great company I’m in. Oh, and that beautiful cover is by Angsty G.

Contact releases October 24–just in time for Halloween of course–but you can preorder now.

My novella in this collection is called Refugee, and it takes place in 1950 on the Oregon coast. Here’s the blurb:

When World War II ended and army medic Walter Clark returned to Chicago, he discovered that although home remained the same, he had changed. Unable to fit comfortably into his old life, he spent a year gradually making his way west. Now he’s gone as far as he can—the shore of the Pacific—but old memories make ocean views intolerable. He turns inland and finds himself in the hidden hamlet of Kiteeshaa, Oregon, where the locals are surprisingly friendly and the café serves food exactly like his grandmother used to make.

Martin Wright runs the Kitee Motor Court Inn and offers Walter a place to stay for a few nights. Later, Martin offers him a great deal more. But while Martin is a delight, he also harbors secrets—and there’s something not quite right about Kiteeshaa. No matter how far the two men have traveled, they can’t run away from their pasts.

As part of our cover reveal, we’re over at Gay Book Reviews today with a giveaway.

How about an excerpt from “Refugee”?

A rounded boulder hulked invitingly, so Walter ambled over and scrambled to the top. It was less than five feet high and covered in moss, and it made a pleasant perch. He sat for what felt like a long time, simply breathing.

This area was quieter than the woods near the road. He didn’t see or hear any birds, and the only insects were a few gnats and several wandering ants. It was as if even forest creatures were hesitant to disturb the stillness of the space. And God, it was peaceful. Deeply so, like a long drink of water on a hot summer day or a thick mattress after a hard day of toil. He thought that if he dropped dead right here, right now, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. He’d seen firsthand what became of corpses when they returned to dust, and if his flesh became a part of this tranquil place, he wouldn’t very much mind.

It was a good thing he didn’t have his revolver with him, although he probably wouldn’t have wanted to disturb the silence with a gunshot. Probably.

Walter had stopped thinking—was just letting the stillness seep into his pores—when he heard the quiet fall of footsteps. He hadn’t even realized he’d closed his eyes, but now he opened them, blinked a few times, and saw Martin walking toward him. Martin moved slowly and carefully, less like an animal stalking its prey than a parent wanting to avoid disturbing a sleeping child. He wore khaki trousers again with a light blue shirt and tan jacket, and his lips were set in a hesitant smile.

“I’m sorry to interrupt you,” he said quietly when he reached the rock.

Walter slid to the ground. “It’s all right. I was just sitting here.”

Martin nodded. “It’s a good place, isn’t it? I come here sometimes when I need….” He let his voice trail off, then gave a small shrug. He continued to smile, but his eyes were sad. “Were you comfortable in unit three?”

“It was great.” Walter couldn’t explain the sense of ease he’d felt last night.

“I’m glad,” Martin replied, looking relieved. “Will you stay longer?”

“A few days.” Walter hadn’t even realized he’d made a decision until the words left his mouth, and he didn’t regret it. If he could actually afford it. “Um, you haven’t told me the rate.”

“Four dollars a night. But I can give you a discount, seeing as you’re staying more than one night.” He seemed to consider for a few seconds. “Two fifty?”

Walter did some quick calculations in his head. If he ate at the café for breakfast only and fixed the rest of his meals in the cabin’s little kitchenette, he could safely afford a week before his funds became too thin. “That’s fair,” he said.

Martin held out his hand for a shake, and Walter took it. But instead of letting go when the shake was over, Martin tugged with surprising strength, pulling Walter flush against him. Shocked but also instantly aroused, Walter stared into those astonishing blue eyes. And then Martin touched his lips to Walter’s.

 

Want more? Preorder now!

 

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