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There’s been an accident. Quinn believes he’s dead, though Liam insists otherwise. But if that is the case, why does Quinn see the two of them as ghosts? And why does Liam play along? Exposed to mediums and apparitions, Quinn has to make a decision: either accept his fate or risk everything to trust Liam one more time.
Quinn kept his attention on his shoes, afraid to see the truth in Liam’s eyes. “I’m not real, am I? I think I’m a dream of yours.”
Liam was still. Then he lowered his head, and his kiss burned the corner of Quinn’s mouth. “Not at all. Now come inside and let me show you.” He clasped Quinn’s hand, drawing him irresistibly up the steps and through the closed doors. Quinn yelped as his cells squeezed around the atoms making up the wooden barrier.
Liam flashed him a grin. “I forgot how dense you are.”
Quinn decided to let that one go, though his face warmed at Liam’s low laugh.
The foyer of the great house was caked with dust and the tattered lace of ancient cobwebs. Quinn peered at the chandelier far overhead and shivered as an unpleasant tingle ran up his spine. He was reminded of a haunted house in a theme park he’d once visited. He’d felt unsettled there, as well. He could almost see a body swinging…
He reigned in his imagination; it was dangerous in a house like this. The room darkened as Liam walked through an archway on the left, and he hurried to follow him. He would have liked to take some time to examine the furnishing and tapestries of the parlor, but Liam pressed on. Quinn finally caught him at the far end of the room.
“Where’re we going?”
“To find Betterford’s body reposing in the highest room of the tallest tower.”
Quinn gave him a wry look. “Wasn’t that for the ‘Sleeping Beauty’?”
“So I’ve heard,” Liam purred, looking like he was about to eat the canary.
Quinn didn’t like the eager way he swept through the kitchen to the servants’ staircase.
He tramped up the dark stairs in the apparition’s wake. Liam’s aura had shrunk to a mere flicker around his hand, casting eerie shadows on the close walls. Quinn was huffing by the time they reached the third flight, and Liam stopped to let him catch his breath.
He looked up at the fond tone. Liam stood several steps above, curiously watching him. “You’re a ghost, my beloved. You ought to be gliding up these stairs.”
Quinn’s mouth fell open. “I forgot,” he confessed. His eyes dropped, waiting for Liam’s mocking laughter. It never came. Instead, the man descended the stairs until he stood level with him. Quinn held his breath as the luminescent hand touched his cheek lightly.
“You give me hope,” Liam said surprisingly. “Here, let me help you.” He slipped his arm through Quinn’s.
They fairly flew up the steps after that. Quinn laughed with the exhilaration that raced through him. He’d never felt so free. He wanted to burst through the roof and fly straight into the night. Liam beamed, sharing his joy in the sensation of weightlessness and speed.
All too soon they burst into the hallway far above. Their laughter died abruptly at the grimness of the shadowy corridor. Quinn winced when Liam suddenly grabbed his hand. The spirit’s eyes glowed with anticipation.
He leaned close. “Trust me, Quinn.” His voice was shaking and the man cleared his throat. “Whatever you think of me after this, please remember that I want the best for you. For us.”
“I don’t understand.”
Liam shook his head, clearly disappointed by his answer. Tugging on his hand, he led him to a door in the middle of the corridor.
Quinn stared at the closed door, reluctant to open it. “Betterford’s in there?”
Liam made a noncommittal sound. They stood side-by-side looking at the door until a smile lifted the corner of Liam’s mobile mouth. “Are you going to open it, or are we staying out here all night?”