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Trials of a Lonely Specter
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.
“Hate you? Hardly that, my dear.”
Quinn swiveled toward the welcome voice. Liam summoned the aura and Quinn saw him lounging against a nearby headstone, looking ethereal and devastatingly attractive. He swallowed a lump in his throat as he met the uncharacteristically somber blue eyes. He blinked when Liam took a step towards him and stumbled, sitting down heavily beside him. He watched, puzzled, as the man sent the blue light over their heads and began to methodically pick bits of grass from his trouser legs, swaying slightly as he worked. Was he actually…
“You’ve been drinking,” he said in surprise.
Liam shrugged. “Maybe,” he said noncommittally, though he avoided Quinn’s gaze.
“I’m fine,” the man spat out, crossing his arms over his chest. A chill ran through Quinn. He’d seen Liam drunk before. Hell, they’d been inebriated together more than once. But Liam was even then always full of laughter and corny jokes. He’d only seen him sullen and hurting like this once before, the day his father had died…
Panicked, he cupped the man’s cheek, forcing him to look at him. God! His face was stark with agony, the beautiful eyes swimming with tears. “What’s happened?” he asked, terrified without knowing why.
Liam reached up and put his hand over Quinn’s on his cheek, spilling a few scalding tears on his fingers. “I’ve done all I can,” he said, his voice choked with emotion. “I don’t know what else to try.” His face crumpled with pain. “Why won’t you come back to me?”
Quinn stared at him, on the verge of understanding. He had a glimpse of a cozy room, and friends…but then it was gone; the cemetery was a hard reality around them. Liam’s ragged breathing was loud in the quiet night, piercing his heart.
“I don’t…” he began to say, but Liam put a finger on his lips.
“Hush,” the ghost said, tracing Quinn’s lower lip with his thumb. He leaned into him, his body a slight weight against that of Quinn. “Kiss me,” he urged, eyes blazing. His breath was warm on Quinn’s cheek, spicy with brandy. Their lips were almost touching, and Liam closed the distance, kissing Quinn’s mouth as he inhaled in surprise.
It was sensational. Quinn’s heart hammered as their tongues danced, tasting the brandy and Liam’s own delicious flavor, filling him with need… He pulled Liam closer, and cried out as the wispy body dissolved in his arms, seeming to melt into him and disappear. His chest heaved as he fought for breath, staring at the stars overhead, aching and bewildered.
“Liam?” he called tentatively. His heart tightened painfully when silence answered his plea. What if the man had gone for good? He’d always feared that. His rational mind insisted that Liam was a dream he’d conjured in his loneliness, but he wanted with all his might for that not to be true. He didn’t want to exist, if Liam didn’t.
A tiny sob of relief escaped him. He was feeling undone and lost. He began to shiver uncontrollably, and wrapped his arms around his knees, suddenly cold. “I’m afraid,” he confessed, not sure any more what was real.
Liam was instantly there, stroking his hair and planting feather-light kisses on his neck.
“Hush, my darling,” he murmured, his voice full of regret and sadness. “I shouldn’t have pushed you.”
Quinn shook his head, leaning into the shelter of Liam’s arms. “I don’t know what’s happening to me. And those women…I feel that any second I could disintegrate into nothing…”
Liam embraced him tightly, and Quinn clung to him, trying not to hold too tightly and cause him to dematerialize again.
“If that were to happen, Quinn, I’d go with you,” Liam told him in fierce tones. Shocked, Quinn met his eyes. The desperate conviction showing in the blue depths frightened him more than anything else had done up to that point.