Title: The House of Silver Oak
by: Nix Winter
Genre: romance, yaoi, horror, murder mystery
Press: The Second Legrange Point Press, www.slpp.us
Release Date: Today!
Buy Link: http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/the-house-of-silver-oak/8461048
Coupon for 10% off: Enter code IDES at checkout. (Offer ends March 31, 2010)
Don't go in the cellar.
Cain's problems didn't get smaller in Iraq.
Whiskey doesn't fix anything long enough.
His last chance gets him a job as a caretaker for an old mansion.
It comes with more ghosts than he had before.
Don't go in the cellar.
A hundred years before a triple homicide made the house notorious.
Shelly Comstock-Gray is still the celebrated murder suspect.
Cain can't believe the smiling, cheerful ghost hurt anyone.
Mistakes can be deadly.
Don't go in the cellar.
The other option was the library.
A profoundly dusty place, with just a hint of lavender hiding in the air, he waved at the dust as if that would help. There had to be more than a thousand books, floor to ceiling with one of those neat little wood ladders on wheels. The desk was, Cain struggled to find the right descriptor, Louis XIV? Gold and white with little lion's heads for feet, maybe it wasn't anything other than unique. Slowly he made his way around the desk. He left footprints in the dust, and he had a hard time believing that the last caretaker hadn't ventured into the library. What else was there to do in a place like this? It wasn't like they were getting cable.
The desk looked as if no one had touched it in ... a hundred years? Certainly no caretakers had been in here. He leaned a little and blew dust from thick creamy papers. A feather quill spun in it's now dry inkwell, but the paper had words written in a fine and delicate hand.
'Forever is such a lovely dream. I forgive you. I understand. I love you in all good ways. I'll see you in Paris. S.' The letter was dated August 21, 1872. It didn't have to be, but Cain was sure the 'S' was for Shelly. How someone both long dead and probably not at all like he was being presented had taken a hold so quickly in Cain's imagination, he didn't know.
"You've been alone too long," a voice said, light, playful, accented oddly.
"Who's there?" Cain snarled, wishing he had a flashlight, a big heavy black one, even though it was the middle of the day. Wishing that he'd done a full house sweep. "Show yourself!"
"Why should I? I'd rather you didn't run away."
"I don't run from anything," Cain said, standing up, straight enough to hide the distribution of weight between his legs. "Who are you?"
Blue misted, swirling a little like a painting of a Chinese cloud, and a man stepped into the doorway. He seemed to have volume, substance, but he was blue, shades of blue from midnight in the shadows to summer sky for his eyes. Dressed like something out of Gone with the Wind meets Poetic Pirates, he looked very much at home in the dusty mansion. "Shelly Comstock Gray," he said, making a sweeping bow, but rising with a smile. "You're in my house. Who are you?"
"Cain Hardrain. I'm the new caretaker." He moved slowly around the desk, and towards the doorway, as if he were trying to get close to a wild bird. "If you're dead, it's not your house."
"Death," Shelly said, holding out a hand as if he expected it to be kissed, "is subjective. Hardrain. Such an usual name. Your skin is golden like tea. Are you a savage?"
Cain laughed, reaching for the extended hand, to shake, not kiss. "It's been said, sometimes. I can be savage as hell."
Shelly's hand passed easily through Cain's, back up to touch the lace at his collar. "Well, one either is, or one isn't, aren't they? Are you Northern or Southern? Not that I should ask, but I would really like to know before I let you stay in my house."
"That was over a long ass time ago, Shelly," Cain said, just giving up, until he got more information. Shelly was hardly the worst or most intimidating figment of his imagination.
The flouncing man could be a ghost. He had to allow for that. An open mind meant he might not be completely insane. Heading back to the kitchen, he said, "If it matters I was raised in New York. My mother was British. My father was Apache. People don't ask if people are savage anymore, unless it's at that kind of club and they're hoping for a close encounter of the leather kind."
"Excuse me," Shelly asked, "Did your mother escape then? You also didn't answer. Are your sympathies with the Union or the Confederacy, Sir?"
"The Civil war was over a long time ago, more than a hundred years ago. The Union won," Cain said, winking before heading into the kitchen. "Did you run off the last care taker?"