Jason Thomas had always been obsessed with the ghost stories he'd watched on television from the time he was a kid. He'd always dreamed of visiting those haunted places, and playing amateur ghost hunters with his best friend Wade. As they grew older, Jason's fascination with ghosts grew as well, and he'd drag Wade along to different haunted houses or hotels, always hoping to see an actual ghost.
Wade Rivers loved spending time with Jason, even if it meant he'd have to endure another creepy, supposedly haunted location. Friends since they were kids, and always inseparable, Wade's feelings for Jason deepened from friendship into something more. Unfortunately, so did his fear of the places Jason wanted to explore.
The chance to spend a weekend alone in a famous haunted house was too much for Jason to resist, and almost too much for Wade to endure. He knew going to the deserted house was everything Jason had ever dreamed of, so Wade tried to put his fears aside. But when paranormal things start to happen, admitting to Jason how he feels suddenly isn't the scariest thing Wade will encounter.
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 3 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Friends to Lovers
Word Count: 62,000
Setting: Coloma, Ca., Sacramento area
Languages Available: English
“You ready to go?” I tried to act like it was any other night and we weren’t getting ready to go into what was rumored to be the most haunted house in the Sacramento area. But deep inside I was shitting myself. I tried to play along like I was excited about going and not dreading this trip. Why had I let Jason talk me into going in the first place?
Actually, I knew why, because he was one of my best friends and I’d been crushing on him for years. He knew about it but brushed it off like it was a joke. Although there were times I caught him looking at me that made me wonder if he was interested in me as more than a friend. But I really did have feelings for him. And apparently, they were strong enough to follow him on another one of his bonehead schemes, and he had a million.READ MORE
“Yes. I can’t wait! I hope we see something, or something really weird happens.” He practically vibrated in excitement over the idea of going. “Come on, Wade, get it moving. Let’s go.” He ruffled my hair as he rushed by, and I gave him a good shove away from me.
“Dork. You better behave once we’re there, or I’m out.”
He straightened himself up to his full height of five foot eight and straightened his Giants ball cap over his short, cropped hair. “Oh, I’ll behave. You make sure you aren’t running out the door as soon as we see something.”
We both grabbed the duffle bags we’d packed for our weekend trip to Coloma. A small gold rush-era town in the foothills of Northern California, close to Placerville. We’d heard stories for years about The Vineyard House and the previous owner Louise Chalmers who was reported to haunt the place.
It had closed around twenty years ago and fallen into ruin. But lucky for us Jason knew someone, who knew someone, who knew the current owners, who were willing to let us stay there for the weekend. The only stipulation being that we didn’t make it public if we actually had a paranormal experience. That was fine with me, because I really didn’t expect us to see anything except a bunch of spider webs and lots of dust.
“Did you grab our kit?” Jason asked.
“Yes, I grabbed your toys.” We had all sorts of gadgets to give us proof, if and when we actually did see a ghost. There were night vision goggles, a digital voice recorder, a camera with night vision, an electromagnetic field detector, or EMF, a K2 meter, and a few flashlights and extra batteries.
Jason’s obsession with the paranormal wasn’t a new thing; it had started after he’d watched an episode of Ripley’s Believe It or Not about haunted houses. He was instantly hooked. He went from not realizing there were so many haunted places to wanting to learn about them all. He was always checking out books at the library and forcing me to read them with him. Not that I minded spending time with him, but some of the stories he shared were truly terrifying and left me with many sleepless nights. As we’d gotten older he’d watched all the ghost hunting shows on television, which led to him purchasing the various ghost hunting equipment—just in case.
This trip was just one of many we’d gone on. When we were teenagers, he’d insisted we go to Winchester Mystery House. I had to admit it was pretty cool, and huge! There’d been so much of it to take in it was almost distracting. But not for Jason. He’d had one thing in mind: to see a ghost. He’d also had the brilliant idea of sneaking off from the tour and exploring on our own. The only problem was we had no clue where we were. The house had so many twists and turns and doors that led to walls that in no time at all we were lost. After about three hours we ended up yelling for help and hoping someone heard us.
A security guard eventually found us and led us out. He also informed us that we were never welcome back. That was one of the more embarrassing moments in our amateur ghost hunting adventures. Just thinking about it made me need to ask again about this arrangement.
“So, you’re sure that it’s okay for us to go to The Vineyard House and stay the weekend? I don’t want another situation like . . .” I asked for the hundredth time.
“Hattta tatata tat.” He plugged his ears and acted like he couldn’t hear me. “I told you not to mention that ever again. You know it was my most favorite haunted house that I ever wanted to go to. Now, due to an unfortunate situation, we can never return.”
“Well, whose fault was that?” I mumbled.COLLAPSE