Max Cooke, a sweet lonely man who writes romance stories, is the only witness to the murder of a police detective. Struggling with the aftermath of the killing, Max never dreamed that the dead detective’s ghost would appear at the foot of his bed two days later.
Nick Horvath must learn what being a ghost means, sometimes with hilarious results. The two men discover that they are somehow tied together as they explore the feelings developing between them.
When the murderer comes looking for Max, however, it’s up to Nick to find a way to stop him. But if he succeeds in stopping the killer, will he be forced to leave the man he’s come to love? After a couple of near misses, Nick no longer has a choice because if he fails, Max will become the killer’s next victim.
- 1 To Be Read list
- 2 Read lists
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Criminals & Outlaws, Fated Mates / Soul Mates, Hurt / Comfort, Second Chances, Star-Crossed Lovers
Word Count: 61,526
Languages Available: English
Shaking his head at his foolishness, Max flipped on the switch for the vent and toweled himself dry. Once wrapped in his robe, he opened the door to let Alfred in. The cat probably didn’t care, but Max had a thing about letting Alfred watch him shower…naked. No kitty ogling for Alfred.
Alfred jumped onto the wide sink top, then made himself comfortable as Max dried his short brown hair. It stood up in all directions as usual. He rarely bothered to brush it. Wouldn’t help it anyways. Besides, the spiky look was in, so instead of disheveled, he was fashionable.READ MORE
Max glanced down at his cat. Alfred was staring raptly past Max’s shoulder, ears forward, tail waving slowly back and forth. Icy fingers suddenly ran down Max’s spine, making Max shiver in foreboding. He turned to look in the direction of Alfred’s intense scrutiny but saw nothing. He glanced back at Alfred, who had risen to his feet and moved to the other side of the sink. He didn’t appear afraid, more curious than anything else.
Max shivered again as a feeling ran over his skin. Like…he wasn’t alone. How silly! Of course he wasn’t alone. Alfred was with him. There was no one else in the condo. He’d never been spooked by his imagination like this before.
“What do you see, little brat?” Max stroked Alfred’s head, trying to see what he saw. Maybe there was a spider running up the wall.
Alfred glanced up at him, then returned to staring into thin air. “Merrrow.” He waved a paw in the air, reaching for something or…someone.
“Okay, now I really am being absolutely ridiculous,” Max chastised himself.
Alfred often stared off into space as if he could see something no one else could. Max abruptly decided not to shave and left the bathroom. After all, who would he shave for? Alfred? There hadn’t been anyone in his life for a long time. Not since Everett. And look how well that had turned out.
Max loved to write, but he admitted it was a very isolating thing to do. He lived with the people in his head, but he couldn’t touch them. Alfred helped, but he wasn’t human. He couldn’t give Max the conversation or the contact Max craved. Usually he didn’t mind the isolation, but every once in a while the loneliness would sneak up on him. Mr. Right Hand made a lousy date.
All the stress must have brought these feelings of loneliness on, made them more intense than usual. That was it. Without meaning to, his mind turned to the dead detective, and a sense of fierce longing filled him. Ever since the murder, his life had felt wrong, empty, like he would never be whole again.
“Alfred, I think that maybe tomorrow I’m going to go to a movie. Some comedy or maybe an action movie with lots of explosions. That will pull me out of this funk, right? What do you think?”
“Okay, then. It sounds like a plan.”
Max had never been the type to go to a club for a meaningless hookup. The few times he had attempted it, needing someone else’s hands on him had left him empty and promising himself he wouldn’t do it again.
A couple of hours lost in a movie surrounded by other people had to be better than being so lonely he began to hallucinate. Decision firm in his mind, Max put on his PJ bottoms and a T-shirt. He lay down and purposely ignored the sudden cold he felt run along his skin, as if a breeze had brushed his body. He pulled the covers up to his chin, resisting the urge to pull them over his head and hide like a child.
Sometime later, Max slowly opened one eye, unsure why. What had woken him? He had that same sense of not being alone but stronger this time. He glanced around until he spotted the dead detective standing at the foot of his bed. The dead man stood frozen with his arms crossed over his chest, simply looking at Max. Max closed his eyes with a sigh. He had to be dreaming—one of those lifelike dreams that felt real. But the feeling of being watched didn’t go away. He opened both eyes and stared at the dead man. The detective was still there, unmoving like a statue. He was tall, muscular, and gorgeous, his full lips nicely balanced by a strong jaw and straight nose. It gave him a classical male beauty that made Max’s heart flip over in his chest. Expression unreadable, those hazel eyes stared back at him. Max rubbed both his eyes, then rolled over, careful not to kick Alfred curled up by his feet. Damn dreams. Honestly, why was he fantasizing about a dead man? They put people in nice, white padded rooms for that.
After a few minutes, Max realized that he had opened his eyes at some point and was staring at the wall. He blinked, then looked past his feet. The dead detective hadn’t moved, his gaze still fixed on Max. Max squinted, but the vision didn’t change. What the hell?
Max sat up, grabbed a bit of skin on his arm, and pinched hard. Shit! That hurt. Okay, not asleep then.
“I must be losing my mind,” he muttered.
The vision opened his mouth. “Yeah, welcome to the club,” it said in a deep baritone voice.
Max screamed like a ten-year-old girl, backpedaling on the bed until he hit the back of his head solidly on headboard. Alfred yowled in alarm, leaped off the bed, and scampered out the door.
The dead man jumped. “The fuck? What the hell is wrong with you?”
“You…you’re dead!” Max stuttered, pointing a shaky finger toward what could only be a ghost.COLLAPSE