An Exclusive Excerpt from A Bittersweet Haunting
“Come on,” Abel whispered. “The guys are waiting for us.”
“All right. All right. I’m coming.” Braden shoved his flashlight into his backpack before following his brother down the stairs and out of the house.
He still wasn’t convinced this was the brightest idea Oleg ever had. Yet as uneasy as their adventure made him, Braden wasn’t about to back out. He wasn’t going to be called a “pussy” or “chicken” for the rest of the summer.
They snuck out of the house before getting their bikes from the garage. Braden slid his arms through the straps of his backpack to settle it on his shoulders. Abel took the lead, heading out into the street, then turning left in the direction of their friends, who waited at the end of their subdivision.
Oleg, Quincey, Warren, and Tad nodded at them as they joined the group, but no one said anything. Since this whole thing was his genius brainstorm, Oleg must have assumed he was in charge. Of course, no one else was going to say anything else about it.
As they rode closer to their destination, Braden’s shoulders started to creep up to his ears. It was like someone—or something—was watching them approach, and he could admit to himself at least that he didn’t want to see anything out in the darkness that night.
“We should be getting close,” Oleg called back to the rest of them. “My brother, Pavel, told me about this spot where we can find the Jersey Devil.”
“What if I don’t want to meet the Devil,” Braden muttered, but he kept going.
They reached a clearing just another mile down the road. Leaving their bikes lying on the grass, the group of six boys wandered around, swinging the beams from their flashlights all over the place.
“What happens if we see it?” Braden asked Tad softly.
Tad shrugged. “Probably piss ourselves and run screaming back home to our moms.”
Stopping, Braden stared at Tad who stared right back.
“What? You know as well as I do, none of us are going to hang around to chat that thing up.”
There were times when Braden thought Tad was ten going on thirty-five, or at least that’s what he’d heard his mother say about his best friend. Tad spent a lot of time over at their house because his father worked second shift at one of the factories while his mother ran around with other men. Again, that was what Braden’s mother said when she didn’t think they could hear her chat with Aunt Jill.
“I don’t care how tough Oleg and Quincey pretend to be, they’ll be the first ones running if that thing shows up,” Tad said.
“Get over here, you two,” Abel called to them, then waved them back to where the others were gathered.
Once they were all there, Oleg grunted before he said, “I think my brother’s full of shit.”
Braden wasn’t going to agree or disagree. He’d learned that it was better just to go along with Oleg because the kid could get mean from time to time when he didn’t get his way.
Yet there was something out in the woods. Braden had been feeling the weight of a gaze burning into his back as he moved around, and the sensation got stronger as he stood there, listening to the others talk amongst themselves. Braden had noticed that the forest had gone silent, like some kind of predator walked among the trees.
The only light breaking through the leaves was from their flashlights as they shoved each other, laughing loudly to cover their own discomfort. But Braden wanted to leave. He was about to grab Tad and pull him back to their bikes. He didn’t care if the others would tease him or not. Every instinct in him was screaming to run because something dangerous was stalking them.
Suddenly the crack of a twig disturbed the relative quiet of the night. Braden jumped, then whirled to shine his light in the direction of the noise. What he saw caught in the beam was an image that would stay with him for the rest of his life.
It was a creature he’d never seen the likes of before. It had the head of a horse and was huge. Leather-like wings stretched from its shoulders, and eyes that seemed to be lit from within glared at them.
When it screamed, Braden swore it sounded like someone was murdering it. He dropped his flashlight, then covered his ears. The creature moved with lightning speed, circling them for a moment before dashing into their midst, then away. Braden found it difficult to figure out in the strobing flashlight beams where the monster was. But suddenly, he glanced up to meet its red eyes and froze.
Braden’s wrist stung as the creature slashed at him, causing him to cry out. The other boys were yelling and scrambling all around him, but Braden couldn’t seem to get his feet to move. Tad grabbed his hand and dragged him toward the road where they’d left their bikes. They were shoving each other out of the way because no one wanted to be at the back of the group in case the creature chased them.
None of them looked behind them, just pedaled as fast as they could to the corner where they’d met. From there, they split up to head back to their own houses without saying a word to each other.
In the twenty-five years that have spanned since that moment, the six friends never really discussed what had happened to them that night. Yet it was the one singular night that held the most influence on their choices for the rest of their lives.
About A Bittersweet Haunting
In a moment of youthful curiousity, these six men were marked forevermore.
Jersey Paranormal Investigation was created when Braden and his five friends were marked by the Jersey Devil during their childhood. Now, they all have special gifts when it comes to the supernatural. Years later, Braden finds himself on his next job only to come face to face with the beautiful victim, Mack. Not all is it seems and Braden and his team will have to figure out why Mack is being targeted and to keep from falling for the man in the process.
About Zombie Run
This Halloween, Drake is about to meet one guy he can’t say goodbye to.
And Drake is about to meet his match.
After a casual encounter, Drake can’t seem to stop thinking about Wilson. Even though Wilson pretty much thanked him for a nice time and walked out of his dorm and his life.
Now Halloween is approaching, and Drake is being roped into volunteering for the charity fun run. Having to dress as a zombie is horrible enough, but seeing Wilson at the starting line has Drake ducking for the trees. Will Wilson look past the gory makeup to see Drake actually cares about him? Will Drake finally be able to capture Wilson’s heart?
Available at: eXtasy Books
About Jackie Nacht
Short, sexy and sweet— where a little love goes a long way.
That’s the best way to describe Jackie Nacht’s stories. She was introduced to M/M Romance through her sister, Stephani, and read it for years. Then, she thought it was time to put her own stories on paper. Jackie began writing short and sweet stories that ended with a happily ever after.
Thinking back to her own book addiction, where there were many nights Jackie stayed up way too late so she could read just one more chapter— yeah, right— Jackie decided to write short romances for young adults as well as adults. Hopefully, they will give high school and college students, or working men and women something they can read during their lunch hour, in between classes or just when they want to briefly get away from the daily stresses of everyday life.
About T.A. Chase
I’m T.A. Chase, and I write stories about men loving men, but my stories are more than that. It’s about one person finding the other half of themselves. It doesn’t matter whether that person is male or female. I’m a happily married woman living in the Midwest with my husband of fifteen years. I’ve been writing for six years now, and because of my awesome readers, I’ve been able to do it full time for over a year.
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