Exclusive Excerpt from Dark Rivers
by Morgan Brice
Seth dropped a kiss on his cheek and stood. “Don’t touch my chips and sandwich,” he ordered. “I’m gonna brush my teeth and finish my lunch. I’m not full yet.”
Evan waggled his eyebrows. “I’ll give you full.”
“Rain check,” Seth called from the RV’s bathroom. “Hold that thought. Work to do.” He came back out and wrapped his arms around Evan. “God, I love you,” he said, brushing a kiss over Evan’s lips. He dropped back into his seat and made short work of the remains of his sandwich, as Evan sat across from him, finishing a soda.
“I think you should finish digging into the Brandon Clarke info,” Seth said after he finished the last of his chips.
“Why me?” Evan asked, toying with the empty can. “You already got it started.”
“Because you were a little uncomfortable about me gathering intel about you, back in Richmond,” Seth said gently.
“I know better now,” Evan countered. “I was just afraid—” He didn’t have to finish his sentence. Seth knew Evan’s fears had root in his stalker ex-boyfriend, Mike Bradshaw. Evan hadn’t opened up completely about everything that had happened with Mike, years before, but Seth knew enough to know Evan’s ex had been controlling and abusive—both physically and emotionally. Little by little, Evan shared more of that painful story, usually prompted by nightmares that left him trembling in Seth’s arms while Seth coaxed him back to sleep, silently vowing to thrash Mike to a pulp if he ever crossed paths with the asshole.
“That’s why I want you to see how the process works, first-hand,” Seth coaxed. “We’re trying to save Brandon’s life, but we have to know everything we can about him to do that.”
Evan nodded. “I get it, now. And I can do that. I’ve gotten really good at research.”
Seth drew him close and stretched up to kiss his forehead. They were close to the same height, though Seth was a fraction of an inch taller and had twenty or so pounds of muscle on Evan. Seth’s muscular frame had been built by high school athletics and his time in the military. Evan’s lean muscle came from running, parkour, and their daily workouts and sparring. He might have a more slender build than Seth, but Seth loved Evan’s defined muscles, and the flexibility earned through years of yoga paid off handsomely in the bedroom.
“You’re good at lots of things,” Seth said, stepping back before his twitching cock could make them go for round two. “And I mean it on that rain check. But right now, what do you say we go take a look at one of the places on the list Milo sent me?”
“Haunts or urban legends?” Evan asked, looking for his boots as Seth cleared away the dishes and tossed their empty cans in the garbage.
“Both,” Seth replied, lacing up his own Timberlands. “Witches, murder, and restless ghosts—so the stories say.”
They locked up the trailer and walked through a dusting of new snow to get to the truck. The RV park was almost deserted this time of year. Come summer, the pool and mini golf would be full of kids and families on vacation, and the activities room would echo with shouts from the air hockey and Foosball tables, or the bells and sound effects from the pinball machines and retro arcade games, vying for attention over the sports scores on the big screen TV. But now, with the bare trees and a sprinkle of unbroken snow, the empty park looked almost post-apocalyptic.
“Kinda looks like there should be zombies,” Evan said, rousing Seth from his thoughts and proving their minds had run in the same direction. “I always wonder who the other folks are who are camped out at this time of year.”
Seth shrugged. “Retirees. Loners. People who don’t have anywhere else to go.” The two years he had spent after Jesse’s death, learning from Toby and Milo, seeking out hunts to hone his skills, had taken him far from his Indiana home, to plenty of places like this campground. Before, he’d kept the loneliness at bay by throwing himself into research or workouts, or dulling the edge of dreams and memories with whiskey.
Having Evan with him changed everything. Evan wasn’t just his lover, he was his partner on the hunt, a companion on the road, the best friend he hadn’t realized he’d needed. Seth couldn’t imagine going back to the way things were, which just made him all the more intent on assuring that Evan stayed happy, safe, and with him.
Evan took his hand and gave it a tug with a look that told Seth his lover had guessed his thoughts. “Not going anywhere without you,” he reassured. “Now come on. Let’s go see this place Milo thinks we need to check out. Don’t forget, it gets dark early this time of year.”