Horror. Romance. The two seem at odds, yet in provocative author Rick R. Reed’s hands, the pair merge like a match made in heaven … or hell.
Prepare for a dark journey into an unhinged world populated by ordinary and extraordinary monsters. Unhinged brings you sometimes chilling, sometimes romantic, sometimes hilarious, but always thought-provoking tales.
Among them you’ll find a chilling and redemptive ghost story, a most unusual and shocking first meeting for two lovers, a story revolving around one of the 20th Century’s most horrific serial killers, and a darkly comic take on the vampire mythos. This collection will make your heart race with passion … in all its forms.
Contains the stories: Echoes, How I Met My Man, The Man from Milwaukee, Sluggo Snares a Vampire, The Ghost in #9, and Incubus.
Excerpt (From “Echoes”)
Instead, a complete stranger stood in the doorway. He was about my age, mid-twenties, and stood about five-foot-four with a too-thin frame that made me want to feed him a few Giordano’s pizzas. The guy had dark, buzzed hair and a matching goatee. His skin, even in this dim light, looked ashen, marred by sores in various stages of healing. He stood just over the threshold and the weird thing was, it was like he didn’t even see me. Dark eyes darted about our new home, as if he were looking for something.
“Hello?” I said, standing still. I think I was too weirded out to be scared at this point. I just assumed maybe he had the wrong apartment. He certainly looked harmless enough. In fact, if I put enough breath behind it, I thought I could probably blow him off his feet.
But he didn’t answer. He continued to look right through me, as though I wasn’t standing there, all six-feet-two inches of me. Other than stacks of boxes, rolled-up rugs tied with twine, and furniture shoved at odd angles, I was pretty hard to miss, even in the orange-tinted light seeping in from our huge window.
And then he came into the room. Walked right into my and Ernie’s new home.
“What are you doing?” I snapped. “Can I help you?” I moved a bit closer, thinking to block further entry. Should I call out for help?
It was as though he didn’t hear me. He continued his progress into the apartment unabated. I was too stunned to do anything but stand and watch, gnawing on a hangnail. He moved into the center of the room and did something really strange—he squatted and felt around on the bare floor, as though he was groping for something. He paused and then the rest of his actions were all pantomimed. To the best of my ability, I could discern what looked like someone taking a pipe in his hands, bringing it to his lips, firing up a bowl with—again—a non-existent lighter, and then blowing out an invisible cloud of smoke. He closed his eyes and whatever his imagination told him he was smoking must have been deeply satisfying. His eyes popped open once more, and he appeared all at once more alert.
It was then he seemed to notice me standing there. I’m sure I was slack jawed and, to be honest, starting to get a little bit scared. I wondered where I had left my cell phone. Would anyone hear me if I screamed? Over the roar of an el train?
He smiled, and there was something winsome and sad in it, something plaintive in those brown eyes. But his teeth were repellent—how did someone so young end up with such badly decayed teeth? He held the imaginary pipe out to me. When I didn’t move, he shook the hand holding the “pipe” impatiently, as though beckoning me to take it.
“What the fuck?” I whispered. I moved toward him.
That’s when I heard the creak of the floor, and I turned just in time to see a shadow cross the wall. It was fast—almost a blur. But the dark shape had a human form. For some reason, the shadow brought with it an icy chill.
I wanted to scream but could not find my voice.
When I turned back, the intruder was gone, as though the shadow I had seen a moment ago had swallowed him up.
I swam up from dream to wakefulness all at once, feeling disoriented. I was panting.
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.
He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”
Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
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