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History repeats itself in the small Mississippi River town of Bauman Creek when two star-crossed lovers met their end during one of the darkest times in the history of the United States. Over a century later, six academics arrive at the site of their demise, Evans House, a haunted place, to oversee an inheritance passed to the State of Illinois by the last of the Evans family. Three of those people, Tristan Pryce, Catherine Mullin, and Jake Bauman will come face to face with the secrets of this place in a way they never imagined. Secrets can never be buried deep enough though and amidst its dark halls, the shadows seem to whisper.
Marcus Havers, a seasoned homicide investigator with the Illinois State Police, finds himself also drawn into the shadows. Called in to investigate the violence unleashed within its walls, he discovers that science cannot always explain everything and gradually, these strangers are pulled deeper into a nightmare, one that some may not escape.
Amidst the darkness, the attraction between Tristan and Jake grows, one that may save or destroy both of them. Together they must face the darkness, survive a nightmare unleashed, and discover what lies hidden in the shadows if they are to survive.
They know you are here and they will not rest. Not until they receive what they desire. Be afraid of the shadows…
“Please, Tristan, just listen.”
“No! I don’t know what kind of sick shit you’re into, Jake, but I want no part of it,” He turned on him, face flushed with anger as Jake reached out to grab his hands.
“Please,” he pleaded softly, “don’t leave me.” He dropped Tristan’s hands as if they scalded his flesh, a lost look in his usually astute emerald eyes. A ragged breath escaped Jake’s full lips as he lifted one hand, his cool fingertips brushing against the razor-sharp angle of Tristan’s jaw.
Suddenly he was close—too damn close.
The scent of his warm skin surrounded Tristan. Lilies, he thought, or maybe wild roses. As Jake’s lips drew close to his, breath warm and soft against his face, a faint stir of lavender in the dusty air. Yes, lavender was the scent.
“You promised you wouldn’t leave.” His words were softer now, more feminine than masculine.
Heat moved through Tristan’s body, heat, and desire so intense he was scared to death. As their lips touched, he caught Jake’s gaze, beautiful sapphire eyes fringed with red-gold lashes.
Sapphire eyes, he thought, but Jake's eyes are green.
Jerking back, he tripped over a box, landing on the floor in a cloud of dust. “Who the hell are you?” he demanded, heels digging into the floor as he scrambled back through the dust and grime, eyes wild.>/p>
“So soon you have forgotten, my love? Soon we shall be together again.” Jake’s eyes, now green once more, fluttered and then he collapsed backward onto the floor.
Tristan sat staring at his limp body, his own body shaking with adrenaline and the fear that threatened to overwhelm him. Head braced against his knees, the fear found a voice finally, a choked sound pushed up from his lungs.
What in the hell had just happened? Am I losing my mind? He wondered. Spine pressed against a stack of boxes, he sat and waited.
With a soft groan, Jake sat up, his tongue darting out to moisten his parched lips. The taste of blood lingered at the back of his throat. The remains of biting pain pulsed through the interior of his skull as he struggled to sit up and tried to remember what had happened.
Why was he lying on the attic floor?
A successful young artist, Ryan Esson lost everything in the blink of an eye, including his ability to create. Courtesy of an anonymous benefactor, he’s given an opportunity to reclaim something he thought lost forever when he receives a mysterious invitation to a weekend artist's retreat at a pre-Civil War sugar plantation.
Built on a secluded string of islands off the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Le Jardin de la Lumière is a place of intrigue, a haunting legend, and one beautiful stranger, who will mesmerize Ryan. In a stranger’s eyes, will he find the strength to open his mind and his heart again?
Ryan swallowed hard, trying not to let on that a second before he’d been staring at the tightly muscled curve of Eric’s ass beneath his slacks. “Yeah, I guess so.” He nervously shifted his own duffle on his shoulder and stepped past Eric, eyes focused ahead deliberately on the sleek lines of the yacht. “So why do you suppose we were invited?” He could sense Eric at his side, standing far too close for comfort.
“Who knows?” Shrugging, Eric stepped in front of him gracefully, walking backwards as he studied Ryan with an amused expression.
To be honest Ryan didn’t much care for the familiarity with which Eric looked at him, especially considering he’d never seen Eric before in his life until five minutes ago. It stank of some uppity rich boy gigolo trying to scope out his prey. Ryan had seen more than his fair share when he’d attended parties, showings, and gallery openings all over the country, and it had never seemed to matter to any of them that he was on Michael’s arm. So many of them had assumed Michael was wealthy and he was nothing but eye candy for the sake of appearances.
He sniffed in disgust. “There has to be a reason.”
“Why?” Eric questioned as he spun and stepped up on the gangplank. “Can we just say it is what it is? Enjoy whatever pleasures we might discover here?”
Ryan hesitated for a moment; then the memory of that empty loft reared up, blinding him to any doubts, he might have about his present mind set. “No,” he shook his head, “we can’t.”
A soft hum escaped Eric’s pursed lips, “And why not, Mr. Esson?”
“Because,” Ryan met those wide azure eyes, “nothing is ever what it appears to be.”
“True, but then where is the adventure in that?”
Ryan dropped his duffel to the polished deck and leaned into the railing as the crew released the moorings, the boat slipping away from the dock and out across the twilight waters. “Some of us have had enough adventure in our lives.” He huffed out a breath, staring down into the dark water as the yacht sliced through it silently. “We don’t need any more.”
“Oh, but adventure is what brings us hope, desire, even beauty and faith. Adventure is what life is about. Don’t you believe that as well?” Eric chuckled, but there was a sadness concealed somewhere in the sound of his laugh.
Lifting his gaze from the water, he studied Eric for a moment. “No, I don’t.” He paused then admitted, “I did once, but not now—never again.”