Friday, September 7, 2018

Please Use the Door by KC Kendricks

Please Use the Door (a ghostly romance)

Tanner Reddick learned the hard way a man needs his own place to call home – one that is legally his. The last guy set his belongings on the curb and Tanner vows it will never happen again. It’s time for him to be in charge. Embarking on the next phase of his life, Tanner buys a fixer-upper bungalow and gets to work. He’s looking forward to living on his own for a while. His interest in his boss, Alex Crewes, could change that.

It’s moving day and Tanner notices a few things about the house, things his friends disavow knowledge of. The porch is swept and the breakers on. Then Tanner smells a hint of Bay Rum cologne, which no one he knows uses. When unseen hands paint a few rooms in the house, he has to face the facts - he’s not really alone.

Bodhi introduces himself and welcomes the newest resident in the house he built a century ago. This one Bodhi likes, and he’s determined he and Tanner will coexist in harmony. Maybe they can even be friends. And if he’s lucky, maybe a little more – unless Tanner’s deepening relationship with Alex throws a wrench into his plans. 


EXCERPT

Tanner arrived at his office promptly at nine and got to work. Once his meeting with the Jensen’s was completed, he could take off for his long weekend. His notes were organized and ready when Alex strolled in and dropped into a chair.

“How was your first night in the new digs?”

There was no way not to notice Alex looked hot in black jeans, a powder blue shirt, and a black tie. It was the company version of business casual and the man wore it to perfection.

He shrugged. “Pretty good except for the weird dream. I woke up and there was someone in bed with me - and then I woke up for real.”

“Damn. That’s freaky. I would have run for a motel. What did you do?”

“Freaky is a good word for it and I eventually went back to sleep. Hey, who swept the porch yesterday? I want to text them a ‘thank you’.”

“I didn’t see anyone with a broom, boyfriend. And if I had, you can bet one of that bunch would have been riding it instead of sweeping with it.”

Tanner laughed. Boyfriend, was it? That was the second time Alex called him that. He liked it. “Oh, snarky, snarky. Darren seemed like a manly man.”

Alex shook his head. “Nope. Don’t let the muscles fool you. He’s a gym bunny. What did your nighttime visitor look like? Tall, dark and handsome like me?”

Tanner rested his elbows on his desk and ran his palms over his face. “I’ve been trying all morning to remember. I can recall dark hair and a little mustache. Scruff on his cheeks. Weird. He just looked sort of, you know, old-fashioned somehow.”

“Freakier and freakier. Whatever you had for dinner last night, don’t eat it again and then fall asleep.”

“I’d been researching the Edwardian period so I can add some authentic touches to the house. That’s probably what did it. I swear I even smelled Bay Rum aftershave.”

Alex rose and took a step toward the door. “Remind me not to drink when I’m at your place. You’ve got a haunt. Let me know how you make out with the Jensen’s.”

Tanner waved him away. Alex was amusing but his house did not have a ghost. There were no such things as ghosts, just overactive imaginations.

The scent of Bay Rum drifted through his memory. It couldn’t be real.

It just proved his belief. No way would a ghost who haunted a house on the outskirts of the city limits follow him downtown. Ghosts stayed put, right? His mind was playing tricks on him.
*     *     *

Tanner shivered as cool air moved around him. What was going on? Could someone actually hide in his house? He corrected himself. Could this Bodhi really hide in his house?

He’d spoken to Bodhi. He had. It wasn’t part of the dream. It had happened before the dream. Man, he must have been out of his mind not to call the cops, but he’d checked the house and everything was locked from the inside.

Which meant Bodhi had a very secure place to hide and he had to discover the whereabouts of said hide. Was Bodhi the reason he’d gotten the house so cheap? Had he managed to scare off previous owners? If so, it ended here and now. It was time to get serious.

“Okay, Bodhi. Come out here and talk to me. We need to settle something.”

Tanner spun around so fast he almost spilled his coffee as Bodhi spoke from behind him.

“Good morning, Tanner. What do you wish to discuss?”

He didn’t look threatening, but Tanner didn’t want to provoke him. And how…“How’d you get in here, anyway? You’re sneaking in and out somehow. This is my house. You need to show me your little hidey-hole, and I need to seal it up. You need to find another place to live.”

Bodhi shook his head. “That won’t be possible. This is my house.”

“Yeah, yeah. You built it eighteen-ninety whatever. You need a better lie, friend, because the tax records say it was nineteen-o-five. Now vacate the premises before I call the police.”

“It was Eighteen-ninety-nine and I should know. You don’t understand, Tanner. Not yet. But you will. Give me a chance to explain. You might find we get along tolerably well.” He cocked his head to the right. “You’re a very attractive man. We might get along more than simply ‘tolerably’.”

“I’m not about to give you squatter’s rights. I’m asking you…” Tanner stopped abruptly as in the corner of his vision the delivery truck pulled into the driveway. “Shit. Don’t you move.”

He hustled out the front door to direct the driver around to the back. The driver and his helper quickly unloaded, unpacked and placed Tanner’s new refrigerator, stove and dishwasher. He joked with them they’d be back in a few days with a washer and dryer. They laughed and told him they’d bring their laundry along so he could test out the equipment.

He took the good-natured humor for just that – verbal fun. His mind was already forming new arguments to move Bodhi out of the house. As soon as the delivery truck pulled out onto the street, he went back into the living room and stared at the empty space, his hands on his hips.

Now where the fuck had Bodhi gone?



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KC Kendricks
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