Today’s Guest is Rick Reed!

GhostNumber9

A Birthday Guest Post from Rick R. Reed

An early happy birthday to you, Amber!

Today I am giving your readers an exclusive sneak peak at my newest release, which comes out this Sunday from Amber Allure, “The Ghost in Number 9.”

It’s your birthday, Amber, but your readers get the gift. To one of the commenters below, I will give a copy of “The Ghost in Number 9” in the ebook format of their choice just by telling us what their birthday wish is for Amber. I’ll let Amber pick her favorite and that person will win.

If you don’t want to wait to see if you’ve won, you can get your copy here on Sunday (at a special new release discount!):

[http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/GhostNumber9.html]

BLURB

For Tony and Carter, room number 9 in the Galaxy Gold motel on Seattle’s seedy Aurora Avenue is a refuge. There, the two young lovers have found a place to hide away from a world that would condemn them for their love. Within the darkened, summer-hot confines of room number 9, Carter and Tony can explore their love and lust for one another, free of the burdens of the outside world.

But room number 9 holds a terrible and tragic secret, one that dates back to the Galaxy Gold’s opening back in 1962, when Seattle was hosting its World’s Fair. There’s a ghost in room number 9, and he has a message for Tony and Carter, a message about the consequences of shame and hiding love behind a closed motel room door.

Will Tony and Carter listen to the ghost’s message and have the courage to bring their love out into the open? Or will this long-ago story, one eerily similar to Tony and Carter’s, be ignored?

The answer awaits in room number 9…

EXCERPT

Tony sat up. “I don’t know. I walk out of here, give you up, what would happen then? Would my heart shrivel up and die? Would I forget you?”

Carter thought the sad truth was, he probably would. Maybe not next week, next month, or even next year, but he eventually Carter knew the memory of his touch, how he felt, what his smile could do, would eventually fade away. And then where would Tony find himself? Carter looked away, staring up at hairline crack that ran across the ceiling, not wanting to hear the answer to that last question, which taunted him in his own mind. He’d be back in the park, more experienced now, looking for another Carter, another young man to lure away to the motel and this whole sad, yet blissful, scenario would play itself out once more. Perhaps it would happen many times, until Tony’s wife found out, or Tony brought the wrong guy back to the motel, or who knows?

Carter sat up. “The romantic me would love to say yes, your heart would shrivel up. You’d miss me so much it’d be like a physical ache. You would just not be able to go on. But the realist in me knows the truth—you’d go on.”

“And be a faithful and loving husband?”

Carter turned to face him. He shook his head. “You’re kidding yourself if you think that. You told me once your need for a man was like a living thing and it wouldn’t leave you alone. You told me that the harder you tried to suppress it, the stronger it would come back.”

Tony stared down at his thighs, at the dick coiled between his legs. He snatched the sheet up to cover himself.

Carter leaned toward him, touching his shoulder gently. “I’m sorry. But it’s true.”

“I know it. It’s a mess.”

Carter asked again, “Do you want to end it?” He was split right down the middle. One part wanted Tony to say yes, another despaired that he would.

“Of course not. I love you.” And Tony looked over at him, catching and holding Carter’s gaze. Carter didn’t need words to know that this was the bottom line—their love. Sure, the sex was mind-blowing, the best he’d ever had, and he suspected the same was true for Tony, but it wasn’t really about the sex. If it was, Tony could go on being married and have some secret encounters on the side, perhaps for years.

But Carter knew they both wanted more. But how to get it? How to get it and not hurt so much those around them? Carter was single, but it didn’t erase the complicity he would feel in the heartbreak of a woman’s heart if her man left her to be with him.

“I love you, too.”

Carter sat back, leaning against the headboard, his shoulders touching Tony’s. “So where do we go from here?”

“Why do we have to go anywhere?” Tony asked dully. Carter thought he was referring to leaving the motel room. But his next words clarified what Tony had met. “Can’t we just keep things like this?”

The words simply came out of Carter, without forethought. “Forever? Would you be happy with that? I wouldn’t. We love each other.” Carter looked away, a stream of images parading by in his head. “What we do here is flat-out wonderful. I mean it! But the words ‘I love you’ encompass so much more.” Carter stretched his arms open wide. “I want us to get out of this motel room. I want to have dinner with you at one of the restaurants in Pike Place Market or maybe you and me at the top of the Space Needle, spinning as the sun sets behind the Olympics. I want to ride a ferry with you from Anacortes to Friday Harbor. I want to get in the car and take a weekend road trip down to Portland and end up in some little B&B on the Oregon coast. I want you to come to my place and I’ll make my mom’s meatloaf for you. I want to open presents under a Christmas tree. I want watch you blow out the candles on your birthday cake.”

Carter bit his lip, hating the big, painful ball that had formed in his throat, making it painful to swallow, as though a torrent of tears and a bunch of sobs were the only thing that could dissolve it. “I want to see your clothes hanging next to mine in the closet.”

Tony stared at him for a long time. Finally, he shook his head and rose up from the bed. He began to dress.

“You’re not gonna say anything?” Carter wondered. It was weird how the room had gone from the heights of blissful passion to the depths of despair so damn fast. “I just poured my fuckin’ heart out to you, man. And you’re gonna give me back silence?”

Tony pulled up his pants and struggled to pull his T-shirt over his head, saying nothing. At last, he said, “If I had answers, I’d give ’em to you.”

He gathered up his tool belt and then kissed Carter on the forehead. Carter looked up at him. “Same time next week? Room 9?” Carter asked. The question seemed inane, after the dreams he had just confessed. He might as well have said, “I’ll take whatever crumb you give me.”

Tony shrugged. He moved to the door, opened it, and let in a blinding block of light. He was only a silhouette as he stood there in the brilliance, the sound of traffic suddenly loud behind him. Carter barely heard him say, “I have to think.”

And then he closed the door, plunging the room back into murky darkness. Carter was alone.

He slumped back on the bed, staring down at his feet. He moved them back and forth, trying not to think. Was this the end? It sure felt like it.

Curiously, the sobbing and tears that had threatened to erupt had seemed to have left along with Tony. Right now, there was only a curious numbness. He supposed his mind and his heart were both doing what they could to protect themselves from the pain he was certain lay in wait.

He got up, crossed the room, and lifted a blind to look outside. Tony’s truck was gone and the same river of traffic flowed by, relentless, leaving Carter feeling isolated, as if he were the only one in the world with such problems. The little boy he had seen earlier, the little red-headed imp, zipped by on his bike, laughing, on Aurora itself, and Carter wanted to open the door to tell the little idiot to get off the highway, use the sidewalk, where it was safer.

But the boy was in and out of his view before he even had a chance to move to take any action.

Carter let the blind drop back into place. He went into the sad little bathroom and showered, drying off after with a towel that was so thin and rough it barely absorbed anything.

When he returned to the bedroom, a man was sitting in one of the chairs opposite the bed. His legs were crossed and he made Carter think of the TV series, Mad Men. He had that perfect Don Draper look: dark hair neatly parted at the side, a crisp white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to reveal hairy forearms, a pair of gray slacks, creased, and a pair of black wingtips. The man was smoking a cigarette and blowing the smoke into the air in rings.

He looked over at Carter as though he had been expecting him. He smiled.

For Carter’s part, he didn’t know whether to scream, laugh, run, or question his sanity. “How did you get in here?”

The man sighed. “I’m always here. I was here when you and your boyfriend were fucking today and every time before.”

Carter cast his gaze around for an unnoticed closet where the man could have hidden himself, but there was only the freestanding wardrobe in the corner and Carter doubted he could secret himself there.

“Look, I don’t know who you are or what you want, but I’ll give you a minute to get out of here or else I’m calling the cops.” Carter edged a few steps closer, so that he could snatch his pants up from the floor. He felt in the pockets, relieved when he grasped the outlines of his wallet and phone. He struggled into the khakis, almost losing his balance. All kinds of creeps walked up and down Aurora, at all hours of the day or night and all Carter could think was that this one had gotten in when Tony left, forgetting to lock the door behind him.

Yet, didn’t the door lock automatically? And what did the man mean about always being in the room?

And while it was true there were prostitutes and thugs that regularly walked the lengthy north-south traverse of Aurora Avenue, none of them looked as neat (and neat was the best word) as this character.

Carter shivered, even though the room had no air conditioning. He grabbed his shirt off the floor and put it on, buttoning it with trembling fingers.

“You know what? Forget it. I’ll just leave and I’ll let the guy at the front desk know you’re here.” Why not? Carter had all his important belongings now. He needed only to slip into his wingtips.

“Sit down.”

“What?”

“Grab a seat on the bed, bud. You know I’m not real.”

“Not real?” Carter neared the man. “You look real to me.” He reached out to place a hand on the guy’s chest and it was like his hand passed through a fog of cold air.

Carter jumped back, heart thundering.

“That’s right. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a ghost. I’d shake your hand, but you saw what happened when you tried to touch me. Damned ectoplasm. My name’s Bill Silver.”

Carter stood, simply staring. He realized his mouth hung open and he shut it.

“You gonna take a load off? I have some things to tell you.”

“Tell me? What?” Because Carter felt like if he didn’t sit down, his legs would give out, he reluctantly seated himself at the edge of the bed. You’re asleep, that’s all and this is just a dream. Play along. “So, uh, Bill, what it is you wanna tell me?”

Bill took a puff off his cigarette and snuffed it out in the ashtray. Carter wanted to giggle when he had the thought that ghosts didn’t have to worry about the health hazards of smoking. And what would a ghost cigarette taste like, anyway, menthol or regular? Carter couldn’t help it. He let out of a little titter.

“I’m glad you’re amused. Now, if I could begin.”

Carter gestured with his hand that the floor belonged to Bill. “I’m listening.”

“As I said, I’ve watched you and that colored guy have sex. Pretty racy. In my day, even here in Seattle, that kind of behavior could get a man in a lot of trouble. The queer stuff is bad enough, but throw in mixing of the races and even in the northwest here, you’ve got big trouble. Still, it looked very sexy, watching that colored dick go in that white ass.”

Carter started to get up. “Is this what you want? I’m not into it, dude.”

“Sit down, sit down. You know, because you touched me, I’m a ghost. And I was just setting the stage a bit, letting you know I know the score.

“What I really want to talk to you about is me. What happened to me right here in this room, just before the World’s Fair opened up back in 1962.

“I was twenty-nine years old, had a little Craftsman over in Wallingford, wife named Gloria and two kids, Bill Jr. and Sally. Worked as a CPA. Everyone that looked at me thought I was the perfect young man who had secured for himself the American dream.

“And I had.

“But what no one knew was what you and Tony understand—how good it feels to be with a man. See, I knew even before I had ever touched another fellow, knew because it was like a piece of me was missing. What could fill it up?” Bill grinned. “I think you know. But it’s more than that. Get your mind out of the gutter.”

“I needed a man to love me, even if I couldn’t admit it to myself, let alone anyone else. I kept thinking if I just stayed true in my marriage, concentrated on being a good dad to my two kids, worked hard, all those longings I felt in the middle of the night would eventually go away.”

Bill looked over at Carter and Carter thought the man seemed as real as Tony had, only an hour or so ago.

“But you know the end to that story, don’t you? Nothing went away. If anything, it got stronger the more I tried to hide it. I’d be out with the kids and Gloria, over at Green Lake and we’d be hanging out at the beach, and I’d see these young guys in their trunks and man—” The guy’s gaze drifted away and Carter knew he was seeing those almost-naked young men right now, robust, diving into the water, endless yards of tanned and muscled skin. Carter could see it himself in his own mind’s eye, but because of when he had been born and the life he had led, he felt no guilt at his appreciation and even arousal at the thought.

To read more, order your copy here: [http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/GhostNumber9.html]

39 thoughts on “Today’s Guest is Rick Reed!

  1. That was a wonderful excerpt, Rick. I love stories with a ghost element, and I definitely want to hear more of Bill’s story. And read more about what happens with Carter and Tony, of course!

    So, Amber, you pick your favorite birthday wish, and that person gets a copy of The Ghost in Number 9. I don’t suppose I could tempt you with a birthday wish for all the birthday wishes people leave for you to happen, a la the wishing for more wishes thing? Nah, that sounds like cheating, but I would absolutely wish that for you.

    Okay, I’m going to go with something fantastical, just because you’ve made this birthday bash so fantastic (and it’s not even halfway done yet!). This is a birthday wish that can’t possibly come true, but birthday wishes (like that pony so many disappointed kids blew out their candles hoping for) are meant to be wondrous and unattainable.

    So, my wish for you is to be able to fly! Not in a plane, not with a hang-glider, and not even with a full-body leotard and a cape (unless you really want to), but just under your own power. I know many’s the time I woke up from a dream where I just had to spread my arms out and move them just so and suddenly I was aloft, and I don’t know how many times I woke up thinking for just a second that I really had. No wonder reality is overrated: you never get to fly.

  2. Great excerpt. I hope to read the book. As a birthday wish, I am going to wish for something every author wants – best sellers and lots more fans.

  3. A birthday wish for Amber……wishing you a prosperous year one filled with good health, family, and less stress.

    The book sounds like a great read!!!

  4. You don’t tell birthday wishes. Or they don’t come true. So my wish is for Amber to have her birthday wish come true.

  5. First a confession I’m not usually into ghost stories, they’re not my thing. I believe I will be making an exception with Mr Reed’s book. I need to know the rest of this story he has hooked me.
    Now my birthday wish. After perusing the comments left so far. I was in a quandary as to what wish I would make for you. I wanted it to be different, but still a sincere wish and hopefully one that has meaning. So I decided to let my wish for you be your wish. So Amber for your birthday my wish is that your hearts desire, your fondest wish will come true, whether it’s to fly, to write a bestseller, whatever it is that you hold dearest and want more than all else in the world. I wish this for you.

  6. First thanks for the story. It really got me curious to know what happen next

    My wish for Amber is this .. May this year bring the peace , understanding and love a mother needs to support and comfort those she love Happy birthday !!

  7. Great excerpt! My birthday wish for Amber is for her house be cleaned (without her doing it) and her family to get along with no arguments or drama. Just a nice peaceful, relaxing day. Maybe even a nice long soak in the tub with a good book, glass or wine (or cup of tea) and no interruptions. I know, I’m asking for a miracle there! 😉

  8. Thank you for sharing with us. I am going to have to get this story and check out your books, Amber is so Awesome to give us presents all month for her birthday! 🙂 I am not talking about the things she gives to the winners of her birthday contest, but the exposer to other writers and their books.
    My Birthday wish for Amber is hard, I thought about what I think Amber would want, Maybe for her son not to be Autistic, But I think that that is part of what makes him uniquely him. So maybe tolerance and understanding from everyone for people who are different from them self; Or maybe a Amber day ” a day at the spa, with a nice long soak in the hot-tub with lots of chocolate and champagne” But maybe Amber doesn’t like that stuff…. So finally I guess I would follow everyone else example and Wish Amber’s Birthday wish would come true.

  9. Thanks for sharing that lovely excerpt Rick, it was beautiful. And my wish for Amber is a year of sales that will let her take my favorite Lego kid (and the rest of the family) to Legoland, San Diego. That way they can do the Zoo, Sea World as well.

  10. Mr. Reed, thanks for sharing your book it looks intriguing, it’s definitely going into my buy list.

    For Amber, a cure for Autism.

  11. I would wish for all house renovations (new floors etc.) to magically be done overnight with not fuss or muss for Amber.

  12. My birthday wish for Amber is the same thing I wish for myself, that at one point in life you can look back and say: “I’m happy and fulfilled with my choices (and I meet all my favorite authors).”

  13. My birthday wish would be that Amber gets to have a day with all her loved ones and laugh at the funny things family does when they get together. 🙂

  14. That’s quite a hook you planted with that excerpt, now I have to have more. My wish for Amber is purely selfish on my part as I would wish for more hours in her day so she could write more. If I were a good person I would wish for “health, wealth and happiness” but nah that’s too pat and good and I’m an evil old broad.

  15. I think tears will be involved in reading this story. I wish Amber lots of laughs, the kind where tears start to flow!

  16. Thank for the excerpt very interesting going to check it out
    my birthday wish for Amber is for there to be more tolerance in the world for every one no matter who you love, what you look like, how your dress or the colour of your skin share a smile with someone new and give someone help if it is needed that is my wish happy birthday hugs and kisses to you all lol

  17. thanks for the excerpt 🙂 my wish for amber is for more interesting voices w/ great stories in her head — a win-win 🙂 she gets lots of stories to write & we get to enjoy them 🙂

  18. Thank you for the excerpt. I know this isn’t really original but I wish Amber and her family good health, prosperity and luck in the oncoming years.

  19. Thank you for the excerpt!

    A wish for amber? >o< oohh… I think my wish for amber would be… a super computer for her to be able to just think and have all her thoughts magically write themselves on it. So she won't have to pick which one she needs to write first anymore. They'd all be written simultaneously. LOL… Maybe then, she could get a moment of peace… you know… without all those sexy voices screaming in her head. xD

  20. Loved the sneak peek, sounds like an interesting book. And my birthday wish for Amber is a little bit of peace and quiet whenever she needs it, because as a nanny, I know that there are times where being the one in charge gets hectic, and everyone can use a little peace and quiet in those moments.

  21. Thanks for visiting! 🙂
    Unfortunately, i never read any of your books.. but ghost in #9 is definitely appealing!!~
    As for birthday wish, i would wish Amber to have a little getaway with her hubby for the week-end. Somewhere without children, phone calls, etc.. A place where she would be free to enjoy herself without worries and interruptions 😀

  22. What a great excerpt! This book is going to have to go on my TBR.

    My wish for Amber is that her birthday is exactly what she wants and needs, whether that’s an awesome party with friends or a quiet get-together with family, because sometimes a birthday seems to be as much about other people as about you. So may your birthday be just want you want and feel no guilt about it!

  23. I just discovered your site, Amber, and Rick Reed’s also. I hope for your birthday, that breakfast is leisurely, and preferably in bed, that the most pressing matter is the angle of the sun playing across the sheets, and that the cell phone mysteriously loses power for a few hours. And that special someone says “what else do you want?” Were it to be true…. Happy birthday! Bryan.

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