Whirlwind, стр. 1
Table of Contents
About the Author
ISBN # 978-1-78430-789-9
©Copyright Bailey Bradford 2015
Cover Art by Posh Gosh ©Copyright September 2015
Edited by Eleanor Boyall and Rebecca Scott
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Pride Publishing.
Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Pride Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.
The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2015 by Pride Publishing, Newland House, The Point, Weaver Road, Lincoln, LN6 3QN
Pride Publishing is a subsidiary of Totally Entwined Group Limited.
Book eight in the Southern Spirits series
Dying sucks, but the afterlife is one hot place to be.
Stefan wasn’t physically perfect in life, and his search for someone to love him resulted in his murder. Now he’s been dead for years, and he’s lonelier than he ever was when he was alive. His physical problems might have vanished when his body ceased to live, but his spirit has to deal with the memories of the past.
Jordan and Gideon are friends who share eager guys when they can find them, but being in a war zone hasn’t allowed for that to happen often. One roadside stop puts an end to their lives. Jordan and Gideon are at a loss to understand what happens to them, why they stay behind when others go up into the light. Searching for answers, they head to Jordan’s hometown—McKinton, Texas—but a hell of a lot of things have changed in the decade and a half since Jordan left.
Namely, the arrival of one wicked, joyful spirit named Stefan.
To all my friends—y’all are blessings, don’t ever forget that.
It’s easy to remember all the bad things we’ve done, all the mistakes we’ve made,
the imperfections we have.
Remembering to love ourselves, to forgive and try again, is much harder,
but so very worth it.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmark mentioned in this work of fiction:
Mack: Mack Trucks, Inc
Stefan Bausch nudged his friend Ro. “Wanna play football?”
Ro looked horrified for a moment, his eyebrows scrunching together as he gawked at Stefan. “Why would I want to do that? I hated football when I was alive, and what would we use for a ball?”
“A ball,” Stefan said blandly. “Don’t tell me you haven’t learnt how to pick things up yet. You’re with Conner. You’d have to know how to grab corporeal things just to keep up with him.”
Ro scowled. “That still doesn’t answer the why part.”
“Because,” Stefan said as he waggled his eyebrows, “think of the way everyone at the park would freak out if they saw a ball shooting back and forth through the air.” It’d be hilarious…maybe. Or maybe not, since a lot of the townsfolk believe in spirits—ghosts. Stefan wasn’t interested in being exorcised. Again.
“Sounds like a great way to freak out someone and end up cast out of this world and into whatever comes next,” Ro muttered, crossing his arms over his chest. “Didn’t something like that happen before?”
How did Ro know what he’d been thinking? Stefan rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah, and it sucked. It was your grandparents who did it, wasn’t it?”
“I don’t want to talk about them.” Ro glanced around. “You know I still fear that they’re gonna pop up just to try to ruin my afterlife.”
“Conner would handle them,” Stefan informed his friend. Ro had to know that. Conner would never let anyone hurt Ro.
Ro flipped his long black hair. “Sure he would, but I don’t want him to have to. Anyway, I’m pretty sure they would hang around the other part of the family, not the heathen gay side.”
“Maybe.” But sometimes Stefan got so bored he wished someone jerkish would show up. All the spirits he knew were nice—and either straight or hooked up, like Conner and Ro.
“We could go see what’s happening at Sev and Laine’s place,” Ro offered, a hopeful light springing up in his eyes. “Conner’s off greeting newcomers.” Ro’s joy died down and his expression shifted into one of sadness. “How he knows when someone’s going to pop up is beyond me. And him, too, actually. He says he just feels this tug in his chest.” Ro shook his head. “That sounds creepier than us being dead in the first place. Oh man, I sure hope whoever does show up isn’t a psycho criminal. I always worry, but I don’t know why. It’s not like a psycho spirit could kill us all over again. I need to quit watching the news. It’s all bad shit. Why can’t everyone just get along?”
“That’s asking a lot of humanity,” Stefan scoffed. He thought about going with Ro and shook his head. “You go on. I’m in a weird mood and should probably just go off and pout for a while.”
“Are you sure?” Ro uncrossed his arms and reached for Stefan’s hand. Ro’s skin was warm and soft, his grip firm and comforting. “I’d love to have your company.”
Seeing Laine and Sev wasn’t a bad thing, but Stefan didn’t want to hang around another happy, loving couple. Laine and Sev were definitely that. They’d been together forever and still acted like they’d only just met and fallen in love. It was sweet, and caused an ugly spike of jealousy to rear up in