Karen: Dianne Hartsock is the 'flasher' of the day. She pens m/m erotic romances, both contemporary and fantasy, and psychological thrillers. Her FREE flash fiction, The Tunnel of Love is sure to make you shiver.
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***Giveaway: Dianne is giving away an eBook from her back list to one lucky trick or treater! Winner's choice! Read on to find out how you may add another fun read to your goody bag.
The Tunnel of Love by Dianne Hartsock
"I said I was sorry!"
Tad continued walking, refusing to look back at his boyfriend. How many times in the past had he run after Lyol? Well, not this time. His lover could chase after him for a change. The sounds of the carnival closed in, the chatter of the crowds, laughter, screams from the Ferris Wheel. Heat radiated up from the asphalt and he drew a deep breath of air scented with popcorn and cotton candy.
He sighed, not hearing the footsteps behind him he'd hoped for. Maybe this was it. They hadn't been seeing eye to eye for months, ever since he'd asked Lyol to move in with him. The guy had almost laughed in his face. Yeah, Lyol loved him, but he wasn't ready to get that serious. Tad suspected his boyfriend was seeing someone else.
Suddenly the hair rose on his scalp and he jerked his head up, heart thumping. What the hell? Confused, he swept a look over the crowd. His gaze clashed with eyes the color of the summer sky, piercing blue. Adrenaline jolted through him. He wanted to run yet longed to stay, wrap his body around the sleek beauty lounging against the wall of the Fun House, watching him hungrily.
He'd taken two steps towards the man before he knew he even moved. What was he doing? The man uncurled from the wall, licked very kissable lips, his grin beckoning, wolfish. Oh God. Tad's racing heart reminded him of a rabbit he'd held once, its small body frozen with fear.
With effort he swiveled on his heel and hurried down the Midway, eyes averted from the laughing groups around him. "Damn you, Lyol," he muttered, blinking at tears. He'd come to the carnival full of hope, certain his man had asked him out to make up with him. But here he was, alone, frightened by the predatory smile from a stranger.
Preoccupied, he stumbled into someone. "Sorry," he muttered, shocked when he saw Lyol's bright green shirt across the crowd, the compact body he worshipped pressing someone else against a wall as they kissed.
Feeling battered, he stumbled and was surprised when someone gripped his arm. "Careful."
He glanced up into sky blue eyes, mesmerized by the stranger's smile. "I see your man has left you alone. Fool. But very lucky for me."
"What do you mean…"
The man touched Tad's lips, tugged him into a dark corner. Warm lips grazed his and a honey sweet, demanding tongue nudged into his mouth. So delicious. His senses were swamped in a wave of desire. He felt drugged, pliant. The man could ask for anything…
The stranger's low chuckle shivered through him. "Come with me, sweetness."
Tad followed without question when the man took his hand and led him onto the Midway. They wove through the crowd, Tad not even feeling the few people he bumped into. The creature stopped at The Tunnel of Love and urged him into a boat.
Creature? An alarm went off in Tad's head. What had made him use that word? He looked around wildly, panicked as the boat began to move.
"Hush, baby. You're fine." The stranger touched the back of his neck, massaged his tense muscles. The strength left Tad and he eased back into the man's arms as they entered the dark tunnel. He expected a kiss, but instead he felt a hot breath on his neck. Sharp teeth nipped his skin. Struggling up with a cry, he caught the flash of luminous eyes and rows of white teeth in the darkness.
"All the better to eat you with," the creature panted, reaching for him. Tad scrambled back, nearly tipping the boat. Suddenly the side of the boat dipped down and the creature fell to its knees just as a dark figure launched out of the water into the boat.
Tad strained to see but all he could make out were the two figures locked in combat. A piercing scream tore the darkness, then Tad heard the splash of something heavy striking the water.
"Lyol?" God! Tad crawled frantically to his lover's side. The creature's luminous eyes stared up through the water as Lyol held his head under.
"You'll drown him!"
"I have to. He'll kill us! Look at it."
The creature thrashed and Tad choked on a burst of fear, the thing taking shape in Lyol's hands looking more wolfish than human with each passing second. Instinctively, Tad thrust his hands into the water, helped hold the creature down. Long, terrible minutes passed until the monster stopped struggling, went limp. They let it go, watched the thing sink into the black water.
"Let's get out of here."
Without waiting for the boat to stop, they jumped over the side and waded to shore, ignoring the yells behind them. They ran until out of breath, then dodged down an alleyway and sank against a building, locked in each other's arms.
"How did you know—"
Lyol stopped Tad's words with a hard kiss. "I saw you go in the boat with him. I couldn't believe how jealous I felt! I didn't know how important you are to me, until then." He gently cupped Tad's face.
"Will you forgive me?"
Tad nodded and they lingered over their kisses, finding comfort in warm lips and soft words. Tad rested his head on Lyol's shoulder. "What was that thing?"
"I don't know. Looked almost wolfish, if you can believe that."
Tad shivered. "Christ. Did it hurt you?"
"I don't…" his words trialed off and he looked at Tad in horror. Fear jolted through Tad. What… Lyol lifted his arm, showing blood and the perfect arc of puncture marks where he'd been bitten.
"Lyol…" Tad swallowed a scream as his lover's eyes flashed and grew luminescent in the darkness. He had nowhere to run. He sighed, swooning at the stab of pain and pleasure as sharp teeth sank into the tender flesh of his neck.
***Giveaway: To be entered to win an eBook from Dianne's back list, answer this question: What scares you the most? Don't forget to leave your email so Dianne may contact you if you should win! Good Luck!
When it comes to the dark weavings of hoodoo magic, only a few can survive.
It's started. Bodies have been found in the French Quarter, torn limb from limb. The undead have been seen walking. For Detective Matthew Rieves, this is the worst news he can imagine. Having spent his entire life in Orleans Parish, Matt's no stranger to the bizarre. Though, despite the growing evidence, he still has a hard time believing in the occult. But when two hoodoo bokors vie for supremacy, it's the innocent civilians that pay the price.
For Jesse Dalembert, he'd left New Orleans to sever his ties with hoodoo. But when a friend is brutally murdered by the bokor's zombies, he returns, falling at once into danger and into Detective Rieves's bed. With their lives on the line, their simmering attraction flares into a passion they can no longer deny.
Working against time, can the lovers find a way to stop the hoodoo war, or will they fall victim to the dark magic, maybe becoming zombies themselves?
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Dianne is the author of m/m erotic romance, both contemporary and fantasy, the psychological thriller, and anything else that comes to mind. Oh, and a floral designer. If she can’t be writing, at least she has the chance to create with the beauty of flowers and bring a smile to someone’s face. Currently Dianne lives in the Willamette Valley of Oregon with her husband, and both her children have chosen to attend colleges close to home, for which she is forever thankful.
You can find out more about Dianne here:
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