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IBPA Member

Snare: Channeling Morpheus 7

Beautiful and Deadly

Snare by Jordan Castillo Price

Series: Channeling Morpheus 7
Second Electronic Edition
Length: Novelette - 21664 words - 74 page PDF
Cover artist: Jordan Castillo Price - see larger cover
ISBN: 978-1-935540-42-7

Release date: April 2

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Summary

With summer ending and temperatures dipping low at night, Michael is eager to get his leather jacket back, and although Wild Bill could easily vamp any sales clerk into giving Michael some new duds, it wouldn't be quite the same as the jacket he left at his parents' house. Not unless the malls have begun selling clothing with rohypnol and ketamine sewn into the seams.

The return of the jacket comes with a price: a new cell phone from Michael's parents. Surprisingly, Wild Bill encourages Michael to keep the phone. After all, Michael wouldn't want to be the only twenty-one-year-old in the world without one. Seems innocent enough... right?

But you never know where an innocent gift will lead. Michael worries the phone may be some shiny bait, meant to lure him closer to his family, and then, college. Everyone seems so intent on getting Michael to enroll, but he's busy looking to catch a vampire.

 

Excerpt

The odor of rot was unmistakable. Decay has its own earthy-sweet foulness that can’t possibly be anything else. The alkaline underpinning of chlorine masked the aroma slightly, but it was still there, a force of nature, inevitable, inexorable.

I knelt by the side of the pool and scooped out a handful of slimy brown leaves. When was the last time it had been cleaned? If I had a skimmer, I’d do it myself. The kids at the shallow end didn’t seem to care that they were covered in seed pods and had dead bugs stuck in their hair. I should probably take a lesson from them and stop being so picky. After all, no one ever accused me of being a neat freak.

But the smell of rot—that was different from the other smells I lived with, cigarettes, and bodies, and sex. I didn’t know if I’d ever slough it off.

There was the possibility that I’d get the motel clerk to come out and give the pool a once-over. All I had to do was ask. And if he said no, I could ask again—while I reached out with my mind and tried to imagine him having a big change of heart and being bowled over by the desire to make me happy. It didn’t always work when I tried to do that. But sometimes, it did.

It would feel amazing to knife through that water. The pool was old, and therefore deeper than they usually make them nowadays, with all the litigation-happy predators looking for an excuse to file suit. It had a diving end. I’ve always loved diving, the suddenness of it, the drama. The plunge.

“Do you even own a pair of swimming trunks?”

My sister’s shadow stretched over me. She hadn’t startled me or anything. On some level, I’d felt her coming—I just hadn’t shifted my attention to her quite yet. I looked up at her. She’d worn makeup. A hint of plum eyeliner, a touch of mascara. I smelled hairspray.

And leather. She had my jacket clutched against her chest like a shield.

“I could wear cut-offs.”

“I guess. So, where’s your boyfriend?”

“Sleeping.” If you call it that. Wild Bill does, and he even claims he can wake up any time he wants. I have my doubts.

“Sleeping? It’s almost sundown.”

“He stays up late.”

She held her hand up, palm-out. “Don’t say any more. I don’t want to start picturing it.”

I rolled my eyes and stood. She would’ve said that whether or not I was gay. It was her obligation as a sibling to act like my sex life was gross.

We walked to a poolside table. The cheap plastic chairs had the beginnings of mildew creeping up the legs. More rot. I held out Julie’s chair for her, and she shot me a strange look before she sat.

“What’s with that?” she said.

“What?”

“Never mind. It’s just weird, is all. We were still kids when you left. Now we’re grown up.”

We were? I thought she was exactly the same. She laid my jacket across the table. I wondered how thoroughly she’d searched it. Enough to find Jim Harman’s card and email him. But enough to find the stashes of Rohypnol and Ketamine I’d sewn into the seams? I could hardly check, with her sitting right there. And even if she had found it, I don’t think she would’ve guessed what I was using it for. She’d probably just think I was partying.

“When’re you coming back?” she said. “For a visit, I mean. Thanksgiving?”

“I hadn’t really thought that far ahead.”

She shoved herself into the back of the chair hard enough to tip it off its front legs, and she rocked it, and sighed. “Must be nice. I feel like my life is planned down to the last second.”

“Take a semester off.”

“Yeah, right.”

“I’m serious. Pick a place you’ve always wanted to see, and just go. Rent a room and get a job that’s enough to pay your rent, any old job, doesn’t matter. But being somewhere new—where you don’t know anyone, and everything’s different—that’s when big ideas hit you.”

“What big ideas?”

I shrugged. The nature of life and death and vampires, mostly. But I guessed that most people’s big ideas were probably different from mine. “Four months. It’s not really that long, when you think about it.”

Her eyes went wistful. She had Mom’s brown eyes, and the same brown hair as all of us. Hers was sun-touched around her face. “I know you’re right. Four months. It’s nothing. But Mom would skin me alive.”

“You’re nineteen, you can—”

“Look, you don’t get it. You never cared what she thought about you.”

“That’s news to me.”

“Oh, come on. You know what I mean. Girls are closer to their mothers. We have more to prove.”

That actually was news to me. “Why?”

Julie made a huffy noise and shook her head. I suspected she really did need some big ideas of her own, but other than suggesting she give herself the time to allow those ideas to find her, there wasn’t much more I could do.

Seeing her made me feel heavy-hearted in a way I wasn’t sure I understood. If I told her that vampires existed, that I even had proof now, she’d still think I was crazy. The idiot doctor dad had sent me to had convinced the whole family I was just too creative for my own good. And sensitive. And that I needed to spin this fantasy world to compensate for Scary Mary’s death.

Creative. Sensitive. Shit, maybe he’d known I was gay even though I never breathed a single word about it. Doctors creep me out.

I changed the subject to the new strip mall I’d noticed on Route 40, and we talked about shopping while the sun lowered, and finally set. Across the leafy pool and up one story, our door swung open and Wild Bill sauntered out onto the wraparound balcony. He was barefoot and shirtless, and his jeans rode low on his hips. He paused and lit a cigarette. Julie noticed my attention had shifted, and she turned to look. “And there’s Sleeping Beauty now. Whoa. He is hot. You didn’t tell me he had all those tattoos.”

Bill leaned forward and rested his elbows on the railing. Hard to read his expression. Bemused? Maybe.

“So he’s not going to come down and say hello?”

“He’s…reserved.”

Julie snorted. “You two…it’s serious, then.”

I wished she wouldn’t talk so loud, but I couldn’t exactly come right out and tell her he could hear her. “Yeah, whatever….”

“How long have you been together?”

“Since spring. C’mon, Jules, I’m sure he can tell we’re talking about him. He’s looking right at us.”

“So?” She waved, and Bill stuck his cigarette in his mouth and gave her a sarcastic little finger-wave in return. “He should come down here if he wants to have his say.”

“I’m thinking he’s not into the whole Norman Rockwell experience.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Family. Too much baggage.”

“Screw you.” She crossed her arms over her chest and pouted. “Although I can’t blame him for steering clear of mom.”

“Give him time,” I said. “He’s a loner.”

“Except you.”

I sighed. “Except me.”

That seemed to be good enough for her—she’d never been the type to argue something into the ground. She’d already moved on to the next thing, opening up her gigantic purse to dig around inside. “Speaking of mom, she wanted me to give you this.”

She set a cell phone on the cheap plastic table. I stared at it.

“I’ve got one, too. It’s some kind of family plan. I think it only costs them ten bucks a month to add you on.”

“Yeah, but…I mean…no offense, I don’t think I can handle her checking in on me.”

“You and me both. We had this huge blowout during finals last year, and she totally backed off. I don’t think she’ll call you unless it’s an emergency. And even then, she’d probably tell me to call.”

“Really? I have a hard time wrapping my head around that.”

Julie shrugged. Maybe she and I weren’t the only ones who’d changed over the past few years.

I flipped the phone open. It was a lot nicer than the one I’d had in high school. “Internet?”

“Yeah, and you can text me, too. If you want.”

Being able to check my email without having to find an unencrypted wireless network would save me a lot of hassle. I’d really missed my phone, especially the first couple of months after I left Terre Haute. And I’d never taken the time to figure out how to get another one without a credit card or a permanent address.

I glanced up at Wild Bill to see what he thought I should do. He was picking at his black nail polish. No help there.

I wanted that phone, really wanted it. Wild Bill could get me plenty of things, but a cell phone? Not without a credit card. Still, it seemed like I needed more time to think about it, to talk it over with Bill and see what he thought. Because on one hand, it was just a phone. But on the other, it was a direct line to my family. And maybe it was only the beginning, a sharp little hook covered in barbs, just waiting for me to snap up the bait so my parents could start reeling me back in. “I don’t know if it’s such a good….”

“Just take the friggin’ thing,” Julie said. “It gives Mom less to worry about.”

Right. If Mom only knew the half of it.

I glanced up at Wild Bill again, and saw him watching me slip the phone into my pocket. I gave him my best, “Well, what do you expect me to tell her?” look.

He shrugged, almost as if he could’ve been flexing a kink out of his shoulders, but it still read as a shrug to me. And then he raised his hand and made a drinky-drinky motion.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Julie asked.

“To pick up some whiskey when I grab dinner.”

“I don’t know about where you eat, but where I eat dinner they don’t sell—”

“The mini-mart across the street.”

Julie wrinkled her nose. “Ew. Don’t tell me you eat those greasy hot dogs that roll around under the heat lamps all day.”

“Um, no?” Actually, I was more partial to donuts in a box. And candy bars. Particularly candy bars with wafers inside. Or nougat.

Julie stood up and hitched her bag up higher on her shoulder. The sleeve of her polo shirt rose and flashed more of her upper arm. She was really tan. And she had as much muscle definition as I did. Sheesh. “I can see you two lovebirds have a full evening of drinking planned,” she said. “Don’t let me keep you.”

“C’mon. Don’t be that way.”

“Don’t worry about it—I’m just yanking your chain. It’s my job. I’m your sister.”

 

Series

Channeling Morpheus Ebook Novelettes

Payback
Vertigo
Manikin
Tainted
Rebirth
Brazen
Snare
Fluid
Swarm
Elixir

Channeling Morpheus Shorts
Heaven Sent - takes place after Manikin
Jackpot - takes place after Elixir

Channeling Morpheus Paperbacks

Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary (Channeling Morpheus Series 1) featuring novelettes 1-5
A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion (Channeling Morpheus Series 2) featuring novelettes 6-10

Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary Paperback A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion Paperback

Reviews

"Yet again, Jordan Castillo Price’s writing cast a spell over me, and it’s almost impossible to find the right words to express just how wonderful I think this series is. Michael and Wild Bill are two unforgettable characters, and I love both of them in very different ways." - Brief Encounters Reviews

"Jordan Castillo Price continues this tale with more great eroticism and the dry humor that's priceless." - The Romance Studio

" Michael and Bill are becoming one of my favorite couples. Yes, their erotic encounters are incredibly hot, and have enough zing to give an electric eel a run for its money. However, when you get past that area you start to understand just how complex their relationship has become." - Fallen Angel Reviews

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