Haunts and Hellions: A Gothic Romance Anthology

Greetings and Salutations, Rock 'n' Rollers! I'm thrilled to announce the paperback release of Haunts and Hellions: A Gothic Romance Anthology. My queer story "The House Must Fall" is my favorite thing I wrote last year and I'm excited for you to read my homage to Edgar Allan Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher!" Ebooks will be available in June. Read on for an excerpt!

Harkening back to the glory days of gothic romance that had us up reading all night, HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents:

Haunts & Hellions edited by Emerian Rich

13 stories of horror, romance, and that perfect moment when the two worlds collide. Vengeful spirits attacking the living, undead lovers revealing their true nature, and supernatural monsters seeking love, await you. Pull the blinds closed, light your candle, and cuddle up in your reading nook for some chilling—and romantic—tales.


With stories by: Emily Blue, Lucy Blue, Kevin Ground, Rowan Hill, Naching T. Kassa, Emmy Z. Madrigal, R.L. Merrill, N.C. Northcott, Emerian Rich, Daniel R. Robichaud, Daphne Strasert, Tara Vanflower, and B.F. Vega.


Special Editions can be ordered from HorrorAddicts.net with lots of goodies and signed labels from each author!





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An excerpt from Haunts & Hellions


The House Must Fall

R.L. Merrill

1875


Mercer Manor, Millbrae, California


The moment I stepped onto the grounds of Mercer Manor I knew one thing for certain—I would leave the place undone. Such thoughts rarely plagued my consciousness. I’d always been a happy go lucky fellow, not one for superstition or worry.

Mercer Manor filled me with dread, but I was on a mission. Montgomery Mercer, the person I loved most in the world, hadn’t returned to the University of California in Berkeley after the holiday break. It was now March and I was determined to discover what had happened to him.


The crunch of gravel under my boots seemed so loud, I wished I could silence it so as not to be discovered. I feared, without reason, someone detecting my presence before I was ready. The fog lessened and the house came into view. Calling it a house, however, felt like an understatement. The manor was an entity. A dark, looming feat of architecture that jutted out of a plateau in the hillside and stood majestically overlooking San Francisco Bay. I found myself staring into the sky, trying to make out the tops of the trees, when the front door was opened by a servant. A familiar woman stepped through the doorway and paused at the top of the stairs, hands clasped in front of her, a frown marring her lovely face.


“I was not aware we had a visitor arriving today,” Monty’s mother said.


I gave her my most winning smile, which did nothing to crack her icy demeanor.


“Wonderful to see you, Mrs. Mercer. It’s Sterling, from the University?”


Her frown eased, but there was nothing welcoming in her expression.


“Of course. Sterling Mackey. I wish I could say it was wonderful to see you, too, but you really shouldn’t have come.”


That was not the answer I’d been expecting.


I climbed the steps and was not sorry I towered over her when I reached the top.


“Well, I’m here now, and I’m not leaving until I see Montgomery.” I smiled again, but it was my, “Don’t underestimate me because I’m charming and handsome” smile.


“Since you are here, I suppose a short visit won’t be too taxing on Montgomery. You may come in.” She looked down at my luggage and wrinkled her nose slightly, as if showing her distaste for my call. She turned and led the way into the dark foyer of the grand mansion. Forty-two rooms, three stories, a conservatory, carriage house, and three artificial lakes rested upon the 32,000 acre estate. The house took three years to build and was one of the grandest outside of San Francisco. Montgomery Mercer, Senior had added to the family’s fortune in banking during the gold and silver boom in California, and set out to create a dynasty in the young state. Monty Junior was being groomed to take his place, much to his chagrin. We avoided talking about our futures much other than agreeing that whatever paths lay before us, we would be in the same place. For some reason Monty’s path had stopped abruptly and I was determined to get him back on course.


“Thank you. I’ve written many letters. Surely Monty knew I would come to see him if he didn’t respond.”


The large doors fitted with colorful stained glass closed loudly behind me, making me jump.


Mrs. Mercer didn’t flinch. She turned to face me and her grave expression chilled me worse than the damp air of the Bay.


“I’m afraid Montgomery hasn’t been up to correspondence. I’ll take you to him so you may say your piece and then you must leave. I shall have our driver take you back to the ferry station—”


“There are no more ferries departing until Monday, so I shall have to impose upon your hospitality at least until then. I’m sure you won’t mind,” I said, pouring on the charm. “My parents will be very appreciative. They love having Monty around our home and look forward to his next visit.”


Mrs. Mercer’s lips pressed together and she turned away from me gazing into the darkened parlor to our right. A fire gave off the only light in the room as the curtains had been drawn. In fact, the whole downstairs was incredibly dark as though it were already nighttime.


“Montgomery will not be traveling anymore. That is no longer possible. Follow me.” Even though she’d been cold toward me, it was obvious she was troubled. I steeled myself and placed a smile on my face before she opened the door.

In my worst nightmare, I could never have imagined what I would find on the other side of the door.


To read more, read Haunts and Hellions at: Amazon.com


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Thanks everyone! Stay Tuned for news about Love Is All Vol 4, and two more full-length releases from Ro!

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