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Bound to the Spirits Book One
BY T. STRANGE
Ghosts are popping up where they shouldn’t. Harlan, a ghost janitor for the police, suspects there’s a serial killer on the loose—but no one believes him.
Harlan Brand is a medium who was abandoned at the Centre, a school for the psychically gifted, by his parents. He grew up lonely but safe from the ghosts that terrorized his childhood.
But now, at twenty-one, he’s out in the real world. He works as a ghost janitor for the Toronto Police Service, cleaning up after crimes and hauntings in the Greater Toronto Area. Adding to the anxiety of leaving the ghost-warded safety of his school, the cop assigned as his partner seems to hate him, he’s having confusing feelings for a BDSM club owner who brings out his deepest fantasies, and ghosts are popping up where they shouldn’t.
Using the ghosts as clues, Harlan begins to suspect there’s a serial killer loose, but no one believes him. Harlan will stop at nothing to discover who—or what—is preying on his city.
Bound to the Spirits Book One
BY T. STRANGE
All of my MCs tend to have at least some of my anxiety, but I poured my full Anxious Mess into Harlan. He’s not a self-insert by any means—we are very different people in several key ways (no spoilies!)—but he’s the one character I’ve consciously given so much of myself.
He also has a really unique ability—besides being a medium. I’ve used him to write my way out of…mmm…half a dozen panic attacks? Maybe more. Who knows? I don’t know why exactly it works, but it does. Maybe our anxieties cancel each other out or have one of those wizard battles where our powers push each other back and forth, but he lets me win. Whatever it is, I’m grateful to him. Before Harlan came into my life, the last thing I’d think of doing when I was super anxious or having a full-blown panic attack was write, and I’m not sure what made me think of it the first time, but it’s worked for me whenever I needed him. So now I can turn my panic attacks into something productive!
(Of course, I think he owes me that for making me subconsciously do his nervous habit when I first started writing him.)
Editor’s Note: Edited for language.
Not all of Harlan’s training had been with docile, harmless ghosts who’d just needed a bit of a nudge to shuffle off the mortal coil.
He’d been as curious as the other kids the first time a massive, unmarked black shipping crate had arrived at the Centre and been unloaded from the back of an equally unmarked black truck.
It had been delivered during one of the regular, academic classes, which were divided by age rather than ability. There had only been two other mediums at the Centre, both much older than Harlan.
He’d sat at his desk while his classmates had pressed their faces to the grille-covered windows, speculating wildly about what might be inside. I bet it’s a lion! Don’t be stupid. Why would they give us a lion?—until the teacher had herded them back into their assigned seats.
He still hadn’t lived down an incident about a year before, when he’d been twelve. While the rest of the class was filing outside for recess, he’d suddenly been overcome by a feeling of complete and utter terror. It hadn’t been caused by a ghost—the whole Centre was carefully warded, the wards updated even more frequently than was technically required. This was a formless, sourceless, all-encompassing fear that left him, huddled and shaking, beneath his desk, with no idea what was happening to him or why.
Within a few days, his teacher had referred him to the Centre’s psychologist, who’d prescribed him antidepressants. Within hours, Harlan had felt the difference. It was as though he’d been living beneath a grey shroud, so light and thin that he hadn’t noticed it until it was gone and he could see and breathe freely. He still had bouts of depression, but it had been reasonably well-managed for years.
Harlan still awoke from nightmares of the warped, twisted spirits inside those black crates—at least half a dozen, from the first until he’d left—but those tests, horrible as they’d been, might be the only way he could save himself now. There was no one else coming for him.
At least, when he’d been in a black crate, he’d known there was an instructor nearby, monitoring his heart rate and breathing, ready to lower a ghost-warded, opaque plastic dome over Harlan if his vitals spiked too high, ending the test. Temporarily.
Here, there was only him. F**k.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
He visualized a barrier, a shield of energy between himself and the ghost. He was huddled on the floor in the farthest corner of the elevator, making himself as small as possible. The ghost was between him and the door.
Couldn’t think about that. Shield. Barrier. Protection. A flimsy layer of imaginary light that was the only defense between him and a furious, powerful spirit.
Trailing tendrils of ectoplasm drifted away from the main mass of the ghost, cautiously brushing his barrier, testing its strength.
T. Strange didn’t want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn’t stopped reading—or writing—since. She’s been published since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM. T.’s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue. Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She’s very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine.
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