You cannot explain the draw you feel for the skull. Carefully, you cup one hand under the jaw and the other behind its smooth head. As you pick the skull from the leaf-scattered ground, the flames blink out. Smoke whips around you, wind rising from inside the mausoleum.
Breath slips from your lips and you rise to find the silhouette of a man standing on the precipice of the stairs. Only the shape of him is visible, every feature rendered flat and lost to darkness. It raises a hand, the finger pointed directly at you.
No. Not you. To the skull in your hand.
You know what to do. Walking back, your eyes burning into the black shadow on the threshold, you bump into the coffin. The haunting incense of a church preparing for a funeral twists through the air. It punctures into your nose and down your lungs, leaving you lightheaded.
The skull in your palms shift, causing your finger to slip into the hole where the spine once was. It shakes you to the marrow and you turn to the bones. An unearthly light shines from every one, the entire skeleton lit up in a haunting blue.
Bending over, you carefully place the skull at the top. For a moment, nothing happens. You glance back to the shadow, fearing it will advance, when the light rises to envelop the last of the bones.
The entire skull shifts, falling into place on the top vertebra. Every single bone shivers, the light snapping to form bonds to lock them together. A pair of skeleton hands lift from the coffin and grip to the sides. You jump away, cracking a vase and trampling the dead flowers.
Not caring about you, the bones rise from the coffin. The sound of branches clacking high in the trees echoes off the marble pillars. With a determined step, the skeleton walks forward into the waiting embrace of the shadow. As they touch, the skeleton and shadow merge—bones fading and darkness evading.
You blink and rub your eyes, shocked to find a handsome man standing before you. He’s dressed in Victorian garb, a scarlet cravat at his neck, a waistcoat of black velvet with tails cinched to his chest, and pants of a sharp pinstripe leading down his legs. He pulls off a hard part in his hair down the center, highlighting the perfect symmetry of his face. The longer tips of his hair curls into adorable ringlets that shift to a honey brown.
Raising the top hat in his hand higher, he tips it you. “My dear, there is no gratitude in the world worthy of you. Well…” His voice drifts to a snicker, the sculpted lips lifting to show off his perfect smile. “If we had a few hours, a soft quilt, and this cemetery wasn’t so disappointingly drafty.”
“Who…” You shake your head, your cheeks flush from the man’s obvious overtures. “What are you?”
Placing his hat on his head, then tipping it to the side, he says, “I am Lord Claremont…deceased. But do not let that concern you. The dead can provide an otherworldly experience to a warm body. At least we can when our skull is returned to us. Thank you endlessly Madam…”
You tell him your name, his gray eyes sweeping down the entirety of your body as you do.
“May I call you my lady instead? It feels more proper, at least in the streets. What you wish to be referred to in the bedroom is entirely at your discretion.”
“Yeah…yes,” you nod. It seems unwise to challenge ghosts, even if they are incredibly flirty and devilishly handsome.
Running a finger along the strip of a mustache, Claremont boldly darts his gaze from your face to your bosom and back up. He smiles wider and extends a hand to you. “My lady, if I may make a suggestion, this cemetery has seen its fill of me and I of it. Shall we adjourn to somewhere warmer…then debate the necessity of pants?”
A silly laugh rises in your throat and you take his arm. There is no chill of before, but he is not warm either. Instead, a buzz vibrates up your arm. It lifts the hairs across your body, arcing through your entire being until pooling in your thighs. What would it be to feel his touch…anywhere else?
Chuckling, Claremont brushes the soft skin of his cheek against yours as he whispers in your ear. “Tell me, my lady, would you consider it bold of me to kiss your perfect lips?”
A giggle rises and you shake your head. Taking his cheek in your palm, the tingles spreading over the fullness of your arm, you pull him to your mouth. The rich incense of myrrh curls against your tongue as Claremont rolls his over yours. He presses the full of himself against you, holding the small of your back until you are under his control.
The kiss breaks but he doesn’t slip from you. With his bottom lip brushing against the top of yours Claremont says, “Exquisite, though those weren’t the lips I meant.”
Oh my! Your cheeks burn hot even as the victorian ghost releases you save a light hold of your arm. “Shall we?” Claremont taps the bottom of his cane to the stones, relighting every candle across the graveyard. Blue light burns on the grave markers, revealing the names and dates of all who died.
But he steers you away from the dead, glancing up to the manor still looming above you.
“The estate can be ever so drafty in late fall, but I daresay we can solve that problem. Would you prefer to sip wine in the parlor next to the roaring fireplace, or traverse the winding and private reserves of the basement?”
Staring up at the manor you have two choices before you.
Do you go to…?
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I found the charming ghost in Ellen Mint’s Choose Your Own Reverse Harem Halloween Adventure. How far can you get? https://ellenmint.blog/ellen-mints-halloween-harem-adventure/Tweet
Brought to you by Ink, A steamy new Reverse Harem series with a devilishly charismatic incubus.