Today I am very excited to welcome the fabulous Lou Harper to Joyfully Jay. Lou has a new story called Dead in L.A. and today she has brought us a great excerpt from the book. Lou is also offering a copy of Dead in L.A. as a giveaway to one lucky commenter, so be sure to check out details at the bottom of the post and leave a comment to enter. Welcome Lou!
It’s the randomness of things that scares me the most–not knowing what fate or blind chance have in store. Your whole life can turn on a dime when you least expect it. I’d known that for a fact, and hated the out-of-control feeling. But after a rough year of it, I was finally on the mend. I thought if I kept my head down, and my life complications-free, I’d be fine. So when I put up flyers at nearby campuses, a roommate was all I was looking for. Preferably a socially inept nerd. Someone to pay half the rent and cause no trouble.
Barely a day later, the first email inquiry arrived from someone called Lea. I sent back a brief reply telling her to stop by after three. If she didn’t mind sharing an apartment with a guy, I had nothing against her.
Five after three the bell rang, and I found a skinny guy at my doorstep. The first thing that struck me about him was how his blond hair stuck out in every direction–as if it was trying to escape his scalp. The second thing I noted was a pair of cornflower eyes.
They beamed at me with unwarranted cheer. “Hi, I’m here about the room.” With his smooth skin and guileless gaze he seemed as young and innocent as a freshly laid egg.
He had me confused and I made no secret of it. “I was expecting a girl–Lea.” I pronounced it Lay-uh, like a normal person would.
He flashed a smile. “Oh, that’s me. Leander Thorne, Lea for short.” He said it like Lee. “Rhymes with tea,” he added, and held his hand out.
There I was, having known him for five seconds, and he already had me mixed up. It should’ve been a clue, but hindsight never needs bifocals. I shrugged off the confusion and marched on. “Jon Cooper. No H.”
We shook hands and I invited him in. While I showed him around, Leander–what were his parents thinking?–hung on my every word.
“And this is your room,” I said, concluding the tour.
He stepped inside and spun around on his heels. “Very nice. I love the color.”
The landlady had given me a break on the first month’s rent when I offered to repaint the rooms myself. I didn’t know why I’d chosen that sunny yellow for this one, but I thought it suited him. Of course, I didn’t tell him that. Instead, I stuck to business. While he inspected the room, I laid out the facts. “There are house rules. My name’s on the lease, and I’ll put your ass out on the street if you break them. No loud music, at any time. No wild parties or other crap that would annoy the neighbors. No pets. And for goodness sake, if you have friends coming by to pick you up, have them walk up to the door. That honking on the street business is fucking obnoxious.”
“That won’t be a problem. I don’t have friends,” he said it in an off-handed way, while scrutinizing the deep corners of an open dresser drawer.
You had to be a cold-hearted bastard like me not to be affected. With a name like Leander? Surprise, I thought, but what I said was, “You’re young. I’m sure you’ll pick up a few. How old are you anyway, eighteen?”
I swallowed a laugh at the sight of him puffing out his narrow chest. Yeah, you could say I liked him right off, and he seemed suitably nerdy too.
“Good for you.” I slapped him on the back, but grabbed his shoulder before he launched face forward. “C’mon, let me show you the half-bath.”
I maneuvered him to the door at the far wall. The room behind wasn’t much–only a toilet and a sink, but it would give him added privacy, and it also meant I’d have the main bathroom mostly to myself.
“Cool,” he said absently and tilted his head like a bird as he looked at me. “I saw an empty book case in the living room, and I have a few books…”
This further sign of nerdishness brightened my mood. “Sure, it’s yours. Anything else?”
“So you want the place?”
He nodded vigorously.
I figured this set up would work out pretty well for me. I was six foot three and in the neighborhood of two hundred pounds. I could probably bench press the guy, even with my bad shoulder. He’d be no problem.
Trouble comes in deceptive packages
Still recovering from an accident that left him emotionally and physically battered, Jon’s goal is to lead a simple life, free of complications and attachments. His new roommate—a happy-go-lucky bookworm—seems to fit into his plans fine at first. He doesn’t find out till later that Leander’s also a psychic, specializing in finding lost pets. Jon’s a skeptic when it comes to the supernatural, so he’s convinced Leander’s a nut job.
Jon’s beliefs are challenged when Leander has to track down a missing teenager and he ropes Jon into assisting him. Soon the two of them are knee-deep in a decades-old murder case. The hills and valleys of the City of Angels hold many buried secrets, and Leander has a knack for finding them.
Jon’s hopes for a trouble-free life go out the window as he’s drawn deeper into Leander’s psychic sleuthing. Digging into the past poses many dangers, but the biggest risk Jon faces is putting his bruised heart on the line.
Warning: Men loving men, skeletons, and an unlucky Chihuahua.
Lou has brought a copy of Dead in L.A. to give away to one lucky reader. Leave a comment below for a chance to enter. The contest closes on Thursday, December 20th at 11:59 pm EST.
- By entering the contest, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay and leave your email address if it is not in your profile.