Noel Chandler is ex-NYPD working in as an insurance investigator in New Orleans. He’s got some secrets, and a valid reason for leaving, but he doesn’t want to share any of it. Also, he’s “playing straight” at his new job, afraid to come out to his coworkers. Noel’s been assigned to investigate the case of a house explosion when he gets news of a separate house fire where the same man was interviewed by the police (Sarasija Mishra, anyone?). His curiosity gets to him, and he decides to investigate that fire alongside the explosion.
Adam Morales works on a ghost hunting television show. His job is to search for and research reports of paranormal events to see what might be interesting and worthy of a television audience. Adam has an apartment within sight distance of the recent fire. In fact, he’s the one who called 911. While he’s in the house having a look around (he didn’t have a key, of course), he runs into Nate.
The men don’t get on very well in the beginning, but as they both continue to investigate the goings on in the house, they begin working together, and feeling an attraction to one another as well. A strange and frightening event in a cemetery has them wondering if there might be more to some of the cases Adam’s investigated in the past, and Adam and Nate are going to set out on a road trip to find out the truth.
I’m so excited about this, I’m still vibrating. I have read the previous Hours of the Night books, plus the Christmas novella. I’ve loved them all, and when I heard about this latest installment in the series, I jumped on it. Here, we have two new characters in the HotN universe, and let me tell you, they fit in beautifully.
Nate is a tortured soul. He has been plagued with feelings and images that he can’t explain. They caused him to leave New York and move to New Orleans, but he hasn’t been able to escape them. He self medicates with gin, and he’s hiding his sexuality from his coworkers. Adam enjoys the research he does for the show, but I would call him jaded because he’s never actually found any sort of proof of any paranormal event that actually exists. Their personalities crash right away, but they’re more alike than they expect. Their chemistry is off the charts…you might say electric. I loved them both instantly, and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for them.
I would consider the city of New Orleans as a character unto itself here. The authors’ descriptions of the streets, restaurants, cemeteries, even the weather are so detailed. You can get a real feel for what it’s like to live in the Big Easy. However, those details don’t get in the way of the story in the slightest, and they’re especially great to read if you’ve never visited (which I haven’t). I have to say, I don’t think there’s a better place in the world for a story like this to take place. It’s downright magical.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot. However, I don’t think it’s too much to say Nate and Adam have figured out there is much more to that house fire than meets the eye. Also, a walk through the cemetery Adam’s been investigating gives us a peek into what may have happened to cause the disturbance in the first place. It’s all so fascinating and exciting.
I want to take a quick moment to talk about the sex in Haunted. There is only one detailed scene, but it was smokin’ hot. Equal parts passionate and filthy, it suited Adam and Nate perfectly. It’s obvious we have so much more to look forward to, and I cannot wait!
I liked how this novella ended. There was a bit of closure on the house fire, but there is definitely more to come with that. Also, there is so much promise in what’s to come. There are so many unproven instances of paranormal activity out there in America and all over the world. I can easily see Nate and Adam looking into any one of them. I also see so much potential in this new direction of the Hours of the Night universe.
I hope I don’t have to wait to long to see what Nate and Adam get up to next. I’m willing to go anywhere with them.