More Denton and Bran. Between hallucinating frogs, Denton's fondness for kilts deepens. Bran is still a reticent bastard. Murry shows off his talents. Joy gets in on the action. There are more spirits—some amusing, others not so much. Gabe makes a guest appearance.

I love writing colorful supporting characters. In this book my favorite is the Old Crone. She's mad, frumpy, and crazy about cheese. I think she just might be an idealized version of me.




"What in the name of Hecate are you wearing?" Bran's tone teetered between bafflement and alarm.

Denton had anticipated Bran's reaction, and secretly reveled in being able to surprise his generally unflappable boyfriend. He had promised to buy them a pair of kilts months ago but he knew Bran hadn't taken him seriously. Taking two steps into the living room he twirled around in a totally non-girly way. "It's called a utility kilt." He swiveled his hips to show off the side of the garment. "See, it even has pockets for storing stuff. You know, keys, wallet, a bag of graveyard dust. Whatever you got. Practical, eh?"

Technically, his kilt had gone well beyond mere utility with its steampunk-inspired design of straps, buckles, and other embellishments, but Denton had always liked extras. He'd wanted the kilt the moment he laid eyes on it at the online store.

Bran stared at the tan fabric first, then at Denton's bare legs showing between the hem and the orange socks puddling around his ankles. "It looks like a skirt to me."

Denton eagerly clarified the situation. "Nah, it only would be a skirt if I wore underpants."

With a pained expression Bran closed his eyes and kept them shut for several seconds—possibly counting to ten. When he opened them again they brimmed with resignation. "You're going to freeze your balls off."

"We're driving, aren't we?"

"Yes, but—"

"My balls will be fine." Denton did a quick shimmy with his hips. The swoosh of the thick cotton against his skin was anything but unpleasant. "You should try this; it feels so…liberating."

Bran's jaws set in a stubborn line. "I'm not going to a dinner at your friend's place wearing a skirt."

"Kilt. And Joy's your friend too now. Anyway, I meant around the house. Instead of those baggy jeans. The kilt I bought for you is tasteful and black, just how you like your clothing, but still functional with a pocket on one side for your eyes of newt or whatnot." He closed the few steps separating them till they were toe-to-toe. He wrapped his arms around Bran's waist. "It would be much more comfortable for your tail." Denton wasn't talking euphemistically. Bran had a perfectly formed, hairless, and surprising agile tail. Apparently, stuff like this happened when you had a demon for a father. Denton slipped a hand down to Bran's backside, over the spot where ordinary people had the beginning of their coccyx and pressed his finger at the root of Bran's bonus appendage. "Just think about it," Denton said quickly to cut off possible protest.

Bran sighed. "Fine, I'll think about it."

Denton grinned. "Good, because I have a pornucopia of fantasies of you in a kilt."

© Lou Harper, 2014
All Rights Reserved.