Tag Archive: Conall Dary


Hello, Snippetteers! — sorry to have been away so long, but for those of you who haven’t been following my mini-saga on Facebook, one of my cats, Captain Jack Harkness, ran away just after we moved, at the end of August; he came home mid-September half starved and with a broken jaw, so we’ve been through surgery and tube feeding and waking up in the middle of the night for feedings… but Jack is fine now, apart from a few shaved patches that are acutely embarrassing to him (not to mention itchy), and eating like a horse (well, a pony) to make up for lost time.

And here’s a snippet from the work in progress, BACK DOOR INTO PURGATORY, the ninth and last SoulShares book. I decided to be mean this time and stick with the six sentence rule no matter what. Enjoy! 😉

********

Josh leaned forward, took his weight on his hands, and brushed his lips across Conall’s. “Want me to unbind you?”

“No.” Conall swallowed a lump in his throat. “Take me. Just like this.”

********

And links for your reading pleasure —

Rainbow Snippets, your home on Facebook for LGBTQIA+ goodies of all sorts: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And the recently-released STONE COLD, SoulShares #8: http://ow.ly/BcYh30gc7BM

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Hello, Snippeteers! — things have been a little slow in the writing department lately, as the Ni Coileain household is packing up to move across town next week. But I finished off STONE COLD and sent it off to my publisher (watch this space on September 28!) and now I’ve started work on the last SoulShares novel, BACK DOOR INTO PURGATORY. It’s a little different from the others in the series — no new couple, though everyone from the preceding eight books will get at least one more turn in the spotlight as the Fae and humans of Purgatory face down their ancient enemy once and for all.

********

“You’re going to have to keep your head down in order for me to tie off that last — oh, hell.” Josh straightened. “I know that look.”

Conall sighed. “Sorry, dar’cion.” He didn’t bother contradicting his partner; it was bad enough that he’d been snapped out of his delicious state of willing submission by a familiar frisson of energy along his spine. “Something’s come through the nexus.”

********

And, as usual, finishing off with a couple of links:

Rainbow Snippets, your Facebook pied-a-terre for all tales LGBTQIA+ — https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And my page at QueeRomance Ink, a resource for romance all across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, searchable by author, title, subgenre, trope, pairing, and much more! — https://www.queeromanceink.com/?s=Rory+Ni+Coileain&search_type=book_search

rainbowsilk

Hello, Snippetteers! — sorry for the long absence, I’m only now getting back to writing and my last couple of weekends can be found in the Urban Dictionary under the definition for “chaos.” But I’m back! (And I’m registered for GRL in October, as a Supporting Author, but hoping to upgrade because I l-o-o-o-o-v-e doing readings!)

This weeks snippet is part of a conversation between Josh and Conall; they’re trying to figure out what to do about Tiernan’s nephew, Maelduin, who has come through the Pattern to take revenge for his father’s death (his father being Tiernan’s brother, for which murder Tiernan was exiled to the human world to begin with). The first speaker below is Conall.

********

“I’m guessing this is what Aine was warning us about, in the message that came back through the Pattern.”

“‘Guard the Guardian,’ you mean.”

Conall nodded. It would have been nice if the ancient Loremaster could have been a bit more forthcoming, but no use trying to put the lightning back in the cloud. “She must have known our new friend was coming through. And if she saw fit to warn us, one way or another he’s definitely going to be a thorn-ball under Tiernan’s scrotum.”

********

And, as usual, a couple of links —

Rainbow Snippets, your home on Facebook for all kinds of LGBTQIA+ goodies: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And a new one — QueeRomance Ink, a searchable database for LGBTQIA+ romance, including buy links: https://www.queeromanceink.com/

kevintie

Hello, Snippetteers! — rather than try to come up with an appropriate epitaph for 2016, I decided to just do my bit to make sure the year ends on a high note. Those of you who have read HARD AS STONE (SoulShares #1) know exactly what this picture signifies — and those of you who haven’t will at least have an inkling by the time you finish this Snippet from STONE COLD. Yes, it’s seven sentences, but as usual, I trust you’ll understand the necessity. The POV character is Kevin Almstead, the human main character from HARD AS STONE. Oh, and just remember — Fae can Fade. *winks*

And here’s wishing everyone a peaceful — and powerful — New Year.

*******

Tiernan had taught Kevin to love breath play, early on in their relationship, and by now his response when Tiernan slipped his tie up over the collar of his dress shirt and started tugging to tighten it again around his throat was pure reflex: rapid heartbeat, shallow panting breaths, and a hard-on that could have used its own zip code.

“Maybe you should lie down.” Tiernan started slowly backing them up toward their bed, still tightening the improvised noose around Kevin’s neck and working his body against Kevin’s in a way that made Kevin pretty sure he wasn’t going to make it to blackout before he came like a —

“Oh, sorry, bad time?”

Kevin didn’t understand the Faen obscenity his husband whispered. He didn’t need to, though. “Yes, Conall. A very bad time.”

********

And a few links to round out the post, and the year —

Rainbow Snippets, your Facebook home for more LGBTQIA+ goodies: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And my Amazon page, where you can find Fae and shapeshifters and just a bit of SF: http://ow.ly/Ocze307AdKv

fullsizerender

Hello, Snippetteers! — you can see why this is a little late, I’ve been in cryogenic suspension and it’s taken me just a little while to thaw out. (Seriously, if I’m going to live where the air hurts my face, I’d better be getting SOME benefit out of it!)

I’m attaching pretty much the hottest-off-the-presses excerpt I have — I’ve been snowed and frozen in all day, so I’ve been spending my time writing, and as of this moment there are only two sentences beyond this point in the WIP. And for once, it’s actually six sentences — and, really, needs no introduction.

********

Fae were naturally immune to human diseases, but it hadn’t taken Conall long, after his arrival in the human world, to learn that he was as prone as any human to tension headaches. And he could feel a dandy coming on. Yet another wellspring had emerged within shouting distance of the great nexus. His partner’s ex-boyfriend was trapped in it, and Conall would eat someone else’s shorts, since he never wore any himself, if the trap had been laid by anyone other than the incredibly touchy daragin and Gille Dubh. And then there was the problem of Tiernan Guaire’s newly-arrived long-lost nephew, who claimed a SoulShare bond with said ex, not to mention the right to blood vengeance for the crime that had originally gotten Tiernan thrown out of the Realm.

At least there’s nothing left to go wrong.

********

And your links for the week —

Rainbow Snippets on Facebook, your home for all things LGBTQIA+: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And my Amazon page, for all the Fae, oboroten’, fading Shakespearean actors, and science fiction, all under one roof: http://ow.ly/KcyG307ebKp

Conall17

Hello, Snippetteers! I’m getting ready to send UNDERTOW off to my editor, so I thought I’d give you a little piece of it before I hit that “send” button. The POV this time is Conall’s (that’s him in the picture, everyone’s favorite ginger Fae), on his way back to see to Rhoann, who he left in the Pool in Central Park the night before (Rhoann being a Water Fae and a shapeshifter and wanting to spend his first night in the human world in the water, pleaseandthankyou.) Fae, by the way, hate being in enclosed conveyances. There’s something fundamentally disorienting to them about getting into a little box in one place, sitting still, and getting out of it in another place entirely. Conall has the ability to become incorporeal and fit himself inside his scair-anam‘s body, but even being able to travel that way doesn’t make the prospect of a train trip very palatable.

********

Bad enough he’d thought it was a good idea to stash a newly arrived Fae in the middle of Central Park without supervision. Then, distracted by Cuinn’s story, he’d gone off to Washington Square Park in the wee small hours of the morning to meet up with Lochlann and Josh and Garrett, to do the by-now-familiar choreography necessary to ward the wellspring there. And then he’d been exhausted, but he hadn’t wanted to leave Josh to face the train ride home alone, so he’d Faded and gone with him, wrapped up in the comfort of his scair-anam’s strong body and warm heart but a bundle of raw nerves trapped in a rolling tin can nonetheless.

And then Fiachra had called, just past ten in the ever-loving morning, to say oh by the way, our new Fae is a shapeshifter and kind of casual about public nudity.

Four strikes. Am I out, or am I supposed to punt?

********

And, finally, a couple of links, as usual!

Rainbow Snippets on Facebook, for more LGBTQIA+ goodies: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And, for those of you who prefer to do your book-buying somewhere other than Amazon, here’s the link to all six of the currently available SoulShares novels at Riverdale Avenue Books’ Web site, where you can get them in whatever format you like: http://ow.ly/NyuB300rGfE

Oh, and if you’d like to check out my stop on the Hop for Visibility, Awareness, and Equality (and have a chance to win some books and trigger a donation to Lambda Legal), here’s the link — the Hop runs through tomorrow, and my page has a link back to the rest of the Hop, too: https://rorynicoileain.com/2016/05/17/hop-for-visibility-awareness-and-equality/

VD2016ad

The Fae of the SoulShares would love to heat up your Valentine’s Day!

Start off with HARD AS STONE (Tiernan and Kevin), at Amazon (http://ow.ly/YidsD), Barnes & Noble (http://ow.ly/Yidzd), Kobo (http://ow.ly/YidF0), All Romance eBooks (http://ow.ly/YidPb), and Riverdale Avenue Books (http://ow.ly/YidZe)

and then move on to

GALE FORCE (Conall and Josh)
DEEP PLUNGE (Lochlann and Garrett)
FIRESTORM (Cuinn and Rian)
BLOWING SMOKE (Lasair and Bryce)
MANTLED IN MIST (Fiachra and Peri)

And while you’re shopping, don’t forget to pre-order WOLF, BECOMING, my Russian shape-shifter novella from Dreamspinner Press – available February 24, and on 25 percent off sale at Dreamspinner through February 15!

Amazon (http://ow.ly/Yi87B), Barnes & Noble (http://ow.ly/YieAl), Kobo (http://ow.ly/YievT), All Romance eBooks (http://ow.ly/YidSo), and Dreamspinner Press (http://ow.ly/YieDB)

RS2

As part of the run-up to the release of MANTLED IN MIST (SoulShares #6) in January, each of my weekly snippets until then is coming from a different SoulShares book. This week, we’re on number two. GALE FORCE is the story of Conall Dary, the most powerful Fae mage born in the last two thousand or so years, and Josh LaFontaine, the owner of Raging Art-On Tattoo and Piercing Parlor, up the stairs from Purgatory. (Josh and Conall, incidentally, are in the running for Best Established Couple in this year’s Goodreads M/M Romance Group Member’s Choice Awards!) In this Snippet, Josh and Conall are discovering that they can communicate in their dreams. (Sorry, it’s seven sentences, but I couldn’t really lop off either end…)

*******

“Damn.” The word was half a groan. “The dreams are good — hell, the dreams are amazing, I had a dream after the shower that was almost as hot as the shower — but it’s not the same as having you, it can’t be.” The sound of flesh on flesh, a stroking hand, carried clearly through the mist.

“I wish we could have finished the dream,” Conall murmured. “I wanted to feel you inside me. I still do.”

*******

If you’re intrigued, all the SoulShares are 30 percent off on the Riverdale Avenue Books Web site through January 2, with the code SECRETSANTA30 — http://ow.ly/W7wqs

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And come check out the whole group, at https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/ — there’s something there for every taste on the LGBTQ+ rainbow!

All five

Ask my teenager, and I’m sure he’ll be glad to tell you all about how his Mom larned her readin’ and writin’ and cipherin’ by scratching on the face of a shovel with charcoal. But even the oldest of dogs have been known to learn new tricks, and I’m going to spend this weekend meditating on the mysteries of the QR Code.

I’m listing all the buy links for the SoulShares below, and I’ll be updating (and filling in the blanks) as I get links. If any of the links don’t work for you, let me know in the comments below and I’ll do what I can to fix them. (Which will probably involve telling my son that Mom’s out of charcoal again…)

SOULSHARES BUY LINKS

Hard as Stone (Tiernan Guaire and Kevin Almstead)

Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Hard-As-Stone-Book-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B00YB9RSNI/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon (Paperback) — http://www.amazon.com/Hard-As-Stone-Book-SoulShares/dp/1626011931/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hardasstonebookoneofthesoulsharesseries-1815080-340.html

Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hard-as-stone-book-one-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1121999716?ean=2940151651233

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/hard-as-stone-2

Gale Force (Conall Dary and Josh LaFontaine)

Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Gale-Force-Book-Two-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B00ZG85LVY/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434072678&sr=1-5&refinements=p_82%3AB009M8XQP2%2Cp_n_feature_browse-bin%3A618073011

Amazon (Paperback) — http://www.amazon.com/Gale-Force-Book-Two-SoulShares/dp/1626012016/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434070650&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=rory+ni+coileain+Gale+Force

All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-galeforcebooktwoofthesoulsharesseries-1825463-149.html

Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gale-force-book-two-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122095801?ean=2940151450300

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/gale-force-2

Deep Plunge (Lochlann Doran and Garrett Templar)

Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Plunge-Book-3-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B01096BDXM/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_6_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435115747&sr=1-6

Amazon (Paperback) — http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Plunge-SoulShares-Rory-Coileain/dp/1626012075/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1436488478&sr=8-2&keywords=Deep+Plunge+Rory+Ni+Coileain

All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-deepplungebook3ofthesoulsharesseries-1840037-340.html
Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deep-plunge-book-3-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122189321?ean=2940151138369

Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deep-plunge-book-3-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122189321?ean=2940151138369

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/deep-plunge-1

Firestorm (Rian Sheridan and Cuinn an Dearmad)

Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Firestorm-SoulShares-Rory-Ni-Coileain-ebook/dp/B011AKJNAG/ref=sr_1_7_twi_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436489308&sr=1-7&refinements=p_27%3ARory+Ni+Coileain

Amazon (Paperback) — http://www.amazon.com/Firestorm-Book-Four-SoulShares-4/dp/1626012105/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436549455&sr=1-1&keywords=rory+ni+coileain+firestorm

All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-firestormbookfourofthesoulsharesseries-1846722-149.html

Barnes & Noble (Nook) – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/firestorm-book-four-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122266522?ean=2940151024006

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/firestorm-54

Blowing Smoke (Lasair Faol and Bryce Newhouse)

Amazon (Kindle) – http://www.amazon.com/Blowing-Smoke-Book-Five-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B011HE7RG2/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1436754435&sr=1-3&keywords=Rory+Ni+Coileain

Amazon (Paperback) – http://www.amazon.com/Blowing-Smoke-Book-Five-SoulShares/dp/1626012121/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

All Romance eBooks – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-blowingsmokebookfiveofthesoulsharesseries-1851332-149.html

Barnes & Noble (Nook) – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blowing-smoke-book-five-in-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122287929?ean=2940150794184

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/blowing-smoke-5

And, just for good measure –

“Ilya and the Wolf” (Dreamspinner Press, short story, Russian shapeshifters) – Amazon (Kindle) – http://www.amazon.com/Ilya-Wolf-Rory-Ni-Coileain-ebook/dp/B00QEUP9XS/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_7_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436845609&sr=1-7

Heart of the Oak (Ellora’s Cave, novella, Gille Dubh) – Amazon (Kindle) – http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Oak-Boys-Will-Book-ebook/dp/B00FBF4XIY/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436845523&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Tempted+from+the+Oak+Rory+Ni+Coileain

Tempted from the Oak
(Ellora’s Cave, novella, Gille Dubh) – Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Tempted-Oak-Rory-Ni-Coileain-ebook/dp/B00J8N6SY2/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_8_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436845564&sr=1-8

Rehabbing the Villain

What do you do when a character you had a great deal of fun making thoroughly detestable over the course of three books looks you in the eye and tells you he wants his own book? That’s the predicament I found myself in courtesy of Bryce Newhouse, the Greenwich Village investment banker everyone — and I do mean everyone — loves to hate in GALE FORCE, DEEP PLUNGE, and especially FIRESTORM. Well, I do love a challenge… so here’s a bit of Bryce’s journey. BryceDanielSune7

“What the fuck do you mean, he’s ‘otherwise occupied’?” Unable to glare at the person who was pissing him off, Bryce directed his ire at the air conditioner. Which the fucking landlord wasn’t going to be able to fix until Tuesday at the earliest, and why he’d thought he needed to interrupt Bryce’s Saturday afternoon with that news Bryce had no fucking idea.

A couple of hundred miles away, Josh LaFontaine sighed. “He’s in a meeting, Bryce. This is just another work day for us, you know.”

Remind me again why the hell I called? “I knew that, that’s why I called the studio. And since when do tattoo artists have meetings?”

“I don’t see where that’s any of your business.” Frost rimed on the words.

Neither do I, he nearly blurted. To say he’d been rattled by his close encounter with the heart-stopping Lasair Faol would be the understatement of the decade. Left trembling in a way he’d literally never been before in his life. But that hadn’t been the worst. The worst thing about it was the way it had made him start thinking. About the methodical way he’d spent more or less his whole life shoving everyone who might otherwise have gotten close enough to want to do for him what the blond god in his bedroom wanted to do for him out the nearest windows or under the nearest trains. Figuratively speaking, thank God.

Which contemplation, naturally enough, had turned his thoughts to Terry. Even before whatever had happened this morning, it had been frustrating, being unable to remember why he’d thrown Terry out. Now the inability to remember had graduated to being frustrating as fuck. I seem to have fallen in love with the f-bomb. I suppose it beats hell out of falling in love with anyone else. At least from the perspective of the hypothetical anyone else.

Oh, right, it was his turn to say something. “I wouldn’t have thought Terry needed a social secretary, but as long as you seem to have given yourself the job, would you mind telling me when would be a better time to call?” Acquiring a conscience, if that’s what had happened to him this morning, hadn’t done shit to improve his social skills. No reason it should have, either.

“Why are you bothering?” There was an edge to the tattoo artist’s voice now. “And Terry’s getting on with his life just fine, no thanks to you.”

Jesus. He’d called because… damned if he knew. Had he really thought he could make things right with Terry with a phone call? When he still couldn’t remember how he’d made things wrong in the first place? Not to mention all the bad blood between him and LaFontaine, and him and Dary. Him and pretty much everyone he knew, come to think of it. Not just an asshole, a stupid asshole. “Maybe this was a bad idea.”

“I agree–”

“What the fuck?” A puppy dropped onto the sofa. A puppy that couldn’t possibly have climbed to anywhere he might have fallen from, and had been shut into the bedroom not five minutes before. He could see the bedroom door from where he sat. It was still closed.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I. Uh.” Bryce set the phone on his thigh and switched it to speaker, so he could gather up the bewildered puppy. “My, um, houseguest has a dog. It’s not supposed to be up on the furniture.”

“You have a houseguest?”

“Do you have to sound so fucking surprised?” Bryce cradled the squirming pup awkwardly. “It is my house. If you can have a guest in it, I’m thinking I probably can too.” Shit. He’d had to go and remind himself of Conall Dary. Again. Maybe masochistic tendencies were yet another surprise discovery waiting for him today. It was hard to imagine why else he was rubbing his own nose in that particular piece of his past yet again. I’ve walked this part of memory lane twice already today, can’t I give it a miss now?

No, something else about the memory was nagging him. Something very similar about the two men involved. Something about the eyes. The way they’d seemed to see straight into him. Before he’d been an ass to both of them, anyway. His very special talent.

There was more. When he and Terry had walked in on Dary and LaFontaine, hadn’t there been a length of silver chain on the bedroom floor?

The door to the bedroom opened, banging against the wall, chasing all thoughts of chains from his head. Lasair strode into the living room, his intense turquoise gaze fixed not on Bryce, but on the dog. Which was actually just fine. It meant Bryce didn’t have to be ashamed of staring, at least for a few seconds. He’d been taken by surprise in the bedroom, by those kisses he could still taste. He hadn’t really looked at the heart-stopping blond, his improbable blue eyes and his bite-and-be-bitten lips and his perfectly chiseled body. He’d just fallen against him and let himself be kissed. Touched. Wanted. At least, until he’d come to his senses and gotten the hell out of there. No, he couldn’t even take credit for that much common sense. His escape had all been the landlord’s doing.

However it had happened, it was a good thing. No way could Bryce let himself get involved with a man like Lasair. Even if a miracle had happened, and he now somehow had the capacity not to be a total dickhead, he was still missing something very important. Namely, the ability to be anything else. If he let this go on the way Lasair apparently wanted it to–who the hell am I kidding, I want it too–there was only one way it could end. Very badly. For both of them.

Still, he could look. He could dream. For a second.

The spell shattered as Lasair came toward him with the obvious intention of taking the puppy. Bryce’s arms closed around the dog instinctively. Or it would have been instinctively, if he’d ever had an instinct to protect anything but himself.

“Earth to Newhouse?” The plaintive voice came from the phone still precariously balanced on his thigh. Lasair’s efforts to take the dog away from Bryce ceased. The blond was staring at the phone as if he expected it to leap from Bryce’s thigh and bite him in the face.

This all really, really needed to get weirder. “I’m here.”

“Look, you aren’t planning to come down to D.C. again, are you? That Christmas visit of yours, you made Terry cry, you pissed off Conall, and just a word to the wise, if you ever even try to set foot in Purgatory again, Tiernan’s going to let Lucien use you as a medicine ball.”

There is no way I could ever make up for all the shit I’ve pulled. The sudden bleakness of the thought left Bryce feeling as if all the air had been sucked out of him. It goes all the way back to my childhood and here I sit, piling on more every time I open my mouth. But at least Lasair had finally heard, straight from the horse’s mouth, what a horse’s ass Bryce was. Hopefully that would save him the trouble of proving it to the blond Adonis himself.

“Conall? Tiernan?” Lasair was still staring at the phone like a spooked horse, and he spoke carefully, almost reluctantly. “Are you speaking of Conall Dary and Tiernan Guaire?”

Silence. “Who wants to know?”

Fuck. Lasair hadn’t even heard the Bryce-is-a-dick part. “My houseguest,” Bryce grated. And how the hell did his ‘houseguest’ know both Dary and Guaire?

The blond glanced at Bryce, eyes wide. “I’m… a friend of theirs.” He rested a hand on the puppy’s head. “A friend of a friend, actually. Are they in there with you?–can I speak with them?” The way the blond was nodding toward the phone, it was almost as if he thought LaFontaine was actually inside it.

Bryce shook his head. He’d discarded the raving lunatic explanation for the chained-up man in his basement early on, but maybe it was time to come back to it.

The tattoo artist sounded almost as puzzled as Bryce felt. “They aren’t here, no. I could pass your name along, have them call you back, if you want.”

“No, that’s not necessary. But where are you?”

Considering the context, that has to be one of the strangest questions I’ve ever heard. “He’s not in the phone, Rapunzel.”

“Whatever it is you’re using, Bryce, it’s way too early in the day for it.”

“Fuck you very much, LaFontaine.” Bryce touched off the phone, the urge to slam something down making him nostalgic for something from his grandfather’s house for the first time he could remember. One of those old heavy black phones would have been so much more satisfying to hang up.