At the Margins of Madness:
A Tale of Power and Love
By Lisabet Sarai
MM Paranormal erotic romance (Five flames)
Approximately 47,000 words, 170 pages
Both power and love can lead to madness
Nineteen year old Kyle sees visions of disasters, visions that tear his world apart. Everyone assumes that he is schizophrenic, but Rob, the cop who picks him up off the street, knows better.
Rob's own experience has taught him that psychic powers are real, and potentially devastating. Since his telepathic sister's brutal murder, Rob wants nothing to do with "gifted" individuals like Kyle. Yet he can't deny his attraction to the beautiful, tortured young man – an attraction that appears to be mutual.
When a brilliant, sadistic practitioner of the black arts lures Kyle into his clutches, Rob faces the possibility that once again he may lose the person he loves most to the forces of darkness.
Note: This novel was previously published by Totally Bound under the title Necessary Madness. It has been revised and reformatted for this edition.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0
Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60179575-at-the-margins-of-madness
About Lisabet Sarai
You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (https://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (https://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads, Bookbub and Twitter. Join her VIP email list and get a free ebook, plus exclusive contents and other benefits: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh
From Author Lisabet
Near the center of Massachusetts, the huge, butterfly-shaped Quabbin Reservoir practically divides the state in two. Constructed in the nineteen thirties to satisfy the thirst of the Boston metropolitan area, Quabbin figuratively divided the state as well, pitting the rural inhabitants of the Swift River Valley against the city dwellers in the state capitol. Four towns - Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott - were drowned by Quabbin's advancing waters. The houses of their inhabitants were dismantled and relocated on higher ground. Bodies were exhumed from their graves and reburied elsewhere. Forests were leveled in order to reduce the amount of degrading biological material that would pollute the reservoir. The land that had belonged to Dana and its unfortunate fellows was allocated to neighboring towns. Communities which had prospered in the valley since the seventeen hundreds ceased to exist.
Needless to say, the Swift River Valley is haunted. Even if you don't know the history, you can't escape the sense of mystery as you drive the winding length of Route 202, which hugs the west end of the reservoir. The evergreens that were planted to protect the watershed have grown tall now, shadowing the road. The woods around the man-made lake are home to bears, bald eagles, wildcats and perhaps stranger, more secret beings. On the eastern shore, overgrown dirt lanes meander through the village of Petersham, sending tentative fingers toward the still water.
Ghosts of the dispossessed inhabitants from the flooded towns still seem to hover in the area. They're joined by older creatures from the earlier times when the Algonkian natives fished in the Swift River, grew their corn along the banks, and worshiped the spirits of the forest.
I'm not the only individual to feel that the Swift River Valley is full of supernatural stories. The movie version of Stephen King's Dreamcatcher features the reservoir as a prominent plot element. The cult horror author H.P. Lovecraft explicitly set his now-classic tale "The Color Out of Space" in the valley before its flooding. A variety of other authors and singers have been touched by the mystery that seems to permeate the place.
My MM paranormal romance At the Margins of Madness is partially set in the Quabbin Valley. The book revolves around various psychic powers – precognition, telepathy and the like. I used to live near Quabbin, and had friends in Petersham. It seemed like a natural place for the home of a consulting witch who helps individuals with psi talents to understand and control their abilities.
Read a teaser
“Kitchen’s here, with the door out to the back porch. Only one bathroom, I’m afraid. Here’s the guest room—your room. The closet’s empty; you’re welcome to put your stuff in there.”
Rob led Kyle through his apartment, fussing and clucking like a mother hen. He wondered for the hundredth time whether this was a mistake. The guy was just so damned beautiful. Rob could hardly bear to be close to him. Driving the few miles from St. Vincent’s to his building, Rob had tried to pay attention to the road, but he couldn’t help sneaking sidelong glances at the mysterious, sensual face of his companion. Kyle seemed to be brooding. Maybe he had his doubts, too.
“What stuff?” Kyle spread his arms, a half-smile on his plump lips. “Everything I own is on my back.”
“I’ll take you over to Greendale Mall so you can pick up some new clothes. Loan you some cash until you get on your feet.”
“What makes you think I’ll ever ‘get on my feet’, Sergeant Murphy?”
“Okay, Rob.” Kyle stared at the mostly bare maple outside the guest room window, before turning back to confront him. “Why should anything be different now?” Rob heard the bitterness in his voice. “I have a disease, and I don’t mean the ulcer. I’m cursed. I see terrible things, and I can’t stop them. It’s getting worse all the time. There are only two possibilities. Either I’ll kill myself, or I’ll truly go insane.”
Rob suppressed the urge to take the man in his arms. Instead, he settled for an avuncular pat on the shoulder. “It’s only your imagination, Kyle. Your mind playing tricks on you. Once you understand that, maybe you can suppress the visions. Or control them.”
Kyle sank down onto the bed. His dark eyes burnt under exquisitely arched brows. “My imagination? You know that’s not true.”
Rob lowered himself onto the desk chair. He wished that he were somewhere else. He wanted to help Kyle, but he really didn’t like where the conversation was going.
“What else could it be? These spells—they’re like seizures. Storms of random activity in your brain that make you see things. I was there at the hospital, remember, when it hit you yesterday. You were completely out of touch, yelling about the brake, the gas tank, groaning and crying. You were delusional.”
“It was a crash,” Kyle intoned. “At least five cars. Glass everywhere. The screech of rubber, the stink of leaking gasoline, and then the explosion and the smell of charred flesh… Check the papers, Rob. Call the police station. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will soon.”
“You really believe that your hallucinations foretell the future?” Rob remembered the night he’d picked Kyle up, the narrowly averted catastrophe at the address Kyle had seen.
“I only wish that they didn’t. All I ever see is violence and pain.” Kyle buried his face in his hands.
Rob moved to the bed, next to his guest, and put his arm around the denim-clad shoulders. He couldn’t help himself. “Look, that’s crazy. This isn’t some kind of horror movie. This is real life. There’s a rational explanation for everything.” He was trying to convince himself as much as Kyle. He didn’t want anything more to do with psychic abilities. Never again.
Kyle skewered him with a dark stare, hurt and angry. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. I thought that you wanted to help me.”
Rob tensed. Kyle was so close. The funk of his old sweat rose from the worn jacket, along with a trace of disinfectant. Rob could see the pulse beating in the boy’s pale temple. He felt his own blood rush to his groin.
Kyle trembled. His nostrils flared. His eyes gleamed. Rob felt the pull, a magnet focused on his groin. It would be so easy to gather that taut young body to his chest, to fasten his mouth on Kyle’s ripe lips, to take control. But that wasn’t what the man needed. Kyle needed responsible strength. Logic. Maturity. With a heroic effort, Rob smothered his fantasies.
“I do want to help. If I didn’t, do you think I would have taken you in? I just want you to be realistic. To recognize that even when you think you’re seeing future events, that’s a delusion.”
Kyle wasn’t listening, not really. Rob could see him adjust his face, hiding his emotions, shuttering those bright eyes, donning a false smile. Putting on a mask. “Whatever you say, Rob. Maybe you’re right. After all, most nut cases think their visions are real.”
“You’re not a ‘nut case’, Kyle.”
“Are you sure?” He giggled. “You can’t have it both ways, you know. Either I’m prescient, or I’m insane.”
Online excerpt (X-rated)