Murder at White Oak (White Oak Murder Series Book 1) by Marko Realmonte

Chapter 13:  TIMOTHY

Jake has decided to walk me back to St. John’s… I think we’re both a bit trollied. For some ungodly reason he wants to see the hovel I call home.

The turret which Blackmore assigned me to isn’t even a proper room. Originally, it was meant as a sort of military fortification, perhaps giving the old building a defensive posture should the Vikings ever decide to invade England again. There’s just enough room for a single mattress and a small desk. My clothes are all folded in neat stacks because there isn’t space for a wardrobe. The violin case and a loose pile of sheet music sit atop the only chair.

“Please don’t mock,” I beg.

Jacob takes a look around. “Sweet Jesus,” he says, “you barely have enough room in here to cuff the carrot.” He smirks.

“Is that your definition of not mocking?”

“Sorry. No we are here for the good of science, Ashlock.” He’s brought along a candle which he quickly lights and holds aloft.

“Tommy Walker,” he shouts, “if you can hear me… blow this out.”

Of course nothing happens.

“Interesting,” Jake notes.

“Apparently I am phantom-free. That certainly takes a load off,” I say.

“What is a ghost anyway?” Jake asks, blowing out the flame himself.

“Historically they are troubled souls.”

“Exactly,” he agrees, putting a drunken arm around my shoulder. “Restless spirits. Imagine this scenario: A White Oak lad goes missing, meeting some gruesome fate, and now he’s forced to wander about Brigsley for all eternity… he seems to be confined there.”

“Perhaps he just prefers it. Maybe it was his home,” I venture.

Jake trips on a stack of my uniforms and then leans against my desk, he’s far too big a bloke to be in this confined space. His feet are enormous. He opens the violin case and inspects my instrument. “That’s a decent hypothesis,” he says. “Of course, if we refer to our Poe, perhaps Little Tommy is buried under the floorboards…or even in the walls.”

“Don’t be morbid,” I say. “In literature spirits almost always have a purpose. They are out for vengeance, trying to right some wrong inflicted upon them in life. It’s personal. There’s always a bit of unfinished business, which is why they don’t willingly cross over.”

Jake smiles, threading his fingers through his thick blond hair. “You’re glorious, Ashlock, you little ripper,” he says. “You know what we’re going to do?”

“I’m afraid to ask,” I mutter.

“We’re going to solve Tommy Walker’s murder.”

Chapter 14:  JACOB

            Yes, I’m smitten. He’s charming, clever and just a bit sad. I find him irresistible.  He’s also gorgeous.

“I have a plan,” I say.

Tim’s refolding a stack of sweaters that I bumped over. He looks up. “Let’s hear it then.”

“First, pack up all your gear. You’re moving in with me.”

“Absolutely not.”

“Not afraid of ghosts, are you, Ashlock?” I tease. “Listen, it makes perfect sense. The cottage is a piece of this puzzle, and I need you around to bounce ideas off. You have far too little space in here, and I have far too much over there. Brigsley has three bedrooms, for Christ’s sake!”

“Perfect,” he says, “one for you, one for me and one for Tommy Walker.”

“Hilarious. What’s stopping you?”

“First, Blackmore will never sign off on it. He enjoys my misery here far too much.”

I scoff. “Leave him to me. What else?”

I know where he’s about to go.

“Second, I’m not going to sleep with you. I like you Weston, but I’m not gay.”

I laugh at him. “Mon Chéri,” I say, “hardly anyone is Gay-gay anymore. It’s all about being bi-curious or simply not being placed in a box. Don’t let others define you because to allow definition is to limit! You may not be full homo, but you’re definitely on the spectrum, less so than I am, sadly, but your sexuality is fluid.”

“Maybe so,” he admits, “but if I move into Brigsley you’ll be keeping your fluids to yourself.”

“It’s a deal,” I say. “Pack your duffel while I go downstairs and give Blackmore an Oscar-worthy performance.”

“You’re not going to pay a call on the Housemaster when you’re steaming drunk, are you?”

“He’ll be none the wiser. I can hold my liquor, mate.”

Blurb:

A murder mystery…a ghost story…and a gay romance. Jake Weston, a seventeen-year-old cross between Holden Caufield and Sherlock Holmes, is an openly gay American at a private British boarding school.
He’s being haunted by the ghost of a former student, and he’s fallen in love with his beautiful roommate.  He’s trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of Tommy Walker, a White Oak student who vanished in 1976 but piecing together a puzzle from the past will lead to real danger in the present. He’ll inherit a fortune if he can solve a murder and make it out of White Oak Academy alive. 
This genre-bending fusion of supernatural suspense, thriller and young adult LGBTQ romance has mind-blowing plot twists that will keep you guessing until the very last page. 
Finally, a gay whodunit! 
Murder at White Oak tackles some of the very real issues of bullying and beatings within the walls of prestigious boarding schools for boys and the difficulties of being gay in that restrictive, closed environment. This is the first in a series of gay mysteries. 

Learn more about author, Marko Realmonte

I currently live in beautiful Santa Cruz, California, devising wicked plot twists and murdering unsuspecting figments of my imagination.  I spent twenty years writing for film and television in Hollywood…primarily for Disney, but often as a laptop for hire.
As I’ve often said, I’ve had my fingers in more pilots than an Air Force proctologist.
I’m using my influential friends to sell this book (and hopefully the series) to Netflix or someone else with equally deep pockets.  I do aim to portray gay characters and relationships in a positive way.  To be honest, I’m tired of only reading queer coming out or coming of age yarns.

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