If The Spirit Moves You: Ghostly Gay Erotica – Dale Chase (Lethe Press)

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There’s something about this time of year that always gets me reading more—if that’s humanly possible. I love being curled up in front of the fire with a glass of wine, a dog at my feet and a book in my hand. Ghostly tales make that fire especially cozy, and Dale Chase’s collection, If The Spirit Moves You, will warm you up for other reasons as well.

One might expect a collection of ghost-themed erotica to get a bit samey after a while, but Chase’s imagination is as active as her spirits and not one story here sounds like another. The book kicks off with “Secondary Spirits,” the tale of Victor and Alan and the ghost of Victor’s voyeuristic Aunt Pearl. Not content to let sleeping queers lie alone, Pearl brings along her Cousin Elmo for a little ghostly action, nearly breaking the couple up.

Next up is the library-haunting George Selvin of “Stacks,” who enters into a torridly literary affair with Ethan, a writer and fellowdevotee of Henry James. Chase continues her winning streak with the housebound spirits Edgar and Martin of “Homeowners’ Nightmare,” who dish—and scare the bejesus out of—the people who inhabit the 1924 bungalow they can’t seem to leave, even in death. But Edgar and Martin find their own relationship threatened when the charming gay couple Bill and Mike move in.

But as inventive and entertaining as these stories are, they don’t quite prepare you for “The Object of My Affection,” which finds antique-hunter Cliff sexually obsessed by … well, a piece of furniture. A haunted, green Biedemeier fainting couch, to be specific. How does one have it off with a fainting couch, you may ask? Well …

 Reaching out to finger the topmost scroll, I received a jolt that ran from finger to shoulder to midsection to crotch and I stood prodding mahogany that now seemed hot to the touch as I worked my swollen prick. Much as the night before, pleasure coursed through the whole of me to such an extent I thought my legs might buckle, so I sank onto the worn green cushion which set up a tingling in my butt cheeks and then the sensation of something prodding between them.

Obsession and addiction to the spirit world become an underlying theme tying all these stories together into one, grand whole. The stories are separate, yet all of a piece. Each of them has something unique, however—a classy turn of thought or a skewing of your typical ghost yarn. From the love affair interrupted by death then resumed in “Jack-In-The-Mist” to the book’s closer, “The Muse,” in which a writer has a sexual and creative affair with a ghost masquerading as his muse, these tales are creative, haunting and hot. It’s the perfect companion on a chilly autumn night.

Unless you can find a Biedemeier of your own, that is.

© 2010, Jerry L. Wheeler

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