The Pepperverse - Home of Author Pepper Espinoza

On a Bruised Road

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Edwin Masters isnít a big gearhead, but he has spent his entire life lusting after one particular caróa 1962 Alfa Romeo Spider 2600. Itís not the flashiest car, itís not the fastest car, and itís not the most collectible car, but he loves it. Edwin knows heíll pay any price for it. When he buys it, it changes the entire shape and meaning of his world, but not in the ways he might have predicted.

Cooper James, the young man who died behind the wheel forty-seven years earlier, haunts the Spider and he wants a life. He wants Edwin. So he reaches out, sucking Edwin into a deepening abyss by exploiting demons from a past Edwin canít break from. Edwin resists, struggling against the phantom in favor of an attractive, exciting young man who wants to be with him, Carson Heston.

Carson holds the key to Edwin's salvation, but every time he gets close, Cooper terrorizes him. Edwin knows heíll be lost forever if he submits to Cooperís dark promise of release and relief, but that might be the only way to save Carsonís life.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, dubious consent, mťnage (m/m/m), voyeurism.



The prose is engaging, often emotional, and keeps the story moving quickly. Thankfully the writing stands up to the great characters and solid story, delivering an engrossing and fascinating story. The touches of chilly horror never overwhelm but create a wonderful setting that immerses the reader into the new reality with ease. This is perhaps the best writing Iíve read of this author and no doubt will please fans and newcomers alike. --Four Stars from Rainbow Reviews

Overall, I was completely hooked by On a Bruised Road. I got very annoyed when RL meant that I had to put the book down. The complex, creepy psychological plot and the swift pacing all combined to make this an exciting journey, one which was enhanced by the flawed emotions of the characters. I highly recommend this book for those readers who love horror and chilling psychological drama. Grade: Excellent--Well Read Reviews




In hindsight, Edwin couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment he surpassed Cathy and Blake in potables consumed. Carson just kept buying, and Edwin kept drinking and laughing at Carson’s jokes. The oldies kept playing, one after another. A few times, he heard Roy Orbison’s voice, but by then, the beer had clouded his brain to the point that he didn’t even care. So what if somebody in the bar liked oldies and Roy Orbison? It was nothing to worry about.

He also couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment he decided to pass over his car keys to Carson. He seemed like the trustworthy sort, and he was definitely more sober. Edwin shouldn’t have let a kid get him drunk. But Carson was so good to get drunk with. He was funny. He was cute. He didn’t mind paying for the drinks. And with each beer, Edwin forgot a little bit more. He forgot about his near-death experience. He forgot about mysterious green eyes. He forgot about Cathy’s meddling. He even forgot about the car, until Carson asked for his keys.

“God, this is a nice car to drive,” Carson said as soon as he pulled out of the parking lot. “I mean it. This is really nice.”

“Yep, I love it.”

“I’m going to have to get you drunk again, so I have another excuse to drive it.”

“I might be up for that. Maybe. You’re being careful, right?”

“Right,” Carson confirmed.

“And you’re not drunk, are you?”

“No, I stopped drinking hours ago.”

“Hours?” Edwin looked around. “It’s so dark.”

“It’s pretty late. We were in Cherry’s for a while.”

“God, I guess so. Do you know where I live?”

“You’re Cathy’s neighbor, right?”


Carson gave him a sideways glance. “Then I know exactly where you live.”

“You’re doing okay, right? You’re driving okay?”

“I’m driving just fine.”

Edwin nodded. “Good, I just wanted to be sure that you’re driving okay. Since I ordinarily wouldn’t let anybody drive my car.”

“I’m not going to hurt your car,” Carson promised. “Do I get a reward if I get you and your car home in one piece?”

“Sure. What do you want?”

“Anything I want?”


“I’ll have to think about it.”

Edwin ran loving fingers over the dashboard. “You don’t know what you want?”

“Oh, I know what I want. Well, I’m pretty sure I know what I want. But I’m not sure if you’re going to be up to it.”

“Oh.” Edwin waved his hand, dismissing the notion. “I’m up for anything. You’ll see.”

“I certainly hope so.”

Edwin caressed the dashboard again. It felt good. Warm to the touch. Since he bought the car, he hadn’t taken the time to appreciate it properly. This was the first time he had sat in the passenger seat. He had never seen the world from the passenger seat of his Spider. Of course, he was barely seeing it now. Everything was dark, and what wasn’t dark was fuzzy. And he kept getting distracted by Carson’s profile. He had such a great nose. Not many people had truly great noses, but Carson undoubtedly did. To go along with his truly great mouth.

He also had really long legs. Too long to fit in the backseat? Edwin almost asked, but he hadn’t completely lost control of his mouth. There was no reason to ask if Carson could fit in the backseat. They weren’t a couple of teenagers with no space and no privacy of their own. They were both adults, and Edwin had a perfectly fine bed.

“Why didn’t you buy a Mustang or a Cadillac or something?” Carson asked.

“Because I like this one. Drive carefully. This car has already been in one accident, and once is too many.”


“Yeah, back in sixty-two.”

“Are you speaking as an eyewitness?” Carson teased.

“Hey, I may be old, but I’m not that old.”

“Nah, I don’t think you’re old.”

“I could be your father.”

“But you’re not, and never say those words again.”

Edwin laughed, and Carson flashed him an amused smile. He had a good smile. Not too toothy -- he didn’t look like a shark or anything. Edwin was still mulling over that smile when Carson pulled into Edwin’s driveway as if the place belonged to him.

“Oh. How are you going to get home?”

“I was hoping you’d drive me. Or I could catch a ride from Cathy.”

“I’m pretty drunk. So is Cathy, for that matter.”

“You won’t be tomorrow.”

“You’re inviting yourself to stay the night?”

“You did say you’d reward me.”

“Come on in, then.”