Beneath Denver’s wide open spaces and huge, snow-kissed mountains are mysteries shrouded in a darkness best kept to the imagination. Or even blurred videos on YouTube. When Dylan and Riley fulfill their dreams by relocating to Colorado, life seems perfect until they learn about the mysterious Ghost Bridge. It seems to be haunted by old Native American spirits, animals and…something else.
When they challenge each other to go out there, everything goes horribly wrong and Dylan disappears. The police believe he’s killed his lover, but of course, Riley knows some mysterious entity has Dylan in its grip. Can he save him? Strange things start happening and all too soon Riley discovers the secret of the Ghost Bridge. And it’s wilder than anything he could have imagined.
It started as the perfect day until Dylan blurted his terrible news over lunch.
I wanted to remember every moment because he’d just changed our lives at twelve-ten PM on a warm September day in Denver, and in a public place. Did he think I would react better with chatty, happy strangers around me? I tried to swallow. Say something, idiot. My eyes watered both from emotion, and the piece of fried pickle stuck in my throat.
Not only that but the song, If Tomorrow Never Comes had just started playing on the café’s sound system. No!
I’d always found songs popping up in my life, in the strangest moments and in the oddest places. They always carried messages for me. I blinked and tried to swallow.
Tomorrow has to come.
Dylan stared at me, trying to gauge my reaction. “I’ve been diagnosed,” he repeated, in case I hadn’t heard him the first time.
Oh, I’d heard him all right. I just didn’t know how to respond. My Los Angeles friend Noel, whom I missed each day more than avocados, would have known what to say. But then Noel wrote greeting cards for a living and almost always had the perfect response, and he could make it rhyme, too.
Dylan had dropped this bomb on me right after I’d taken my first bite of the pickle. We’d received our food orders but not our beverages. When the woman at the next table turned to look at some commotion at the front counter, I swiped her frosted glass of iced water and took a swig. It forced down the pickle, which was not only sour but slimy.
The woman at the next table swiveled her head in my direction, adjusting her focus to me but I ignored her. I hid the water glass under the table. She hadn’t been drinking from it, so why did she look so angry?
“Babe.” Dylan patted my shaking hand. “Are you okay?”
Oh, man. I’m the one who should be comforting him. I squared my shoulders. “What is it? What do you have? Whatever it is we can deal with it.” I took a furtive slurp of water and hid the glass under the table again. “What is it, D?” I asked again. “HIV? The Big C? For God’s sake, say something.”
Okay, I was hysterical, but who could blame me? Dylan and I had just celebrated our thirtieth birthdays, two years of togetherness, and the fact that we were the loves of each other’s lives. Two days ago he’d asked me to marry him. I’d said yes.
I should have listened to the fortune cookie I opened over dinner the night before we picked up and moved from California to Colorado. “Consider your future options carefully.”
But the truth was I would have followed him anywhere.
The first time I spotted Dylan Farren at Burning Man, I was hot and sweaty and very unhappy. His wicked smile, dark hair and brooding eyes hypnotized me in a way I’d never experienced, before or since. And he continued to seduce me anew. Dylan still bewitched me, three years after I first danced in his arms to Natural Fools.
I should have seen the song title as a warning.
Dylan reached over and stroked my arm. “It’s going to be okay,” he soothed.
Of course it would, because I loved him. Why else would I have given up a lucrative career as a production designer on a hit TV series to move to Colorado, the only US state to ever turn down the chance to host the Olympic Games?
I’d given up everything. My job. My house. My family and friends. My Saturday night bowling league. I thought I was the luckiest man alive.
And now this.
I blinked. How was everything going to be okay? Was he kidding? Everybody knew what a sorry state medical care was in and we’d sunk all our savings into his dream of owning a music store. The ink wasn’t even dry on our three-year lease at Cherry Creek Mall. I’d used all my expertise and contacts to decorate the place. It was wonderful. We’d also leased-to-buy a beautiful townhouse in Cheesman Park with panoramic views of Front Range. I’d decorated that, too. I gulped more water and waited.
The woman next to us bawled out the waiter for no good reason. I was surprised because people didn’t act that way in Colorado. Back in Los Angeles, it seemed to be an unwritten rule to act like a jerk.
“You need to learn customer service,” the woman yelled. “You wouldn’t last a hot minute back in LA.”
Dylan’s eyes gleamed with mischief, and he took the empty glass out of my hands, slipping it back onto her table when she wasn’t looking. He then turned and glanced out the window of Bad Daddy’s, the burger joint we’d been dying, er, anxious to try for weeks.
“The thing I love about mountains is that they make your own problems seem small,” he said. “Usually.” He picked at his shoestring fries.
Now I was speechless. I loved my man. Dearly. But he’d never been the philosophical type. He must have been really sick if he was coming out with stuff like this.
“Riley,” he said, “I’ve been diagnosed with MOFO.”
“MOFO?” I couldn’t believe it. “There is a strain of cancer actually called MOFO? What kind of cancer is it?” I’d Google this sucker, and we’d kick its sorry ass together.
He bit into his burger and gave me an odd look, mumbling around a mouthful of onion rings and oozing, spicy garlic ketchup. “No. Not cancer. It’s worse. I have Fear of Missing Out.”
I leaned back in my seat. “Oh, for corn’s sake, D. You really had me worried. I thought you were dying.”