It’s Halloween time in Hawai’i and of course Gabe Maxfield is in business. Gabe owes lu’au owner Hiapo a favor (read Tiki Torches and Treasure to find out why!) so when weird things start happening at his lu’au, strange enough to frighten off his hula dancers, he comes to Gabe for help. Skeptical as always, Gabe steps into a creepy mystery where things are going missing or getting moved around and people are disappearing left and right. Can he solve the mystery before everyone he knows falls prey to the woods?
Hula Dancers and Hauntings
By J.C. Long
Author: J.C. Long
Release Date: October 23, 2017
Format: ePub, Mobi, PDF
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Word Count: 8500
Sex Content: Explicit
Hula Dancers and Hauntings
J.C. Long © 2017
All Rights Reserved
“Have you read this article in today’s paper?” Grace Park asked from where she lounged on the black leather couch that decorated the waiting room at Paradise Investigations.
“You know I avoid the paper at all costs,” Gabe Maxfield replied dryly. He paced back and forth in front of the secretary’s desk, looking at the clock on the wall once every three seconds or so.
“Apparently, there’s been another body found in the suburbs,” Grace said, obviously ignoring Gabe’s lack of interest. There was nothing new about that, though; it seemed to be Grace’s default operating mode. “Some sort of wild animal attack, they’re saying. Isn’t that weird, Gabe?”
“I guess so,” Gabe agreed, though he hadn’t even really been paying attention to what she was saying. They had one more client supposedly coming in, but they were running late.
“You’re so damn antsy,” Grace chided. “Chill out. We’ve got plenty of time. Your date with Maka isn’t for another three hours. We’ve never had a consultation last that long. You’re just working yourself into a state over nothing.”
He knew Grace was right, but that just made it worse for some reason. He hated the idea of being late for a date, especially since Maka had been very busy recently and their chances for date nights had decreased exponentially, even though they literally lived next door to each other.
“I don’t want to risk the date going south,” he said, his feet not stopping their pacing. “The last date we had I kind of screwed up by falling asleep.”
Grace quirked an eyebrow lewdly. “I always assumed Maka was great in bed.”
“Not like that!” Gabe could feel a blush coming on, but fought through it. “He rented a scary movie, and I fell asleep during it. You know how I am with scary movies.”
Grace cringed. “Classic mistake. Didn’t you tell him you’re basically impossible to scare?”
Gabe shook his head. “No. He’s really into Halloween and the scares, so I didn’t want to rain on his parade. The plan was to pretend to be scared, but the movie got the best of me. I would like Halloween so much more if I could actually be scared.”
“There’s plenty to Halloween besides the cheap scares. Like getting drunk!”
“The last time I was drunk with Maka, I tried to get a dead pig’s head into his car,” Gabe reminded her. “I’m not all that eager to repeat the experience.”
Gabe looked at the clock once more and sighed. “I’m giving this mystery client five more minutes and then I’m leaving.”
“This is the third time she’s forgotten to write down a caller’s name,” Grace said pointedly, sitting up. She was merely rehashing an old argument they’d had more times than either of them would care to admit. Grace didn’t like Mrs. Neidermeyer, and that wasn’t going to change. “You need to talk to her. You’re the one who hired her, after all.”
Gabe said nothing, knowing it would do no good. The secretary argument wasn’t going away any time soon, and he’d come to accept that.
“Oh, someone’s coming now,” Grace said, standing up to get a better look through the blinds on the front window.
“Finally,” Gabe muttered, relaxing visibly. He was ready to get this consultation done so he could get home and make the last bad date they’d had up to Maka. The last person he expected to see walk through the doors was Hiapo.
A mountain of a man at nearly a foot taller than Gabe and three times as wide, Hiapo ran an exclusive and very popular lū’au spot there on the island. Instead of the Aloha-print shirt Gabe was used to seeing him in, Hiapo was wearing an orange shirt with black witch hats, bats, and pumpkins in honor of Halloween, which was six days away.
“Howzit, bruddah?” Hiapo grinned at them.
“You’re our three thirty?” Grace asked, greeting him with a big, warm hug.
“More like our four o’clock,” Gabe corrected, though his words lacked ire.
They decided to take the meeting out front where Hiapo could sit comfortably on the couch. Grace and Gabe dragged chairs over and they began.
“Why exactly are you looking for PI services, Hiapo?” Gabe asked once he was settled.
“I’ve had three hula girls quit in the last two days, that’s why.” He had the barest hint of a growl in his words. “One quit about three hours ago—that’s why I was late, trying to find their replacements.”
From Gabe’s experiences with Hiapo’s lū’au, his employees were really happy. Hiapo provided a great work environment and was just an all-around nice guy. “Why are they quitting so suddenly? Is there inter-employee strife?”
“Nah, nothing like that, brat. Weird stuff’s been happening at the lū’au.” Hiapo lowered his voice a little. “Things moving or going missing. The girls say they feel like somebody’s been watching them. There’s strange noises coming from the woods around the place. The girls are convinced it’s haunted.”
Grace, who loved all things paranormal or haunted, looked absolutely intrigued. Gabe wasn’t so easily impressed, though. “You do realize that PI stands for private investigator and not paranormal investigator, right? I mean, this isn’t exactly our field of expertise, Hiapo.”
“I know it ain’t ghosts, bruddah,” Hiapo said flatly, like Gabe had insulted him with even the implication that he believed the hype. “What I think’s happening is one of my competitors is screwing around with me, trying to hurt my business. I want you two to catch them in the act.”
Gabe caught Grace’s eye and could see she wasn’t having the same doubts he was, but he couldn’t help it. This simply didn’t sound like something they would be very good at.
Hiapo must have seen Gabe’s uncertainty on his face. “I didn’t want to do this, cuz, but you owe me after the beach.”
Gabe shouldn’t have been surprised Hiapo brought that up, but he was. However, surprised or not, he couldn’t argue the point. He owed Hiapo more than he could ever hope to repay after what he did for him that night on the beach.
“Okay, because I owe you one.”
“Great! Tonight we close at—”
“Not tonight,” Gabe interrupted. “I have a date tonight. The earliest we can do it is tomorrow night.”
Hiapo nodded. “Okay, you got a deal. And you can both consider yourselves invited to tomorrow night’s lū’au—on the house.”
“We’re still charging you,” Grace warned.
Gabe snorted. “Do you know how much it costs to go to Hiapo’s lū’au? He’s overpaying. A lot.”