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Journalist Robert Caldwell is still smarting from his first encounter with ghost-hunter Simon Feximal. Their night in a haunted house was thrilling, but the aftermath leaves Robert hurt, disappointed, and resolved not to see Simon again.

But just a few days later their paths cross once more, this time investigating a pair of mysterious deaths: two corpses shrouded in butterflies.

Now Robert wants the truth – on the deaths, on where the butterflies came from, and most of all, on the attraction that still burns between him and Simon.

A free standalone short story (8,700 words) in the Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal. The first Simon Feximal story is The Caldwell Ghost, available from Torquere Press.

15 pages, ebook

First published October 28, 2013

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About the author

K.J. Charles

59 books8,139 followers
KJ is a writer of romance, mostly m/m, historical or fantasy or both. She blogs about writing and editing at http://kjcharleswriter.com.

She lives in London, UK, with her husband, two kids, and a cat of absolute night.

Twitter https://twitter.com/kj_charles
Join the lively Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/13876...
Sign up to the (infrequent) newsletter at http://kjcharleswriter.com/newsletter

Please **do not** message me on Goodreads as I no longer check the inbox due to unwanted messages.

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5 stars
254 (29%)
4 stars
409 (47%)
3 stars
177 (20%)
2 stars
18 (2%)
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3 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 128 reviews
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books1,989 followers
March 5, 2014
Simon Says.


So: that happened.

Ate it up and swallowed it down almost without pausing to taste it, is what I did.

*infinitesimal shrug*

This one's clever enough not to repeat the same trick twice, while still almost-satisfying the appetites whetted in The Caldwell Ghost. It's got more Simon in it, of course—Lord ha'mercy do funny things happen to my junk when he starts bossing people around—and another Scooby Doo case as creepy as the last one. Delicious!

And yet—more. I want more.

I have literary blue balls, and not far off from the other kind, as well.

This will not do at all.
860 reviews231 followers
October 28, 2013

I’m obsessed with Simon Feximal. I want to know more about him.

It’s amazing to me the stories that authors can tell in so few words.

This was 8700 words filled with sexual tension, attraction, creepiness, crypts, a mad man, a hot blow job, and death…death by choking…death by choking on THOUSANDS of butterflies. I don’t know that I can ever think of butterflies as anything less than freaky moving forward. Blech.

I read this FREE story as a standalone and am looking forward to going back and reading the first installment The Caldwell Ghost. And, Ms. Charles…I DEMAND MORE of Simon and Robert!!!!! ☺

Ami reviews both The Caldwell Ghost and Butterflies at the blog for our Halloween recs on October 31st:
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Profile Image for Ingie.
1,344 reviews169 followers
September 24, 2014
Written January 21, 2014

4 Stars - some nice gosth horror and hot attraction in a great mixture

Butterflies is a free short sequel about the journalist Robert Caldwell and the ghost hunter Simon Feximal we first met in The Caldwell Ghost - a spooky wonderful very short tale (4.2 spooky stars from me).

~ Winchester 1893 ~

A few weeks have passed since the two men meet for the first time (story #1) and by chance they meet again in Winchester where two deaths occurred with a variety of butterflies involved. ... Under some cold autumn days and of an unknown butterfly species. Mysterious and inexplicable.

Robert Caldwell has thought a lot about the sexy Mr Simon Feximal with ‘a strange air of a pagan priest’. The feelings seem to be mutual. Strong and tough but Simon really needs (.. and not just with ghost searching) Robert when magic flutters. And the "fun" seems to be a bit like the first time the heat struck...
‘I did not know, I still do not understand, why it should be such pleasure to have Simon manhandle me so. I do not lack of self respect.’

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Another smart, clever and a bit spooky, historical romances from a very good writer. It'a a joy to read these few pages, so very nicely done. ~ Don't miss to read K.J. Charles well-written and always so wonderful stories .

I LIKE - interesting, smexy and a bit scary - a second; Booooo!!
Profile Image for Ami.
5,812 reviews499 followers
November 1, 2013
In The Caldwell Ghost, we meet Robert Caldwell and the mysteriously sexy Mr. Simon Feximal, who later become Caldwell's companion for almost twenty years. I enjoyed that short story, but it was too short for me -- and I just couldn't give my 4-stars.

This one, however, I just loved it. It showed once again why K.J. Charles was quickly becoming one of my favorite authors – even if I only read her one novel and two short stories so far. Butterflies opened almost directly after The Caldwell Ghost. We found that Simon didn’t immediately return Robert’s attraction and Robert was quite upset about that. Until they met again when there were strange double deaths involving butterflies.

Yes, death by butterflies.

Seriously, it was VIVIDLY CREEPY!! Who knew, animals so pretty could become means of well, definitely unpretty death!! You could close your eyes and imagine the scene, smartly described by Ms. Charles, and I dare you that you will probably think twice about butterflies from now on.

This was the second case that Simon and Robert worked together – it combined paranormal elements with a dash of horror, and it was delicious. Knowing that Simon and Robert were together for nearly two decades, I’d say that should be more cases coming, right, K.J.? Because really, reading them is so, so much fun... I just want more of Robert and Simon!

Profile Image for SheReadsALot.
1,838 reviews1,194 followers
January 30, 2014

Back for round two with Simon Feximal and Robert Caldwell! And this time the men solve a case involving killer butterflies. K.J. Charles succeeded in creeping me out but still delivered a satisfying time. I hate bugs including butterflies. You might think they are beautiful, I see a flying creature with creepy crawling legs.

I'm shuddering now just talking about them.

Simon and Robert investigate curious murders involving those butterflies (I hope this never ever becomes a thing) A cool back story is involved including a desecrated tomb, smexy times, a ghost and those flying demons aka butterflies.

Totally enjoyed the freebie, love these characters and adore this author's writing.

Gulp, I hope for more of this series but I'll admit to being a little nervous what else might be involved.

Profile Image for Macky.
1,832 reviews233 followers
October 28, 2013
Wow...just wow! That's it. I'm now hooked on the spooky tales of Robert Caldwell and Simon Feximal.

Hordes of death bringing butterflies, ancient crypts, a mysterious tortured ghost Hunter with a really cool secret and enough eerie, creepy moments to have you quivering in your boots. Just delicious! Add some knee trembling passion between these two wonderfully enigmatic characters and however short this is, it still all adds up to a darn near perfect read.

I loved The Caldwell Ghost but I adored this. Don't even think about it, just go and treat yourself to the first then get this ASAP from Smashwords ...its free!

Reminiscent of the proper, spine tingling ghost stories from classical writers like M R James and H P lovecraft these stories are truly spookalicious! * shivers*
Profile Image for Jenn.
420 reviews205 followers
October 28, 2013
This woman knows how to write, and she even makes me like m/m historicals. That never happens!! Historicals outside of this genre; I've loved, but in it...no.

Simon, Simon, Simon...you aloof, stern, smexy bastard. Let me hug you and watch you fall for Robert again and again.

I love how KJ always writes horror and mysteries differently. Death by butterflies? What the fuckery, but it was AWESOME. I love the details and the history, along with the humor that gets me every time.

I can always picture her words and scenes in my head as if they were on the big screen playing out in front of me. They are vivid and the characters always seem fanciful, yet relatable.

So basically I heart the fuck out of KJ Charles.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,375 reviews208 followers
November 1, 2013

This story is why I hang out with horror.

I smile, twitch and tremble whenever horror transforms something innocent and beautiful into fear and nightmares. Goosebumps war with my freckles even! I love it! A good horror tale can use your idea and view of “innocent” and harmless against you to get under your skin. It’s a trait that forces me to look at things in a new light. Pushes my idea of scary to the edge. Some of my biggest spine-tingling chills are connected to the unexpected horror. I know zombies will rip me to shreds, but…

Butterflies! Haha…Small, peaceful flutters of beauty. Flying, floating softly by. What could possibly make a butterfly attack and kill? You’ve got to see and read this to believe it. Beautiful and creepy!

Throw in the fun, matter-of-fact humor and sexy chemistry between Robert and Simon and HOT DAMN! --this little gem has it all! More please. These two are hot, fun and perfect for each other. I’m hooked!

K.J. Charles hit my favorite author list with a BANG this week. Her words stir and play around in my imagination. Words that linger, inspire, and paint such strong images. Yup! I’m in love. :)

Favorite words from this visit: splayed and mumb-jumbo

Highly recommended. And it’s free!

Profile Image for Heller.
974 reviews119 followers
October 29, 2013
At the risk of repeating myself I adore Simon and Robert! The mystery of Mr. Feximal and the practicality of Mr. Caldwell balance out delightfully. Throw in some rather raunchy sex and give this to me for free? I couldn't ask for anything more...except I'm greedy and I want more please.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,139 followers
October 26, 2013
I wrote The Caldwell Ghost as a one-off Halloween short. However, the characters had other ideas.

This is the second story of Simon Feximal, Victorian ghost hunter, and his narrator, sidekick and lover Robert Caldwell. In this story Robert and Simon pursue their acquaintance as they investigate the horrific death of two men apparently killed by butterflies.

This is a free 8700-word story available from Smashwords. (You don't have to have read The Caldwell Ghost for it to make sense). I hope you enjoy it!
Profile Image for Jo.
172 reviews69 followers
May 6, 2016

Butterflies starts right where we left off… yippie, I love it when we get right back into their lives and I am not left feeling that the characters were having fun without me... yay!

There is a much talked about scene in The Magpie Lord that is the single most horrific thing I have ever read ! It had me glued to the pages. I could not stop reading that scene even while my heart was thumping wildly. Well, Butterflies has an equally horrific scene, where people are being killed by thousands of swarming butterflies, choking them to death. I know what you're thinking, butterflies can kill, really? But it is so logical it will leave you running away from them faster than rats or spiders from now on. Who effing knew….well J.K. Charles knew... Thank God.

I hate true horror stories. I don’t like blood and guts and yet I am riveted by Charles’ writing. We follow along jumping at shadows with Caldwell and Feximal while they try to figure out where the butterflies are coming from, why they would kill and who is desecrating ancient crypts… Come on!!! We all know you don’t touch the damn burial grounds…sheesh Ghost Hunting 101 people. Did we learn nothing from Scooby Doo?


The humor and chemistry between Caldwell and Feximal also help to ease the scary tension. Of course it ramps it up in other areas but I am not complaining.

I am really excited to read this series and am hoping for many more vignettes.

J.K. Charles is now an automatic buy, no matter the price or length.

Profile Image for Em.
648 reviews132 followers
September 10, 2016
I had the same wicked grin on my face whilst reading this book as I did with The Caldwell Ghost. The humour and chemistry between journalist Robert Caldwell and ghost-hunter Simon Feximal is just perfect and a pleasure to read. I want more, lots more!

"Mr Caldwell, are you intending to pump me much longer?"
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,138 reviews434 followers
March 22, 2017
3.5 Stars

Equally impressive as the first story, this again brings a fully detailed paranormal mystery to the fore, allowing Robert a chance to reacquaint himself with the enigmatic Simon.

These two pair up to join their resources, and boy do they take bringing work home to an all new level.

Never feeling shorted by the mere 15 pages that this was, I look forward to reading the full length sequel!
Profile Image for Sofia.
1,144 reviews194 followers
March 16, 2014

Throughout my journey through lots of crime stories, I've never met such a murder weapon as created by Charles in this short story. Brilliant. I liked the story and it's execution, also the additional character and relationship development.

Recently I was discussing the possibility of Sherlock Holmes and Watson being gay. These shorts further explore that idea which I think is worth further thought.

I totally enjoyed this slightly meatier instalment in the Feximal casebook and sincerely hope that there will be more. Can I borrow from Oliver Twist and 'beg for more'
Profile Image for Ann.
1,452 reviews126 followers
November 13, 2013
This story is EXACTLY how and why I like historical and paranormal books. So dark and creepy, but with a smidge of snark to keep it fun. This is the best kind of creepy too. The kind where an author can take an everyday object, a symbol of the beauty of nature and springtime, the butterfly, and make it scary as all hell. I LOVE that.

The fancified language that gives the whole story a decadent flavor but remains completely accessible is how historical stories should read.

Simon and Robert are fast becoming favorite characters of mine and I am anxiously awaiting the next installment.
Profile Image for Nick Pageant.
Author 6 books879 followers
August 4, 2014
These little mysteries are great. Very sexy and fun. Just way too short.
Profile Image for Meags.
2,114 reviews376 followers
March 17, 2017
3.5 Stars

Although not quite as enthralling as its predecessor, I'm definitely loving the 19th century world-building and the complex characters created here. I already adore Robert, and I'm thoroughly intrigued by Simon and his mysterious paranormal abilities. I'm looking forward to exploring their stories further.
Profile Image for J.L. Merrow.
Author 147 books1,268 followers
November 1, 2013
This free short story ought to come with a warning - after you've read it you will be compelled, possibly by occult forces, to go out and buy the first Simon Feximal story, [book:The Caldwell Ghost|18656381. Not because Butterflies is in any way incomplete. But because it's just that good. :)

Although the characters and plots are the author's own, the style is very reminiscent of Conan Doyle - if ACD had mixed his own love of the supernatural into the Holmes stories. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Profile Image for Salsera1974.
226 reviews35 followers
September 2, 2016
K.J. Charles and Jordan L. Hawk are doing some of the finest paranormal writing in the m/m genre today, and lucky for us, they are both focusing on the Victorian era. I'm looking forward to their upcoming collaboration in Remnant. I think it is going to be a treat.

Butterflies, however, is a charming little short which focuses on a very peculiar case -- two people have suffered mysterious suffocation deaths-by-butterfly, and the ghost hunter, Simon Feximal, is on the case, as is the curious London journalist, Robert Caldwell. We see the beginning of their personal/professional relationship in The Caldwell Ghost, but both of those strands petered out at the end of that story. Will either of those sparks rekindle in this story? Charles does an excellent job, in just a handful of pages, of building tension and drama and investing us in the answers to those questions. This was a great short story. I'm a fan of these characters and I want a full novel!
Profile Image for ♥Laddie♥ (Lee Lee).
353 reviews124 followers
October 31, 2013
Another five star installment in Simon and Robert's story!!! This is when the partnership really begins and it's awesome. I would love a full length novel for these guys but I am totally okay with the installments. I'll take these guy's story any way I can get it.
Profile Image for Isabel.
562 reviews103 followers
March 28, 2014
Why is this book so short? It's not enough... I am fascinated by Simon Feximal!!! More... that's what I want!
Profile Image for Jennifer☠Pher☠.
2,736 reviews230 followers
April 4, 2014
Wow, that one packed quite a punch for a handful of pages. Are we getting more of this story??? I would like more please.
Profile Image for Mir.
4,862 reviews5,006 followers
August 9, 2018
I little too brief and easily solved to be satisfying from the mystery point of view (seriously, at least throw in a couple other characters) but otherwise creepy, fun, and hot.
Profile Image for Katharina.
631 reviews26 followers
December 27, 2013
I think K.J. Charles must have sold her soul for her ability to write like that and to think up stories like she does. There has to be something sinister going on because otherwise it simply wouldn't be fair.

There are sentences in her books that make me shiver right to the core. She finds the most simple words for the most complex of feelings.
For example, in the very beginning of this short story, Robert writes to his editor: "(...) For two decades, [Simon and I] have been everything to one another, yet to the world I am no more than the famed ghost-hunter’s friend and chronicler, witness to his deeds. In writing Simon’s stories, I have written myself out of my own life. I wonder, Henry, if you can imagine what that is like."
And the hurt, the desolation, the feelings of self-betrayal are so loud in these few words that they really shook me up deeply. You have to have sold your soul for a gift like that, that's the only way it makes sense, and I'm only half kidding here. A GR friend told me that sometimes one just feels chemistry with an author, but not so much with others. I want to kneel down in front of K.J. Charles, kiss her feet and beg her to marry me - that's my chemistry with her. Alright, I try to tone down the creepy a bit ;-D

That being said, I love love love Simon Feximal and Robert Caldwell. I want to read more of their cases, about the development of their not-always-easy relationship. Everything about these stories is unique, they're imaginative, the writing is easy to read and still authentic which isn't easy given these are historicals, the paranormal aspects are surprising, and the characters themselves are just brilliant.

Absolutely recommended!!
Profile Image for Meep.
2,061 reviews201 followers
December 21, 2013
Loved this story; it follows seamlessly from the (very) short story 'The Caldwell Ghost' and is a freebie of almost the same length. Feels longer because there is so much colour and atmsophere packed into the few short pages and the characters are strongly written.

Simon Feximal is mysterious, masterful and undeniably attractive; his companion to-be is journalist Robert Caldwell our narrator. Robert's character comes accross through the tone of his narration and the confidences he shares. It gives a subtle air of both his personality and the period, without the historical aspect of the story ever overwhelming.

Unlike the Sherlock/Watson or Poirot/Watson dynamic where the sidekick is often dumbed down to show the brilliance of the main in this Robert shows his value, several little invaluable observations. He's not just there for physical tension release though that's a very steamy part of it.

The plot is creepy. In fact theres enough plot here that it could have been expanded into a full novel, better in many ways to that of the acclaimed 'Magpie Lord' which I also love. The humble Butterfly is given all the menace of Hitchcock's crows. The awareness between the two characters at the conclusion wonderfully shown.

I'd love to see more of these characters, ideally in a full length book. Charles continues to impress and entertain me with her writing, some of the strongest written characters I've come across in way too long and fully absorbing stories.
Profile Image for Heather C.
1,469 reviews213 followers
March 1, 2014
Killer butterflies?! Who the hell comes up with this stuff?!! Oh, right, the same creator of killer magpies and killer rats!

Its two weeks after that lust-filled night at Caldwell Place, and Robert is a bit pissed when it appears that Simon has brushed off their encounter as a one night stand. While researching a mysterious case of death by butterflies for an article, Robert finds himself back in the presence of one Simon Feximal! With Robert’s keen eye for observation and Simon’s supernatural expertise, journalist and ghost-hunter agree to work together…and its not long before they find themselves…errr, in compromising positions.

Another great short story by KJ Charles…a well thought out mystery and very wicked, indeed! Like, who would fear butterflies?? humph! (I did have a brief flashback to the hair-choking scene from The Magpie Lord that AGAIN triggered my gag reflex! hack!) And as expected, Robert and Simon still have some great sexual chemistry…

Totally looking forward to more cases with Robert and Simon!

Reviewed for The Blogger Girls
Profile Image for Elizabetta.
1,219 reviews34 followers
August 9, 2016

3.5 stars

Caldwell and Feximal started off rather uncomfortably in the first installment, The Caldwell Ghost. It felt like the awkwardness of the morning after a quick hook-up. Luckily, they figure it out but the connection seems one of practicality as much as passion. Once again, the dynamic duo are brought together, this time to investigate strange deaths in historic Winchester and its cathedral.

I’m struck again by the inventiveness the author manages: the plot device used in the Magpie Lord series, Crane’s animated tattoos, shows up with a twist here. At important times during his investigations, mysterious graphics appear on Feximal’s skin, giving clues. And then, there’s death by butterflies. Ingenious, morbid and… colorful. These clever embellishments ramp up the story.

review of book 1: The Caldwell Ghost
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 75 books2,514 followers
July 26, 2014
Another outing for a great pair of characters from this author. Simon the ghost hunter, and Robert who had a brief encounter with him in the first story, are now brought together again in the pursuit of paranormal evil. I would love to see a longer story about these two someday. Simon has a bitter edge, and Robert is his ideal foil; they work well off each other. There is sexual tension, creepy death, and we learn a little more about both men. Well done.
Profile Image for Trix.
1,324 reviews104 followers
March 26, 2015
Lovely sequel to The Caldwell Ghost. A most original plot and killing method.

I'm glad the characters found a way to meet again

The mystery was nicely done. However, I have to say I really didn't mind the methods Simon used to get rid of the ghost.

Looking forward to more heated confrontations with ghosts!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 128 reviews

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