The parties are plenty! Yesterday, we were celebrating Kiss a Ginger Day, and today we’re celebrating Make Your Dream Come True Day.
Last year, One Would Be Enough was released. It’s a paranormal romance story about Teo who has worked hard to make his dreams come true. He’s finally reached the point where he’s in control of his life and doesn’t have to answer to anyone. Or so he thought.
Soon he finds himself locked up in a basement, and he’s not the only one there.
I had a great time writing this story, but it’s a little different from my other fated mates stories. For one, they’re spending almost the entire story in the dark in one room which means there isn’t much change in scenery, so that was a bit of a challenge.
One Would Be Enough
Teo Solace has worked hard to achieve his dream of owning a house. But he didn’t know he would become next-door neighbor to werewolves or that refusing the pack’s demand to sell the house to them would end with being kidnapped.
Jerico Franklin left his pack sixteen years ago, and he never planned to return. By refusing to mate with the female his father picked for him, he believed he was doomed to live the rest of his life as a lone wolf. He didn’t expect to wake up in a dark cellar with a human by his side. Jerico shouldn’t care about the human, but when he learns his former pack intends to kill Teo to take over his house, he knows he has to find a way to get them out of there before he loses control of his wolf.
Teo never believed he’d care for a wolf, but spending days in the dark with nothing but Jerico’s voice to cling to shifts his perspectives. Humans are a dime on a dozen. One more or less shouldn’t matter, but Jerico would’ve lost himself in the dark if it wasn’t for Teo. For how long will Jerico be able to keep Teo safe from the pack? For how long can he keep him safe from himself?
Gay Paranormal Romance: 17,039 words
Teo Solace came to with a groan. The strain on his arms was excruciating and the darkness filled him with panic. It took a few seconds before the memories came flooding back.
He didn’t know how long he’d been there, but it had to be a couple of days now—it had to.
Shivering, he pulled in a breath. The damp air was still too cold for comfort, but something was different now. His head was woozy and his mouth uncooperative. Drool wet his stubbly chin, and he did his best to wipe it off on his shoulder.
Adrenaline shot through him as his motions had his fingers brushing against something—something warm. He held his breath and listened.
The hairs on his body stood on end. There was someone else down here with him.
Teo tried looking over his shoulder, but it was pitch black. He guessed they were back-to-back. With his feet tied to the chair and his muscles stiff and cold, he couldn’t move. It didn’t matter. He could’ve been placed on the person’s lap and still not be able to see them. There wasn’t so much as a sliver of light coming through a crack—no window, and he had no idea in what direction the door was. Was he in the same room he’d been before?
“Excuse me?” He waited. “Hello?”
The thick, damp darkness was swallowing him, removing him from the universe, but he was sure someone was there with him. Now that he was more alert, he could sense the heat coming off the person, and he wanted to curl into it. He was so damn cold he feared he’d never get warm again.
It had to be above freezing or he’d be dead by now, but there was no radiator in the basement, and January was cold this far north. He’d known it would be when he moved, but he hadn’t counted on this mess.
“Hey!” He tried touching the hands—he assumed they were hands and the person was trussed up in a similar fashion as he was.
Everything stilled, and Teo feared the person had died. There were no breaths.
“Are you alive?”
“Last I checked.” The gravelly tone sent a shiver through Teo. A man, and while it was hard to tell, he believed him to be taller than Teo. It could be the sound of his voice echoing strangely, but he didn’t think so.
“Good. I feared you’d left me there for a moment.”
“Do I… no.”
“I was gonna ask if I know you, but I don’t.”
Considering Teo didn’t know anyone around here, he had never toyed with the idea of the guy being someone he knew.
“Nah, I’m not from around here, if we’re still here, that is.”
Silence stretched and Teo wanted to roll his eyes. He might not be a genius, but he liked to believe he was above average in the intelligence department. He often dumbed it down to fit in with his workmates—they weren’t stupid, but there was a certain jargon to stick to. And he stuck to it—mostly for their sake, but life was easier if you fit the role expected of you.
He was six feet tall with a stocky build and had worked as a construction worker, among other things, for most of his adult life. People expected him to talk a certain way, to laugh at a certain kind of jokes, and most often he did. He even took Mae to events. It was expected of him.
Mae didn’t expect it of him, of course, but it was an understanding between them. Whenever Teo needed a plus one, Mae would go with him, and vice versa.
Shit, she’d be pissed at him for not calling for two—three?—days.
“You’re from the south?”
Teo was yanked out of his head. “Ah… eh, yeah. Moved to Arkney three months ago.”
The man’s fingers brushed against Teo’s as he tested the bonds. When there was a metallic clink, Teo frowned. “Are you cuffed?”
Teo shook his head. “No, rope.”
“So cut them.”
Teo huffed. “Cut them? Well, Mister Smartass, don’t you think I would’ve done it already if I could.”
* * * *
Jerico Franklin swallowed a groan. They had him locked up with a human. Had he been more awake, he would have known. It was clear in the man’s scent.
Betrayal stung as the foggy images pieced themselves together. Hugo hadn’t begged or threatened as his family had, but he’d argued. The pack had financial problems, and unless Jerico mated Azura of the Forest Edge Pack, the pack would starve.
It was a lie. Wolves didn’t starve, there was plenty of food in the forest, and they knew how to hunt, but Jerico guessed it was easier to use as an argument than to say they wouldn’t be able to buy new cars and spend their nights watching Netflix.
He’d humiliated the Forest Edge Pack by refusing their crown princess without meeting her, and he’d brought disgrace to his pack for the same reason. Though, to be fair, he did that simply by existing.
Wolf packs weren’t exactly progressive.
As the alpha’s first son, he was expected to mate a high-standing female, get her pregnant several times over, and then take over the pack. When he’d told them he’d never bed a female since he was gay, they’d threatened to castrate him. He’d believed that was the end of things, shifted, and ran off.
Sixteen years had gone by, and he’d truly believed his status as a lone wolf was cemented.
Oh, how wrong he’d been.
He should have known, of course. Should have suspected when Hugo showed up on his doorstep, but the bastard had claimed he’d left the pack too. He’d said he struggled as a lone wolf, had claimed the loneliness tore at him.
It did. It was a constant gaping wound in Jerico’s soul. Wolves weren’t meant to be alone.
Jerico had taken him in. Stupid as he was, he’d forgotten the anger in Hugo’s eyes sixteen years ago—had made himself forget. He had wanted Hugo’s words to be true so much he’d ignored the first signs of contact with the pack. He had yearned for someone to understand him and his side of the story.
“What’s your name?”
The human’s voice was tired and his teeth chattered. Why the fuck had they put a human in here with him?
Silence made the dark thicker.
Teo groaned. “I need the bathroom. Do you think they’ll come if I call?”
“Have they before?”
“I’ve never needed to. They’ve come and fetched me, allowed me to use the bathroom, and given me some water and a small snack to keep me upright. Normally, they let me walk around in here. It’s too dark to walk around, but I’ve been allowed to move.”
“Food?” Jerico would weaken fast without food. A shifter’s metabolism worked a lot faster than a human’s.
“Soup, but the last time I can only remember taking one spoon, then I woke up here with you.”
They’d spiked the soup the same way Hugo had with his beer.
“How long have you been here?”
Teo’s teeth stopped chattering for a second. “I think it’s been two or three days, but I don’t know for sure. You lose track of time pretty fast. A minute feels like half an hour.”
“Is anyone looking for you?” Maybe the police would come. Though probably not since the pack was on good terms with them, and they most often looked the other way when it was pack business.
“No, no one knows I’m missing. It will be another few days before Mae suspects something is up. And by then we’re probably dead. Unless…”
“Unless?” He didn’t care, one human more or less was of no importance to the world.
“Unless it’s the bastards trying to buy my house. I’ve just moved in, for Christ’s sake!”
Jerico frowned. “Why do they want you to sell?”
“Fucking animals.” His voice held an impressive growl for a human, and Jerico had to swallow one of his own once the words registered. Teo was one of those. They’d locked him up with a purist. As if humans were purer than shifters. Fucking idiots. Soon he’d be talking about how there should be a hunting season on shifters.
“They want my land, but I’m not selling.”
“Because?” Jerico could hardly hold back his snarl.
“It’s my dream. I’ve worked damn hard to get here, so damn hard you have no idea. The fleabags could’ve bought it when it was up for sale, but they didn’t, and now they’re trying to threaten me into selling. I’m hardly done unpacking.” The last few words he spoke in a whisper.
Jerico mulled the words over. Why would the pack want his house? Maybe it was close to their territory. For all Jerico knew, it could be the bear shifters trying to buy Teo’s property. The bears’ land was border to border to the pack’s in the northeast.
Teo’s call made Jerico wince.
“Are you out there? I need the bathroom!”
Seconds later, a door rattled, and Jerico recognized the scent of Hugo long before he stepped into the damp basement. There was another scent too, and Jerico’s heart sank. He’d hoped he’d been wrong. He’d known Hugo had slipped him the spiked beer, and yet he’d hoped he’d been wrong. He sighed.
“Are you gonna behave?”
The question was directed to him, but Teo answered. “Yes, let me take a piss, dammit.”
What could he do? He could fight, but it would lead to them not getting bathroom breaks. Or he could meekly wait until they stated their demands.
“Let him use the bathroom.”
A female Jerico couldn’t place untied Teo. It could be she’d been young when he’d left so he didn’t recognize her, but he couldn’t remember there being any little girls in the pack, and her scent didn’t belong.
Teo left the room and the door shut behind him, leaving Jerico and Hugo in the dark.
“Why drag him into it?” Not that he cared about Teo.
“It’s a two bird with one stone situation. Either you agree to mate Azura, we’ll get the dowry and be able to buy him out. Or we leave you both in here, and as your control weakens, you’ll see him as a threat and kill him. His property will be back up for sale, and we’ll be able to get it. We kept him here for two days to make sure it smells of him.”
Jerico already knew it smelled of him. He had a working nose. “And?”
“And?” The tone was snappy. “A human scent in your territory, you’ll rip his throat out within days.”
Jerico snorted, then tried to conceal it by sneezing. This wasn’t his territory, hadn’t been for sixteen years, and as Hugo has stated—it smelled of Teo, making it his territory. And he’d lived with humans for over a decade, their scent didn’t bother him anymore. He’d found it disturbing the first few years, but his wolf had adjusted.
“If the plan is for me to rip his throat out, shouldn’t you release my hands? It’ll be much easier then.”
“It’s the backup plan, moron. The real plan is for you to mate with Azura and—”
“Not gonna happen.” Jerico wished there had been some light. He’d have loved to see Hugo’s expression.