Good Monday morning, Story Orgiasts! November is flying by like the rest of 2012 has, and before you know it we’ll all be stuffed full of turkey and potatoes and gravy and stuffing and cranberries and green bean casserole and… Man, am I hungry now!
The Story Orgy’s anthology And the Prompt Is… Road Trip Edition, is now available for purchase! Click on over to ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS and download your copy today! As always, the first 90 days of royalties will be donated to a charity benefiting LGBT interests, and this time we’re honoring the wonderful Jase who volunteered his time to provide editing by donating to his choice: The Point Foundation, which provides scholarships for LGBT students.
Releasing this Friday, November 16, is Lee Brazil’s contemporary romance, Willow. You definitely won’t want to miss this! Click HERE to hop over to the Breathless Press page and pre-order your copy today!
In my chapter today, you’ll meet a nurse named Margie in honor of Margie Church who won the quick contest I ran looking for a vehicle model for good old Joanne Monroe, the widow in her 90s who drives a tan mid-70s Cadillac Sedan de Ville with a white vinyl roof and a yellow revolving bubble light on the roof. Congrats, Margie!
This week’s prompt: It was more than he wanted.
Parson’s Hollow Series, Book 1
by Hank Edwards
“I need to stop in and see my Grandma,” Cody said, then glanced at Demetrius. “You okay with that?”
Demetrius nodded. “Yeah. That’s fine.”
Cody drove for a few more minutes, but then the silence got to him, and he asked, “Hey, you doing okay?”
Demetrius nodded again but didn’t look at him. “Yeah. I’m fine.”
“That’s the eighth time you’ve said the word “fine” since we left the body shop after your truck was towed,” Cody said. “Fess up now, what’s wrong?”
Demetrius heaved out a sigh and shrugged. “You’re going to yell at me.”
Cody looked over at Demetrius, then back at the road. They were almost to the Parson’s Pines Nursing and Convalescent Home of Serenity where his Grandma was living out her days. He knew what Demetrius was thinking about. Or rather, who Demetrius was thinking about.
Cody wished Demetrius could just see Oliver for what he was: a man who turned into a vicious, blood-thirsty wolf when the moon was full. But, if anyone should be chewed up one side and down the other for making bad decisions in the romance department, Cody himself would have to step to the front of the line. With the number of women he’d dated and dumped, he was going to have to start traveling outside the Parson’s Hollow city limits.
Or switch teams and date men.
But not just any men. Demetrius seemed to be occupying his thoughts more and more these days. At first, Cody had convinced himself that it was because they were best friends since high school and he was concerned for Demmy’s safety, what with the murders and Oliver’s stitches under his chin and all. But, as he watched Demmy growing closer to Oliver, he started to feel differently about it. More agitated, more prone to shouting. More, dare he say it, jealous.
And now Demetrius was talking and Cody hadn’t even been listening, as usual.
“Sorry, Demmy,” Cody admitted with a sheepish grin. “I totally spaced out there for a minute and missed what you just said.”
Demetrius sighed and waved a hand at him. “Never mind, it wasn’t important.”
The headlights splashed across the sign for Parson’s Pines and Cody turned into the parking lot. They got out of the truck and started toward the one story brick building. The sun was setting and Cody felt it take a big chunk of his energy with it. They had spent hours at the station answering questions and filling out paperwork, and then more time at the body shop with Demetrius’s insurance agent. Another day spent chasing this monster or cleaning up after him.
Inside the nursing home, Cody led Demetrius past the open doors of patient rooms, inside which TVs played with the volume much too high, or the elderly residents sat in wheelchairs staring wistfully out the window.
“Man, I don’t want to end up here,” Demetrius whispered.
“We’ll share a room,” Cody whispered back. “You’ll love it.”
Demetrius gave him a grin that looked as tired as Cody felt. “Great, something to look forward to.”
“You know I’ll be the one who gets all the extra pudding,” Cody said. “Stick with me, kid, and you’ll be rolling in pudding.”
After he said it, Cody realized how sexual the statement sounded, and felt his stomach knot at the thought of rolling around in pudding with Demetrius. Naked and hard.
What the fuck was going on with him?
To distract himself from the images in his head, Cody said, “Did I tell you about the old guy I helped the nurse subdue last time I was here?”
Demetrius stared at him. “You subdued an old man?”
“Well, not in a Jason Statham kind of way,” Cody assured him. “He had started a bit of a row about another old guy stealing his pudding, and the nurse and I hauled him off to his room.” Cody shook his head as he thought about it.
“Feisty old guy, too. Strong and wiry. Had it in for everybody it seemed.”
“Wow, he sounds like you,” Demetrius said.
Cody narrowed his eyes. “Cute. Here we are.”
A lamp beside his Grandma’s bed was turned to its lowest setting, allowing shadows to lurk in the corners and along the walls. She lay in bed beneath layers of quilts, all of which she had once stitched together by hand. Her white hair, soft as cotton balls, framed her face, and she turned dark eyes to blink at him.
“Everly?” she asked in a trembling voice. “Is that you?”
A cold needle of sadness stitched its way through Cody’s chest as he stepped into the room. “No, Grandma, it’s Cody.”
“Oh.” She blinked at him in confusion. “Are you Everly’s boy?”
“No, I’m Alice and Greg’s son. Everly was your husband. How are you feeling?”
Her smile was quick and bright. “Oh, just fine, just fine. I had a good day today. I went out in the courtyard and watched the birds at the feeder. Mr. Klemper was in a bit of a temper today, but I don’t pay him any never mind.”
Cody turned to where Demetrius lingered in the doorway. “That’s the old guy I helped the nurse with, Mr. Klemper.”
Demetrius nodded, then gestured over his shoulder with his thumb. “I’ll wait out here while you visit with your Grandma. I don’t want to confuse her.”
Cody nodded and watched Demetrius step away from the door. He realized, with a sudden jolt of insight, that he wanted to spend more time with Demetrius, more quality time, and not just as friends. Actually, it was more than just what he wanted, it was what he felt he needed.
But that would have to wait. For now, he was with his Grandma, and he turned back to her. “Other than Mr. Klemper’s outburst, did you enjoy your day outside?”
“Oh yes, indeed I did.” She nodded a couple of times. “And Mr. Klemper didn’t stay around long. He stomped off behind the bushes and turned into a wolf and ran away.” She pulled a wrinkled hand out from beneath the quilts and pointed a shaky finger at a flower with a purple hooded blossom that stood in a drinking glass on her night table.
“But I held a bit of wolfsbane and he left me alone.” She turned her bright-eyed gaze back to Cody. “Werewolves don’t care for wolfsbane, you know.”
Cody frowned and cocked his head. Had he heard his Grandma correctly? Did she just say that angry old Mr. Klemper had turned into a werewolf that afternoon?
“Grandma, what did you just—”
A scream stopped his words in his throat, and Cody was out of the chair and standing protectively in the door of his Grandma’s room, fists and jaw clenched. Demetrius stood in the common area farther down the hall, a tattered magazine held in one hand.
“Oh, it’s the full moon,” his Grandma said from behind him, and Cody turned to look over his shoulder to find her pointing out her window. “Mr. Klemper’s going to be in quite the temper now.” She reached out to pluck the wolfsbane from the glass and held it on her chest as she smiled at him. “Would you like a bit of wolfsbane, dear?”
Before Cody could answer, the scream came again, and he stepped out into the hall. Pulling the door to his Grandma’s room shut behind him, Cody ran to stand beside Demetrius.
Demetrius pointed along the hall. “It’s coming from down there. What the hell is going on?”
Cody nodded to the windows of the common area that looked out on an expanse of lawn edged by trees. The moon had risen, fat, round, and orange.
Demetrius’s eyes widened. “It’s not Oliver?”
Cody shook his head. “It’s not Oliver. It’s the old guy, Mr. Klemper.”
Another scream drew them down the hall. As they went, other residents shambled out of their rooms to see what the commotion was about. They tried to coax them back inside, but the elderly men and women either didn’t hear them or chose to ignore them.
“Where are the nurses?” Demetrius wondered aloud.
“Good question,” Cody said, and then came to a stop outside a door marked with the name tag Arnold Klemper.
“What the fuck is Klemper doing now?” asked one of the elderly men who had followed them down the hall.
A nurse stood in the doorway with her back to them, blocking their view of the room. She backed up a step, then another, her soft soled shoes squeaking on the tile floor as she moved into the hallway. Her eyes were wide and her gaze locked on whatever was happening inside the room. It was the nurse Cody had helped with Mr. Klemper the other night, and now he could see that her name tag read MARGIE.
“What’s going on?” Cody asked.
Margie snapped her head around to look at him. “He’s killed two of the nurses, and he’s having some kind of seizure. Or… I don’t know what.”
Cody and Demetrius stepped up beside her and peered through the doorway. Arnold Klemper stood at the window with his back to them, the light of the full moon throwing him into silhouette. The bodies of two nurses lay in a heap on the floor at his feet. Klemper stretched out his arms and threw back his head to let out a long, loud howl. As they watched, his body shifted and his limbs snapped and cracked, twisting into different positions. Klemper dropped to all fours and his pajamas ripped along the seams as he shifted into a large, hulking werewolf.
“Holy shit,” Margie whispered. “Oh, holy fucking shit.”
“What is that fucking thing?” asked an elderly man behind them. “Is this another goddamn Twilight movie? I hate those fucking movies.”
The werewolf turned its head and narrowed glowing golden eyes at them as it growled over its shoulder. Cody felt his balls pull up and his body go cold with fear. It was big, really big. Even bigger than he remembered the night it chased them down the road.
Mr. Klemper, the agitated, angry, temper-tantrum throwing resident of Parson’s Pines Nursing and Convalescent Home of Serenity was a wolf man. Sure, why not?
With a snarl, the werewolf leaped out of the room. Cody, Demetrius, and Margie the nurse scattered, but the old man with the potty mouth didn’t move as fast. The wolf brought the old man down to the floor and locked its jaws on his neck. Cody heard the snap of bones and backpedaled to avoid the spreading puddle of blood.
“Jesus!” Margie shouted.
The group of onlookers fled, screaming as they scattered along the hall. Some slipped and fell, others shoved their fellow residents out of the way as they tried to escape. The wolf lifted its broad head to let out a deafening howl, and then jumped after the fleeing residents, taking them down one by one.
“Cody!” Demetrius’s voice caught his attention, brought his gaze up from the body of the old man lying before him in a bloody mess. He blinked to focus his vision, found Demetrius getting to his feet and helping Margie the nurse up as well. “The silver bullets! They’re in your truck.”
Cody scrambled to his feet. “We don’t have a gun!”
“I’ve got one in my car,” Margie said. “What caliber?”
“Uh…” Cody’s mind was a blank. Behind him he could hear the werewolf snapping its jaws, its claws scraping along the tile floors.
Margie rolled her eyes. “Men. Come on, there’s a side exit to the parking lot down here.”
“You go, I’ll distract him from the residents,” Demetrius said.
Cody grabbed Demetrius’s arm as he tried to trot past, turning him around and staring down into his eyes.
“What?” Demetrius asked. His eyes were wide, pupils dilated with fear. Cody could feel the muscles in his arm trembling.
“Be careful,” Cody said.
Demetrius nodded. “You too.”
“We’ll make some noise once we get the gun,” Cody told him. “Try to lure it out into the parking lot.”
“Okay.” Demetrius turned away and sprinted down the hall.
“Wolfsbane!” Cody shouted after him. “My Grandma’s got some in her room! He hates it!”
Demetrius waved without looking back and Cody stood for a second watching him run off, wishing he’d said more, done more, to say good-bye. Just in case they didn’t see each other again.
“Come on, Romeo,” Margie said impatiently. “People are dying.”
“Every second of every day,” Cody whispered, then turned to hurry after Margie toward the exit.
~~ * ~~
Wow! Lots of big revelations this week! Looks like Oliver is innocent! Hopefully Cody and Demetrius make it out of this alive, and Cody can follow up on his epiphany to spend more quality time with Demetrius. Be sure to stop by next week for the final chapter of CRITTER CATCHERS: A PARSON’S HOLLOW PARANORMAL and see how Demmy, Cody, and Margie the nurse handle Mr. Klemper the wolf man! For now, however, hop on over to the other Story Orgy blogs with me for more hot, smexy reads.
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