Good Monday morning, Orgiasts! I had an amazing time at GRL and met so many great authors and readers. What a fantastic event. I hope those that attended feel the same, and for those who couldn’t make it, there’s always next year!
A few announcements this week. Bait, the second book of the Venom Valley Series, my self-published gay romance paranormal set in the Old West, is now available! You can download a copy at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, or Smashwords. I hope you enjoy the further adventures of Josh, Dex, and Glory as they fight off the vampire Balthazar and his new army of the undead. The book is available for an outrageously low $1.99, and I’ve dropped the price of Bounty, the first book of the series, to $1.49!
Lee Brazil is having a contest to celebrate the release of his book Willow, available from Breathless Press on November 16th. Click HERE to go to Breathless Press and pre-order your copy today, and click HERE to jump to his blog and leave a comment for a chance to win a gorgeous pendant crafted by the uber-talented Amara Devonte!
Just one more announcement before we jump back into Parson’s Hollow. It’s officially Halloween month, and nothing says Halloween better than a collection of spooky stories (well, maybe a body in the freezer of your basement, but that’s besides the point). Freaky Flashes, a collection of short, spooky stories, is now available for pre-order from Breathless Press. Inside its sexy, creepy cover, you’ll find flash fiction from Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, Dianne Hartsock, and yours truly, Hank Edwards. Click HERE to pre-order your copy today!
Okay, that’s it for the announcements. Ready to see about our boys in Parson’s Hollow? Let’s see what they’re up to now, as the days tick away to the next full moon.
The prompt for this week is: “I’m at a loss.”
Parson’s Hollow Series, Book 1
by Hank Edwards
“I’m at a loss.”
Demetrius rolled his eyes and turned away from Cody to open the file cabinet behind his desk in the Critter Catchers office. “Well, I’m sorry you feel that way.”
“He’s a killer, Demmy,” Cody said. “And there you were having lunch with him. And with your Aunt Amelia! Why don’t you just draw on her skin with marker to show where he should dig in his claws?”
“Are you just not hearing me?” Demetrius asked. “I told you, Amelia said her friend Lillian was murdered by a werewolf. A were-wolf, Cody. Something’s going on at that senior center.”
“Yeah? What did Ollie have to say about it? Did he snarl and bark and lick himself in an inappropriate place?”
Demetrius slammed the file cabinet drawer and whirled around. “That’s enough, Cody! I know you’re suspicious of Oliver, okay? I am, too! And I’m trying to learn as much about him as I can before the full moon in two days.”
“Okay, fine. And what have you learned?”
Demetrius let out his breath, and, with it, some of his frustration. “That he likes folk music and medium roast coffee. His guilty pleasure is over the top action movies and reality dance contest shows on TV. He works out in the mornings before work, and his favorite season is autumn.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Cody said and threw his hands up. “You’ve fallen for the guy.”
“It’s hard not to, Cody!”
“How’s his chin look?”
Demetrius shrugged. “It’s fine. Healing well. He got the stitches taken out last week.”
“Werewolves are fast healers.”
“According to who?”
“Movies, TV, popular culture.” He narrowed his eyes at Demetrius. “Why don’t you ask your boyfriend about it, see what he knows?”
“Maybe I will!”
The phone rang, the sound loud enough to startle them both into silence. They each stared at it a moment, until Cody finally reached out and picked it up. “Critter Catchers, this is Cody.”
Demetrius took the time to stomp off and use the bathroom. After washing his hands, he stared at his reflection in the mirror and wondered just what he was thinking, getting involved with the main suspect of their hack job of an investigation. Could he be that desperate for affection that he would turn to the newest man in town, even if he might be a vicious werewolf?
Cody pounded on the door, startling him out of his inner thoughts. “Come on, pinch it off in there, we’ve got a job to go to.”
Demetrius yanked open the door and glared at Cody. “I was just peeing.”
“Whatever. Let’s go, I have to piss, too, and then we’ll leave.” Cody brushed past him and pushed the door halfway closed behind him, a habit Demetrius found disturbing and reassuring. Cody would only leave the door open while he pissed with people he felt comfortable around, and this must mean he still trusted Demetrius, which made him feel better.
As he stood off to the side to afford Cody some privacy, Demetrius asked over the sound of Cody’s strong stream, “What’s our job?” He tried not to think about how easy it would be to lean out just a bit to be able to see Cody standing at the toilet, cock hanging out as he pissed. Demetrius wasn’t into water sports, not at all, and he had seen Cody naked on more than one occasion, but he’d always held a mild fascination with Cody. He was so masculine, so self-assured, and so handsome, it was difficult, sometimes, to keep his thoughts about Cody anchored in the friend harbor of his mind.
“A bull is stuck in some woman’s koi pond.” Cody finished and zipped, then flushed and moved to the sink to wash his hands. He kicked the door fully open to be able to see Demetrius. “We get to go haul it out.”
Demetrius blinked at him. “How the hell are we going to do that?”
Cody shrugged and grinned. “That’s the fun of it. We won’t know until we get there. Come on.”
It was a short drive to the woman’s house, and soon they stood on the edge of her backyard, staring at the big, angry bull stomping around in her koi pond. Each time it tried to clamber out, its hooves slid off the field stone lining the sides.
“Wow,” Demetrius said. “That bull looks pissed.”
“Really pissed,” Cody agreed.
“It belongs to Bud Alvedson,” said their client, Adrianna Lamberton. Her long, dark hair was pulled back in a loose bun, and she wore a pink track suit and running shoes. “I just woke up and found it in there.” She frowned. “I think it’s stomped on all my koi.”
“Yeah, looks like they’re floating around its legs,” Cody said.
“I really liked those fish.”
“Maybe Mr. Alvedson will pay for you to get some new ones?” Demetrius suggested.
“That cheap old bastard?” Adrianna blew out a breath. “He won’t even pay to have his fence fixed so his bull won’t get out.”
The bull snorted and tossed its head, the afternoon sun glinting off the points of its horns. Demetrius felt his balls pull up in fear as he wondered what those horns would feel like stabbing into his flesh.
“Yeah, probably not. We used to party out in his corn field after football games, remember Demmy? Okay, let’s get this show on the road,” Cody said, then turned to Adrianna. “Do you have a red bath towel by any chance?”
Demetrius turned to him. “Are you crazy? You’re going to play matador with this thing?”
Cody shrugged. “Unless you wanted to?”
“What about throwing a rope around its neck and using the truck to pull it out?”
“And strangling it?” Cody narrowed his eyes. “You are a cold son of a bitch, you know that?”
Demetrius opened his mouth, then snapped it shut as Adrianna stepped out the back door with a red towel over her arm. Cody reached out to take it from her, but at that moment all three of them froze as the bull let out a terrific snort. A great clattering of hooves followed, along with the cracking and shattering of field stone as the bull stamped against the sides of the pond.
“It’s coming out!” Cody shouted happily. “See that? It’s climbing out!”
Demetrius took a few steps back as the bull’s front hooves pounded against the soft earth of Adrianna’s flower beds around the rim of the pond. It kicked off with its back legs and staggered up and out of the pond, flinging water and bits of field stone. Its hooves dug up the fall flowers Adrianna had planted around the pond as it pawed the ground, head lowered, water dripping from the tips of its horns.
“Um, Cody? It’s getting ready to charge,” Demetrius said and backed up a few more feet.
“Oh shit!” Adrianna shouted. She tossed the red towel at Cody and made a beeline for the back door to her house.
The bull snorted and took off, its powerful legs throwing up clods of dirt and flowers behind it as it charged them. Demetrius watched in dumbfounded amazement as Cody turned to run, the red towel streaming out behind him, still clutched in his fist.
“Drop the towel!” Demetrius shouted as the bull stampeded past a dozen feet away, its eyes locked on Cody and the towel streaming out behind him like Superman’s cape.
Cody was a fast runner, he always had been, but he was no match for an angry bull. He was, however, more agile, and, just as Demetrius’s stomach twisted in anticipation of seeing Cody tossed in the air by the bull, he darted to the left. The bull skidded to stop, its hooves plowing deep trenches in Adrianna’s lawn as it turned to watch Cody run back toward Demetrius.
A cold chill shot through him at the sight of Cody heading for him. “What are you doing?”
“Start the truck!” Cody shouted. “We’ll lead it home!”
“Are you fucking crazy?” Demetrius shouted back.
“Start the fucking truck!” Cody shouted louder.
Demetrius turned tail and ran across the yard to where he had parked the truck near Adrianna’s garage. He started the engine and did a three point turn in the double wide gravel driveway, then leaned over to pop open the passenger door and waited for Cody. With his hands tight on the steering wheel, Demetrius watched as Cody led the bull around a pear tree, and then headed for the truck. Instead of getting in the cab, however, Cody climbed in the bed and slapped a hand on the roof of the cab, shouting, “Drive! Drive!”
Demetrius hit the accelerator and the truck bucked forward, the passenger door slamming shut with the motion. Cody fell face first into the bed of the truck, but kept his grip on the towel and managed to drape it over the tailgate. Moving as steadily as possible, Demetrius pulled down the driveway and into the street, then turned toward the Alvedson farm.
The bull followed along, its hooves clattering against the asphalt, snorting and tossing its head as other drivers and pedestrians scattered before them. When they were halfway to the farm, Demetrius saw red and blue lights in his mirror and started shaking his head, saying, “No, no, no, no.”
“It’s Lucia!” Cody shouted to him. “She got a death wish or something?”
“Wave her off!” Demetrius shouted.
“I did,” Cody replied. “She just flipped me off and is pointing for you to pull over.”
“Fuck that,” Demetrius muttered to himself, and turned onto the rural road that went right past the Alvedson farm. This was a dirt road, recently oiled to keep the dust down, and the bull slipped more than once as it followed along behind the truck, Lucia following a safe distance behind the bull.
They came to the break in the fence where the bull had escaped and Demetrius slowed enough for Cody to jump out, waving the towel and luring the bull back into the pasture. It chased him around a few times until Cody tossed the towel on the ground and high-tailed it for the break in the fence.
Lucia walked up as Cody sprinted through the fence, and she helped them set the rails back up. The bull stomped back and forth over the red towel, trampling it into the mud, and Lucia smirked at Cody.
“You make friends everywhere you go, don’t you?”
“You know me, Lucia,” Cody said, then jumped back from the fence as the bull rumbled past, its tail flicking the fence rails.
They left Lucia to talk with Bud Alvedson and Demetrius drove back to Adrianna’s house where they found her standing by the mess that used to be her pond, landscaping, and back lawn. She asked about her towel and narrowed her eyes when Cody cleared his throat, toed the ground, and finally told her he had dropped it in the pasture. Without a word, she turned and stomped into her house and appeared a moment later with her checkbook.
“I guess it was worth it,” she grumbled as she handed over the check.
Demetrius wrote up a receipt, then jumped into the truck and Cody pulled out into the road. They were quiet a moment, then they looked at each other and busted out laughing. It got so bad, Cody had to pull over. Finally, as the sun was sinking behind the trees, they wiped their eyes and smirked at each other.
“We okay?” Demetrius asked.
Cody grinned. “We’re okay. Just… Be careful.”
“I’m not the one playing matador to a loose bull,” Demetrius said.
“Point taken. But… Be careful.” Cody shifted into Drive, but before he could pull away he stopped, his attention riveted on something through the windshield.
“What is it?” Demetrius asked, ducking his head to see where Cody was looking. Then, he saw it. The moon had risen, big and orange, with just a slice taken off the corner. “Oh, shit. It’s almost full.”
“Tomorrow night,” Cody whispered. “I thought we had a few more days.”
“My calendar must be wrong,” Demetrius said. “Fucking city council calendars. Doesn’t anyone do research any more?”
Cody looked at him, his eyes wide. “Demmy, Tracey from the library told you some full moon cycles can last a few days.”
“Yeah, she did.”
“Tomorrow could be the first day of that cycle.”
A cold, hard nugget of fear crystallized inside Demetrius’s gut. “Lillian Hackett was killed in the afternoon, before the moon came up.”
“It’s going to start tomorrow.” Cody looked away, then back again, and they said at the same time, “Oliver.”
~~ * ~~
Uh oh, looks like these two just ran out of time! Be sure to stop by next week and see what happens next with Demmy, Cody, and Oliver now that the full moon is about to rise. For now, however, hop on over to the other Story Orgy blogs with me for more hot, smexy reads.
Follow our tweets during the week:
J.R. Boyd: @JR__Boyd
Lee Brazil: @leebrazil
Hank Edwards: @hanksbooks
Havan Fellows: @HavanFellows
Em Woods: @EmWoodsAuthor