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?
Jerico waited. Teo smelled nice. No artificial scents which made him suspect he’d used a soap meant for shifters while he’d been to the bathroom. He cleared his throat. Thinking about Teo’s scent wasn’t something he needed to do right now.
“Right.” Teo touched his shoulder. “Is it just me or does this feel terribly intimate.”
“It’s just you.” Jerico grinned. It was intimate. They were trapped in the dark, and Teo was touching him. He didn’t think Teo appreciated it. Most human men he’d hung out with were okay with friendly slaps, even the occasional hug -- guy version, of course -- but to feel their way around his body to find his mouth would send them off screaming.
“I’m afraid I’ll spill it all over you. It’s so damn cold in here, I don’t want you to get wet.”
Oh? Not the concern he’d assumed, but it sounded genuine.
Teo’s hand landed on his shoulder, slid up his neck, and caressed his chin. Jerico shivered. It had been a long time since someone touched him, and as a shifter, he craved it. A finger brushed over his lower lip and was quickly followed by the rim of a cup. He opened his mouth and swallowed greedily. Some water dripped down the corner of his mouth, and he made a sound to alert Teo of it.
“Sorry.” His fingers wiped away the wetness. “More?” He removed the cup so Jerico could respond.
“No, I’m good. Thank you.” Judging by the sound, Teo drank the last of the water in the cup.
“You okay holding the pitcher for another minute?”
“Sure.” He squeezed his thighs together without needing to. Teo leaned his forearm against his shoulder and grabbed the chair he’d been sitting on. The sound of it scraping over the floor filled the room.
“I’ll put it here, about an arm’s length from you.”
“I can’t reach it.”
“No, I know, but then it isn’t right next to you, so you won’t accidentally knock it over if you ... kick or something. And I’ll stay on your other side.”
“What if you want to sit?” Jerico would love to stand and stretch, but standing all the time took its toll, too.
“Then I can hold it. Though ...” He quieted and Jerico heard him slowly move away.
“What are you doing?” The panic spreading in his chest as he pictured Teo leaving took him by surprise. He couldn’t go anywhere and since when did Jerico care where some human went?
“When I woke the first time, I was on a ... not a mattress but like a lounger cushion.”
“And it was in that direction?”
“I have no idea. I don’t know if we’re in the same room.”
Jerico grimaced. “We are.”
“How do you know?”
He took a deep breath. Would Teo refuse to give him water if he told him the truth? “Your scent is here.”
Teo was quiet for several seconds. “My scent? Do I stink so much you can tell I’ve been here for days?”
Jerico grinned. “No, you smell nice.”
“I smell nice?” Teo inhaled loudly, and Jerico pictured him smelling himself. Truth was he did smell nice. Jerico hadn’t noticed at first, but now when he focused on the scent ... “You do.”
“What else can you tell by scent?”
Jerico was quiet for a few seconds. Had Teo figured him out? “We’re underground. Basement. The air is damp.”
“You don’t need a super nose to figure that out.”
“True. Our captors are wolf shifters.”
The room went silent again, and Jerico regretted saying anything.
“Hmm ... They want my house, right?”
“I think they care more about the land than the house, but yes.”
“And what is it you have they want?”