If you have stumbled onto this blog story and want to start from the beginning, I have added a Table of Contents at the bottom of this page with links to the other chapters in the story.
Copyright Lexi Ander
He'd had enough. "Settle down," Alonzo commanded, smacking the boy's butt hard.
"Here." Zane entered with a soft, bristled brush on a long handle.
Alonzo accepted the back scrubber. "Thank you."
In no time, he had the boy covered in suds. He was acutely aware of Zane watching him. Alonzo was grateful Zane held back his questions, Allowing Alonzo to give the boy his full attention. The rat did bite him twice which earned him a couple for swats to the ass like an unruly child. Alonzo warned if he continued to act like a heathen then Alonzo would treat him as such.
When finished, he shut off the water and stood over the boy, dripping. The cool air caused his skin to prickle.
Zane made a low noise and when Alonzo glanced up, Zane was holding out a fluffy towel. His expression was completely unguarded, and Alonzo read the depth of Zane's need and desire. That one expression coupled with the unique set of pheromones Zane was putting out called to something in Alonzo that he had buried a long time ago. Never in a million years would he have believed he would feel that tug so far from home and his people. He'd thought himself broken, and now, this supposed songwriter had awakened Alonzo with his scent and a mere look. Only a destined leader of clan had the ability to call to Alonzo. Internally, Alonzo quaked. What was he to do?
"I can help you dry of the… the… boy," Zane offered, his gaze raking over Alonzo as if he was dying of thirst. Alonzo accepted one of the towels Zane proffered.
Pushing aside his inner turmoil, Alonzo nodded before returning his attention to his charge. "What is your name?" he demanded, watching for signs of further rebellion as Zane's hands neared the boy's mouth. "Be stubborn if you want. I will just call you Chico."
For a moment he thought the boy wouldn't deign to reply. "Duvan, you asshole."
Alonzo snorted and when Zane looked at him curiously, he said, "His name is Duvan Pendejo."
Duvan grumbled angrily, but without energy.
"Do you have chamomile tea?" he asked Zane. "The herbs will put him to sleep." Then Alonzo could rearrange the bindings. El Chupacabra could tolerate being restrained in such a position for a while, but after a few hours, the position would be torturous.
After Zane showed Alonzo where to settle Duvan, Alonzo carried the boy in to the guest bedroom. Within minutes, Zane returned with a cup of hot water and three steeping tea bags.
"How can he still smell this bad?" Zane retreated to the doorway.
"He has Devil's Breath, a very dangerous Columbian drug, in his system." Alonzo watched the color of the water change, the scent of chamomile filling the room. "The drug is not easy to buy. It is much too dangerous even by Columbian standards. When used on humans it is more times than not, lethal. Those who aren't killed become zombie like, losing their free will and personality. They can be led around like a small child and follow commands without question. The few times it has been used, the people are robbed blind. Other times…" He shrugged. By Zane's expression he didn't need to spell out all the nefarious ways it could be used. "When el Chupacabra—" Well, most any paranormal stupid enough to be ensnared, but Alonzo wouldn't say that aloud. "use the drug, the effects are different. They have no sense of self preservation. They feel no fear, know no hunger. They are easily addicted and after long term use, become tainted, their body corrupted by the drug. The stink comes from how the drug changes their body chemistry, warping their mind to their supplier's will."
Alonzo looked from the cup to Duvan, trying to devise a way to have him drink without spilling the contents.
"Will this work?" Zane pulled a straw out of his pocket and Alonzo grinned as he accepted it.
With a little coaxing and a few threats, Duvan sipped the tea through the straw. Within moments, Duvan was unconscious. Alonzo retied him, adding a length of rope around his chest and shoulders to keep Duvan from changing. The rope would shred his wings if he tried.
After he was sure Duvan wouldn't be able to go anywhere, Alonzo exited the room, leaving the door open so he could hear if Duvan woke and moved around.
Zane waited in the hallway. Now the danger was past, Alonzo gave his full attention to Zane. He had limited his time in Zane's presence since the breakfast they'd shared. He'd been alone so long, without a tribe or clan to ground him, and when he'd seen the heated invitation in Zane's eyes he'd been tempted to accept. Even after all the years he'd spent alone, he'd never been tempted by another outside his people. After being shunned by not just one but two families, Alonzo had no intention of becoming attached to someone else only to be left emotionally bankrupt when they too left him behind. He'd buried his nature so far down that he'd forgotten what the promise of unity felt like until Zane smiled at him. Since the fate-filled day, Alonzo had been fighting his nature, ignoring the core of himself that demanded he protect Zane—not that Zane needed anything from what he could see. All the same, his instincts cautioned him to be watchful. As isolated as they were, Alonzo hadn't believed Zane would be harmed by anything. No wild animals would venture within the territory lines Alonzo had marked. Then Zane had brought a couple of tainted el Chupacabra home, everything change.
When the telltale scent hit him, he almost hadn't reacted quick enough to protect Zane. He'd been on the edge of giving away what he was and changing, then the one el Chupacabra flew away. It had taken everything in him to keep from rushing to Zane's side and putting his hands on the man to make sure he hadn't been harmed. All the while, he cussed at himself for reacting as if they were a unit, a clan. The more time he spent with Zane, the more protective he would become, especially if he continued to emit the blend of pheromones that only Alonzo's people should have. How was that even possible? Regardless of the chemistry and biology, if Zane proved to be the type of person Alonzo suspected he was, then he risked falling in love, too. This was his nature.
Zane leaned against the wall, his long body on display. His hooded brown eyes raking over Alonzo's nearly naked frame as if Zane would eat Alonzo up, and Alonzo couldn't bring himself to care that he was reacting to a short-lived human. Zane exuded a type of controlled power that enticed Alonzo, beckoning him closer. He'd never come across anyone—any human—with such potential. Even those enhanced humans he'd worked with at I.O.N. hadn't felt like this, as if Zane was a puzzle piece who belonged to Alonzo. But Zane was nothing like Alonzo, knew nothing about the others and wouldn't understand what Alonzo needed.
The whole situation was frustrating. He should only be having this response to one of the People. Instead, Alonzo as scenting the air, trying to catch a whiff of Zane's pheromones. He couldn't put his finger on why Zane was so different than other humans. Something about Zane spoke to his primal side. What Alonzo felt was unprecedented. He'd never looked at a human twice before, not even for the occasional bedpartner. He'd spent years abstaining because humans were fragile creatures and he was not. His strength was the stuff of legends. He couldn’t chance losing himself in pleasure and hurting someone. But Zane… he had the feeling that if Zane crooked his finger, he would respond without question. For someone to have that kind of control over him was dangerous. Only heads of the tribes and clans ever claimed such power. But they hadn't wanted him, had thrown him out as if he was trash. Now here he was, leaning toward Zane, waiting for any command, any request. The more time he spent in Zane's presence, the less he cared if Zane should have that kind power. He was tired fighting who he was.
Zane stared back with his large shrewd eyes. "Are you like him?"
"El Chupacabra? No, I'm not. My people are called Maricoxi." Alonzo stepped closer and inhaled. There were more scents attached to Zane, other than el Chupacabra. "Most of my people live in Central and South America. Very few are like me, alone and far from home."
"Are there other el Chupacabra living in town?" Zane's gaze swept down Alonzo's bare chest to the towel synched around his waist.
"No, they usually stick to warmer climates. I've lived here for years and never came across one before. But these are different."
"The drug," Zane said, eyes not moving from the towel, licking his lips. "They would want to stay near the person dealing Devil's Breath."
Alonzo didn't know if he should move closer or step away. He wanted to accept the heated invitation in Zane's eyes, but didn't dare. Then Zane glanced back up. " Every time you leave your cabin I watch you. I can't seem to help myself."
He clenched his teeth to keep from growling in pleasure. He put his hands on his waist to keep from reaching out. Maricoxi were a communal people and he'd been many years without the attention of those who cared for him.
"Thank you," Zane continued, unaware of Alonzo's inner struggle. "For being honest with me. The people who wanted my help earlier were reticent to explain anything. You told me without hesitation. I now understand why they would hesitate saying anything. Most people would lose their minds, but I'm not like most people. Though I have no idea who or what Maricoxi are, I get the idea no one is supposed to know, so thank you for your trust. I will do my best not to betray it."
Right then, Alonzo knew two things about Zane. He valued honesty and he didn't condemn those who couldn't be upfront with him. This man would be worthy of his loyalty.
"If you get dressed and meet me in the kitchen, I'll make more chamomile tea and we can talk." Zane pushed off the wall.
Alonzo grinned wide. "If I get dressed? So, clothing is optional?" he teased, loving how Zane opened his moth to reply and then said nothing as it dawned on him what he'd said. Red bloomed on Zane's cheeks, the color creeping down his neck.
Zane's heated gaze skated down Alonzo's body, his throat working as he swallowed several times. "I… ah… well, if you want to, I guess." Zane ran his hand over his face, obviously flustered. "I'll be in the kitchen."
Alonzo watched Zane flee, a part of him relishing the thought of a chase. But the more sensible part kept him from following. Was Zane flirting with him? Alonzo smiled wider as he returned to the bathroom where he left his cloths. He probably shouldn't be happy about that, but when he recalled Zane's blush, he decided he didn't care. Quickly, he pulled on his jeans and boots, leaving his shirt off. Being half dressed would put Zane at ease while also making a statement that he was open to… what? More, just more. Instead of unease, Alonzo felt light on his feet as if he'd shed a cumbersome weight.
Before he left the bathroom, his gaze fell on the square of paper Zane had pulled from his pocket along with the bone darts. Alonzo's frown deepened with each word he read.
Table of Contents
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers