Werewolf society has little tolerance for a lone wolf like Don, a man with a complicated past. Denied safe haven everywhere except SearchLight, it’s hard for him to learn to trust, yet pack life calls to his wolf nature.
When two basilisks offer a chance at romance, Don refuses to accept anything more than a physical relationship. Will his stubbornness get him and his new partners killed?
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Werewolf's Choice (Para Schooled 1)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Emily Carrington
For Don Sanderson, disabled werewolf, life couldn’t have been better.
He was three thousand miles from the pushy alpha werewolves of Washington, DC. He was starting a new job. And life was just great in general. He’d always wanted to travel and thought he’d never get the chance.
Mostly because of his wheelchair.
But here he was, rolling across the parking lot toward the carefully concealed entrance to the SearchLight Academy campus in California. It was early March and the whole of Death Valley was awash in wildflowers. The perfume in the air was glorious and he’d never felt so glad to be alive.
Well, all right, that was laying it on a bit thick. He recognized his desire, as a therapist, to be healthy and positive in his daily thoughts. This wasn’t perfect because Timothy wasn’t with him. Timothy, damn him, was gone.
Don paused to survey the flowers that crowded right up to the edge of the parking lot. He smiled. Come May or June, there wouldn’t be any flowers. The heat baking off the pavement could fry an egg. Or maybe even melt his tires. But for now, he was content to park outside instead of in the garage. He’d never thought to see Death Valley and get to celebrate its beauty.
Hell, he’d often thought he’d be under the flowers instead of surveying them. Werewolf culture had little tolerance for a lone wolf, and yet they didn’t want him to be part of a pack either. Disabled in more ways than one, he wasn’t desirable. Yet, they couldn’t just leave him be because “lone wolves are dangerous, ravenous beasts and separated from society, they often go insane.”
He’d been raised on that truth, but he wasn’t insane. He had a pack, of sorts. He had SearchLight. It wasn’t the same, and he knew it. Being in a wolf pack, surrounded by your kind, was like being given a drink of water after days of thirst. There was something that called to a wolf’s soul when it came to pack living. But Don had been nicknamed. His full name was Donald. Nicknaming was disrespectful, and he’d been ostracized. No one wanted him.
Well, maybe dead, they wanted him. But only SearchLight could use his talents as he was now: a therapist capable of helping others heal.
He entered the hidden passage, taking the gentle slope down toward the heart of SearchLight’s new campus for students of all ages. There had originally been only one SearchLight campus, in Washington, DC. Now there was this second campus, in the Mojave Desert, shielded from humans and dangerous magical creatures alike.
He traveled through the whispering silence and smiled when the almost creepy stillness was broken by laughter. This place was so new everything practically squeaked. There weren’t any security officers here, not until June, and only some of the professors had reported. He was supplemental staff, and technically he didn’t have to be here until April first, but he’d been so very glad to get out of DC…
There was housing here, as there wasn’t in the nation’s capital. Being all underground and far from usual human habitation, it was easier to have apartments here than in the Panamint Mountains, which were relatively nearby. Soon, Don would be hiding his car inside because he wouldn’t be going anywhere. But today was his first day and he’d longed to be outside with the fifty other cars.
They were hidden from standard human perception by leprechauns magic and other concealment spells, but right now, the parking lot was simply another place for anyone to leave their vehicle because the whole national park was open to visitors. Hiding in plain sight was SearchLight’s favorite trick.
It was still early, barely eight o’clock. He wheeled his way down to the cafeteria, following the signs, and thinking that he’d love to have breakfast in his own apartment. Even well-prepared food, when it was mass-produced, tasted nothing like home cooking.
When he was finally in the cafeteria, he balanced a tray on his lap and rolled through the line. He was aware of people looking at him but that was okay. His right leg ended just below his knee. It was normal for people to steal little glances in his direction. He had two psychic senses even though most LGBTQ werewolves only had one. He could always tell when he was being watched, particularly with negative intent, and he was a telekinetic. He could have rolled along with the tray floating an inch or two off his lap, but why show off? He drew plenty of attention without that.
Reaching a table that was specially designed to allow a wheelchair to roll underneath, he smiled. He was one of two wheelchair-bound staff, and there might be students coming in with similar disabilities. Since Dr. Sowerby’s decree, two years gone, that all SearchLight Academy buildings must be ADA compliant, more and more disabled magical creatures had flocked to the school designed for, and catering to, magical creatures.
“Do you mind if we join you?”
He glanced up as he set his tray on the table. It was a female who had spoken, a female basilisk, and he rapidly searched through the list of names he kept in his head. He didn’t know all of the faculty at the SearchLight Academy back East, but he thought… “Ms. Vaughn?”
She blinked beautiful golden-brown eyes at him. “We’ve never met. How do you know my name?”