The Healing of Idrys (eBook)

231 pages | eBook | 6x9"
Date of publication: 01/16/2015
  • ISBN: 978-1-941984-31-4
  • Model: 48373 words

Fireborn Publishing Main Page


Heat Rating: 2 Flames


Hadrian and Reilly meet over two puppies and a kitten. Now they want to include Idrys. Will they convince him it's not a crime to be with them, or will Idrys's family destroy any chance they have for life together?


Idrys Barber is a lonely, closeted man, whose life is completely ordered and controlled by his parents, until his sister files a complaint with the DA. Add to that, Reilly Lucas invades the dreams that plague him, along with Hadrian Merkel. Hadrian and Reilly meet over a pair of Boston Terrier puppies and a black kitten, dating each other and now they want to include Idrys, but will they convince him it's not a crime to be together with them, or will Idrys' family further destroy any chance they have for a good life together?

CONTENT ADVISORY: This book is a re-release title.




Reilly Lucas sighed as he shopped for the week's groceries. He wasn't hungry, so nothing looked good, but at least that meant he'd stay close to his budget. When he shopped hungry everything looked good, and he spent way too much. Oh well, he was only human. Wandering down the snack aisle, he remembered he had eaten the last of his cookies the other night so he grabbed a couple of packs of his favorite chocolate ones. That reminded him to grab some milk as well. He headed there next and grabbed eggs. Egg salad sandwiches would be good for lunches this week. Humming to himself, he wound his way back to the front of the store, getting bread and a variety of odds and ends.

He paid and hauled everything out to his truck, thinking about what to do that night. He sighed, thinking about his nice big house and the fact he had no one to share it with. He'd bought it with his ex-partner then had a hell of a time holding on to it when Frank decided to leave him, attempting to take everything. Reilly still remembered the shock of coming home from a two-day assignment to find the house empty and Frank nowhere to be found. It had taken filing a missing persons report through the police to find him. They had found Frank quite quickly and relayed to Reilly that Frank never wanted to be contacted by him again.

Reilly shook off the memories. No sense dwelling on faithless Frank. As he finished putting the groceries into the back of his truck, he heard a dog barking. He looked around and spotted kids over in the small park across from the store, playing Frisbee with their dog.

He grinned as he suddenly realized that he could have a dog now. He'd grown up with dogs, but Frank had always claimed to be allergic. So they'd never had a dog, although Reilly'd always wanted one. As he started the truck and headed home, he thought about his job. Maybe he should look into getting two dogs, so they could keep each other company? He worked a rotating twelve-hour shift schedule as security for a local factory. It was a boring job, but he made enough money to be comfortable and had reasonably good benefits. Two dogs would definitely be best--that way they wouldn't be lonely when I'm on shift. The mudroom in the back of the house was a fair size, enough room for two medium-sized dogs to be able to play and easy to clean up after them when he came home. Or I could even hire Evan from next door to come over and look after them after school.

That would probably be better, since it would help keep Evan out of trouble. Giving Evan some responsibility would be good for him, especially considering that Evan and his mother, Inez, had been abandoned by Evan's father last year. At thirteen, he was too young to get a real job, but a little dog sitting shouldn't be too much for him. Reilly grinned to himself. It would also give the boy the benefits of having canine companionship without his mother having the financial stress.

He hurried home. With any luck, he could get the cold stuff into the fridge and get to the local shelter before it closed. He wouldn't take any dogs home tonight, but he wanted to meet the ones they had, maybe talk to the shelter people.


* * * *


Hadrian Merkel hummed to himself as he made his rounds through the shelter. He loved working here. As a no-kill shelter, he didn't have to worry about ever having to put down any of the varied critters that were brought in, unless they were severely injured or sick--a vast improvement over the last place he'd worked, where they'd strictly enforced a very short time limit.

He smiled as he thought of one of the other perks of working here: Officer Idrys Barber. No doubt, the man was seriously hot. Hadrian checked water bowls and bottles, making sure they were clean. He was still smiling as he reached the new arrival quarantine room where the newest animals were kept until the vet could check them out. As a veterinary technician, Hadrian could provide basic care for the animals in the shelter, but a vet still had to give each animal a clean bill of health before it could be adopted out.

Hearing the front doorbell go off, Hadrian made his way past the newly arrived Boston terrier pups, which were now barking their little heads off, and went to see who had come in. He sucked in a breath as he saw what had to be one of the most beautiful men he'd ever encountered. Short blond hair, nicely cut, and a tall, trim, muscular body encased in tight blue jeans and a T-shirt stretched over a set of pecs that made Hadrian's mouth water. The sudden mental image of being tag-teamed by this man and Officer Idrys brought Hadrian to a halt while he tried to rein in his hard-on. His scrubs were comfortable to work in and could withstand almost anything the furries threw at him but they did nothing to hide a raging erection. Resorting to the old trick of picturing the ugliest creature he'd ever seen naked helped enough to be able to step into the reception area without scaring anybody.

"Can I help you?" Out of your clothes? his mind supplied. Hadrian grimaced slightly at himself. Jesus, he needed to get laid before he made a complete ass of himself.

Mr Gorgeous smiled. "I'm interested in adopting a couple of dogs."

"Puppies? Older dogs maybe? We've got a couple of older ones that are exceptionally well-behaved and get along with each other really well," Hadrian told him, lifting the counter partition that also served as an entrance to the back rooms and kennels.

"I haven't really decided beyond getting two dogs, so they can keep each other company while I'm on shift. I work rotating twelve-hour shifts. When I'm gone, it's for fifteen hours, but when I'm off, I have all the time in the world. I thought I'd come down and see if anyone grabbed me, you know?" the man said as he walked through the partition and up to Hadrian. Now that he was closer, Hadrian could see that he had light green eyes, and he had to stifle a moan. Everything about this man so far totally flipped his switches. God help him if Idrys showed up now; he'd melt in a puddle of goo between the two of them.

Hadrian cleared his throat and managed to speak with reasonable intelligence. "I'm glad you recognize the hardship your hours can be on a dog left alone. Being pack animals, they really don't like being alone. I'll take you to meet everybody." He let the partition down and led the way toward the kennels, putting a little sway in his step despite the likelihood that Mr Gorgeous wouldn't even notice. He couldn't help it; he was a perpetual flirt, even with the straight guys. That had gotten him in trouble a time or two, but he refused to be less than he was just because other people were bigoted twits.

The dogs began barking as they heard the door opened, interspersed with the bleating of a goat. Hadrian heard the man's footsteps hesitate behind him. "Is that a goat?"

Hadrian grinned. "Yup, we have a real live nanny goat. She and the pup with her were rescued from a fire. They aren't up for adoption; they're being boarded for the owner until the house is repaired and the owner is out of the hospital."

The man whistled. "I didn't know you guys boarded animals."

"We don't generally, but the owner of the shelter decided to try to help the lady out. There are kennels that would have taken the goat, but none of them would give her a break on the price, and the woman was forced to see if we could adopt them out. She hasn't got any family and that goat and pup are all she has. The owner of the shelter refused to adopt them out and told her we'd board them for as long as needed for forty bucks a week." Hadrian grinned. "Pays for food for them and helps pay for food for the others--and the lady gets to keep her family. Actually, the story got around and there've been enough dedicated donations we haven't had to charge her yet. We'd take them to her, but she's still not able to be around them yet--still too much risk of infection. But she's healing pretty well for her age and she should be able to go home in another two months, maybe sooner."

"Wow, that's pretty cool. Not many people would do that," Mr Gorgeous commented as he looked around. Hadrian noted that the man was paying sharp attention to the kennels themselves, and not only the dogs, obviously inspecting them. Probably looking for poorly cleaned kennels, or animals that aren't fed well, or seemed particularly frightened; looking for signs of neglect or abuse. Good, this is a man who genuinely seems to care about animals. Hadrian wouldn't have to worry about this man taking any of his charges from him and abusing them. Hadrian didn't make enough money to have any animals himself, so he tended to treat the animals at the shelter as his, worrying about their welfare in their new homes.

They came to a corner cage, where the enclosures on either side were empty. All alone sat a huge German Shepherd / Malamute mix, growling quietly. The man beside him froze, respecting the dog's warning.

He spoke quietly. "What's the story here?"

Hadrian sighed as he stopped a few steps away, allowing the dog to inspect them and approach in his own time.

"He was seriously abused for several years. We've had him for a year now, and I and one of the vets are about the only ones who can handle him safely, and at that, he's still bit us a few times." He met the dog's gaze squarely, without fear, but offered no threat either. He thought soothing thoughts at the dog. Okay, so thinking at a dog was silly, but he swore sometimes it seemed to work. "His name is Bluto and he'll probably spend the rest of his life in that cage. We just can't seem to get him past his fear of humans, and he doesn't play well with other dogs, to the point that he tries to attack any dog we put in the kennels on either side of him. Even to examine him, we have to drug his food and muzzle him. We got him physically healthy, but I don't know that we'll ever heal his spirit." Hadrian sighed again. "Even to take him out to play, Robert or I have to put on padding and one or the other of us stays outside the play run with a dart gun. He's not as bad as he used to be, but still, I can't see how we could ever get him adopted out. We take care of him as best we can."

Mr Gorgeous cursed softly under his breath then quieted as Bluto slowly approached the fencing between them. He still was growling quietly but his hackles had dropped a little, and with slow, even movements, Hadrian offered a small treat through the fencing. After sniffing suspiciously, Bluto carefully took the treat and retreated a few steps, dropping the treat at his feet as he sat and watched them.

"Can I try giving him one?"

Hadrian hesitated then dug another out of his pocket. If Bluto could respond positively to someone else, it would be progress. The kennel was well secured and Bluto had approached the wire with the visitor there.

"Here, don't put your hand through the fencing though. He's very polite as you saw, but he bites when he's scared."

"I can't say I blame him." Mr Gorgeous took the treat and holding it by one end he held it through one of the small openings in the fence and waited calmly. Hadrian prayed that Bluto would accept the offering. They waited while Bluto watched them for a few moments then slowly moved forward--no longer growling but very wary. He was obviously torn between wanting his favorite treat and being unsure of this stranger. Mr Gorgeous didn't move at all as Bluto approached. Bluto reached out, carefully took the treat and dashed away, farther than before but Hadrian still wanted to cheer. He restrained himself though, not wanting to scare Bluto when he'd taken such a huge step.

"Good, Bluto," he praised the dog, wanting to reinforce this little meeting. "Such a good, brave dog." Taking the man's arm, he carefully moved them away from Bluto. It was never good to invade Bluto's space too long.

"Damn, can I castrate whoever destroyed that poor dog?" Mr Gorgeous asked viciously when they were a few feet past the cage.

"No, but I can tell you he's still in jail and he'll be there for a long time yet. Not for animal cruelty, although they did charge him with that too, but for spousal assault," Hadrian told him as he moved them toward the next set of kennels. "You're the first person he's accepted anything from other than me or Robert, one of the vets that volunteers here."

"Not good enough punishment but I suppose it will have to do," the other man answered. They were both quiet as they wandered down this set of kennels. Hadrian watched as the man stopped often to pet and coo at the dogs, smiling as they talked back to him. Then Hadrian led him to the sick or injured quarantine kennel. Fortunately, there were only three dogs in there right now, one that had been hit by a car and was recovering from her injuries before being put on the adoption list and two that had been tried as kennel mates and took an instant dislike to each other, getting into a pretty serious fight. Both dogs now sported stitches, but were recovering swiftly and would be kept separated from now on. He explained all this to Mr Gorgeous as the man held out his hand to be inspected through the cages by the dogs.

"Now these guys are the new arrivals. They haven't been checked out by the vets yet, so they aren't available quite yet," Hadrian told him as they walked into the last room. "Well hell, how'd she get in there again?" he muttered as he noticed a black kitten inside the same kennel with the two Boston pups. "Oh screw it, they came in together and she obviously wants to be in there with 'em."

"How do you mean?"

"Well, the three of them were brought in the other day by one of the animal control officers. Someone had locked them in a trunk and threw it in a dumpster outside a restaurant. The dishwasher came out to toss the trash , heard them crying, and rescued them then called animal control. We keep separating them, but that kitten keeps wiggling her way into their cage. I'll have to make sure whoever takes them takes all three, since they seem to be so attached. I've never seen such an escape artist cat," Hadrian said with a laugh. He opened the cage and petted the pups who were wiggling around.

They were the only animals in the room right now, so he let them out to play a little. Mr Gorgeous hunkered down, letting the pups check him out while Hadrian cuddled the kitten before setting her down as well. She immediately went to play with her puppies. The two men sat back and watched the three gambol around, wrestling and chasing each other between investigating their surroundings. The kitten made both of them laugh by attacking Mr Gorgeous' foot then climbing up his pants leg, demanding to be petted.

"Okay, okay, I know when I'm owned." The man laughed. "I'll take these three when they come available, although I've never had a cat before. At least I don't have to worry about them fighting. But how will she take them being penned in the mudroom while I'm at work?"

Hadrian grinned. "Well, from what we've seen, she doesn't try to escape their cage; she only wiggles out when we separate them. So, if you put her in there with them, they should all be fine. You'll need to make it a play room for them. Bostons have a lot of energy."

"I'm thinking of hiring my neighbor's kid to help look after them while I'm at work. It would give them some more attention and help keep him out of trouble."

"I'll give you a list of things you'll need for the cat," Hadrian said, smiling as he watched Mr Gorgeous be charmed by the tiny kitten. All three animals were so young they were barely eating solid foods but otherwise seemed healthy. "It's Henry's rotation this week, and he won't be in to see the animals until Sunday. After that, if they're healthy, we should be able to release them to you."

The man smiled, a look that zinged to Hadrian's dick. Damn, could the man get any more sexy? Fortunately, he didn't seem to notice Hadrian's troubles. "Will you guys be able to keep them a few days after that? I mean, like, reserve them for me? I start my day shifts on Monday and I'd like to have my week off to get accustomed to these guys and get them accustomed to me."

"Sure, but we need to have the paperwork in place for that," Hadrian answered. "Come on, let's get these guys corralled and go to my office. I'll get you started on the paperwork. There are some adoption fees, just so you know."

Mr Gorgeous nodded as he carefully put the kitten back in the cage and helped get the two roly-poly wriggling pups inside as well. He gave them all last pats before Hadrian closed the cage.

When they sat down in Hadrian's little office, Mr Gorgeous gave him a solemn look. "What happens if the vet finds something wrong with them?"

Hadrian met his gaze steadily. "It depends on what it is that's wrong. If it's something simple, we treat it and put them on the adoption list. If it's something more complicated… It just depends. Sometimes the animal is euthanized, so it doesn't suffer because we can't afford to treat it in the long term. Now, if that happens and there's somebody who's already interested in adopting them and knows the score, then we help get the animal into reasonable health and then the new owner takes over paying for treatment." Hadrian sighed. "Once in a while there's nothing we can do but put them to sleep… I hate those times."

Mr Gorgeous nodded. "My family got a puppy from the local pound a few months after we'd lost another dog. Not even a month later, she came down with parvo. It hit her so hard and fast that the vet flat out told us the best thing we could do for her was make sure she didn't suffer. He told us that she was still so young that she didn't have a chance. I was a teenager, so I was old enough to understand, but my little brother didn't understand for a really long time." Hadrian noted a shadow cross the man's face and guessed family must be a touchy subject for him.

Hadrian pulled up the program that would search for any animal cruelty citations or arrests, part of their adoption process. "Your name?"

"Reilly Lucas." The next ten minutes were filled with questions and answers as Hadrian filled out the initial paperwork. When Reilly was taking his leave, he promised to return each day after work during his four day shifts then pick them up the evening of the last one. Through it all, there was a small part of Hadrian that chortled quietly to itself, merrily spinning various fantasies involving Mr Gorgeous, aka Reilly, and handsome Officer Idrys.


About Jess Buffett- COVER ARTIST:
Fireborn Publishing Main Page

Jess Buffett was born and raised in New South Wales, Australia. She is a mum of two, married to her high school sweetheart.

Jess is a hopeless romantic who is a huge fan of M/M and M/F romance with a happy ending--anything with hunky men in all their glory, whether they be Shifters, Vampires, Cowboys, or the boy next door.

A caffeine addict who shamefully can't make a decent cup of coffee to save her life, Jess believes in soul mates, happily ever afters, and in love at first sight, but that sometimes people need a second or a third for the brain to catch up.

For more information, please visit the author's webpage.
About TN Tarrant:
Fireborn Publishing Main Page

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