Valentine’s Day is a day for romance. And sometimes the days leading up to it are times for surprises. In my Valentine’s novella Chance Met, Jeremiah Crawford and Trey Damone learn that for themselves.
When Jeremiah Crawford—who has always called himself Crawford, since he hates his first name—walks into Dunkin Donuts early one February morning, all he’s looking for is coffee. Then a little boy and his father catch Crawford’s attention. The child has an aura which tells Crawford that he has psychic powers. The father… Crawford just plain can’t stop looking at him.
At first, Trey Damone isn’t sure whether to trust the strange man who offers to pay for his son Mikey’s hot chocolate at Dunkin Donuts. But the man he calls Jeremiah seems kind and gentle, and if there’s one thing Trey has learned lately, it’s to trust his instincts. Only a month earlier, he was changed into a werewolf, and his instincts are stronger than ever. More importantly, Mikey says Jeremiah is “nice,” and Trey knows better than to doubt his son’s psychic abilities.
Trey has reason to be suspicious. He and Mikey moved to Boston to escape Mikey’s mother’s “people,” who are looking for Mikey to use his abilities for their benefit. They killed Mikey’s mother for refusing to turn the child over to them, and Trey will kill—or die—to protect his son.
But he begins to open himself to Jeremiah and the possibilities between them. The only thing he can’t share with Jeremiah is the truth about himself, as telling a human about the existence of werewolves is punishable by death. Their first date accidentally occurs on Valentine’s Day, as neither of them checked the calendar before scheduling it, and by the end of that night, neither has any doubt that they belong together.
This story is a crossover between two of the other projects I’ve done for MLR. Trey Damone is first introduced in the Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat novel Hummus on Rye (the book in which he’s changed), and Jeremiah Crawford, known only as Crawford, is the assistant to sorcerer/motivational speaker Joel Turcotte in the novel Lost Soul.
Both the Real Werewolves series and Lost Soul take place in Boston, and I had decided when I wrote Lost Soul that they are set in the same universe, as well as in the same universe as my A Little Series of holiday shorts. Which opened the door for crossovers. Two other Lost Soul characters, the heroes Joel Turcotte and Lanny Hollister, make crossover cameo appearances in the story A Little Christmas Cheer, but I hadn’t figured out a way for them to meet my werewolves.
I did, however, have two secondary characters who seemed ripe for a crossover romance of their own. I discussed it with my awesome editor Jen Ayres, and she agreed to let me try a story with Crawford and Trey. Apparently she liked it!
Chance Met is the first book in a potential new series (depending on reader reaction) about Crawford and Trey, and as of February 15 is available from MLR Press. You can find out more about me and my projects, both published and upcoming, at my website. I also frequently babble, er, talk about them on Facebook and Twitter @KarennaColcroft.
Who would think that a child’s wish for hot chocolate would change lives? Jeremiah Crawford didn’t expect anything but coffee when he walked into Dunkin Donuts one morning. But a little boy catches his attention–along with the boy’s father. When he realizes the boy, Mikey, has psychic abilities like him, Crawford wants to learn more about him. And more than that, he wants to learn more about Trey Damone, Mikey’s father.
Trey has kept secrets of his own. Mikey’s mother’s family is looking for Mikey to make use of his abilities, which Trey has forbidden his son to speak about in public. And Trey himself is a werewolf, changed only a month earlier. But he’s tired of carrying the secrets alone. Can he trust Crawford enough to let the man into his life?
“We aren’t strangers,” Mikey said. “We weren’t strangers yesterday, even. Not really.”
“Definitely not anymore,” Crawford said.
They finished their meals and dumped their trash, then went back outside. It was completely dark, and a cold wind blew off the nearby harbor. Mikey shivered. “I want to go home, Daddy. It’s too cold out here.”
“We will in a minute.” Trey took his phone out of his pocket. “I should have done this inside. Jeremiah, can I have your number? It’ll be easier than trying to randomly run into each other at Government Center again.”
“Yeah. It would.” He said his number, and Trey entered it into his phone. Then he took out his own phone. “And yours?”
Trey gave his number, and Crawford entered it. It was the only number in the phone aside from his mother’s and Joel’s. And he pretty much never called his mother. Her reaction to his psychic abilities and later to his homosexuality had turned him off from wanting to speak to her at all. He only kept the number and called her once every month or two out of a sense of obligation.
It was nice to have a number that had nothing to do with work or family issues.
“Daddy, I’m cold,” Mikey whined.
“You’ve mentioned that.” Trey smiled at Crawford. “Next time, let’s eat somewhere a little fancier. Maybe without a kid who thinks chicken nuggets are haute cuisine.”
“What’s that mean?” Mikey wrinkled his nose. “Grown-ups.”
Crawford laughed. “It means fine dining, and yeah, us grown-ups can be annoying sometimes. Trey, I’d like that.”
“Okay, then.” Trey took Mikey’s hand. “See you soon.”
They walked away. Despite the cold, Crawford stood there watching them walk up the street alongside Burger King. He could have walked with them. Bremen Street was the next one, and though his apartment was further down the street, it still would have been a reasonable route for him to take. But he didn’t want to push his luck.
He’d already learned more about Trey than he’d expected. The guy was gay, given that Mikey had mentioned Trey having a boyfriend in the past. He knew about and accepted his son’s abilities but was cautious about letting others find out. It might have been solely because he was worried about the general public’s reaction, or there might have been another reason. The fear in Mikey’s eyes when he’d realized he’d given himself away implied the latter. If anyone had tried to hurt the boy because of something he couldn’t help, Crawford would—
Do absolutely nothing, because whatever had happened was probably over. And he couldn’t be the knight in psychic armor for the little boy, anyway. It was Trey’s responsibility to protect his son. Crawford would help as much as the pair would allow, but it wasn’t up to him to do it all.
He shivered. Thinking about Trey and Mikey had distracted him from the cold temporarily, but now the wind cut through his jacket. He was an idiot for just standing here. It was time to go home. To his empty apartment, where he would spend the rest of the evening watching TV and surfing online until he was tired enough to go to bed. Yeah, my life is fascinating.