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Monday, May 9, 2016

Freeing Pain: Annex by Lor Rose




Title:  Freeing Pain: Annex
Author:  Lor Rose
Series: Freeing Book One
Release Date:  4/7/16
Pairing: MM
Genre/Tags: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Shifter









Jude Kash’s life was filled with abused animals and too little sleep. His work at the We Are One Foundation brought him his new devil-dog Teddy Bear and his new obsession: an abused liger named Sampson.

Sampson suffered from poor living conditions and threats with a gun. Jude, or Kash to his friends, witnessed it first hand when he snuck onto Whitman’s, Sampson’s owner’s, property. When Kash and others from the We Are One Foundation finally make a plan to rescue poor Sampson things go terribly wrong.

When Kash finally regains consciousness he awoke to a very handsome and naked man taking care of him. Kash felt a connection with the man he couldn’t explain. The man introduced himself as Maj and explained everything except for one small detail of his life: he was Sampson, a liger shifter.

Kash took the news considerably well except for one problem... that detail wasn’t so small, in fact, it could cost Kash his life.

Excerpt
Chapter One: Teddy Bear

The high was waning.

Adrenaline siphoned away, leaving me feeling tired and a little weak.

I needed a damn nap.

“I can’t believe that little monster let you get him.”

Amanda, my best friend, said from behind the wheel of the truck.

I sighed and pet the dog in my lap. He was asleep, curled up, and sighed. “He’s sweet.”

Amanda scoffed. “He’s evil.”

She turned on the blinker and turned down the street that led to the warehouse of the
We Are One Foundation.

“He’s spirited.”

“Spirited with a demon.”

I rolled my eyes and decided to ignore her. It wasn’t the little dog’s fault. He was scared earlier.
Hell, I was too. This was the largest animal rescue the We Are One Foundation took on at one time.

 A cosmetic company, Sugar Pop, agreed to release their testing animals in a PR attempt when it was made known they did, in fact, test on animals. I didn’t really give a damn why they did; I was just happy about it.

This little dog in my lap was one of those dogs. He was kept in a tiny cage, and his skin was red or irritated. Some of his hair was missing in patches. In a weird way, it made him cuter. Once his hair grew in, I thought it’d be white with patches of tan and probably curly.

This little dog was the last one to be taken out of there. His hostile nature wasn’t exactly inviting. Our veterinarian wanted to sedate him, but I said no. Instead I sat with him, the cage open, and waited.

 That was it. I could tell he waited for me to grab or strong-arm him out of the cage. With only a few minutes of completely ignoring him, the little dog jumped into my lap and hadn’t left my side since.

The little dog stirred and stretched. Black eyes looked at me with hope. Hope I wouldn’t hurt him or perhaps hope that I would love him.

Either way, it was after everything humans had done to him.

A dog’s hope couldn’t be crushed like a human’s could.

Sometimes, I wished I was a dog.

“You’re even more worthless than shit because at least you can turn shit into fertilizer.” Those words, my dad’s words, bounced around my head.

I internally balked, and my stomach twisted into knots.

Thinking of my “family” was never a good thing. I needed to focus today. The last time I saw any of them was twelve years ago when my dad finally kicked me out.

I was only fourteen at the time. If I told anyone, which was rare, they automatically assumed it was because I was gay. Truth was, even I didn’t know I was gay until a few years later.
My dad just hated me.

He never physically hurt me, but mental abuse could be just as severe. Sometimes, if done properly, more damaging.

What hurt the most wasn’t my dad’s constant insults; it was my mother standing there, acting like everything was okay. She never defended me. Not once.

When it was just us, she was sweet and kind, but when dad was around, she ignored me. I never understood why. I was a good kid and made excellent grades.

Every day I tried to make my dad happy, but nothing worked. Nothing I did was ever good enough.

“Stop it.”

I jerked, startled. “What?” The little dog snuggled against my chest and licked my chin. A paw dug into my balls.

“You’re thinking about your parents. Stop it.”

My mouth worked. “How did you…?”

“You curl in on yourself when you think about them. Like you’re trying to make yourself smaller or something. Sometimes you whine.” She turned into the warehouse parking lot.

“They’re not worth it so stop.” She parked and looked at me.

“They’re not your family anymore. We are.”

She reached over to squeeze my knee, but a growl from the pup in my lap stopped her. “Damn dog.” She smiled, telling me she didn’t really mean it and got out.

I hugged the little dog close. She was right. Thinking about them wouldn’t do me any good.
A whine pulled my attention to him. “Its okay, Teddy Bear I’m okay.” Teddy Bear? Where had that come from?

 His tail wagged, and I decided Teddy Bear was his name. It fit in an odd deformed way. “Come on.” I gathered him up and zipped him inside my jacket, since he had no fur to protect him from the cold day. I got out with one arm underneath him for support.

Usually, I’d unload, but with my own precious cargo, I opted to head inside and organize the chaos. I began helping process all the dog’s information. Most were still awaiting a vet check and needed a collar with their identification barcodes to match their paperwork.

I didn’t have the heart to put Teddy Bear down. Instead, I found a piece of rope and used it as a belt to keep Teddy Bear in place while I went to help.

We had two vets volunteering their time to help us, along with a half a dozen vet techs. I picked up a stack of paperwork, paper hangers, and headed for the dogs. The first cage I came to held a little dog that looked like a Chihuahua mix. She was almost bald, and her skin looked raw.

The hooks for the paperwork always pissed me off. They tangled up in a metal knot, and it took me a second to get one free. I clipped one onto the cage and hung the dog’s future paperwork and medical records. A plastic collar was attached to each set of paperwork. I removed it and opened the cage. 
She instantly came to me, licking my outstretched hand.

“Hi, sweetheart” I gave her a gentle pat and reached to put on a collar. She didn’t understand and reared back, crying. My heart constricted for the poor girl. Teddy Bear sniffed in her general direction, then looked at me.

 “I’m sorry,” I told her and closed the door to move on. Amanda was on the opposite end of the kennels, taking out dogs and their papers to transport them to the vet area.

Teddy Bear and I continued assigning dogs paperwork for well over two hours before I was finally finished. I sat in the middle of the floor completely uncaring if I was in anyone’s way. 

Exhaustion weighed me down, and a headache formed at the base of my head. My stomach gurgled, and I realized I hadn’t eaten anything all day except an apple before I came in that morning.

My jacket squirmed, startling me. Teddy Bear scratched the inside of my jacket, and I got the hint. I stood with a huff and swayed a little. Food was definitely in my immediate future.
 “Tammy!” I called, and the woman in question skidded to a stop.

“Yes?”

“Can you get me a leash? I need to take this guy outside.”

Tammy nodded and hurried off. Teddy Bear squirmed again. I shook my head and kneeled, then unzipped my jacket, tossing the rope into the corner. Teddy Bear jumped out and shook. 
He turned to me with a doggy smile and twirled with a bark.

“Okay, okay,” I said and petted the little pooch.

Tammy came back, holding out a leash. Teddy growled at her and cowered closer to me. “He needs to be seen and entered into the system,” she told me, and I nodded.

I knew that, but I couldn’t leave this little guy. 

“Come here.”

 Teddy Bear walked over and leaned against me. I put the leash on, and he stood completely frozen. 

His upper lip pulled back with a growl. He spun and bit the leash, trying his damndest to get free.

My first instinct was to comfort Teddy, but I knew that wasn’t what he needed. He had to work this out and calm down with the leash on. If I gave in now, he’d always be scared of a leash. 

That wouldn’t be good since a leash would prevent him from running into traffic or something.

Teddy eventually calmed and lay down, panting. “Come on. Come on,” I encouraged, but Teddy Bear wasn’t having it. He looked at me like I was crazy. A sigh broke free. I did not have the patience for this right then.

“Come on, boy.” A gentle tug had Teddy Bear fighting me all over again, but this time he quieted down more quickly than before.

Teddy Bear walked a step. “Good boy!” I praised, and he wagged his little tail, and then took another step.

With every step, I praised him, and he kept on walking.

We made it outside, and he relieved himself almost immediately. “What a good boy,” I told him, and he pranced on his back feet. I picked him up and put him in my jacket again where he sat, making himself comfy.

I went back inside, heading for the vet area. Other volunteers were seeing to the examined dogs’ water and food needs. Others were taking the dogs out for a potty break. Normally with this amount of dogs, the barking, whining, and crying was deafening, but this group was too quiet.

“Hey, Kash,” Angela said. She was one of the veterinarians helping us out. “Is he for me?” She nodded to my jacket.

“His name is Teddy Bear.” I unzipped my jacket, and Teddy almost fell out onto the examination table.

Angela smiled. “Named him, huh? Well, it fits.” She went to pet Teddy and he growled then snapped.

Angela jerked back. “Harris? Can you bring me a muzzle in here?”

“No muzzles,” I told her. “I’ll hold him or something, but he’s not wearing a muzzle ever again.”

Angela nodded and put on her stethoscope. I held Teddy’s head while Angela performed her 
examination and gave him his shots. Poor Teddy whined, cried, snarled, snapped, and wiggled around, but he never bit me.

“Well,” Angela said with a huff, “other than his little personality disorder and his skin, he’s a pretty healthy little Pomeranian-poodle mix, three to four years old.” 

Angela jotted something down in Teddy’s file.

“With a little weight and some medicated shampoo, he should be fine.”

Teddy jumped into my arms and started licking my chin. “That’s really good news.”

“The other volunteers told me about you with that little guy, in your jacket all day. You should adopt him. You’re the only one he seems to like anyway.”

The thought hadn’t occurred to me. Teddy put his paw on my chest, and our gaze connected. 
In all my years of working at the foundation, I’d never adopted one of our rescues before. 
This little dog had gone through a lot, and the least I could do was offer him a home.

“I think I will.”

“Then this is yours.” Angela handed me Teddy’s new medical file with a smile.

“Hang on.” She left, and then returned with a bag a few minutes later.

 “Here’s his medicated shampoo. Give him a bath tonight, then every other week for the next two months to treat his skin. An oatmeal soak every week wouldn’t hurt.

I’ll see you, Kash.”

“Thanks, Angela.” I walked out with my new little guy and headed out to where the other dogs were.
The stairs leading to the offices creaked as I went in search of Terry, the foundation’s originator.
 I’d met Terry a year after my dad kicked me out.

He had taken me in and raised me as his own son.

I found him in the conference room, ending a call. 

“Hey, Terry”

He turned, and I couldn’t help but notice how tired he looked. “Yeah ?”

Terry gathered some paperwork and a notepad. “Who’s that? He’s cute.”

“This is Teddy Bear.” I proudly showed off the little pup.

He wagged his tail and tried to lick my face.

“I wanted to talk to you about adopting him.”

Terry paused. He looked at me and Teddy Bear. “Are you sure?”

I hitched Teddy Bear up a bit. “Positive.”

Terry smiled and shook his head. “He’s all yours. You can fill out the paperwork tomorrow. 
Go home, Kash. You were here late last night and before me this morning.

Get some rest.”

Terry walked past me, holding all of his papers, and patted me on the shoulder.
Teddy growled, but I hushed him.

“Mean-ass little thing,” I whispered and turned around, heading for my desk.

My keys sat where I left them. As I snatched them, I knew I was forgetting something.
My gaze landed on the call desk nearest mine. Tracey. I looked around, but I didn’t see her anywhere and I didn’t remember her being downstairs.

I had wanted to talk to her about a call she received that morning.

The word liger came up, but I could’ve been hearing things.

My eyes began to burn, and I blinked them a few times, but it did no good. I felt drunk, the sleepy kind of drunk. Maybe Terry was right, some rest would do me some good.

I pocketed my keys and snatched my phone, then headed for the stairs.

Once downstairs, I spotted Amanda. “Hey, I’m leaving,” I told her.

She blew a piece of hair out of her face. “I was about to tell you to get your ass out of here.”
 Amanda cautiously hugged me to avoid Teddy.

We said our good-byes, and I left out of the side door. 

My old beat-up car sat in the sun. That had to be bad for my peeling paint, but I wasn’t sure.

Fishing my keys out of my pocket proved harder than it should’ve been.

One of my keys was stuck in a hole in my pocket.

A loud rip sounded when I wrenched my keys free.

“Damnit”

Oh well, it’d match just about everything else I owned.

I opened the door with my key, and then reached inside to unlock the back door.

Teddy Bear didn’t like it when I put him in the backseat and tied his leash to the seat belt. I climbed inside, started my car, and sat a minute, blinking the sleep out of my eyes.

My headache pulsed at the base of my neck, and my stomach was trying to eat itself. “That cannot be the time,” I groaned.

It could not be dinner time already, but according to my clock, it was.

I backed out of my parking spot and headed for home. The light at the corner turned red, and I glanced around. Resting my head back, I pondered which pet store I should stop at to get Teddy some basic supplies. There was that Pet Mart at the corner before my apartment. 
The parking lot also had a burger place where I could stop.

The light turned green, and some fifteen minutes and four lights later, I came to a stop in Pet Mart’s parking lot. I got out and fetched Teddy from the back.

I zipped him up in my jacket again since he seemed to like it there. Teddy settled with his little head poking out the top. Once inside, I grabbed a shopping cart and went browsing for the basics.

Our first stop was collars. “What color?” The entire aisle was lined with different hues and patterns. I wasn’t much on complicated designs, but the blue one with yellow paw prints was pretty darn cute.

“What do you think of this?” I asked for no reason whatsoever while picking the collar up to show it to him. Teddy just wagged his tail. 

“Well, you’re no help.”

Teddy just sat there, looking adorable. I picked the color along with a six-foot leash and a harness for car rides. Having his collar, harness, and leash match wasn’t necessary. Besides, the matching leash was nine dollars more than the plain red one.

Next I needed to pick some nice bowls. There were so many kinds, I didn’t know which to pick. I settled on the stainless steel ones since those were the kind we used at the foundation.

“What food do you like?” Teddy just looked at me. “Why do I even bother?” I found the food aisle and picked an organic brand along with some treats by the same company. 

“You’re going to eat better than me.”

On the way to the checkout line, I passed some crates. Should I get him one? No, he’d spent too much time locked up already, and I wasn’t about to do that to him, too. A cute display of discounted dog beds caught my eye near the registers.

“You’ll just end up in bed with me anyway,” I told him. “But you’ll need a place when I’m gone.”

Teddy just grunted and settled into my jacket.

I rolled my eyes and picked out a nice red bed.

ID tags snagged my attention in the check-out line, and I picked out a nice black bone.

When it all was said and done, I walked out of there ninety-two dollars and some change poorer.

 I put Teddy in the back along with everything I’d bought.

Next, we went through the burger place’s drive-through, and I ordered a double-meat meal with large everything for myself and one kiddy cheeseburger for Teddy.

He deserved a nice little treat.

We made it to my run-down apartment without catching any lights. How that happened I had no idea since; all street lights hated me.

I got out and opened the back door. Teddy sat in the seat, looking like a dapper young man waiting for his butler to fetch him. I shook my head and rummaged through the bags in search of his new collar and leash.

He looked rather handsome in his blue collar. Teddy jumped from the car immediately, trying to sniff the grass. I somehow managed to get all the bags along with the food. Locking up the car was hard, considering I was overrun with packages.

For the zillionth time, I was happy my apartment was on the first floor. Originally, I had wanted a fourth floor apartment, but then I sobered up with all those stairs. 
Mine was the very middle apartment on the left, apartment 7-3.

When I finally manhandled the door open, I nearly stumbled over myself.

“Welcome home, Teddy.”

I set the bags down in my tiny kitchen, then set Teddy free to explore his new home. My new little dog surprised me by jumping onto the sofa, declaring it his. He stared at me with a look of pure cuteness.

“How about we eat?”

Teddy wagged his tail as I came over with our food. I sat next to him and set out his burger next to him and tore it into tiny pieces. Teddy waited like the best dog in the world, not eating until I turned my attention to my own food.

I almost hummed, the burger was so good. It probably wasn’t all that great, but to me, it was the best thing I’d ever had. That was what I get for not eating all damn day.

Teddy finished before I did. “Don’t get used to this,” I told him while waving a fry at him. “This is a once a year thing. Like, for your birthday, which is today from now on.” Teddy’s tail waved back and forth, and he licked his chops.

I shook my head. This little dog was already worming his way into my heart. After eating, I needed to set his bowls out and give him a bath. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t like that part since Sugar Pop gave him baths all the time, but it needed to be done.

“Will you hate me after a bath?” I asked him. All he did was lick his muzzle and lay down with a whine. 

“I certainly hope not.”

Teddy rolled over and waved at me. “Silly dog.”

Teddy fell asleep while I finished my burger and fries. I didn’t blame him; he’d had a long day. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed with Teddy and sleep. At least now I wouldn’t be alone anymore. I sat a minute, simply watching him. His little chest rose and fell, and his front paw twitched every once in awhile.

He was so damn cute, and I was totally in love.


About The Author
Lor is a snarky, over the top genderfluid polyamorous demipansexual with dark hair and pink highlights. Although, sometimes the color varies. She is almost constantly fighting with her muse, Animus, or referring the fights between Animus and Epicene, her other muse. 
Lor started reading very questionable M/M fanfiction at a very young age in the closet.

Literally.

Though that didn’t stop her from getting caught once or twice. This early love of things M/M sparked her writing career. Without a doubt, her Christian high school English teacher Mrs. B didn’t expect Lor to fall into the M/M genre. Mrs. B did know Lor would be a writer someday because when the class had a minimum, Lor had a maximum. It truly was unfair.

Besides writing, Lor may also be found with one of her two horses, the Chihuahua or her cat. Any un-caught typos are courtesy of the cat, who shoves Lor’s things out of the way when it’s her time for cuddles or playtime… Which is about every ten minutes.






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