Wolf Love:Werewolves of Granite Lake 1(3)

By: Jane Jamison

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“Another day, another fifty cents.” Chandler Warton straightened up, the ache in his back lessening a little. He leaned over the edge of the well and peered into the darkness. “We’re going to need to put in another well soon. Either that or buy bottled water.”

“Bite your tongue. And that’s not how the saying goes. It’s another day, another dollar. As for the well? Put it on the list.” Lincoln “Linc” Montana led Mossy, a brown and white mare, past the well as he headed toward the barn. The red paint on the barn was fading fast. If they didn’t get around to painting it soon, they’d end up with a pink barn. No doubt the rest of the werewolves in Wayward would love to razz them about their “girly-colored” barn.

“I don’t care how the saying goes. We’re not making a dollar a day. Hell, I was being generous at fifty cents.”

Chandler didn’t mean to put down the Singing Moon Ranch and its hard life. He loved living there with his best friend. Besides, in truth, they were making money. Not much, but enough. Even a little was enough when a man was doing what he loved to do.

After being bitten by his stepfather at the rambunctious age of thirteen, he’d longed for his own place in another town of werewolves. Although he’d loved Forever, Texas, and all his friends and neighbors, striking out on his own had been the only way he could leave his stepfather in the rearview mirror. Besides, a change of place had been good.

Then when he’d read an advertisement in the Forever Chronicle online newspaper—if you could call three pages of meat-based recipes along with the scant local news a real newspaper—he’d figured that owning half of a ranch was better than owning zero of nothing. He’d called Linc right then and there before making a quick trip from the west side of Texas to the east side of Oklahoma.

As soon as he’d seen Wayward, Oklahoma, he’d fallen in love fast. The land was different than the dry Texas area around Forever. Rolling hills with tall green trees surrounded Wayward, and the nearby beautiful Granite Lake was a fisherman’s dream. In fact, he’d said yes to the partnership with Linc after it had taken him nearly four hours to drive around the huge lake. Singing Moon Ranch was located a few miles from the lake. The ranch was close enough to Wayward to make short trips into town for supplies but far enough away to keep away from the tourists that infected the lake area in the summer.

He hated tourists. They descended on the lake as soon as the weather grew warmer with their boats, skis, and loud parties. Many of the tourists were families with rowdy, squalling kids, but singles looking to party hearty were around, too, keeping the music and booze flowing well into the early morning hours. During the tourist season, the sleepy little town would double in population, overflowing at the seams and into the neighboring towns and cabin rentals. Bass fishing tournaments were the main draw along with driving speed boats all over the large lake. Those regulars who remained in town were either in a business that catered to tourists or they hunkered down until the summer was over and the pesky tourists were gone.

Thankfully, the tourist season was dwindling down. Soon, life in Wayward and Granite Lake would get back to normal.

And soon enough, they’d be painting the barn and getting another well dug. He smiled, knowing that some people would find those chores boring or too much work, but he didn’t. Nothing about the ranch and the chores it took to keep it running bothered him.

Still, as much as he loved the land, the real bonus of co-owning the ranch was that he and Linc had become fast friends within the first month of working together. At first, he’d been leery of sharing a ranch with a stranger, but it had been a gamble that had paid off. With his influx of much-needed cash, they’d managed to take the ranch out of the red and into the black.

He took off his cowboy hat and wiped the sweat from his brow. Dropping his hat on the fencepost—he’d grab it when they headed toward the two-story home—he followed his friend into the barn. Once under the shade of the barn, he stopped and drew in a long breath. Maybe it was strange that he loved the smell of horses, hay, and even manure, but he did. He loved everything about ranching. Almost as much as he knew Linc loved it.

He crossed his arms, giving Linc time to get Mossy into her stall along with a fresh serving of feed. Linc was lucky to have inherited the farm from his mother’s side of the family. While Chandler had arrived in Wayward two years earlier, Linc had come to Wayward almost six years earlier when his grandmother had passed away, giving him the ranch.

Yet as happy as Chandler was with his life, there was something missing. Fortunately, he knew exactly what that something was. Unfortunately, he had no clue how to find it.