This is from the WIP I’m working on. I hope to finish it soon. Here is chapter one. I hope this whets your appetite. 🙂
Percy Callendar was one of the richest men in the world, and he was only twenty-six years old. He was also single and gay. So when he decided it was time to meet the love of his life and settle down, he came up with a test devised to measure their courage and persistence, because who wanted a husband who couldn’t handle a little stress?
The first thing he did was hire someone to build him a house, and not just any house. It was the ultimate haunted house, sprawled over ten acres that overlooked the Pacific Ocean, and included a full basement and a couple of medieval-looking towers: one at the west corner and one at the south. Designed to encourage visitors to get lost inside it, there were hidden rooms, trap doors, and secret passages.
During the next couple of years, while his money made him more money, Percy watched the house come to life. One day, while Percy watched a crane move trusses into place from inside his expensive car, the site foreman ambled over, a toothpick in his mouth. He leaned on the open car window. “What do you think, Mr. Callendar?”
Percy regarded a certain spot on the second floor where he planned to place a gargoyle. “I think this is going to be great fun. Are we still on schedule? Will it be ready on time?” He was now almost twenty-eight, and he couldn’t wait to get started. Somewhere out there was the perfect man, and he couldn’t wait to find him.
“We’ll meet the deadline,” the foreman said laconically, migrating the toothpick to the other side of his mouth. He turned toward the house. “Your IT guys are already installing stuff in the basement.”
“Excellent.” To pull this off, he’d hired the best. “Spared no expense,” as they said. Not only was he searching for a husband, he also wanted to have fun, and what could be more hilarious than watching people bumble through his ultimate haunted house? Halloween might only come once for most of the world, but in his life, the holiday would be a monthly occurrence. At least until he got bored with the whole thing and moved on.
“People are gonna say this is a huge waste of money,” the foreman pointed out.
“It’s my money to waste.” Percy turned brilliant violet eyes on the man. “I give plenty of money to charities. This…”—he turned his gaze back to the structure—“I do for me.”
It probably was a waste of money, building this monstrosity to test only twelve men, but after he’d found The One, he’d sell it to someone who would turn it into an attraction for the masses and no doubt make all his money back within a few years. Percy would have happily moved on to the next thing.
Twelve men, between the ages of twenty and thirty. Smart, accomplished, and yes, good-looking, because looks mattered. They didn’t have to have model-ready bodies, but anyone obese wouldn’t be considered. Being overweight was an indication they didn’t think enough of themselves to eat well and exercise occasionally, and geeky as Percy was, that was important to him.
He’d hired a research firm to find the guys, being specific about what he was looking for. They’d offered him a list of fifty, with photos, and he’d winnowed it down from there. Six had dark hair, five were blond, and one was a ginger. Four wore glasses. A couple of them were lean, a couple were pudgy, and the rest were average weight. All were between five foot nine and six foot one. And all of them, of course, were gay.
He briefly considered the possibility he wouldn’t find someone in this first group, but just as quickly, he dismissed the idea. These men were intelligent, attractive, and good at what they did. He would click with at least one of them.
The foreman straightened, stretching out his back. “It’s your money. Guess you can do what you want with it.”
There was nothing like stating the obvious. Percy didn’t bother to respond, and the man took the hint and ambled back to work.
Just a few more weeks. Percy couldn’t wait to begin.