Author Charlie Richards

Giving love and imagination free reign


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ArMaDillo Packin'

Kontra's Menagerie: Book Twenty-Eight

On the Road: On his first ride cross-country, a young moose shifter stumbles upon a mate that he's not ready for.

Ronald Oleander, Ronnie to his friends, has been looking forward to this road trip for months, ever since he'd aced the test for his motorcycle license. With the wind on his face, he follows Noah and Adam--his older brother and his brother's mate--through winding back roads. Their destination is a small town in Wisconsin where they're meeting up with Adam's old biker gang. Ronnie has been warned the place is homophobic and to never go anywhere alone. Except, when he arrives, the first thing he notices is an enticing smell. Ronnie wanders around the back of the diner to investigate and finds a pair of humans pounding on a smaller man. Breaking up the fight, he sends the jerks packing. When he focuses on the smaller man, he discovers he's the source of the smell--and is not only a shifter, but his mate--Hector Ramirez, an armadillo shifter. At barely twenty-one, Ronnie didn't expect to find the other half of his soul so soon, and he doesn't feel ready. Still, he can't deny his instincts. For better or worse, can Ronnie accept not only his mate but figure out a way to stop the people after him?

Excerpt - ArMaDillo Packin'

The excerpt below contain explicit adult language and sexual content.

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    They drove for another three days, enjoying the sights and taking detours when they wanted to check something out. At night, they camped and let their animals stretch their legs. Sometimes they stopped and hiked.

    Ronnie could imagine himself living this sort of life for decades, and he realized the sacrifice Adam had made for all of them when he’d stayed put for Noah’s sake, since he’d been raising him and Heather when they’d met.

    All that could change, though. They were to meet up with Adam’s old gang that afternoon. Adam had explained that he’d turned his garage over to a fellow moose shifter, and if all went well during Adam’s two-month hiatus, the guy would buy the garage, leaving them all free to travel for however long they wanted.

    Ronnie was keeping his fingers crossed.

    “Now remember,” Noah warned, and not for the first time. “This town is full of homophobes, so don’t go anywhere alone.”

    “Got it,” Ronnie replied, as he always did. He knew his brother worried. After all, he was more father than brother after all these years. Their parents had died when he was three, and he didn’t remember them much. “Where are we meeting them?”

    “A place called Mindy Lu’s Diner, right on Main Street,” Adam told him. “She’s a homo-hating bitch, so we won’t be eating there. The food probably wouldn’t be safe.” Glancing at him and Noah, Adam added, “We just like to give ’em shit.”

    Ronnie laughed.

    That is so Adam.

    After another few minutes, houses began appearing steadily on either side of the winding road. Side roads disappeared amidst the trees. A Welcome to Rusty Cave sign appeared ahead.

    “Is there actually a cave around here?” Ronnie asked curiously.

    “There is,” Adam replied. “And a cave tour. You interested?”

    “Hell yeah,” Ronnie responded, excitement coursing through him. “That’d be so cool!”

    “Language,” Noah commented absently.

    Adam laughed, and Ronnie snorted.

    Noah sighed. “Sorry.”

    Ronnie grinned. “Naw, bro. It’s nice.” It was, too. “It means you care.”

    Glancing over at him, Noah cast a warm, loving smile his way.

    I really do have the best brother.

    Spotting the diner that they were supposed to meet the others at, Ronnie followed, pulling into the parking lot. He didn’t see any other motorcycles. Easing into a spot next to where Adam and Noah were parking, Ronnie rested his bike on the kickstand.

    When Adam turned off his bike, Noah and Ronnie followed suit.

    “I’ll call Yuma,” Adam told them, pulling off his helmet before grabbing his phone.

    Ronnie knew Adam was referring to his good friend and fellow biker, penguin shifter Yuma Belikov.

    Taking advantage of the pause, Ronnie removed his own helmet as he swung his leg over his bike. He rested the strap over his handlebar, then scrubbed his fingers through his shaggy hair. Sighing, he enjoyed the scalp massage.

    At the same time, Ronnie began walking around his bike, stretching his legs. He made a couple of laps before pausing on the sidewalk. He twisted one way, then another.

    Who would have thought that hours on a motorcycle would cause such muscle strain?

    No wonder Noah warned me to let them know if I needed to rest. I probably overdid it a little.

    Ronnie stretched his arms over his head, flexing his thick biceps as he inhaled deeply. A sweetly musky scent filled his nostrils, making him freeze. It smelled faint but was oh-so-delicious.

    Lowering his arms, Ronnie tipped his head back and took another deep breath. His mouth watered, and he hoped it wasn’t coming from the diner, since they didn’t plan to eat there. Except, the breeze was coming from behind him.

    After a quick glance at Noah, who was standing in the cradle of Adam’s arms—who was on the phone while petting his brother’s chest absently—Ronnie headed in the direction of the intriguing smell.

    Ronnie stopped at the edge of the building and inhaled again. The odor had grown stronger, and he felt his blood flow south. His dick plumped, and his pulse sped up.

    Huh. Weird.

    Hearing the sound of thuds distracted Ronnie from his odd reaction. He cocked his head as he peered along the alley between buildings. Two men stood over something on the ground, partially hidden by the diner’s dumpster.

    As Ronnie watched, the nearer guy moved his leg back and kicked at what was on the ground.

    Wait. That’s a who. What the fuck?

    Growling low in his throat, Ronnie felt his moose stir. His animal had turned out damn dominant, so it had been good that he was leaving his herd. He had no desire to challenge his sister’s mate.

    With his bull bellowing in the back of his mind, Ronnie was in complete agreement. He strode swiftly toward the men, cracking his knuckles as he went.

    “Hey!” Ronnie bellowed, anger filling his voice. “What the hell is goin’ on?”

    The pair snapped their attention to him.

    Ronnie could guess at what they saw—a six-foot-three, muscle-bound alpha male—and they would be right. Except, with his biker leathers and closely shorn beard, he looked far older than his twenty-one years. Ronnie had also been told by more than one trick that he would never have been pegged as gay.

    The front one lifted his hands in placation. “This don’t concern you, man.” His lips curled as he cast a hate-filled glance at whoever was on the ground. “This is just a little homo faggot. You know they deserve what they get when they flaunt their deviance.”

    “Oh, that was definitely the wrong thing to say,” Ronnie snarled.

    Human or not, Ronnie was going to take a piece of him.