Author Charlie Richards
Now Available at eXtasy Books!
Soothing the Zebra's Fears
Kontra's Menagerie: Book Twenty
On the Road: We always find what we're looking for in the last place we look.
At nearly three centuries old, Diego Tamang decides to take a more proactive approach to finding his mate. He walks away from leading his pack, so he can travel with Kontra Belikov and his shifter motorcycle gang. His decision pays off when he walks into a backwater town's diner and scents his mate, Zachary Young. Quickly making his intentions clear, Diego wonders what will be harder to overcome, Zachary's young age, or his mother's clearly displeased attitude. It turns out, neither, for soon Diego discovers that Zachary's injury, which forces him to use a cane, may have been caused by witches...and Zachary doesn't know he's a shifter. Can Diego ease his young mate into the paranormal world while keeping him safe from those that would do him harm?
Excerpt - Soothing the Zebra's Fears
The excerpt below contain explicit adult language and sexual content.
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Pausing beside the table, Diego lowered to one knee and reached for his laces. One quick yank had his motorcycle boot untied. He hummed, purposefully loud, just to get the people’s attention. The woman looked at him with her eyes narrowed. The young man, however, he swept his gaze over Diego’s form quickly, then lowered his gaze as his pale cheeks showed a bit of a flushed hue.
Diego heard the man’s heart rate increase.
Glancing up at them, Diego remained in position, gripping his laces. “Sorry. You know how some laces just seem to come untied no matter how tight you make them? I think it’s this waxy coating,” he continued. Grinning, he fixed his gaze on the young man, staring into the guy’s deep brown eyes. “Guess it’s time to replace them.”
The young man peered at him through his lashes, a small smile toying at his lips. “Y-Yeah. Guess so.”
Diego slid his gaze down his mate’s seated form, just managing to keep from swallowing his tongue. The guy wore a form-fitting, blue polo shirt and black fitted jeans. On his feet, he wore comfortable walking shoes.
“Looks like you get the right kind of laces. The flat ones never seem to come untied,” Diego commented. “Maybe you’d be willing to show me where you get them?”
“Uh, I shop at the local store around the corner,” the man said.
Slowly rising to his feet, Diego smiled at the man. “Diego Tamang. Does this mean you’ll show me?”
The man started to reach out to him. “Z—”
“Back off, perv,” the woman snapped. “Hands off my son.” She actually reached out and smacked at Diego’s offered hand.
Grinning widely—hell, he’d known it’d been a risk to ignore the possible mother—Diego turned to the woman. He held out his hands, palms up in the universal I mean no harm gesture. “My apologies. Your son is truly a stunning man.” He risked a glance toward Z—for lack of a better name. “Surely you've seen him hit on before?”
“Even if you were a woman it wouldn't be appropriate,” she snarled. “Just how old are you?”
Since there was no way Diego planned to reveal that he was a little under three hundred years old, instead, he stated, “My apologies. I assumed your son was over eighteen.” He backed away a step. “I wish you both the best.”
With that, Diego resumed his walk down the aisle toward the men’s room.
Diego just hid a smile when his sensitive hearing picked up the sound of a chair scraping on wood. There was an odd click-click that he couldn't place, almost drowned out by the woman snapping, “Where are you going?”
“Order me a club sandwich,” the young man’s voice replied. “I need to pee and take my pills.”
“Are you not feeling well?” the woman quickly asked, expressing alarm.
“I’ll be fine,” Z immediately replied.
While Diego wondered what he mate referred to, he kept moving. Once he’d slipped into the bathroom, he scanned the area. Empty. Good. He stepped sideways and waited patiently for the door to open.
Diego watched as the door opened. The young black-haired male slowly entered, his weight shifting between a sturdy appearing left leg and a very fancy looking, three-toed cane. While that gave Diego pause, reminding him of the man’s mention of medicine, it wasn’t enough to stop him from gently tugging the male into his arms.
“How old are you?” Diego blurted out.
The guy grinned. “What? No longer interested in my name?”
Diego chuckled and nodded. “I do plan to find that out, but first, I need to know you’re of age. I can wait if you’re not.” He probably shouldn’t have mentioned that last part, since it made him come across as a stalker, but too late.
Fortunately, the guy just chuckled and breathlessly replied, “I’m twenty-two and I’m Zachary Young. Pleased to meet you.”
“Most definitely pleased,” Diego responded. “I’m Diego Tamang, and you are the sexiest thing I’ve seen in years.” He crooned the last few words, lowering his head and rubbing his lips up the guy’s long, lean neck. He inhaled Zachary’s light, grassy fragrance. It reminded him of the perfect savannah—grass, animals, and dirt.
Wait. What is that?
Diego inhaled again, using his many years of experience to differentiate the scents. Seconds later, he jerked his head up. His jaw sagged open for a second right before he snapped it closed again as he realized what the pungent acrid odor had hidden.
“You’re a shifter!”
* * * *
Zachary Young’s heart raced, thudding hard in his chest. In all his twenty-two years, he’d never been so turned on or felt his cock so hard. Even when he’d first figured out what his dick was for and fucked anyone willing. There was just something about the burly biker that got his motor running, especially with the way he aggressively pressed against him.
Zachary had dated the occasional girl in high school. Then, when Paul Brown, captain of the football team, had tugged him into a janitor’s closet and kissed the every-loving breath out of him, he’d realized he enjoyed being with guys so much more.
That had woken a whole new world for him.
While Zachary hadn’t had the heart to leave his mother alone to go away to college, he’d still taken advantage of the local community college. There, he’d met a few like-minded men and played around quite a bit.
Diego, though, the way he’d looked at Zachary so blatantly, a shiver worked through him just at the memory. There had been no mistaking his interest. His confidence called to Zachary in a way he’d never experienced.
Zachary released the handle of his cane, somehow trusting that Diego wouldn’t allow him to fall. Lifting his hands, he slid them under the leather jacket the big man wore and rested his palms on Diego’s chest.
At approximately six foot three, with a body built like a brick shit house, Diego probably had muscles upon muscles. Zachary really wanted to strip those black, painted on jeans from his legs. Was Diego hairy? Did he have scars? Tattoos?
That’d be yummy. I could trace them, lick them.
Zachary wanted to find out.
Then the man’s comment registered. “Huh? What’s a shifter? What are you talking about?”