Author Charlie Richards

Giving love and imagination free reign


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The Realtor's Unexpected Find

Kontra's Menagerie: Book Twenty-Nine

On the Road: When a realtor reviews a home before showing a prospective client, he finds something unexpected.

Bruin Rawlins is a musk ox shifter who enjoys his job as a realtor since it allows him to meet so many new people. That increases his opportunity to find his mate—the other half of his soul. Imagine his surprise when it’s not a client who turns out to be that special someone, but a beaten, battered human he finds in a home he’s checking out. Giving in to his shifter instincts to care for his mate, Bruin takes the man home and, with the help of his brother, treats his injuries. When the human wakes, he panics and runs. To Bruin’s embarrassment, it’s his mammy who manages to calm him, taking him to call his family and giving Bruin a chance to learn his mate’s name—Juan Ramirez. When Juan’s relations arrive, other people are with them. Bruin learns that Juan already knows about shifters. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean he’s ready to jump in and bond. Can Bruin earn Juan’s trust while keeping him safe from whoever had hurt him?

Excerpt - The Realtor's Unexpected Find

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    “Hi, Bru,” Warren replied. “I’m calling to make sure your client showing this afternoon isn’t going to interfere with Rochelle’s birthday party.”

    While punching in the code, Bruin rolled his eyes. “As if I’d ever miss my niece’s birthday party.” He pulled the house’s key from the now-open box and inserted it into the lock. “Don’t worry, Warren. I’ll be there on time.”

    “Good. Because no way do I want to figure out a way to tell my little girl that her favorite uncle…”

    Bruin stepped into the house and immediately lost track of what Warren was saying. The scent that hit his nostrils was just too distracting. It contained an earthy fragrance mixed with something sweet—like honeysuckle. Except, there was an underlying hint of iron to it, too, as well as a bitterness that set his musk ox on edge.

    Goose bumps formed on his arms underneath his jacket, and the hairs on his nape stood on end.

    “Bruin? Bruin? Are you listening to me?”

    “No,” Bruin admitted when he finally registered Warren calling his name. He had no idea how long he’d been standing inside the foyer of the home, but now he started forward. His need to identify the source of the confusing scent surged through him. Part of it set his teeth on edge, even as arousal began to burn through his system.

    He didn’t understand it one bit.

    Evidently, something in Bruin’s tone must have alerted Warren. “What’s going on, Bruin?” his older brother demanded. “What’s wrong?”

    As Warren was a damn dominant musk ox—and the head enforcer for their herd—Bruin naturally followed his commands…and answered his questions. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “There’s a scent in here that’s…I can’t describe it.”

    “Are you at that house you plan to show your clients later?”

    “Yeah.” Bruin tipped his head back and inhaled deeply.

    “Well, isn’t it sitting empty because it’s on the market?” Warren started slowly. “Plenty of people could have been through it.”

    Bruin growled low in his throat. He didn’t like Warren’s logic, even if he was right. Tracking down and sniffing every person who’d toured the place would be a difficult, if not nearly impossible, task.

    Except, as Bruin started up the stairs, the scent intensified. “Maybe, but—” Something told him he wouldn’t have to do that. “This is too fresh. It’s…current. Here.”

    Reaching the top landing, Bruin took in the four closed doors. He knew from the listing information that three would lead to bedrooms and the fourth was a hall bathroom. Judging by the fact that the doors on the right were French doors, Bruin decided that was the master suite, which included an ensuite.

    “Talk to me, Bruin,” Warren urged. “What’s going on?”

    “I’m just exploring,” Bruin replied absently as he sniffed around the space. He turned away from the French doors and headed toward the farthest one on the left. “Whoever this is, he was here recently.”

    Or he’s still here.

    Bruin didn’t add that, since it was his own hope talking. Tucking his clipboard under his arm, he freed up a hand to reach for the knob. He paused an instant, feeling a shiver trickle up his spine, and he felt certain something important was about to happen.

    His musk ox urged him to hurry up and open the door.

    Obeying his animal, Bruin turned the knob. He pushed the door open, and a wall of the odor crashed over his senses. A growl he couldn’t stop erupted from his throat as the smell of blood clogged his nostrils.

    Stepping into the room, Bruin gasped, cutting off the noise. He almost whimpered instead. His heart tripped in his chest, and his body didn’t seem to know how to respond to the sight before him—become aroused or become enraged.

    Bruin dropped his clipboard in shock. The confusion to the smell in the house now made perfect sense. Lying on a thin mattress and tied to a crappy metal bedframe—nude, beaten, and bloody—was his mate.

    “W-Warren,” Bruin whispered, frozen to the spot, unable to tear his gaze away from the battered human on the bed. “I-I—”

    “Talk to me, Bruin,” Warren urged in a soothing croon. “Tell me what you see.”

    “My mate.” Bruin barely managed to get the words out of his too-tight throat.

    After a couple of seconds, Warren asked, “Did you just say that you see your mate?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Uh, can you tell me a little more on that, Bru?”

    Taking a deep breath, which caused his arousal to surge even as his gut churned that he was reacting like that when his mate was in such a state, Bruin managed to pull his head out of his ass. “Someone put one of those cheap metal bedframes in here with a thin mattress. He’s on it. Tied to it.” His words were barely a whisper, but he knew his brother’s enhanced shifter hearing would easily allow him to make out his words. “He’s been beaten, and he’s naked, and there’s blood…everywhere.”