Author Charlie Richards
Now Available at eXtasy Books!
Winning the Survivalist
Wolves of Stone Ridge: Book Fifty-Four
Out of the Cage: Meeting his mate in the most unlikely of places, a wolf must figure out how to win the loyalty of his polar bear.
Markus Reussmin is a wolf shifter who’s worked as a Stone Ridge deputy for almost a decade. Over the last couple of years, he’s had a few people comment on how he didn’t look as if he’d aged a day, but he’s always been able to laugh it off as good genes. After all, he isn’t ready to go into hiding so he can reappear after a decade with a new reinvention of himself.
When the sheriff’s department receives a report of smoke in a remote part of the forest, Markus is dispatched to check it out. He hikes into the area and discovers a rudimentary campsite. That’s not all. The site is occupied by none other than his mate…judging by the delicious scent pervading the area.
With the help of his shifter nose, Markus locates the hiding human--Ronan Dyer--who turns out to be wary and untrusting of law enforcement. That makes sense, since he’s hiding from the government. Can Markus convince the skittish human he’s not the bad guy so he can help him, even as he explains the complexities of shifters and matings before his pack’s mountains are invaded by government stooges?
Excerpt - Winning the Survivalist
The excerpt below contain explicit adult language and sexual content.
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Ronan Dyer crouched behind a thick bush, peering through the branches. His left knee ached, but he didn’t dare move to adjust his stance. He clenched his jaw, pushing the pain from his mind, just as he’d been taught in the military.
I can wait as long as it takes.
“This is Deputy Markus Reussmin,” the uniformed officer called. “Is anyone here?”
Markus cocked his head a little, clearly listening. At the same time, he slowly panned his gaze over the clearing. He called a second time, then listened, before moving slowly toward Ronan’s tent. All the while, Markus continued to look around the area.
Twice, Markus’s attention paused at the bush where Ronan hid. To his relief, each time he kept searching. When he stopped at Ronan’s tent, Marcus unzipped the flap and lifted it. He didn’t enter, for which Ronan was grateful, but he must have noticed his small gas cook-stove and carefully sealed foodstuffs.
“Poacher or hunter?” Markus mused, clearly talking out loud.
Ronan curled his lip in annoyance. Of course, that would be what the deputy would assume. He figured it didn’t matter. As soon as the man left, Ronan would pack up and move on.
No way could he stick around after getting noticed…especially by law enforcement.
Watching Markus straighten as he stepped away from his tent, Ronan found his gaze snagged by the deputy’s jeans-clad ass. It was damn fine, after all—high and tight. His thighs filled out his jeans in the best way possible, and his waist appeared trim, although it was tough to tell about his torso under his thick jacket.
Shit! Stop checking out the deputy. So not the time.
Even with his mental admonishment, Ronan still felt his groin heat and his prick begin to swell. He rolled his eyes and just bit back his growl of annoyance. Having had longer dry spells than three years, he would smack himself upside the head later.
To Ronan’s relief, after fifteen minutes of exploring the area, checking out the footprints criss-crossing the area, Markus left the clearing.
Ronan waited as long as his left knee would allow before his aging body forced him to move.
Damn cold aggravating my war injury.
Gritting his teeth, Ronan slowly straightened from his stance. He grabbed a nearby tree and leaned against it. Then he lifted his left leg and slowly straightened and bent his leg a few times. It took a few repetitions, but the ache finally began to ebb.
When Ronan moved to put weight on it, he still couldn’t help but limp a little. He made his way back to the clearing. On damn near silent footfalls, he moved to where the deputy had disappeared between the trees.
Ronan didn’t believe that Markus had given up, though. Even a small town deputy would have to report a camp in a national forest. He would bring others when he returned the next time.
While Ronan didn’t know how long that would be, he couldn’t wait. He’d hoped the secluded area would mean he had some time to hunt, fish, and replenish his stores…not to mention give him some time to think. Instead, Ronan realized nosey country folk must have noticed him.
Ronan turned toward his tent. In his mind, he calculated how quickly it would take to break camp, pack everything, and clear any trace of his having been there. He didn’t want to leave any way for someone to track him.
Except, there, standing next to his tent, was Deputy Markus Reussmin.
Shit! How did I miss that he was circling the area?
Tensing, Ronan mentally calculated the odds of running. He could replace everything in the tent. Except, he’d left his rifle in there, hidden under the blankets, since he’d just been scouting the area.
Knew I should have taken it.
“Please, don’t run,” Markus urged, his tenor voice a low soothing croon. Lifting his hands, palms out in a placating manner, he told him, “I’m here because people saw smoke, and this is a state park.”
Markus swept his gaze over him, and for just a second, Ronan thought he spotted a flash of heat in his hazel eyes. Just as quickly it was gone, hidden behind a furrowed brow. The deputy swept his gaze over him, his expression turning concerned.
Ronan knew what he looked like—a homeless bum. He’d been on the run for so long, his clothes were in dire need of a wash or three. His skin felt as if he had dirt encrusted underneath it. Even Ronan’s attempt at hygiene by using his boot knife to keep his head and face closely shorn seemed a waste of time sometimes.
Except, Ronan hated beards…and long hair. He had felt the same even before he’d joined the marines. After over two decades in the service, his desire for as little hair to hassle with had become ingrained.
“You look like you could use a hot shower and a warm bed.” A wry smile curved Markus’s lips, and his hazel eyes took on a hint of a twinkle. He indicated his campsite. “Not that this doesn’t look cozy and all, but I bet pizza and beer in front of a roaring fireplace wouldn’t go amiss right now, huh?”
What the hell?
Ronan’s confusion must have been clear as day, for Markus cocked his head and cleared his throat. “How about we start over…just like we were two guys in a bar?”
Then he took a step forward, causing Ronan to tense and shuffle back a half-step.
Freezing, Ronan stared hard at him. “We can’t work out what’s going on between us if you won’t talk to me.” He held out his hand as if they were going to shake, even though they stood twenty paces apart. “I’m Markus Reussmin. What’s your name?”
Maybe it was the oddity of the situation, but Ronan found himself responding. “Ronan.”
Markus made a movement with his hand as if they were shaking hands. At the same time, he grinned broadly. “Nice to meet you, Ronan.” He took another step forward. “Can I buy you a beer?”
Ronan couldn’t help but mumble, “A beer?”
Is this guy playing with a full deck?