Author Charlie Richards

Giving love and imagination free reign


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With a Gentle Nudge

Kontra's Menagerie: Book Twenty-Six

On the Road: Stopping to say hello to an old friend, a brawny human discovers a strange new world.

Pierce Rinkon lives a simple life. Having been born with a learning disorder as well as a disability, he knew he was considered by most to be a little on the dim side. That doesn't stop him from enjoying his life, though. His work as a receptionist for his small town's sheriff's office allows him plenty of interaction with others. For fun, Pierce runs, boxes, and finds men interested in a quick romp. After all, he doesn't expect anyone to be interested in him long-term. While out on a morning run deep in the woods, he spots an old acquaintance--retired deputy Mac. When Pierce heads over to say hi, he watches something crazy happen...an animal changes into a man. As he's struggling to process what he's seen, a good-looking dark-haired guy named Daevon makes it plain he's interested in him. Except, Daevon isn't human, and he turns into a scary-looking wolverine. On top of that, Pierce discovers Daevon is smart, educated, and is a retired college professor. How could Daevon possibly be interested in a dumb, small-town hick like Pierce?

Excerpt - With a Gentle Nudge

The excerpt below contain explicit adult language and sexual content.

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age.

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    Finishing his shower, Pierce decided to give a friendly warning to Anthony. His fuck-buddy deserved to know that some of his customers were homophobes. He knew his friend was deep in the closet. Anthony didn’t want his sexual orientation to impact his business.

Pierce dried swiftly, then slung the damp towel back around his waist. Carrying his shower supplies, he returned to his locker. He spotted Anthony waiting for him, a clipboard in hand.

“I filled out everything for you, so you just need to sign the bottom,” Anthony told him softly after a glance around. “Figured it’d be easier for you.”

Smiling in appreciation, Pierce murmured, “Thanks, Anth.” Then he swept his gaze over the space, too, before opening his locker. Lowering his voice further, he whispered, “Wanted to warn you. Bill is a homophobe.” Seeing the way Anthony’s brows shot up in obvious question, Pierce added, “He’s said some shit to me.”

Anthony’s face paled a little. “How the hell would he even know about you?”

Pierce shrugged his wide shoulders. “No idea.” The gym had been his safe place, but that seemed to be changing. “Just thought I’d give you a heads up.”

Taking the clip board, Pierce stared at the form on it. He took in the lines that formed boxes and the letters that were supposed to form words. Pierce took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

The more worked up he was, the harder it was for him to comprehend what he was seeing.

“You just need to sign here.” Anthony pointed near the bottom.

Pierce nodded as he settled on one of the wooden benches that ran the length of the locker bay. Resting the clipboard on his thighs, he settled the tip of the pen where Anthony had indicated. After another calming breath, Pierce painstakingly wrote his name.

He took another few minutes to work out most of the words on the form. As much as he trusted Anthony, he didn’t want to be too dependent on him. After confirming where he needed to be and when, he handed the pen and board back to Anthony.

“Thanks, Anth.” Pierce stood and grabbed his clean clothes from his locker. “I think I’m gonna go for a run.”

Anthony’s snort drew Pierce’s attention to his friend’s grinning face. “You just showered, and you’re gonna go work out some more?”

Pierce shrugged.

“You could have just run on the treadmill,” Anthony pointed out, using a thumb to point over his shoulder.

“Naw,” Pierce told him. “Not that kind of run.” Grinning, he pulled his jeans on underneath his towel. Then he dropped the damp fabric as he zipped and buttoned. “Ready to get out in nature and get some fresh air.”

After another nod, Anthony turned and waved the clipboard. “Have fun.”

Pierce grunted in acknowledgment as he pulled his gray wife-beater over his head. After pulling on his socks and shoes, he picked up his bag and headed out of the gym. Feeling the warm sun’s rays on his cheeks coupled with the cool spring breeze, he grinned.

Yeah. Nature it is.

Opening his soft-top’s door, Pierce climbed into his Jeep. He tossed his bag into the back and shut the door. Firing up the engine, he headed north.

Even though Pierce had just worked his arms on the bag, he still felt energized. He always seemed to have an excess of energy. Physical activity kept him from never getting any sleep. He’d struggled with that as a kid, since school forced him to sit in a chair and listen to a teacher drone on and on for hours at a time—then the time spent doing homework.

Dismissing a past Pierce had no ability to change, Pierce turned his Jeep onto a county road leading into the hills. He thought it was a little ironic that he’d ended up a receptionist for the town’s police station. Sheriff Stillwell was understanding however, and had bought Pierce a desk where he could raise and lower it, allowing him to stand while doing his work.

The sheriff didn’t even mind that Pierce danced while working. The man smiled or chuckled occasionally, but the noise was never malicious. He said as long as the work was done correctly, Pierce could do it however he wanted.

Finding the trailhead he wanted, Pierce turned onto it. He parked, noticing a number of motorcycles in the lot. Peering over them, he wondered what it would feel like to ride on one. Pierce had a soft-top Jeep with roll bars, and he wondered if it felt similar to when he removed the canvas.

With that thought, another bounced through Pierce’s mind. It was almost warm enough to do just that.

Maybe when I get home.

Oh, I should check the forecast, first.

After slipping from his vehicle, Pierce reached in and grabbed a light jacket from the back. He tied the arms around his waist, then shut the door. Since it was a little cooler in the hills, he wanted it just in case.

“Oh. And water and a couple of granola bars,” Pierce reminded himself. He rounded his Jeep and opened the passenger door. After grabbing a satchel from the floorboard, he grabbed the granola bars from the glove box and a couple bottles of water from the case of them he kept in the back. “And we’re ready.”

Pierce figured a shrink would have a field day with the fact that he talked to himself, but he didn’t give a shit.

Heading up the trail, Pierce swung his arms, stretching his shoulders, biceps, and triceps as he started his hike. He hadn’t gone far when he realized he heard voices. Figuring it was the guys who had been on the motorcycles, Pierce glanced around with interest.

When Pierce rounded the next bend, he noticed a flash of yellow between two trees to his right. He paused and squinted, peering into the gloom. It took him a second, but he realized someone was over there.

Pierce glanced at the trail, nibbling his bottom lip. The rules of hiking was to stay on the trail, but he knew a lot of people had picnics, too. Just as he turned, deciding it was none of his business, Pierce saw a face between the branches…and it was someone he knew.

“Deputy Anderson,” Pierce murmured, heading in that direction. The man, Mac to his friends, had recently retired when he’d found the love of his life in a cute twinky guy named Deter. Pierce had thought they’d left the area.

Is that really him?

Lifting a branch, Pierce eased through a break in the trees. “Hey, Deputy Anderson,” he called, grinning at the man. When the man turned, Pierce lifted his hand in greeting as he moved into the clearing. “Hi, there! I didn’t know you were back in town.”

Deputy Anderson’s eyes widened and his lips parted, his surprise etched over his features. “Pierce.” He darted his gaze around the area as he strated toward him. “Hey, man. How are you?”

Pierce opened his mouth to answer, but an odd popping and cracking sound drew his attention. Focusing left, he gaped as he stumbled backward a step. There…right before his eyes…was the oddest damn thing he’d ever seen.

“Th-There was a zebra…and now he’s a man!”

Lifting his hands in placation, Deputy Anderson stepped before him, blocking his view of the naked, blushing male. “Pierce, just calm down. Take a breath.” He rested his hands on Pierce’s shoulders and squeezed lightly. “I can explain.”

Staring at his ex-co-worker, Pierce cried, “How the hell can you explain that?”