Author Charlie Richards
Now Available at eXtasy Books!
Pursuit by Camelback
Kontra's Menagerie: Book Thirty-Three
On the Road: Expecting to die in a cage until rescued by demons, a trapped camel shifter finds new hope in a sweet, feisty human.
Stuck in camel form, Rudy loses all track of time while held in a small, exotic animal zoo run by a circle of witches. They even saddle him up and use him to give customers rides. When demons wipe out the witches and their acolytes, he’s certain he and the other shifters in the place will be next. Instead, the demons free them and take them to a shifter gang deep in the Louisiana bayou.
When Rudy and the several others who still can’t shift are ordered to hide from an arriving vehicle, they obey. Curious, he peeks through the trees and watches three figures emerge from a black SUV—two clearly federal agents and one not. As they disappear inside, the most wonderful aroma drifts across Rudy’s senses, and he realizes one of the visitors is his mate. Rudy longs to rush in and discover who, but he forces himself to wait, knowing he should only reveal himself to his one and only.
To Rudy’s great relief, the federal agents leave, and their scents don’t interest him. Even in camel form, Rudy makes it known that the visiting human—Gary Badoga—is his mate. Upon learning that Gary’s head has been filled with lies about shifters by witches, can Rudy figure out a way to connect when Gary seems afraid of his animal?
Excerpt - Pursuit by Camelback
The excerpt below contain explicit adult language and sexual content.
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As they disappeared inside, Rudy began to turn away. He allowed his attention to drift toward the plants around him, wondering if any of them would taste good to his camel. Rudy had just decided to sample the leaves on a nearby bush when an earthy, masculine fragrance teased his nostrils.
The pleasant aroma lit up Rudy’s senses, and he inhaled deeply. He let out a soft grunt of appreciation as he turned his head, searching for the source of the smell. The fragrance caused heat to simmer through his veins, warming him from the inside out. An aura of anticipation even flooded him.
Except, after Rudy inhaled once more, the scent dissipated.
Rudy grumbled irritably, turning his head this way and that, lifting and lowering it, but the smell was gone. Frustration unlike anything Rudy had ever experienced surged through him, and he stamped his foot in anger.
Turning his attention to the house, Rudy wished he had the ability to shift, so he could talk to Alpha Kontra about it. Perhaps he would be able to help him locate the source. After all, he’d already seen Kontra use Payson, a hyena shifter, as a hound dog to track a human through the swamp.
I bet that shifter could tell me what caused that amazing aroma. I want to nuzzle against it and—Oh shit! Did I just scent my mate?
Once the idea hit Rudy’s brain, everything clicked into place. It made sense. He’d caught a faint odor for a moment when the new people walked up to the house.
Oh, wow. One of them is my mate!
Rudy took two steps toward the house, eagerness filling him. Something gripped his hind leg and tugged lightly. Pausing, Rudy turned his head and saw the elephant had wrapped his powerful trunk around his limb.
The elephant eased his hold as he shook his head, silent questions filling his deep gray eyes.
Wishing again that he could shift, Rudy grumbled his frustration. He did still, however. He knew what the elephant was warning him about—the alpha wanted them to stay hidden.
Forcing himself to relax, Rudy bobbed his head once, accepting the elephant’s warning. The larger beast cocked his head, obviously still wondering what was up with him. Rudy wished he could answer.
Instead, Rudy allowed his breath out in a rush of frustration, and he turned back to face the house.
Then…he waited, occasionally flicking his tail at a fly as he watched for the humans to appear again. He reminded himself over and over that Kontra would be able to give him information on who was inside. One way or another, he could figure out who his mate was.
Rudy shifted from foot to foot, his excitement building as he saw the front door open once more. The federal agents exited the old Victorian. While the man was frowning, clearly displeased about something, the woman was shaking her head and smirking at him.
Breathing deeply, Rudy hoped to catch a hint of their scents. He was pretty certain that his mate wasn’t the woman—please, don’t let it be the woman—but he couldn’t dismiss her right away, yet, either. They’d both climbed into the vehicle and shut their doors before Rudy managed to parse out their smells.
Okay. Not them.
That meant his mate with the shorter, plump human.
Rudy’s anticipation ramped up, and he stared at the once more closed door, waiting for him to appear. Except, he didn’t. Instead, Rudy heard the engine rumble to life, and soon after, the federal agents drove away.
My mate is still in the house.
That knowledge filled Rudy with a rush of excitement. He once again started toward the Victorian. That time, when the rope-like sensation tightened on his leg, he knew what it was.
Grumbling, Rudy barely resisted attempting to yank free of the elephant’s trunk. He obeyed the unspoken urging—wait. After all, they’d been ordered to stay hidden until one of Kontra’s people gave them the all-clear.
Waiting had never been so difficult for Rudy.
Finally, Rudy spotted Mutegi—the gang’s lead enforcer—heading toward the woods…and them.
Unable to wait a second longer, Rudy rushed forward, ignoring a low-hanging branch and the way his hump pushed a limb up so far it creaked, threatening to snap. He barely even registered it when the branch swung back down and popped him on the left flank. Instead, Rudy was too focused on rumbling his excitement to the warthog shifter crossing the yard.
Mutegi lifted one hand as he cocked his head. “You know I cannot understand,” he rumbled deeply in his slight African accent. “What is wrong?”
Rudy practically pranced from foot to foot, trying to figure out how the hell to explain. He really just wanted to barge into the house and seek out the cute human. Struggling, he peered from Mutegi to the house and back again.
To Rudy’s surprise, the elephant appeared at his side once more. He waffled softly, lowering the end of his trunk to the dirt. Rudy stared in surprise as he used his appendage to spell out a couple of words.
Pleasure and relief flooded Rudy in equal measure that someone had put the pieces together so swiftly.
Braying, Rudy bobbed his head in a semblance of a nod. He peered toward the house before refocusing on Mutegi. He even nudged the elephant’s head before snuffling at the words written on the ground.
Mutegi’s brows furrowed. “You believe Gary is your mate?”
Rudy’s excitement mounted to have a name to go with the black-haired, bespeckled human’s face. Still, he didn’t know if Gary truly was his mate. Rudy needed to confirm it.
Prancing toward the house, Rudy grumbled excitedly.
Want to see my mate now!
Mutegi sighed deeply, but he did turn toward the house. His black eyes narrowed as he glanced from Rudy to the house and back again.
“As much as I hope Gary is your mate,” Mutegi began, walking beside him. “You need to keep in mind that he has been lied to by witches.” The big black male patted Rudy’s shoulder as worry began to fill him, adding, “But you are one of us. We will help you in every way possible.”
Rudy felt surprise and relief flood him as he realized that he once again had a herd, one that would watch his back, and that knowledge filled him with pleasure…and anticipation.
Now, if I could just bloody well shift.