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Author Charlie Richards

Giving love and imagination free reign

Now Available at eXtasy Books!

The Altered's Atonement

Wolves of Stone Ridge: Book Fifty-Eight

Out of the Cage: After a thoughtless outburst reveals his secrets, an altered shifter must finally come to grips with not only his changing reality, but his sexuality, too.

When Corporal Brian Haas took in a fellow marine’s comatose younger brother in an attempt to figure out how to heal him, he never could have imagined the chain of events that it would set off. The testing his patient—Bailey Dyer—had been forcibly subjected to changed his DNA. Bailey had ended up turning into a paranormal creature called a shifter, giving him the ability to turn into a sentient cheetah at will.

Upon learning of shifters’ existence, Brian agrees to relocate to the mountains of Colorado, to help his buddy and the shifters looking into those targeting them. He builds a new bunker, preparing for when the thugs of the shadow military branch come calling. Brian knows it’s just a matter of time, and he has every intention of making certain sure he and his friends will be ready for them.

Brian spots a cheetah trotting into his yard. Thinking Assuming it’s Bailey, he doesn’t think anything about it…until it starts purring and rubbing up against him. This cheetah is not his ex-patient. When the man shifts, Brian finds himself face-to-face with a blond calling himself David Preston, and he seems to be just as confused by his sudden infatuation as Brian…until David calls Brian his mate.

Brian realizes his life is about to be turned upside-down all over again…if the confused altered can come to grips with his own changes.

Excerpt - The Altered's Atonement

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.

If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.

    Stopping on his small porch, Brian picked up a bottle of electrolyte water and chugged half the contents. He leaned a hip against the railing and mentally catalogued the next tasks on his list. As he did that, he lowered a hand and rubbed at his left thigh, massing the scarred flesh beneath his cargo pants.

    First, finish installing the security cameras at the north end.

    That had been the last quadrant to be kitted out with the extensive surveillance he wanted in place. It had taken months, and a little help from a few of the more tech-savvy human mates of the pack, but he knew they were almost ready. After that, he would contact one of those same mates—a guy named Raul—to encrypt everything to his computer setup in the underground bunker.

    Raul would be one of the humans who would bring his family there in the event that the worst should happen. A computer wiz, the man would help keep track of everything. At the same time, Raul would be protecting his adopted daughter, Lily. She was the niece of Raul’s wolf shifter mate, Sean. Evidently, Lily’s mother had passed in childbirth.

    As Brian turned to head into the cabin, his stomach grumbled. “Right.” He glanced over his shoulder at the sun blazing high in the sky. “First, a meal.”

    When Brian got into the swing of splitting firewood—no pun intended, ha ha—he knew he often lost track of time.

    Brian left the front door open to encourage a breeze to flow through the house. To that end, he opened the window over the kitchen sink, too. Feeling the cool air flow over his sweat-drenched frame caused goose bumps to rise on his skin, hidden beneath his damp flannel shirt.

    “Very nice.”

    Smiling, Brian quickly shucked the flannel shirt, followed by his undershirt. He draped them over the back of the small round dining room table’s straight-backed chair. Then he turned on the hot water tap before leaning against the counter and grabbing a hand towel.

    After checking the heat of the water—and waiting another thirty seconds for it to get hot—Brian lightly wet the towel. He rubbed it over his torso, cleaning his arms, chest, and pits. Finally, he grabbed his shirts again and took everything to the small laundry room off the kitchen, dumping them in the laundry basket.

    Brian had set up an off-the-grid solar charging station to power not only the electronics, but also a few other basic necessities as well. When the time came, it would even heat the underground tunnels.

    Right then, however, with it just being him around, Brian was happy to use the fireplace in the one- room cabin. The place didn’t even have a bedroom. Even the bathroom was closed off by a curtain, although Brian never used it.

    It wasn’t as if there was anyone out there to see him wash, after all.

    Still shirtless, Brian stepped out the back door. He crossed to his small, propane grill and turned it on. While it heated, he returned to the kitchen to decide what to enjoy for his late lunch, his grumbling stomach encouraging him to choose quickly. Spotting what he wanted, he grabbed a bowl and plate from the cupboard and set them on his small prep counter.

    Brian pulled out a pound of ground venison and unwrapped it before placing it in the bowl. Then he grabbed his small carton of eggs, cracked one into the bowl, and returned the carton to the fridge. Using his hip, Brian closed the door before sinking his hands into the bowl and massaging the raw egg into the meat. Once he had it mixed to his satisfaction, he formed three patties and placed them on the plate.

    Using his elbow, Brian turned the hot water back on so he could wash his hands. He placed the bowl in the sink and filled it, planning to wash it later. Brian dried his hands, grabbed his salt and pepper shakers from the table, then picked up his burger plate.

    Humming with anticipation, Brian headed back outside. He placed the patties on the heated grill, closed the cover, and returned inside. After placing the plate in the sink, he began pulling out the veggies he wanted on his burger—tomato, onions, and pickles. Brian carefully tore several large lettuce leaves off his head, intending to use them in lieu of a bun. Once he’d left the military, he didn’t work out quite as much, so he did away with as many carbs as he could.

    While prepping everything, Brian paused a couple of times to check his burgers, adding salt and pepper as needed, not to mention slices of goat cheese he carved off of a block he’d made himself. With everything ready and waiting on the small table, he headed to the grill once more. Just as he was setting the beautifully grilled patties on a clean plate, movement to his left caught his attention.

    Brian’s brows shot up as he watched a feline form round the corner of the cabin—a cheetah. He would have been concerned if he hadn’t been privy to a few key pieces of information.

    The experiments Bailey had been put through had been to insert shifter DNA into him. That had ended up giving him the ability to shift into that animal. Also, while in that form, Bailey was completely cognizant.

    While Bailey didn’t pop in on Brian often, the altered human would occasionally find his way out there when he needed a bit of solitude.

    “Hey, Bailey,” Brian greeted, grinning as the slender cheetah prowled toward him. “Did you smell the burgers and decide to stop by?”

    Brian knew a shifter’s sense of smell was even better than their animal’s natural counterpart. He could only guess at how far away the man could notice the scent of grilling meat.

    “Let me take these inside,” Brian continued as he turned off his grill and started toward the door. “I’ll put these on the table and grab you some sweatpants while you shift.”

    To Brian’s surprise, he didn’t make it to the door. The cat bounded up to him, intercepting him. The tall feline’s head reached Brian’s belly, and he began rubbing his furred face against his abdominals.

    Freezing, Brian stared at the shifter in shock, confusion filling him. He stared down at the cheetah, who, for all intents and purposes, seemed to be marking him. He opened his mouth to question Bailey, then snapped it shut just as quickly.

    “Y-You’re not Bailey,” Brian whispered, seeing the subtle differences in the spot patterns than what was on Bailey’s cat’s fur. “Who are you?”

    Brian knew he had to be a shifter, just from his actions. That meant he had to be one of Bailey’s four team members. He’d never met any of them, but he knew all of them had been experimented on, too. Brian had also been told that their memories had been wiped, and a vampire had been brought in to help them.

    So who is this?

    “Come on, buddy,” Brian urged, easing forward a step. “Let’s go inside and eat.” He carefully maneuvered sideways, although the cat didn’t let him get far, following closely behind him. “We’ll talk.”

    And figure out what the fuck is going on.