Authors: Belinda Meyers
Jess opened her eyes, yawning. Luxuriant black fur
surrounded her. She felt so warm and rested that it was difficult to believe she’d
been on the run and in fear for her life only a few hours ago. A couple of feet
away, on the other side of one of Mike’s immense bear-legs, Suzy was opening
her eyes, too, and stretching.
They smiled at each other and
gripped hands, still besties. Mike seemed to be asleep, snoring big bear-snores
from time to time. When he twitched a leg, Suzy giggled and said, “He’s
Jess giggled, too. “Think he dreams
of catching fish?”
“Or maybe eating honey.”
That cracked Jess up. She was
laughing so hard it woke Mike up, and he jerked suddenly, spilling both Jess
and Suzy to the floor. That plus the sleepy, confused look on his bear-face
only made Jess laugh even harder. Suzy laughed, too. It felt so good to feel
joy again after all they’d been through, after the roller coaster of emotion
and danger they’d been on. Relief spread throughout Jess’s body, warming her as
much as the morning sun pouring in through the windows and gleaming on Mike’s
dark fur. It shimmered and started to fade as he shifted back into human form,
and in seconds he was fully human once more, looking confused at the
“What’s so funny?” he said, rubbing
sleep out of his eyes.
“Nothing,” Jess said. Her eyes
swiveled to Mike’s cock, which was huge and hard. She hadn’t noticed it before
this morning; it must have been hidden under a bear-leg. It was so enormous
that for a moment she wondered if he had fully transformed back or if he might
still be part bear, but nope, that was really all him.
Could I get that all inside me?
She felt her cheeks burn, and
turned to see Suzy very deliberately looking at the ceiling. Her cheeks had
Mike grinned. “Just a little
morning wood, ladies. What, ladies don’t get a little tingly at sun-up? A
little dew on the lily?”
Jess felt a little tingly now, that
was for sure. “I don’t think this is an appropriate conversation,” she said,
though the truth was she just didn’t want to talk about sex in front of Suzy.
Or at least not talk with Mike about sex in front of Suzy. She and Suzy could
talk about sex all night, and had on many occasions.
“Anyway,” Suzy said to Mike, her
voice formal and her eyes still averted. “Thank you very much for what you did
last night, Mr. Buchanan.”
Jess nodded. “That was a great
idea, shifting like that.” It had been surreal at first, allowing herself to
get so close to a bear, then actually touching and cuddling with one, but
somehow Mike had made it seem natural, and Suzy had been around to lend her
courage. “It really kept us warm,” she added.
“No problem,” Mike said. “Now let’s
see if we can get out of here without being mauled by lions.”
That sobered Jess up fast. “Think
they’re still out there?”
“I doubt it,” Mike said, moving to
the window and peeking out. Apparently not seeing anything, he cracked the
window and sniffed the air, his nostrils flaring. “I don’t smell anything,” he
said. “But I can’t say for sure. At least it’s stopped snowing. But that will
make it easier for them to see and smell us.” He turned back to them, and Jess
was relieved to see his hard-on was fading. Almost animal-like, he still didn’t
seem concerned about his nudity. “I don’t think you ladies should go home,” he
said Suzy. Now she did look at him, alarm in her eyes.
“Bryce and his merry band could
come calling on you.”
“You mean, you think they’ll still
come after us?” Jess said.
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
“I won’t live in fear,” Suzy said,
crossing her arms across her chest and jutting out her jaw. “Besides, how will
Bryce and his goons even know where I live?” She didn’t need to add that Jess
was staying with her; they’d told Mike that last night. “We never gave them our
“They could’ve looked in your car,”
Mike said simply, and that was true enough that Suzy cast Jess a worried look.
“No,” Mike said, “till we know more about what they’re up to, I suggest you
stay with me. I’ll take you to my crew up at the resort. Maybe my alpha can
shed some light on just what the hell’s going on. It could just be some random
attack, but … well.” Again he shrugged his massive shoulders, slabs of muscle
moving over each other as he did. God, he was so sexy. Jess could eat him up
with a spoon.
Speaking of eating, her stomach
chose just that moment to rumble. As if it were contagious, Mike’s belly
rumbled, too, a long loud complicated sound.
“I could eat an elk,” Mike said,
and she wasn’t entirely sure if he was joking or not. “Let’s make tracks.”
“Breakfast is on me,” Suzy said.
It was a long slog back to the road
where the tree had fallen, and when they drew close to it Mike consented to
tying Jess’s jacket around his waist to hide his manhood, which was at least
not erect anymore. His wounds had healed further, but he was still pretty
clawed-up, and broad swaths of lion marks could clearly be seen on his chest,
neck and torso. The cold finally seemed to begin affecting him, and his nipples
had hardened and gooseflesh spread on his arms and legs. Snow (it had begun
coming down again) settled in his wavy black hair and thick chest hair, then
melted, making him glisten with moisture. Jess wanted to lick it all off of
“Shit,” Suzy said when they reached
The tree was gone, but so was her
Jess slapped her forehead. “They
must have towed it when they cleared the tree from the road.”
“I bet they sent search parties out
to look for you two,” Mike said. “They probably thought you were hurt when the
tree came down.” He nodded, as if confirming something to himself. “The
searchers must have scared off Bryce’s pride.”
Jess had been frightened the whole
way here. Every moment she had half-expected Bryce or one of his hellions to
leap out at them, snarling, and she could still feel that fear hanging over
her. Apparently she hadn’t been the only one worried.
“Where did they go?” Suzy said.
“The cops, I mean?”
“When they couldn’t find any footprints,
they must have left,” Jess said. “Maybe they kept a car along the road in case
we returned, but we must have slept too long, and it left.” With a sheepish
look to Mike, she added, “It
Suzy gave a small smile but didn’t
say anything. She obviously knew Jess and Mike had a thing going and wasn’t
going to intrude upon it, even after Jess had repeatedly turned Mike down. Jess
felt love swell inside her, love for her oldest and dearest friend. BFFs till
Bitches Forever Fucking,
sometimes said. With other people, anyway.
“Well, what now?” Suzy said. “Our
phones were in the car.”
“Maybe someone will come along to
give us a lift,” Jess said.
“We need to go back to the bar,”
Mike said. “That’s where my car is, and my clothes. I put them there before I Shifted
last night. Only …” He grimaced.
“What is it?” Jess said.
He lifted a foot so that she could
see the sole. Seeing it, she gasped. The snow had encased it in ice, or turned
it into ice; even his bear-heat hadn’t been enough to resist Mother Nature
forever. Frostbite was beginning to settle in.
“I’ll have to Shift back,” he said.
“You two travel along the road and I’ll move in the woods just off to the side.
I’ll still be close, just in case. But I wouldn’t recommend getting in a
Decided, they set off up the road.
Several cars passed, and two slowed down to offer the women rides, but Suzy and
Jess declined, as Suzy didn’t recognize the drivers.
“I can’t really believe any of them
are friends with those asshole lions,” Suzy said, “but hell if I’m taking a
Jess agreed. She cast a glance to
the right, into the trees, but she couldn’t see Mike. She could feel him,
though, that great black bear stalking through the silent, icy forest, steam
coming from his mouth.
My brave bear
she thought, then realized what she’d thought and corrected herself.
He’s not mine. I’ve given up my right to him
Her eyes burned at the realization, and her chest felt tight.
They reached the bar an hour later.
It was just opening up for lunch. Jess and Suzy found Mike’s pick-up truck—he
had told them where it was—and Jess rooted around for his spare set of keys,
which he kept in the magnet container behind one of the tire wells of his
pick-up, and unlocked the vehicle. She found his neatly-stacked pile of
clothes, grabbed it and took it to the edge of the forest. Mike had been
waiting for them. Naked and in human form, he emerged from the conifers and
slipped on his jeans, boots, flannel shirt and jacket.
With a smile, he said, “Now let’s
Suzy had said she’d pay, but Mike
insisted that it was his treat. After they had ordered, Suzy moved off to use
the pay phone and berate the guys at the impound lot, and when she returned she
said, “Mike, I hate to ask anything else of you, but could you give me a ride
to the lot?”
“Sure thing,” he said.
Lunch arrived—or breakfast for
them—and they tucked in enthusiastically. Jess ordered the Denver omelet
(breakfast was served all day) with a short stack of pancakes, an extravagant
meal for her, while Mike chowed down on a massive, greasy bacon cheeseburger. Suzy
ordered the fish and chips. They topped it off with a round of beers.
“To surviving a lion attack,” Jess
said, and they clinked bottles.
Sipping, Mike said, “I meant it,
ladies. I want you two to return with me to the resort. My crew will keep you
safe while we figure this shit out.”
Jess just wanted to go home, and
she knew Suzy did, too, but she imagined returning to Suzy’s house to find
Bryce and his pride lounging on the couch and chairs, and she shivered.
“I guess,” she said.
Suzy groaned. “Fuck it.”
The truth, though Jess never would
have admitted it aloud, was that she kind of wished Suzy would find some other
refuge, at least for awhile. Part of her really wanted to be
wanted to be alone with him. He had been naked in front
of her for what seemed like ever, and it had all been one giant tease that had
gotten her wetter than she’d ever been, and at some point she was going to
explode if she didn’t get some satisfaction. On the other hand she was very
glad to have Suzy around as chaperone so that she couldn’t give in to that
feeling. That weakness. She was her
woman, damn it, not some
Then she saw his blue eyes watching
her from over his beer bottle. Something went soft and hot inside her. He just
radiated masculinity. Sex. More than that, he genuinely seemed to care for her.
He wanted to protect her, to comfort her, to nurture her and be with her as a
partner. A mate. She longed to let him do it. It was
to say no.
And yet …
She averted her eyes from his. In
her peripheral vision, she could see his enormous chest heave with emotion.
I’m causing him pain
, she thought.
How can I do this to him?
After their drinks, they bundled
into Mike’s truck, and he drove them down the mountain to the impound lot,
where the guys released Suzy’s car without any fine. She gave the manager a
saucy smile and pinched his bearded cheek for the niceness, then turned back to
Mike and Jess leaning up against the truck.
“Okay,” she said. “I’ll follow you
to the resort, damn it.”
Jess hadn’t been to see the ski
resort yet, and she was very curious about it. Pine Ridge was a small community
that had big ambitions, and the ski resort had been developed a century ago by
a certain family who didn’t have much of a budget to work with, but they had
big dreams, and they’d done their best they could with what they had, Suzy had
told her. So the ski resort the bear clan had bought to use as their face to
the world couldn’t be very big or fancy.
Still, Jess loved to ski, and the
idea of a bunch of sexy bear shifters running a secluded ski resort had her
super intrigued, and not a little turned on. She would be embarrassed to show
off her poor skiing skills in front of Mike, though. If he was skilled enough
to be the resort’s instructor, he would probably just laugh at her antics.
Like a seal on sticks
, Andrew had told
her more than once.
“What’s wrong?” Mike asked when
they were en route to the Pine Ridge Ski Resort. Jess was uncomfortably aware
that it was the first time they’d been alone together, really alone, in, well,
forever. Last night in the room didn’t count. Suzy had pretty much been in the
next room, after all. Now Suzy was behind them in her own sedan, a whole world
“Nothing,” Jess said, then
confessed, “I’m not a very good skier.”
Mike laughed, his great big booming
laugh. The sound both reassured and vexed Jess. He was almost too jovial.
Somehow, though, she sensed that was a front. There were deep pools in his eyes
when he didn’t think anyone was looking, and his face would grow very solemn.
As soon as he sensed he was being watched, though, he would laugh or smile or
crack a joke.
“Me, either,” he said now, still
laughing, but this time she sensed genuine amusement. His blue eyes twinkled.
she said. “But you’re the ski instructor!”
“One of them. There’s another. I’m
better than Mason is, though, at least for now. He’s learning.”
“But I don’t understand. If you’re
not a great skier, then what are you doing teaching it?”
“Looking like an ass, mostly. I’m
just the best skier my crew has, that’s all. Have you ever seen a bear ski?”