Do you enjoy SERIALS? How about WEREBEARS?
In Part 2 of Black Bear, Ryker realizes that he needs to help protect Charlene from her abusive, soon-to-be-ex-husband.
In Part 5 of Grizzly Bear, Cassidy and Abe return home to Boston from an eventful trip to Jackson Hole. They’re both eager to move forward with their engagement and dealing with some of the bigger problems in their lives so they can have that shot at happiness they both deserve.
Below are chapter excerpts from each Part.
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[[ 11 ]]
Ryker’s bear was in control. He was furious. Ready to murder. To snap Trevor’s neck with one lethal bite.
How dare he stalk Charlene!
He roared in fury and lunged at Charlene’s soon-to-be-ex-husband. Who took off running, faster than a leopard hot on the tail of a gazelle. Ryker chased him out of the yard and down the street, until he got the scent of Trevor’s car.
Which Trevor was scrambling into like a mad man.
Ryker’s bear huffed, snorted and pounded the ground beneath his paws, making a clear statement that he was enraged. Angry. Furious.
It was hard to subdue his bear mind, but he reminded himself that he wasn’t on a military mission, and he didn’t have authority to kill. This was private. Personal. Part of his own life, not being done in service for the Army.
So, he came to a dead stop. Stayed in place.
Trevor sped off into the dark of the night and Ryker stood to his full height on his hind legs, watching the car’s taillights disappear. He then wandered back to Charlene’s front yard and waited. Calming himself. Taking in huge breaths of air to center his inner animal.
Finally, he relaxed and transitioned back into his human form. His clothes were a shredded pile at the front door, where he’d shape-shifted out of them. Thankfully, he always kept extra clothes in his truck. However, he was more worried about Charlene than being nude.
Stark naked, he peeked into the house. She laid on the living room floor where she’d passed out. He ran over to her and knelt beside her.
Charlene was out cold.
Which made him wonder. Had she hit her head on something when she passed out?
He lifted her into his arms and carried her over to the sofa and gently laid her down. He put a blanket over her that had been resting over the back of the sofa.
Gingerly, he looked at her head and in her hair, trying to see if there was a bump or any blood. Nothing obvious, which came out as a sigh of relief.
He just needed to wait. Wait until she came to. He hoped it wouldn’t be too long.
He jogged to his truck, opened the door and ruffled through his workout duffle bag and pulled out a shirt and pair of jeans. Right there, in the middle of night, he dressed himself. Thankfully, the cabin was remote enough that no one lived close by enough to see him.
He dashed back inside the cabin.
Charlene came to with a start, and what sounded like the remnants of a scream in her throat.
“You’re awake…” he said, softly.
In a flash, she leapt from the sofa, backing away carefully from Ryker.
“You! Stay away!” She yelled, pointing a finger at him in panic.
Ryker stood, a plaintive look of appeal on his face. “Charlene, it’s okay, I’m not going to harm you…” he attempted to explain.
“No! I know what I saw! You turned into a god-damned bear!” She said, terrified.
“Try to calm down, Charlene. I can explain everything. I promise,” Ryker said, urging her to calm down.
Charlene had backed right into the wall at that point and stood, paralyzed and trembling.
“Please, Charlene… calm down, I won’t hurt you. Deep breaths in, deep breaths out…”
She somehow managed to stay still and do exactly what he suggested. He noticed that her eyes were wide with fear and confusion.
“How is this possible?”
Ryker stepped forward a bit, “I promise I can explain. I just need you to not freak out again… Come back to the sofa, and lay down, okay? You’ve had a bad scare.”
Charlene slowly sliding down the wall to an Indian sitting position on the floor.
“I’ll sit here. You stay there…” she insisted.
Ryker froze where he was standing. He could respect how shocking it would be for the average citizen to encounter a shifter, shifting into their animal form. He’d hoped to have the chance to tell her about his black bear, but fate had beat him to the punch.
“I’ll just say it like it is. I’m a shapeshifter. A were-bear,” Ryker said softly.
“A were-bear? Are you serious…” Charlene said, her voice faltering. “There’s no such thing… that’s not possible,” she stammered out.
Ryker knew she just needed some time. To get over the shock of what had just occurred. He didn’t know what else to say or do except remain calm and keep his distance. He was inclined to go chase after Trevor, her soon-to-be-ex-husband, in his truck and beat the living life out of him. But he knew that would get neither of them anywhere.
Instead, he’d pursue it on his own time. Privately, when he could make good use of having access to state records providing information about license plates.
It was time to pay a visit to Trevor.
“Shall I leave?” He asked, hesitantly.
Charlene continued to stare at him, blinking in disbelief. She nodded slowly, frozen in place. “Yes, please.”
Ryker relented and strode over to the front door. “I’m going outside and sitting in my truck for a while. If you want to talk, just turn the front porchlight off and on a few times. I’ll come inside.”
“Ryker, you don’t have to do that…”
“Yes, I do. That ass-hat of a husband of yours is drunk and likely stupid enough, he’ll return. This time, I won’t just scare the living shit out of him.”
Charlene nodded meekly, the look on her face indescribable. Both terrified and relieved, yet still confused. Ryker hated seeing her this way.
He knew she just needed some time.
* * *
(( 27 ))
Being back in Boston felt better than I’d anticipated. Cassidy was right. We needed space. Some time. To just be us. Alone. Together.
Rather than push her about anything, I decided she’d bring it up in good time on her own terms. Our relationship had fast forwarded rather quickly. Not that I wasn’t happy about it. But I needed to be realistic.
She’d left for Starbucks to do some writing and I was at the wood-working shop.
“I did it,” I said, out of the blue.
“Did what?” Jacob asked, his attention focused on his project, barely paying me any mind.
Jacob’s head jerked up. “And? Did she accept?” He asked, a big smile on his face.
“Yes, by a small miracle.”
“How so?” He asked inquisitively.
“Just family and clan business butting its head in on our time together, wanting a piece of her too. We’d just wanted a nice, quiet trip to my hometown and bear clan area. Show her around and spend time getting to know my family. But some family stuff came up that damned near scared her off.”
“Take it easy there, boy…” Jacob said, nodding at the wood piece that I was sanding too aggressively, a teasing smile on his face.
I stopped immediately. “Sorry… my bad. I was thinking working it out here might help.”
Jacob strolled over to a mini-fridge he kept in the wood-working space and pulled out two beers. He popped the lids and handed me one. He tapped it, “Congratulations, I can’t wait to meet the lass. When is the wedding?” Every now and then, his Scottish dialect complimented his accent.
“We don’t know yet, I think we both want and need a long engagement. So, not for another year off at least.”
“How’d you propose?”
“On a lake, in a boat, at night. It was perfect, stars clear as can be in the sky and no one around. The lake all to ourselves. Christened the engagement in a nearby boat-house.” I winked.
Jacob chuckled, “Ah to be young again. I’m happy for you. Glad you found your mate.”
My cell chirped, interrupting our chat. It was a text from the guilty party, herself. “Excuse me.”
Jacob nodded his understanding at me.
‘Want a mocha, frap or latte?’
‘None of the above, I want you,’ I texted back, grinning. Then waited.
‘Are you saying you want a taste of me for your afternoon delight?’
‘Okay… caramel or chocolate?’