Inked By The Bear
Gus tried – and failed – to ignore the rumbling beneath his feet. He heard them coming long before anyone else would have. And, he felt them.
He turned the wrench harder than he should have and reminded himself that it wasn’t his bike he was working on right then.
It was a neighbor’s bike. A human’s bike. And a normal human wouldn’t have that kind of strength behind the simple turning of a wrench.
The roar of multiple engines gutted the silence of the normally peaceful little town of Dandridge, Tennessee. He’d brought Bex here when she sold her childhood home to start
He gave her a ride from North Carolina and hadn’t left. Didn’t have a plan to leave, either.
He also didn’t want to cause her or anyone in the small town issues and the wolf shifter leading the handful of other wolf shifters was nothing but one big, furry issue.
Gus stood, wiping his hands on a rag, and pretended he wasn’t tense as the first bike pulled right up to his feet. One by one, the engines shut off. It wasn’t until all was quiet again, that Gus looked up.
“Blackwood,” was all he said by way of greeting.
“I’m here to talk about the human woman.”
“She’s mine. Which makes her off limits to you. No need to talk about her. Have a… Safe trip back.”
“I’m not looking to cause trouble.”
Gus smirked. “You and your pack are nothing but trouble from what I hear. Especially, you.”
“At least the reputation fits,” the wolf said with a grin. His expression turned serious again. “She’s not a pure human. And I know you sense that. We all sense it. She’s part shifter, and given her age and where she comes from, I think I might I know something about her past.”Gus stared at the alpha wolf, one brow raised in question. That was a lot of specific information to just be tossed out into the open. Was Blackwood telling the truth? If he wasn’t, Gus would tear the wolf apart. But… But if he was…? Only Bex could say whether or not she’d want to know.
“Look, I know you have no reason to trust me, but when I saw her a few weeks back outside Sweet Retreat? Let’s just say it triggered some things I’ve been pulling together about past events involving our kind.”
Now, Gus was even more wary about the wolf and his intentions. “She gets off work in a few hours.”
“We can go see her now,” Luke said impatiently.
“We sure as hell can’t. I’m not letting you and your pack loose all over town or upsetting her at her job.”
“Possessive or protective?”
“Where you’re concerned, both. Definitely both.”
“Fair enough. What’ve you got for entertainment? Sounds like it’ll be a bit of a wait.”
“You can work on your bikes, or nap, or best idea, go back where you came from.”
“How about some ink?”
“You trust me with a needle?”
“Guess we’ll find out.”
Gus regarded the wolf shifter for a long moment. He couldn’t get a real solid read on the pack and their intentions. Something didn’t feel right, but he couldn’t figure out what it was. The best way to get to the bottom of it, was to keep the wolves around for a bit. “All right. Come with me. Don’t touch anything. She’ll know if it’s out of place.”
Through the back door, Gus led Luke through the kitchen. It was mostly put together. Bex was waiting on the stove top. She’d bought it at an estate sale when the money can through from the sale of the bed and breakfast in Bryson City.
She had a thing for vintage appliances and the oven was being repaired at a local shop down the road.
She had a whole vision for the place. His vision was only for her and the home he wanted with her.
“Don’t suppose you or any of your boys brought donuts from that little place in Deal’s Gap, did you?” He hadn’t had a chance to go get any himself since he’d been back from his last tattoo trip. He had a hankering for something sugary and cake like.
“No. Can’t say that was on my mind when we set out earlier.”
“Shame. Would’ve been nice, since I don’t think you’re here to talk about anything good.”
“Guess it all depends on what you consider good.”
“She tell you about what happened to her mother?” Luke asked as they climbed the staircase. Gus had refinished it down to the original wood a couple of weeks back. He needed to earn his keep. He couldn’t let her be the only one working while she got things off the ground. She didn’t make him feel that he did. No, the feeling came from within him, from when he’d been taken in and raised by a family who didn’t owe him anything, who didn’t have to keep him, yet did.
He couldn’t and wouldn’t be beholden to anyone, not even the woman who made him feel as though he fit with her more than he’d ever fit anywhere. “Yes, she told me,” he answered honestly.
“Did she tell you it was a bear? One like you?”
“She did, but he wasn’t anything like me. I wouldn’t have done what he did. I don’t know any bears who would.”
Gus rounded on Luke so fast, the wolf nearly fell down the steps. “No, you son of a bitch. I don’t. If you’ve got something to say, say it. Otherwise, save your story for Bex or leave.”
Luke raised his hands in a show of surrender. “Guess donuts would’ve been a good idea. Maybe they’d have kept your temper in check. You’re touchy.”
“We’ll find out who’s touchy when I get the tattoo gun out.”
“You don’t scare me, bear,” the wolf muttered once they started up the stairs again.
“That was your second mistake,” Gus bit out.
“What was the first?”
Available as an ebook:
The quaint little town of Dandridge, Tennessee is about to get a whole lot less quiet and a whole lot more interesting…
Bex and Gus have kept busy since leaving Bryson City and arriving in Dandridge. Between renovations on her would-be bed and breakfast, Gus tinkering on a couple of bikes and planting roots for the first time in his adult life, and Bex pulling long hours at a local restaurant, there’s been little time for much else.
But when werewolf Luke Blackwood, of the rogue Blackwood Pack, shows up with answers to secrets from Bex’s past, revelations that question whether or not she’s truly human, and and theories that may lead them all in dangerous directions, Gus must call in the cavalry to help them sort things out.
*Author’s Note: This is not a standalone read. Ink To Bear – Black and White series, Book One, can be read as a standalone, and is the beginning of how Bex and Gus met, but Inked By The Bear, a continuation of Bex and Gus’s story, cannot be read that way. Inked By The Bear has a cliffhanger ending. Book Three will be out in October 2015*
Publisher: Lissa Matthews
Kindle Worlds: Eliza Gayle’s Southern Shifters
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black & White Series, Book 2
Length: 70 pages
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