Blake doesn’t want a mate. No way. No how. And he certainly doesn’t want her camping on his land, floating down his stretch of river, or looking like she belongs in his bed.
But that’s exactly what he gets when he happens upon a curvy woman with shades of sunset hair named Leah.
She’s on vacation and isn’t looking for any complications, especially in the form of a shifter or the possessive MINE signal he gives off. (more…)
This is something I’m working on that’s new and it was for a special call for a publisher, but I’m not going to get it finished in time to meet the deadline. The Sticky Cowgirl has been taking up a lot of my time and I’ve about had it with these two…
But, even if I miss that deadline, I’ll self publish it and it’s no harm, no foul… It’s a bear shifter, not related to the Denali Heat series, but it’s me hoping that this one will kick start the next book for my polar bear shifters. For the time being though, I’m working on this one, here and there…
This is unedited, so just ignore the issues within…
Blake muttered a curse. Humidity covered everything from the leaves on the forest floor to the tops of the trees that rose high above. He slammed the cabin’s front door and retreated back inside to the blessed air conditioning. “Ninety-six? Not even seven in the morning and it’s ninety-six degrees? The universe is trying to kill me. That’s got to be it. Climate change. Global warming. Blah. Blah. Blah. What about just fucking hot?”
Grumpy as a bear didn’t even cover it for him and was no laughing matter. He was a damn bear. Or at least, he was a half-bear. And he hated the heat. Why didn’t bears hibernate in the summer? They could sleep during the scorching, blazing, sun-baked days instead of…sweating and having to go around naked all the time.
Not that there was anything wrong with being naked. He always got up in the morning, got dressed with the intent to stay that way, but never made it past noon. Noon-oh-one showed up and he was buck assed naked and in the river. The river was starting to piss him off too. The water was cool, but more than once, he’d seen and he’d smelled someone. It wasn’t anyone he knew. It wasn’t anyone he wanted to know, not if his keen senses were on target and they usually were.
The scent was all female. Human, but with a delicate undertone of bear. He’d never encountered a half-breed female before which had been just fine with him. He’d had sexual encounters with full human women, but none in quite a while. Being intimate had always made him want something more. He was in his early twenties when his parents were killed in shifted form. Poachers had trespassed on their land. His land now. And the world hadn’t gotten any safer or better for wildlife.
He didn’t want to mate. Now, or ever. Sex was fine as long as it was anonymous sex. There were plenty of bars on the fringe of the mountain towns for him to find partners when the urge struck. But mating? Producing cubs? No way.
And even though his natural bear counterparts never mated for life, his parents and grandparents and all those that came before and after, had. It was just one of the smudges of his DNA. He wanted to be left alone here in this little corner of the Smoky Mountains. He didn’t care what happened after he was gone, but until that time came, he was content to exist right where he was, alone.
A female shifter didn’t figure into his mind’s long-term plans. His body had other ideas with every whiff of the meddling woman. Not that he’d met her. For all he knew she was a very pleasant creature.
Creature? “Shit.” He bit the word out. The older he got, the surlier he got. Enough so he’d called her… If he was so damn content to be isolated and alone, why was he grumpy all the time? This was something he didn’t understand. Shouldn’t it make him happy? Shouldn’t he be ecstatic and thrilled to be living the ultimate life according to his grand design?
“I was happy,” he growled to the empty cabin. The empty cabin that was too big for just one person, but felt too confining most days lately. It had been built for a large family. His grandmother had had four cubs and those uncles were still alive with cubs of their own. He had family. He had cousins.
He’d had a twin sister, too, but she hadn’t survived birth. His mother had never been able to have more.
He knew pain and loss and he didn’t want anything to do with it ever again. A woman would only complicate his uncomplicated life. “I’ll just stay away from her,” he declared to the four walls. “I’ve done a good job of it so far. I can just keep doing so until she leaves the area.”
Feeling satisfied with himself and his decision, Blake made for the kitchen and the Mason jar of iced coffee in the fridge. If summer were good for anything, it was iced coffee. He drank it black, undiluted but for a few ice cubes and a slight sweetness.
He stepped onto the back deck and took a deep breath. The heat wasn’t so bad with something cold coating his throat and cooling him from the inside out. But it was still oppressive. He turned to reenter the cabin, but caught the scent before he could turn his head. She was near. To the northeast and getting closer.
Blake debated with himself. Should he get closer? Should he get a look at her? His body screamed that yes he should. His brain, on the other hand, screamed obscenities at him for even considering it.
Her scent was stronger now. “Man, this is such a bad idea,” he whispered to no one even as he crept off the deck and onto the forest floor. For a six foot five guy, he could be surprisingly stealthy.
He weaved his way through the trees toward the water, careful to keep out of sight as he got closer. A stand of trees and low-lying bushes allowed him to stay out of view. He crouched to his knees and waited.
He didn’t have to wait long. She rounded the bend in the river several seconds later and Blake had to bite down on his tongue to keep the howl at bay. His soul growled “Mine” and his brain knew they were all goners.
Reddish blonde hair caught the morning light that glinted off the water. Strands of gold and red, copper and auburn floated on the surface behind her. Her face was tilted up toward the sun as she drifted along.
She was beautiful. What he could see of her, that is. She had a full finger that fit the tube, not one that would slink through the middle unless she held on. No, this one was curved and womanly in shape. Blake liked that.
Too much. He huffed, then dropped back behind a tree. The sound echoed and she lifted her head, her gaze focused in his direction. He held his breath and stayed where he was until he was down river a little ways.
He hadn’t intended to, only his feet wouldn’t listen to his head. He didn’t usually shift in the daytime, but this wasn’t just any day. This was a special day. His bear had found its mate, and his human was pissed about it. Oh yeah. A real fuckin’ special day.
And what he’d like more than to mate at the moment with the pretty redhead, was a swim. In human form, it was hotter than hell. In bear form, it was damned hotter than hell. His coat was brown and he melted into the foliage of the Smoky Mountain National Forest. His paws were soft on the ground as he tracked the path of the inner tube. Every so often she hummed songs he didn’t know, but he liked the sound. He hated that he liked it, but nonetheless, he liked it.
She didn’t have on a bathing suit, but rather a white tank top and cut-off shorts. Would her nipples be erect? Was she braless? Did she maybe have a bikini top under the tank top? None of the answers mattered. He wanted her. Her scent was sweet and rich, like honey. Her hair was long. The color of her eyes, how tall she might or might not be, the span of her waist… None of that mattered. His gut knew.
She was a shifter too. He wasn’t sure at all how he knew that, but he did. His family didn’t mate with only shifters and the person with the dominant genes won out on whether offspring would move within both worlds or not.
At the same time, Blake didn’t think she was from around the Smokies. Her scent was too different, too new for her to inhabit the same North Carolina stretch of forest and mountain, he did. No, she was a visitor to these parts.
He also wondered if she could scent him too. Every so often she’d glance over, as though looking for something, but Blake knew she couldn’t hear him or see him. He was far enough back and used his knowledge of the woods and the river to keep her in his sight and to stay out of hers.
“I know you’re there,” she called out, interrupting his train of thought.
Blake hunkered low to the ground and tried to stop breathing. He didn’t want to be found out. He wasn’t ready. Rather, his human side wasn’t ready.
“You’re not going to talk to me? You’re just going to hide in the trees?”
He snuffled and slipped behind a tree, climbing quickly. He had a good view of several miles of river and mountains. He could see the roofs of cabins and tube rental shacks.
“That’s kind of rude. You can see me, but you’re not going to let me see you? It’s also kind of stalkerish.”
Stalker? She was calling him a stalker? Well, that was so not what he was. She had the complete wrong idea about him.
He was on the ground again in no time and without sparing her a look, he walked back toward his cabin. When he was sure she couldn’t see shadows or shapes, he shifted back into human form.
Him? A stalker? What kind of crap was that? “The callin’ it like she saw it kind, asshole.”
Blake is definitely going to fun to play with…
I’m late! I’m so very late with my Snippet Saturday post and I am really sorry about it.
Today’s theme is Romance and I have to tell you, romantic is the very LAST thing I’m feeling right about now. Between laundry and other Saturday morning chores and the migraine forming, romance is the least the of my concerns, however…
I think romance means different things to different people. It might be cooking for someone or the chocolates and flowers. For others it might be a partner that cleans the house for you or just sitting with you while you watch a movie. It’s an individual thing. For me, romance is, well, at the moment it would be having everything else (house, kids, food, pets) taken care of for me so I could concentrate and get some work done…lol. But another day when I’m not so frazzled and stressed, romance would be just being together, laughing and talking.
Romance doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. The best kind of romance to me is simply thinking of or being thought of and letting the person know it…
How about a conversation by firelight, though as you’re trying to figure out how to have both the man sitting opposite you and the career you love? How about truly connecting on a level neither of you fully understands, but know is there…
She sat curled in the corner of the couch, closest to the fire while Carson lay stretched out from the other end, one foot on the floor, one on the cushions with his knee bent. He was relaxed, once again just a gorgeous man, and not the predatory one that looked as though he wanted to devour her. For the moment, that part of him was sated. “There are no polar bears in the interior of Alaska,” she said, running her fingers along the soft suede arm of the couch. “There are some up around the Arctic, but not here where you and your family make your home.” She was trying to understand things about them, trying to connect dots inside her head and sometimes the best way for her to do that was to talk to herself, hear it out loud. She knew Carson knew there were no polar bears in the vicinity and that they were farther north, near the water. It was simply her own need to figure some things out, reason them out.
“No, there aren’t.”
“Why do you live here then? Why don’t you live farther north or even around Hudson Bay in Manitoba, or in other parts of the world where they are?”
“My ancestors believed it would be too interesting for people to see us with our hair color and black eyes being around the bears. Over in Manitoba along the bay is where the research was being done, where the splicing happened. We have only been here for the last fifty or so years. My uncles and father built the town and started the supply line. I was born here, and it’s all my brothers and I have ever known. My family didn’t want other people getting suspicious, seeing any kind of curious resemblance to the bears themselves. They have a habit of…wanting to get close to us.”
“The bears? They sense you are kin?”
“Maybe. I don’t know. We are safe here. We have adapted to the slightly warmer climate, and there is a place up along the edge of the Arctic that the men in my family go once a year for a few weeks. It is sacred. There are a few bears, and we care for them. They aren’t tame but they are of no danger to us. Overall they are endangered and fighting to survive. We must do all we can to protect them.”
That was it! That was exactly how she felt about him. Protective. She must protect him. She couldn’t get it out of her head just how special he was, and that her being his mate was an open invitation to experience that specialness every day for the rest of her life. She’d be a fool not to accept.
“Does anyone ever talk about how you and your brothers look alike?”
“Sometimes. We nod and smile. We don’t confirm or deny. For most, we are just part of the tourism, part of the lore and otherworldliness of Alaska.”
“What can I do? What would I do?” She blurted it out without meaning to. She knew he didn’t have any answers for her, that she would have to come up with them all on her own. Whatever decision she made, had to come from her. He couldn’t make it for her, and she knew he wouldn’t.
“What do you mean?”
“Melanie can live and work in Alaska. She studies whales and is a frequent traveler here and to the Pacific Northwest. I, on the other hand, work in museums, libraries, universities. I travel to Greece, Egypt, Europe and all over the U.S. for my work. I write. I…” Her words trailed off at the last, her mind drifting to what ifs and probables. It was the world she lived in best. Always wondering, always trying to put the puzzles together for others. Her own life was very simple. She worked. She went about her routine. She didn’t deviate outside what was the norm for her. Carson, on the other hand, was way outside the norm for her quiet life and she couldn’t deny that she wanted to deviate with him. A lot.
His eyes zeroed in on her face and she was caught, snared, unable to look away. “What do you write?”
“Papers, articles, research. I freelance from time to time about myths and fairy tales, visit fantasy conventions, sit on panels, offer my expert opinion.” She could write more if she so chose. She could write from Alaska and travel to other places. She could even look into creating a small museum in their little town, myths and legends surrounding polar bears or something. There were incredible possibilities here in the vast reaches of North America.
There was no reason she couldn’t relocate and make this her home base. She was just looking for reasons not to. Change didn’t suit her well, and she didn’t adapt to it easily. Hell, until now she hadn’t been outside Chicago any length of time for at least six months, maybe more. Her introvert personality didn’t allow for it. The last trip she’d taken had been for a month to Greece. A dig had uncovered some new drawings and writings depicting the Gods and Goddesses. While she loved the work, the research, the history, she’d spent most of her time alone in her hotel room. She’d been holed up in her apartment writing and conducting online workshops ever since her return.
She always seemed to need a period of time to collect herself again.
“You couldn’t do that here? I can get you anything you need, give you anything you require for your work.”
He was so earnest in his offer, so willing. He firmly believed in the idea of fate, of them being meant to be. He even said he’d wait for her, that it was ingrained in his kind that once they met their mate, they would wait if need be. How was a girl supposed to say no to that?
“I was just thinking about that. I don’t know. It’s quiet here, and I’m used to the noise of the city. I’ve never lived with anyone, slept with anyone for any length of time. I’m a loner and get lost in my work, ignoring or avoiding others sometimes for days or weeks on end. The urban areas make me feel not so alone. I guess that doesn’t make much sense. I’m a loner, but I like the noise.” She shrugged and fiddled with her fingers in her lap. She was suddenly nervous and unsure of herself and of all the possibilities life with him presented. Of all the things she didn’t do well, putting herself out there, being vulnerable to hurt or pain were at the top of the list. “I don’t know how to be someone’s mate, girlfriend, lover.”
“I don’t either. Know how to be a girlfriend, I mean.”
Shock widened her eyes, and her head snapped up. When she saw the serious look on his face, she laughed. He had a sense of humor. Dry, deadpan, but a sense of humor. She loved it. “Well, no, I don’t imagine you’ve been a girlfriend, and I have to say I’m glad about that.”
“Good.” His grin was fleeting but bright in the firelight. “I’ve never lived with anyone, been a long-term lover. I’ve never been anything like I am meant to be with you.”
“Because it is fate or destiny or brought on by dreams?”
He shrugged. “Yes, in part. One cannot fight it. But there is more, Ruby. You feel it, too. I know you do.”
She did. She just wanted to hear him say it. She pulled her knees up and under her body then crawled across the couch to his lap. He welcomed her with open arms when she straddled his thighs. He was a beast—raw, primal, part animal, all hot and hunky man. “What more is there, Carson?”
His fingers slid under the shirt she wore. “You don’t need me to tell you that.”
“No. I want you to though.”
“Well, there’s this,” he said, fingers gripped and pulled at her nipples, rubbing them, pinching them.
Yes, there was that. “And?” She tried not to squirm.
He bucked under her. “This.” He did it again, and she moaned, grinding herself on the bulge in his pants.
Right again. “Anything else?” Her voice was raspy, her throat dry. Her tongue was even dry, and she couldn’t lick her lips.
“Everything else, Ruby.”
Now, while I go take something for the pain in my head, you should click around to the following blogs for more Romance snippets:
Have a wonderful Saturday!
I am having a really hard time with this one. I didn’t think this through when I signed up for it. I don’t see my characters having anything quirky about them. I mean, there is Vinter, who has piercings galore, but I don’t think I can talk about those and detail them in Snippet Saturday. So then, a friend of mine and I were wracking our brains trying to think of something in some book of mine that would be considered quirky or odd…
I had wanted to write a shifter book. Try my hand at something different. I enjoyed writing it. I enjoyed researching it. I enjoyed creating this family of polar bear shifters that are protective to a fault, have a thriving little community inside Denali National Forest, and fall in love with the most unsuspecting women. One who lives, eats, and breathes science and one who studies myths and legends.
For my snippet, I decided that the heroine, Ruby and her addiction to sugary breakfast foods and hero Carson’s admission to having never eaten a Pop-Tart is about as odd as I get… I’m going to definitely have to work on this character trait in future books.
“I thought we were going to have breakfast with your family?”
“It’s well beyond breakfast time at their place.” He winked at her and she felt the heat creep up her neck.
Bacon sizzled and pancakes bubbled on the griddle. Carson flipped a spatula in his hand waiting patiently to flip the pancakes. If she stayed up here with him, lived with him, she’d be putting on a lot more weight given the way he cooked. There was no Special K in his cupboards. There was no cold cereal or convenience food period. Everything had to be made and often from scratch. She was still marveling at him in the kitchen, long and lean, tall and well defined, but moved in a kitchen as if he’d been born to it.
“It’s been ages since I had pancakes and bacon.” Ruby sat on a stool at the kitchen island.
“What do you normally eat for breakfast?”
“You know, cereal, Pop Tarts, frozen waffles, instant oatmeal.”
“Sounds exciting. I’ve never had a Pop Tart or instant oatmeal.”
“Nope. No need to. I can make anything I want. And homemade is always better.”
“I can’t live without my Lucky Charms and my frosted cherry Pop Tarts.” And she couldn’t. She often took one or the other or both with her when she traveled. She hadn’t this time though and while she might have missed them had she not met Carson, she certainly didn’t miss them now that she had.
“Okay, well, I’m sure we can get some. If Fairbanks doesn’t have them, we can send James looking for them next time he goes down to Anchorage. Otherwise, there’s always Amazon.”
Carson flipped the pancakes and drained the bacon on a paper-towel-lined plate. “You can get Amazon stuff delivered up here?”
“You make it sound like we’re on another planet. Of course we can get deliveries. We sometimes have to drive to Fairbanks for packages, but for the most part, we do very well. We have satellite TV and Internet. We are our own entity up here, but we are also well connected and have access to anything we need or may want. You will not be deprived here, Ruby. I promise you.”
Ruby shook her head. “I’m not worried about any of that. You told me last night you’d get me anything I needed and I believe you. I just… I guess living in the city, I don’t think of such remote areas as being well supplied and often imagine… I don’t know. It’s just so different.”
He set the plate of pancakes on the island along with the bacon. It all smelled good, and she was glad she could only feel her stomach growling and not hear it. Talk about embarrassing. “Dig in.”
He filled his plate, slathered his pancakes with butter, and drowned them in syrup. After a few rather large bites, he looked over at her. She was still buttering her own small stack of two pancakes. “You okay this morning?”
She glanced in his direction, confused. “Yes, why?”
“I was kind of rough with you last night and wasn’t much better the second or third time around either. Just want to make sure you’re all right.”
He took another big bite, and she ducked her head, more heat filling her cheeks at the memories, especially earlier in the shower. He’d soaped her up, washed her down, then knelt on the floor of the shower stall and pulled her toward his mouth. He ate at her pussy and wasn’t satisfied until he’d made her scream. He’d gotten her out then and bent her over against the window and taken her from behind while she looked out at the Alaskan morning.
Someone would have to clean the glass where her hand, mouth and cheek prints were surely marring it. Now that they’d had sex, it just didn’t seem to be enough, for either of them. They both went at each other equally fierce and hungry.
“Oh. Yeah, I’m good. A little sore, but, good.” She couldn’t believe he’d brought it up over breakfast.
Tension simmered between them as they finished eating, and she couldn’t help wondering how his cock would taste with syrup drizzled on it. Of the things they’d done, that was one thing they hadn’t. She didn’t have a lot of experience with it, but she had some and would love to improve her skills. His cock was beautiful—not too thick and not too long. It fit inside her as if it had been made to and if one took fate and destiny into account, it had been.
“You keep looking at me like that, Ruby, and we’ll be going at it again right here.”
“Oh. Sorry.” She looked down at her plate, for some reason surprised to find it empty.
“Don’t be.” He winked. “I’m not.” He kissed the top of her head and began clearing the dishes when the doorbell rang. Carson looked over his shoulder and grinned at her. “Saved by the bell, huh?”
Please enjoy snippets from the following authors:
Megan Hart — Read in bed!
Have a great weekend!