Authors: Sloane Meyers
Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance, #Fiction, #Paranormal, #Bear, #Werebear, #Adult, #Erotic, #Shifter, #Mate, #Firefighter, #Wildfire, #Sexy, #Boyfriend, #Secret, #Risk, #Smokejumper, #Beast, #Nurse, #Dreams, #Biggest Desire, #Tough Times, #Crashes, #Run Away, #New Life, #Rethink, #Future, #Intersects Past, #Past Demons, #Heartache, #Lonely, #Scared
In late May, Sophia turned five. She had a Dalmatian themed party at the base, and the crew all wore their smokejumper gear to her party to play up the firedog aspect of Sophia’s favorite type of canine. Sophia’s beloved stuffed Dalmatian, Frog, was the guest of honor next to Sophia, and she made sure to “feed” him generous slices of her birthday cake. By the early evening, the birthday princess had collapsed into an exhausted, sugar-induced sleep. Zach carried her to her bed in the bunkhouse, admiring how innocent and perfect her face looked while she slept. After tucking Sophia in, Zach found Mindy, who was cleaning up the piles of paper plates and half eaten cake from the picnic table.
“Leave all that for a minute. I have something I want to show you,” he said.
Mindy paused, and set down the plates she was holding. “Okay,” she said, and took Zach’s offered hand. He led her to the upstairs loft of the bunkhouse, that dark, dusty room where he had gone so many times to review the box that held records of his fruitless searches for his daughter. Now, he directed Mindy to sit next to the large windows that overlooked the runway.
“This view is beautiful,” Mindy said, gazing out at the runway lights as they glowed in the dusky light of the early evening.
“It is beautiful,” Zach said. “But that’s not what I wanted to show you.”
He started to undress, and Mindy gave him a coy look. “Oh, is
what you wanted to show me? Well, I’ve already seen the goods, but I’ll happily look at them all day,” she said.
Zach smiled. “I’m glad to hear that, but I’m actually just taking off my clothes right now because I don’t want to ruin them,” he said.
Mindy gave him a questioning look, but before she could say anything, he filled the room with a rush of powerful energy as he shifted into a giant black bear. He hadn’t shown Mindy his bear yet, and he wanted to make sure she understood what she was getting into before he asked her his next question.
Mindy’s eyes widened at the sight of Zach’s bear. He sat on his haunches, and waited patiently for her to take in his large, furry form. She slowly walked over to him, and stroked his soft snout, then traced the outline of his round bear ears. Zach gave her an encouraging nuzzle with his cold, black nose, and she walked in a large circle around him, inspecting his bear from every angle.
“Wow,” she said, stroking his back gently as she walked. When she came to stand back in front of him, and he was satisfied that she had seen her fill of his bear, he shifted back into human form, knocking her over with the power surge from his shift.
“Sorry,” he said, as he grabbed her hand to help her up. “Shifting takes a lot of energy.”
She nodded, and sat back on the windowsill as Zach dressed. She didn’t say much, and Zach bit his lower lip, hoping he hadn’t scared her off.
“So, now you’ve seen my bear,” he said. “As you can see, I can control it completely. Sophia will eventually reach that point. She’s already made amazing progress in the last month, and I’m sure by the end of the summer she’ll be in control of her little bear.”
Mindy nodded. She seemed to take the whole thing in stride, probably because she’d already been exposed to shifting through Sophia.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Mindy said. “But also kind of cool.”
“I’m glad you think so,” Zach said, pulling his shirt back on so that he was fully dressed again. “I wanted you to see it and be fully aware of what you’re getting into if you say yes to my next question.”
Mindy’s eyes widened at Zach’s words, and she covered her mouth with her hands as Zach knelt in front of her.
“Zach? What are you doing?”
“I’m asking you to officially become a part of my family. You’re already Mom to Sophia. You’re the love of my life. And I know without a doubt that you’re my fated lifemate, which is the bear shifter version of a soulmate. Before I met you, I thought all humans were trouble, because a human ruined my life. But then, I met you, and a human saved my life. You brought me back to my Sophia, and you brought the color and happiness back into my life. You saved me from the bitter shell of a man that I had become, and I can’t imagine my life without you anymore.”
Zach pulled out the black velvet ring box that he had put in the pocket of his jeans, and opened it to reveal a bright, sparkling diamond to Mindy. Even in the dim light of the bunkhouse loft, the stone glittered brilliantly.
“Mindy, will you be my lifemate, my wife? No matter what, you’ll always be Sophia’s mom. You’ll always be family to her. But I hope you’ll agree to be my family, too. Marry me?”
Zach held his breath as Mindy looked down at the ring with her hands over her mouth. After what felt to him like an eternity, she nodded. Tears spilled over her eyelids as she threw her arms around him.
“Yes! Yes, of course! Nothing would make me happier,” she said.
Zach felt relief flood through him, and he lifted Mindy off the ground and spun her around before putting the ring on her finger. As Mindy looked down and admired the diamond, Zach went to lift the taped-up box of records from all his fruitless searches for his daughter.
“Come on, I want to go throw this box in the bonfire and burn it,” Zach said, heading for the stairs.
“Why? What is it?” Mindy asked.
“Records of all my searches for my family. I don’t need them anymore. I’m done searching.”
Zach carried the box to the bonfire that the rest of the crew had started outside the hangar, and he used a pocket knife to cut through the tape to open the box. Then, with a whoop, he started throwing the papers into the flames. He looked over and Mindy and grinned as she started helping him to throw the papers into the fire. They stood there together, watching the last traces of Zach’s bitterness and pain going up in smoke.
FIRE BEAR SHIFTERS
ICE BEAR SHIFTERS
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There are bears walking among us. Sloane Meyers is devoted to telling their stories.
Sloane thinks we could all use a little escape in our lives. And what better way to shake up the ordinary than to transport yourself to the mysterious world of those who have an animal within them, roaring to be let out. Sloane promises hot shifter males, and spunky, spirited heroines—with NO cliffhangers! Each book can be read as a standalone.
When she’s not busy crafting bear tales, Sloane enjoys a good glass of wine, preferably shared with good friends. She loves reading, baking, and pretending that she’s actually a music buff. On weekends, she spends a lot of time in the great outdoors, hiking with her own sexy alpha and adorable little cub.