Read Bear To The Bone (Bear Claw Security 1) Online

Authors: Terry Bolryder

Tags: #Paranormal, #Contemporary, #Fiction, #Romance, #Forever Love, #Adult, #Erotic, #Shifter, #Mate, #Suspense, #Violence, #Supernatural, #Protection, #Bachelor, #Single Woman, #Fantasy, #Military, #Action, #Adventure, #Motorcycle Gang, #Series, #Bear Claw, #Second Chance, #Future Leader, #Bar, #Armed Forces, #Private Security Co., #Mission, #Undercover, #Ace Leather, #Small Town

Bear To The Bone (Bear Claw Security 1)

BOOK: Bear To The Bone (Bear Claw Security 1)
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Bear to the Bone
Terry Bolryder

C
opyright
© 2016 by Terry Bolryder

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are used in a fictitious manner or products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Prologue

T
he little brown bear howled
, its leg tangled painfully in a trap so old, so rusted it was probably put in the woods long ago, back before bear traps were banned.

It had been dumb to go into the forest, especially this late.

But every time he felt the shift coming, all he could do was go tearing out into the woods, running blindly as he felt the animal in him take over.

The pounding stress inside him would only stop when he heard the reassuring press of his paws over soft dirt and leaves, as he darted in and out of the shadows of the forest, cool mountain air blowing down over his face, which was now sheltered by fur.

Being in his bear form was both terrifying and electrifying.

His mother had been a shifter, too, but she’d left earlier that year, so he’d had make the transformation on his own.

He was angry at her, but right now, he was angrier at himself. No matter how frustrated his father made him, he knew better than to run in the woods. It was dangerous and wild out here, but he hadn’t been able to resist the animal inside him. The one begging to be free.

Now he was stuck, and the sun was beginning to set. He let out another plaintive whine as he pulled at the trap, but the sharp bite of pain on his leg stopped him. The chain was attached to a large tree, so he had no hope of felling it to get away.

His leg was starting to feel numb, so he curled up in a little ball and whined, waiting for it to get dark and cold.

No one would come looking for him. And if they did, no one would know he was a person. And who would approach a bear, even one in a trap? Wouldn’t they think the bear would eat them if they let him go? That’s what he would have thought.

Maybe if someone came by, he could shift back. He was no good at shifting on purpose. It all came like a whirlwind and left him in a heap when it was over.

He tried to think back to what his mom had said. Not much.

Cage, when it comes, don’t fight it.
She had touched his head, and thinking of that kindness now made tears bite the corners of his eyes. He burrowed his face in his paws, hiding from the world and the waning light.

No one was coming. No one could help him. He’d die out here in this forest, chained to this tree, and no one would even care.

Not the bikers raising him, if you could call it that. Not the mother who’d walked out without looking back.

Not that he blamed her. The Aces were horrible. He just wished he could have gone, too. Maybe she thought his dad would come after them, but he knew better. And—

Crack.

The snap of a twig had him lifting his head in shock, twitching as he looked around the forest. He inhaled deeply, his senses sharper in this form.

More crushing of twigs. Someone was coming through the brush. He could see them now, silhouetted by the dying light. It was a person.

In reflex, he shrank back. If it were one of the bikers from the compound, or a hunter, they probably wouldn’t hesitate to put a bullet in him.

Well, not without a fight. He raised to his feet as well as he could and faced them on all fours, his lips pulling back to bare his teeth in a snarl.

“It’s okay,” a soft, soothing voice said as the figure stepped closer, into a shaft of light between the trees.

He blinked. It was a girl, probably his age or just slightly older. Maybe twelve or thirteen.

He felt an instant kinship with her. Her dark-blond hair was messy and there was grass in it like she’d recently fallen. She was wearing a puffy jacket and she had a roundness to her he liked. She looked healthy. Happy.

She must live at the house out in the meadow.
He’d gone by there once when he’d heard sounds of children playing there. He’d asked his dad once, and he’d said the kids there didn’t have parents, and not to go there again. That they didn’t mix with those types.

Cage had listened, but he couldn’t help thinking about the house in the meadow and sort of wanting to be parentless so he could live there.

The girl was moving closer. Her clothes were worn but clean. She took careful steps, as if trying not to scare him. That was stupid. He was a bear. Didn’t she know he could eat her? Well, he wasn’t sure, but wasn’t that what bears did? Eat people?

“I want to help you,” she said, taking another cautious step forward. “You won’t hurt me, will you?”

He looked at her in confusion. Did she expect him to answer her as a bear? Did she really think wild animals could promise to behave?

But he wasn’t going to hurt her. And he wasn’t a wild animal.

He nodded, wondering if that was a weird thing for a bear to do. But he had no choice. He couldn’t risk her leaving. He might die in this horrible trap.

Curse whoever placed it here.

“I need to go get something,” she said. “Maybe someone to help.”

He looked up in alarm. If she brought a grown-up, they’d probably tell her not to help. Tell her it’s foolish and to let the stupid bear die so it wasn’t a danger to humans.

He slumped down again in despair.

“It’s okay. I won’t get someone, then,” she said, stepping forward and crouching a few feet in front of him. “I hate these old traps. I saw Willow rescue a raccoon from one, though. I know what she used. I think I can do it.” She reached a tentative hand toward his face.

Was this girl crazy? Touching a bear?

But he stayed still, and her hand touched the top of his head, sinking into his fur. He froze at how wonderful it felt. How long it had been since he’d been touched. He growled and pressed into her, not caring he was a bear in a trap. Only caring someone was caring for him.

Then she let him go and stepped back. She looked up at the sky. “It’s getting dark. I’ll need something to get that off of you.” She frowned and bit her lip, looking cute. The kind of girl he would have probably teased or chased at recess if he’d been allowed to be a normal kid.

Spunky but kind, even to rough animals.

“I promise I’ll be back,” she said. “It’s getting dark, though, so it might take me a minute to find you. Maybe if you hear me getting close, you could roar?”

He nodded again.

She grinned.

He was glad a kid had found him. Only kids were naive enough to think a bear could be friendly or that a bear nodding wouldn’t be weird. Yet he got the feeling that even compared to other kids, this girl was kindhearted.

Deep inside, something was pounding as he looked at her. Something unsettling, something forever.

“I’ll be right back,” she said. “To set you free.”

He prayed she was telling the truth. He rested his head on his paws as he heard her footsteps disappear in the distance.

She was running, for him.

It was probably only minutes she was gone, but it felt like hours. He didn’t know how far she’d had to run or how close he was to the house in the meadow. He hadn’t exactly been paying attention when he’d broken into his animal and torn off on a wild spree away from the compound.

He wouldn’t be surprised if he’d gone in the direction of the meadow, though. Something about it always drew him in.

When she came back, she was bundled up in her coat and had a blanket slung over her small shoulder.

She also had a backpack, and she set it down beside her, alongside a flashlight.

“I gotta hurry. Willow’s gonna worry when she sees I’m gone after dark. But I couldn’t leave you out here.”

He blinked. It was more than anyone else had cared about him.

She pulled two metal tools out of her backpack. “I hope I’m strong enough to use these. And remember how. I’ve watched Willow do it lots. She says some trappers way back when left these out here. It’s dangerous, so you shouldn’t run around here.”

He wondered at her sense in talking to a bear but stayed quiet and still as she studied the trap.

He saw her small, chubby hands and suddenly felt worried for her. What if she got hurt? Should he really let her help?

“All right,” she said. “Here we go. What we have to do is press these down.” She pointed at the clamps. “Then it should open. Think you’ll be okay if I can get you free?”

He nodded.

“Good,” she said. She narrowed her eyes on the springs as she picked up the first clamp, and he tensed in preparation. It took several minutes and all her effort to get one spring held down in the clamp. Then she got to work on the other side. He could feel his heart thundering in his chest.

As she managed the other side of the trap, he felt it spring open and quickly yanked his small leg out as quickly as he could. They both scrambled away from the trap and sat panting together, bear and girl, in the dark forest.

An owl hooted in the distance, making the girl jump and look over at him.

“I guess I should get back,” she said, looking wary now that he was free. She brushed off her knees. He liked her slightly chubby form. She looked… huggable. “And you should get back to your mom.”

He blinked. Oh, right. Back to the compound.

But he had a feeling he’d be back soon. Back to the meadow, to meet her as a human instead of a bear. He walked forward, limping, though he could feel tingling there, almost as if his wound were already healing.

Somehow, he knew he’d be okay now. Thanks to her.

She was still as he approached, her blue eyes widening, lit by the flashlight. As if she were scared by him, but not scared enough to move.

He leaned forward, hoping she would take the hint and put her hand on his head again. Touch him just once more so he could take the warmth back with him when he went to the compound.

Instead, she brought out her blanket and wrapped it around him. Then, impulsively, she leaned forward and kissed the top of his bear head. His fur.

That’s it. The girl was crazy.

After that, she scampered back into the woods, her light leading the way into the distance. He crawled after her, following her until he saw her go in through the gate at the edge of the forest that led to the meadow where the house sat.

When she was safe, he let out a breath and became aware of his body trembling. He suddenly felt if he allowed it, he could change back.

With a shaky breath, he shifted, feeling the world blur and his claws retract. He felt dizzy and nauseous and aware that the scratchy but warm blanket she’d brought was still around him. He pulled it over him and started his walk back to the compound.

Probably, even bleeding from his leg and naked under a blanket, no one would notice when he slipped back into the compound while the men were out drinking.

He couldn’t see his leg in the dark, but it was already feeling better. It would be okay.

Still, tonight had changed everything, and not just because he’d nearly died.

He was free from the bear trap, but he had a feeling he would never be free from the way he felt about the girl who had helped him. The girl with the kind blue eyes and soft hands.

He had to see her again, soon. As a boy. Become her friend and then see her again and again. There was something between them. He felt it all the way down to his bones.

BOOK: Bear To The Bone (Bear Claw Security 1)
5.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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