Authors: Lacey Thorn
Tags: #The Halloways
Claimed by the Grizzly
By Lacey Thorn
Gems of Romantic Fiction
Claimed by the Grizzly
Copyright © 2016, Lacey Thorn
Edited by Michele Paulin and Liza Green
Cover Art by Chel Hickerty, Those Girls Designs
Published by Resplendence Publishing, LLC
1093 A1A Beach Blvd, #146
St. Augustine, FL 32080
Electronic format ISBN: 978-1-60735-936-4
Warning: All rights reserved. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Electronic Release: February 2016
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and occurrences are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places or occurrences, is purely coincidental.
Claimed by the Grizzly
Awakening Pride: The Holloways Book Two
By Lacey Thorn
Five years ago the bear shifters were attacked. The alpha was the first to die, but his murder was followed by carefully planned attacks focused on one thing: find and kill the female shifters.
Sidia Blackstone is running for her life. Someone has discovered the existence of the remaining female bear shifters and is determined to hunt them down. One of the elders is dead and her twin is missing. Her guardian, Nicholas, sends her to find safety among the Holloway brothers. Her best chance at survival is to find them and if her bear is willing, claim one of the last remaining grizzlies as her mate.
Koby Holloway is one furious grizzly. They’ve just discovered there are surviving female bears hidden among them. Though he swore the one who came to them belonged to him, she chose another as her mate. He doesn’t understand the pull he feels until he learns she has a twin who also survived. Now, nothing will stop him from finding her.
He’d protect her, see to all her needs, and keep her right by his side. From the moment he found her, she was
claimed by the grizzly.
To all my paranormal readers
There’s so much more to come!
“Emmett’s dead? You’re sure? Dead?”
Sidia Blackstone’s heart felt as if it would beat out of her chest. Fear gripped her by the throat while grief tried to shut her down. It was like stepping back in time, to five years ago when the bear shifters had been brutally attacked, leaving most of the females dead or in hiding. She and two of her sisters had survived. Her mother, father and youngest sister hadn’t been so lucky.
Nicholas, the pack elder who had stepped in to be her guardian, nodded.
“Jaeda?” she asked.
“She wasn’t found,” he informed her. “We believe she could have escaped.”
“She’s alive,” Sidia swore. As twins, she and Jaeda shared a special bond. Though it had been five years since she’d seen Jaeda, Sidia still felt her sister through that bond. It was weak but solid enough she believed she would know if her twin were grievously injured.
“I hope so,” Nicholas agreed. “If Emmett had the time, he would have sent her to the Holloways for protection. It’s something we should have done from the start.”
Nicholas had been saying that since the moment she’d met him. He’d tried to convince the other elders to contact the eldest Holloway and new alpha, Laramie, about what they feared had happened. Someone in the bear den had betrayed them all and led the enemy to their doors. This time, the hunters had nearly succeeded in wiping them out. They’d known the continuance of the race lay with the female shifters, and they’d made them the primary targets.
“You were hidden during the attacks?” Nicholas asked her again.
“Jaeda and I were already in the den when it happened. Xandra joined us. We stayed there until the elders began showing up.”
She and Jaeda had been giggling while they’d hidden from their mother, gossiping instead of doing the chores they should have been doing. That small act of defiance had saved their lives. When their older sister, Xandra, had appeared in the den, she’d been covered in blood with shadows in her eyes. She’d told them what was going on and ordered them to be silent. She’d never spoken of what she’d witnessed before she joined them. Then, a week later, she was gone, placed under the protection of one of the elders.
“Who was the first elder to show up?” Nicholas asked.
“I don’t know,” Sidia told him. “Lawrence and Emmett came down first, but we could hear voices up above. You were there.”
“I was one of the last to arrive and one of the first to volunteer to go search for other survivors. I tried to get them to go to the Holloways with our suspicions at that time. I was overruled. There was never a doubt in my mind that all of you would be safer with the Holloways. No one can get near their land without them knowing. Plus the lodge they call home is built like a fortress. They would have been the more logical choice to offer shelter and protection. It doesn’t hurt that they’re seven grizzlies whose sole focus would have been ensuring all of you stayed safe.” He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “Laramie is young though, not yet forty, and at the time, hadn’t publicly proclaimed himself as alpha in the wake of his father’s death. That’s why the choice was made to take the surviving females and keep all of you hidden until we could discover what led to the attacks.”
“It’s been five years,” Sidia reminded him.
“I know. I’ve been pushing and pushing, and…now, Emmett is dead. I’m afraid you’re not safe here anymore.”
“Where are we going?”
“It’s time to get you to the Holloways. It was my first instinct, and I should have followed it no matter what the others thought.” He paused for a moment, opened and closed his mouth several times then shook his head.
“Uncle?” Sidia asked, using the term of respect given to the elder males among their species.
Nicholas’ face softened then grew hard as they heard a rustle of movement carried on the wind.
“There’s no time to wait. Someone’s coming, and it sounds like they’re in a hurry. Run, girl. Go to the cavern and wait for me.” He opened the closet and pulled out the packs he kept there in case of emergency. Each was filled with things they might need if they were ever forced to run. “If I’m not there in ten minutes, leave without me. I’ll catch up. You need to get to the Holloways. They’ll protect you and keep you safe no matter what.”
“Remember what I’ve taught you. Trust no one, and I mean no one, except the Holloways. It’s what we should have done from the beginning. Maybe, your bear will take a shine to one of them. You’d be well taken care of with a Holloway as your mate.” He paused, listening, and she remained silent beside him. “Hurry! Use the cavern to get to bottom of the mountain.”
“You think it might be whoever killed Emmett?” she asked.
“I don’t know, but no friend of mine would head up here without announcing themselves first. If it’s hunters, they’ll be watching the cars, so you’ll have to go on foot. Stick to the woods. Step foot on Holloway land, and those boys will know. They’ll come for you then. You’ll be safe.”
“Just hurry up and get to the caverns,” Sidia whispered. “We can find the Holloway land together.”
“I’ll do my best, but promise me if I don’t reach you, you’ll go as soon as it’s safe. Stay in the den if you need to, but the first chance you get, haul ass out of here.”
“Good. Now, go!”
She nodded then went on tiptoe to kiss his leathery cheek. “I love you, Uncle.”
His eyes misted, but he didn’t say anything, just pushed her toward the back of the house. Whoever was coming was getting closer. She gave him one last look then turned and bolted through the house, intent on making her way toward the opening to the caverns.
She was just ducking in the entrance when the house blew. Her breath caught, the heat of the inferno seeming to suck the oxygen from the air. She wanted to scream for Nicholas but bit down on her lip to hold in her cries. She knew it was useless, but still, she waited ten minutes before shaking off the shock that wanted to pull her under and making her way to the bottom of the mountain.
She froze as she climbed down, hearing the distinct sound of footsteps and voices above her on the other side of the entrance. Whoever had come to Nicholas’ home hadn’t made the trip alone. There was no way for her to slip away now. She’d have to stay put until her senses assured her the coast was clear.
She stopped and slid down the tunnel wall to sit, shaking with grief. She was too afraid to give voice to her fear and sorrow. Nicholas had to be gone. There was no way he wouldn’t have joined her if he’d been able to. Panic tried to take her over, and she wanted her sisters with a fierce longing that threatened to rip her apart. If she made it to the Holloways, she’d demand they go for her sisters. Over and over again, Nicholas had questioned the decision not to consult the alpha. As each year passed, he’d been increasingly upset about it. He’d told her he felt the other elders were wrong, that Laramie and his brothers were the best chance of survival for the females. Though the elders had good intentions, Nicholas feared they were too far out of their prime to fully protect what he saw as the future of their pack.
He’d told her most of them feared the Holloways would claim the remaining females for themselves and the rest of the pack would eventually die off. This was their way of ensuring that didn’t happen. The elders would see that one of each bear breed was given the opportunity to mate, maintaining the familial line. A great plan in theory, according to Nicholas, but not carried out quickly enough to suit him.
He’d told her from the beginning that when given the choice of a mate, she wouldn’t do better than selecting from amongst one of the remaining grizzlies. If possible, he suggested mating with the alpha himself, Laramie Holloway. Or his second in command, the alpha’s brother, Koby. She’d always given the same reply. She’d know when she met the man who was destined to be hers. Nicholas had scoffed and said she’d be wiser to choose strength over love. She couldn’t get him to understand she wanted both. Now, they’d never have that argument again.
She had no idea how much time had passed before she stood, pulling herself together, and made her way down the tunnel until she reached the base of the mountain. She hoped Nicholas was right when he said no one would ever suspect a staircase had been built inside the mountain. She slipped into the hidden den at the end of the passageway, barely squeezing past the boulder that blocked its entry from the stairs. Anyone else would have to move it. She was counting on that. There was food and water, not to mention the pool of waist-high water she could use for washing if she needed to.
She huddled in the corner, pulling off her backpack and dropping it on her lap. Part of her still clung to the hope Nicholas would join her, despite how foolish she knew it was. She sat up straighter as realization hit her. What if he’d been the one to blow up the house? It made sense. He wouldn’t want there to be any indication of her presence. Maybe, he
She couldn’t do anything at the moment. Not without exposing herself to the very danger Nicholas had sought to protect her from. She’d wait and listen. When the time was right, she’d follow the plan and make her way to the Holloways. Once there, she’d beg them to help her find her sisters and Nicholas. Then, if her bear was willing, she’d follow Nicholas’ advice and claim one of them for her own.
* * * *
“Can’t this piece of shit go any faster?” Koby asked with a grunt as he shifted positions again.