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A BEARy Happily Ever After (Bear Clan #6)
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An alpha bear shifting virgin who was saving himself for his mate.
That’s what I was. And I was fine with that because saving myself for the one female who was meant to be mine was the only thing I’d ever wanted. A lone bear without a mate was a depressing thing. And even though I knew she was out there—the other half to my soul—I was beginning to think there was no happily ever after for me.
Until I saw another male lusting after her. There was no way I could control myself. She was mine, and if that meant kicking the ass of the man who wanted her… then so be it.
Rue would be mine.
It started with a swim in the lake, then there was a possessive bear shifter tackling my friend to the ground for touching my hair. It ended with me being pressed up against a tree staring into the dark eyes of a feral man who claimed I was his mate… that he wouldn’t stop until I was his, until I wore his mark.
And as much as I knew being mated to Damon meant my life would be forever changed, knowing he would never let me go, would scare off any male who even looked in my direction, all I wanted was to be with him.
All I wanted was to wear his mark.
*blurb unedited/not finalized
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I had to get out of there, away from my brothers and their mates, away from the feeling of being an outcast. It was as if I’d never find what I was missing and forever live my life on the outside looking in.
It was this constant hollowness inside me, this hole that would never be filled until I found her.
She was out there somewhere, but for all I knew, she could’ve been on a different continent.
I felt distant, detached. I was getting older, my life continuing to move forward even though I felt like I was being pushed back, further and further, until I’d never catch up.
I continued through the woods on the trail my brothers and I had made years ago. We didn’t need hiking paths, not when our bears trampled through everything. The only thing they were mindful of was being free. But we’d thought of the future, of our mates and children, of family walks and picnics.
And all my brothers had that now.
All of them, but not me.
I lifted my hand and rubbed my palm over the center of my chest, right over my heart, right where the hole was, where there was this painful reminder. All I wanted was to find my mate, to feel my happiness. All I needed was that realization that I wasn’t actually alone in life.
I shoved my hands in my pockets, staying in my human form even though my bear wanted out, wanted to run free and get rid of some of this aggression and frustration.
I liked leisurely walking as a human, taking in the sights and smells, feeling the sun warm my skin. It was the little things I appreciated, that I didn’t take for granted.
I was at the edge of our property, the lake not too far from where I was right now. The path had since ended, my boots crunching along the rocky, uneven forest terrain.
It was another ten-minute walk before I found myself getting closer to the lake. I inhaled deeply, smelling the scent of the fish in the water, the birds up in the trees.
I heard the sound of a masculine voice, of splashing. I didn’t know why I followed that noise, stopped, and looked at where I saw the man wading in the water. He was facing off to the side, an area where the trees obscured my view, laughing and splashing water in that direction. I moved to the side so I could get a better look at who he was speaking to, not sure why I gave a fuck.
I should’ve kept walking, minded my own business. But the first thing I saw was the fall of long dark hair. My heart lurched in my chest when she turned around and started swimming toward the shore, laughing as the man continued to splash her.
The sound of her voice was the sweetest thing I’d ever heard.
And when she climbed out of the lake, the water dripping down her lean yet curvy body, I felt my cock instantly harden. It pressed against the fly of my jeans, demanding to get out. My canines lengthened, my nails turning into claws. My grizzly pushed forward, my skin stretching, my muscles thickening.
She was there, just down on the bank, close enough I could smell the scent of lemons and gardenia surrounding her. Everything happened in slow motion, time standing still as everything fell into place.
The man crawled out of the lake, his focus trained on her. I inhaled deeply, the wind coming upwind and letting me take in every scent. A low growl left me. I smelled desire from him. For her.
But from her… from her, I only scented distance. Good, she didn’t want him. If she had, then that would’ve caused complications. Hell, him wanting her already caused problems.
And then as I watched him reach out, trying to push a strand of hair off her shoulder, every territorial and possessive instinct in my body rose up. I was jealous, fierce in that moment. No other male would touch her. No other male would even think about having her.
She was mine.
And that’s all I thought about as I charged forward, about to make my claim known.
I took a step back so Ronnie didn’t touch my hair again. I knew he had a thing for me, and for as many hints as I’d given him over the years that I just wasn’t interested, that I only saw him as a family friend, he was either blind, thickheaded, or didn’t care, because he persisted.
But he had been in my life forever, and I didn’t want to lose that by being a cold bitch and shutting him out. He was a good friend, had been there for me through hard and good times. He was a shoulder to cry on, an ear that listened to everything I had to say. He just needed to find someone who could complete him.