Authors: V. Vaughn
© 2016 by V. Vaughn
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.
over by Croco Designs
Editing by Jodi Henley and Red Adept Publishing
an installment from V. Vaughn. Sign up for her
re-med college student
, Ginny Harrison thinks playing keyboards in a garage band is just for fun. But when a talent scout offers her a recording deal, the prospect of fame is too good to resist. There’s only one problem — Ginny just became a werebear and mated to Adrian. Signing the contract means playing on human terms, and that risks exposing what they really are.
drian Lindquist can’t believe
his good fortune. Moving to Maine led him to his true mate and a music opportunity of his dreams. But his mate, Ginny, is a new werebear, and the stress of a rock star career is testing her control. He has to decide if the chance of a lifetime is worth endangering an entire kingdom.
blasts from my mouth as my skin begins to prickle. I roll my fingers over the keyboard one more time. I’m practicing a new song, and when I get to the tricky part, my fingers move too quickly and I trip over the note again. “Damn it!” I yank my hands away as claws practically explode out of my fingers, and fabric tears. I thud to the ground in bear form as my stool clatters on the floor behind me, and I gaze up with my enhanced vision at the naked human version of my mate, Adrian. Water drips from his hair, and my first thought is I want to lick it off his chest. My second thought is he raced from the shower to deal with my “problem.”
I was changed to a werebear a month ago, and I can’t get a handle on controlling my shift. I growl at him.
This is his fault.
“Ginny, it’s okay.” He slides his hand through my fur. It’s brave considering I’m directing my anger toward him right now. But Adrian is a polar werebear, and he could shift in an instant to squash my little black bear like a bug. My anger dissipates from his touch, and I lean into him. Gently though, because the last time he did this I bowled him over with the mass of my bear form. “Take deep breaths, babe.” I inhale as he says, “Nice. Deep.” I exhale. “Breaths.” I envision my skin sucking up fur. My body begins to shift back to human, and I realize the sensations that used to freak me out are now familiar. They should be. I do this a few times a day.
When I’m back to being a college girl, I glance at Adrian, and hot tears burn a path down my cheeks. “I suck at this.” I scowl as I recall the magical moment that wasn’t. My sister Nessa told me that when Adrian bit me to bond us for life and start the change, it would make me rocket to the moon with an orgasm. No dice. I got pissed because it hurt, and the next thing I knew I was a bear growling at Adrian as though I wanted to maul him.
Adrian pulls me against his chest. I shove a remaining strip of my shredded shirt away, because right now I don’t want anything to separate me from the only good thing becoming a werebear brought. I’m the seventh human female to become a werebear in the Northeast Kingdom, and the first to have trouble with shifting. I suppose it wouldn’t bother me so much if my two triplet sisters didn’t have such an easy time of it. Because I can’t, I feel like even more of a freak. A sob shudders through me. I hate being a werebear and wish I’d never changed.
Adrian lifts my chin with his finger, and I gaze into the face of the man I love. He doesn’t know I hate being a shifter, and I don’t dare tell him. I think it would break his heart that I don’t enjoy being what he is, and I think he’d feel guilty for changing me. He says, “You don’t suck. You should have seen me when I was going through this at puberty. My mother threatened to take all my clothes away and only let me wear loin cloths.” Full-blooded werebear aren’t able to shift until adult hormones hit.
The vision of my polar bear mate with his pale skin and nearly white blond hair walking around dressed like a caveman makes me smile a little. I swipe my hand across my cheeks to wipe away my tears. “Did you keep one? Because I’d like to see that.” I notice soap suds in his hair and frown as I pull away and hug myself. “Go finish your shower.”
Adrian scans my body with his icy-blue eyes that are anything but cold and tilts his head at me as he licks his lips. “Come with me.”
I roll my eyes at him as I nod, because why waste a perfectly good adrenaline surge. I may hate being a werebear, but there are a few perks. Like sex. It’s spring, and I’ve got mating fever something fierce, and I don’t mind. Now that my senses are super-aware, sex is amazing. “Lead the way, Tarzan.”
We follow the wet footprints across the wood floor of our duplex apartment to the bathroom. The shower is still running, and I think sex in it is out, since the hot water must be close to gone. Adrian doesn’t seem to care, though, because as soon as he tugs me under the spray with him, he kisses me. I close my eyes and let worry fade as physical pleasure takes over. My mate’s hands are huge since he’s just shy of seven feet tall, and he makes good use of them as he squeezes my breasts and works my nipples to send electric shocks of passion to my core.
I jump when banging on the bathroom door is accompanied by his brother Aleck yelling, “Don’t use all the hot water!”
Adrian groans, and I reach around him to flip the handle down. Aleck and I have chemistry lab in a half hour, and since he’s my partner, I’d rather he be clean. A werebear’s sense of smell is acute, and for me that’s a curse. I say, “I’ve got class too.” I glance down at Adrian’s pulsing cock and sigh. “We really need to get our own place.”
My mate is one of a set of polar bear quadruplets. The four guys are quite the attraction at Bowdoin College. They’re all noticeably tall, very blond, and have bodies most of my heterosexual female classmates want to conquer like Mount Everest. But only two of the Lindquist brothers are still single. My sister Nessa is Andre’s true mate, and they got their own place this semester, while Adrian and I live with Aleck and Aaron.
Adrian hands me a towel as he says, “Agreed.”
The cotton is rough against my skin as I rub myself dry. “Will you be here when I get back?”
The old door creaks open, and we emerge to a flustered Aleck. He shoves his way in as Adrian answers me. “Strumming away and torturing the old ladies.”
I shake my head at him as we walk to the bedroom. Adrian is the lead guitar in our band Second Sound, and he’s crazy good. He’s also crazy charming, and the little old lady sister pair that live on the other side of our duplex have a crush on him and his brothers. As soon as they see me leave, the two women find reasons to come over. I think it’s sweet, and I love that Adrian and Aleck are even working on a song about them.
I slither into another new pair of the cheapest yoga pants I could find and hope that these might last long enough to see a washing before I shred them to bits with an uncontrolled shift. Soft cotton is smooth in my hands as I arrange a bulky scarf to camouflage my ample breasts. I’ve run out of bras, much to Adrian’s delight. The Lindquist brothers are all musical, and the band that started off as a fun hobby has morphed into something much more now that I have all four brothers involved. Aaron plays drums, Andre is the bass, my sister shares lead singing with Adrian and Andre, while I play keyboard. Aleck is the shy one of the bunch and refuses to be on stage, but he’s a talented composer and lyricist who can play all our instruments well enough to get by. I tease him that he’s our pinch hitter, but I think it would take a miracle to actually get Aleck to perform, so I never push. He does his part by providing songs that get us noticed.
I kiss Adrian quickly before grabbing my backpack to go. I find a damp Aleck in the living room, and he nods at me before we leave. It’s early spring, and icicles drip on the steps as we walk down them. Dirty piles of snow left over from the winter storms line the streets, and birds chirp as Aleck and I make our way to campus.
Aleck’s been a godsend with my shifting problem. While most of my classes are lectures and don’t pose a problem with stress that triggers my shift, labs are a different story. When I was changed last month and we discovered that frustration makes me shift, Aleck managed to switch lab partners to help keep my werebear status a secret. He can sense when I’m about lose control and covers for me if I race away to keep it hidden. So far it’s only happened once, but if it does again, I’m going to have to drop out of school. It’s too dangerous to risk the exposure. It kills me that I might fall a semester behind. I plan to be a doctor, and with the number of years I need to be in school looming ahead of me, one semester matters.
Aleck surprises me when he says, “I heard you playing Motion earlier.” Usually Aleck and I walk in silence. He’s not much of a talker, and I often wonder if it’s because he’s too busy making music in his head. He says, “I can change the part that’s giving you trouble if you want.”
I smile at his kindness. “No. Sometimes this happens, and I’ll get past it. But thanks for the offer. It’s sweet.”
Our apartment is on the edge of campus, and Aleck and I will make it to lab right on time. We stop at the crosswalk, and I gaze down at the huge puddle. The light is green, and I notice a car coming as we wait. I take the time to check my phone for texts just as Aleck grabs my arm and swears. I begin to stumble back, but not in enough time to avoid the wall of water that sprays up from the car driving by.
I grimace as gritty moisture drenches me, and my bones ache as my shift begins. “Shit!”
I turn to Aleck, and his eyes are wide as he scans the area. My heart pounds against my chest as fur pokes out of my skin. Aleck throws me over his shoulder and begins to run. He only goes a short distance before the wind is knocked out of me when I land flat on my back behind the bushes that line someone’s lawn.
I stare up at Aleck as he stands over me and rakes his hand through his generically styled hair. I’m like a fish gasping for air and am about to start flopping when I finally get a breath.
Aleck’s gaze darts around, and he speaks softly. “We’re good. I don’t think anyone saw.” He pulls his phone out of his back pocket and taps on the screen as he says, “Those assholes purposely pulled in close to hit that puddle and splash us.”
I close my eyes and listen to Aleck as I take deep breaths and try to shift back to human. He says, “Ginny needs clothes. We’re behind the bushes at the white house by the traffic light.”
He pauses before he says, “Yeah. I’m on it.”
Aleck gazes down at me, and a month ago I’d be horrified that he’s seeing me naked covered in mud and strips of cloth, but my priorities have changed. He says, “Adrian’s on his way. I’ll tell them you’re sick, but...”
I nod as tears burn in my eyes. I’m done with school for this semester and have to drop out. My plans are ruined because I’m a freaking werebear. And not even a good one. Until I can figure out how to control my shift, I’m a danger to all of my kind. I whisper, “I know. Thank you, Aleck. You might as well go so you’re not late.”
He scowls and glances back toward our house and watches as he asks, “You sure?”
“Okay. I see Adrian.”
When Aleck looks at me again, I offer him a smile. “Thanks.”
He steps over the bush border with his long legs to leave me, and Adrian hops over and thuds down by my side. “Well, what have we here. My girl dressed just the way I like her.”
I sniff. “Good thing, because I’m beginning to think this is how I should stay.” Fresh tears spill from my eyes. All my dreams have been ruined, and I can’t do a thing about it.
Adrian smooths hair out of my face, and his warm touch comforts me. I gaze into the face of the man that’s my true mate. He’ll love me for life no matter what, and right now that matters, because it may be all I’ve got.
and I get back to the apartment, the first thing I want is a shower. But the moment I turn on the water, I realize it’s going to be fast, because the spray is ice cold. This time Adrian doesn’t join me, and I’m shivering when I get out. Adrian hands me a towel, and once I wrap it around me he pulls me into his arms and says, “I know how to warm you up.”
I still haven’t processed the fact that I’m about to drop out of school and give up more of my humanity, but the moment Adrian starts to nibble at my neck with his searing-hot lips, I decide it can wait. He scoops me up to carry me to our room, and the mattress bounces when he tosses me playfully on the bed. My towel has slipped, and I let it fall open as I watch my mate strip out of his clothes. He got a job working security at the college and spends no less than an hour in the gym every day. Muscles ripple in his arms when he yanks his T-shirt off with one hand reaching behind his head. It sparks a low rumble from my chest.
I lift up on my elbows when he gets to his pants and watch his glorious cock spring free. I’m still cold and shudder as he crawls over me. His voice is husky as he lowers his weight on top of me. “One human blanket at your service.”
I sigh as I wrap my legs and arms around his heat. Did I mention how awesome sex is as a werebear? “God, you feel good.”
Adrian rocks his hips to rub against my sex. “So do you.”
I nip at his shoulder with my teeth and ask, “Why do you think it is I don’t shift during sex?”
“Because it’s not a stressful experience, babe.”
“But I lose control.”
Adrian slips a hand between us, and his fingers delve into my folds. “Yes, you do.”
I quiver beneath him. “So what I really need to learn is--” He thrusts two fingers into me and hits a sensitive spot. “Oh!”
Adrian kisses my neck. “You need to stop talking.” He removes his hand from between my legs and grips his cock to stroke it. “Unless my country club princess plans to talk dirty.”
I grin, because while I do come from an affluent background, as far as I know, that doesn’t make me a prude. I say, “Ram me with your rock-hard love stick.” Adrian scowls as I giggle. “Too much?”
He slides the tip of his cock over my slit. “Yeah. Turn it back a notch.”
I grab his dick and guide it into me as I whisper, “Fuck me, Adrian. Make me know I’m yours.”
He groans as he sinks deep, and I think I said what he wanted to hear. I grasp his round butt as he pumps into me, and I tilt my hips to feel more. My pleasure builds, and I begin to moan when Adrian surprises me by rolling us over so that now I’m on top. He lifts his arms up and places his hands behind his head. “Now it’s my turn.”
I lift up to my knees as I slide him out to the tip. “Talk dirty to me, baby.”
“Ride my cock and let me watch those tits bounce.”
Adrian is definitely a boob man, and lucky for him, I’ve got them. I sink lower and pick up speed to make my boobs jiggle as he requested. He can’t just watch though, and it’s not long before he’s got my breasts in his hands while he rocks his hips to thrust into me as I move. I like this position because I can get what I need. I’m so warm now that sweat is a fine layer on my skin, and I begin to quake over my mate as my orgasm builds.
“That’s it, babe,” says Adrian. “Fuck me hard.”
My moans get louder as I pump faster. “Oh god.” Adrian slides his fingers in between us to rub against my clit, and the wave of my pleasure rises so high that I crash and cry out. All is right in my world, and I hold on to my climax as long as I can before I collapse over his chest to tremble with aftershocks.
Adrian grips my bottom and squeezes before he slides out from under me. I’m a rag doll in his hands as he places a pillow under my hips to lift my butt in the air. I sigh into the mattress as he begins to kiss my shoulder and make his way down my back. He nips at my bottom, and I flinch before he finally gets between my legs. He swipes his tongue over me with one long swipe and says, “I’ll never taste enough of you, Ginny. You’re so sweet.”
I squirm when he continues. My folds are engorged and sensitive enough that his gentle lapping is making an orgasm surge again. I mewl in response as I revel in the attention. When I’m dangerously close to coming again, Adrian stops and commands, “On your knees.”
I scramble up for my reward, and I get it when he thrusts his thick length into me. He hisses at my tight heat as he slides against my slick walls. The cotton sheet wrinkles under my fingers as I grab on for his delicious assault. Adrian is officially fucking me hard now, and skin slaps as he slams into me as fast as he can. My channel milks him as my orgasm races to the surface, and I almost scream when it takes me. I quake as Adrian tenses with his impending release. He lets out a roar as he explodes inside of me, and we both slump to the bed in a trembling heap.
When our breathing slows, he lifts off of me to ask, “Warm yet?”
Adrian has rolled onto his back, and I climb onto him as if he’s a raft in a swimming pool. I lean on my arms and ask, “What are we going to do about my shifting?”
My mate strokes my cheek with his finger, and it sends a tiny shudder through me. “I know you think you’re failing at this, but you’re really not. It can take months for werebear to get a handle on it.”
“But Nessa and Tori--”
“Stop. Don’t compare yourself to them. Did you ever think that maybe this means you have more werebear in your blood than they do? And that it probably makes you even stronger?”
Great. I’m the freakiest of freaks. My throat gets thick, and I blink back tears, but I can’t hide them from Adrian. He asks, “Babe, what is it?”
I shake my head. I can’t tell him that I wish he’d never changed me. That I hate my new life, and while it was one thing to fall for a guy from the wrong side of the tracks, I never meant for him to pull me there. I was supposed to bring Adrian into the world of nice cars and country clubs when I became the famous surgeon I planned to be. My world is crashing down around me, and I can’t make it stop.
The annoyingly familiar prickle of a shift coming burns at my skin, and much like a panic attack, I begin to hyperventilate.
I scramble off Adrian as my bones crack and my skin stretches like a rubber band. I thud to the floor and wish I could run away. Every muscle in my body wants to move, but we live too close to town for me to take off as a bear.
As my mate, Adrian can speak telepathically to me. He says,
He’s on the floor before me and reaches out to stroke my fur as he usually does. But I don’t want Adrian’s comfort right now and move out of his reach.
“Ginny, you can do this.”
“Get the fuck out of my head!”
I really need to run. I know I shouldn’t, but I get up and lumber out of the room toward the back door.
“Ginny!” Adrian’s panicked voice is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and I pick up speed to smash my way through the door. Wood splinters, and the house shudders as I burst free. The forest is down the street, and I pass a few houses before I’m welcomed by the cool darkness. My paws thud on the woodland floor as the dank odor of dead leaves and brush wafts up to me. The aroma appeals to my bear, and with each powerful flex of my legs, my rage fades. I run with everything I’ve got. My limbs burn as my breathing is labored with my efforts.
Twigs snap behind me. I guess Adrian is following, but I’m still not ready for his comfort, so I lead us farther into the woods. The river isn’t far now, and it becomes my end goal. Adrian could easily catch up to me if he wanted, but he must sense I need to be alone and hangs back. When I spy the water, I find a way to move a little faster, like a runner’s finishing kick, and launch myself into the air to dive in.
The river is icy cold, but it doesn’t seep through my fur immediately, and I stay submerged while I wait for the chill to cool me down. When I pop up, Adrian is in the water with me. Guilt floods my veins. Not only did I lose control and shift, but I exposed myself as a bear and ran through the streets of Brunswick. The fallout from this could be huge if the town decides to go on a bear hunt. And even worse if the human hunters that want to eradicate werebear hear about it.
“No. I’m the one that’s sorry. I’m making this too hard on you, and I think we need to go to Orono.”
Orono. Where my sister Tori is the alpha of our biological father’s clan, and where there are hundreds of werebear. The other side of the tracks, and apparently the only place I now belong.