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Title and Copyright Page

Her Bearing

BBW Werebear Shifter Romance

Author: Ethel Venters


© Copyright 2016 by Ethel Venters

All rights reserved.

In no way is it legal to reproduce, duplicate, or transmit any part of this document in either electronic means or in printed format. Recording of this publication is strictly prohibited and any storage of this document is not allowed unless with written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.Respective authors own all copyrights not held by the publisher.


This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person,

living or dead, is purely coincidental.


From the Author:

2 Special Bonus Stories INSIDE!

Thank you for purchasing this book.



Table of Contents


Her Bearing

Description

When Cara Hawthorne goes into the Alaskan wilds to finish her late husband’s nature documentary, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with a strange man she finds injured in the forest. Having just woken from a near-death grizzly bear encounter, Cara tries to help the man by taking him back to her tent.

While trying to healing the man’s wounds, she can’t help but gawk at his perfectly muscular body. It’s not her fault that the man was nude when she found him—but the half-conscious man’s muscles and skin are just begging Cara to cleanse them.

Cara gives into her temptations with the acceptance of the man, who introduces himself as Garth. After their brief time together, Cara’s camp is attacked by the grizzlies from earlier, and Garth must protect her yet again. What was supposed to be a casual rescue mission on Garth’s behalf turns into a romantic liaison that will challenge him to reclaim his title as king of the forest.


Chapter 1

Running through the thicket of trees, I drop my pack in a last ditch effort to distract the grizzly bears chasing me. This is what I get for trying to finish my late husband’s nature documentary alone in the Alaskan wilds. According to Mathew’s research, the salmon shouldn’t be running for another two weeks, and Moraine Creek is supposed to be grizzly-free this time of year.

I pick up my speed and refuse to look back—the last thing I saw were two of them, a mother and her cub—and they looked hungry from the lack of fish. A bridge crossing the creek led me to this path and if I can find it, maybe I can outrun them. I pray the narrow bridge will be too small for them and they’ll just turn back at the sight of it. Running is not my thing, and I was barely small enough to get across that thing.

I’m sweating—soaked through my cargo shorts and tank, but if I slow down, I’m dinner. They probably got one good look at me and thought I was enough to feed the both of them. I remember cutting across a patch of trees, and when I see the branch I broke to mark my trail I take a sharp right. The bridge isn’t far, less than a mile ahead.

Move that thing, Cara, I tell myself, holding up my shorts by the waistline. The video camera bounces against my body and I’m surprised it hasn’t smashed apart yet. Please, God, don’t let me lose this tape! It’s the only thing I have left of Mathew, and I’m mentally kicking myself for not making a back up before leaving Anchorage.

I can just hear his voice in my head now. “Why didn’t you play dead, Cara? Always play dead!” He told me that a thousand times but when I saw them it was my first instinct to run. And now I’m going to be actually dead.

For one, I thought bears didn’t chase people, even if they were hungry. Mathew got close to them plenty of times—close enough to get breath-taking footage of them in their natural habitat. So why are they running after me at full speed? When I first spotted them they were at least a league away from me, but now they’re within a hundred feet.

The bridge is so close I can already imagine the wobbly thing beneath my feet. It’s an uphill run with roots and rocks sticking out of the hillside—I stagger, landing on my hands and scraping them against stone. Trying to get to my feet I just end up sliding back down hill, unable to get my footing. This is it. I’m going to get eaten by bears.

I hear the Rrroaaaarrhh from the bottom of the valley. If I don’t grab on to something soon and run to that bridge, I’m gone. They slowly make their way up the hillside. The mother flanks to my right and the cub to my left. They’re making sure to corner me in case I try to run. What kind of tactic is this?

I dig my fingers into the dirt so that I can pull myself up. Get up, Cara. The rapids from the creek are so close I can hear the rushing water—the sound is so serene, and yet I’m about to be mauled alive.

Another Rrroooowwwrrhh, this time louder and from in front of me. This one is a black bear, coming up from the creek and now blocking my entrance to the bridge. He’s about as big as the grizzly cub, which is only half the size of the mother, but I know not to pick a fight with a black bear. With three bears encircling me, the black bear standing high on its hind legs, for some reason I can’t stop running. My brain has ceased all functioning at this point. By the time I’m face to face with the great black beast I take one look up and instantly everything around me fades to white.


Chapter 2

The woman beneath me drops to the ground at the first sight of my size. I’m here to protect you, I think, scooping her up with my paw. I won’t let Yvonne and her little brat murder another innocent traveler. She’s heavier than most women, which makes it easier for me—sometimes I forget the power of my strength and have harmed a few of the skinny ones. Either way, it was for the best. Were it not for me, they’d all be dead.

I haven’t been able to save all of them. We’re waiting for the salmon to run but the feast won’t begin until July. Decades ago, it was part of our code to leave them alone—but when King Kinezzer killed my father he began his careless reign over the forest by announcing retaliation on non-shifters for their ceaseless slaughtering of our people.

“Get back, you wench!” I scream at Yvonne. She’s rapidly approaching from my right, Kaibre on my left. I can’t fight them both off with this woman in my arms. Now her size has become a hindrance.

“Oldrake, you scum,” Yvonne growls. She and her son are planning to eat the woman—this is the seventh I’ve stolen from them this month. “Put the Aleyskan down. If you worship their kind you are no Araru. You have no place in this kingdom.”

The little one is feisty, and if I don’t keep him in check his teeth could be at my throat in seconds.

“You seem to have forgotten the true Araru way, Yvonne,” I say, trying to slowly back down the creek. I can roll down with the woman in my arms in this form and she will be protected. From there I can make haste downstream. “There was once peace in these lands. The murderer you call a king has stripped you of your essence. Take a look at yourself.”

She roars loud, batting her paws against her chest. On her hind legs now she stands taller than me, but she knows the secret strength in my blood. This isn’t our first quarrel. The woman in my arms is totally limp. It’s better off this way; otherwise she would just arouse their adrenaline more.

“If there were a hundred of them here now and they saw you with her in your paw, do you think they would show mercy?” She has a point. I know that the Aleyskans fear us—but we are not pure Bear, either. “What are you trying to achieve, Garth?” she asks. Kaibre is now within paws reach—I’d better fall back for the creek.

Kaibre leaps toward me with a fast swipe—he’s aiming for the girl, but I duck and take his claws to my face. Just a scratch from this cub, but he wasn’t trying to kill the girl.

“Do you really think you could take back this land? Is that your intention by saving these lesser creatures?” Yvonne asks. She’s now right behind her son.

The cliff is at my heels—no choice anymore.

I fall back, curling into a ball, and as I hit the ground I tumble hard, holding the woman tight against my fur. She’s soft in my arms, and as I cradle her in my belly with my arms and legs, I get a strong breath of her coconut-scented hair. Stupid girl, I think. You gave yourself away with that smell as soon as you stepped into the forest.

My back takes stabs from sharp rocks as we roll to the creek. I only lose a little blood, and once we splash into the water it soothes my shallow wounds. Looking up, Yvonne and Kaibre are still at the head of the cliff. This is my chance—they are too scared to take the plunge—one time my foolishness actually pays off.

With the woman in my arms I can’t make as much speed as I could on all fours. If she were conscious she could mount me and hold on, but right now her entire body is limp. She’s lucky I have no interest in killing her. In the fall, her face has taken a few scratches but nothing major. She’s asleep, serene as if in hibernation.

The machine strapped to her body is a camera—I’ve seen them before though never had a use for one. I don’t understand the Aleyskan need to attempt to capture everything. Bears, fish, images—it never ends. I can tell it’s important to her because even in her state she’s clutching it with both hands. Whatever it is, I will try to keep it undamaged for her.

I’m panting at this point, trying to run with three limbs and holding this thick beauty, but as I look back I don’t see either of my pursuers. I stop, plant my paws in the dirt, and breathe in deep. I smell Yvonne and Kaibre, but at a great distance. They must have retreated back to The Dendron.

Holding the woman as gently as I can, I lay her down in a pile of brush. I need to get away, but I fear that if I leave her untended that they will come back for her. My scent is as strong as theirs and if I don’t stay near this woman, my rescue mission will be for nothing.

She’s breathing, her chest rising and falling slowly. Knowing that she’s unconscious, I take the private pleasure of placing my nose to her hair and soak in the rich scent of her. Huffing out as I exhale, a tuft of her hair blows over her eyes and nose.

It tickles her and her quirky little nose twitches—“Aaachhoo!” she wails, jumping awake.

I step backward—I’ve been here before. I rescue someone, they get a look at me, and they almost die of shock a second time. If she’s smart she’s just fall to the ground and let me walk away. That’s how this relationship should work, but it’s become saturated over the years. After all, there’s a reason she’s out here in the first place.


Chapter 3

I’m stuck on my ass in the dirt but the black bear in front of me is backing away, not coming toward me. The last thing I remember is this bear towering over me after being run down by the two grizzlies. He’s huffing in short, powerful exhales and backing away on all fours. Wait a second, did he just save me from the other two?

As he turns around the bear breaks into a sprint. This can’t be real. My body feels sore—I must have blacked out. What happened? Looking around me, I recognize this path. Above me is a tree that I marked with my knife. This is the other side of the bridge. Is it possible that the bear carried me across the creek?

He disappears into the dense trees and part of me wants to run after the animal. I try to measure the possibility of this being a hallucination—some kind of incarnation of Mathew from a dream, but this has to be real.

The scratches on my face are real.

The aching in my body is real.

The fur on my clothes is real.

I force myself to my feet. I look down at the camera and I sigh in relief to find it still intact. Holy shit.

The red light on the camera was covered by mud, but this entire time the lens cap was off.

And the camera was recording.

I need to make a quick decision—follow the bear or stop the tape, rewind it, and watch what happened while I was unconscious. What would Mathew do?

I brace the camera in my hand and start off at a slow jog. The brush is thronged with sharp branches, but I do my best do dodge them. There is a small path left behind from his heavy paws, and although I cannot see him I know he is close by. With the camera still running, I’m now sensitive of the sound of the motor humming.

The camera’s soft buzz lulls in the silence of the forest. My hand swats to turn it off, sure the bear will hear me—but I hesitate. Mathew would risk his life to get this footage, and so will I. This animal could be some miracle of nature. It could be the last part needed for his documentary.

Something behind me rustles the branches, and I catch them shaking slightly. They were just touched. I’m not alone. A bird flies out from the tree—false alarm. I let out a sigh of relief. The bear probably wanted nothing to do with me, and I must be hallucinating. Fear can do that sometimes, I’ve heard. I start back toward the main path. Could it be that all the adrenaline in my brain forced me to blank in some crazy fight or flight mode?

As I reach the dirt of the path, there is a cry from behind me—definitely human.

Help!” it calls. If there is another person here, I can’t leave them to die. Not with that bear around. The thought occurs to me that this person could have been attacked by the bear.

Or is being attacked by the bear.

I stop in my tracks.

If they are being eaten, there is nothing I can do for them now.

“I’m injured,” the voice says again. It’s male, and doesn’t have the urgency of being eaten alive. “Is anybody there? Please?”

Okay, Cara, get it together, I think. The Good Samaritan in me takes a deep breath, turns around, and forces me back through the brush. Bear or no bear, I have to find the man as quickly as possible. In this moment, death is a truth I must accept—and scouring the ground I find a nude man in the dirt, bleeding from several wounds on his back. His tan skin is bruised, and he’s heaving on his stomach.

“Oh my god, are you okay?” I ask, running over to him. I don’t have the proper medical supplies on me because I dropped my bag earlier when running from the grizzlies.

The man tries to push himself up but collapses to the ground again. His wounds aren’t what I imagined—they don’t look like they’re from a bear, but then he turns his face toward me and I see the claw marks, burning red. It looks as though he is trying to speak but lacks the strength to form words. With his bare rear facing the sky he looks so helpless.

“I’m going to help you,” I say, reluctant to reach down and help him up because of his open wounds. “Are you able to stand?”

“I’m trying,” he grunts, pushing up again, this time with little effort. As he stumbles down I extend out my hand without thinking. He takes it, looking up at me with shiny gray eyes. Blood trickles down his brow—I can tell he needs to get medical attention, but I’m not exactly the person to do it.

This man needs my help—I need to give it to him. Taking his arm over my shoulder, I hoist upward, trying to at least get him to his feet. Not only is he nude, but he’s also very sweaty. With one last darting glance at me, his eyes roll back and he passes out.

I have to accept the fact that this is awkward and potentially dangerous for both of us and do the right thing—even it means dragging this sexy, injured man through the Alaskan wilderness.

***

Three hours after lugging the unconscious man back to my camp, I feel like my arms are going to fall off and like my lungs have a hole pierced through them. I lay him straight so that I can get my tent unzipped, and once the flap is open I pull him inside. Thankfully I have a few first-aid items here, and before I search for them I rest a pillow under the man’s head.

Once the gauze and hydrogen peroxide are free from the kit, I put a damp towel over his forehead and soak a cotton swab. This would sting like hell if he were conscious. As gently as I can, I take the swab and caress it to the marks across his face one by one. There is no doubt that a bear swiped him in the face. Was it the black bear? One of the grizzlies?

A flash of a grizzly bear lashing out toward me enters my mind.

I put my hand to the man’s firm chest, now with a damp wad of cotton. The scrapes are minor and look as if they came from nature. Looking down at the rest of his body I see that his pecs and abs are all overly muscular. He must be some kind of lumberjack, I think. My eyes trail down his stomach to his member—just hanging there. There is a cut just above it, and I want to heal it like the rest of him.

Although his eyes haven’t opened yet, he twitches every time I put the peroxide to his bleeding flesh.

“It’s for the best,” I whisper, hoping it will ease him.

His face turns toward me, clenched in pain. I put my hand to his forehead, brushing the black hair out of his eyes. He’s cold, damp. My other hand is now below his navel, slowly working its way toward the cut on his groin.

Why is this man naked out in the woods? I wonder. Maybe he’s crazy or something. As logical as the insanity notion sounds, I don’t find it likely that a crazy guy would have such a divine physique.

“Thank you,” he groans, trying to lift his hand. The sound of his voice startles me and I sit upright, realizing how close I was to his shaft.

“You’re welcome,” I answer. “Are you okay? What is your name?”

“Garth,” he says, his eyelids cracking open. “Garth Oldrake. How long have I…” He’s unable to say any more, dropping his back down to the pillow.

“Okay, listen to me, Garth,” I say, returning my left hand to his forehead. “It looks like you’ve been hurt badly. I think we need to get you to a hospital. Do you understand me?”

“I’ll be fine,” he says, remaining still. The muscles in his torso clench tight, as if he’s exerting heavy force into them. My tent is barely big enough for me, let alone the both of us, and I can’t help but graze my body against him. Right now it’s only my legs, but something keeps drawing the rest of me closer, feeling the need to warm his nude body. There is nothing else in my tent—not even a sleeping bag to cover him with. Everything I had was in my pack, and that is more than a three-hour walk away.

“You’re cold,” he says, “shivering.” I’m cold? You’re the one with nothing on! He reaches his arm up to me and puts his palm against my bicep.

“Then you must be freezing,” I say, crawling on top of him. Cara, what are you doing? Literally, I’m straddling him now, my legs on either side of him and my breasts pressed down upon his pecs.


Chapter 4

The first thing I think is that when the woman mounts me, the pain in my body amplifies. The second thing I think is that her warmth and weight are what my body needs. Instantly I feel a rejuvenating sensation erupting in me, and I get so hard that it presses against her backside.

When I shifted back to this form and called for help, I hoped that she would come and find me. Changing into a man is the only way I could be around her without frightening her—one of the few drawbacks of being an Araru. I can’t remain in this form for long, and I usually don’t risk exposing myself like this. This woman is different, though.

Her lips pucker to mine as she rests her hands on my shoulders. She’s not afraid to touch me, and as she throttled her hips I can’t resist shooting my hands up to fill them with her soft curves. I make sure to be gentle when I roll her tank top over her body because I don’t want to rip it. I’ve been known to forget the power of my own strength.

Her large, succulent breasts pop out of her bra—I’ve taken it with the tank top. My fingers are so thick that sometimes I forget they’re not claws.

“Before we do this just please tell me why you don’t have any clothes on,” she says, sitting upright and covering her nipples. I’m at a loss—I wasn’t prepared to explain something so common for me.

“I—” think, Garth, “I was covered in juice,” I say, realizing how dumb it sounds. The truth is that with my erection throbbing against her, all I can think about are her juices. “I was covered in juice and there was a bear so I had to take my clothes off.”

I figure it sounds reasonable enough because people don’t realize how much their sugary goods permeate in our noses. Even though they can’t smell it through their containers, we still can. I can’t take my eyes off of her plump chest, desiring nothing but a mouthful.

“Your face,” she says. Oh yeah, I think, can’t forget about the searing pain—she must have cleansed the wounds. “Did you get attacked by a bear?”

“Yes!” I shout, a little too loud, but excited by her logic. I hate lying, but there is no way that she can know what I am. As soon as she does, she will run away like every other woman I’ve been attracted to.

I’m not supposed to be with a human—technically the Araru are only supposed to mate within our own kind or it will dilute the sacred bloodline of the forest. However, I don’t plan to mate with her—I only plan to give us both an extreme amount of pleasure. “You saved me,” I continue, trying to get her to release her two orbs onto my skin. “Thank you. What’s your name?”

I stroke the skin of her back with all ten fingertips, bending my eyebrows to take in the conflict she wears upon her face. With her fingernails digging into me, and her hips rotating, it’s like she’s between pulling down her cargo shorts to slide me inside and getting up and running away from me. She’s beautiful, robust like a woman should be, and if she would let me I would pin her down and take her body briskly.


Chapter 5

With my shirt off and the cold breeze from the lip of the tent making the hair stand on my neck, I don’t know why I’m trying to give it to this man so bad. I just met him, I don’t even know if he’s well, and here I am with my top off. Then again, he took it off, not me. That has to constitute some sign of consensus, right?

“Garth,” I say for the first time, letting it dance of my tongue. “My name is Cara. I just wanted to make sure you were okay, and now you’re in my tent.” Ranking as one of the most stupid things I’ve ever done. I can’t believe I kissed him. I can’t believe my breasts are out. This could be a ruffian raised by bears for all I know.

Don’t be dumb, I think, running my hands along the washboard of his muscles. This is it. You deserve it. So much sexual energy has been building inside me since Mathew passed, I don’t know if I am able to take another minute without releasing it all.

“Cara, I need this more than you know,” he says. “Can I please have intercourse with you? I want this to be an experience that neither of us regret.”

Those aren’t the words of a crazy person. I drop my chest so that my breasts are pressed against him, and using him as leverage, lift my hips to undo and take off my cargo shorts. They slide down my thighs, and once around my ankles, Garth helps kick them off with his feet. I’m sopping when his knees knock mine further apart.

“I really don’t think I’m going to regret it but I won’t know until a few days afterward,” I say, and his legs go stiff. Our noses are touching and he smiles at my blunt remark. I can be so weird sometimes. If I say anything else he might come to his senses, realize that he’s out of my league, leaving me hot and bothered. Mathew was a very handsome man, but Garth has the kind of body I could only dream of. Not that his body is all that pulls my lips back down to his—there is a ferocity in his gray eyes that makes me feel protected, guarded.

“Cara, your body is gorgeous,” he says. “Your heart is pure. I will give you pleasure; I will enjoy every inch of you.”

He breathes his words into my mouth and I can do is shiver back. How can I say no to a proposal like that? “Is your body okay to do that?” I ask. “You look hurt.” I swallow the familiar burn of embarrassment when I think of my weight on him—I’m not exactly a convenient size to be siting on someone’s pelvis.

“Let me show you that my body is okay,” he says

“Please show me,” I say, and before I finish the sentence the head of his throbbing penis is forged against my clit. He takes both of my wrists, wraps his legs around me, and with a pop-like motion we have flipped position, me beneath him and the rocky enclave of his sweaty body above me. His muscles have gone rigid in the swap, though my body felt no pain from his strength. The amount of force he used on me is incredible—he lifted me like I was as light as a feather.

His gray eyes make me go stone solid and his rod rubs down the crevice to my opening. The tables have turned and with a gentle shove his erection fills me, and I let my legs cushion the blow. Although his force is slow, the pressure from his hips gives every inch inside me a shocking sensation.

“Cara, your body is ripe how I like it,” he says, squeezing both of my ass cheeks. He lifts my waist from the ground and pressed harder so that all of him is buried in my pussy—I throw my hands back, letting my breasts roam free as he rocks me, and my shouts are immutable once his head scrapes my special spot. Once the rhythm is organic he places his right hand under my head and brings his lips to mine—another kiss, our tongues swirling. I can’t comprehend the joy surging through me, like pent up rage and grief finally channeling out through my first orgasm.

My nails grip his firm behind so that I can hold on tight while I rotate madly. If we were in a proper bed the wall behind the bedposts would be wrecked. I’ve never given it to a man without concern for my appearance. Even with my husband there was a shy part of me that would hold back while cumming—but now, out here in Alaska, I’m going to let Garth see, hear, feel, and taste the real me.

I can barely resist exploding inside her, but if I do I run the risk of losing the chance to enjoy this luscious woman forever. Hold on just a little longer, Garth, I tell myself, You haven’t even ridden her from behind, yet.

“Get your hands and knees,” I groan, pulling out before I release early. Her pussy drips with white secretion—I look up to her eyes and she’s breathing in short, pattered breaths like a rabbit. I don’t think she can respond, but I know she’s willing when she bites her lip and nods her head once.

My smile is foolishly wide, but I can’t resist—she’s everything I need, and the conflict in her eyes has me moved in ways I’ve never experienced. What is she hiding? I want to know more, but right now I need to finish myself off with her ass pounding against me. I ease her onto her side, and from there she rolls the rest of the way over, keeping her head low and her rear high. It’s waiting for me, and she’s jiggling it slightly, encouraging me to enter.

I grab her by the hips, spread her knees open with my hand, and guide my dick into the warm, wet chute of Cara’s pussy.

“You’re going to make me do it again,” she calls. She means orgasm. Wow, already? “You’re so big, Garth. You’re fucking huge,” she says, tapping the floor of the tent. A woman has never spoken to me like this. With heavy thrusts, she pops her behind for me and I feel the first surge arise from my feet—and by the time it gets to her pelvis, I pull out and spill onto the hills of her ass. The surge fires up to my face and instantly my head jerks down, slamming against her back. I curl her blonde hair around my fingers and pull as the last of my cum splatters across her.

“God, it’s so hot, Garth,” she moans. “It feels so good. I’m still cumming.” Under my face the muscles in her back tremble, and I bite down on a succulent roll of her skin, cupping a breast with my free hand.

Outside the wind is quiet, like a lullaby. It is hard to believe that I just met Cara today. In hours my body went from mangled to blissful, all because of her. I take her by the back of the head and roll her toward me, into my arms. Sliding up, I sit upright so that I’m looking down into her light blue eyes, and they’re glimmering with awe.

We sit in silence, breathing into each other, listening to the wind. I tickle my fingers across her body, giving her goose bumps everywhere from her feet to her neck. When she nestles her face into my neck, I grip my arms tighter around her and, looking to the corner of the tent, under her tank top, I see a red light glowing.

“What is that?” I ask, reaching over for it, but she swats at my hand, her eyebrows arcing high.

“Nothing,” she says, covering the little red beam with her tank top.

I hone in to my primal hearing, and phasing out all sounds coming from outside the tent, notice a constant buzz coming from the light. The camera is running. Was she videotaping the entire thing?

There is another sound that grabs my attention—a soft growling approaching quickly.

Chapter 6

“I can explain,” I say when his gray eyes perk up. He knows the camera has been rolling, and I feel so ashamed but I just had to get this on tape—this man is the epitome of sexy. How could I pass up the opportunity?

“Then explain,” he says sternly. A new look has come over him, offended and outraged. He’s still holding me close to him, but his face is accusatory.

“I never do this kind of thing,” I say, “and it was just a once in a lifetime thing so I figured it wouldn’t hurt, I mean—”

“—So you were just going to leave me and forget about me?” he asks. “You are the kind of woman who uses a man for his energy. I thought you were different.”

He releases me from his arms, his mouth slack and gaze averted to the tent’s flap. If I don’t stop him now then he’s going to run away, never to be seen again. I know how this kind of story works. It’s my own damn fault for filming our intercourse. My first chance at a clean slate since Mathew and here I go acting like an insensitive, ignorant city woman. I should know how vulnerable the locals out here feel.

“Please, Garth, don’t leave,” I say as he heads for the flap.

“Sshhh,” he whispers, holding his index finger outstretched. I wrap my arms around my breast—something I do when I feel uncomfortable. I reach for my tank and slide it back on without the bra. The camera sits there, still recording. I know I should reach over and shut it off—but the documentarian in me holds back.

Cara, there is a line between documentarian and voyeur, I think, taking the camera in my hands and powering it down. It makes a quiet beep when the LCD goes black.

“Cara, be quiet,” Garth hisses. The veins in his neck protrude, his index finger still firm. He peeks out of the tent. From where I’m sitting, I see that he’s holding his breath. His cum has now dried and hardened on my bottom, and I put on my cargo shorts because this rise in urgency has me worried.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, keeping my voice low.

“They’re back,” he says, preparing to stand upright and run out of the tent.

“Who’s back?” Maybe I was wrong; the man who fucked my brains out might actually be insane.

“The grizzlies,” he says, looking back at me, and I know now why he’s flustered. In the heat of our lust I didn’t even manage to get my hiking shoes off—which is convenient now, because he’s already outside of the tent, and I have to get my shaking body up after him.

Where has he gone? I look around but among all the trees and bushes I can’t find him. “Garth?” I yell out. I make a quick lap around the tent. Maybe I’m the crazy one, I think. The tall, gorgeous man who I just made love to is nowhere to be found.

In the brush I hear something like twigs snapping, I rush over in the direction of its source. Before there are any more noises, I see them—the towering mama bear and her savage cub. The sound of breaking wood continues as they growl loudly, taking me into their sight. When I take a step back I trip and fall with my back to the ground.

I’m dead.

Or this has all been a nightmare.

I close my eyes and attempt to vacate my mind from the oncoming massacre. A third growl permeates like thunder over the other two, When I open my eyes I see him—Garth, only twice his height, and fur protruding from his skin. His arms barrel over with muscle, his neck bulges into twice its normal size, and long sharp claws, black like tar, extend from his fingers as they mutate into paws.

The sight before me cannot be real. I see half of a black bear and half of Garth—all in the same body—with Garth becoming less and less apparent. A massive head develops with a snout emerging, razor sharp teeth unfurling from his jowls. There are no longer two bears and two humans—there are three bears and me.

On my back, I lie frozen, trapped in this déjà vu, wishing I would wake up from this nightmare and return to Anchorage safe and sound. However, as much as I pray, nothing reverts this reality to a morning in Anchorage, or the moment after cumming all over Garth’s rod. I am forced to witness the black bear, or Garth, standing on his hind legs rushing forward to engage the two grizzlies. My heart races because I’m afraid of Garth dying, and because I just saw a human being transform into a bear.

There is a dizziness stirring in me and, as I dig my fingers in the dirt, I close my eyes to regain my center. The growling outside the darkness of my eyelids increases to full on screaming, and it becomes impossible to discern Garth’s growl from the other two. As the truth sets in that this experience is real, my stomach churns and I almost vomit. It’s not that I’m repulsed by Garth, but astonished and overwhelmed by the possibility of such a thing—a man transforming into a bear. Is metamorphosis into animals more common than I think? Are the other two bears the same way, able to change into a human form?

I don’t want to stick around long enough to find out but, try as I might, my body does not respond to my brain and I can only focus on the blackness of my eyelids, hoping that Garth will save me.

At once everything occurs to me—when I blacked out, it was Garth who saved me the first time from these grizzlies. For the life of me, I cannot remember getting from the path near the bridge to the other side of the creek, but now I’m willing to wager that the bear I thought was blocking my path to the bridge was actually Garth.


Chapter 7

I didn’t want to have to show Cara what I am, but with Yvonne and Kaibre out here with bloodlust, I didn’t have a choice. Now that I’m back in my true form my instincts take over, and they’re telling me to do whatever it takes to protect Cara—even if it means killing Yvonne and her cub. Kaibre is on the verge of manhood and this year will participate in the annual Kingship where all of the Ararulings fight to determine who will be the new king of the forest. Under King Kinezzer’s reign, this is what my people are subjected to. And they think the Aleyskans are the only barbarians in our country.

Behind me Cara remains on the ground—she is the type of woman who needs a lot of protection. But after what she just gave me, I will risk my life to get another taste. Kaibre, on all fours, prepares to launch forward, swiping at me. Get up, Cara, I think. Am I going to have to pick her up and run again? I don’t know how many times I can outrun them.

From the trees in the distance, a quaking growl rumbles the very ground beneath us. There is only one Araru in this forest who could announce his presence with such power—and that would be King Kinezzer himself. Yvonne and Kaibre expect him—that’s why they have not attacked me yet. They must be on direct orders to save me for him.

But why?

The Aleyskan?

The King has come to put an end to my vigilance. It just has to be when the person I’m saving is the one I’ve fallen in love with. He will kill her without thinking twice—and with both Yvonne and Kaibre there is no way I can save her.

Run, Cara, I think. In this form she won’t understand me if I speak vocally—she will only hear my growls, but Yvonne and Kaibre will understand that I’m telling her to run. With this rush of events I can’t decide what to do, so I go with my stomach, which tells me to take Cara in my arms and run like hell.

I scoop her up again and head for higher ground—it is the only possible way that I can get the advantage with three of the forest’s most vicious Araru after us. This is going to take more strength than I have, but if I push my legs to their limit there might be hope for my love and me, yet.

My love? I ask myself. I don’t know if the feelings are sincere, or if I’m still basking in the glow of our amazing sex.

Oldrake!” the king screams loud enough to rock the mountains. “You are up for execution, and there is no point in running.”

Yvonne and Kaibre growl with laughter. I didn’t realize I was such a wanted man, but I guess my idea of justice might get the best of me after all. It’s too late for second chances now, and there is only one way I can outrun them.

“Cara, please wake up,” I say, hopping over a stray boulder. “I need you to wake up.”

I rejoice at the sight of her light blue eyes looking up at me. She knows what I am now, and her next reaction determines her true feelings for me—will it be surprise or fear?

As her fingers tighter into my fur, her eyebrows dart up with her smile, and it is amazement in her eyes with a touch of shock—there is a possibility that she really does love me.

“Cara, I need you to ride on my back,” I say. “The only way I can save us is to run on all fours.” I know it’s only growls to her, but maybe she will understand.

Her eyes hone into mine while she tries to calculate the situation. She is on board, trying to circumnavigate my running bullet of a body. I help swing her around, and with the use of her legs she’s able to get on my back. Finally, she wraps her arms around my neck and I put all paws to the earth, racing with all of my might.

As I hit the hillside with full speed my goal is to get to the top where I may be able to land one killing blow on Kinezzer. With this tactic, I risk Cara being isolated to her face her death against Kaibre, Yvonne, and Kinezzer—but I can’t think of anything else. I must have faith in myself, and realize that this is my fate. I must kill King Kinezzer and reclaim my father’s throne.

***

Garth’s speed is unnatural—a bear shouldn’t be able to run at what seems like 40 miles per hour. Then again, person shouldn’t be able to transform into a bear, so I guess all of my conceptions of physics are out the window. Either I really am trapped in a nightmare, or I have a lot to learn about Garth’s secret. I wonder if he was trying to keep this from me.

Could he have been lying about being injured? Why would he do that?

Duh, Cara, I think. Isn’t it obvious? He wanted to have sex with you. Should I feel violated? Because I don’t, I feel flattered, wanting to hold on tighter to the creature below me—my savior. Maybe it wasn’t just sex—maybe he saw something more in me. I’m the one who dragged him to my tent, didn’t I?

He leaps over the obstacles in our path with ease and elegance. Running uphill at this rate must not be easy on his legs.

If we make it out of this, maybe I’ll get to make his body feel better. I really shouldn’t be thinking about sex at a time like this, but it’s hard not to after the unearthly, world-shattering orgasms he gave me earlier. God, I feel myself getting moist right now with the muscles hard at work in his back grinding against me.

Should I feel bad about that?

As we near the clearing of the hillside, his paws dig into the ground and he spins around 180 degrees. My hair shifts around my face, blinding me momentarily. He bumps my waist with his back, and I think he’s signaling me to dismount him. That’s right, he can’t speak when he’s a bear. That would only be too convenient.

Hopping off his back, I’m lost as to what to do next. He turns to face me and stands on his hind legs. He’s back to towering over me—is the man with the kind, gray eyes in there somewhere? I have to believe he is, because the way he puffs his chest high tells me that he’s proud to fight for me.

The hill’s peak offers a beautiful view of the forest below—it’s too bad he can’t return to his man form and hold me while we take in the sky’s canvas of colors. Nodding his head for me to continue on the path down the other side of the hill, he grunts quietly in his bear growl. Is he trying to say something to me?

“I love you, too, Garth,” I say back for some unknown reason. My face goes flush. Why, of all the things I could have assumed he said, was it that? Is it because those were the words already lingering on my tongue? He nods again with a louder grunt, wanting me to hurry before the grizzlies get up here. I want to do something more, but all I can do is run like he tells me.

I reach the mouth of the downward hillside, but am frozen when I see a line of them coming toward me—bears, men, some shift in-between—all aiming for the top. They’ve formed a perimeter around the hill. There is no getting down, not without passing them first. Mostly the bears are grizzlies, but I see there are also women, not just men, and in their humanoid form they look like they could wipe the floor with me. It’s probably in my best interest to run back up to Garth at this point.

I scramble, backtracking my way up. The sight of these creatures when they are shifting makes my stomach heave, and I know that at any second they could kill me if they were so inclined. This has to be about more than me—they wouldn’t reveal themselves to me if there weren’t something much larger at stake.

As I reach the top, Garth already has his paws full with the cub and the mother. They’re attacking him, but not to kill—while the cub takes jabs and bites at Garth’s neck, the mother attempts to get Garth’s paws behind his back. I can’t watch, but if I abandon him they could rip him to shreds. What in the world is going on here?


Chapter 8

“Unhand me, wench!” I yell at Yvonne, whose claws pry open the flesh on my wrists. If I don’t focus I could lose shape and become a man again by accident, forfeiting my and Cara’s life. It’s hard to concentrate with two of them coming at me, and I know that it will only be seconds until Kinezzer is here to finish me off.

Kaibre head butts me in the stomach and with Yvonne’s force behind me I buckle to my knees. When I’m able to breathe again—I take hundreds of various scents approaching on the horizon. Has he called upon the entire Araru army? I look up and there is Cara—staring back at me, horrified by what Yvonne and Kaibre have done to me. Don’t lose focus, Garth, I think, trying to free my hands from Yvonne’s grip. They’re going to kill me, then kill her, eat her, and use my body as a sign of what happens to traitors in King Kinezzer’s forest.

I see their heads breaking the ridge, the entire army—generations of Araru who have fought to keep our people alive. And once they are on top of the hill, they form a ring around us until, with vibrating steps, a mountain of a bear is graced with their bowing heads. Finally, King Kinezzer has arrived.

And I fear these are my last moments on earth.

***

I hold my breath as the largest mammal I’ve ever seen with my own eyes walks straight toward me. Half of his gray face is tattered with scars, the same with the top section of his torso. He looks like he has been in many battles, and part of me would rather be dead than fall to the mercy of this beast.

I wish while we were making love Garth would have had the decency to tell me what I was signing up for—had I know that by giving him my body I was throwing myself into a dinner party for one hundred I might have had second thoughts.

Then again, those orgasms may have been worth dying for.

When the mammoth bear gets to me, he takes a giant whiff and then stands tall. I’m shaking with him before me, and I say my prayers, preparing to die. I just hope I go before I feel the pain.

After a moment of silence, the mammoth grunts and I look up to his face. There is no emotion, just a cold, vacuous void. He points his nose at Garth, and Garth motions for me to bow down like all the others are. How degrading. I have to kneel before he kills me?

Putting my knees in the dirt, I lower my head, and when the behemoth drops to all fours, I expect a death stroke—but instead he waltzes over slowly to Garth, the mama and the cub, circling them. After a few laps, he towers over Garth and howls to the sky with all of his lungs and power—a scream that sends birds flying out of trees.

Responding to the call, Garth gets to his hind legs, chest and chin raised high against the behemoth, twice his size. Suddenly, I jump at the sound of the hundreds of other bears howling to the sky, challenging their leaders primal war cry. Nobody but me looks like a human, now—they have all taken the form of bears, and I’m trapped in their deadly circle.

***

Kinezzer wants a fight to the death. He wants to prove to his people what happens when his laws are disobeyed. I’m going to be their example. To their reluctance, Yvonne and Kaibre back away, joining the rest of the crowd. Now it’s just Kinezzer, Cara, and me in the circle. I want her to run, but Kinezzer has other plans. My plan to get the higher ground failed—now we’re on the same playing field, and I have the underhand. All it would take is one rogue Araru who loves their king to jump in and snap my neck.

One thought flashes through my head that could change everything if I handle this situation tenderly. With half of the kingdom here, if I were to kill King Kinezzer then I the throne would be mine—and I would reclaim everything stolen from my father. I would save Cara’s life. I could change the misguidance of the Araru and bring justice back to our nature.

“Let her stand aside safely,” I say, refusing to show my intimidation.

“She will watch you die, you miserable dog,” Kinezzer says, smiling to the crowd. After a deceptive laugh, he directs a mocking growl at Cara, knocking her off her feet. I’m surprised she’s not in tears. She’s braver than I thought, but still a toy in the presence of this army.

“Please, have some decency,” I beg. At this rate, she might die of shock. This is too much for an Aleyskan to absorb in a single day.

“You fool, you’re lucky we don’t feast from the flesh on her bones!” This receives cheers from the army, especially young Kaibre.

“I’m going to kill you right here, Kinezzer,” I yell, replied to with laughter from the army. In the corner of the eye I see Cara trying to crawl away, and I want to yell out to warn her that it’s just as dangerous as staying in the circle, maybe even more.

“You’re going to kill me, weakling?” the King asks. “That’s what your father said before I ripped his throat open.”

His hands in the dirt and, cocking his neck back, I anticipate him launching forward with his teeth, turning him into a torpedo of knives. The smartest thing I could do is parry, but with his size I might not be able to make it out of his radius. Kinezzer stands taller than my father, who was taller than me—but there is one thing I have that both of them lack, and that is love—compassion.

Kinezzer pounces forward, jowls wide, and I leap left as far as I can. I dodge his teeth but his paw rakes my stomach, leaving a gash across me. Blood spills to the dirt but I’m alive. Where I just stood, he’s in the same pouncing stance again. Will he attack the same way twice? That is a poor strategy, but Kinezzer is more brawn than brain so it would make sense. This time, instead of leaping sideways, I either need to leap backwards or—

—Upwards—no time to think, I’m on Kinezzer’s back, having successfully dodged the second attack. With the giant under me, I take the opportunity to attack and stick all of my claws into his flesh and thrash repeatedly. He howls in pain, and I can see that Kaibre has taken Cara and his pinning her down. If I kill the king will the boy kill my love? I would rather die at Kinezzer’s claw.

His blood spouts from both sides—I’ve done my job wounding his back. Now it will be difficult for him to lunge forward with the same amount of force. However, he’s slid out from under me and upon turning around he hooks me across the snout with the back of his paw. It doesn’t hurt much, and actually gives me the opportunity to duck low, swiping at his feet and knocking him to the ground.

I need to move fast, and leap, spinning in the air so that I land with my right hand at his throat. Here is my chance, and I can only hope that Cara isn’t watching, because although murdering Kinezzer will save us both, it will be a poor sight. While screaming with wrath, my mouth dives downward until all I see is red, and the beating heart of Kinezzer ends its rhythm.


Chapter 9

After Garth slaughtered Kinezzer, Kaibre dropped me to the dirt. I still have claw marks on my neck, but Garth forced him and Yvonne to apologize to me. When the old king’s body was burned, the rest of the Araru growled in acceptance of Garth, and that night he told me all about their people—how for centuries they have guarded their secret from Alaskans in the forest.

Garth told me this is why he was so upset at me for filming him—not because we were making love, but because his people’s future depends on their secrecy. I destroyed the tape, even though that footage would have changed Mathew’s life, and accepted that my life would be different from that moment forth.

I’ve been living in a deluxe campsite near Garth’s kingdom. Soon we will be married and I will be queen of the Araru. I honestly don’t know what that entails, but Garth has assured me that birthing will be no different than with a pure-bred human. I’m excited to have his child and live out here in the purity of nature under the guidance of him and his people. It’s like a dream that I could never have imagined. So far I’ve been taken care of better than a five star hotel, considering the fact that we’re in the middle of the wild.

After a delicious meal of well-awaited salmon, I’m now anticipating Garth to return from the Council of the Araru before our wedding. Something like this has never happened with his people, and tonight we are going to talk about the gravity that this will carry on their future. I can’t lie, I’m also hoping that I’ll get some time with his ripped body again, too.


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