Runaway Bear is a second chance romance between Zax, a bear shifter/werebear, and Callie, a half-werebear. After a one night stand doesn't go the way either of them planned, Callie disappears for 5 years. Now that she's back, can they look past their own prejudices to realize that they are true mates?
Find out on November 18th!
Just for you, here's the first chapter of Runaway Bear!
Fate. I scoff at the thought. A man’s destiny is what he makes of it, not the work of three chicks wearing bed sheets. And love? I don’t believe it exists, either. Whatever chemicals in the body are responsible for thinking it does, I don’t have them. I enjoy women as much as the next bear—probably more—but why settle for just one? Bears aren’t monogamous creatures, especially black bears like me. We like our solitude. Why fight what Mother Nature intended? Why tie myself to one flavor for the rest of my life, when there are so many others out there to sample? True mates… what a joke. Anyone who believes there’s one special bear out there for them, one they’ll spend forever with, is out of their mind. At least that’s what I tell myself to get through each day. The purpose of the endless parade of women is to keep my mind off the one that got away. Works for shit, though. After five years, I still can’t get Callie Masters out of my head.
It was one night; one amazing night that haunts my thoughts and dreams. I remember every curve of her body, every moan and whimper, every time she called out my name or sunk her nails into my back. I can still taste her skin, smell her luscious scent. She was surprisingly shy—given she was the one who approached me—but she opened up the moment I touched her. Bloomed for me like a fucking flower; most beautiful one I’ve ever seen. She had the body built for a man like me—soft but strong enough to withstand a proper fuck. Although, it wasn’t like that with her. I took my time, because I was her first. The next day, I woke up hoping to be her last, but she wasn’t in my bed. There was no note, no phone call, no nothing; except the scent of her hair on my pillows, which told me she really had been there. She was just gone. For weeks I tried to find her without rousing suspicion. I had a bad reputation, and I didn’t want her to have one, too. I couldn’t exactly walk up to her door, either, because I’m pretty sure her mother wouldn’t have told me anything. Who’d want their daughter associating with me? Callie left Fall Valley without a backward glance, me standing in the wake of her dust. I guess I can’t blame her. All she did was give me a dose of the medicine I’ve been prescribing since I discovered the wonder of women.
That’s what I get for thinking I could be anyone’s mate. I’m the late night booty call, or the bear women sneak out to see when their husbands or boyfriends aren’t home; the ones who aren’t “in love” with their mates, anyway. That’s me—Zax Knight, the dirty little secret. I don’t mind. It works great because no one expects anything more from me. After the deed is done, everyone goes their separate ways until the next time an itch needs to be scratched. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’m one hell of a scratcher. Well, I guess I just did. Toot motherfucking toot.
My phone beeps, and I roll from under the truck I’m working on to retrieve it from the hood. It’s a text from Laurie, wanting to hook up tonight. She’s not exactly one of my favorites, but shit, I have nothing better to do. Besides, she abides by the rule with no questions—always out before the sun. No exceptions. I don’t do sleepovers. I reply with the time she should be at my place, then return to changing the truck’s oil.
After a long, hard day, I toss my oil-stained rag aside and head home. I’m so tired, I don’t think I can manage my work-out tonight; so tired I’m actually thinking about cancelling on Laurie. I’m not in the mood, either, which is strange. I’m always in the mood. Maybe it’s because Callie’s been on my mind today. I swear the woman has spoiled me for any other. When I walk through my door, I give in to my gut and text Laurie.
Zax: Change of plans. Can’t do tonight.
Turning the phone off, I toss it on the couch and make my way to the kitchen to find some food. I stand before the open fridge, staring at the contents—leftover Chinese and a six-pack of beer. Guess that’s dinner tonight. I scarf down the cold rice, and pop the cap on a beer as I walk to the bathroom. Glancing through the open door of the spare room, I think of all the women who’ve been in there. Damn. There have been a lot. Never in my bedroom, though. Callie was the only one, and now I have to live with that reality every time I go to sleep. Every day, I relive that morning when I woke up to an empty bed. Every. Fucking. Day. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t shake her.
After my shower, I drop down in my huge, empty California king-sized bed and knock the hell out.
Cracking one eye open, I find the midday sun shining in through the blinds. Shit. I overslept. Again. Good thing I’m the boss and don’t have to worry about getting fired. I opened the shop when I moved here seven years ago. It’s the only one around for miles, so work’s pretty steady. Right now, I have one guy working with me—Scott. He’s a good guy, great mechanic, and probably the closest thing I have to a friend.
With a yawn, I stretch my body to work out the kinks in my back. Growling at the day ahead, I hop in the shower, then get dressed.
Mrs. Nixon waves to me as I walk to my pickup truck. I’ve lived next to her for six years, and I doubt our conversations have gotten past “Good morning.” I answer her with a grunt because I haven’t had my coffee yet. I need to remember to stop and get some groceries. A nagging voice in the back of my mind grumbles that if I had a mate, I wouldn’t need to do that, but I shut it up with a firm shake of my head. What the fuck am I going to do with a mate? Fuck? I can do that with any woman. I hop in my truck and turn up the radio, blasting Zeppelin on my way to the diner.
When I walk through the doors, all eyes turn to me. As usual. The men sneer. The women stare with unrestrained lust, half of them averting their gazes in embarrassment after getting an eyeful. Smirking to myself, I approach the counter. The girl at the register smiles, ringing up my order before I even get there. I hand her the money and my thermos, waiting until she fills it.
“Here you go, Mr. Knight.”
I acknowledge her with a grunt and a chin lift as I turn to leave. Then, a scent wafts its way into my nose and I freeze. I’d know that aroma anywhere—strawberries and cream clinging to a sweet half-werebear woman with curves I’d kill to touch again. But it can’t be her. It can’t. Completing my turn, I come chest to face with Callie fucking Masters. My bear rushes to the surface, wanting to go to her. Yeah, we both missed her.
She stands there awkwardly, staring up at me and biting into her red bottom lip. I know exactly how that lip tastes, and wouldn’t mind getting a nibble right now. She’s the one who fucking left. She doesn’t want us. I push my bear back, walking by her as if she wasn’t there. I stomp to my truck wondering why the hell she’s back. I know it’s not for me, because I haven’t heard a peep from her in years. I hope she won’t be here for long. Liar.
I pause, curling my fingers around the open door of the truck. Her voice. All I can hear now is the sound of it as she screamed my name when she came. All three times. Taking a deep breath, I prepare to face her once more.
She approaches nervously, still chewing on that lip. Fuck. She’s still as gorgeous as the last time I saw her. Even more so. Her expressive grey eyes that look like God placed two stars in them, flick between me and the pavement as the wind whips her dark hair into her face. She tucks it behind her ears, and I remember how much she liked when I kissed that spot just below the lobe. My dick twitches, and my bear tries to make a come-back, black fur pushing its way through the skin on my arms. Her lips part as she watches my reaction, licking them as her gaze travels south—to my rapidly hardening dick.
“What do you want?” I growl.
My tone startles her, but she quickly recovers.
“I… I just wanted to say—”
“Oh, now you have something to say?”
“Why are you angry with me?” she asks, her confused gaze boring through me.
“Why am I…? Fuckin’ unbelievable!”
I hop in my truck, slam the door and peel out of the parking lot. The fucking nerve of the woman. She walks out on me after the best night of my life, and wants to know why I’m angry? I’m angry because she should have stayed. I’m angry because I fooled myself by thinking she could be mine.
I’m fucking angry because, seeing her now, I still want her to be mine.
Runaway Bear will be available on Amazon on release day!