Authors: Anya Nowlan
Tags: #BBW, #Interracial, #Firefighter, #Mail-Order Bride, #Werebear, #Paranormal, #Contemporary, #Fiction, #Romance, #Forever Love, #Adult, #Erotic, #Shifter, #Mate, #Suspense, #Violence, #Supernatural, #Protection, #Bachelor, #Single Woman, #Firebear Brides, #Brothers, #One Year, #Scheming Relatives, #Shifter Grove, #Idaho, #Family Homestead, #Uncle's Will, #Coffee Shop, #Dark Past, #Second Chances
A LITTLE TASTE…
She looked so cute when she was steaming angry. Rhodes had to bite the inside of his mouth to keep from kissing the stupid right off of her lips.
“You didn’t answer the first part,” he said coolly.
There was ice in those green eyes now. Those kitty cat eyes that seemed to look right through him whenever he was lying, that called to him when he felt like shit, and that made him fall in love with her over and over again.
“I had a debt to repay.”
“It’s not just that, is it?” he taunted, letting his mouth talk while his brain sat back and let him hang himself with what little rope he had. “You wanted this. You
to come here and see me. You miss me, don’t you, Kali? The thought of being in my arms again made you so fucking wet you couldn’t think straight, so you hopped on the first goddamn puddle jumper that would bring you back to my cock,” he hissed, leaning closer to her.
Her eyes went wide and her lips parted a little in a delicious “O” that was pleading to be kissed. Then her expression hardened and her cheeks went red with the same anger he’d seen on the runway. It drew him like a moth to a flame.
“I don’t have to listen to this, you fucking prick,” she bit out, undoing her buckle and launching for the door handle.
Before she could grab it, Rhodes had his hand under her chin, turning her head to face him, with his other hand on the back of her neck. And the next thing he knew, he was kissing the life out of her, his mouth hungrily devouring what had been his years ago, and what he knew would have to be his again.
Copyright © 2015 Anya Nowlan
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Bear The Fire
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Jack of Covers
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
A LITTLE TASTE…
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“We certainly aren’t in Kansas anymore,” Rhodes noted with a lazy flick of his longish blond hair.
“You could say that again,” Ragnar chuckled, clinking his bottle against Rhodes’s as they sat on the big porch.
“Dry as hell here, though,” Rhodes commented wryly, looking at the alcohol-free beer Ragnar was sipping.
Yes, he knew that his brother was a recovering alcoholic, or an obsessive addict as Ragnar himself liked to put it. But it seemed like at least one of the younger Hamilton brothers had arrived in a good place in his life. That was more than Rhodes could say for himself. With an unsaid expletive twisting his lips, he took a big gulp of his beer and slouched back in the seat, almost glaring at the vibrant sunset.
“Cut the shit, Rhodes. You don’t want to talk about weather. So tell me, what made you come back?” Ragnar asked.
Rhodes had managed to dance around that topic for days now. He’d come to Hamilton House, nestled in the foothills of eastern Idaho, near Shifter Grove, thinking that he could just breeze through the visit. No muss, no fuss, get the family off his back, and get going. But that did not appear to be the case. For two days he’d managed to avoid any topic more serious than “Who does your hair?” and “How’s the surfing in Hawaii?” but Ragnar had him cornered now. Without any other member of the Hamilton clan around, Rhodes couldn’t pretend to dodge anymore. Ragnar saw through him too easily for that.
“Your girlfriend asked me
nicely,” Rhodes said, winking at Ragnar.
The steely expression he got in return made him re-evaluate his choices in the conversation and clear his throat.
No poking fun at the life mate. All right.
For Ragnar, he would behave. Everyone else was up for grabs, though.
“All right, all right. It’s partially true. Abigail got me on the phone and told me that Idaho was burning down right around her or something and that you cubs needed my helpful, brotherly hand.”
“And?” Ragnar pried.
“And I got fired anyway, so I figured what the hell,” Rhodes added dryly, feeling his throat close up a little.
He took a deep swig and the beer went down easy, like the two bottles before it. It did nothing to ease the sting, though. He was bitterly aware of the fact that his expression had been twisted ever since he stepped off the damn airplane, and nothing could unscrew him other than reckless abandon in the fine company of some hard liquor.
“What got you fired?” Ragnar asked, no judgment in his voice.
Rhodes liked that about Ragnar. Royce would have given him a stern look and Redmond would have launched into a series of unfortunate jabs at his lack of qualification to be a firebear that would eventually end up in a friendly, if heated, tussle. But Ragnar listened. Not that it would matter much either way, seeing as Rhodes had no intention of sticking around for much longer.
“Apparently I don’t respect my own life and safety,” he said, smirking.
“Call the press, I think we need to make a special announcement,” Ragnar said, rolling his eyes. “Wasn’t that obvious from the last two jobs you got fired from?”
“Three,” Rhodes corrected. “I was in Wisconsin for a while too.”
“Never did trust those cheese-loving yuppies, did you?” Ragnar commented with a snort, drawing a chuckle from Rhodes.
“I guess you could say that. On Hawaii we had some fires on the small islands and they wanted to call off the jumps because it would be too dangerous. You know how it is, it’s the insurance companies talking, not the fire department. So I did one of those jumps anyway. Put out the whole fucking fire on my own. And what do I get? Fired,” he said, trying to muster some anger into his voice and failing miserably.
Losing his job was one of the few things he really couldn’t bother getting angry about.
“Sounds reasonable enough,” Ragnar noted glumly, in that older brother non-judging way that he had.
“But enough about me. Tell me why anyone isn’t explaining to me why we’re here.”
“Here, as in...” Ragnar asked, feigning ignorance.
Rhodes’s eyes narrowed, catching the shifty look in Ragnar’s eyes. Yeah, he could see it. They were hiding something, the whole bunch of them. No way that three of his eternal bachelor brothers had all suddenly hooked up with the women of their dreams and moved to Idaho to start some weird werebear commune. No, there had to be more to this and none of them were being straight with him, as if telling him the truth would make him run for the hills.
Though he could see how that may be a worry in his particular case.
“In Hamilton House. Don’t fuck around with me, Ragnar. I know something’s up. No way you’d come here after… you know. So, why?” Rhodes asked, sliding over the topic of their father’s death with all the grace of a bull in a china shop.
They’d been kids when their father had died in a fire on the Hamilton grounds. Ragnar and Rhodes had been the only cubs to see it. After that, their mother had packed the car and taken the four of them out of there, never to return again. And yet here they were now, all four of the mostly estranged Hamilton brothers, with three of them now acting like they’d never been apart for a day. It was weird, to say the least.
“Guess we’re just getting old. Wanting to reconnect. After Uncle Herbert died, it was now or never. So Royce came back, and he called Redmond… and then Redmond got me when things got dirty.”
“With the Hasslebacks,” Rhodes said, spitting the word out.
Thinking about the Hassleback clan made his hands ball into fists, and uncurling them was a Herculean feat of its own. It was Eric Hassleback, the clan patriarch and Alpha, who had been the reason that their father had died. Now the possibility was good that one or both of his sons were the assholes trying to burn down Shifter Grove and everything around it.
I thought stupid skipped a generation,
Rhodes thought glumly.
“Yes,” Ragnar confirmed.
It was getting dark now and none of this conversation was taking Rhodes anywhere. He was not in the mood to talk, but then again, he rarely was. In Hawaii, when he wasn’t working, he was surfing, and when he wasn’t surfing, he was mountain climbing. Or base jumping, or deep sea diving, or any number of things he couldn’t really do in this boring-ass state, surrounded by an overprotective clan of bears.
He would have liked to claim that he felt suffocated by their attention, but in all honesty that would have been copping to a level of dramatics he didn’t quite possess. And as much as he hated to admit it, Hamilton House and the grounds felt… right. While he was far from a happy camper, he couldn’t remember himself being quite so at ease with himself anywhere else, ever. Something about the air, how everything fit together, and the happy memories beyond the sad ones tied Hamilton House together with something good in him.
To say that he was appalled by this realization would have been an understatement.
Still, some sappy sentimentalism wasn’t enough to keep him put. As far as Rhodes was concerned, he’d come and seen the kin, so that meant he wouldn’t have to do it again for another ten years. Maybe call Ragnar around the guy’s birthday every year… that would be enough to say he kept in touch, right?