Authors: Bianca D'Arc
Tags: #mermaid, #shapeshifter, #shifter, #grizzly, #siren, #alpha male, #werebear, #bear shifter
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Copyright © 2016
Smashwords Edition July 2016
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Tales of the Were – Grizzly Cove #6
A woman of mystery…
Jetty is a huntress of the deep ocean who
finds herself fascinated by a man—a shifter—who sets anchor in her
realm day after day. She is obliged to watch him, not fully
understanding the fascination the handsome stranger compels within
her battered heart.
A man with hidden scars…
Recovery from major injury isn’t easy. While
Drew’s physical problems have been addressed and cured, the
emotional scars from his battlefield catastrophe are harder to
heal. He seeks the solace of the ocean even more than the welcome
company of his former military comrades in the town of Grizzly
Cove. When they give him a mission to make contact with an elusive
mermaid, he’s more than willing to give it a try.
A people in danger…
Jetty and Drew will have to work together if
they are to bring the mer people into the protection of the cove.
They will both face the terror of the deep. Will they be strong
enough to overcome its evil? And will their love be strong enough
to overcome the injuries of the past that have left them both
slightly broken in different ways?
Special thanks to Peggy McChesney for her
support and willingness to humor a crazy author. Thanks also to my
family for giving me the opportunity to do what I love.
Drew had to be careful when he took his boat
out now that Grizzly Cove was besieged by a creature known as the
leviathan and its friends. From what everyone was saying, this
leviathan wasn’t from around here originally. Meaning, it wasn’t
from the mortal realm at all.
It was a creature from some darker, more
magical place where evil ruled, and it had been let loose on the
Earth’s oceans by a bunch of unscrupulous assholes known as the
Drew knew a bit about the
They were an ancient organization that had formed around the fey
sorceress known as the Destroyer of Worlds. Her name was Elspeth,
and she’d been banished to the farthest realms a few centuries ago
after a series of major battles with the forces of Light that
happened during the time the humans called the Dark Ages. They
weren’t far off with that moniker, since Elspeth was a major player
among the forces of darkness.
Drew, himself, was an old soldier. He’d spent
most of his life to this point fighting in all the hottest
hellholes on Earth. He was also a shifter—a grizzly bear. So he was
a bit more magical than most of his kind, but he’d only had to call
on his innate magical abilities a few times in his life as a
conventional soldier. Now that he’d retired with the rest of his
unit and begun the social experiment that was the newly formed town
of Grizzly Cove, Washington, he found himself using his magic more
However, Drew’s magical skills were a little
bit different than most of his comrades. His talents lay in the
areas of stealth. He had found out through trial and error that he
could disguise his magical signature. He could erect a sort of
shield, if you will, that would hide his magic—and that of anyone
with him—from anybody who might be looking.
He couldn’t cover large areas. He’d
tried—without telling anyone else about his experiments—to shield
the entire town once the attacks had started. Apparently,
concentrating such a large group of usually-solitary bear shifters
in one spot had made their little town an attractive target to the
magic-sucking, soul-stealing leviathan.
But all his attempts to project his shield
over a large geographical area had failed. He’d been able to shield
his friends and comrades in small groups on foreign battlefields,
but shielding the entire town was beyond him.
He had to have his shield up whenever he took
his fishing boat out beyond the cove nowadays. He didn’t want to
become an appetizer for the leviathan or one of its smaller
minions, but he still felt the call of the sea just as keenly as he
The peace and majesty of the ocean beckoned
to him. Always had. That was one of the main reasons he’d jumped at
the chance to settle in Grizzly Cove when his unit commander, John
Marshall—who was also Alpha of this unlikely band of bears—came up
with the idea to form a new community, camouflaged as an artists’
colony, on the rugged Washington coast.
Settling on the coast sounded just about
perfect to Drew, as was continuing to live near and work with the
men he’d come to think of as his brothers during their years in
Special Forces. They were family to him. Big John and the rest of
the military bears were his people, and Drew would die for any one
of them, as he knew they would for him.
Not that they had expected things to be
dangerous in their new community. They were retired from active
duty. Burned out. At least in his case. Most of the other guys
hadn’t been as close to the edge as Drew, but all of them were sick
of fighting in mostly human conflicts all over the world. The
luster of travel and being able to channel their beasts’ natural
aggression had played out, and it was time to settle down and find
a mate—if they could.
Mates weren’t thick on the ground for bear
shifters. For one thing, there weren’t as many female bears in any
generation as there were males, so most males had to seek mates
among other shifter groups or humans, if they were serious about
not living out their long lives alone. John had put out a call for
any bears who wanted to try life in Grizzly Cove to come join them.
The town council—made up of the core group of the ex-military
They’d hoped to attract single female bear
shifters, and a few had come to the area and moved in, which was a
good start, but not nearly enough to meet demand. So the town
council had begun to allow humans to open a few select businesses
in town. The first, a bakery owned by three human sisters, had been
a huge success. Not only did they make delicious breads and
pastries, but the sisters were now mated to three of Drew’s
The second business the council approved had
been a bit more problematic. Two sisters had opened a book shop,
but what nobody had known when they applied was that the Ricoletti
sisters were witches. Italian
, they called
themselves. It had all come right in the end, but the town council
had decided to delay the approval of any more businesses or new
residents until they could be sure they weren’t letting more magic
folk into what they had designed originally to be a bears-only
Plus, there was the leviathan problem. The
elder of the Ricoletti sisters—Ursula—had helped tremendously with
that already. She’d cast permanent wards to protect the cove
itself, though the leviathan and its smaller nightmarish friends
were still waiting, just off the coast.
Ursula had mated the Alpha, surprisingly
enough. Theirs was a true mating, it was obvious to see, and they
were working hard to make the cove safe. Her younger sister,
Amelia, was still unmated and reportedly working on some sort of
potion-based magic that took a long time to prepare but would
hopefully drive the leviathan and company even farther out to
Meanwhile, Drew still took his boat far off
shore, in defiance of everyone’s advice. He knew he could hide his
magic from the leviathan, and he also knew his inner bear needed
the peace the ocean gave him. It was vital to his continued sanity.
Drew needed the alone time and the quiet, with only the swishing of
the waves against the hull of his boat and the soft sigh of the sea
in his ears.
He fished, too, but it was mostly as an
excuse to be out on the water all day. He supplied his buddy, Sig,
with fish for his shop and made a little money off the bounty of
the sea for his trouble. The other guys had all taken on different
jobs necessary to the running of the town when they’d set up their
community. Drew had created the job of fisherman and never looked
Oh, Sig fished too, but he stayed closer to
shore, and he also ran a shop where he sold fresh fish, along with
bait and tackle for those tourists who occasionally cruised through
on their way down the coast.
All in all, Drew was happy with his new
existence. He was slowly recovering from too many years as a
soldier. The sea was his therapy, and it was working.
Drew popped open a beer after setting his
lines and sat back in his favorite deck chair to enjoy the sunrise.
He had a small piece of wood in his hands, and his pocketknife.
Whittling occupied his mind in a good way, allowing him to relax a
little, and the small figurines were fetching high prices in the
art galleries in town, much to his surprise. He’d always liked
carving miniatures, and if some silly tourist wanted to pay for his
creations, so much the better.
He’d motored out while it was still dark,
being careful to keep his magical shield up and running at all
times. He didn’t want to end up as a snack for the creature that
haunted the depths out here, but he had to be out on the ocean when
his internal demons came home to roost, as they had that night.
Bad dreams often drove him out, onto his
boat, in the middle of the night. He was lucky that fishermen often
set sail before dawn. None of his buddies really knew how tortured
his sleep was. He’d been able to hide it from them so far. But
alone on the ocean, he could forget his troubles and just…be.
Except…somebody was staring at him. Dammit.
He’d felt this a few times before, but dismissed it. Now, of
course, he thought he knew who it was.
A few days ago, a half-dead mermaid had
washed up on shore, and his friend, Jack, who had taken on the role
of game warden, had found her. He’d nursed her back to health, and
the Goddess must have been at work, because they had discovered a
mutual attraction that turned out to be another true mating.
The mer were some of the most mysterious of
all shifters. Not much was known about them, but Jack’s new
mate—her name was Grace—had been revealing little bits here and
there. One of the things they’d told Drew in particular was that
Grace’s hunting party might be looking for her and that one mer in
particular, a gal named Jetty, might have occasion to swim near his
boat from time to time.
Grace had asked him to make contact with her
friend, if at all possible, to let them know she was all right and
staying on land for the time being, with her mate. Big John, the
Alpha, had gone one farther and told Drew to deliver an even
greater message. He’d offered the mer asylum in the cove while the
leviathan prowled off shore.
That was a big step, and Drew knew it.
Inviting another group of shifters into their territory was
monumental and impressed upon everyone how dire the situation with
the sea monster really was. Not that they didn’t know already.
Everyone had seen the thing attacking Ursula when she’d cast it out
of the cove with her powerful, permanent, magical wards.