Authors: Flora Dare
Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.
This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by Three Cats, LLC. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Grayslake: More than Mated remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of Three Cats, LLC, or their affiliates or licensors.
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Secrets to Bear
A Grayslake Paranormal Romance
by Flora Dare
He’s her hot one-night stand. She’s his fated mate. And there’s one person determined to keep them apart.
Lira just needs room to breathe. Somewhere away from her small town, their prying eyes, and their intense focus now that her cheating ex… is really her ex. For good. What better place to get away than a dive bar two towns over? And if she happens to meet her next one-night stand in all of his muscular, lickable glory… all the better.
Werebear Jake just wanted a drink. What he got was an armful of luscious mate. For one night. Then life--and his persnickety grandmother--interfere. He has to get his family to Grayslake, Georgia (the werebear town) and then he’ll focus on finding his missing mate. Unless she finds him first.
Jake has Lira, but can he keep her? Lira’s ex refuses to let her go and Jake’s bear… refuses to let him live.
Lira stared out over the dance floor. The blaring music and swirling lights tried to make the dirty honky-tonk bar look like a fun time, but she couldn't pull her thoughts out of her deep funk.
A month ago, Lira had walked in on her fiancé, well now ex-fiancé, balls deep in her so-called best friend. And everyone knew about it. Now, no matter where she went, it felt like everyone in the small town stared at her. She just craved somewhere she could let her hair down and not have people look at her in smug sympathy.
So here she was, two towns over, throwing back vodka sours and trying to forget the hurt in her heart. She swirled the ice in her cup and smiled. In truth, she was surprised at how little Ethan's betrayal bothered her. At least she found out before the wedding, in enough time to get all her deposits back.
The deeper hurt was in losing her long time best friend, Angela. The person Lira would have been with, crying over the breakup. She flashed back to the awful moment she let herself into the apartment the two women shared. She might have even figured out how to forgive her friend, if not for the sly smile that passed quickly over her face when Lira came home.
There had always been an undercurrent of jealousy from her former friend, but Lira thought that was left behind years ago, in high school. Except that smile told Lira she'd been set up.
And now Lira was drinking cheap vodka in a dive bar. She tossed back the last sip and thunked the glass on the bar. She might as well go. Her mind wouldn’t leave those painful memories alone and there was no way she was going to be able to relax and enjoy herself. She knew there was a diner within walking distance where she could eat some fried food and make sure she was safe to drive home.
The bartender waved her down and started to hand her another drink, but Lira shook her head. No way did she want another. He gestured down the bar at one of the other patrons and she glanced down, curious who was buying her a drink.
Lira tightened her mouth, emphatically gestured the drink away, and turned away from the bar. A hot flare of rage rushed over her body and the urge to claw his face to ribbons ran strong. It might be better that they weren't together, but the breakup should come
screwing other people.
She could practically feel him pushing his way toward her, his temper rising with each step. He didn't like not getting his way. He didn't like that she wouldn't take him back. And apparently he didn't like that she wouldn't accept his drink.
Before he could get to her, the crowd parted as a man walked into the bar and Lira's breath whooshed out of her. His jeans were well worn and hung off his hips just right. A burning lust set her veins on fire and made her wiggle in anticipation.
He met her eyes as he came in and strode toward her as if they weren’t strangers. They'd never laid eyes on each other before, but somehow she also felt like she was coming home as she walked toward him, practically in a trance.
She got about two steps before Ethan's heavy hand caught her shoulder. The growl that ripped out of her throat as she twisted away from him scared the hell out of her. The move broke her eye contact with the stranger and she spun on her heel toward Ethan.
"You don't get to touch me,” she spat out the words. “Not ever again."
How dare he? After what he did to her, he was pulling this kind of presumptuous bullshit?
"You should have let me talk to you already. We could have cleared this up."
How did she ever find his voice sexy?
"There isn't anything to clear up."
"It wasn't what it looked like."
"Seriously?” she sneered. “You are seriously going to use that line on me? You were fucking Angela. I don't care if it was the one time or a million times. That is a deal breaker for me." She twisted out of his grip.
"You don't get to just decide we're through."
"Actually, that is exactly what I get to do. I can decide I don't like your shoes, and that's it, we’re splitsville."
Ethan had always had a temper, he'd just never taken it out on her. Right now, the look in his eyes scared the shit out of Lira. It was like a different person stood in front of her. Maybe it was the person he really was, and he had hidden so carefully from her.
Lira stepped back with her hands up, as if to ward him off, and collided with a warm, wide chest. She knew it was the man she'd locked eyes with. The instant they touched, her fear drained away. However crazy, she felt like he would keep her safe from everything.
She couldn't help but melt against him when he wrapped his arms around her waist and nuzzled her cheek.
He whispered in her ear, "You seem in trouble, need help?"
She nodded, her eyes almost completely shut. But she could see the cords standing out on Ethan's neck and his face turned blazing red. He'd never liked anyone touching what belonged to him.
But she wasn't his, not anymore.
The man spun her around and melded their lips. And that’s when Lira forgot about everything else. She forgot they were in a crowded bar. She forgot her ex was a few steps away. The warm velvet of this stranger's lips against hers was something she would never forget.
After what felt like an eternity locked in his embrace, she was shocked when he lifted his head, looking over her shoulder. His stance was casual, but she could feel his rock hard body against hers. He was ready to spring into action.
~ * ~ * ~
Jake ripped his lips away from the sumptuous bombshell in his arms and looked at the man who had touched her. His bear wanted to rip the male from limb to limb, but it was satisfied with marking this woman with his kiss. For now.
"Oh, sorry, dude. Just happy to see my date."
He was pretty much ready to lift her up and take her on the bar, but this was no shifter town. They would not understand.
Well, it's not like they would understand in Grayslake either. His friend, Ty, would have kittens if people started using bars as literal mating grounds. Which was saying something since he was a werebear and Itan of the Grayslake Clan.
Jake moved her so she rested under his arm. If the other man decided to get physical, he could push her behind him. Part of him wanted the man to try something. And not just because he put his hands on Jake's mate.
He'd never wanted one…before. He much preferred not having any entanglements. Emotional connections were just something that could be used against you, to control you, to manipulate you. Ty's mate had just laughed and laughed at him when he said he was gonna skip the whole mate thing and bet Ty's brother, Keen, ten bucks on it. A bet he just lost.
Shit, to a human.
Didn't matter. He was going to get this curvy dish out of this noisy place, away from the man who seemed about two heart beats from exploding, and into his bed.
The man grimaced at them then spat out his words. "Well, Lira, I guess it didn't take you long. Assuming you weren't already wrapped around this piece of trash before you abandoned us. And here I thought you were heartbroken."
Jake could feel Lira shaking under his arm. His bear was starting to get very cranky and if he couldn't have Lira trembling beneath him, a bar fight would have to do.
But the bartender stepped between the two men. Wiry and not about to take crap from anyone, he had an internal power that neither man was willing to mess with.
The bartender grabbed the other guy’s arm. "Ethan, you're out tonight. Don't lay hands on ladies."
shrugged, his sour face belaying his light words. "Well then, I'll just have to come back another night."
When Ethan walked out the front door, the bartender nodded at Jake and headed back to the bar.
As if by magic, or maybe just a word from the bartender, a sexy slow song started playing. Lira looked up at him and opened her mouth to speak, but he just pulled her onto the dance floor.
Their eyes locked, and it was like nothing had pulled them apart when he first walked in the bar. She swayed towards him and he slid a hand down her back. Her sweet curves pressed against him as they moved to the music. She rested her cheek against his chest and he moved his other hand under her hair, to the nape of her neck.
His lust mingled with a fierce desire to protect her, to keep her away from the man who had so frightened her. The song ended and she pulled slightly back from him to look into his eyes.
Hers were like the sky during a storm. Turbulent gray.
When she tried to speak once more, he pressed a finger against her lips and whispered, "Please, just come with me. Let tonight be our magical moment."
The moment stretched into an eternity as she just stared wide-eyed up at him, finally slowly nodding.
She nodded and she wasn’t sure why. Lira hadn't been planning on anything other than a night out, but nothing had ever felt so right as going with this man, right now.
She let him lead her off the dance floor and out to the parking lot. He guided her across the street, just holding her hand as they walked a block and into an apartment complex.
When they stepped into the elevator she finally found her voice, "Your place? You live here?"
He shook his head. "No, a rental agency. I like it better than a hotel."
He led her down the hallway and into a simple studio apartment. He pressed a kiss against the palm of her hand and said, "I walked into the bar expecting to just have a drink, then crash."
She smiled up at him. "Same." Her smile faltered and a flash of shame echoed through her. She remembered the look of hatred in Ethan's eyes as he glared down at her.
The man caught her chin and tilted her head up to meet his eyes again. "Hey, I don't know where that train of thought was taking you, but it didn't look good."
It was hard meeting his eyes but she finally got the words out, "It's just, with everything, I don't know your name. I'm kind of freaking out because I let a stranger take me to god knows where."
"Well, I'm Jake. I am heading to visit family and stopped here to get some rest on the way through."
"Hi Jake, I'm Lira. Although I guess you heard that already."
"I like it much better when you say it. It's such a pretty name," Jake practically purred.
"Thanks, I like it too."
"Lira, I really, really want to kiss you right now. But if you are feeling freaked out, we can just order pizza and watch some old Leslie Nielson movies."
Lira smiled to herself. He seemed really sincere. Like he just wanted to be with her. She surprised both of them by rising up on her toes, grabbing his face, and pulling him into a kiss.
It was as delicious as their first kiss in the bar. Even more so because his tongue kept flicking forward, delicately parting her lips. His hands rested against hers until he slowly stroked down her arms.
She let her hands move down to his shoulders. Lira enjoyed the flex of Jake’s muscles under her hands as he kept moving his hands down her back, finally slipping down the curve of her waist and cupping her ample backside.
She squealed as he suddenly hoisted her up, pulling her legs around his waist. Shocked words fell out of her mouth, "Oh you can't I'm too heavy..."
He just laughed and pressed her against the wall. "Are you? Because right now you seem just right."
With her legs spread she could feel his hardness against her core. She just moaned as he moved against her. The flames of desire licked through her body. It had never been like this before. She had enjoyed herself but never felt carried away by passion. Never felt like if she didn't have the man holding her she might actually die of want. Of need.
She was desperate to feel his skin. She grabbed the edge of his shirt and bunched the soft cotton in her hands. She let the wall take her weight, so she could get his shirt over his head. A dusting of hair highlighted the perfect contour of his pecs. She moaned as she ran a hand down his rock hard chest.
~ * ~ * ~
Jake looked down on her, enjoying the expression of abandon on Lira's face. Her eyes were soft with desire and her lips plump from his kisses. She caught her lower lip in between her teeth as he moved against her. He gripped her hips and took a deep shuddering breath. He wanted to just sink into her and mark her as his. Instead, he lifted her and walked further into the room.
He let her slide down his body because he needed better access to her buttons. She swayed at the foot of the bed, and he slowly undid just the bottom button of her shirt. He dropped to his knees and pressed a kiss on the now exposed sliver of rounded tummy. Her fingers caught in his hair as he swirled his tongue around the soft dimple of her belly button.
He flicked the next button and the next, slowly pulling her down to sit on the bed, kneeling between her legs. Her shirt hung open and he feasted his eyes on the lacy scraps holding her ample curves. He pressed his mouth against the tip of one, catching the hardening nub between his teeth through the fabric.
He growled. His bear wanted to tear every stitch of fabric off. He wanted to enjoy every inch of her. He was only going to get to unwrap her for the first time once. He tamped down his base desire and focused on learning every inch of her lush form.
Still, Jake needed the bra gone and slid both hands up her back. He wasn't slick enough to do a fancy one-handed maneuver to get it off, but to his relief the bra came undone easily. He pulled her shirt down her back and let her bra slip down her arms. He flung it behind him and admired her. She blushed slightly and went to cover herself, but he caught her wrists.
"Please, let me just look at you." He leaned down and lashed one hard nub with his tongue. "I could just look at you for hours." Then he tasted the other. "But I think I'd rather touch you." He leaned her back, gently. "Taste you." And flicked open the button of her jeans. "Definitely taste you." His voice was thick with desire. He needed to show her how wanted she was. He wanted to destroy any memory of anyone before.
The man in the bar? Meaningless compared to what they had, compared to what being mated meant.
Lira gasped as he grabbed the back of her jeans and stripped them off of her, taking her panties with them.
~ * ~ * ~
She lay naked on the bed as the exquisitely built man towered over her, his eyes raking her body. She returned the favor, savoring the strength of his body. Her eyes swept down to a set of abs so taut she wanted to lick her way down to the sharp V that disappeared into deliciously filled jeans.
For a moment she feared him, that he would look at her with disgust. Ethan had always wanted her smaller, tighter, less there.
But Jake grinned and lifted her foot to rest on his shoulder, exposing her intimately. His eyes were dark with need. His need for her. He dropped a quick kiss on the tender curve of her foot, then the inside of her ankle. He nibbled and kissed his way up her leg, pausing to give special attention to the inside of her knee.
With each nibble, he shifted higher up her leg, until Lira was shaking with anticipation. Her breath pressed out of her lungs in an angry grunt when he switched to her other leg.
~ * ~ * ~
Jake felt his body swell in anticipation when he looked up at her. Her head was thrown to the side, her eyes closed and her lip caught in her teeth. Her hands were pulled into little balls, hanging on to the sheets for dear life.
She was going to need to hold on; Jake couldn't tease her anymore, he had to taste. He slid his hands under her ass and lifted her slightly to his face. He admired her neatly trimmed bush as he gently sucked her clit into his mouth. He held on as she bucked against him, crying out.
Lira screamed as Jake swirled his tongue around her swollen button. He gently parted her nether lips with his fingers, slowly stroking the soft petals open.
He eased a single finger into her waiting core and Lira couldn't hold back the rhythmic pulses of her first orgasm. She collapsed against the bed as it passed over her.
Jake eased away from her, letting her body calm.
~ * ~ * ~
Lira mumbled, horrified her body had let loose so completely. "I'm so sorry, it happened out of nowhere, I've never been so fast."
~ * ~ * ~
He couldn't help but throw his head back and laugh. "You may just be stroking my ego, but I'm okay with that. He settled in next to her, gently running his fingers through her hair and softly stroking her face. He enjoyed the glow in her cheeks as she looked up at him.
~ * ~ * ~
"I just didn't expect to at all, I guess..." She trailed off. How to explain that she rarely came for a partner? Specifically Ethan. It was a pleasant experience. But did he ever bring her to bone shattering passion? Not even once.
"Didn’t expect to? Do you think I'm done making you scream in pleasure?"
"Uhm. It's just..." She trailed off again. She couldn't think with him still touching her.
"Your previous partner kinda sucked, I guess?"
"You could say that. Or not, I suppose."
~ * ~ * ~
Jake pulled Lira closer to him, settling her against his chest. He nibbled on her ear and listened to the way her breath caught in her throat. She wiggled slightly and he let his hands wander, rolling a nipple in his palm before skimming over her lush hips. He made soft, almost tickling passes over her wet pussy. Just a constant tease until she finally called out to him, "Jake, please. I need you."
"Do you now?"
Her hands fumbled on his pants and Jake groaned as she eased his cock out.
Lira wrapped her hands around his hard girth and sighed happily. She leaned towards him and darted her tongue out, catching the salty tip with an almost tentative lick. Jake seized her arms and rolled her under him.
"I won't last if you do that."
Lira wrapped her legs around his waist, pulling him into the cradle of her hips. He positioned the head of his cock against her waiting entrance.
"Are you sure? Are you ready?"
She arched against him and whispered, "Yes."
He eased into her warmth as slowly as he could manage. His inner beast wanted to pound into her, a wild coupling. It took everything he had to tamp down that urge. He gritted his teeth as he pushed forward, an agonizing slowness that was made worth it by Lira's thighs squeezing him.
He eased in and out of her delicious wetness as he felt her passion building up again. Her head was thrown back in abandon and he grinned at the little mewls she made when he was fully seated in her.
"Oh god, Jake, please, stop holding back." And her nails scratched down his back, a prick of pain that roused his bear. He couldn't be slow anymore.
He grabbed her hips as he eased up into a kneeling position, her legs around his waist and her body dangling, only her shoulders touching the bed. His bear roared and Jake pistoned in and out of her. Her whole body arched and convulsed as an orgasm ripped through her again, and he didn't hold back, joining her passion, finally collapsing next to her.