Bear-ly Yule, страница 1
Table of Contents
CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
M. L. BRIERS
Copyright © 2017, M L Briers
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced whatsoever without written permission of the author, except for brief exerts in reviews. Any unauthorised reproduction or distribution of the material herein is illegal and may result in criminal proceedings. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded to the internet or distributed via electronic or print without prior consent.
Note from the Author;
All names, places, and incidents contained herein are purely fictional and have no basis in actual events or linked to actual Humans, Witches, Vampires, Werewolves, Lycans, Werebears or persons living, dead or undead.
Copyright © 2017, Cover Design by; Rebecca Pau at The Final Wrap.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
“This isn’t a conversation I want to have with you.”
Malachi dumped the bag of groceries he’d been carrying into the front seat of his pickup truck and eyed the woman across the small car park. Even without his enhanced hearing abilities, he could have heard her conversation from a mile away.
Her cheeks were red, and she looked fit to burst with anger and frustration. He didn’t know whether that would come in the form of screaming, tears, or something equally as feminine.
He did know that he didn’t want to stay around to witness it.
Malachi slammed the passenger door closed and brought the woman’s attention towards him. The chocolate brown eyes locked and held his gaze and he felt his length swell inside his jeans.
She was a mess. The unruly mop of brown hair was somehow tossed up into a clip on her head with curling tendrils escaping whatever they could.
She was dressed for winter in a high neck sweater with a loose scarf wrapped around her neck, but she didn’t have a jacket on to protect her from the icy winter winds that were blowing across the mountain.
Her curvy hips and backside were clad in jeans and tucked into a pair of ankle boots with thick socks peeking out from the top. She looked vulnerable, kind of cute, messy, but definitely lickable. At least in his mind, she did.
Malachi told himself to shake it off, but until the woman snatched her gaze away from him, he couldn’t. The bear within him grumbled to life. Normally a solitary beast, Malachi couldn’t understand its interest.
“Because you said we’re done,” she practically growled into the mobile that was being held a little too tightly in her hand. “No, we’re done.”
Malachi felt something stirring within him that wasn’t his beast. He was curious to know who she was talking to. He had a desire to find out who she was done with — who was done with her, and why.
He didn’t poke his nose into human business. He’d been burned that way before. It’s cost him everything. His clan. His family. His home.
He was trouble. He was the bad seed. He’d had no choice but to leave everything behind him.
He wasn’t going to make that mistake again. He was in a new town – new people — and they might not have trusted him, yet, and that was okay. He wanted to keep himself to himself and that way he could stay out of trouble.
She was trouble. That meant he needed to stay away from her.
Malachi forced his feet to move. He circled the front of the truck and yanked open the driver’s door – the sound of a loud screech of annoyance made him turn back towards her, and he watched as she pitched the phone into the wasteland beyond.
She reached up and ran a shaking hand through her hair without thinking of its bindings. More hair spilled free, and she looked an even bigger mess.
Cuter too. His hardening length protested the restriction of his jeans.
Malachi allowed a low rumble within his broad chest.
Her eyes locked on his once more. Her mouth parted just a little, her eyes narrowed, he thought she was going to say something, but instead, she turned and walked away.
Malachi stood there for a long moment watching her go. Her curvy hips swayed even as she stalked with anger towards the store. His length twitched — he needed to get home.
Malachi went to fold his large body into the cab of the truck. His brain was working too hard, turning in circles, swilling the thoughts of her, her conversation, and even her discarded phone.
“Damn it!” He grumbled and growled.
He slammed the door of his truck closed a little too hard. He stalked across the parking lot with a little too much menace.
He was going to retrieve the damn phone. For the life of him, he didn’t have a clue why.
She looked like trouble and trouble was the last thing he needed.
Who is he kidding? He was a trouble magnet.
He’d seen exactly where she’d pitched her phone. He bent down to retrieve it, staring at it as if it held the answers to every question that he had, and then he grumbled another growl as he stalked back toward his truck.
Donna had gone to the store with the intention of buying a nice wholesome, healthy, basket full of groceries, and sure, there were a few vegetables in there — somewhere. There was also way too many sugar ladened foods, too many calories, really good tasting, slices of heaven that she couldn’t wait to get home and devour.
Life sucked. Not always — but right then it did.
Donna had spent the last few weeks wondering how the hell she got herself into that kind of the situation. She’d moved across the country, picked up her life and transferred it into the middle of nowhere.
She was okay with that. After all, it wasn’t just her life anymore, her choices, her considerations — she had a daughter to think about — put first, and that was what she had done.
Donna wasn’t about to take advice, orders, or anything else from her family. She was her own woman.
She’d been making a living from her online business since she’d left school. She didn’t need her family’s money — connections — or their sense of duty.
One thing she certainly didn’t need in her life was Barry.
How dare they tell her how to live her life.
She grabbed the groceries and headed out of the door. Her eyes were drawn t
Her heart tapped her on the ribs. Her pulse said hello big guy.
He was certainly a sight to behold. Black jeans, a black shirt, legs crossed at the ankles, and big muscled arms folded across an impossibly large chest.
He wasn’t her type. She certainly wasn’t his type.
He looked like the kind of man that spent all his time pumping iron in the gym. She had to wonder if there was such a thing as a gym in the middle of nowhere.
Perhaps it was just long days and hard work that had toned up his body. She’d seen men like that on glossy magazines and TV shows.
She’d often wondered how it would feel to trace her fingertips over the ridges of muscles that were sure to be beneath his shirt. But that was all it was, thinking, a little daydreaming, and then putting it out of her mind to deal with real life.
Donna went to wrench her gaze away, but he moved, uncrossed his legs, dropped one arm, and held up a mobile in his hand.
Her mind twisted and turned. The mobile looked familiar.
Could it really be — hers?
“I think you lost something,” Malachi said.
The depth of his voice shouldn’t have shocked her. He was a man mountain, why wouldn’t he have the kind of voice to go with it? If he’d sounded like a cartoon mouse, then that should have been the real shocker.
But it was the gravelly tone that felt as if it rolled over her skin, and somehow worked its way into her brain that piqued her attention.
“Lost?” She said.
He’d been there when she tossed the phone; he must have seen her do it. Then he’d gone and retrieved it.
They both knew the real score.
Malachi considered that for a long moment. He gave a slow nod and a small shrug of those broad shoulders.
“I thought you might want it back,” he said, and that voice was definitely sinful.
“Then why would I toss it away?” Donna asked.
The man was unsettling to her, and she wasn’t sure why. Maybe his size. Maybe that voice. Maybe just the fact that he’d poked his nose in where he shouldn’t have.
“I thought you might regret your decision,” he went about it a different way. But if she didn’t want a damn phone that was fine by him.
“I might have some regrets in life, but tossing that damn phone isn’t one of them,” Donna offered back.
“Fair enough.” Malachi shrugged his shoulders again. “Your choice.”
“Finally, someone gets it,” she rolled her eyes with a sigh, and he was even more curious.
“Well, littering isn’t allowed up here, so I’ll just toss it in the bin.”
“Yeah, sorry,” she gave a small shake of her head. “Thanks.”
“No problem.” He took a slow walk towards the bin, waiting for her to possibly change your mind, and when he got there – he had no intention of throwing the phone away. “Sure?”
He palmed the phone in his large hand, pretended to drop it into the bin, and as he turned back toward her, he slipped it into his pocket. He figured that she might still change her mind.
Donna was already starting for her car. She needed to get home, needed to pay the babysitter, and needed to put everything behind her.
Christmas was a few days away, and she still had a mountain of stuff to do to be ready for it.
“You’re new in town,” Malachi said, making her hesitate in step just as she got to the driver’s door. She looked up at him, and he felt a stirring within him when her eyes locked on his once more.
“Yep,” she wasn’t about to share her life story with a stranger. Although, some people in town had already tried to get the thumbscrews out to find out if there was a juicy story in her history.
She guessed in the middle of nowhere the best that anyone could hope for was a juicy bit of gossip. She wasn’t about to be that gossip.
“You got a man?” Malachi could have head-butted the nearest tree when he saw the look on her face.
“Seriously?” She tipped her head to one side and looked at him as if he had two heads and had just landed his spaceship right there in front of the store.
“That sounded bad.” He grimaced.
“Kind of — yeah.”
“I just meant if you needed anything,” he tossed up his hands. He wasn’t good with females. He got a little tongue-tied and a lot stupid.
“I think – I’m good,” she said. There was a light of amusement that filled her eyes, and he was kind of grateful for it — and then again – not so much because he felt like an idiot, and she backed that theory up with the way she was looking at him.
“Let me try that again — I do handy work, DIY, things that people don’t want to do for themselves.”
“Oh, okay — a pitch. I’m good with that.” Her attitude changed and she was slightly more open towards him that made Malachi relax a little more – just a little.
Donna had rented a house. It wasn’t like she was supposed to take care of everything inside of it herself. But in the two weeks that she’d been there, the landlord had been more than useless. Having a handyman on call might not be the worst idea in the world.
Then he was walking towards her, and she second-guessed that thought. He was big — mountain man big — but for some reason, he didn’t feel scary big. More…imposing big, as in, he was taking up all the space and blocking out the view of the countryside with his big self.
Just because he didn’t feel scary that didn’t mean that she wanted to meet him down a dark alley somewhere. Not that there were any dark alleys in the middle of nowhere-ville, more desolate open spaces, trees, fields, hills, and — stuff. All the stuff that you didn’t get in the city or even in a big town and the man mountain was blocking it from view.
“I don’t have a card, but I can give you my number,” Malachi offered.
Up close and personal his voice was even sexier, but then so was the man. Sexy — anything — she didn’t need in her life right then.
She tried to snap that part of her brain off that was more than interested in him, it was practically drooling, but it didn’t seem to want to let go. She just had to hope that her brain didn’t tell her to drool for real.
That would be…awkward. Awkward like the way he was giving her an expectant look.
“Pen!” She snapped to it, giving herself a mental kick in the backside for allowing her mind to wander.
She yanked open the driver’s door in the hope that she could derail those thoughts that cluttered her mind and get back to normality, and managed to smack the door into his knees.
Donna grimaced as he grunted in pain. His upper body bent forward as he reached for his kneecaps and she inadvertently slapped the back of her hand across his face as she rushed to turn towards him in an apologetic form of panic.
Geez, maiming the guy certainly had diverted her thoughts, but she thought it might have been slightly overkill.
“I’ve been slapped for a few things before, but never for offering help,” Malachi said with a low grumble in his voice that made him sound even sexier. She couldn’t win – maybe if she dropped a car on him then her mind might just behave itself, but she doubted it.
Donna bit down on her lower lip and grimaced again. Two strikes in under a minute was a record for her.
She felt a rush of guilt go through her and grimaced again, hoping that the three strikes of an innocent victim and you’re going to hell rule didn’t happen. But, all bets were off, she was having a bad…week.
“I’m so — sorry,” she said, but the nervous laughter that bubbled within her broken free no matter how hard she tried to keep it at bay.
“You look — really sorry.” He said as he looked up at her from under his dark eyebrows as they quirked and danced over his sinful brown eyes, and tried to meet in the middle.
She found that even his damn eyebrows were c
Donna slapped her hand over her mouth to try to hide the smile that stretched her lips, the same damn smile that just wouldn’t be banished no matter how hard she tried. Nervous laughter still spilled from within her.
“I am. Really, I promise,” she chuckled.
“Well, I suppose I’m going to have to take your word for that,” Malachi teased.
Hell, if she’d meant him any real harm then she would have had to work harder than that. His pain threshold was high, and his blood could heal a lot of damage real fast.
“Really sorry,” she chuckled again.
“Just get me the pen without maiming me any more than you have to, could you, please?” He played along.
He liked the fact that her eyes were smiling now the dark clouds that had been there before seemed to have disappeared.
Donna chuckled harder. That was the problem with nervous laughter; she just couldn’t seem to crush it once it has started.
At least the man took it like a champ. She doubted that there was much that she could do to hurt him too badly, but still, she did feel a little guilty for giving it her best shot.
“I’ll give it a try, but I’m not promising anything.” She grinned.
“I’ve seen your temper; I’ll hope for the best, and expect the worst.” Malachi teased her again.
“My temper?” She offered him a small frown.
“The whole phone incident?”
“I’ll – trust me, you ain’t seen nothing yet.” She chuckled.
“I’ll take that under advisement, or maybe I should just bend over and kiss my backside goodbye now.”
Malachi had left Donna’s phone on the kitchen counter while he’d made himself busy doing some chores around the house. By the time that he’d got back, the lock screen was full of messages.
He knew that he shouldn’t read them. He knew that it was wrong, invading her privacy like that, and yet as he tried to keep himself busy making a fresh pot of coffee, frustration clawed within him.