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Bound to Bear
A BBW Billionaire Shifter Paranormal Romance
Copyright © 2016 by Ava Hunt
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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About the Author
Chapter One of "Bear My Scars" by Ava Hunt
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Also By Ava Hunt
One woman who stops being a victim...
Brooke Kleinfeld has had enough of the abuse at the hands of her boyfriend. After a particularly rough public scene, she vows to sever ties.
One man who only wants to protect her...
Alexander Mayweather witnesses the event and quickly resorts to releasing his bear shifter side to hunt down the offender. In those tender moments he held her, he knew she was meant for him.
One life to learn about living unafraid...
Will Brooke learn that not all men want to hurt her? Will Alexander be taught that being a bear shifter isn't the curse he thinks it is?
*This standalone novella was formerly "Heart Laid Bear" written under the pen name Terra Wolf. It has a happily ever after ending. It is intended for mature readers and features explicit scenes and language
There is a trigger warning for domestic violence*
Neighbors had already called them twice to complain about the yelling, threatening to call the authorities if they didn't quiet down. Brooke had heard it more times than she could count. Something about Ian just made him terminally unhappy about everything, no matter how good his life was. Today had been no exception.
"I know and I'm sorry Mrs. Feinstein, I swear we'll keep it down and thank you for calling. Yes, I'll see you at the community food share next week. Appreciate it!" Brooke said into the receiver of the last call, trying to sound upbeat and cheerful but dreading the rest of the evening.
"Ian, we've got to keep it down we can't afford the police to visit again. Why don't we go out to eat and just try to have a good time? Alright? Can we do that?" I asked him, trying to alleviate whatever tension the house held.
"Alright, but I'm not sure that it'll help," he mumbled as he went to get dressed.
"I know it won't but at least we won't be here," Brooke said under her breath. She knew she needed to break up with him, but she'd been with him for seven years. Seven long years of being not good enough no matter how much she tried, never doing or saying the right thing, and never being able to make Ian happy. The only reason that she was still with him was her fear of being alone.
She'd met Ian when she’d been just fifteen and he’d been twenty. Her parents had hated him from the start and had been wary of his intentions. Amazing everyone, including Brooke, Ian had never pressured her for sex until she’d turned eighteen. He had been a sweet guy in the beginning and had only turned mean and resentful after the first year of them living together when she had been nineteen. Convinced that no one else would love her, Brooke had stayed. Stayed through the 3 AM mystery calls from cell numbers she didn't recognize and stayed through the yelling and screaming that cut her like knives.
However, this time, for the first time since she'd met Ian, she started to wonder how life might be without him. Started picturing a life where she wasn't weighted down by negativity and resentment. Still fearful of the outcome, she vowed to tell him tonight at dinner that they'd just be better off apart. She'd pack a bag and leave after they got back to the house. She had enough saved back to find some cheap rental for a few months until she got on her feet.
They made it to the restaurant and took a seat in a corner booth. At first, all was well. They made small talk, even laughed. It wasn't until Ian's third margarita that he accused Brooke of flirting with the waiter. Although she tried to assure him, he wasn't listening, creating a scene.
"Damn you, keep your eyes off my woman," Ian yelled at the poor, confused waiter.
"Sir, I assure you I'm not looking at her."
"And I'm telling you not to. I know what you're doing, trying to stick your nose in places it don't belong," Ian berated. The waiter was cringing, not knowing how to diffuse the situation.
"Sir, I'm sorry if you're upset. Please be assured that your dinner here is on the house and that I am not interested in your girlfriend. Please, enjoy the rest of your night," the waiter said as he hastily retreated to the back room.
"Damn fool thinks I'm a fool, but I'm not a fool, Brooke."
"Of course you're not, Ian. Let's just go, okay?" Brooke pleaded, trying to get him out of the restaurant before yet another scene.
They walked out the back exit, through the alleyway, and into the rear parking area. Just before they reached their car, Ian grabbed her and spun her around toward him.
"You wanted to sleep with him, didn't you? Tell me!"
"Ian, no, listen you've just had too much to drink, let's go home and forget about tonight, okay?" she said as she took small steps toward the car's passenger seat.
"No, whore, you tell me. Have you fucked him? Have you?" he screamed at her as she looked around to see if anyone was within hearing distance.
"No, Ian, I swear to you, I...." she had started saying before his hand opened up and struck the left side of her face with a force that nearly knocked her to the ground.
"I thought by dating a fat-assed girl I wouldn't have these problems, Brooke. You're making a damned fool of me, aren't you?"
"Please, honey, I swear to you..." Brooke tried to explain, but there was no listening in Ian's eyes. There were only paranoia and tequila there.
"Stop lying to me, you cheap-ass two-dollar whore," he screamed at her, his closed fist making contact with her jaw this time. He climbed into the driver's seat of his brown sedan and made his way into the open highway without her.
She laid there on the pavement of the restaurant's parking deck, marginally conscious and bleeding, vowing never to speak to or see him again. There would be no more scenes in crowded restaurants, no more having to explain that she was putting on makeup to make herself feel better, not to impress someone, and no more hoping that tomorrow would be better. Tonight, she was done.
On the far side of the same restaurant parking deck, a hooded figure had seen the entire event unfold. His rage boiled inside of him as he sensed where the man had gone. Letting out a low, guttural cry, he raced off in search of him.
Alexander had just landed yet another big client. With contracts pouring in, his company had never been more fiscally sound. He had come a long way from living paycheck to paycheck in the back woods of Callier Bay. While he normally didn't go out unless he had to, tonight was one of those rare occurrences when he felt a small need to hit somewhere in the public eye.
Driving his candy-red Ferrari around the bend to the Big Dipper restaurant surely made an impression as he parked near battered Chevrolet pickup trucks and non-descript vans. While he may have had the money to fly to Paris for a quick bite to eat, he still preferred the homemade beer-battered fish and chips at the Big Dipper. Money may buy a lot of things, but sometimes you just want what you want.
He had just finished up the last big portion of trout when he heard commotion in the back of the restaurant. Someone was being loud and belligerent and the staff was trying to somehow get him out of the back exit without disturbing too many more customers. Alexander was paying when the man and his stunning date exited the back. As soon as he opened the front door and started into the night air, he could hear the yelling again, coming from the back alley. Alexander, typically one to avoid conflict, walked to the back to check on them.
It was then that he heard the woman pleading with the man that towered over her to stop, to listen, to do anything but what he was about to do. He came around the corner just in time to see the man strike the woman and speed off in his car. Running to her, he knelt beside her, stroking her hair as she tried to stay conscious, a slow blood trickle coming from the corner of her mouth.
She was a broken, but beautiful sight. Her hair was spun around her like a halo, her eyes searching for meaning. A single teardrop fell from her eye, trailing down her face and tumbling onto the pavement. Her eye was already starting to blacken and her jaw was swollen. She looked like she was trying to do something. Talk? Swallow? Something, but her mouth was only making clicking sounds as it tried to adjust to the pain.
Something in Alexander awoke that he'd kept dormant for so long. His heart seized and his breathing quickened. This was to be his partner, this was the one he was destined to meet, lying there on the ground, battered and bruised. After all the lonely years and the mismatched dinner dates, he had met his mate. He kissed her lightly on the forehead, whispering in her ear, "There, there, moonlight. I'll find you again, but I've business to deal with now."
Alexander laid her gently back down, called 911 to report her situation, and then started into the night to find the man.
Each step Alexander took was faster than the last one. His body morphed in and out between bear and human, stripping off his suit in tattered rows of fabric, as fur protruded where there was once skin. Long, sharp claws extended from where his fingertips were, and his teeth elongated. By the time he was a mile out, Alexander the man was a full-on bear that chased the batterer on all fours. He stopped only every so often to get a better sense of where the man had been moments before.
After two hours covering miles of terrain both paved and wooded, Alexander found him holed up in a local dive motel, sleeping off his evening. Outside the window of Room 104, Alexander watched, waited, and slipped back into human form. He tucked into an adjacent room just long enough to find a towel to wrap around himself. He never really got over the initial embarrassment of morphing back into nakedness.
He casually knocked on the door. After a few hard raps, Alexander was greeted by the man, "Who are you and what do you want?"
"Hello, I'd like to talk to you. Can we step inside?" Alexander asked him as he flashed just enough of his inner bear to make the man stammer his response.
"I'm sorry, where are my manners, I'm Alexander and you are?"
"Ian. Now, tell me what you want with me."
"Ian, it's like this. I saw your little performance back at the restaurant and would like certain assurances from you that it isn't going to happen again," Alexander said, watching Ian avert his eyes. While Ian was a strong man, a tall man, Alexander towered over him as if he was a child.
"No problem, fella. Won't happen again," Ian laughed as he tested the empty beer cans to see if there was any liquid left in them. He fidgeted and twitched and Alexander was unsure if it was from the effects of the alcohol or from his presence there.
"No, see, I don't believe you. I do know, however, that after tonight, you won't be anywhere near her again."
"Brooke? This is about Brooke?" Ian asked as he erupted in laughter.
"Partly. She's much too good for you or for any man that beats her," Alexander said as he drew near Ian. Brooke, he thought to himself,