Shifter Woods: Roar
On the run from armed lowlifes in New Mexico’s Sandia Mountains, news photographer Gavin Leeds is rescued from certain death by local company owner Mike Ivanov. When a snowstorm strands them in Mike’s cabin, Gavin discovers to his shock that his enigmatic rescuer is also an Alpha bear shifter who believes that Gavin is his heart’s mate. Some hot and dirty sex with the gorgeous shifter who saved his life is one thing, but Gavin doesn’t believe in fated mates or happily ever afters.
Mike has enough problems with his pack as it is; they’re not thrilled that he won’t be siring the next Alpha, and now he has to answer a challenge from one of his pack members. Having his heart’s mate show up on the same night doesn’t help. Finding out that his mate is a snarky, rebellious human with a commitment problem and an ass he wants to bite?
Nobody ever said an Alpha’s life was going to be easy.
- Paranormal, Erotic Romance, MM
- Word Count: 25,000
- Heat Level 4
- Published By: Belaurient Press
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Mike straightened up and a spike of pain dug into his side. “Look, I need that bath. I’ll explain everything afterwards.”
“Shit.” Gavin hesitated, then nodded. “Okay, how can I help?”
“Don’t worry about it. I got this.”
“Bullshit.” The words were firm. “I know when someone’s hurting from a fight, dude. What do you need?”
Mike sighed. He had expected Duncan to stay behind and help him get patched up. If Gavin wanted to do it, he was in no shape to say no. “Go fill the bathtub. Not boiling, but a few degrees above body temperature.”
“Got it.” Gavin headed to the bathroom and Mike followed more slowly, grimacing now at the burning pain from the claw marks along his side. They weren’t life-threatening, but they were going to slow him down significantly. And of all nights, this was not the one he wanted to be hampered by challenge injuries. You should be damned lucky I didn’t bounce you out of the pack tonight, Barnson.
By the time he shuffled into the bathroom Gavin was running water into the oversized clawfoot bathtub. It had been Mike’s real indulgence with the cabin, and was big enough to fit a person at each raised end if they were willing to be friendly. He liked soaking in it after pack meetings and runs, giving both his brain and body a chance to unwind.
He hadn’t told anyone about his fantasies of sprawling in it with his mate. With any luck, his fantasy was about to come true.
Gavin turned at his entrance, frowning. “Jesus. You really are banged up.”
“I’ll live.” Mike shrugged, immediately regretting it when the movement pulled on the claw marks.
His mate snorted. “Yeah, right. What kind of painkillers do you have?”
“Aspirin’s in the medicine cabinet.”
Gavin dug through the cabinet until he found the prosaic plastic bottle filled with white pills. He rattled it. “Okay, you’re gonna take four of these—“
“Nurse’s dose, prescription strength. I wish I had some gummies on me, but we’ll make do.”
Mike watched as Gavin shook out four aspirin and handed them over, followed by the bathroom glass full of cold tap water. “You mean, pot gummies?”
That shaggy blond head nodded. “Although I use the ones that mainly have CBD in them instead of THC, the stuff that gets you high. I’m not trying to get wasted, I just want to keep my pain under control.”
Mike frowned at that. He could deal with his own pain, but he didn’t like the idea of Gavin hurting. “What kind of pain?”
Gavin put the aspirin bottle back in the medicine cabinet. “The hit that put me in a coma left me with some spinal damage and residual nerve pain. Regular NSAIDs don’t help a lot with that and I’ve seen too many fighters get screwed up on opioids, so I got a medical marijuana card. And since I don’t like smoking, I stick with the gummies.” He flashed a grin. “Don’t worry. It’s not like I sit there eating Cheetos and watching cartoons all day.”
Mike tossed the aspirin into his mouth, following them with a slug of water. “I didn’t think you did,” he said after swallowing. If nothing else, chronic pain would be one thing Gavin wouldn’t have to worry about anymore once he was claimed. “Um. I’m gonna need to get undressed.”
The air between them changed, growing charged with a mutual awareness of each other. Gavin’s head quirked to the side, green eyes glinting. “Already saw you naked. Want some help getting the shirt off?”
Mike tried raising his arms and hissed. “Yeah.”
“Okay, then.” Gavin moved into his personal space like he’d always been there. Despite the pain, Mike could smell his mate’s scent, a mix of clean sweat, the aromatics of Texas brushwood, and something green. That scent, the heat from Gavin’s body, and the visual of Gavin’s hands undoing his shirt buttons one by one sent desire trickling through him like slow honey. His dick started to thicken in his jeans and he fought a powerful urge to pull Gavin against it. With your luck, it would hurt like hell and he’d think he did it. Just put on your Alpha panties and be patient.
Gavin opened the shirt and eased it over Mike’s shoulders, glancing downward. He whistled. “Dude. He whaled on you.”
Mike looked down at the multicolored bruises spreading across one side of his ribcage. The claw marks were crimson against them, and stung even in the increasingly humid air. “Part of being an Alpha. I have to take on all challengers. They’ll be healed by tomorrow, I promise.”
“If you say so.” Gavin finished pulling the shirt off and tossed it onto the bathroom counter. He turned back, resting the tips of his fingers on the edge of Mike’s belt. “Should I keep going?”
Mike licked his lips. If he got any harder, pain or no pain, he was going to pull this cocky, gorgeous human onto the floor and fuck him silly. “Yeah.”
Gavin’s irises contracted, turning into a band of moss green around a dark center. He undid the belt, letting the clinking buckle dangle. The back of his hand brushed against Mike’s growing erection. “Yeah, you must be feeling better.”
“You know how it is. Fight, then fuck.”
“Yeah.” Gavin’s hand turned over and he cupped Mike’s bulge. “You sure you’re up for it, though?”
There was no way he was letting Gavin leave the cabin without being claimed. “Did you want to have sex with me tonight?”
Gavin laughed shortly. “Yeah, I was hoping you’d be interested. But I didn’t expect you to have to fight a freaking bear first.”
“We all have our little challenges.” He thrust lightly into Gavin’s hand. “Keep going.”