Desired by the Bear Book 2(11)By: V. Vaughn
“We do. I understand why you didn’t tell him, Rachel.” I reach over and touch her arm. “I might have done the same thing.”
“Thank you. But what I did was still wrong.”
“What happens with you and Henri now?”
“I’m not sure. I told Henri that Kelsey wants to meet him and he agreed, but I didn’t push him to make any decisions about anything else.”
I let out a low growl. “I imagine he’s got to deal with Julie first.” Rachel flinches. “Sorry,” I say. “I’m imagining what her betrayal must feel like for both you and Henri.”
“It’s okay.” She sits up taller and her voice is strong when she adds, “I’d growl if I could too.”
If Rachel and Henri do find their way back together, Rachel could turn into a werebear with the bond of a bite. A rush of romantic notions fills me as I paint a fantasy of Rachel and Henri reuniting after all this time. I pull into the parking lot of the apartments and put the car in park before I turn to Rachel and say, “Maybe someday you will.”
Val and I decided to heat up leftovers for dinner. My stomach is in knots over my ordeal of being held as a suspected hunter, and with worry for my mother. She wasn’t telling me everything earlier, and I wonder what she’s keeping from me. I hop up on the counter as the microwave whirls while it heats up pasta. Val says, “I’m sure your mother’s fine. I bet Jean Luc fed her a nice dinner and they’re catching up.”
“I know. But I get the sense there’s more to what happened than we were told.” A fork slaps lightly on my thigh as I tap it with nervous energy.
Val’s hands press against the inside of my knees as he spreads my legs to step in between them. He cradles my head and kisses me. “I can think of a way we could pass the time until she gets home.”
My utensil clatters on the counter when I set it down. I close my eyes to enjoy him, but an abrupt flash back to when Val burst through the door to save me makes me begin to shake. I pull away and gaze at his face. “What is it?” he asks.
“I’m remembering what happened. I don’t want to be afraid of something I plan to become, but I can’t seem to help it.” His hair is soft in my fingers as I comb it back from his forehead and ask, “Can you show me your bear teeth and claws again?”
“Sure.” Val steps back from me and scowls as if he’s focusing, and I gasp when his jaw gets bigger and he opens his mouth. His fangs gleam in the light, and I imagine the damage they could do to me.
He begins to morph back, and I say, “No.” I reach for his paw. It’s bigger than both of my hands, and he could kill me with one quick swipe. But I trust that Val wouldn’t let me touch him if he didn’t have complete control. The pads are much rougher than a dog’s would feel when I drag my finger over them. He squirms, and I ask, “Ticklish?” He nods and maybe it’s the crazy situation, or the release of my emotions from today, but I break into uncontrollable laughter.
Val shifts back to human and chuckles until I regain control. I say, “I’m sorry. I have no idea why that was so funny to me. I guess I never expected a bear to be ticklish.”
He gives me a stern look. “I know what happened with the warriors was terrifying for you, but it’s not a usual occurrence. I’ve never had a run in with one until today.”
I slide my hands over his strong shoulders, and the cotton of his shirt is soft in my fingers as I recall how sexy Val was when he was trying to protect me. My heart beats against my chest as I say, “You were going to help me pass the time until my mother gets back.” The muscles of his back flex beneath my palms as I slide my hands down to his waist and whisper. “Distract me.”
Val scoops me up off the counter and I wrap my legs around him as he walks me to his room to do just that. It’s well after dinner before I hear the footsteps of my mother as she climbs up the steps to my apartment, and I leave the warmth of Val’s bed to go be with her. The stairs shake as I jog up behind her. “Hey, how did it go?”
My mom turns to me, and the light over my door reveals her red-rimmed eyes. She offers me a weak smile. “It was interesting.”
The door snicks shut softly behind me when I close it and ask, “Should I make us some tea so we can talk?”
“Yes.” She walks over to the sofa and falls on it as if she’s exhausted.
Once I put the kettle on I join her, and she sighs. “I saw your father.”
My heart feels as if someone is squeezing it in their fist. “It didn’t go well?”
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