Desired by the Bear Book 2(8)By: V. Vaughn
* * *
I lift up on an elbow to gaze down at the man I’ll spend my life with. A candle flickers on the bedside table, and I take in the expanse of René’s hard body. I was married for a while to a man who wasn’t my true mate. We forced our bond when we bit each other, because with our clan so close to extinction and fighting for our lives on a daily basis, we needed to feel connected to something. Sven and I chose each other, and I think we’re both alive today because of that decision. But we both knew once we were relocated to Maine that a true mate could come along and ruin what we had. Unfortunately for me, Sven found his first. While our break up was painful for me, I shut the door on my marriage days before coming here. And now I know why.
My heart is so full of love for a man who I haven’t even had a serious conversation with. I imagine as we get to know each other, our love will deepen even more. René sighs and opens his eyes. He smiles as he reaches up to stroke my cheek and says, “I can’t believe I have you in my bed. You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”
“I bet you say that to all your true mates.”
“I do. Good thing you’re the only one.”
“You’re my only one too.”
René sits up, and I suddenly feel self conscious about how thin I am since it’s not an admirable werebear trait. He asks, “Hungry?”
“I’ll cook for you.” René reaches out his hand, and I let him help me up. I follow behind him and watch his perfect naked butt flex as he walks. When we get to the kitchen, René grabs me by my hips and lifts me up to place me on the counter. He does it with such ease that it makes me feel small and protected. Warmth surges in my heart. The idea of someone taking care of me is nice. The counter is cool under my bottom as René backs away and smiles. “I want to keep you there so I can stare at you while I cook.”
A pan clatters on the stove, and bright light flashes from the fridge as René takes out food. I twist and cross my legs to strike a modeling pose. “Stare away. I’m enjoying my view too.” I scan his body with eyes. “Nice spatula.”
He grins as he cracks eggs into a bowl. He says, “I hear you want to be a Ouellette warrior.”
“I do. Does sleeping with the boss get me an in?”
A cutting board thuds on the counter next to me, and René begins chopping a tomato. “You’re already in because you’re a polar bear.” He glances up at me. “And because Izzy insisted on it. Think you can kick my ass?”
I grin. “I have other plans for that ass.” I grab a piece of tomato, and it’s sweet in my mouth as I chew. I think about how angry Isabelle used to be when we were in the Arctic. Growing up, everyone knew to stay away from the alpha’s daughter. She took mean girl to a whole new level, but she’s changed, and she’s been incredibly nice to me since I got here. I wonder if it has anything to do with finding her true mate.
I ask, “Have you always been a warrior?”
He nods. “I started training for it as soon as I could shift.”
Werebear don’t get the ability to shift until they hit puberty, and I picture a young René and think about how he’s been a warrior for a long time. I wonder if he’s been single all this time too. I ask, “Where you ever mated?”
“No. I’ve had girlfriends, but nothing serious.”
I glance around the kitchen at the sparse furnishings. The colors are various shades of black and silver, and I long to add something bright. I say, “I’m going to be an adjustment, aren’t I?”
A plate clatters on the counter, and René’s knife scrapes over the cutting board as he puts the vegetables into the omelet he’s making. “A good one.” He steps over to me and leans in for a kiss. He bites my lip gently before he pulls way. “A damn good one.” He glances around his kitchen. “You have my permission to change anything you want. I’ve been a bachelor for far too long.”
“Whoa. Am I moving in already?”
Eggs thump lightly on a plate and René says, “We’ve already jumped into this relationship head first. You might as well. As far I can tell, fate knows what she’s doing when she pairs true mates.”
The fork he hands me is firm in my grasp, and I break off a piece of the most incredible omelet I’ve ever seen as I say, “You are stuck with me. For better, or for worse.” I put the food in my mouth and salty cheese flavor coats my tongue.
René says, “For life.” He kisses me again, and my heart warms with the glow of a love I wasn’t sure I’d ever find.
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