Authors: Moxie North
Pacific Northwest Werebears:
Bear With Me
By Moxie North
“You…shouldn’t...be… here,” he ground out, letting a little of his bear out in his voice to try and scare her.
He watched in fascinated horror as she closed her eyes and let her lips part. The tiniest gasp whispered out of her and a tremor ran over her body.
Those beautiful caramel eyes opened with her cougar shining brightly from within and she gave him a small smirk. “Do it again,” she whispered back at him.
Conner Rochon thought living in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest and running a logging company with his brothers was tough work. Add to that, he wasn’t too keen on sharing his body with a grizzly bear. Shifters normally had no problem with their animal side. Conner was not one of them.
Mackenzie never gave a second thought to being a shifter. She loved it and finding out that she and her cat were mated to a reluctant bear was a blow she wasn’t expecting.
Conner is tired of not being able to make his own choices in life. Is he willing to lose the love of his life to keep control of who he is? Does Mackenzie have the will to fight for them both?
Loggers, Cougars, and Werebears, Oh My!
Prepare to read about a curvy girl that meets the man AND bear of her dreams.
A bear with issues is no match for a cougar with claws
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Table of Contents
The amber liquid swirled around the edges of the glass as Conner Rochon stared into his eighth or maybe ninth glass of scotch. Sitting in the corner of the dark bar he took a moment to glance up at the usual suspects. Drunks, troublemakers, and an assortment of women who loved them. Every few weeks Conner hit this bar, The Chinook, located about forty miles from his house. It had a number of advantages.
One, nobody knew him and nobody cared to. He was a big man and usually looked pretty pissed off by the time he came in. Not a soul there would have engaged him unless they were a moron or had a death wish. The bartender recognized him, but only offered a chin lift when he came in. No other dialogue had occurred beyond what drink he was ordering and how much the tab was.
Second, there was a somewhat seedy motel in the same parking lot. This allowed Conner to drink himself into oblivion and blur out the sounds of his bear’s non-stop yammering in his head.
And finally, his family wouldn’t even begin to think of finding him here. He could wallow in self-pity until he was ready to go home. Nobody would start looking for him for at least a few days.
His family thought he was out wandering the woods. Letting his bear out to enjoy nature, run free, and the like. Conner let them think that, it kept them happy. He couldn’t explain to his family, all of whom were shifters like him, that he didn’t let his bear out. In fact, the only time his bear took over was when he ran with his brothers, Cage and Wyatt.
Conner’s family, including his mom, Connie, and his dad, Edward, were bears. Brown and black bears to be exact. His oldest brother Cage was a Kodiak bear, as was fitting for a future Alpha. His brother Wyatt was a grizzly like him. Although his brother’s bear was bigger than his, and rubbed his nose in it whether in human or bear form.
Not that Conner was as small as his brothers teased him about. They liked to call him runt and in their world he was. Just over six-feet two-inches tall and thickly muscled, his brothers towered over him by a number of inches.
They even tormented him about his name. His mother was determined she was having a girl and was naming her after herself like her mother had done. When she didn’t get her Constance, she named her last boy Conner. Smaller than his brothers, he even looked different. He was the only blond in the family. His bear was lighter furred too, almost a blond red color when he shifted. Again, setting him apart.
His family loved being shifters. They all had accepted and bonded with their bears the moment the fates matched them at birth. They were always together, of one mind. As cubs, they would spontaneously shift which required keeping the children at home away from prying eyes. Just past the toddler years when they started talking, once you could explain the dynamic to a child better, they would stop shifting. Like the bears were giving them time to grow into themselves, get comfortable being human.
Conner’s mom told him he stopped shifting well before he spoke. They weren’t concerned, they thought he just had figured it out early. And he had, sort of. He knew there was another soul in his body and being the greedy last child that he was, wanted that body to himself. So he pushed his bear back as far as he could. Silenced him for lack of a better term. His bear was quiet for the most part, didn’t fight him too often. Usually when there was danger of some sort and he had to get his attention would he remind Conner he was there.
Conner remembered watching his brothers during their first willing transformation in their adolescence, usually a precursor to puberty. His brothers looked like they had come alive that first time. He’d had a solid year of his bear’s insistent demands, he’d gone from not hearing him at all to constantly finding ways to drown him out. At that age, loud music was his only option. Unlike now, where alcohol was his first choice.
Conner had dreaded it, his bear had grown increasingly noisy in his head, and his first shift was a fight, his bear forcing his way out. Making him become the thing he’d hid from everyone including himself. Conner never really forgave him for that. For some reason he felt he’d lost some major battle that day. After that, he’d reined the animal in and they both suffered for it.
He never knew what his animal wanted and Conner felt his bear’s agitation. Not only at his inability to go out and just be a bear, but also that Conner would shove him back in his mind, not listening to what he had to say. But Conner didn’t want to hear him, the bear was just loud and he didn’t speak roar, so he ignored him. Or like tonight, drowned him out.
Drinking himself into a stupor and then crawling into the motel room next door to sleep it off was the only quiet Conner ever got.
He hid it, his disconnect with his bear. Sure his brothers and parents would never understand, he pretended that he was just like them. Content in his situation, at peace and happy with his bear.
Normally Conner kept his distance from his family. They all ran a lumber company, Rochon Enterprises. His father had passed the company on to his sons a number of years ago to enjoy his retirement. Before that, his grandfather and great uncles ran the company. Conner liked the woods, liked to see things growing. It was the only thing that gave him any comfort. It was the only time his bear was truly quiet, when Conner was working.
Cage and Wyatt were in charge of the business side, the cutting, clearing and milling of the timber. Conner was all about the replanting. His crew would head through a clear-cut left by his brothers, nothing but stumps and culled logs that didn’t make the grade, and give it a second chance.
Once an area was cleared, he and his team replanted. Native species and two trees for every one they harvested. Conner was lucky that he got to see those barren landscapes come to life again and grow back into healthy forests.
Most people only saw these areas in the early stages of re-growth. With bear shifters living longer than humans, Conner got a front row seat to see nature reclaim what they took. At forty-five, Conner knew he looked like he was in his late twenties, although anyone looking at his eyes would see just how many years he had actually seen.
It was a small consolation, and one of the few highlights in his life. Lately, his melancholy had reached epic proportions.
“Fuck, me,” he growled into his glass, taking another swig. The whiskey burned down his throat. He motioned to the waitress as she was making her rounds.
“Need another, sugar,” she asked, comically rubbing her fire engine red lips together.
“Yup, and probably another after that,” he said with a surly tone, tossing her a twenty on her tray.
“Whatever you say,” she said turning away.
“Whatever I say, that’s right. I say, not anyone else. Not some bossy bear, not some pushy brothers,” he mumbled into his glass. Luckily, the noise in the bar was too loud for anyone to hear his low bitch session.
He knew he was bitching, he had accepted that about himself. He was a whiny bitch because he couldn’t cope with his bear and had zero life plans ahead of him.
Both of his brothers had recently found their mates. The One for them for eternity, fated to be their true loves. And if that wasn’t enough, they were both human! Conner had taken some solace in the idea that the odds of them ever having to deal with mates were slim to none since shifters weren’t that common. Definitely not common in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. On the Olympic peninsula where they lived, there were no other shifters that Conner knew about.
They knew a few families close by. As in California and Canada, but not actually close. He was sure they were out there, but it wasn’t something one advertised. Secrecy was ingrained in their DNA. Keeping it secret kept them safe.
Now his family had two new additions in the form of humans for his brothers. They knew the secret now, but it was kind of hard to hide that from someone you were sleeping with and potentially having kids with.
Try explaining to your spouse why your kid turns into a bear cub not long after birth and then, poof back into a baby for no apparent reason. Might cause some problems in the communications department.
Conner could hear his bear growling, but it was far off. His bear hated when he drank. Nothing he’d like better than for Conner to be home, sober with a mate of his own.
Fat chance, he thought.
Conner never found humans that attractive. Well, they were attractive, at least the ones he’d bothered to sleep with. But he never really liked them, it wasn’t fair that they only had one voice in their heads. Minus anyone dealing with a mental issue of course. He was kind, courteous; always made sure they had a good time. But deep down his dislike of them caused him to hate himself even more. Part of him wondered if he was just jealous of their sense of self. One person in your head was probably pretty nice.
“Fuck!” He slammed his glass down. He had to maintain some kind of calm. He’d never been thrown out of this joint, and he didn’t want tonight to be the first. His bear was quieter, but Conner wanted him silent.
Another drink slid across the table to him by the waitress who didn’t wait for a response. She turned and made her way to a group of rowdy drunks. Even alone, hunched over a table, Conner radiated anger and danger. The vibe was enough to keep most of the other patrons on the other side of the bar.
Thinking about his soon to be sisters-in-law, Conner admitted he liked them both. They were both sweet, funny, and made his brothers happy. He wanted to see them settled, start families and live the dream. Conner never had that dream for himself, so he was jealous. He actually hoped this would keep his mother happy and distracted enough to give him another decade or two before hassling him about a mate and kids.
Realizing his bear was finally quiet, Conner slugged back the rest of his drink and stumbled to the door and out into the crisp summer air. Summer in Washington still had cool nights, but he didn’t feel it. Seeing room six across the lot, he made it to the door and got the key in the lock and slammed the door shut as he entered and fell sideways across the bed.