Read Finding Alien Love (SciFi Alien Romance) Online

Authors: Meg Ripley

Tags: #Alien, #SciFi, #Romance, #Alien Invasion, #Alien Contact, #Fantasy, #Short Story, #Paranormal, #Supernatural, #Action, #Adventure, #Space Travel, #Adult, #Erotic, #Genetic Engineering, #Fiction

Finding Alien Love (SciFi Alien Romance) (4 page)

BOOK: Finding Alien Love (SciFi Alien Romance)
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Claimed By The Wild Werebear

 

Sasha’s nose twitched as a foreign scent caught his attention. He looked around the woods, grunting to himself as he tried to identify the person that the scent belonged to. Female, human, fertile; the thoughts were more impulse than thought in his ursine brain, and Sasha struggled to bring his human consciousness to the forefront. The scent did not belong to anyone he knew from the town of Green Tree; that much Sasha was able to bring himself to think. He opened his mind, finding the warm and comforting presences of the rest of his clan, scattered through the woods on their own solitary errands—hunting, enjoying the cool, moist air of springtime or the glowing moon, some of them foraging.
Stranger,
he thought—the one word a huge effort. As his human consciousness began to assert itself, Sasha found thinking in words easier.
Stranger—in the woods. Steer clear.
The Nita clan had managed to avoid detection from both the town itself and the people of the area—hikers, conservationists, and loggers—by avoiding them; it was one of Sasha’s many responsibilities as the Alpha of the group to warn his clan brethren whenever something like this happened. With any luck, the stranger was simply lost, would find her way out of the woods and into town, and that would be the end of it. Someone just passing through; that was the hope that flickered in Sasha’s mind.

He went back to foraging, thinking in the human part of his mind about the state of his clan as a whole. Bears—of all of the types of shifters—had special problems; they didn’t breed quite as ably as the wolves, or as plentifully as lions, who seemed to constantly be bearing twins. While they were human, or at least half-human, it seemed to Sasha as if some of their trouble was the fact that their animal natures were not as easily reconciled with human living. Bears in the wild were solitary creatures, males mating with females and then leaving shortly afterward, the young going off on their own after a few seasons. Werebears like himself and the other men of his clan were much more social than their strictly-animal counterparts; but they were still insular.
We will have to reach out to other clans,
Sasha thought. Fights had started to break out amongst his brothers—it was time for many of them, particularly for Sasha, to find a mate, and tensions were high, especially now that spring had arrived. Sasha had had to send away the few females born into the clan over the years since he had assumed the Alpha title; they were too closely related to the other members of the clan, and if mating urges held sway, they would have a high rate of miscarriages and birth defects in the offspring. Where wild bears mated in a system of serial monogamy, werebears mated for life, bonding with their mates. It would have been a disaster for the clan as a whole if Sasha had not sent the women away as they reached the proper age for mating.

He wandered through the woods, sniffing and snuffling, considering the problem even as he contemplated what he wanted to eat. If he wanted to keep the clan stable, he would have to find mates for his brothers; and in the back of his mind, Sasha knew that some of his temper in recent weeks had come from his own need to mate. The spring brought it on in all of them—the drive from their animal minds to take advantage of the lengthening days and the safety that summer and autumn provided. It wasn’t something that anyone could avoid, and Sasha knew that sooner or later he would come up hard against the realities of the situation, if he didn’t take action now.

As he was contemplating which of the other clans to approach, the foreign scent filled Sasha’s nose again—stronger this time, with an undercurrent of fear like burned gunpowder. The scent disrupted Sasha’s thoughts and he looked around in the darkness. If the woman had come this deep into the woods, she was lost indeed; he would have to take some kind of action, and perhaps steer her in another direction, back towards the town.
Has anyone seen the stranger?
Sasha called out mentally. He needed to place her—whoever she was—in order to know how to handle the situation. The fear that Sasha could smell on the woman’s scent was more intense than the simple anxiety of being lost in the woods, and Sasha had run afoul of wolves in recent weeks, taking advantage of the improved weather and the better hunting. No wolf pack would challenge a bear without good reason, but a human was another thing entirely.

Flickers of thought reached him; Sasha realized that he had to be the closest to the woman of the members of his clan. He felt a rising sense of irritation that his time in the woods would be marred by the necessity of attending to a human woman who didn’t have the sense to avoid getting lost and exposing herself to the dangers that wild animals presented. Sasha lumbered in the direction of the scent, grumbling to himself in little growls as he made his way through the thick underbrush and tightly packed trees. The last thing he needed on a night like this was to have to steer some woman back to the road—she’d probably be frightened and scream at him the moment he showed up. In the distance, Sasha heard the telltale sound of a howl carrying through the air; the local wolf pack was nearby. He had to get to her quickly.
She’s about to blunder on wolves,
Sasha thought, projecting his mental voice to the other members of his clan.
I need some backup. Armand, James, Holt—fall in with me.
Sasha hurried his movements, torn between the impressive presence that his bear form would make—a better guarantee of deterring wolves—and the nimbleness and speed of his human form. Even if the human stranger irritated him, he didn’t want her to be attacked.

****

 

“Good God, could I be any stupider?” Alexandra looked around in a state of barely-suppressed panic at the anonymous woods that loomed around her. She no longer had any idea whatsoever of where her car was; the light of a nearly-full moon had seemed enough to guide her steps through the thickly-wooded area back to the town, but somehow she had managed to thoroughly lose herself in the black-green depths.
Right, great idea, talking out loud where the wild animals can hear you,
she thought, staggering to a stop on the clinging, draping underbrush of the forest as she thought she heard something like movement. Alexandra turned in a slow circle, thinking fretfully that even if she wanted to get back to her broken-down car, she wasn’t likely to be able to retrace her steps.

It had seemed so straightforward when she had left home that afternoon; Alexandra found an uprooted tree in the silver-tinged light of the moon and sank down on it, sighing. She had decided that instead of paying the obscene rate for a train ticket, she would just drive. Her car was only a few years younger than she was—but it had been behaving itself well, and it wasn’t as though the drive was across state lines. Alexandra had noticed the old Volvo beginning to run a little hot in the stop-and-go traffic a few towns back; but she had hoped when she stopped for dinner that the cool-off time would help it get through the trek.

She had a job interview in two days’ time; she had already called ahead to the hotel to let them know that she was running late, but Alexandra was now feeling as though the possibilities of even getting there were completely hopeless. The car had overheated right in the midst of the woods, just a mile or two south of the closest town. While Alex had not been exactly thrilled at the idea of walking two miles or more to get to the nearest gas station—and therefore arrange a meeting with a roadside assistance guy—she had decided that there was nothing else for it, and that she would rather not spend the rest of the night locked in her car in the middle of nowhere.

Alexandra shivered in the slight chill of the air as the light breeze dried the sweat on her arms and legs. The woods looked—and felt—so very forbidding. Every few moments, it seemed, there was the sound of something moving, and in the distance she had heard the unmistakable howls of a pack of wolves. As she sat, attempting to figure out what she should do next, Alexandra heard the sounds of the forest around her starting to rise up a little more: creaky chirps and buzzing of bugs, an inquiring hoot from an owl—and in the distance an air-splitting shriek from another nocturnal bird. She swallowed against the tight dryness in her throat, looking around in the gloomy, pale light.
If I tried to get back to my car, I’d probably only get even more hopelessly lost,
Alexandra thought bitterly.
But if I keep going forward, I’m only going to get more lost, too. Congrats, ‘Lex. Your options are: lost or lost.
She hugged herself, trying to find something—anything—she could use as a landmark.

Alexandra’s throat tightened again, and she felt her eyes stinging as tears began to form, rolling down her cheeks. She was scared, alone, and tired; and though she hated—hated—to cry, at least there would be no one there in the woods to hear or see her doing it. She hugged her knees, slipping down the slightly slick surface of the downed log onto the ground and began to cry in earnest.
All this because I’m too broke for a fucking train ticket,
she thought bitterly.

Her sobs were interrupted by another howl, and Alexandra gulped. “Oh my God,” she whispered, uncurling her body. Her heart beat faster in her chest; that howl had been much, much closer than the previous ones she had heard. As if to confirm her suspicion, she heard yips, growls, and movement—only a dozen yards away at most.

All at once, Alexandra was on her feet, her worry about her job prospects and the broken-down car evaporating in the face of a much more important concern. She lurched into a run, not even certain of where she was going, only completely sure that she needed to do whatever she could to put distance between herself and the wolf pack. They may not have been hunting her specifically; but that would not stop them from reacting to her presence—and her fear—if they stumbled across her. For a few moments, relief flooded through Alexandra; maybe she would be able to get sufficiently far away that the wolves would go after something else. Maybe the wolves hadn’t noticed her at all. Maybe she would find a tree she could climb to keep away from the pack, long enough for them to lose interest.

Her feet caught on the tough, hard-barked roots of something—one of the huge, towering trees, Alexandra thought—and she tumbled down onto the ground in a heap, unable to check her forward momentum or even cushion her fall. All of the air in her lungs left in a fast whooping noise and Alexandra’s heart beat even faster as she struggled to regain some oxygen. In the next instant, pain flared up along her sides, and down somewhere below her knee, a shockwave echoing the sharp prod from her elbow to her shoulder.
Get up! Get up! Get up or you’ll be dog food, woman!
Alexandra grabbed weakly at the slippery, pungent branches of a bush, but to no avail. She could hear the soft, crunching movements of the wolf pack and let out a low, breathless groan of dread.

****

 

Sasha heard the growling barks of the wolves as the scent of the woman he was tracking intensified. Under the sharp, gunpowder smell of the stranger’s fear, he could detect the smokier, wetter musk of the wild wolves, along with a faint wisp of familiar scent from the clan members he had called to help him. He was getting closer and closer to the strange woman; with any luck, he and the other members of the clan would get to her before the wolves did—and while he did not exactly enjoy the prospect of trying to steer an already frightened woman back towards the main road and out of the woods while in his bear form, Sasha thought it was at least preferable to the alternative: letting her be ripped apart by the hungry, opportunistic wolves.

Sasha’s luck ran out no more than a few steps ahead of him; he was nearing the woman, his three most trusted clan-mates behind him, when the sound of her screaming split the air. Sasha growled as the scent of blood filled his nose, washing over the pheromones and scents. One of the wolves had gotten to her—probably the leader. Sasha hurried his lumbering steps, lurching through the brush.

He barely made out the shape of human limbs, curled around a body in an attitude of self-protection, in the midst of a knot of harrying, growling wolves. His ursine eyes caught flashes of the woman’s blood from where the wolves had snatched at her arms and legs, spattering across the forest floor. Behind him, Sasha heard Armand, James, and Holt lumbering to a stop. He let out a barking, growling bawl—alerting the wolves to his presence. Behind him, James and Armand let out barks of their own, reinforcing the presence of superior predators.

The wolves looked up from their attack formation, their yellow-green eyes glowing in the moonlit darkness, and for a few moments the Alpha of the pack attempted to stare Sasha down. Sasha’s lips twitched as he growled once more, moving forward a step or two. Fear-scent filled the air, and in a few heartbeats the group of about six wolves twitched and sidled their way away, melting into the brush. The only sign of their existence was the faint rustle of their movements farther away from the site of their potential kill.

The woman whimpered, and Sasha looked down at her; he caught sight of one bright eye, peering up through thrown-up arms, along with light brown hair. Her clothing was in rags where the wolves had attacked, her arms and legs marked with jagged slashes and punctures from teeth. Sasha fell to all fours, grunting and chuffing as he carefully approached the woman. He could smell the fear-scent recede only to intensify once more as the woman realized that the wolves were away—but there were larger predators, every bit as deadly if not more so, converging on her. Her whimpers increased in speed and raised in pitch and Sasha considered how best to deal with her; her breaths came faster and faster as panic took over, and from the looks of her injuries, she would not be capable of just getting up and walking out of the woods, even with a guard of bears protecting her. He groaned, nosing at her foot, trying to be as non-threatening as it was possible for a large brown bear to be.

The woman tried to squirm away, gasping and panting, and Sasha debated the usefulness of transforming into his human form; on the one hand, she would likely find a human—even a naked human—more comforting than a bear. On the other, the sight of a bear becoming a human was likely to make her panic, and of course he and the clan had survived by keeping their dual natures completely a secret, just like all shifters. The woman let out an impulsive, instinctive scream and then her entire body went limp in the underbrush, her arms falling about her head, her legs going slack in the midst of the low-lying branches and shrubs.

For a moment, Sasha took in the sight of her; the woman was maybe 5’8”, dressed in jeans and a light sweater—just enough for the slight chill in the spring air—with soft light brown hair that would have fallen past her shoulders if it wasn’t scattered amongst the loamy soil and leaves. He snorted as he peered at her, taking in the lush curves of her body: full breasts, broad hips, thick, strong thighs wrapped in denim. For a moment, he felt a flicker of his mating drive starting up; the woman was just exactly his type, or would have been if she wasn’t foolish enough to get lost in the woods and attacked by wolves.

Coming to a decision, Sasha realized that she needed medical attention; one of the other members of the clan, a doctor in the small town of Green Tree, could see to her wounds—and should. Sasha glanced at the three clan-mates who had followed him.
Tell the others,
he told the three mentally, projecting an image of himself in human form, carrying the woman in the direction of the small town they lived in.
She will need to see Nathan.
Sasha felt the querying mental touches, the suggestion of
“Couldn’t we just leave her be?”
that was not quite a complete thought. He shook his head, letting out a low growl. He wouldn’t leave the woman to be attacked again; and from the looks of the tears and punctures in her skin, she would need stitches and other medical attention. She might have been injured even more than the obvious—he had heard the noise she’d made running through the forest.

Groaning, Sasha crouched down on the ground and started the transformation into his human form. His preternatural strength would make it much easier for him to carry the woman into town, but he would have to just hope that she would remain unconscious long enough for him to get to the hollow log where his clothing was secreted. And then too, Sasha thought bleakly, he would have hell to pay if she woke up before he came up with some explanation. A more human-sounding groan left his throat as Sasha’s bones tingled and crackled in his body, shifting and moving. He itched all over as the fur retreated, as his hands transformed from paws, as every molecule of his body rearranged itself into a human configuration. For a fleeting moment, he let himself look at the stranger on the ground, feeling a rush of resentment that he had to change back into his human form on such short notice, long before he had wanted to. But it wasn’t her fault ultimately; bad luck could happen to anyone.
Go back to your foraging,
Sasha told the other three werebears.
There’s no point in all of us losing the best part of the night.

BOOK: Finding Alien Love (SciFi Alien Romance)
5.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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