Hidden, Clan of the Werebear

BOOK: Hidden, Clan of the Werebear
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Hidden

Clan of the Werebear

by

Madison Johns

 

Copyright © 2014 Madison Johns

Hidden, Clan of the Werebear Madison Johns *

http://madisonjohns.com

 

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This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead (unless explicitly noted) is merely coincidental.

 

 

Cover by Tina Adams
http://www.tina-adams.com

Edited by Cindy Tahse
http://www.smashingedits.com

 

 

Thanks to the Wolf Pack: For readers who like a good howl group, and also the authors who gave me such great advice as I embarked on this journey.

I’ve used the following names as suggested by the Wolf Pack readers.

Liam as suggested by Chris Lewis.

Damien as suggested by Ana P. Martinez.

 

 

Chapter One

Thousands of feet below the north ridge, the wind roared as the cub bear tried to muster up enough strength to make it to the clump of trees for shelter. She shuddered for a moment, but continued to make her way there, until finally she entered the tree line, collapsing from exhaustion. She curled herself into a ball, hoping that she’d somehow make it through the night, but without the protection of her mama bear, she was destined to freeze out in the elements.

Low growls nearby were heard over the howling of the wind, and as the cub bear glanced up, a gray wolf slowly slunk forward, its mighty head lowered slightly with teeth bared. The bear cub couldn’t move any longer and held the wolf’s gaze no longer than a moment, dropping her head back to the snowy ground.

The yellows of the wolf’s eyes took in the sight of the weak bear. Instead of finishing off the cub as the food supply was low, he felt compassion. His nostrils could smell the human beneath the fur. This bear was a shifter as was he. He approached the cub, taking ahold of the fur behind its neck, and lifted it up and carried it off through the forest. With any luck, they’d make it back to the cabin before any more of the pack detected what he was about to do. Harbor the small werebear.

What on earth are you doing so far away from civilization?
Samson thought. He knew one thing was for certain, one so young shouldn’t be way out here and alone.

* * *

By the time the wolf made it to the cabin, he nudged the door open with his nearly frozen snout. He stared at the dimming light of the fireplace and set the child on the bed, using his nose to cover the cub with the blanket. He knew when the child shifted that she’d be without clothing and didn’t want the child to feel uncomfortable if she woke up.

In the corner of the room, the wolf’s eyes lost their animalistic look, his limbs elongated as his paws were exchanged for arms and legs, fingers and toes. Samson then covered himself with a nearby robe. In all of Samson’s fifty years, he’d never run across a bear cub alone. He couldn’t help but wonder if this was the little one he was prophesied to protect as told to him by his grandfather many moons ago.

Samson then made the painstaking journey to the fireplace and tossed in kindling, watching in anticipation as the embers took hold, and ignited it. Samson waited patiently, wiggling his toes to remove the numbness. While in wolf, he was never cold. His human form was more fragile and could easily succumb to the elements. He’d been frostbitten before, lost two toes in his thirties, but as the pinpricks began now, he knew all was not lost. The flames of the kindling licked upward and Samson tossed in more wood, and soon the fire was roaring to life. He lifted the frail child from the bed as she was no longer in bear form, careful to keep the blanket wrapped around her, carrying her to the fire and laying her on the bear rug. He wished he didn’t have it now. It seemed somehow wrong to put the child on what might be the fur of her kin, but it was important to warm the child. He rubbed her limbs, and when he saw the blood rise in the form of reddening skin, he knew that she hadn’t suffered too much exposure to the elements. But what was she doing here? He could well imagine what his pack would think and do if they found the child here, or figured out what she really was, a werebear.

He was happy that most of them had traveled south this time a year, but Samson relished his time alone, even though it was so cold. He hadn’t lived amongst the other wolves in many years, not since he was quite young. His cabin felt much more comfortable than a damp and frozen cave.

Samson smiled down at the child’s dark head as the glow of the fire warmed her skin, and only then did he rise and pull a book from beneath a loose floorboard. He skimmed through it until he found the pictures that were painted on the wall of a cave—images that told the tale of a bear cub and its wolf protector. It was unheard of for a werewolf and a werebear to be in close proximity of one another unless they were in battle. While bears are much stronger when it comes to body mass, wolves have far more agility and are much quicker.

 He knew that the clan still raged a war against the werewolves, but that was far to the north and it had been a very long time since that was a problem in the North Ridge area.

The clan of the werebear is the most ruthless bunch of werewolf murderers on the globe, but that’s not all they’re capable of doing. They have been known to kill their own kind if their code of conduct was not upheld, or so Marla had told him. She wasn’t a werewolf, but she’d known her fair share of shifters as owner of the Bear Claw Pub. Most residents and tourists thought it was an interesting play on words, but it was frequented by many shifters, regardless of species. Marla strictly enforced the rules, and most shifters knew that the Bear Claw Pub was a safe haven for all of them. They had learned to share the same pub, even though they never really mixed in.

For a werebear to be caught associating with a werewolf meant certain death from the Clan. The Clan of the Werebear was not to be trifled with, and for that reason alone, Samson had to conceal this child at all costs. He would assume the role of protector, but he knew that he had to keep her concealed from the clan, and from his pack. It was the only way this child would ever make it into adulthood. She might even be hunted right now by the clan, but with the snowstorm, he hoped the trail had been lost. As soon as the weather broke, he’d move to the south where he would be more among friends. A place that they could both get lost, or for the very least forgotten. Surely if the clan was searching for her, they’d think she had perished in the storm, which wasn’t so far from the truth since she might have had he not found her when he did.

 

Chapter Two

Elaina hid behind the shed and closed her eyes tightly, counting to one hundred. It was one of her favorite childhood games, one that she had outgrown since she turned eighteen the week before, but there wasn’t much else to do out in North Ridge, Alaska. She called out, “Ready or not, here I come,” and dodged into the darkness. It was hardly an obstacle for Elaina since she was all bear on the inside, although her eyesight was about the same as a human, distance wise. She took in a deep breath and caught the scent of her prey, Liam, not far away. They had eaten chocolate chip cookies before coming out tonight, and the fragrance was unmistakable.

Elaina’s teeth grew in her mouth and she struggled to remain in her human form. Samson had told her on many occasions just how important it was not to shift, but now that she was on the hunt, she found it hard not to. She rounded a tree and there stood a silver wolf, and she lost all reserve. She raised herself to her full height of five foot six and shifted into bear form. She shook off her now torn clothing, and without hesitation, she pursued the wolf with fervor, her heavy paws striking the ground with such force that it both amazed and thrilled her to the core of her being. Now as an adult, she had become a much larger bear, although with Samson’s interference, she lacked the proper fighting skills most bears had.

 Thunder cracked overhead, but Elaina continued to pursue the wolf. She came to a stop as she entered the clearing with a skid and scatter of grass and sod. It was then that she saw another bear but five feet from her. Her heart thudded against her chest, and she turned to the right as the silver wolf also entered the clearing. The other bear roared and charged the wolf, but before he was able to harm it, Elaina pawed the ground and swiped at the rogue bear, striking it with full force. The bear turned and leapt on Elaina, its claws digging deep into her shoulder. Instead of retreating, she kicked the ground with a mighty paw and, lifting her head, she roared over the sound of the thunder and watched as the other bear darted off into the underbrush.

Once it was gone, it was all Elaina could do to make her way back to the safety of her home. Her shoulders ached, and she felt blood ooze from her wounds. The silver wolf followed at a safe distance, but Elaina knew with certainty that it was Liam, her trusted friend, and Samson’s grandson.

When they reached the house, Liam averted his eyes and Elaina entered the house, throwing on an oversized t-shirt to cover herself on the way inside. She’d learned long ago that it was important to leave clothing near the door just in case she had shifted. It was also another way of concealing it from Samson’s ever watchful eye.

* * *

Elaina listened as Samson said, “How many times have I told you not to shift?”

“It wasn’t my fault.”

Samson’s face was drawn down into to a frown of disappointment. “Then who should I blame?”

Elaina hung her head instead of replying. She wouldn’t tell on Liam, even if it meant taking the blame. She was, after all, fully responsible for her actions.

Liam was dressed only in trousers, his muscled chest glistening with sweat. He wasn’t having it, though. “It was my fault. I shifted first, and Elaina simply followed suit.”

Samson’s brown eyes narrowed. “You should know better. There are repercussions to your actions. Look at Elaina’s shoulder. She’ll bear the scars for the remainder of her life.”

Tears flowed from Elaina’s eyes, trailing down her apple cheeks. “It’s okay. The bear charged Liam. I couldn’t just stand there and watch him be mauled to death. He’s much smaller than any bear.”

Liam’s eyes widened, pounding his chest with a fist. “What I lack in size, I make up for in agility. I could have outsmarted that bear.”

“Humph,” Elaina said between clenched teeth as Samson washed her wounds where three claw marks had ripped into her shoulder.

“We’ll have to hide out with Marla for a few weeks before I decide what the best move would be.”

“At the Bear Claw Pub?” Elaina asked. “Isn’t that kind of dangerous since so many shifters frequent the pub?”

“We’ll remain hidden.”

“In the same place where other werebears might be? You do know a bear’s sense of smell is seven times better than a bloodhound’s?”

Samson’s brow arched upward. “So you’ve been researching your kind?”

“I just think it’s a good thing for me to know all I can about bears since I’m partially one.”

“You’re a werebear, Elaina, and it’s important for you to remain hidden from the clan.”

Elaina’s brows knitted in thought. “How do you know that bear we saw today was part of the clan? He might just have been a regular bear. This is Alaska, after all.”

“I suppose that’s possible, but we can’t take any chances with your life, and as your protector, I will not allow anything to happen to you.” Samson rinsed the bloody cloth, and pressed it against Elaina’s wound again, causing her to whimper slightly. “If it’s the clan, they’ll know for sure that you’re marked now.” Salve was then pressed on Elaina’s shoulder and covered with white linen.

“I don’t understand, Samson. What makes you think that the clan means me harm, or even is searching for me?”

“I found you in the wilderness when you were but a child, in a remote area where not even a shifter should be. Do you remember why you were there, or what happened to your family?”

This question always gave Elaina a headache. No matter how hard she tried, she just couldn’t remember her mother, not the curve of her face, or the softness of the fur of her bear form. Some children recalled their past at that age, but Elaina couldn’t remember a single detail. Her first memories were of waking up on a bear rug in Samson’s cabin. She never even remembered meeting him in the wilderness that day. It’s like whatever happened to her before was blocked in her mind. Did something happen to her parents for real, or was that just what Samson wanted her to believe? He had cautioned her about the Clan of the Werebears, but was that based on his experience of them? Without more information, Elaina just wasn’t so inclined to believe everything Samson had told her.

BOOK: Hidden, Clan of the Werebear
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