ROMANCE: Forbidden Bear Obsession (Werebear Shifter Taboo Paranormal Romance) (New Adult Contemporary Paranormal Romance Short Stories)

BOOK: ROMANCE: Forbidden Bear Obsession (Werebear Shifter Taboo Paranormal Romance) (New Adult Contemporary Paranormal Romance Short Stories)
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FORBIDDEN

 

BEAR
OBSESSION

 

 

By
Sicily Duval

I pushed the button on the blender and watched
as the mixture turned

form separate pieces of raw meat, milk and Ex
vino
into a red mushy smoothie. The
kitchen was spotless, with the buttery light making it look soft and homely in
the early hours of the night. The only workspace that

was dirty was the countertop I was using.

Lashan liked his home clean and tidy. I worked
hard to keep it that way.

Lashan walked into the kitchen, the paper
under his arm. I turned my head for a peck on the mouth, but he kissed me on
the cheek.
 
“Evening, honey,” he said
and sat down, flipping open the paper. We weren’t going to have much of a
conversation. We didn’t often anymore. I poured half of the smoothie into a
glass for him. He took it from me, his eyes on the headlines, and took a sip.

“Geez, Leanne, what is this?” he stared into
his glass with a sour face, working his jaws in a circle.

“Breakfast,” I said calmly, pouring a glass
for myself and sitting down at the table with him.

“I wish you’d stop using that damn substitute.
I need real blood to function.”

I shrugged. “If you’re going to make time to
hunt, I’ll serve it. But I’m not going out there and killing those animals. You
know how much I hate it.”

Lashan shook his head and put down the
smoothie. “I don’t understand why you’re going against your nature. We’re a
vampire, for god’s sake. Blood is what keeps us alive.”

I got up and poured his smoothie down the
drain.

“Don’t be mad,” he said, twisting in his chair
to look at me. “I just don’t see why you have to be so different about it. All
vampires kill animals. It’s natural.”

“I don’t like it. You didn’t have a problem
with my ways when we got married.”

He exaggerated a sigh. “Your family had a
different way of doing things… I accepted it. But you learn and grow when you
break away from your parents. We have the money to eat whatever we want now.”

“My family didn’t substitute blood because
they were poor. They were compassionate.”

Lashan kept quiet for a moment, the words he
wouldn’t speak hanging in the air.
Is
there a difference?
 
He always asked
me that.

“You know I love you, right?” he asked after
the silence like that would erase whatever the problem was. I nodded.

He looked at his wristwatch. “I have to get
going,” he said and stood up. I didn’t move from the sink. Instead I leaned
against the counter with my hips and folded my arms over my chest. Lashan
scraped some papers together and stuffed it in his briefcase, and walked out
the kitchen.

“Love you,” he called from the front door
before it slammed shut behind him.

“You said,” I answered to the empty house.

When I heard his car pull out of the drive I
wiped down the counter with a wet cloth and rinsed out the blender, packing it
on the rack to dry. Then I went to the bedroom to get ready for work.

Lashan wanted me to be a housewife. He
believed it was a women’s job to keep the house tidy, ready for him to come
home to, and raise the children while he was out earning the money. Five years
down the line we had no children, and I had realized a long time ago that it
was impossible to keep him happy. So I’d gotten a job.
 
I worked from nine in the evening until three
in the morning. I clocked in an hour after he did and left an hour before, so
that I was home to have his supper ready when he came home an hour before dawn.

He didn’t know. I’d been doing it for four
years. The money I earned I had in a separate account. I was leading a double
life.

I think the only thing that bothered me about
the double life I led, was that it didn’t bother me at all. Having secrets from
Lashan seemed like second nature by now, because he didn’t seem to care that he
knew nothing of my life.

I swapped my nightgown for a pencil skirt and
button-up blouse. I pinned my hair up in a French Roll, and put on three inch
black heels. A bit of make-up, mascara, some lipstick, and the transformation
was complete. Last of all I pulled my wedding ring off finger, and tucked it
away in my cupboard. I didn’t want to be Mrs. Lashan when I was at work. I
wanted to get out from under the image that my husband forced on me. At work I
was still Mrs. Herring, I couldn’t lie about being married, but at least I was
Leanne. Independent of a man.

Myself.

At the office, the doorman nodded at me,
giving me a smile that flashed straight teeth. It had taken me a while to get
used to that. I worked at a firm where different creatures mixed. It wasn’t
vampire only.

Lashan always insisted that we only mix with
our own kind. It was racial thing. But I didn’t see the point. Harley, the
receptionist, was a werewolf just like the doorman, and they were both nicer to
me than our social circle had ever been.

“You look nice today,” Charlene said to me
when I walked into the board room.

“Thanks, I thought I’d try something different
with my hair.”

“It suits you.”

I touched the back of my hairdo to check for
loose strands. We both stood together behind the big table, waiting for the
first directors to arrive. Charlene was a Personal Assistant to Mr. Ring, the
CEO of the company. I was Project Assistant, which really meant I was just a
personal assistant to the rest of the board.

One by one the directors started filtering in.
I knew all of them well. They took their seats around the table. Most of them
were vampires. We were at the top of the hierarchy. But two of the directors
weren’t. Mr. Spelling was a were-rat, an abomination of a creature if you asked
me, and even in human form he had a sharp face and teeth that protruded from
his mouth. I didn’t like him.

The other director was Mrs. Nancy Star. She
was a strange kind of shifter, changing into any kind of bird she wanted to. I
heard somewhere that even though she could change into an eagle or a vulture,
she preferred birds like hummingbirds or sparrows. She was out of place in a
room full of predators.

“Is everyone ready?” Mr. Ring asked. Charlene
and I often joked that he was the Ring leader.

“We’re just waiting for Crowe,” one of the
other men answered.

“Crowe?” I whispered to Charlene. I didn’t
know the name.

“They hired a new Marketing Strategist,” she
answered back. “He was with Ring yesterday.”

There was no chance to elaborate, because a
man entered. I assumed he was Mr. Crowe, not because he fit in with the board
of directors. On the contrary. The only reason I believed he belonged was
because of his attitude. The atmosphere in the room changed when he walked in.

“Gentleman, you’ve heard a lot about the man.
It’s my pleasure to introduce Donald Crowe.”

Donald sat down in the last empty seat, and
Ring called the meeting to order. While he spoke, I only paid half my attention
to what was being said. The rest of it went to Donald. He was a big man, thick
in the shoulders, with a big chest and a trim waist. He looked like he could
take out a football team. When he moved, however, he moved with fluid grace
that didn’t match his appearance. He had a head of chocolate brown hair that
was combed neatly to the back with a side parting, and his eyes were a dark, liquid
black. His cologne was strong in the air to my sensitive vampire nose, but he
smelled of something else too. Power. Money.

Charlene elbowed me when she saw me staring. I
couldn’t help it.

When Donald smiled, I noticed his teeth were
blunt. No fangs. He wasn’t a vampire. I wondered what kind of creature he was.
His size suggested he shifted into something big. And his eyes told me it was
wild. This man was a predator.

Just as I thought it, his eyes locked onto
mine as if he’d read my mind. His gaze pierced into my soul, and I felt raw and
vulnerable. I forced my eyes away, and I knew I’d given in to the power play.
I’d admitted him dominant. In the world where we were all half-animal, there
was a code traveling in undercurrents. I’d torn my eyes away. I’d accepted his
authority over me.

Definitely a predator.

I’d grown up in a neighborhood that ranked us
at the bottom of the social food chain. Lashan may have had all that money, but
I still didn’t have the confidence to challenge someone for dominance. I was a
woman. I was a vampire. There were a lot of creatures out there much stronger
than me.

The meeting adjourned. Charlene and I waited
for the others to filter out of the office before we walked to the door.

“Oh my god,” I breathed.

“I know, right?” she answered. She knew I
meant Donald Crowe. “He’s a force of nature, if I’ve ever seen one. And Ring
travels in big circles. I’ve seen a couple.”

She slipped through the glass door and down
the hall to Ring’s office. He would need her for his morning coffee and bagel.
I dropped a file. When I picked it up, and straightened myself up, I was chest
to chest with Donald Crowe.

His presence took my breath away. His dark
eyes bore into mine, and it felt like all the air had been sucked out of the
room.

“Excuse me,” I said and my voice sounded much
thinner. I forced my eyes away from his. I didn’t want him to think this was a
challenge.

The human world, which we worked in, was a
strange place for our animal behavior to exist.

Donald didn’t move. Instead he leaned in
closer to me, closed his eyes, and breathed in. It was as if he smelled my
scent. It made me uncomfortable. I wasn’t available.

“I have a mate,” I whispered. Lashan was
protective. If he knew I spent a lot of my time in rooms full of males without
him around to claim me, he would be livid. This would send him right over the
edge.

“You’re not wearing a ring,” he said, his
voice so deep it was almost a growl.

I couldn’t answer him. Not because I didn’t
know how to explain why I didn’t, but because there was something about him
that was ridiculously attractive. I didn’t want to step away from him, or leave
the room behind with him in it. My skin suddenly burned with a yearning for him
to touch me.

I realized that he had the power to do that to
me. Some shifters had the ability to use magic beyond changing appearance. And
Donald had it bad.

“Please,” I said again, my eyes on the ground.

“I like you like this,” he said. That riled me
up.

“I’m a vampire,” I said, snapping my eyes to
his and locking them. I wouldn’t challenge him, but this was about my rights.
“I don’t submit to anyone. Only… my mate.” I didn’t know why it was so hard to
say the last bit. Because the truth was that I didn’t even submit to him. He
didn’t demand it anymore, which made it easier for me not to. But if he did,
I’d fight it.

“I didn’t mean submissive,” he said. His glaze
slid over me, and it felt like he was physically touching me everywhere his
eyes rested. My breath caught in my throat. “I meant the ache you have burning
inside of you.”

I took a step back.

“What do
you
know? You don’t know me.”

He only looked at me, his eyes smiling even
when his mouth didn’t. I wished he would reach out and touch me. But he didn’t,
and I scolded myself for being like a love-struck teenager. Instead he walked
away. I was left in the board room, unbalanced, disheveled, and wondering what
the hell was wrong with me.

BOOK: ROMANCE: Forbidden Bear Obsession (Werebear Shifter Taboo Paranormal Romance) (New Adult Contemporary Paranormal Romance Short Stories)
10.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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