Read The Hawk and Her LumBEARjack: BBW Paranormal Bear Shifter Romance Online

Authors: Zoe Chant

Tags: #BBW, #Paranormal, #Bear, #Shifter, #Romance, #Adult, #Erotic, #Fiction, #Werebear, #Alpha

The Hawk and Her LumBEARjack: BBW Paranormal Bear Shifter Romance

BOOK: The Hawk and Her LumBEARjack: BBW Paranormal Bear Shifter Romance
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The Hawk and Her LumBEARjack

 

By Zoe Chant

 

Copyright Zoe Chant 2015

All Rights Reserved

 

Table of Contents

1. Felicity

"Hey, Felicity, I'm heading out. Need me to do anything before I go?"

Felicity Groves looked up from her computer screen and rubbed her eyes. Her assistant, Melinda, was leaning in through the glass-fronted doors of her office.

"And before you asked," Melinda said with a smile, "I've finished the week's invoicing, got the PowerPoints for the Brockman presentation ready to go for Monday, and emailed your Denver clients about rescheduling that meeting. Is there anything else?"

Felicity laughed and shook her head. "You are a wonder, Mel. I don't know what I'd do without you."

Mel leaned against the door and playfully buffed her nails on her stylish top. She was all sharp angles and long legs, in contrast to Felicity's curves. Between the two of them, Mel was much more the picture of a top-end fashion designer, long and coltish with high model's cheekbones. Felicity was curvy and busty and cheerful, her dark, shining brown hair swept back into wings on either side of her face—slightly drooping wings now, at the end of a long work week.

"Go on, enjoy your weekend, Mel," Felicity said. "Turn off your phone and don't even think about this place until Monday."

"Oh, don't worry, I've got a hot date lined up and I hope I'll be much too busy to think about clients and spreadsheets." Mel winked. "What about you? Hot plans for the weekend?"

"Oh, I don't know. I thought I might get out of town for a day or two, if nothing else comes up." Felicity set her computer to shut down, and began gathering her things into her briefcase. "And no, that is
not
an invitation to set me up with another of your friends' brothers, cousins, or ex-boyfriends. Right now, all I want is to go home and have a nice hot bubble bath."

"On a Friday night?" Mel protested, scandalized. "Felicity, I feel as if I'm breaking some kind of oath of sisterhood if I let you do that. Can't I take you out for a drink, at least? My date's not picking me up 'til seven."

Felicity smiled, scooping paperwork into her briefcase. "I appreciate the offer, but really, Mel, all I want is to go home, kick off these shoes and have a nice bubble bath. Go get ready for your date, and have a wonderful time. See you Monday!"

Mel blew her a kiss and tripped out of the office. Felicity flipped off the lights and followed her out.

Groves Design was on the tenth floor of a brand-new office tower in downtown Minneapolis. Minneapolis-St. Paul was one of the few good-sized metropolitan areas where it was still possible to live near downtown without spending a fortune, and less than fifteen minutes after stepping out of the office, Felicity was unlocking the door of her apartment. She had, however, absolutely no intention of taking a bubble bath. Common sense said that she probably ought to eat, sleep, and drive north early in the morning, but she felt as if she'd waited much too long already. She always got this way in the spring, antsy and eager, the winter's long period of inactivity making her vibrate with suppressed energy.

And so, she stayed in the apartment for no more time than it took to change out of her work clothes into something more casual. Then she hurried back down to the car, two steps at a time. She didn't take an overnight bag. Where she was going, she wouldn't need one.

She picked up dinner from a drive-thru burger place on her way out of town.

Suburbs gave way to farms mixed with forest. Felicity drove north for nearly two hours before she turned off the highway into a small town, the sort of little nothing of a town that's scattered along rural highways from Alabama to Alberta. There was a one-pump gas station, an antique store, and an ice cream place that had been closed every single time she'd driven through.

She was very close now, and eagerness beat in her chest like the flutter of wings. She drove through the downtown and along a rural road, past little clusters of mailboxes, until finally she found the dirt road where she turned off. There was a padlocked gate across the road and a forbidding NO TRESPASSING sign. Felicity hunted through the keys on her key chain until she found the one that undid the padlock, pulled the gate back, and drove through. She locked it again behind her.

It was evident that no one had passed this way since the snow had melted. The road was muddy and difficult at this time of year, but her Jeep could handle it. She drove through the trees, came around a corner, and entered the overgrown yard of a small, boarded-up cabin.

This was a vacation property that belonged to friends of hers in Minneapolis. Felicity had obtained permission from her friends to park on their land while she went "hiking". She knew they only came up here once or twice a year, and with the gate to deter vandals, she felt reasonably comfortable leaving her car unattended for a couple of days.

She slammed the car door and stepped out into fresh, cool air and a welcome silence. The cabin was surrounded by dense forest, hiding the road and the neighbors; she might as well be in the deepest heart of the wilderness. Felicity tipped her head back and looked up at the gorgeous sunset sky above her. She took a long, deep breath of the pine-scented air. Oh, she'd
missed
this. She loved her job in the city, but there were a lot of things a person couldn't do among neighbors, tall buildings, and ubiquitous cell phone cameras.

Such as having a good, proper flight.

Unselfconsciously, Felicity stripped out of her clothes, folding each item neatly and putting it in the backseat. She tucked her purse underneath the seat to keep it out of sight—while she didn't think the car would be disturbed in her absence, there was no sense tempting fate. Then she locked the car and hid the keys in her usual place, underneath the cabin's porch in an overturned coffee can.

Finally
, she thought. She spread her arms to the setting sun, and let the hawk rise inside her.

The change rippled through her, a rush of heat and energy under her skin. Feathers prickled her arms, and her vision was suddenly sharp and keen. She leaped into the air, and the transformation was complete before she could come back down. Felicity beat her wings, the downdraft carrying her upward on the brisk spring wind.

The world tilted and spread out below her. The sun was setting below the rim of the world, and all the trees cast long dark shadows. The maples and birches were just beginning to leaf out for the spring, a flush of lacy green spreading across the land. Her sharp hawk's eyes found the cabin in its clearing, the blocky little shape of her Jeep, the road like a dressmaker's ribbon unspooling across the landscape. Felicity circled above it, reading the currents in the wind. It was blowing from the south, so she went with it, flying away north, leaving roads and houses behind.

Hawks were not good night flyers, so she would need to find a place to sleep before it got dark. This was no problem. She'd flown from her friends' cabin many times; she knew all the best hollow trees, caves, and abandoned barns in the area. She did not need to hunt, since she'd eaten on the way up, but she still found her predator's instincts stirring as she glimpsed the zipping movements of bats coming out in the dusk, the lazy lolloping of rabbits in the open fields she soared across.

Life, Felicity thought, was excellent.

Morning found her far away from the cabin where she'd started out, with Minneapolis nothing but a memory. She'd slept in one of her hollow tree hideouts and emerged at first light. Now she was flying along an old logging road, dipping and rising, sometimes doing a little side-roll just for fun. She kept an eye out for bigger predators, not that she was worried. If she encountered anything in the air big enough to threaten her, like an eagle, all she had to do was land and change back into a human. And predators on the ground, such as bears, couldn't bother her as long as she was flying.

And there
were
bears up here, she knew. Bears and wolves. This was wild country, the edge of the forest primeval that spread into Canada and all the way up to the Arctic. There were not many people here. Every once in a while she flew over a logging camp or a small town on a lake. There were a few far-flung roads. Mostly, this was country for people who liked their privacy and solitude.

Shifters, for example.

There were, Felicity had heard through the family grapevine, quite a few shifter communities up here. She herself hailed from points farther south; she'd grown up in Indiana, in a family of hawk shifters who lived in farm country east of Terre Haute. That was a nice part of the country to be a shifter; the neighbors had known and had been okay with it. Open fields were prime hunting territory for red-tailed hawks, which was what she was, and there were several other bird-shifter families in the area—owls, other hawks, even a family of kestrels. It was a good place to grow up.

But Felicity had always been drawn to the city's siren song. These days, though she remained close to her family, she couldn't imagine living anywhere that rural. She couldn't exactly run her fashion design business from a farmhouse in the middle of a cornfield. Having decent restaurants and 4G was more important to her nowadays than being able to walk out the back door, change right there, and stretch her wings.

Still, one of the reasons why she'd decided to locate her business in Minneapolis was because it was so close to all this wilderness. She might not be able to enjoy it every day, but on weekends she could go out and fly for hours without seeing a soul. And there was something in her that was thrilled by this wild land, in a way that the farm fields of her childhood, although pleasant, had not excited her. Some deep primitive place, in the back of her brain, told her she'd come home.

Now if she only had someone to share it with. Ah,
that
was the problem. There were certainly other shifters in Minneapolis, and she'd gone to a few shifter bars and tried a few dates, but nothing ever clicked. One problem was that there weren't very many bird shifters in the area. Most of the shifters she'd met in Minneapolis were big northern animals: deer, elk, mountain lions. She'd had one utterly
disastrous
date with a buffalo, and the less said of the moose, the better.

Her mother kept asking her if she'd met a nice hawk or falcon, "or a seagull if you really must, dear". Felicity had decided not to mention that she'd been dabbling on the big-game side of the fence. Besides, it wasn't like she'd met anyone she liked anyway. Maybe her mother was right, and a relationship with someone other than a bird shifter could never work out. Landbound shifters, her mother said, could never understand the needs of a bird shifter.

She was always half-hoping, in her flights around the northern part of the state, that she might meet some more bird-of-prey colonies to expand her dating options somewhat.

Seagulls. Honestly, Mother. She'd rather date a ... a
bear
.

Not a moose, though.

***

By early afternoon she was becoming aware of a shift in the weather that made her nervous. The wind had changed, blowing down from the north, and there was a sharp, wintry chill in it. Scattered clouds had been gathering all morning, playing hide-and-seek with the sun. Now they'd knit together into a gray wall. It felt like late winter more than spring.

At this time of year in northern Minnesota, the weather could be dangerously unpredictable. When she'd checked on Friday, it was supposed to hold clear through the weekend, but there was a big storm system gathering on the north side of the border. It was not, at that point, supposed to come far enough south to worry about, but now she wondered. She wished for the first time since leaving the car that she had her phone, so she could check the weather app. But it was back with her clothes and everything else, completely useless to her.

It couldn't possibly snow, could it?
she wondered, anxiously looking at the sky. It was starting to drizzle. She could fly in rain, especially light rain like this, but it made her wings heavy and her reactions slower.

She really needed to find somewhere to hole up. At this point, though, she was out of her usual well-explored area around the cabin, flying over territory that was new to her. She didn't know where the good hiding places were.

The miles of woodland were broken up with small farms and hunters' cabins. Felicity spied an open clearing with a cluster of outbuildings and a barn. There might be somewhere down there where she could wait out the storm. As she swooped down, though, she glimpsed the chicken coop an instant before someone came running out of the barn, yelling and waving a shovel at her.

People weren't supposed to shoot hawks, but in this remote country, you could never be sure—not if a farmer thought you were threatening his livestock. Felicity banked and rose back into the air.

Ice-cold rain swept over her in gusts. The wind was blowing hard now, forcing water and cold air between her feathers. The effort of flying, especially fighting the wind, was helping keep her warm, but she was beginning to shiver.

Then she noticed something that made her heart trip over in her chest. That wasn't just water weighing down her feathers.

It was ice.

This wasn't a mere rainstorm. This was an ice storm, sweeping down from the Canadian Arctic. She needed to get to shelter, and fast.

Below her, the forest had begun to glisten with a coating of ice. Felicity flew lower and lower, her wings responding sluggishly. She was shaking with cold and increasingly frightened. She could wait out a mere rainstorm by landing under a tree, if she had to, but this bitter cold would leave her frozen and dead by morning.

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