Unbearable: Russet Falls Series

BOOK: Unbearable: Russet Falls Series
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A Hearts
Collective Production


Copyright © 2014 Hearts Collective

All rights reserved. This document may not be reproduced in
any way without the expressed written consent of the author. The ideas,
characters, and situations presented in this story are strictly fictional, and
any unintentional likeness to real people or real situations is completely




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A Russet
Falls Novel



By W.H. Vega




Troy ran a hand through his thick dark hair as he climbed
the stairs to kiss his daughters goodbye.

“Daddy, where are you going?” Gabrielle asked, her blue eyes
wide and innocent.

“Just out hunting, baby. Not to worry.”

She pouted and wiggled her hips, making her pigtails bounce.
Troy pulled one playfully, making her giggle.  “You take care of your baby

Gabrielle stuck her tongue out. “She’s boring. She doesn’t
do anything.” Gabrielle looked longingly at the tiny baby asleep in the swing.

“Don’t worry. Soon enough, she’ll be running around with

Gabrielle looked doubtful. She leaned over the swing and stretched
out her tiny little hand.

“Gabby, don’t,” Andrea, her mother, scolded. Gabrielle
stomped away.

Troy went over to his wife and kissed her on the mouth. She
looked so tired these days, yet she had a gorgeous motherly glow about her.

“Don’t be gone long,” she begged, “I’ve got my hands full.”

His eyes got hard. “I won’t be long,” he said in a steely
voice. “Just need to take care of some things.”

“And bring back food, why don’t you,” she softly scolded.
“You came back empty-handed last time.” Then she turned serious. “And whatever
you do, watch out for bears.”

“Bears?” Gabrielle gasped, overhearing. “No, Daddy! Stay
away from the scary bears!” She cowered in the corner.

“Don’t worry, sweetie. I’m not going to let those mean,
nasty bears get me!”

Troy remembered all too well the last time he went “hunting”
and how he was nearly killed. He slung his gun over his shoulder and went to
leave, looking back at his three girls, the family he cherished more than
anything in the world.

Troy climbed into his pickup truck and within a few minutes was
outside the limits of Russet Falls. He could do this drive in his sleep, and he
barely noticed the beautiful scenery as he made his way toward the forest. He
pulled off the road and turned onto the familiar hidden dirt path.

His truck bumped along for a mile as dirt blew out behind
him. Anger began to pulse deep within him, and he felt it come to the surface
as he fought the natural urges growing inside him.

Not yet.

He needed to park his truck first.

Finally the forest grew thicker, and the truck was
completely submerged within its shadows. Troy shut off the engine, and kicked his
gun down onto the floor of the cab.

“Stupid ass fools,” he muttered, getting out of the truck
and slamming the door. “I’m sick of cleaning up their goddamn messes.”

The anger beat inside of him, forming a life of its own…Troy
knew that at any moment it was going to rip through him, changing him once

His breath came heavy. He was nearly panting now as he felt
the power growing within him.

“Argh!” he cried, letting an angry roar rip through him.

He fell to his hands and knees, kicking off his boots and
yanking his shirt over his head before stripping off his pants. He didn’t feel
like wasting time with clothes, but he would have to explain to Andrea if he
came home with them shredded, or worse, no clothes at all.

That wouldn’t go over well.

Free of his clothing, he closed his eyes, letting the power
wash over him. His fingertips began to tingle and he felt the vibrations sweep
over his body, changing him from the inside out.

He felt his skull grow and harden, his arms and legs
thicken. His back became broader, his shoulders wider as his toes morphed into
massive paws.

He let out another roar, and this time it was the growl of a
wild beast. Coarse black hair sprouted from every pore and he felt the animal within
take over.

All four legs were on the ground now and he saw through new
eyes, the eyes of a bear.

His breath came in ragged bursts, and he felt his enormous
rib cage swell with each one. He pressed his snout to the wet earth, inhaling
deeply as he tried to make out a scent.

He moved stealthily for his size, trying to determine if it
was the Virtus clan or the Atrocitas clan that had crossed the border. Either
way, he was angry as hell and he was going to deal with the trespassers once
and for all.

In his bear form, he focused only on his animal instincts,
his family barely a distant memory, though they were still there in the back of
his mind, deep in his heart.

Troy preferred it that way; he had to compartmentalize if he
was going to survive in this world.

He ran through the forest, hating what he was, but in awe of
his own strength. He was grateful that the shifter blood hadn’t passed on to
his girls; he could tell from the moment they were born, and he was relieved
that Andrea would never have to know his dark, ugly secret.

Troy realized that he should have communicated with some of
the other clan members that he would be out on the clan lands. Of course, it
wasn’t his style to communicate with his clan—leader or not, he despised
everything about being a shifter.

Troy knew most of the clan members didn’t like him, and
honestly, he didn’t give a shit. He wanted to find the trespassing bears and
punish them, to do his duty and then get home in time for dinner to see his
sweet little baby girl.

Troy forced his mind back to the task at hand, and that’s
when he picked up the unfamiliar scent.

A roar ripped from his throat and he pressed his black nose
into the dirt, sniffing furiously. He couldn’t place the scent; he hadn’t come
across this particular bear before, and it certainly wasn’t one of his own

His heavy paws moved quickly across the ground, propelling
him as he ran between trees and bushes. He thought of nothing else except
finding the trespasser and making him pay. The clans had an agreement that they
would stick to their own lands, and even though those lands came to a point in
the state park, all the bears knew exactly where the borders were—someone was
trespassing on purpose.

The scent grew stronger, filling Troy’s nostrils. He was
nearing the Virtus border but he didn’t care. He was following this scent until
he came face to face with the bear that stepped into his territory.

Troy had worked hard to protect his family and to keep his
secret hidden. Troy’s father had been proud to be one of the last bear kings,
but Troy only saw it as a burden. He had wanted a normal life—not one of shapeshifting
and warring animal clans. Of course, according to their laws, Troy was allowed
to tell Andrea what he was, and they would have been allowed to share it with
their children should one of them have been born a shifter.

However, Troy had chosen not to tell Andrea, afraid he would
scare her away. He had worried constantly when Andrea was pregnant with
Gabrielle, worried that if she was a shifter he would have no choice but to
tell Andrea, and she would have been furious with him for keeping such a secret.
He’d nearly cried with relief when both Gabrielle and Lucy were born under a half
moon. When shifters mated with non-shifters, their offspring could only be a
shifter if they’re born during a full moon.

If Andrea had shifter blood running through her veins, it
would’ve been a different story. The girls would’ve been shifters no matter where
their births fell in the lunar cycle.

Troy raced toward the Virtus clan lands, cursing his father
for making him a shifter. Troy would never be proud to be a bear, never be
proud to be a bear king. After his father and mother passed, Troy swore he
would never breathe another word about his power. His family’s ties to the clan
would die along with him.

Or so he thought.

Troy knew the moment he crossed into Virtus lands because he
heard the angry roars of their tribe in the distance. He didn’t slow down, but
instead sped up, his entire nose filled with the scent of the stranger. He was
so close now he could practically taste the trespasser’s blood.

Without warning, a bear lumbered into his path and Troy
skidded to a stop, growling deep within his throat—it was the trespasser.

The hair on the back of Troy’s neck bristled, and he began
to pace back and forth, sizing up the stranger. The other bear didn’t seem
nearly as large as Troy, and while Troy knew he wasn’t a cub, he sensed this
was a younger bear. This bear had thick brown hair with a white patch of fur in
the shape of a “V” on his chest, a definitive marker of the Virtus clan.

Troy growled, warning the bear that he shouldn’t have trespassed.
Whether or not the bear understood, he growled back at Troy, also pacing back
and forth.

They were in a standoff, and for a brief moment, Troy
thought of shifting back to human form so he could tell the trespasser to stay
the hell off Cruentus lands. But he was too angry, and too upset to change back
now. Plus, he knew he risked his own safety by changing back to his human form while
on another clan’s lands.

Troy had expected the bear to back away, or grovel, but
instead he stood haughtily on his two hind legs, antagonizing Troy. Furious,
Troy roared, this time lunging at the bear, snapping at his leg.

The brown bear roared with anger, swiping his paw at Troy
and grazing the top of his shoulder. Troy cried out in fury and pain, feeling
the warmth of blood seeping through his skin. Wild with rage, he lunged again
at the brown bear, and this time he sank his teeth into the bear’s shoulder.

The bear howled in agony and knocked Troy back, sending him
flying through the air. Troy felt the air
out of his lungs and he
tried to scramble off his back, completely unprepared for the sudden strength
of the smaller bear.

The brown bear took advantage of his position, pouncing on
Troy. Troy roared as he felt his ribs snap as if they were made of twigs. He
rolled over, heaving with the effort it took, and tried to stand up onto his
shaking paws. How could this smaller bear be so strong?

Troy staggered to his feet, circling the other bear, who was
clearly pleased with himself. Troy snapped his teeth at the brown bear, and he
tried to growl but his damaged ribs seared in pain. All he needed was to attack
at the right angle, and he could rip the brown bear’s throat out. Then he would
piss on him as he bled out on the ground.

The brown bear anticipated the move, and he agilely dodged to
the side just as Troy moved to strike. The brown bear swept up to the side of
Troy’s body and bit his other shoulder. Troy bucked back, then raked his razor-sharp
claws across the bear’s face, making him cry out too.

Both bears jumped onto their hind legs, battling with one
another, but Troy knew he didn’t stand a chance. His insides were screaming and
he could feel his broken ribs; his strength was waning.

The brown bear knew this and he bit Troy again on the
shoulder, just below the neck. Troy let out a guttural wail, falling onto his
back as he tried to fight off the brown bear. The bear attacked head on, and
Troy bit at him where he could, clawing futilely at the ridiculously strong
bear. The bear roared in frustration, and Troy could smell his blood, but Troy
was too weak now to finish his opponent… it was he who would perish.

Troy’s thoughts became fuzzy, and he was seeing black
patches in front of his eyes. The bear backed away, and Troy instinctively knew
that the bear was only backing away because Troy was dying.

Troy felt his body shift back into human form, and he
whimpered pitifully from the pain as his human bones broke again. Here he was—nothing
but a weak, dying human, slowly bleeding out. This was his fate. Damn his
father for doing this to him!

“Andrea!” He cried. “Gabrielle! Lucy!”

As the brown bear turned into human form, Troy managed to glimpse
the big bloodstains on his skin and the scratches along his body. He’d injured
the trespasser, but in the end he’d been no match for the brown bear.

“Why?” Troy rasped, looking at the other human, who was
nothing more than a teenager.

The young boy’s eyes widened as if he couldn’t quite believe
what he did. “You—you—trespassed,” he stammered.

“Idiot,” Troy wheezed, “you were on Cruentus lands first.”


“My lands,” Troy rasped, “you trespassed first. I picked up
your scent.”

The boy looked on, bewildered. A hint of remorse flashed
across his eyes.

“Do you not know the laws?” Troy wheezed, losing the last of
his strength.

Something about Troy’s authoritative tone woke something within
the teenager, and he straightened up, looking arrogant and haughty. “I know all
about laws,” he snapped.

Troy wanted to yell back at this little shit. He had cost
him everything—his life, his family—and for what? The kid had no idea what he’d
even done. Troy opened his mouth to speak, to protest, but instead he felt his
heart sputter.

He made a wet gurgling sound, and felt the warm trickle of
blood ooze from his mouth.

BOOK: Unbearable: Russet Falls Series
12.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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