Unbearable heat the griz.., p.11

Unbearable Heat (The Grizzly Next Door 2), page 11

 part  #2 of  The Grizzly Next Door Series

 

Unbearable Heat (The Grizzly Next Door 2)
 


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  “Let us fight tonight,” the pack leader shouted past Dirk, “as wolves and men!”

  Dirk stuck his chest out and got right up in the bald man’s face. Neither backed down, so Dirk spoke mere inches from the other man’s face. “Are you saying we’re anything other than wolf or man, Darius?”

  “Wolves don’t take human hostages!” Darius shouted, pointing at Lily. “And they don’t work with other shifters!”

  Dirk laughed and cocked his head. “Oh, yeah? Where’s your pet bear then?”

  Darius got even closer to Dirk and cocked his head. If they weren’t red in the face with rage, eyes bulging, it would almost look like they were about to kiss. “He’s chained up in the garage. I know you wanted him dead. If you beat us tonight, he’s yours. Just let the girl go and we’ll settle this. This is a wolf issue, not a human one, and not a bear one.”

  “If you beat us,” Dirk said, “she’s yours. Now get out of my face and prepare to fight.”

  They stared each other down, faces turning redder and veins bulging in their necks. They circled each other a few times, and finally Darius spit, shifted, and ran back into the forest.

  “Fuck!” Dirk shouted.

  “What you wanna do with her then? Just kill her?” a man named Jax asked.

  “No,” Dirk said. “Lock her in one of the cabins. We may need that favor later on. Hold up our end of the deal.”

  “With the human?” Jax asked defiantly. “Why?”

  “Because,” Dirk snarled, “we haven’t reached our rightful place yet, and killing her now does nothing, while holding up our end might. This human is a bit of a prodigy at what he does. We can use him. Just do what I say, and get ready to fight! Keep guard over her in case Darius is lying and the bear shows.”

  Lily sensed something else going on. They weren’t talking about the deal with Darius. It was something else. What human were they talking about?

  Jax cut through the rope with his knife, and she felt blissful relief on her wrists. She rubbed at the rope burns, and they stung, but they weren’t as bad as she thought they would be.

  Jax grabbed her by the arm and tugged her. “Let’s go. You want to follow me willingly, or you want me to manhandle you?”

  “I’ll follow you,” she said. She’d been manhandled enough to know he was serious and that it was pointless to put up a fight. She wouldn’t be able to slow him down, and it would be harder to scout out the area if she were slung over his shoulder or dragged by her feet—whatever his idea of manhandling was.

  If Darius wasn’t bluffing, then Seth was chained up. That was bad, but maybe Darius’s side would win. She’d be let go then, wouldn’t she? What was the other deal? She felt so frustrated not knowing what was going on. It might be smarter to wait this battle out, or it might be better to try to escape. But she had no information, and she couldn’t make the right call.

  So she followed Jax, hoping to figure out more later, and he took her to the cabin farthest from the forest. He brought her inside. It was dank and dusty, and there was almost no furniture inside. There was just a sad-looking gray couch and a wooden table with no chairs or stools.

  “Looks like you’ve got a couch,” Jax said. “Sit down.”

  He had long, greasy blond hair and a scraggly beard. He looked lithe but strong. Not stronger than Seth though. Seth could overpower Jax in an instant.

  “You’re probably wondering why Dirk sent me to guard you. I probably look like I ain’t the best fighter, and that’s true, I sure ain’t. So if I’m not in the battle it won’t make too big a difference.”

  “Seth will tear you to shreds,” Lily said, still not sitting in the couch.

  Jax pulled out a gun and cocked it. Then he pointed it between Lily’s eyes. “Sit down!”

  She obeyed.

  “See,” Jax said, “Dirk knows I have a gun. That’s why he put me on guard. Sure, it’s not...uh...honorable and all that. Now, you’ll never hear a wolf admit this in front of another shifter, but one wolf don’t stand a chance in hell against a grizzly bear. We need at least three good wolves to take down your boyfriend, and we can’t spare so many on the off chance he comes to save you. With a gun though? I just gotta get one shot on him as soon as I see him in the doorway. Bam! He’s dead before he knows what’s what!”

  Lily had to warn him. As soon as she heard anything at the door, she had to scream out that he had a gun. Seth said shifters could hear really well, so as soon as she saw Jax tense up, that meant someone was coming, and she could just scream out and then Seth would know not to just walk in through the front door.

  CHAPTER SIXTEEN

  Seth

  Seth got out of his truck and left it at the end of the road. He ran into the forest and, as soon as he was sure no one would see him, shifted.

  As soon as he became a bear, the smells and sounds of the forest intensified, and he ran down the familiar path to the wolves’ camp.

  Not like before, he thought in unison with his wolf. It wouldn’t be like before. He wasn’t here for petty revenge, and he wasn’t here to kill. He was here to save his mate so he could move on from this and have a life together with her. He needed to make room in his life for marriage, family, and love. There was no room left for hate and killing.

  His leg still stung with each step. It might never heal, he realized, but it only slowed him a small amount, and the pain was manageable.

  A gust of wind shook through the forest, and it brought on its wings the smell of wolf pelt, saliva, sweat, steel, and blood. The battle had begun, and Seth’s path approached downwind, so they wouldn’t smell him coming until he was nearly on top of them.

  But he wouldn’t go near them. The battle was between him and the cabins, so he’d go around. He broke into a sprint and lumbered through the forest, making a wide circle around the battle. Someone might smell him once he’d neared the cabins, but he had to hope that the smell of a lone bear wouldn’t be enough to break the wolves from their bloodlust. They had a battle to fight, and he had no interest in putting himself in the middle of it. He just had to save Lily.

  Soon he saw the cabins through the trees, and he ran faster still, despite his bad leg’s cries of pain.

  He shifted back to human form as he left the tree cover. A man was harder to spot from a distance, and more importantly he gave off a weaker scent.

  He couldn’t afford to slowly sneak up to the cabins, as his scent would be detectable no matter what he did to obscure it, and if the battle ended in Dirk’s favor, enemy wolves would be drawn to him and out for blood.

  He rushed toward the cabins and took huge sniffs as he went. He smelled her. She was here, and she was alive.

  And then he smelled a wolf, close by, as well as the scent of a familiar man. He’d smelled this man so recently...but he couldn’t pin down who it was. He knew which cabin they were in, and he hugged the wall of another as he approached. He’d give up a little bit of speed for the extra stealth.

  “He’s here!” a voice shrieked.

  Seth rushed from the corner and saw two men, a wolf he recognized...and Flynt, Lily’s ex-boyfriend.

  “He’s got a gun!” Lily’s voice shouted from the cabin.

  As soon as Seth turned the corner, he began to shift. He was a larger target this way, but a more imposing one. He had to hope the shooter wasn’t a good shot, or would get scared and panic.

  But he saw two shooters: Flynt and one of Dirk’s men. Which was the greater danger? Which should he take down first?

  The wolf charged at him, firing as he ran. He was an awful shot, and Seth heard bullets whiz past him, but none hit. Seth charged him head on, praying he’d miss even as he reached point-blank range. Seth could survive a bullet or two. If it was for Lily, he’d take ten, twenty, as many as he had to until he dropped dead.

  Just before Seth was in range to swipe, a hole burst through the shooter’s forehead, and he plopped to the ground. Flynt held the gun, the barrel still smoking, pointing at Seth now.

/>   Flynt hesitated for just a moment and then fired. A bullet tore into Seth’s side. Flynt was not a poor shot like the wolf, and Seth’s strategy of hoping he’d miss would not work here. He shifted to human form and dove for the wolf’s gun. He grabbed it and raised it up to take down Flynt.

  But Flynt’s gun was no longer pointed at Seth. Flynt had grabbed hold of Lily, and the gun was pointed at her head. Lily’s body was covering everything but Seth’s head and one shoulder. Seth had only fired a gun once in his life, and it was a shotgun. He wouldn’t risk shooting Lily.

  “You ruin everything,” Flynt yelled across to Seth. “Everything! I was going to save her the night of the fire. Me!”

  “You…” Lily said. “You started the fire...didn’t you?”

  “Of course!” he said. “But only so I could save you. Don’t you understand? If I had been the one to save you—instead of this freak!—then you could have come and stayed with me, and you’d feel everything you feel for Seth, but for me.”

  “Put the gun down,” Seth said. “No one has to get hurt here.”

  He held the gun still, pointed at Flynt. He wouldn’t risk shooting Lily, but he couldn’t risk lowering the gun. It was the only power he had over Flynt right now. He had to buy time. He had to talk him down.

  “I’m already hurt,” Flynt said. “You get everything, and I get nothing. I try to burn you in the mill, but you get away. I try to get the wolves to kill you, but you get chained up. I was about so save her now, again! They were going to let me save her.... She wasn’t in any real danger! I made a deal with them: I get Lily and they get you. But you’ve ruined everything! Now Lily knows.... It could only have worked if she didn’t know!”

  “Flynt…” Seth said, taking small steps toward him, the gun aimed at him. If he was close enough, he might be able to risk taking a shot if talking Flynt down didn’t work.

  “Stop! No closer!” Flynt said. “If I can’t have her, then no one can.” He pressed the muzzle of the gun flesh against Lily’s temple, but his arm clattered so much that he barely kept the gun pointed at her.

  Lily’s arm flew up, and she grabbed hold of Flynt’s wrist. He wasn’t prepared, and he was shaking so hard that he barely kept the gun in his hands.

  Lily dropped immediately to the ground, flat on her stomach. Flynt's body was exposed and wide open, and Seth knew he could make the shot.

  Kill him! his bear screamed. It’s not like last time! It’s to save her life!

  Seth began tensing his finger on the trigger, squeezing. Flynt regained control of his own gun and began aiming at Lily.

  Seth fired. He hit Flynt three times in the chest before he collapsed.

  “Lily, are you hurt? Can you walk?”

  “No,” she said. “And yes.”

  They looked down at Flynt’s body.

  “I’m sorry I had to do that,” Seth said. “It’s just—”

  “No,” Lily said. “He wanted to kill me. I saw it in his eyes. If you hadn’t done what you did, he’d have killed both of us.”

  Seth let out a long breathe. He’d killed again, but he wouldn’t let it eat him alive this time. He’d done what he had to, and he’d killed this time for entirely different reasons. If anyone ever threatened his mate again, he’d do what he must.

  “Follow me to my truck,” he said. “I’ll get you safe, and then I have to help Darius.”

  “No,” Lily said. “You can’t risk yourself. It’s not your fight! He chained you up and told Dirk that they could kill you if they won! You owe him nothing!”

  “What do you think will happen if Darius loses? How long do you think we’ll be safe? And I owe Sanas.”

  CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

  Lily

  They crept through the forest, and she followed Seth’s lead. He seemed to follow an invisible path, and occasionally he’d stop at what seemed like random. His bear senses were keen, and it seemed to keep them safe as they circled the battle and headed for the truck.

  She hated that he had to risk his life for these wolves. She remembered what Jax had said though: that it would take three good wolves to down a grizzly. And she knew that Seth was right, that Dirk wasn’t the type to forgive and forget.

  “Shit,” Seth hissed, and he turned one hundred eighty degrees on his heel. Then he pulled her back the way they’d come.

  He led them a few more steps, sniffed, and then stopped.

  He pulled the gun out and checked the magazine. Then he slid it back in.

  “Get on the ground,” he said to her. “Low profile. If they rush me, you run.”

  He pressed the keys into her palm.

  “I’m not leaving you,” she hissed.

  “We’re surrounded,” he said. “They flanked me. I’m going to cut a hole out for you to escape through. Don’t argue.”

  No. She wouldn’t leave him.

  “Give me the gun,” she said. “I’m an okay shot. My grandpa used to take me to the range. You’ve got your claws and teeth, and I’ll have the gun. Our chances will be better this way. We work our way through toward the truck, fight as we move.”

  “Dammit, Lily, this isn’t—”

  “Stone!” a voice shouted through the forest. “You’ve got a fierce fucking mate! Willing to shoot through a pack of hungry wolves? Where can I find one like that?”

  “Sanas?” Seth said. “It’s you?”

  “Hell yeah!” he said, and finally Lily could see him. He was just as naked as Seth, and he had fresh cuts and gashes all over his body.

  Darius came from the other side, flanked by a handful of his men.

  “We won,” Darius said. “Didn’t need no help from a bear. We won pack against pack, fair and square.”

  “Dirk is—”

  “He’s dead,” Sanas said. “As soon as we killed him, five or so of his pack stopped fighting. We had to kill the rest, of course. Didn’t want no bad blood lingering around.”

  Seth dropped the gun to the ground and bear hugged Lily.

  “It’s over,” he said into her ear. “We’re safe.... We can be together.”

  “Sorry I chained you up, Stone. Didn’t do much good, huh? Thanks for staying out of the fight though. Sanas told me you would. I should have trusted him.”

  Seth’s body tensed, and he said, “There’s a dead human out by the cabins. I killed him with that gun.” He pointed down at the weapon. “Can you take care of both?”

  “Sure thing,” Darius said. “We’re real good at that kind of stuff.”

  “I know,” Seth said. “That’s why I’m never getting involved with you all ever again.”

  “Fine by me,” Darius said. “And tell your old man he’s welcome back any time.”

  Seth and Lily walked hand in hand back to the truck, and they drove straight back to Seth’s place. Well, Lily figured it was their place now.

  Before they were even inside, half their clothes were off. Seth tore the rest of Lily’s clothes off as soon as they were inside, and he slung her over his shoulder and then carried her into the bedroom.

  “Manhandling,” she said.

  CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

  Seth

  “What?” he asked.

  “Manhandle me,” she ordered.

  He grinned, liking the sound of that, and then threw her onto the bed. Before the bed even finished shaking, he jumped on top of her. “You want me to manhandle you...or bear handle you?”

  Lily groaned. “That’s not even a pun. You’re a bear shifter. You’ve had your whole life to think up good bear puns, and that’s the best you’ve got?”

  “I’m so hard,” he said, pointing down at his throbbing dick, “that there’s bearly any blood left for my brain. It was the best I could do.”

  “Okay, ‘bearly,’ is pretty amateur, but it’s better.”

  She grabbed hold of his dick, and as soon as she did, all the exhaustion and soreness from the day melted off his bones. Lily was comfort and love. She was an elixir that cured all that ailed him. She was his mat
e, and they belonged to each other for the rest of their lives.

  Fill her with honey! his bear urged. And by honey, I mean the thick white stuff.

  “It’s called sperm!” Seth said. Shit, had he said that aloud?

  Lily squeezed his hard rod as a devilish grin overtook her face. “You talking to your wingman? Your bear? Want to tell me what he’s saying about me?”

  Lily began to stroke, and Seth grunted, but when he didn’t answer her, she slowed down.

  “He’s got cubs—babies—on the brain,” Seth said.

 
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